A two-nosed dog? Well, not exactly. But there are a few rare dog breeds that look as if they have two noses, each with one nostril and looking for all the world like the two sides act independently. Want to guess which dog group these breeds belong to? If you’re thinking “hunting group,” you’re on the right trail.
Some other facts in this issue that might cause you to do a double take: you can now provide environmental enrichment for your dog even when you’re not home. We’re not talking balls that roll with food inside while your dog pushes them around the house (although they make great tools). We’re talking high-tech gadgetry that lets you, for instance, video conference with your pet, feed him exactly the right amount at the exact right time of day, perfume his air with pleasing aromas, get him chasing a laser light, and more. The machinery that lets you interact with your dog from afar doesn’t come cheap. But can you really put a price on love?
More surprising (as well as heartening) news: while many dog owners worry that the food they feed their pet has made the animal sick, it turns out the concern far surpasses the problem. Recalls of tainted food meant for people number many, many times higher than recalls for dog foods. Tufts veterinary nutritionist Cailin Heinze, VMD, DACVN, sets the record straight in an article beginning on page 4. And for those who want to be able to track whether a pet food has caused foodborne illness, she tells what you need to do in terms of storing the food, getting the proper information off the label, and, just as important, having your dog examined by the doctor. Without following the steps she outlines, it’s impossible to connect the dots.
Also in this issue: you shouldn’t brush a dog just to keep her looking good. Regular brushinhog is an integral part of wellness. When you brush, you help your dog guard against skin infections and other ills. And let’s face it, in most cases, you make her feel good, too. But which kind of brush? It depends on the dog’s hair. Match your dog to the right kind of brush when you read this month’s piece.
Finally, it’s not true that you’ve exhausted the repertoire of new games to play with your pet. Animal behaviorist Claire Arrowsmith has come up with tons of games, ranging from super-easy to pretty difficult. And she has put them all together in Brain Games for Dogs, a terrific book that comes highly recommended by Stephanie Borns-Weil, DVM, who helps dog owners get along better with their pets when they visit her at our renowned Animal Behavior Clinic. Follow the instructions in this book, and you’ll never have to get off the couch to get the TV remote again. Your dog will get it for you.
Happy tails to you,