A comfy lap for a hunting dog pup.
A comfy lap for a hunting dog pup.
Issues with human nutrition and digestion are not parallel to the dog’s digestive system or immune system, yet people seem to want to apply beliefs or facts about human diet trends (which are often fads!) to their pets. For example, the current attention being given to a “gluten free diet,” which is actually as irrelevant to most people as it certainly is to dogs. I happen to have Celiac disease myself, which is an intolerance to the gluten found in most grains that can lead to serious health consequences if you don’t rigidly avoid gluten in any form. It’s an extremely strict diet and not one most people would willingly want to adhere to unless their life depended upon it! So why would people embrace this as a fad diet, and think that “gluten free” is something to impose on their dogs. Pet owners also refer to a “grain free diet,” when honestly they don’t exactly know what they mean by “grains,” since I find people often confused and amazed that I can eat rice, corn, quinoa and other “grain shaped” food items that actually contain no gluten.
Since I am hyper-aware of what constitutes a grain (because I have to avoid most of them, especially wheat, rye, barley) I don’t know quite what to make of this general embrace of gluten-free products by people who do not actually have the disease. Pet food trends seem to follow human food preoccupations, so that “grain free” becomes a desirable marketing catch-phrase. In reaction, pet food manufacturers are finding it useful to view “grain free” and “gluten free” as important in their products because they perceive it is a trendy thing that dog owners want. But dogs don’t have celiac disease (and relatively few people actually have it, either) and gluten is nothing to avoid if you don’t have to!
[A random example of the misperceptions about gluten-free diets is that the tennis star Novak Djokovic, once the most dominant player in the world, switched to a gluten free diet and wrote a book extolling the virtues of this choice. I imagine many people followed in his footsteps, and probably thought it would benefit their dogs, too! Perhaps they weren’t noticing that as Novak followed that gluten-free path he lost an exaggerated amount of weight so that he doesn’t look as strong and healthy as he did before, and his power and prominence has since plummeted, perhaps in part because of that diet or for personal reasons.]
Let’s go back to common sense, please! If our goals and desires for our pets’ health is driving the train of what goes into pet foods and how they are promoted, then wouldn’t it be better to go back to basics and choose a dog food based on our confidence in its overall recipe and the company’s reputation? Shouldn’t we be giving preference to pet foods that list real meat (chicken, lamb, salmon, etc.) and whole vegetables and other recognizable whole food ingredients—all hallmarks of higher quality nutrition? That’s why I choose Halo as the kibble I fed my own dogs, and most of my friends now follow my example, I’m proud to say! Let’s not distract ourselves or the pet food companies that cater to us with passing fancies about food ingredients or diet fads that are a waste of our time, and not doing a thing for our pets.
Tracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.
Tracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.
Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.
Often when people walk their dogs, they’re in a hurry and wish that their dogs were a little bit less interested in everything off the path. Sara Wilce isn’t one of those people. She’s grateful that her dog, Dougal, has a keen interest in his surroundings. Recently the Westie became a hero when, during his morning walk, he spotted an elderly woman and her dog who had been missing for four days!
According to the Stroud News and Journal, Hazel Denham had last been seen at 1:20 the previous Tuesday afternoon as she headed out to walk her Poodle-Yorkshire Terrier mix, Bertie. Her husband, Richard Denham, reported her missing at 5:17 that evening when she and Bertie still hadn’t returned home. Richard is 85 and his wife is 71 with mild dementia. The Denhams live in Minchinhampton, an ancient hilltop town in the Cotswolds of England. When people learned that Hazel was missing, the community sprang into action. Volunteers and professionals with a number of agencies and services coordinated searching for the woman. Police officers and other officials gave out maps of areas where people should search. The National Police Air Service used thermal-imaging cameras to look for signs of Hazel and Bertie. The Search & Rescue Dog Association (SARDA) South Wales also participated in the search.
When it’s 78 degrees out, I consider it absolutely perfect. But don’t forget that the interior of your car gets much, much hotter. If you can’t take your dog with you wherever you’re going, don’t load them in the car. They may give you those big puppy eyes, but they really won’t like it when […]
My guess is this is a wild turkey hen trying to hide her poults in the tall grass. She probably had them out for a nice grasshopper hunt on a balmy June morning. but when she encountered me, she went renegade.
Unlike suburban wild turkeys, which appear clueless dumb, those from pressured populations behave with all the stealth of a well-trained and well-seasoned sniper. Any mistake and the shotguns will get you.
Thank you Colgate® for sponsoring this post.
Long ago (well, actually only a few years ago; but it kind of feels like forever), my nighttime routine consisted of leisurely getting ready for bed after a nice, quiet reading session or movie with my husband. I’d stretch a little, brush my teeth, wash my face, and slip under the covers for a nice, peaceful slumber. Fast forward to more recent times, which involve two kids three and under (neither of whom are great sleepers), and that ready-for-bed routine became a frenzy of frantically trying to squeeze in all of the things I didn’t get done for the day, and, more often than not, throwing on the same oversized t-shirt I wore to bed the previous night, doing an inadequate job of washing up, jumping into bed at an unreasonably late hour, and hoping for an hour of two of sleep before one of the babes woke up. This rushed, chaotic routine, despite the high intensity of it, got pretty stale after a while. Instead of looking forward to getting ready for bed, I dreaded it. So I decided to make some changes, and try some new ways to establish a routine that was healthier, more enjoyable, and less predictable. Nighttime has been infinitely better since then, so today I thought I’d share with you guys five ways I’ve shaken up my ready-for-bed routine in hopes of maybe inspiring those of you who could use a change yourselves.
1. One hour before bedtime, I stop “getting things done.” It’s not realistic for me to set the same bedtime for every night, but I’ve found that I get to bed earlier if I stop myself from scrambling to get more and more done once I start getting tired. If I look at the clock and it’s 11 PM, and I’m cleaning the house or answering work emails or paying bills, I just stop wherever I am and start focusing on bedtime. And in an effort to keep things “shaken up” and not boring, I do different things with this hour (see below!). Whereas before I used to just keep going until I could no longer keep my eyes open, I now allow myself an hour to calm down and prepare for bed. I’m not only in bed earlier every night, I fall asleep faster too.
2. I write in a journal – without rules. A few years ago when I was going through a particularly rough time, every night before bed I would write down something good that happened that day in a journal, in an effort to stay positive. And while this was incredibly helpful on many levels, it also felt a little forced to have to do it night after night. So now I do something similar, but I allow myself to change things up so it doesn’t feel like a chore. On some nights I’ll write about something good that happened or something for which I’m grateful, but other times I’ll write down something funny one of my kids did or said that day, or something I’m looking forward to, or even something that is frustrating me or making me angry. Some nights I’ll even just doodle. It’s a great release to journal for a minute before bed without any rules.
3. I choose a different way to relax each night. Doing relaxation yoga every night before bed is a great way to wind down, but the whole point of shaking up my nighttime routine is to keep things fresh by not doing the same thing night after night. So one night I might do 20 minutes of yoga. The next night I might watch a movie. The next night I might read blogs or browse Instagram. The following night I might read a book. The next night I might meditate. I find that by doing whatever I feel like doing at the time (as long as it’s relaxing) is the perfect way to really unwind before bed without feeling like I’m being forced into a stagnant routine.
4. I use a fun mouthwash (that literally shakes things up) right before going to sleep. One of my recent favorite additions to my newly shaken up nighttime routine is Colgate Total® Advanced Health Mouthwash. First, I shake to activate the mouthwash (a dual system that freshens breath and kills germs, woohoo!), then I use the mouthwash, and then I take a look in the sink to see the bacteria that’s removed. Pretty cool, right? It removes 24 times more bacteria (vs. ordinary, non-antibacterial mouthwashes), reduces plaque, helps prevent gingivitis, and freshens breath. I look forward to using this before bed each night, because in addition to really working, it breaks up my old boring brush-rinse-spit nightly mouth care routine by allowing me to “shake, clean, and see.”
5. I do a different beauty or skincare activity each night. Yes, I wash my face with the same cleanser and apply the same creams, etc. every night – but if that’s all I’m doing, it can feel a little robotic. So I try to do one different self-care thing, just for me, each night. One night I might paint my nails. The next night I might do a face mask. The next night I might exfoliate. Thanks to giving myself that hour before bed (see #1), I’m able to do this. And as simple as it is, it makes a big difference in my mental state to allow myself some self care before bed.
I can genuinely say that I really look forward to my ready-for-bedtime routine these days, now that I incorporate different ways to shake it up and keep it fresh. If you have any other tips for doing this, I’d love to hear them!
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Happy Summer Solstice! We’re celebrating the official first day of summer by hopping on a plane tomorrow morning headed to California to spend some time in beautiful Sonoma County with my very best friends. It’s one of our favorite places in the country, and we try to visit every couple of years. The last time we were there (the photo you see above is from that trip; look how little Essley was!) I was pregnant with Emmett, so this will be his first time to really get to enjoy it with us.
There will be a post here tomorrow (and it’s a good one so be sure to come back!), but after that I’ll be taking the rest of the week off the blog. Our normal posting schedule will resume on Monday, June 26th. And as always, you can follow along with our adventures on our Instagram. (I’m sure I’ll be doing my usual oversharing in our IG stories.)
Enjoy the longest day of the year, friends!