Kind hands protect a young Jack Russell terrier puppy.
Kind hands protect a young Jack Russell terrier puppy.
LinkAKC recently asked me to do an online Q & A interview – but they weren’t really able to fully use my answers. So I thought I’d give you the unredacted version!
1. Is it OK to give your dog beer occasionally? I’ve had a dog or two in my life that liked the taste of beer! Is letting her have a few sips in her bowl OK? Should we avoid it altogether?
Here’s the problem: if I were to say it’s okay to give your dog a teaspoon of beer, pretty soon (depending on how many beers YOU have had!) one teaspoon becomes half a cup and your dog has alcohol poisoning. Dogs are far more sensitive to alcohol than humans are so the rule really has to be zero tolerance. [As for a dog liking the taste of beer, they also like the taste of anti-freeze and deer poop, so their culinary desires are not really a measure of what to offer them!]
2. I’ve heard/read that onions are poisonous to dogs. What should you do if onion falls on the floor and your dog eats it? Is a little OK? When should a dog parent be concerned that her dog ate too much of an onion?
It is truly hard to envision a dog grabbing an onion and running off to munch it under a bush, but we do know there are dogs who will eat anything (just because they can?). Onions (whether raw, cooked, powdered or frozen) are toxic to dogs because they contain thiosulfate and organosulfur, both of which can lead to liver damage and other physical problems if eaten in any quantity. If your dog ate anything more than a small bit, it requires calling/seeing your vet or after hours calling an emergency animal hospital or the AKC Poison hotline (which does charge a consulting fee).
3. I’ve heard that eggs are good for my dog’s coat. Is it OK for me to give him eggs? Should they be cooked or raw? Does it matter? Is it REALLY good for his coat?
Eggs are generally an inexpensive and excellent protein source for your dog – myself I feed scrambled eggs to my Weimaraners at least three times a week as part of their meals. Raw eggs are discouraged for people or dogs unless you have your own chickens producing them, but raw eggs don’t have any superior nutritional qualities anyway. Eggs are not more beneficial to a dog’s coat than any other protein – and it is a well-balanced diet with plenty of quality protein and quality fat that generates a beautiful coat.
4. My dog loves potato chips and popcorn. Is it OK to let her have a few when the humans in the house are eating these snacks? Is the salt bad for her?
Once again you have the problem well known to potato chip eaters: I dare you to eat just one! Where your dog is concerned, one potato chip isn’t harmful (salt is an important element for all of us to consume in moderation) but there’s no way your dog isn’t going to beg for more (and more) once he gets a taste. Before long, you wind up giving a total of a big handful of potato chips it is not in your dog’s best interest. At that point it isn’t just the excessive salt on potato chips, but also the empty calories and the greasiness (hey, maybe a good idea to think about for yourself, too!) Popcorn, on the other hand, can be a really neutral snack – if you don’t salt it you’ve got a delightfully crunchy snack for your dog. But again, I’m relying on your self-control to do so in moderation. Having said that, when I make popcorn for myself (with a spoonful of olive oil in the microwave) my girl Maisie demands completely equitable sharing, so it has to be “one for me, one for her,” which means definitely avoiding the salt for both of us!
5. Most dogs love peanut butter and cheese. Are these foods safe to give my dog as a treat?
These are delightful treats for your dog but really fattening. One fingerful is the right amount! People seem to think its okay to fill a whole Kong toy with squirtable cheese or peanut butter and give it to them to gnaw and lick out of the toy. In fact, it is too rich and too high in calories to be used as anything more than a tiny swipe. I actually eat peanut and almond butter on rice cakes for breakfast and my girls get to lick the knife afterward. It has about 1/8th teaspoon peanut butter on it, but they feel they’ve really scored big time!
6. Most people know that chocolate isn’t safe for their dogs. How much is too much? If she accidentally gets hold of (and eats!) a few pieces of chocolate, should I call the vet immediately?
Some people seem determined to have chocolate in their lives and homes and dogs are “chocoholics” for the smell and taste, too. If your dog gets his teeth into high quality dark chocolate and more than just a small bit, you absolutely have to call your vet after hours or an ER vet clinic to tell them how much the dog ate and how big the dog is. They may tell you to wait and watch the dog for signs of illness, or they may tell you to come right in. The smaller the dog and/or the larger the amount of dark chocolate, the greater the chance of the dog needing medical intervention. However, if you are speaking about the chocolate in most prepared cakes and cookies and even what we think of as “candy bars” they actually contain little or no real chocolate or cacao, which is what doesn’t agree with dogs.
7. Finally, are there any signs a dog may exhibit if he eats food that is making him sick? What should a pet parent look out for if one suspects the dog ate something he shouldn’t have?
Dogs are really good at throwing up when they eat something that disagrees with them – it must be an evolutionary survival mechanism since they seem to often hoover up the most amazing choice of items! If your dog’s stomach sounds like a washing machine and then her sides heave and she vomits, and then perks right up again, you’re lucky that she’s gotten rid of the offensive ingredient. When upchucking works effectively your dog clears her own system of the offending item and should bounce right back and seem like her normal self pretty quickly. But if the substance has entered her bloodstream or is causing harm internally, throwing up will not relieve her discomfort. When a dog’s system has been compromised by eating the wrong thing, she will usually act sick even after throwing up, or may throw up repeatedly. At that point waste no time in calling and going to your vet, who can do a variety of tests and then interventions to get your dog back in the pink.
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.
Halo is proud to work together with The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s leading advocacy organization for animals, to help ALL animals!
Last July, Vickie Malone hosted kids at her home in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, to celebrate her five-year old son’s birthday. Eli and the other kids were about to get ice cream and cake when they heard a shot ring out.
Opie, the boy’s pit bull mix, was gasping for air after a local police officer in the small Oklahoma town shot the dog, presumably because of aggressive behavior. Parents and kids raced outside, and the officer fired two more shots into Opie. A celebratory event turned into a tragic one.
The police offer had been there to serve a warrant, but the subject of the warrant hadn’t lived at the address in years. Eli’s family had done nothing wrong, and the policeman’s visit happened only because of an out-of-date database.
The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that police officers, often acting as first responders in crisis situations, shoot and kill as many as 10,000 dogs a year — that is one dog every hour of every day. It’s a staggering and surprising and distressing number. Though some of these deadly encounters cannot be avoided, training for police officers on how to assess a dog’s body language, possible intentions, and the use of passive, non-lethal methods is not a standard in police academy or in service training.
At The HSUS, we are advocates of dogs, and we are allies of the police, who enforce our animal protection laws and other statutes that keep order in society. We want to solve this problem, and that’s why we are working to prevent these deadly encounters through our Humane State Program and the HSUS Law Enforcement Training Center, which, among so many other purposes, train law enforcement officials on how to safely and effectively deal with canine encounters.
This week, we were in Oklahoma where 550 law enforcement officers received training and resources from HSUS experts on encounters between police and dogs, understanding the process of bonding and forfeiture in cruelty cases, and veterinary forensics. The officers also received resources like control poles and leashes to help them when they encounter dogs on the field.
Only a handful of states require police officers to receive training on encounters with dogs, most of which were implemented after large civil, and in some instances, criminal charges were filed against officers and their departments in the deaths of dogs. Dog owners are fighting back and winning these large lawsuits. Under the Fourth Amendment, shooting someone’s dog has been considered by multiple district courts as a “seizure” of property. Recently, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, a court awarded a man $ 1.26 million dollars for the death of his beloved Chesapeake Bay retriever who was shot and killed by the police. Training to handle these encounters in non-violent ways is good business for the police and it’s good public relations.
Police officers are put in harrowing situations every day and must make life-and-death decisions in a split second. When dogs are added to these situations, the consequences can often turn deadly due to lack of training and tactical options Providing knowledge, experience, and tactical options to every possible officer is one goal of our multi-faceted Humane State Program.
The National Sheriffs’ Association is working on the issue with The HSUS, and has a training video and other resources on its website to allow officers to handle these circumstances.
Law enforcement officers and the agencies that employ them have an enormous array of responsibilities, and they encounter a dizzying array of circumstances. We know that good training will help them, it will spare animal lives, and it will allow for better enforcement of our animal protection laws. That’s why we’re working so hard on this program, and it’s a win for all parties, including the dogs.
Wayne Pacelle is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Humane Society of the United States. Since his appointment in 2004, Wayne Pacelle has driven the growth of The HSUS through greater visibility and engagement and a remarkable range of corporate and policy gains on animal protection issues – from animal fighting and anti-cruelty laws to factory farming, puppy mills, and horse protection.
Who knew this was a thing? The top award at the Cannes Film Festival is the Palm D’Or, so as a take-off on that, they created an alternative award called the Palm Dog in 2001. It is awarded to the best performance by a canine (live or animated) or group of canines during the festival. […]
What is it about French Bulldogs that make them so irresistible? What is it about French Bulldogs that make them so irresistible? This one is waiting for a helping hand from his owner so he can drink out of the fountain in Menton.
On Sunday, May 7th over 1,300 people and 900 dogs attended the 4th Annual PuppyUp Madison Walk at McKee Farms in Fitchburg, WI. This is the largest PuppyUp Walk the Foundation holds each year, and each year the PuppyUp Madison Team surpasses their goals.
Would this work similarly when introducing a cat to our dog? We have a coonhound mix (about 70 lbs) that we have had for 5 years. We adopted him when he was about one year old, so we don't know what the first year of his life was like. He is very interested in cats when we see them on walks. He first stops and stares at them, then starts baying. We would love to adopt a kitty, but don't know how to do it safely. He has never been in a crate. He is usually a very calm, well behaved dog and we just have never had the need for one. If the cat is the one being introduced to the family, which one would you crate? Any advice you have for us would be MUCH appreciated! Thank you!
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