Tag Archives: nutrition

Doggy quote of the month for July

“Like humans, dogs should be eating a variety of nutritious foods, and not living on just one specific formula.”

– Dr Jean Dodds, DVM

Izzy the greyhound eats a varied diet

Advertisements

I don’t understand…

I often chat with my human clients (the ones who pay the bills) when working on their dog. This week, one my clients and I were chatting about her dog’s nutrition plan.  She mentioned that her neighbor was feeding a cheap food that wasn’t balanced.  And more importantly, he didn’t seem to care.

She said “I don’t understand why people get dogs, say they love them, and then don’t bother to feed a quality food.”

I, of course, agreed.

And then I got to thinking about the other things I don’t understand:

  • I don’t understand why some people get a dog and then never let it live inside the house with them and their family.
  • I don’t understand why dog owners think ‘cheap’ anything is appropriate for their dog’s health and well-being.
  • I don’t understand why people adopt puppies and then don’t take them to puppy training classes.
  • I don’t understand why people adopt older dogs and don’t invest the time to train them.
  • I don’t understand why anyone things it’s okay to hit a dog, or neglect it.
  • I don’t understand why some dog owners don’t take their dog out for daily exercise and enrichment.
  • I don’t understand why some people don’t accept their lifetime responsibility to their animal.
  • I don’t understand why people don’t spay or neuter their dog (and then some put it up for adoption and expect the new owner to do it).
  • I don’t understand why some people have children and then say they have to re-home their dog because they are too busy – the dog was there first.
  • I don’t understand why, when their dog is in pain or injured, the owner goes onto Facebook for advice rather than taking their dog to the vet (with urgency).

Daisy in sunshine 2014IMG_0577

I have been lucky enough to have some incredible dogs in my life (above are Daisy (now deceased) and Izzy (my retired racing greyhound).  I proudly say that they have always come first.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Re-branding and going viral

It’s been particularly busy the last few days.  I had expected it to be busy – just not this busy.

The planned part of the weekend was my company re-branding.  At long last, my business is now The Balanced Dog Ltd – a practice focused on professional dog massage and natural care.

When I started in business in 2007, it was as a maker of preservative-free dog treats and cakes and so the company name of Canine Catering suited…but by 2010, my dog massage practice was growing and it is this aspect of natural dog care that has become my passion.

The new name also reflects my interests in Traditional Chinese Medicine and nutrition.  It’s all about balance and health.

But what I didn’t expect this weekend was my first truly viral post on Facebook.  A client of mine shared this cartoon with me and it all took off from there:

This is Jill

You see, last month my column about this subject was published in NZ Dog World magazine.  I’m increasingly concerned about how people are taking to Facebook for medical diagnosis (instead of seeking professional veterinary care).

It’s okay to seek advice from peers when your dog has a known condition.  Support groups for all types of disorders exist on social media; I’ve used them myself.

And I guess a lot of people agree with me – I’ve tripled the number of Facebook likes on my page and have had over 1.5 million views.  Not bad for an independent canine massage practitioner from little old New Zealand…

Thanks for reading my blog; I’ve been writing it for five years now and I still enjoy it and the connections I have made with some dedicated dog parents.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Oh…and here’s my column about “Dr Facebook” if you’re interested:

December 2015

Homemade doggy ice cream

I can claim another culinary victory this week.

I truly believe that good nutrition is the basis of a long life.  As I say in my dog massage classes, “Senior dog care starts before your dog is a senior.”

And I have successfully created some dog ice cream for Izzy that is a nutritious treat.  It uses probiotic yogurt, fresh pureed pumpkin and cooked liver (lamb’s liver in this case).

Best of all, it looks like orange/chocolate chip ice cream!

Izzy's ice cream

I’ve poured this mixture into ice cube trays and Izzy can indulge in it a few times a week.

This is a treat – not a core dog food of course.  But I’m very pleased with the result.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Freshpet goes public

Earlier this month, Freshpet Inc, the first and only fresh, refrigerated pet food brand distributed across North America, commenced trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.  It’s trading abbreviation is FRPT.

Freshpet logo

This listing is yet another indication of the growing pet products market in the USA (and worldwide).  Pet owners have incredible purchasing power and this power grows every year.

Freshpet’s operations began in October 2006.  Their food is delivered to Freshpet Fridges in over 13,000 retail outlets.

Freshpet display cabinet

All products are cooked in small batches and then refrigerated immediately and come with a best before date.

I don’t live in the USA and so haven’t experienced Freshpet firsthand.  If you feed their foods, what do you and your dog think about them?

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

What’s cooking? It smells great!

A courier came to the door this morning to deliver several parcels.  She said, “What’s cooking – it smells great!”  And I replied, “I’m cooking a casserole for my dog in the slow cooker.”

This particular casserole is made with fresh broccoli, lamb heart, lean beef schnitzel, and fresh ginger.

This particular casserole is made with fresh broccoli, lamb heart, lean beef schnitzel, and fresh ginger.

After a brief pause, she smiled and said, “Lucky dog.”

I feed a combination of raw, homemade and commercial foods. It’s important to feed a nutritionally complete diet and so homemade diets will most likely need supplementation.

I consult with dog owners who want feeding advice and I incorporate Traditional Chinese Medicine assessment techniques for food matching.  I am not affiliated with any dog food manufacturer and so my advice is completely independent.

Need to know more?  Get in touch with me via my company website.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Pukka’s Promise

Pukka's Promise coverIf I had to choose a byline for this book review, it would be ‘Ted Does It Again.”

Author Ted Kerasote has delivered another great dog book following the success of Merle’s Door which I have previously reviewed.

This book, inspired in part by the large volume of correspondence Ted received after releasing Merle’s story, documents Ted’s extensive research into the health of dogs and the factors that may determine longevity.   So many ‘dog people’ contacted Kerasote asking variations of the same question  – ‘why don’t our dogs live longer?’  And since Ted felt the same way, he did what any professional journalist would do – he asked lots of questions.

In Pukka’s Promise -The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, Ted tackles subjects including nutrition, the politics behind the pet food industry, and what diet is right for dogs.  Ted lays out the facts about raw food and commercial diets, the concerns about grains  and whether they are appropriate for dogs and a favourite topic of mine – variety in the diet.

Because Kerasote observes his dog so well, he realises that there are times when Pukka (pronounced PUCK-ah) rejects the food that is laid before him.  Pukka lets Ted know that he prefers something else one day when he follows him into the pantry.  Having rejected raw lamb, Pukka readily accepts some dried elk chips.  Ted then listens more often to what Pukka would like for his meals noting, “Today I do not want sardines, I want chicken.  Yes, I do love elk, but this evening I prefer dried elk.”

And just as he did in Merle’s Door, this communication between Kerasote and Pukka is not contrived nor do these moments come across as a story book type of anthropomorphism.  Kerasote is a keen observer and dog aficionado.  When he listens or hears Pukka, it’s because he understands what his dog is trying to tell him and translates it into words.  Few authors could achieve this in such a natural way.

An example of the communication between Ted and Pukka comes when Ted is frustrated by Pukka’s excessive barking.  Dog trainers should be prepared that Ted’s solution doesn’t come from clicker training or positive reinforcement, although Ted tries these things.  Ted’s solution is a direct result of understanding dog behaviour and putting that knowledge to good use.  It helps that Ted can communicate in dog.   Enough said; you’ll have to read the book for the ending of this tale.

Kerasote covers a range of health topics including vaccinations, the history of the ‘annual vaccination’ recommendation, and the latest research on why over-vaccinating is a concern.  A good message to take away from reading the book is to enquire with your vet about having your dog ‘titered’ to determine the amount of immunity they still have from previous vaccinations.

Still other issues that are tackled in a thorough way are the effects of neutering and alternatives to the traditional spay/neuter operation that may help our dogs retain the health-preserving effects of their natural sex hormones.  Kerasote also questions the spay/neuter philosophy in a constructive way and whether you agree with his conclusions or not, he does lay out the facts very well.

Another topic that I hold dear is the issue of cancer and the simple message – if you find a lump on your dog, don’t let anyone (including your vet) tell you to ‘wait and see.’  Some lumps, if caught early and tested, can be removed before the disease takes over the comparatively small body of a dog.  Take heed!

As a backdrop to the book’s hard facts, we also get to enjoy a wonderful story about Ted’s search for another dog and his choice of Pukka.  Once Pukka’s is on the scene, we share some of their adventures.

My only criticism of this book is its lack of photos.  Other than the cover photo of Pukka, we don’t get to enjoy any photos of Pukka, Ted, or their other dog friends (A.J., Burley and Goo) nor any of the great scenery from Ted’s camping and hunting trips with Pukka.  I don’t think photos would have detracted from the contents and scope of the book, but I guess that’s the publisher’s decision.

With 49 pages of references, this is a thoroughly researched book that took five years to complete.  Add it to your book collection and refer back to it as the basis for a conversation with your vet (your dog will love you for it).

Well done, Ted!  What are you cooking up for us next?