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Blog & News

January 26, 2012

Basic Dog Stuff and Some Interesting Stats….

Checking in with Crate Escape and Crate Escape too
In short, all is good! Both stores look beautiful, not only clean, but great toys, doggie clothes (CE2), leashes and collars and as, always!, the bestest dog food and treats. (editorial comment: I was going to say ‘squeaky clean’ but, as you all know, with infinite pet hair flying around, it will never quite squeak!) Since last fall, after the CE2 renovations were complete, we have had time to focus on our retail areas and our ‘look’. Seriously, up until then, we were tweaking the daycare and van service 24/7; in other words, ALL our time was spent on the dogs! It still is, but we have a great staff who are excellent at what they do, so Stephanie, Nikki and Jenny have some for extras. We have done some ‘scouting’ around at other daycares, and, we really are the best, and most experienced in the greater Boston area. Oh, yea, can’t forget to mention our WONDERFUL CUSTOMERS who make this all happen. Thank you!

How to Read a Dog Food Label
The label on a bag, can or pouch of dog food carries a lot of information- if you know how to read it. Most labels carry a display panel and an information panel. The display panel lists the brand name, the dry weight, and the variety or flavor name- and that’s where the language becomes tricky. Consider a beef based food:
When the label says: Beef or Beef Food, the amount of beef is 70%
When the label says: Beef Dinner, Beef Entree, Beef Formula, you actually get 25%
When the label says: Dog Food with Beef you will get 3%
When the label says: Beef Flavor. you will only get marginally detectable flavor.

The FDA requires that the information panel have two sections: the list of ingredients and the guaranteed analysis. The list of ingredients is arranged in descending order of dry weight. Most vets recomment that meat be one of the first three ingredients in dry food and the first one in canned food. The guaranteed analysis section lists the minimum amounts of protein and fat and the maximum amounts of fiber and moisture in the food. A medium size adult dog requires a diet consisting of at least 18% protein and 5% fat.

Are Dogs Carnivores… or Omnivores?
Are dogs carnivores… or omnivores? There is a great debate going on. When it comes to choosing a top dog food, it is important to know the answer to that question.
If you’ve heard that dogs are indifferent omnivores with no natural preferences… or that they’re strict carnivores with a built-in aversion to eating fruits and vegetables, it goes against scientific evidence which points to the fact that dogs have a natural and undeniable carnivorous bias.
From DNA studies, we know dogs evolved directly from the timber wolf somewhere around 15,000 years ago. And wolves are clearly carnivores. So, by their very genetic pedigree, dogs also demonstrate similar and noticeable carnivorous traits. Their teeth, their digestive systems and their behavior clearly confirm this fact.
Dogs must also be recognized for their significant omnivorous ability. After all, they do have the ability to eat a remarkably diverse diet. But it’s inappropriate to ignore the fact their bodies are optimized for eating meat.
Dogs don’t Grind… They Chop
For comparison, think about a typical herbivore. A dairy cow. Now, picture the way they “chew their cud”. Cows chew widely from side-to-side. And they have broad, flat back teeth. And flat teeth are ideal for grinding grains and plant material into finer particles. True omnivores (like humans) share this same combination of boxy back teeth and sideways grinding motion common to herbivores. Think of your own mouth and how you chew.
Dogs, on the other hand, don’t have flat teeth. Like all carnivores, they have narrow pointy back teeth. Plus dogs can’t chew from side-to-side. Their jaws can only move in an up-and-down, chop-chop motion. It’s the perfect combination for cutting meat into smaller chunks.
Why Dogs Don’t Do Carbohydrates Very Well
Herbivores and omnivores usually have one powerful digestive weapon carnivores usually lack… Salivary amylase. Amylase is a special enzyme, plant-eating animals produce in their saliva. It’s a critical enzyme needed to initiate the break down of starchy carbohydrates before they enter the stomach. Meat-eating animals also produce amylase. But the enzyme is produced further down the digestive tract (in the small intestine). Without amylase, a carnivore’s carbohydrate digestion is decidedly more difficult.
Digestive anatomy reveals the truth.

Our Beautiful Rover Reporter
I must be serious and tell you about the coyotes in my yard. We have seen a lot more than usual and they are coming closer to the house. With out little chihuahua, Sunny, we need to be really careful. Not that I, all 23 lbs of me, am not in danger too. My Mom told me it is coyote mating season. I am sure you know how much more prevalent coyotes have been in suburbia and even urban areas; they are everywhere! February and March are the times we need to be really careful. Male coyotes travel up to 55 miles a day looking for a mate. To do that they need extra food. Then, when females are pregnant they need extra food during the pregnancy and afterwards to feed the pups. Small animals are obvious prey.
Invisible fences will not do the trick; an old fashioned fence is better. Not that coyotes won’t climb fences, but it is a deterrent. Coyotes are smart and spend time watching backyards where there are pets. They can become familiar with your schedule and visit at specific times when you let your dog out.
So! Be extra careful for the next 8-10 weeks. As coyotes become more comfortable among us, they can become more dangerous to us and our pets.

Thanks! Enjoy your football this weekend!
(And, HOORAY, the blue ball is still in the driveway!)

Later, Ernestine

January 14, 2012

What about all the puppies under 1 year who have never seen snow??

C’mon we need SOME snow this year! Stephanie says, don’t worry, it’s only early January! We all have our druthers. So far the little guys are winning: remember last year, saying over and over again, ‘ so sorry Teddy (mikki), Lil Bella and Rocky (maltese) and Sundance (chihuahua)? So sorry you can’t walk outside, so sorry you can’t go to the bathroom.’ They were over their heads in snow for over 4 months! An inch or two of snow might be ok, but overall, let’s stick to ‘be careful what you wish for!’

For the Love of Dogs Rescue
Many of you are aware of the dog foster program we started in spring, 2011. We successfully placed 3 dogs; Stephanie and Bradley (owners) had fostered and found homes for 4 dogs prior to that. We are working on expanding and formalizing our efforts and we officially named the program, ‘For the Love of Dogs. Lots of paperwork initially; we will keep you up to date!
Along those same lines, we have connected with Best Friends Animal Society. Physically located in Utah, they are the largest animal sanctuary in the USA. They have created many related organizations and put together nationwide groups advocating spay/neuter and anti-breed discrimination. We will be an official member of their ‘No More Homeless Pets’ program as soon as we get our nonprofit status.
There are efforts all across the US to address issues of animal cruelty. The large strides have successfully affected both Ohio and Dade County, Miami.

Not the Red Sox, but a Great Story!
Major League Baseball pitcher Mark Buehrle is in rare company when it comes to his baseball skills. He is one of only 20 pitchers to throw a perfect game in the 135-year history of professional baseball. He shares this spotlight with greats like Cy Young, Sandy Koufax and Catfish Hunter. Buehrle is not so esteemed, however, when it comes to how he and his family’s pet, a pit bull terrier, are treated by Miami-Dade County where the family recently attempted to move after Buehrle signed with the Miami Marlins team. In Miami-Dade, Buehrle is persona non grata as long as one of his pets of choice is a happy, friendly dog named Slater (pictured below with Buehrle’s children and three other dogs) who falls under the county’s ban on pit bull terriers.

Buehrle, who had to move with his wife, Jamie (a Best Friends spokesperson), children, and four dogs to a development in south Broward County, was prepared to blow off the four-year, $58 million contract if he was unable to find alternative housing in the area that would accept his dog. It sounds like he had his priorities right to me.

Florida state law prohibits breed-discriminatory legislation, but an archaic wrinkle in the state law gives Miami-Dade an exemption from the ban. However, help is on the way in the form of House Bill 997/Senate Bill 1322, a bill spearheaded by Best Friends Animal Society that will repeal the Miami-Dade breed ban that costs the lives of close to 1,000 innocent dogs per year.

In addition to Best Friends, many national organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Animal Control Association, oppose the enactment of breed-discriminatory laws. The Platte Institute, a conservative think tank in Nebraska, has also declared that laws targeting specific dog breeds are a waste of tax dollars.

Breed bans cost lives and money and don’t make communities safer because they don’t target dangerous dogs. They target the way a dog looks based on myth and misinformation. Progressive laws favored by Best friends and other national animal welfare organizations target dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners and result in safer communities.

Best Friends Animal Society Ohio Bill over First Hurdle to History
Posted: 12 Jan 2012 10:26 AM PST
Ohio House Bill 14 has been in the works for a long time, but the landmark legislation that will bring an end to Ohio’s dubious distinction as the only state in the Union with a statewide breed-discriminatory law against pit-bull-type dogs is almost the law of the land in the Buckeye State. HB 14 passed out of Senate committee on January 10 and is on its way to the full Ohio Senate for a vote
Under current Ohio law, pit bull puppies are deemed to be vicious dogs as soon as they are born.
The Ohio law is notoriously unjust, but help is on the way. The Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates and Best Friends are spearheading the campaign to pass Ohio HB 14, which would repeal the only statewide breed-discriminatory law in the nation.
It’s actually a lot worse than that. The irony of all such breed-specific legislation is that it is anything but specific. In Ohio, as elsewhere, the breed of your dog is not determined by her genetic heritage, but by the opinion of a dogcatcher — and that’s scary. In a recent study of shelter workers’ ability to accurately identify breeds of dogs visually matched against a DNA test, shelter workers failed miserably, with a score of 25 out of 100. Any dog that a dog warden (Ohio lingo for an animal control officer) decides upon a visual inspection could be a pit mix — that is to say, anything with a blocky head and a short coat, like maybe a boxer/Lab mix — can be declared a vicious dog and easily end up on the wrong end of a needle. Breed specific?
The Ohio law requires owners to purchase liability coverage and maintain locked fenced yards or keep their pit bull or pit-bull-looking dog confined in a locked pen. Owners may take them off their property on a leash only if it is six feet or shorter and the dog is controlled by a person of suitable age and size. This law has led to the deaths of thousands of family pets.

Our Rover Reporter
I am very tired from watching the Pat’s game last night. Really, I was watching the people in the room. It must have been good stuff because they were CRAZY! My Mom doesn’t want to talk about the elections, so I won’t either. I can still play with my blue ball in the driveway…. sigh. Happy and content.

not THAT content!! Later, Ernestine

January 3, 2012

Time to Bark and Time to Sing! 2012 What Will You Bring?

Well, WE hope, like in 2011, the New Year will bring us wonderful dogs and customers! It has been a great year for the Crates. Both the Belmont and Cambridge locations were renovated; looking fine! We are blessed with two wonderful Managers, Nikki, GM and Jenny, at CE2. And thanks to our staff and van drivers who take special care of your very special dogs! We have no specific news to announce– but let it be known that there is popcorn in the fire!

Do Dogs Get Cold?
The ASPCA recently issued a warning: Creatures left to fend for themselves in low temperatures are at serious risk. It is a common misconception that dogs and cats won’t get cold because of their fur. If you are cold, your companion animal is cold. Most domestic animals are not well-equipped for cold weather and can easily be susceptible to frost bite and hypothermia.
Signs of hypothermia include: shivering followed by stillness, slow heart beat, lack of coordination, and pale or blue gums. There are many dog coats, sweaters and boot(ies) available; Crate Escape too carries Teckelclub trench coats, lined with fleece, and ascloseto waterproof as you’re gonna get! And beautiful (Free Trade) ‘Chilly Dog’ sweaters. Check them out! Be warm!

Quick Suggestion for a Doggie NY Resolution!
Is your best friend overweight? Part of the problem is that people don’t realize the average dog food is mostly made of carbs. It’s very important to give protein and not carbs, and it’s also important to give vegetables as treats — dogs love steamed broccoli and you can dip it in hummus.
Both Crates sell carefully selected, healthy dog food; it is one of our standards. The staff is knowledgeable about the food, so don’t hesitate to ask!

2012 Words of Wisdom from our Rover Reporter!
Yes, I signed on for another year! Since I was (totally) the inspiration for this whole Crate(s) business, I have to hang around to make sure it’s up to my ‘puddin’ JR standards. Yup, that’s what I am. You can look it up if you don’t know that kind of jack russell. See, I’m an educator too! Anyway, this year is going to be great! Last year ended well, I was able to play with my blue ball outside right through December! It doesn’t get any better than that!

Later, Ernestine

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