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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:
FLAVOR NAME vs. MINIMUM REAL BEEF CONTENT
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

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