Spokesdog's Canine Couch
A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich
Presented by Purina®
Turkey, pumpkin pie, football, family, friends and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ® share the day with the National Dog Show. The 13th National Dog Show presented by Purina® is expected to entertain over 20 million viewers from noon to 2p.m. in all time zones and will be following the parade on NBC.
The best TV hosts in the dog biz, David Frei and John O’Hurley along with reporter Mary Carillo will be your guides throughout this popular dog show on Thanksgiving Day.
David Frei and John O’Hurley/SeeSpotRun photo
Mary Carillo with Rufus/ NBC photo
The late, great Rufus was the winner of the 2005 National Dog Show Presented by Purina and winner of the 2006 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the first Therapy Dog Ambassador.
If you are too full from appetizers and require a nap before dinner or are chasing children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews around the house before the feast and miss the show, there is an encore presentation Saturday, Nov. 29th from 8-10p.m. ET
Over 175 breeds vie for Best in Show honors at this competition. NBC sports will feature behind-the-scenes photo and video capturing all of the backstage activity generated by over 1500 primped and preened canine contenders. For those who prefer a digital application, NBCsports.com and on the NBC Sports Live Extra app will include live stream of the entire NBC Thanksgiving Day Show including every breed-winning canine. You can access online video to enjoy highlights via your smartphone, desktop or tablet.
The National Dog is a “benched” show meaning the dogs are on display all day for the visiting public. Benched shows offer a great opportunity for attendees to meet a breed of interest close up and personal and learn about that breed from a knowledgeable source.
The American Kennel Club has recognized two new breeds making their debut this year, the Coton de Tulear of the non-sporting group and the Wirehaired Vizsla of the sporting group.
Coton de Tulear/Steve Surfman photo Wirehaired Vizsla/National Dog Show photo
Broadcast and online content will also include The National Dog Show Therapy Dog Ambassador, Butler, the official Weather Channel Therapy Dog. The Weather Channel announced a partnership with American Humane Association and launched a nationwide search to find the perfect therapy dog to help people affected by severe weather. Rescue dogs from all over the country were nominated and Butler was chosen. During the weeks and months following a natural disaster, Butler and handler Amy McCullough from American Humane Association will visit schools, hospitals and shelters in communities hard-hit, in order to bring comfort and service.
Owner-Handler Amy McCullough and Butler/Betsy Dallas photo
The show will feature two vignettes that highlight Purina’s longstanding commitment to innovation designed to help pets live longer, healthier lives. One vignette will highlight Purina’s discovery of a nutritional breakthrough that will help pets sustain a healthy brain as they grow older. The other vignette will feature a different approach to dog food that combines dog owners’ first-hand knowledge of their pet with Purina’s proven nutritional expertise to create a personalized feeding experience for dogs – through a product called Just right by Purina.
About Nestlé Purina PetCare
Nestlé Purina PetCare promotes responsible pet care, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. A premiere global manufacturer of pet products, Nestlé Purina PetCare is part of Swiss-based Nestlé S.A., a global leader in nutrition, health and wellness.
Rain, hail, snow, wind and every now and then a sun break are all a part of winter weather conditions around the country. Breeds such as Malamutes, Huskies, Shiba Inus, Samoyeds, Chessies are better suited than many other breeds for winter conditions but that does mean they can withstand harsh conditions for long periods of time.
1. Outdoor Living
If your dog must live in an outdoor enclosure the dog absolutely must have the opportunity to get away from the elements which includes protection from the wind. Make sure the dog has access to water 24/7 and that the water does not freeze. A dog house must be well insulated and be raised above ground. Space heaters can be dangerous if knocked over or if set up too close to a dog but heat must be supplied to the dog house or enclosure for humane conditions to be met. Dogs who unfortunately must live outdoors will need more food than during warmer months.
I strongly encourage you to bring pets indoors during harsh winter weather or if temps drop below freezing. If you are thinking of getting a pet but cannot give them the opportunity to live with you in your warm home, please rethink getting a dog.
2. Canine Couture
Raincoats are usually made of waterproof or water resistant nylon fabric and some raincoats have a fleece liner which is more comfortable than nylon next to their skin. Fleece coats are great for cold weather walks, hiking or accompanying you on snow shoeing adventures in the mountains. Fleece coats are best for cold days, not rainy days. Some coats come with a little hoodie to protect your dog’s neck and some coats have a little hole in the neck area for the leash to pass through to connect to your dog’s collar.
Booties can help dogs footing when walking on icy roads. Rock salt or crusty snow can cause frostbite or irritate skin or foot pads. Some booties are fleece and some are waterproof. Many of the Huskies entered in the Iditarod wear booties so don’t think your dog is a weenie for wearing booties.
4. Antifreeze Good for Cars Bad for Pets
If you are new to pet parenting be advised that just a small amount of antifreeze is toxic to both dogs and cats. Unfortunately, the taste is sweet which tantalizes pets into taking a sample. Check the floor under your car for leaks and prevent your pet access to antifreeze containers
5. Packing on the Pounds
Many people who live in cold climates take time off outdoor exercise routines but continue enjoying comfort food so winter weight gain can be the end result of too much pasta. Pets require more food to keep warm but an overweight pet is no better off than an overweight human.
Although frozen lakes are beautiful, every year 911 is needed to rescue people and in some cases pets who wander out on what seemed to be a frozen lake only to end up in that lake due falling through thin ice.
7. Keeping Warm
Heat sources are a necessity but heat lamps or space heaters can unfortunately be a hazard. Heat lamps have
been known to cause severe burns if set up too close to a pet and space heaters can be knocked over and cause a fire.
8. Heading to a Warm Climate?
Every region in the U.S. is home to specific parasites. If you winter in Fla. your dog must be on a heartworm preventative so talk with your Vet about parasite control before your great escape.
9. Prepare for Power Outages
Due to winter blizzards, frozen branches falling on power lines and the inevitable interrupted power service it is best to be proactive for outages. Along with your personal emergency kit should also be a pet emergency kit which needs to include pet food and water for at least 5 days and any prescription meds your pet needs. Including a fleece throw for bedding and an extra coat to keep your pet warm. You may want to keep your pet’s emergency kit in the car for road travel should you get stuck due to a snow storm.
10. Pass the Salt Please
Ice brings out salt to assist in melting snow or keeping ice from accumulating on walking surfaces. Great for humans, helpful for traction for cars but hard on canine paws. If your dog’s paws make contact with treated surfaces make sure
you rinse off any of these salts or chemicals after your walk.
I wish you and your pet a healthy, warm winter season.
Lock and Load
Who would have thought dog owners would have so many options to pick up dog poop. A Scorpion Scooper was sent to me for review and I was interested to give this device a go.
The scooper comes in short, medium and long and is marketed to be easy on your back as you don’t need to bend to pick up your dog’s waste. The manufacturer also states it is a one handed operation and with one simple squeeze of the trigger the scooper opens to grab the poop then with a little flip of your wrist the poop finds its way into the poop bag that is then strategically placed through the frame so is off to the side keeping both your hands and the scooper clean.
There is a bag holder on the frame for an extra roll of bags should you run short. If after dark you need light to locate the poop there is a cute removable LED flashlight conveniently attached to the scooper. The manufacturer also states their product can pick up poo on grass or any surface and pick up firm or soft stool. The product overview also states each bag is good for several piles of poo.
If you have been following my blogs you know I have a Doberman. His daily poo, usually delivered two times a day has some substance which necessitates the proper equipment. To date I have always used a large pan and spade scooper. The large pan holds a quantity of poop and I never gave a second thought to needing two hands to use a scooper. I am 5’5″ so do not really have to bend to accomplish my mission.
The Scorpion Scooper was as easy to put together and use as advertised however I needed to take 3 passes to pick up Chase’s poo which is rarely huge in volume just a few large pieces. Ok enough of that description, so with bag in place, the first and second pass squished some of the poo awaiting pick up but the third pass completed the mission. With a little flip of the wrist the poo then made its way through the frame to the awaiting bag and it appeared there was some room to spare for the next round. However in my attempt to grab another piece the scooper could not seem to grab it all and I needed to make several attempts to clean it up but I decided to continue testing the device. I finally succeeded in getting another piece of poo but in trying to flip it into the bag, lost the prize and it fell back to the earth. This attempt detached one corner of the bag from the scooper during this last attempt and now there was poop on the scooper so there was no way I was in the mood to reattach the bag. I decided to quit and grabbed my tried and true spade and pan scooper and the deed was done.
I still think the pan and spade are better options and I hose it off with sanitizer to keep it clean. The Scorpion Scooper is an option for those who live in an apartment or condo and must leash walk a small dog for daily poops and don’t want to bend over to clean up after the dog. However one needs to weigh if carrying this light 8 oz. scooper would be cumbersome rather than just using the tried and true sturdy poop bag.
At this time I cannot recommend this scooper.
The price is up to $24.95 with a recurring annual cost for bags at $20-30. For more information go to:
Philosophy According To Dogs
Photographs by Andrew Darlow
When I look at animal photography such as the photos taken by Andrew Darlow for his book
Biscuit For Your Thoughts, it makes me want to upgrade my camera, take a class and get serious about this art.
The book is short and sweet and each page opposite one of Darlow’s k9 models offers simple quotes to remind the reader to enjoy the moment. The book would make a lovely stocking stuffer this Christmas for any dog lover or could be a thank you gift for your favorite dog sitter, dog walker, dog trainer or daycare provider.
By Jennifer S. Holland
When we hear the word hero we tend to reflect on a selfless act a human performed to assist another human or even another species in dire need of help. Jennifer Holland is a science journalist who uncovered 37 stories about animals that for whatever reason helped a human in need or another animal in distress.
Holland’s heroes include everything from companion animals to a hippo. The hippo is not known for kind and benevolent acts but in the case of this one particular story Holland shares with us about a female Hippo on two occasions came to the aid of young African animals trying to migrate across a croc infested river, one about to get swept away by a swift current and another getting its leg caught between rocks.
A famous story that circulated news feeds years ago and captured the attention of all who viewed it was about a gorilla at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. The author recounts this particular story about the female gorilla, Binta Jua who protected a child after he fell into the gorilla exhibit.
It is a feel good book that may make the reader question if we are the only species that has evolved to behave in an altruistic manner. Do animals feel compassion? Do they feel empathy? It would appear so in some cases but it is up to the reader to decide how to interpret animal behavior depicted in this heartwarming book. When we hear about people who will risk injury to rush to the aid of a stranger we tend not to question their motive even though on interviews after the act the hero is asked why they did it. The answer is usually the same, someone needed help. I choose to believe some animals either because they have been the recipient of help, have experienced the kindness or nurturing from humans or from their own species, have a maternal drive to help or they do it “just because” have something in them that is triggered upon sensing the distress, emotional meltdown of another or note something is out of whack and seem to just act. Maybe in some cases a cigar is just a cigar. As animals preceded humans on this great planet we still have a lot to learn about them and from them.
A Dog Sport That May Just Be Right For Your Ball Crazy Athlete
Hold on to your kibble as this is one exciting dog sport. Flyball is for the dog with speed and play drive which in this case includes a ball and desire to get that ball from a spring loaded box, fetch it back to the handler while running a straight away over 100 total feet down and back. But wait, there’s more which will be covered in this blog.
Truthfully, I was not really that excited about this sport until recently when I worked with one particular client early this summer with a fetch obsessed, super fast dog that presented many challenging behaviors necessitating rehabilitation. My job was to help the owners modify their handling skills and channel their dog’s tireless energy and problematic behavior into something more positive. I thought about flyball for this dog and discussed the sport with my clients. After the first phase of our training program was completed, I promised the owners that I would look into the sport as a possible outlet for their young dog. During our last session, just for fun I set up a mini mock flyball course in the client’s back yard to test my theory and the dog took to it immediately.
Someone I knew participated in a local flyball club so contacted this dog sport enthusiast to facilitate the introduction and she connected me with her club president and club trainer for an interview. I made a request to observe a class and was given the opportunity to do so in September. The opportunity to view the sport and training style gave me some first hand information for the clients I mentioned but many other clients as well. I also thought the topic could serve as an interesting blog for my readers rather than just writing up a generic blog on flyball.
Meet Seattle Flydogs
c Diane Rich 2014
From what the club calls Mighty Dogs to Super Dogs this club welcomes all breeds, all sized dogs and all types of pet parents interested in this warp speed k9 sport. Tammy Foss is the club owner and operations director and Barbara Reisinger is the club’s training manager. One of the things Barbara mentioned to me is they wanted this club to be more than a serious competition club and their goal was to attract members who enjoy getting together outside of practice, trials and demonstrations.
c Diane Rich 2014
I checked out the North American Flyball Association’s website @ http://www.flyball.org for the back story and information on this growing sport. Here is information from their site:
The North American Flyball Association, Inc. (NAFA®) was established in 1984, and is recognized as the world’s leading authority on flyball and the sport’s top sanctioning organization. Flyball got its start in the late 1960′s and early 1970′s, when a group of dog trainers in Southern California created scent discrimination hurdle racing, then put a guy at the end to throw tennis balls to the dogs when they finished the jump line. It didn’t take long for the group to decide to build some sort of tennis ball-launching apparatus, and the first flyball box was born. After a few small tournaments were held in conjunction with dog shows, the first ever flyball tournament was held in 1983.
Flyball is basically a relay race and match two teams of four dogs each, racing side-by-side over a 51 foot long course. Each dog must run down the jumps, trigger a flyball box which releases the ball, retrieve the ball, and return over the jumps. The next dog is released to run the course but can’t cross the start/finish line until the previous dog has returned over all 4 jumps and reached the start/finish line. The first team to have all 4 dogs finish the course without error wins the heat. Jump height is determined by the smallest dog on the team and this dog, called the “height dog”, is measured at the withers.
With the onset of the Electronic Judging System (EJS), which uses lights and infrared timing sensors, competitors were suddenly able to track their starts, passes, finishes, and individual dogs’ times to the thousandth of a second. Many teams run all 4 dogs through the course in less than 20 seconds. The NAFA World Record is now 14.768.
NAFA tournaments are divided into divisions so that teams compete against other teams of equal abilities. All dogs including mixed breeds are eligible to compete and earn titles in NAFA sanctioned tournaments. Titles are earned via a point system based on the time it takes a dog’s team to complete each heat race.
NAFA sanctions over 300 tournaments a year across North America.
Class #4 Prior to the actual training classes, the experienced dogs practice their skills. This Border Collie
demonstrates what Flyball enthusiasts term a “swimmers turn” to hit the box, get the ball and push off.
I understand this method is now used to reduce injury from super speed and tight turns. c Diane Rich 2014
Does Your Furry Fetch Fanatic Have What It Takes To Be A Flyball Dog
1. Does your dog love to retrieve. If your dog only enjoys getting the ball but is not interested in bringing it back there are trainers who may be able to help facilitate the human definition of fetch
2. Is your dog relatively friendly to other dogs and people
3. Is your dog ok around a lot of noise, and I mean a LOT of noise as many of the k9 competitors are so excited
the barking is off the charts. Maybe your dog will be part of the noisy choir. This noise includes quite a bit of
cheering from human members of the team. Most of the events are held indoors so the noise from all the
barking can hit a decibel that may rival the 12th man at a Seahawks game.
4. Is your dog healthy enough to run full out including making it over hurdles. I saw a flyball demo on Youtube of a 3 legged dog competing and the dog ran so fast you don’t even notice the missing leg.
5. Is your dog fit and trim enough to be part of this sport
6. Unlike agility where a handler needs to run the course with their dog, in flyball a handler will run during training and possibly practice to motivate the dog to go out and come back but once the dog learns the handler’s talent is a release and catch.
NAFA offers a club locator on their website. http://www.flyball.org/getstarted/index.html.
For those pet parents in WA. the site lists 7 clubs in our state. You may want to observe training practice and meet club members to make sure you are a good fit for any particular club.
If my dog Chase developed an interest in the game of fetch I would participate in this sport in a lightening fast heartbeat. I highly recommend you check into this sport.
I want to thank Tammy, Barbara and the club members who spoke with me about the sport. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing and hearing their dogs in action.
Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words by John W. Pilley
with Hilary Hinzmann
I was familiar with John W. Pilley’s work with Chaser through the media prior to receiving a request to review the book so was looking forward to a good read.
There are professional trainers and dog parents who enjoy teaching dogs more than the general sit, stay, come, down and give me your paw but Pilley takes his dog’s brain to a whole other impressive level. When I work with clients who are thirsty to learn more than foundation obedience behaviors I am all in to help unlock the genius lurking within the potential and smarts of all canines, not just Border Collies, a breed known for amazing problem solving abilities. John W. Pilley has reset the bar with Chaser.
Who is John W. Pilley
Pilley is an emeritus professor of psychology at Wofford College and has been working with Chaser since 2004. The author proudly has his work published in the journals Behavioral Processes and Learning and Motivation. When retired psychology professor Pilley first got his new Border Collie puppy, Chaser he wanted to explore the boundaries of language learning and communication between humans and dogs. Pilley states he does not look at Chaser as a research subject but as a beloved family member.
Pilley wrote, “Chaser learned the proper noun names of 1022 objects over a period of 3 years and could distinguish the meanings of proper noun names and commands. She could also learn a new word by exclusion, how to infer the relationship between a name she had never heard before and an object she had never seen before. These abilities are usually seen in children, as they acquire language as toddlers.”
The author included black and white photos of Chaser, Rico a Border Collie who also gained fame as a k9 genius learning more than 200 words and preceded Philly’s research with Chaser. Rico was studied by animal psychologist Juliane Kamisnski at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany among other photos.
Hurdles in Life and Research
Pilley ran into some hurdles early on which included negative reviews of his research with peer reviewers in the attempt to get his study published. Frustrated by this setback, Pilley wrote “it is difficult for a research finding to win scientific acceptance when it deviates from the ruling paradigm in a field. His statement resonated with me as I recall hitting roadblocks 20 years ago when thinking outside the box and tried to introduce a different approach to dog training. My style and programs that were shared in part by a few trainers around the country were not the norm at that time. Within the past 10 plus years some of those methods and programs have become more of the industry standard. Herding sheep is one thing, following them because that is the norm is something else.
After reading the negative reviews, Pilley at 80 years old was discouraged but with family support, a heartwarming relationship with Chaser and some suggestions from peer reviewers, he made some suggested tweaks and Behavioral Processes accepted Pilley’s paper. From that point forward Chaser’s accomplishments became something of interest to the media which is how many of us learned of Philley and his Border Collie.
Hopefully this book will inspire dog parents to realize their dog’s mind can respond to so much more than basic obedience. My thought is that John W. Philley write his next book on the training techniques he used with Chaser which may help pet parents learn how to build their dog’s vocabulary. I would recommend Pilley’s first chapter include a tutorial on patience.
Hillary Hinzmann is a freelance editor and writer based in New York City
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
10 Halloween Safety Tips for Dogs
1. Trick or Treat
Halloween candy attracts both humans and dogs. Most owners know that chocolate, especially dark or baker’s chocolate is unsafe for dogs, but so is almost everything else that you will find in a trick-or-treat bag. Xylitol an artificial sweetener has been found to be toxic to pets. Raisons may be given out in mini boxes or included in cookies and are known to cause a serious health condition in dogs. Candy wrappers or a lollipop stick can be ingested by a curious canine and cause a choking hazard.
2. Home Alone
This is not a time to have your dog outside unattended. Dogs can be teased, tormented, or stolen. Your dog is safer indoors during this holiday.
3. Creatures of the Night
You may enjoy doling out candy for the trick or treaters in your neighborhood but many dogs see strangers at the door dressed in costume as scary or as threats and behave accordingly.
4. See Ya
An open door may be an invitation for your dog to bolt. Best to confine the dog in a safe zone during this time.
5. Party Time!
If you are entertaining and think your dog will not do well with the festivities, make sure the dog is either supervised, boarded elsewhere or confined away from all the excitement and scary costumes. Remind guests not to share human food with your dog and to keep alcoholic drinks away from pets. If your dog is large enough to be a counter surfer or you parent a smaller opportunist eyeballing food on a cocktail table confine the dog away from the goodies and give the pooch their own hollow toy filled with appropriate doggie treats. Do remember to check on the dog and offer your pet several potty breaks throughout the evening.
c Diane Rich 2014
6. Holiday Decorations
Halloween decorations arouse a dog’s curiosity so make sure electrical cords are taped down, lit candles or other potentially dangerous items are not accessible to a dog that may jump up to investigate or be knocked over by a happy tail.
7. Doggie Costumes
Doggie costumes have grown into a multi-million dollar business. If you want to dress your dog up in costume you may want to have a dress rehearsal before the party or treat or treating. The costume should be comfortable for the dog, not impair vision or be too long to trip the dog. Keep in mind certain costumes may make the dog too warm so keep an eye on the dog if he or she will be suited up for the holiday. I would recommend if you take the dog trick or treating, buy a lit or reflective collar and leash so the dog can be seen by drivers.
Although this is a dog blog, I would add to keep the family cat indoors also. Especially your black cat.
9. Smile for the Camera
In case your dog does bolt out the front door, runs out the open garage door or escapes through an open gate it is always best to have a current photo of your dog already available to post which should include profile and close up head shot. Make sure your dog is wearing a collar or harness and ID tag with current phone numbers. If you have microchipped your dog make sure you have registered that chip with the proper company.
c Diane Rich 2014
10. Have Fun!!!! It’s Halloween…..
Wishing you and your pet a fun, safe Halloween
Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love by Rebecca Frankel
War Dogs is much more than just another book on military dogs. Frankel’s compelling and skilled story-telling will
captivate the reader from page one as you are drawn into the life of these dogs and the relationship that develops
between canine and handler. The author will take you on an enjoyable and factual journey of our military dogs from WWII to the present. If you enjoy history and dogs then I promise you will enjoy this book.
Straight away, Frankel shares a couple facts from the US National Archives and Records Administration; “ WWII was the first war in which the military brought dogs in for service. Over 10,000 dogs served during WWII and most were donated by civilians who offered their pets for service.” The author’s research uncovered more interesting history on dogs such as ancient Egyptians used canines to carry messages and the Corinthians used dogs to guard their seashore in 400 B.C. The dogs were so successful for our military that Frankel learned there was a $20,000 bounty on the head of any military dog in Vietnam due to the canine talent of thwarting ambush attacks. As was in the news, in May of 2011, Cairo, a dog trained with the Navy Seals helped take down Osama bin Laden.
Wilson Rawls opens the introduction of Frankel’s book with a great statement about dogs; He writes, “ You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty, I don’t. I may be wrong, but I call it love.” I totally agree with Rawls’ statement.
Military dogs are an invaluable resource for our troops. I am however conflicted on the ethics of using dogs in war. In WWII, Korea and Vietnam almost all dogs were left behind. The military is now bringing war dogs home and many live out their lives with their handler or are adopted out. These loyal dogs have also presented similar PTSD conditions as some military personnel upon returning to city life and many do not adjust well in retirement. The dog and their handler in Frankel’s must read book give each other comfort while on active duty and help each other heal after deployment.
I highly recommend this book to my readers.
About the Author
Rebecca Frankel is senior editor, Special Projects at Foreign Policy Magazine. Her regular Friday column “Rebecca’s War Dog of the Week” has been featured on The Best Defense since January 2010. Her photo essay “War Dog,” is one of the most-viewed pieces in ForeignPolicy.com’s history. She has appeared as a commentator on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer and MSNBC among others. In 2011, she was named one of 12 women in foreign policy to follow on Twitter by the Daily Muse.
Published by Palgrave Macmillan®
Amazon Kindle $11.04 and Hardcover $15.29
Normally I do not review dog foods but was asked to try a Northwest Naturals product and after a brief hesitation, I said yes. I am not endorsing this food or any dog food but do have a short list of dog foods I recommend privately to my clients and friends who request a recommendation. I do suggest to my readers and clients to feed the best dog food you can afford that works for your particular dog. Dog foods are not created equal and formulas and sourcing of ingredients from any particular dog food company may change over the years.
Back story and Disclaimer: A vendor who has a booth at a dog show I attend every year gave me a Northwest Naturals product to try. She put me in touch with her dog food rep and I set up a phone interview. After the interview the rep sent me several varieties of Northwest Naturals to try at no cost to me. I am not a canine nutritionist, just a pet lover and interested consumer in the billion dollar pet food industry. I have researched canine nutrition along with the overwhelming options of dog foods for about 10 years. I am not receiving any compensation to review this food.
I interviewed Patti Salliday, the National Sales and Marketing Manager for Northwest Naturals. Patti was incredibly knowledgeable about this product, the company, and has been involved with other dog food companies as well. She is an avid competitor in a variety of dog sports and long time breeder of Australian Cattle Dogs and Pugs. I thoroughly enjoyed the interview.
Patti shared the history about this family owned business stating they are a company dedicated to the health of our pets. This industry standard philosophy is the mantra across the board in the world of pet food catering to the pet parent who wants to feel they are giving their pet the best food on the market. Competition is fierce and pet food companies spend millions of dollars developing and testing formulas in their product line along with marketing and advertising to motivate you to part with your money and gain your loyalty. Based on Patti’s overview of the company, it seems that Northwest Naturals does take the mantra to heart.
What sets this Oregon based company apart from the majority of its competition is that their pet food is made in their human USDA-inspected facility and a USDA inspector is on site for all production.” Patty told me the patriarch of this family business is a physicist and at over 90 years young goes to work every day.
The manufacturer states that they use the same ingredients they sell to restaurants and grocery stores. Not only do they state their meat is all human quality but the fruits and vegetables are also human grade and locally sourced in Oregon. Patti told me company has been using the same farmers for years. She also stated that their salmon is wild caught in Alaska. In addition, Patti also shared with me the names of some of the farms they use and we discussed the ingredients in their products.
I am a label reader and did not read any statement on the food bags about using human grade ingredients. So, I asked Patti about it and she told me packaging regulations will not allow it without going through FDA approval
and that the company “uses raw ground bone which does not qualify as a human consumable ingredient.”
One ingredient that caught my attention was garlic and we discussed the controversy and my concern about garlic. Patti responded stating that the amount of garlic is minimal and to date there have been no reported medical problems relating to this ingredient. If you have researched garlic it is has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.
The product includes inulin which is a fiber and said to be a pre-biotic.
From the website; “Northwest Naturals raw food diets are produced in Portland, Oregon using only USDA inspected raw materials and are 100% Grain Free. Northwest Naturals foods were developed by a team with more than 15 years of experience in raw natural pet-food manufacturing, and backed by a 53 year-old meat processing company. Northwest Naturals Inc. uses fresh ground bone for an organic calcium source and a unique flash freezing process to preserve the integrity of the nutrients. Available in bars and nuggets, Northwest Naturals is convenient and easy to use.”
Also from the company website; “All of Northwest Naturals diets are strictly controlled and produced in a USDA inspected facility, using USDA inspected and passed proteins. Our diets are rich in protein, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins and minerals to you keep your pet healthy, happy and full of energy. All ingredients are carefully blended, rapidly frozen at -30 degrees and packaged to preserve the high quality of Northwest Naturals chosen ingredients. Northwest Naturals is the only raw frozen pet food that is produced in our own facility from start to finish. Our product is manufactured under the highest quality and safety standards in the human meat manufacturing industry.”
Chase, my Doberman Pinscher is the dog food taste tester although he is not too picky and will eat what I put in his bowl. The vendor suggested that if I use the product as a total meal I count out the pieces based on his body weight and I did not wish to count nuggets so am topping off his kibble with the freeze dried product at the moment. Chase sampled the freeze dried chicken and loves it. The company offers single source options in addition to formulas that combine beef and bison and chicken and salmon.
Northwest naturals is a company that manufactures raw frozen pet food, freeze dried pet food, raw meaty bones and frozen treats. For those pet parents who want to feed their pet a raw meal but do not want to mess or hassle making or buying raw ingredients for the family pet, the convenience of the freeze dried nuggets may be an option to consider.
The only negative I found with the freeze dried nuggets is they break down and what you may get in the bottom of the bag is crumbs but Chase just licks the crumbs right out of the bowl so is a non-issue in his case. I understand the product is made to easily crumble to sprinkle over your dog’s food as a supplement.
I did ask Patti if there were any recalls to date which as concerned pet owners know have been rampant with many other pet food companies and I was told there have been no recalls. I also asked if there had been any formula changes and Patti told me, no. I asked about preservatives and shelf life and she went on to state that the preservative is the freezing process and the shelf life is 1 year.
Reading ingredients on any food product whether it is a human or animal product can give anyone a headache and understanding what it all means can intensify the headache. Suffice it to say that whatever ingredient is included in a pet food along with the listed percentages of that ingredient in the food is meaningless if your pet cannot digest the nutrients properly. So, back to what I stated in my opening paragraph, it is best to find a pet food should you buy a commercial product that works for your particular dog meaning the ingredients can be properly digested and utilized by your pet.
I asked Patti if at some point I could tour the facility and I was surprised to hear a yes and will schedule this opportunity at some point when I am down in Oregon
Bottom Line: In the sea of dog food options at your local pet store the options of foods are marketed to the eye of the consumer. The photos on the packaging depict nature, happy dog faces or appetizing photos of real food so caveat emptor (buyer beware). Regulations for the pet food industry is slowly, very slowly being tweaked due to pressure from consumer groups demanding truthful information about our pet products in an effort to hold the industry’s feet to fire to let the dog loving consumer know what is really in the pet food, the quality of the listed ingredient, the total percentage of ingredients such as protein and the sourcing of any all parts of the product. There is push back of course from the well funded lobbyists trying to keep the consumer in the dark but hopefully there will be some progress made so pet lovers can feel more comfortable with what they choose to put in the food bowl. After speaking with Patti and learning more about this company, I felt more comfortable about feeding this product to Chase.
Northwest Naturals, like all the premium pet foods is pricey especially if you parent a medium to large breed dog but as it is working for Chase I would recommend you try this product and would love to know what you think.
You can find the product line on Amazon. For more Information on Northwest Naturals and a store locator go to: http://cms.nw-naturals.net/raw/index.php