Monthly Archives: March 2012

Is raw meat good for your dog?

There are those who feel that dogs should be given a raw food diet. After all, dogs grew up in the wild before they became domesticated. They ate animal meat and plants and seemed to do fine with it. Those who promote the use of raw food say it has many benefits such as shinier coats, healthier skin, cleaner teeth, higher energy levels and better digestion. They feel that commercial dog foods contain additives that may be harmful to your dog or create allergies.

However, many veterinarians and even the FDA disagree with the raw food diet. They say there are inherent risks in giving raw meat to animals. There is the possibility of contaminants in raw meat, such as e-coli or salmonella. In addition, the potential for choking, breaking teeth or internal puncturing with the eating of bones is a big concern. It is felt that formulating a balanced diet is quite difficult and may lead to nutritional deficiencies if not done properly. Not all dogs are cut out for a raw diet. Puppies, who have yet to build up a strong immune system may not be able to handle the kinds of bacteria that may be present in raw meat. Immuno-compromised dogs should also not be given a raw diet.

There are many raw meat diet companies on the internet. However, it is best to consult your vet before embarking on a raw diet for your pet.

What’s on my dog’s mind

Dogs often know what we are going to do before we do it. They are very sensitive to our behavior and emotions. But what about them? We all wish we could tell what our dog is thinking. We know that he seems happy when he wags his tail and licks us. What we need to do is understand more about our dog’s thinking by observing his body language. Here are some indicators of what your dogs body actions may mean:

Whole body movements

pawing – appeasing gesture

play bowing – invitation to play and sign of happiness

freezing in place – frightened

licking another dog’s face – invitation to play or a sign of deference

Mouth and lips

panting – playful, excited, or hot

mouth and lips closed – uncertain or appeasing

licking lips – worried or appeasing

pulled back lips – challenge or warning sign


raised – arousal, frightened, challenging another dog

smooth – calm


relaxed tail – calm, at ease

tail straight out and wagging slowly – cautious, on guard

tail down – worry, uncertainty

tail up and wagging fast – excitement

erect tail – alertness

tail between legs – fear


relaxed – calm

erect – alert and attentive

up and forward – challenging or assertive

laid back – worried, scared


direct contact – bold, confident

averted – deference

dilated pupils – fear

casual – contented

Each dog is an individual and may use many body postures that have earned them rewards from you. My dog will bow when she wants a treat, which I guess is a sign of happiness too! Enjoy your special friend and watch that body language!

dogs and planes

These days, many of us like to travel with our pets. Travel in the car is common, but what about on a plane? If your dog weighs more than 15 pounds, it must fly in the cargo area. If this is the case,  the following tips will help to make it a safe and enjoyable flight for both of you.

  • You will provide the crate with 3 well-ventilated sides and constructed of metal or hard plastic. Be sure it is roomy enough to give your dog breathing space.
  • Try to book a flight that goes straight through to your destination. This helps to keep your dog’s stress level down and avoids the possibility of loss during plane changes.
  • Avoid peak travel times to give attendants more time to handle your pet properly.
  • Be up-to-date with vaccinations.
  • Put something in the crate that is comforting to your dog..even your clothing that smells like you.
  • Have a water dish attached to the crate. That way, if there is an extreme delay, attendants can provide water during the layover. Dogs can go for up to 10 hours without food or water.
  • Do not feed your dog for 6 hours prior to the flight. They may have water up until the flight.
  • When flying during a warm season or to a warm climate, fly only in the morning or late evening. Cargo holds can get hot while the plane is waiting to take off or get to the gate after landing.
  • Put feeding instructions or medication requirements in the crate or attached to it in case your dog is lost.
  • Be sure your dog has an I.D. container attached to it’s collar with your name, address, phone number and where you are going.
  • Enjoy and have a safe flight knowing you’ve thought of everything!

cats and catnip

What is it about catnip that energizes your cat?  Catnip is a perennial herb of the mint family that comes from the napata plant.  It can be purchased in pet stores or grown in your garden. The active ingredient is nepetalactone, a minty smelling oil that is released when the leaves are torn into small shreds. The fresh catnip retains the most oils. You will only need a small sprig of a leaf to get the full effect. If you use the dried variety, sprinkle a dose the size of a quarter in the palm of your hand.  It is also available in cat toys.

Catnip’s effect lasts for about 30 minutes.  The majority of cats get aroused by the scent of catnip. About one third do not. The nepatalactone has a scent similar to the sex pheromones of a cat.  Even spayed or neutered cats can react to the scent. The effect of exposure to the catnip will be that your cat has more energy than usual and will act a little crazy.  It should be used as a treat about twice a week.  More than that can cause a cat to become tolerant or even immune to the catnip.

Even humans have found uses for catnip! It can be brewed in tea to help digestion, heartburn, as a sleeping aid and to lessen the pain of menstruation.  However it should not be used by pregnant women for whom it can be harmful. Another great characteristic of catnip is that it is a strong insect repellent.  You simply rub it on your skin to keep mosquitoes and other bugs away.  Just be careful that you don’t become a “cat-magnet”!

Should your pet sleep in your bed?

There is historical evidence that sleeping with your pets is not a bad thing to do. In pre-Aztec Mexico and with the aborigines of Australia, dogs were used as bed warmers.  In fact, the singing group “Three Dog Night” may have gotten their  name from the number of dogs needed to keep warm on a very cold night! There is a myth that allowing the dog to sleep in your bed will make him feel dominant over you. It has not been proven.

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 62% of American dog and cat owners keep their animals in the house at night and 1/2 of cats and 1/3 of dogs sleep in their master’s bed.  Dr. Nicholas Dodman, director of Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts celebrates the warm and fuzzy feeling of all species resting in your bed. The one caveat to this is that if one partner goes to bed earlier with their dog and it growls at the second partner who attempts to get in bed, the best thing to do is to retrain them.  You would start with crate training at night and eventually allow the dog to sleep in the room on a pet bed. Then you can reintroduce sleeping on the bed.

For cats, Dr. Lynne Seibert, a behaviorist at the Veterinary Sleep Center in Lynnwood Washington cautions that cats can be more active at night and will try pouncing and playing with it’s owner who is trying to sleep. This is because cats tend to sleep during the day and see the opportunity to play with you at night. She advises giving the cat more playtime during the day as well as right before bed. Dr. John Shepard of the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center found that many of his sleep deprived patients slept with animals that woke them during the night.

On the negative side, veterinary scientists have shown that sleeping with your pets increases the chances of contracting everything from parasites to the plague.  Although the plague is rare, Dr. Bruno Chomel, a professor at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and Dr. Ben Sun, chief vet for the California Department of Health, the risk of exposure to disease is real. Disease can be transmitted through bed sharing, scratching, kisses and licks from your pet. Children are especially susceptible because of their young immune systems.

There is no scientific evidence that allowing pets on the bed will make them believe they are in charge, or cause aggression and dominance. However, if your dog snaps at you when you try to share the bed with them or your cat is depriving you of much needed sleep, it is best to give them their own sleeping area.


Tails Untold Story Time at New York Dog Nanny

What a fun-tastic time!  It was Storytime at New York Dog Nanny  with Susan Lyman, author from Tails Untold Personalized Pet Books who read Scrappy’s personalized adventure story of her journey through Manhattan.  She had a very warm and captivated audience for the reading.  Many were so excited they tried to turn the pages before she could finish!

New York Dog Nanny provides personal pet services including Bed & Breakfast, Doggie Daycare, Grooming and Spa treatments and boarding.  Visit You can also  follow along with story time clips on newtorkdognannys YouTube channel with your pup every week.