So You're Going to Get a Dog!


So You're Going to Get a Dog!


So You're Going to Get a Dog!

Article Number 3: Fallacies to be forgotten and truths to be learned



Do You Think . . .

That meat makes dogs vicious?

That a watchdog should be trained to bite intruders?

That a mad dog froths at the mouth?

That a dog can swim naturally without having been taught?

THERE ARE too many deep-rooted false beliefs concerning dogs. For, barring disease and accident —and even these sometimes come under the same heading—well-meaning ignorance is responsible for most canine ills, and a great many of their misdemeanors and tragedies. Yet the reason why conscientious dogowners cling so faithfully to fetishes in regard to their pets, is that they sincerely believe they are working for their dogs’ welfare.

Possibly the worst mistakes, because they have so much to do with the animal’s very being, are in his feeding. For some reason, the average individual feels that what a child or animal really likes to eat is seldom good for him. With children, who sometimes acquire false tastes, it may apply, but an animal is guided by sane instinct where his needs are concerned. He is never naturally gluttonous; his appetite is never depraved unless he is in some way starved by an essential lack in his food.

How many times have you heard that to feed a dog much meat, particularly raw, makes him vicious? Or that meat in summertime is responsible for his skin troubles, his bad breath or heat fits? Or that to give a puppy meat is certain to make him ill? Let us lay that bogy forever. A dog’s natural food is fresh raw meat. It is the most easily digested, the most nourishing, the most satisfying of all foods for the canine system. Small wonder that dogs will always eat it ravenously. They so seldom get enough of it !

The first solid food a puppy receives, if his mother is left to feed him on her own resources, is the fresh game she

herself catches, gnaws and partly masticates for him. When a pup’s first little tooth appears, it stimulates a reflex in the nursing mother which involuntarily causes her to throw her half-digested food to him. Experienced breeders regard this as a signal for immediately putting their puppies on scraped or finely ground raw beef, as a supplementary feeding. The weaning ration given in our first chapter is a combination which more or less reproduces a young pup’s natural formula; a sort of pap of meat, milk and some binder, to make up for the rich curd of his mother’s milk.

So, from the start, let your dog have meat. Balance his main meal with some green vegetable and a cereal, such as crushed puppy biscuit (previously soaked) or crumbled stale whole-wheat bread. A young pup eats four times a day. He needs milk and egg, particularly the yolk, to give him bone and prevent rickets, but from the beginning never deny him meat, and try to get him off a completely liquid diet as soon as you can. Dwindle his meals from four to three, to two, one in the morning and one in the evening, until he is a year old.

Dogs Require Bones

THE ADULT dog needs but one meal a day. That should contain from one-quarter to one-half pound of meat for a small dog; or one to one-and-a-half pounds fora large one, balanced with whole cereal and green vegetable in the proportion of onethird of each to the main ingredient of meat. The reason for keeping up the several feedings a day for a puppy, is that the youngster’s stomach is proportionately small, so that he must depend on concentrated foods, fed often, rather than on large quantities at one feeding. The older dog can subsist comfortably on one big meal, for he takes many hours for digestion, and with clear water always before him, does not suffer hunger in the twenty-four-hour wait.

Certainly he can live on table scraps—provided you do not give him too much fat or starch (white bread and potato never), and that he gets enough meat. The only trouble is, you may find it expensive to give him as much as he really requires. Better buy him his own inexpensive ground raw beef, heart, tripe, and occasional liver and fish.

Beef, heart and tripe may be fed raw; liver and fish should be cooked, the latter boned. The cheapest canned salmon is excellent for him, and its bones are soft and need not be removed.

A meaty bone is a treat but not a luxury. The reason a dog really requires bones—not as food, but as something to gnaw on after meals—is that they supply him with the calcium he must have, and they also serve to clean his teeth. He should never be given a sharp or brittle one such as that from a chop, steak, fish or chicken, but a good big knuckle or “soup” bone that the butcher is usually glad to “throw in.” Occasionally a dog cannot digest bone, and in this case his lime must be furnished in his food in the form of bone meal, or calcium phosphate in powder form.

The bone meal is procurable at feed stores, and is not to be confused with the fertilizer variety. The calcium can be obtained at any drugstore. A dessertspoonful each of bran and bone meal balance one another, for the meal is a little binding. The powdered calcium is simply sprinkled over the food generously and regularly, as one would use salt. It can be conveniently kept in a large-holed shaker. A dog suffers from excess acidity if he cannot get bones or lime in some form for the very strong acid of his stomach to work on. Another good way of supplying it at home is to dry eggshells in the oven and crush them with the rolling pin like bread crumbs. Later on, we shall describe other specific uses of lime or calcium in his diet.

Nutritional Disorders

TN HOT weather, when a dog’s skin is most likely to

become inflamed with heat rash or eczema, cut out all starch from his diet, but never the meat. Increase the vegetable content, meat and vegetable half and half, so that he still has his bulk; and on very hot days, simply give him a nice cool dish of milk. It is full of calcium, and in it you can occasionally give him, without his detecting it, a dessert to a tablespoonful of milk of magnesia to cool his blood if he actually has developed skin trouble.

Eczema is simply a blood condition, brought out by heat and calcium deficiency. Correct diet, rich in meat and green vegetable with calcium thrown in, almost invariably corrects it without medication of any kind. Yet we have seen dogs destroyed as hopeless, because of chronic eczema recurrence. A simple antiseptic dusting powder soothes w^et eczema until it can heal, while a wash containing alcohol and a little balsam of Peru and a drop of creolin, clears up the dry, red, itching variety. But real healing comes from within.

Of late, veterinarians have been alarmed by the prevalence of strange nutritional disorders in well-

cared-for dogs, as evidenced by blindness, skin trouble, paralysis and debility, and at present an investigation is on foot in the United States for the protection of the dogloving public. It is its aim to test and label all canned and prepared foods purporting to contain fare all-sufficient for a dog’s needs. For. in addition to several excellent products

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So Ybu*re Going to Get a Dog !

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available, cut-rate canned goods have flooded the market recently with disastrous results for the purchaser, who believes he is procuring, in convenient form and cheaply, a full ration for his pet.

A recent survey has revealed that in many cases the price received for these goods is not sufficient to cover even the cost of the can, much less its contents! Until such time as a definite nonpartisan testing bureau can put its seal of approval on such foods, for many of them are on sale in Canada, the dog-owner must be very careful of his selection, and depend on his veterinarian’s recommendation as to a suitable choice when canned food is necessary or convenient.

The dog, unfortunately, is not the best guide, for in many cases in these cheap rations, there is a substance which tastes and smells like meat, and so is tempting to any dog or cat, but being for the most part made of “plucks” of the food animal, lias no nutritional value, being ninety per cent roughage. On such a diet the dog receives no meat protein. Even when feeding a reliable canned or prepared food, it is well to add tomato juice or some raw fresh vegetable.

Puppies and Worms

HAVE YOU ever heard that milk gives puppies worms? We remember one desperate visitor who came to us for help.

She said she couldn’t feed her pup meat becausé it would make him cross, and couldn’t give him milk because it would give him worms, so she had compromised on mashed potato and butter! Next to the meat complex, the milk complex is the worst. But here are the facts:

Nothing gives puppies worms but worm eggs, for the most part picked up from their mother’s fur in nursing. Some authorities are beginning to believe they are born with them. Too much fluid in a puppy’s diet encourages worm life, and so semi-solid food as soon as possible is recommended. Sometimes its first eating acts as a natural vermifuge—but nothing really gets rid of worms but pilling. A real intestinal antiseptic, however, is buttermilk, which does keep them on the move. And another, if you can stand it, is garlic ! For young pups, evaporated milk is most suitable because of its nearer likeness in richness, to their mother’s milk.

We have mentioned the value of milk in hot weather for dogs of all ages; and esixicially is clabbered milk refreshing for them. Sometimes old and invalid dogs who can no longer digest solid food, can be kept comfortably alive on milk fortified with egg. In illness, where there is fever, this diet is often the only sustenance which the dog will willingly take, for it quenches thirst and also nourishes. Dogs so ill that they cannot even keep water on their stomach, are often able to lick, assimilate

I and sustain life on plain vanilla ice cream.

A dog is sometimes considered a “dirty” creature and forbidden the company of ! children, because of certain—to the j knowing—very pitiful habits. He eats and laps excrement; he runs away and eats garbage when he has all the good clean food he wants at home; he chews the plaster off the wall ; he puts his feet on j the kitchen table and gobbles apple and ixitato peelings; he steals raw carrots and ; onions out of the bin. He may even steal an egg and eat the shell.

He is simply a poor wise dog, trying frantically to correct some mineral lack in his diet and system. In most cases he is suffering from calcium deprivation. It can be corrected by giving him calcium ¡ phosphate in his food, or in stubborn cases by taking him to the vet for a hypodermic injection of calcium. Your veterinarian j may be able to give you some good | concentrated vitamin supplement in pow| der form to add to his meals. You yourself j must correct and balance his diet.

Thwarted Instincts

AN ANIMAL, for reasons of preservation of himself and his kind, is almost entirely guided by instinct. He most ! surely has a wisdom of his own, upon which very often we can count where socalled reason would fail both us and him. As he fits into our lives, he learns to exercise both his own instinct and a sort of imitation of our reason, adapting himself to our way of living. So we, with our j higher mentality, must knowingly adapt ourselves a little to him, realizing his limitations and understanding the great urges that prompt him to do thus and so.

Dogs sometimes work out the most ! touching compensations for their thwarted instincts, in which cases they must necessarily be curbed. A dog may have been taught that he is not to dig or bury bones in the garden or flower beds, so instead he will bury them religiously in his basket or blanket. And surely he may have a few there !

One of the most pathetic sights we remember is a little city dog which was punished regularly for bone-burying until i she struck upon a satisfying pantomime of her own. She would bring her well-cleaned bone into the very centre of the livingroom floor, make a few airy digging passes j with her forepaws, and then go through a 1 most elaborate process of covering it with imaginary earth with her nose, patting and pushing it with thorough care until the job was completed to her satisfaction. Then she would look about unconcernedly, and hurriedly trot off, satisfied that it was quite safe from molestation. Her efforts to be both a good dog and a natural one, so moved her master that he provided her with a big flat box of earth in the cellar ¡ where she could dig and bury to her heart’s content. The latter is a very useful idea, for frequently when a dog has to leave some little treasure or tidbit unguarded, his instinct prompts him to sprinkle it as a gesture of ownership, and he gets into serious trouble.

One family we know had great difficulty in housebreaking dogs, and had to dispose of several puppies that they were fond of, because of their over-affectionate overtures. We noticed that several members of the family used very heavy scent, probably with a musk base. This is an extract of animal origin and very exciting to dogs. We suggested this as a probable cause of the trouble, and when the offending odor was removed, the pup then being trained behaved himself perfectly.

Unintentional Cruelty

UNBELIEVABLE though it may seem, many dogs cannot plunge into v'ater and keep afloat. Sometimes in their frantic struggles they are even dangerous to human swimmers.

The belief that any little animal thrown into the water will automatically strike I out and paddle away, is erroneous. Long-

bodied, short-legged dogs simply sink like plummets when they fall or are thrown into deep water, though they frequently learn to wade out from the shallows and swim around near the shore with the children. Scotties, Sealyhams. Dachshunds and cross-breeds of like structure, have to be given special consideration. Throwing any dog in the water is a bad introduction to what should be a pleasant sport for him.

The best method of approach to the water is the throwing and retrieving of sticks along the shore, or “going in’’ with the children, his master or mistress, from the beach. Dogs love water by nature, but the enjoyment of it is often frightened or worked out of them. A dog should never be kept in the water until he is chilled and exhausted, for it is just as possible for him to develop pneumonia under such strain, as a person.

One often hears discussions as to whether the muzzling of dogs is cruel. It all dejxmds upon the type of muzzle. A simple strap may be far more cruel than a “bird-cage” contraption or mesh of strapping which covers the dog’s entire lace. The point to remember in muzzling a dog, especially in hot weather when it is most often required in shipping him. or in cities where an ordinance demands it, is that he must be able to oj>en his mouth sufficiently to pant and extend his dripping tongue. A dog perspires through his tongue and no other way. If his mouth is strapped shut, he literally suffocates. His mouth fills with saliva and he is in danger of choking. His distress often makes him “froth at the mouth” and act quite mad. In fact, he may be as near madness as he is ever likely to come.

Mad Dogs Are Rare

FOR, SPEAKING of “madness,” let it be a comfort to you that a really “mad” dog. or one afflicted with rabies, is a rarity.

A mad dog does not froth at the mouth, have “fits” or run about wildly. Dogs so affected are suffering from heat or running lits, fright, hunger or thirst. Examination may discover such trouble as a bone in the throat, insects in the nose or ears, or some similar cause that is driving the creature crazy with pain and misery. Bad worm infestation is a frequent cause of convulsions in pups and young dogs, as is painful teething. Mineral starvation (again the old correct feeding warning) is a frequent cause of running fits.

The best way to handle a dog in a fit is to approach him as carefully and reassuringly as possible, wearing gloves as a precaution. Get him on a rug or mat if you can, and pull him to a quiet cool place if he is in a crowd. Keep excited people away from him. A veterinary called to the scene will quieten him with a hypodermic, and examination will reveal the cause of the trouble. If you are bitten by a suspected dog, suck the wound and continue doing so until it can be cauterized, rinsing the mouth out with antiseptic the while. Keep the wound open and bleeding until the doctor can treat it. An ordinary tooth wound is not more dangerous than any other kind.

A truly rabid dog, or one suffering from hydrophobia, is one which has actually been bitten by another rabid animal, usually a wild one, for domestic animals are not nowadays likely to be infected. Dogs do not simply “go mad” spontaneously. If at large, a rabid dog runs in a straight line, and does not bite anything or anybody that keeps out of his path. If approached by another dog he may bite him, but rather avoids people. Only in interfering with him or handling him, is there danger of being bitten. Keep away from a dog that is stumbling yet determined in his course. The only way to handle the situation is to call the proper authorities and keep away and the only way to diagnose rabies in a suspected dog is to put him under observation. If he is killed, the truth will not become known, and a senseless panic may be started.

Serums and vaccines as a wholesale precaution against rabies in dogs are not to be recommended, and are considered useless by most competent authorities of the veterinary and medical professions. The Pasteur treatment for hydrophobia in human beings is an entirely different question, and one of the greatest blessings of medical research, but rabies in dogs has been lessened and almost wiped out by sensible methods of segregation and humane destruction of affected animals. Yet hundreds of innocent dogs have been harried and put to death by the hysterical cry of “mad dog.” which usually is inspired by the sight of a sick, frightened and friendless creature—surely one of the most pitiful results of fear and ignorance. England has completely wiped out rabies by enforced quarantine of all imported dogs. In Canada, to take the record of one large city, there has not been a case of rabies in Toronto, for instance, in twenty years.

'Fail Chasers

YATE USUALLY think it funny when a W pup chases his tail. I f he does it only occasionally in fits of exuberance, it is; but if he or a grown dog does it as a habit and bites it into the bargain, there is something wrong. The dog may be suffering from stoppage and irritation of tiny gland pockets directly under the tail. The veterinary will show you how they are to be squeezed and emptied to give him relief. It is a very common cause of anguish to dogs, and very few people know of it.

Or he may punctuate his tail-chasing with that seated glissando over the carpet which most people think an indication of “pin worms.” An enema of warm salt and water, quite a strong solution, will give him temporary relief, but there is really no such thing as a “pin” worm. What are thought tobe pin worms are in reality tapeworm segments. Do not be horrified. Tapeworm is a common affliction among dogs, and they should be treated for it now and then by a veterinary as a routine matter. Bad tapeworm infestation also often brings out eczema.

In certain breeds—dogs with “whip” tails like greyhounds, bull terriers and Great Danes—there is a strange irritation that attacks the flail-like tail. The dog may injure it against the furniture or his kennel to begin with, and eventually begin biting it. In any event, the tail becomes raw-looking and red. If not treated and healed up, the animal may become a chronic tail-chaser, which is a bad vice and should be forestalled by immediately healing up the tail, and distracting the dog as much as possible.

The best method, we have found, for the member is sensitive and hard to treat with liquid, is to get a good healing ointment such as perhaps a mild carbolic or zinc paste, cover the palms of the hands with it, and grasp the dog’s tail at the base. As he pulls away, the tail will be covered with the salve as it slips through your hands. Sometimes it helps, to lay the tail in a pan of fairly purple solution of potassium permanganate — crystals of which are procurable at any drugstore. This latter treatment cannot very well be used on a white dog, however, as it stains. Give the dog his freedom and let him play with other animals as much as possible, so that he will forget his misery. It is half mental. Also diet him for eczema, and treat for tapeworm.

Watchdog Requirements

IT DEPENDS on what you require in the way of protection as to whether, from your point of view, yours is a good watchdog. Most homes need simply what we call a good little “alarm clock”the small dog that barks when anyone is at the door, or when there is any suspicious activity inside or outside the house at night. Dogs are far keener in their knowledge of what is going on than we are. They can sense a noiseless prowler, they can “fed” a strange

presence, animal or human; they know when anything is wrong, and they let you know it.

A really vicious dog is neither an asset nor a necessity in any home, though even a ! small terrier will defend his master’s1 possessions if he feels they are imperilled. We do not, however, recommend teaching ; the small dog to be overzealous in guarding. His is another mission, that of giving alarm. He can always follow through there; while as a defender he can merely ! put up a losing battle. His efforts to fight may only end in snappishness, and affect his naturally friendly life.

The large breeds of dog combine the qualities of the warning housekeeper with something that nature seems to provide in all big dogs--a formidable sense of protec:

I tion to their own, and the ability to back ; it up. For safety, this must be directed and sometimes curbed.

One of the finest watchdogs we have ever seen, is a female Great Dane. Waisthigh to any man, she parades every visitor to the door, if she is outside at the time of his arrival, nudging him straight along the path. When he is admitted as a friend, she considers her supervision over.

I If he is not admitted immediately, she simply takes up her position on the doorI step in front of him. If he decides to inspect the other entrances, she again resumes her nudging parade, eventually escorting him back the way he came—to the front gate or his own car. And sometimes there is a faint warning in the throat of Alexi, as she bids him adieu.

If she is inside when visitors arrive, she ! simply stands or sits in the opened door until someone in authority says “all right” and touches her. A recent visitor was ¡ shown in by the houseman to await the ! mistress’s return. He took a seat, in which I ; Alexi forced him to remain until that 1 time! She sat in front of him herself, and ! every time he rose, advised him to think I better of it. And that is her system—very ! quiet but very firm “blocking.” She has never bitten or attacked anyone, because 1 she has never had to. Her whole attitude is one of “guarding,” though it would probably be more if she were defied in any , way by strangers.

Outside of her intelligence, she is a good example of the watchdog whose very presence and size are a protection. Most powerful dogs have the age-old instinct for guarding the cave of their man-friend strongly developed. Their training begins when they are taught how to apply it.

You cannot teach a dog to be a defender. Either he has it in him or he has not, but it is seldom entirely lacking. What you can teach him is the right way to handle the situation. Tying him up is a certain -way to make him vicious to everyone. The very fact of his being at large about your house and premises is sufficient protection against undesirable visitors. Nothing is more dreaded by tramps or marauders than a big dog about the place.

But do not encourage your dog unduly in bearing down on the unwary. If a dog, a big one particularly, insists on jumping on friends in greeting, encourage them to step on his hind feet when commanding “Down!” He will recognize authority in them in your presence. He will respect the fact that they know his name. He will know that they are not afraid. A stranger, especially one on mischief bent in your absence, would approach him with no such firmness or fearlessness, and he would recognize the difference immediately. The defense instinct will usually be there at the right time with a disciplined animal. Never allow even a pup to learn to snap or bite, never tease him, never encourage jealousy. Never “sic” him on other people, or allow him to become unruly, rushing after deliverymen or vehicles. This is where your obedience training will come in to its best advantage.

The fourth and concluding article of this series will appear in the next issue of j Maclean’s.