Two-legged dog's inspiring story is actually a cautionary tale
Story of a two-legged dog on two wheels
I have always loved the internet much more than t.v. news. It can be compared to the difference between a lovely buffet dinner, where you can chose anything you like, and being force-fed tasteless and horrible tasting food with high ratio of synthetic ingredients.
Recently, I ran across the story of River the dog. River was attacked by two dogs and his back injury was so severe that he lost the use of his hind legs. Many people would decide to put a dog down with this type of injury, but River was lucky. His people decided to get a wheel apparatus for him to get around and now he is able to walk around and meet people and he is the talk of the town. Everyone loves him!
As I was watching the video, smiling from ear to ear, I could feel my smile disappearing. River, who was wheeling around town, had a spiky prong collar on, carried a tennis ball in his mouth and ate dry kibble, all in the course of this video. Suddenly, I felt completely conflicted because while this dog was saved and has a good life, his guardians are completely unaware of the things that can harm him in other ways.
Tennis balls are probably one of the most common dog toys out there. I am not sure why dogs love them so much, maybe because of its “furry surface” that feels close to a squirrel or a mouse. The fact is that these seemingly benign balls are so abrasive that they can reduce a dog’s teeth down to the roots in a matter of a few years. Teeth are extremely important not only for chewing but also for feeling. Plus thier important energy meridians start at the roots of the canine teeth.
Rather than using a tennis ball, choose food safe plastic ball or even better a toy from an all natural material such as felted wool, rope or similar. Of course, such toys require supervision, especially in dogs that can down pretty much anything besides the kitchen sink. I also never buy toys made in China as you can never be sure what fillers and colours were used.
It's hard not to mention ball throwers and chuckers that people love to throw a ball over and over with. It is apparent that most people have no idea hat it is just a matter of time and their dog is highly likely to suffer an injury either from repetitive one sided motion or slipping, sliding and jarring. I see dog lovers having hard time coming to terms with this and I often see the eyes rolling. I often say that if you are not sure about anything, look at what nature does. Dogs would never sprint for 15 to 30 minutes or longer.
Running and sprinting for extended periods is simply not natural to dogs and the most common problems related to ball retrieving are lumbar spine and muscle injuries and strain, sacral-lumbar misalignments, cruciate ligament injuries and believe or not chronic diarrhea can be caused by ball retrieving
Instead of making your dog run back and forth like a yo-yo, engage him/her in hide and seek, recognizing names of toys, playing and socializing with other dogs. There are many options. All you need to remember is that anything repetitive that lacks variety often leads to injuries.
This is a very sensitive topic. Recently, I have seen a beautiful chart that showed how many important blood vessels, nerves, energy lines and muscles are in the neck region. Any constriction and restriction of the energy flow results with pretty much a systemic reaction that can create conditions such as hypothyroidism, paw licking, neck pain, eye and ear problems and the list could go on.
Some people still have hard time with this idea and often do not understand that when I speak against these old fashioned ways of controlling dogs, I am not saying that they do not love their dogs. I am just suggesting to consider other safer ways because choke and prong collars make dogs ill and unwell.
Use a collar only for dog ID tag and of course fashion ;-). Attach your leash to a front clip harness that is properly fitted. There are a few designs on the market, non of them is perfect but they definitely better than anything around your dog’s neck.
It is pretty much common knowledge that highly processed and dried food is inferior no matter what ingredients are used. Fresh and cooked is always better than preserved or dry food. After 25 years in practice, I can pretty much recognize a dog fed processed food from 60 feet away. They are soft and flabbier, generally look like seniors as soon as they hit middle age and their breath makes you wonder, which end of the dog you are facing.
Processed food is one of problems that I am very embarrassed about when it comes to the veterinary profession. It is a glaring example how targeted “un-education” and slick marketing campaigns can brainwash the entire profession of well educated people. It is wild!
If you are unsure about this, all you need to do is to read the the ingredient labels and find corn meal, modified starch, pork fat, poultry meal and other horrifying ingredients. Sometimes I wish I could serve the food the companies make to the CEO’s and management who make decisions to make them. Imagine! Wouldn’t that be fun!? One thing I know with certain. The less you spend on food, the more time you spend at the vet’s office on average and vice versa.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM