Morrone, Marc, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
We just got a boxer puppy, and my wife has really gotten interested in the dog’s diet. She is reading websites and goes on chat rooms. Everybody recommends different food for the dog. What is your opinion?
I have fed many different diets to my dogs in the last 45 years, with differing results. When I was a kid, we fed our dogs a processed “soft moist” food, a mixture of cornstarch, chicken fat and red food dye that was made to resemble raw hamburger patties. Even on this horrible food, my dogs did just fine. I have been going to the Westminster dog show every year for the past two decades or so, and, every year, I ask the breeders there what they feed their dogs. The answer is different each time; yet, no matter what diet the dogs are fed, they are all there because they are prize winners. So the best I can do here is to offer two points of advice:
1. The less processed a dog’s food is, the less the dog seems to shed and the smaller the dog’s stool is. So a dog on dry food will certainly have larger stools than a dog eating canned or frozen food, as the dry food is more processed.
2. When you are choosing a brand of food for your dog — no matter what form it is — read the ingredients. Do not feed the dog anything that you would not eat yourself. If the food has any artificial colors in it, then pass on it. As a petkeeper, you have to explore what is out there and settle on what seems to work best for your dog and your lifestyle.
We last applied Frontline to our dog two weeks ago. Now, with fall here, we were wondering if we need to buy another pack for another application to fight ticks and fleas. The product is expensive and, if you think that we do not need to use it again for the rest of the season, we can save a bit of money.
Twenty-five years ago, I would have said that you no longer have to bother worrying about fleas and ticks after Halloween, but it seems either that the parasites are hardier or the winters are warmer. I pulled two ticks off one of my dogs last year on Thanksgiving Day, so I would advise that you continue the treatment until the real cold weather sets in.