"The Peeing Post"

Newsletter for dog lovers who respect the dog's nature

Chief Editor: Mogens Eliasen

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Dear Dog Friend,

Trip to Denmark

It is official: I am going to Denmark in January - and there will be some public training and seminars arranged. The logistics will be handled by Dansk Barf Center. If you live in Denmark (as I know quite a few subscribers do) and would like to know more about the possibilities, please contact me or Lars from DBC. I will not be announcing the details in "The Peeing Post", except for a general reference to where you can find the program when it is ready.

Would you help me with some pictures?

I am planning on publishing "Raw Food for Dogs - the Ultimate Reference for Dog Owners" through a publishing house in the not-so-distant future. But there is a little problem...

There are too few pictures for the taste of those publishing houses to like the book!

Unfortunately, I lost a lot of my own pictures when my van got stolen in 2000 while I was moving.

But maybe you have some great pictures of dogs eating raw food of any kind? Or you know someone who has and they would allow me to use them? If I can use the pictures, I would be happy to facilitate a free copy of the book when published - and a download of it as soon as it is finished.

The pictures must be of a reasonable technical quality. Any on-line format is fine. But paper pictures are also fine - I can scan them and return the originals. Size doesn't matter much, as long a the quality is reasonable for printing.

I would like to refer to the photographer and to you, preferably with a web reference if you have one. (Yes, there could be an opportunity for some promotion in that....)

I am interested in all kinds of topics relating to feeding dogs "real food", including:

My big favorite would be an adult dog regurgitating food for puppies! Or sharing a chunk of food with them.

Please note that food is number one, dogs number two, in terms of priority for these pictures. I cannot use pictures of raw fed dogs, unless there also is food on the same picture....

Please send the pictures as attachment to an e-mail and send them to this e-mail address: RFFDpictures@k9joy.com. You must also include in the e-mail the following:

If any of the above information is missing, I will not consider using the picture and it will be deleted from my files.... I will not violate anyone's copyrights.

Any comments or a little story accompanying a picture (or a series of pictures) will be very welcome indeed. And, of course, a little introduction of the dog: age, breed, and other stuff that might be interesting in this context.

You are welcome to cross-post this and pass on the request to others.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and possible help!

To clean or not to clean...

I have mentioned household chemicals before. I got a special reference from Aileen about the Swiffer products: a forwarded chain letter that claims that these products contain poisons for dogs and cats - and "pets have been killed by licking their paws after those floors have been cleaned with Swiffer"...

Folks, it is a hoax.

The Swiffer Wet Jet system contains primarily water (90%), added Propylene glycol n-propyl ether, or Propylene glycol n-butyl ether, and iso-Propyl alcohol (1-4% each). That's it. Nothing there to be scared of, unless you drink it.

Claims like, "one molecule away from anti-freeze" is scaremonger. Bullshit, simply. Just one atom can make a serious difference in chemistry between poisonous or harmless. Ordinary salt (Sodium Chloride) is just "one atom away" from Chlorine, which is a deadly poisonous gas. And it is also just "one atom away" from Sodium, which is an explosively corrosive metal that instantly will eat any organic tissue it gets in contact with!

Methanol is likewise just "one methyl group away" from Ethanol, ordinary alcohol. And Methanol is extremely poisonous...

"Margarine is just one molecule away from plastic" is likewise BS. These missing molecules, or groups, or atoms make a HUGE difference in chemistry!

And water is just "one atom away" from Hydrogen, a highly explosive, flammable gas!

The ingredients in the Swiffer products are not in any way whatsoever to be compared to anti-freeze (= Ethylene glycol), which certainly is extremely poisonous; it causes liver and kidney failure, and it is, unfortunately, extremely tasty! (It was used illegally some 20 years ago in Austria to make expensive wine taste even better...! This episode caused the Austrian wine export to completely collapse, as the government simply shut the industry down. But the government got things under control again by legislating that adding ethylene glycol to wine is legally equivalent to attempted murder. There are also several documented examples of dogs dying from tasting just a few mouthfuls of anti-freeze that was irresponsibly stored in a garage where the dog had access. So, yes, ethylene glycol deserves some very serious respect!)

Please do not succumb to this crap, though. "One molecule away from ethylene glycol" is not ethylene glycol and it is no closer to it than water is to being a flammable gas! The stupid rumor was circulated as a chain letter - with no reference to an author. That alone should make everyone suspicious of this not being diligent and trustworthy information...

Having said that, I still want you to be very careful about what kinds of household chemicals you use, particularly on your floors! And definitely around your dog's eating place! I know, feeding some nice meaty bones can be messy - and it might tempt you to use some harsh cleaning agents to "make sure you get all the germs"...

Please consider that whatever you use to clean is left as a thin film on the floor - and will be rubbed into the dog's food or paws. Although you may not lick your floors and your shoes, your dog will most likely do it - and it will add its own paws.... plus eat the food that was spilled on the floor.

Generally, if the cleaning medium calls for your wearing gloves, you simply do not use it! If you cannot safely wash your hands in it, neither can your dog safely lick its paws after walking on it!

If you feel you need to use those harsh chemicals to clean with, then you might choose to do so - and, if you make sure that you rinse well with lots of water afterwards, you might be OK. But you need to rinse several times (4-5 times), and with much more water each time than you used to clean.

You can generally rely quite safely on the mandatory warnings in this regard. Chemicals approved to be used by people who know nothing about chemistry are typically very tough in regards to safety measures, and those measures must be printed on the label. This is law in just about any civilized country. So, just read the labels - and take those warnings seriously. Again, your guideline is this: if you can wash your hands in it, you can also wash your floors. It there are warnings against direct skin contact, then you have to protect your dog's paws by not using it anywhere where the dog has access.

And here: a real warning!

Have you heard of Greenies®?

It is the most popular dog treat on the US market - measured in sales. It has had an explosive success.

It should also be just about the very last thing you should ever give to your dog...

At least, the people who manufacturer it appear to be honest about how their product is mproduceded. Here is what they disclose on their web site - my comments are in green:

Greenies® Ingredients:

Processed wheat gluten (wheat protein), glycerin, natural flavor, powdered cellulose fiber, monosodium phosphate, monoglycerides of edible fatty acid, magnesium stearate and chlorophyll. Not a single ingredient here that has has any nutritional value whatsoever!

Processed wheat gluten (protein): The wheat gluten used is concentrated by using hot water to extract the starch out of the wheat. What is left over is wheat protein. No chemicals are used. You cannot extract starch with hot water. What you get out of this is some kind of coagulated cake, consisting primarily of indigestible proteins and carbohydrates. This could actually be a great recipe for glue!

Glycerin: This is a 3-carbon molecule that occurs naturally in fats and oils. Glycerin is split from the three fatty acids of fats and oil. It is used as an ingredient and serves to allow the processed wheat protein to be molded into Greenies® physical form. Without glycerin, Greenies® would crumble and not provide the dental benefit that comes from chewing. The glycerin used in Greenies® is produced from vegetable (non-animal origin) ingredients. Glycerin is a natural substance that exists in plant and animal tissues. Sure, it does no harm, chemically, on its own - but it is a completely unnatural ingredient that can cause a lot of micro-biological processes that do not do much good - and it could most certainly lead to some chemical processes in the dog's gastrointestinal system that would be highly undesirable....

Powdered Cellulose Fiber: This is made from powdered plant material. It is cleaned, than ground into a powder. It helps the dog maintain firm stool. Cellulose is present in nearly all plant origin food. We use a purified cellulose so it is non-antigenic, meaning it will not cause allergic reactions. "Firm stool" means that this ingredient is completely indigestible. As all cellulose fiber is. It is no better than saw dust - which, by the way, is a common ingredient in kibble; for this very reason....

Natural Flavor: The ingredient used for the natural flavor is proprietary. However, we can tell you that it contains no beef protein and a very small amount of natural flavor is used. This is scary - so you are supposed to feed you dog something that contains a secret ingredient? What if it were heroine? Or a cancer-causing drug? Remember: for pet foods, there are no laws to protect your dog! ANYTHING is legal here! And it is common practice by the pet food manufacturers to add "palatability enhancers", which are nothing but addicting drugs.

Monosodium Phosphate: This is a source of phosphorous, which is a required nutritional mineral. You should not feed Phosphates without properly balancing with Calcium. I bet that they add this as a preservative and pH adjuster, not for the nutritional value - which is more than dubious anyway...

Monoglycerides of edible fatty acid: Greenies® contain fatty acids derived from vegetable oil sources. Such fatty acids are often derived from fats and oils that represent the other major part of fats when glycerin is split off. "Edible fatty acids" could very well include saturated trans-fatty acids - which are outright dangerous to eat because of the long-term damage to the cardio-vascular system... When such fatty acids are "derived" from another source, heat is generally applied, and whenever that is the case, you get saturated trans-fatty acids. Chemically, this is completely unavoidable when heating natural fats.

Magnesium stearate: This serves as a lubricant in molding Greenies®. Magnesium stearate is used in production of nutritional supplements and pharmaceutical products as well as a lubricant in commercial baking of cookies and breads. Yes, it is commonly used - and probably neither particularly harmful nor nutritionally valuable. But that is under the assumption that you eat a few milligrams in a pill - not several grams per treat, and several treats per day!

Chlorophyll: Naturally makes Greenies® green. Chlorophyll does have an effect on odor. It is indeed a natural product that you can feed for that purpose. I have often used it to reduce the natural smell of a bitch in heat, so the neighbors' male dogs would quit howling all night - and it works 80% of the time. (It also works on people who have problems with "too much body odor" - it tastes horrible, though... and we're back at what is that secret ingredient that makes it taste good, despite the Chlorophyll?)

Now, you will notice that there are no amounts given in this "recipe". You cannot expect any manufacturer to reveal that. But we do not need it. From this list alone you can conclude that these treats are made of stuff that is largely indigestible; it consist of very little but unnatural ingredients in an unnatural form that under no circumstances should be added to a list of responsible and adequate dog food, not even in small amounts.

I have heard of horror stories telling of dogs that have got intestinal blockages from eating this stuff. I cannot say that they are true and confirmed, but I will say that it is certainly not something you can safely exclude from happening if you feed more than one of these green monster treats per day to a medium-sized dog.

Is the average dog owner a plain idiot or what? What the heck makes people buy crap like this for their dogs? Don't people care? Are they just swallowing anything that is presented on TV commercials as "truth"? I am totally stunned - I do not understand; there is not one single ingredient in those treats that comes even close to being classified as "nutritionally valuable". It is nothing more than chewing gum for people, just worse, because the dogs ingest it - and in far larger quantities....

And the very worst part: Many vets and veterinary associations recommend this shit! Officially...

More spay/neuter stuff...

Leslie made me aware of another aspect of the spay-neuter dilemma that I wasn't aware of - but it makes sense when you consider that growth is partially controlled by sexual hormones. It is actually the sexual hormones that get produced at puberty which are the main responsible reason for the bones to stop growing! Now, when we eliminate puberty by spaying/neutering early, this will cause havoc in the bone growth control...

Although the article Leslie referred to is a bit tough to read, I still find it worth bringing to you as it is. It is written by Chris Zink, a veterinarian with a specialty in canine sports (more info at http://www.caninesports.com). Even if you do not consider your dog an athlete or potential athlete, the general health aspects are still there...

Early Spay-Neuter Considerations for the Canine Athlete

There are a number of studies that suggest that those of us with canine athletes should be carefully considering our current recommendations to spay or neuter all dogs at 6 months of age or earlier. A study by Salmeri et al in 1991 (Salmeri et al JAVMA 1991;198:1193-1203) found that bitches spayed at 7 weeks were significantly taller than those spayed at 7 months, who were significantly taller than those not spayed (or presumably spayed after the growth plates had closed). The sex hormones close the growth plates, so the bones of dogs or bitches neutered or spayed before puberty continue to grow. This growth frequently results in a dog that does not have the same body proportions as he/she was genetically meant to. For example, if the femur is normal length at 8 months when a dog gets spayed or neutered, but the tibia, which normally stops growing at 12 to 14 months of age continues to grow, then an abnormal angle may develop at the stifle. In addition, with the extra growth, the lower leg below the stifle becomes heavier (because it is longer), causing increased stresses on the cranial cruciate ligament. This is confirmed by a recent study showing that spayed and neutered dogs have a higher incidence of CCL rupture (Slauterbeck JR, Pankratz K, Xu KT, Bozeman SC, Hardy DM. Canine ovariohysterectomy and orchiectomy increases the prevalence of ACL injury. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2004 Dec;(429):301-5).

In addition, a study in 2004 in JAVMA (Spain et al. JAVMA 2004;224:380-387) showed that dogs spayed or neutered before 5 1/2 months had a significantly higher incidence of hip dysplasia than dogs spayed or neutered after 5 1/2 months of age. If I were a breeder, I would be very concerned about this, because it would mean that I might be making incorrect breeding decisions if I were considering the hip status of pups I sold that were spayed or neutered early. Interestingly, this same author also identified an increased incidence of sexual behaviors in males and females that were neutered early.

A number of studies, including the one by Spain referenced above, have shown that there is an increase in the incidence of female urinary incontinence in dogs spayed early. This problem is an inconvenience, and not usually life-threatening, but nonetheless one that requires the dog to be medicated for life.

Yes, there is the concern that there is an increased risk of mammary cancer if a dog has a heat cycle. But it is my observation that fewer canine athletes develop mammary cancer as compared to the number that damage their cranial cruciate ligaments. In addition, only about 50 % of mammary cancers are malignant, and those that are malignant don't metastasize very often, particularly in these days when there is early identification and removal of lumps found on our dogs.

In addition, when considering cancer, there is another study of 3218 dogs that showed that dogs that were neutered before a year of age had a significantly increased chance of developing bone cancer (Cooley DM, Beranek BC, Schlittler DL, Glickman NW, Glickman LT, Waters D, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2002 Nov;11(11):1434-40), a cancer that is much more life-threatening than mammary cancer, and which affects both genders.

Finally, in another study, unneutered males were significantly less likely than neutered males to suffer cognitive impairment when they were older (Hart BL. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2001 Jul 1;219(1):51-6). Females were not evaluated in that study.

For these reasons, I have significant concerns with spaying or neutering dogs before puberty, particularly for the canine athlete. And frankly, if something is more healthy for the canine athlete, would we not also want that for pet dogs as well? I think it is important, therefore, that we assess each situation individually. If a pet dog is going to live with an intelligent, well-informed family that understands the problem of pet overpopulation and can be trusted to keep their dogs under their control at all times and to not breed them, I do not recommend spaying or neutering before 14 months of age.

Chris Zink

Well, Chris' final words do not take the full consequence of the evidence and logic provided. There is no reason whatsoever to put a limit at 14 months when we consider that there are other internal processes than growth of bones that depend on a proper balance of the sexual hormones. It appears, once again, that there is only one good way out of this spay/neuter problem: responsible dog ownership... and that does not include castrating your pet.

The more I think about it, the more I am inclined to say that if dealing with the sexual issues for a pet dog is too much, then owning a pet dog is too much... I just don't like all this "tampering with Nature" for no other purpose than human convenience. But I can also see that, until the average dog owner in North America accepts the responsibility of at least educating him/herself about the fundamentals of responsible dog ownership, then the consequences of leaving all dogs sexually intact would lead to an explosion of irresponsible breeding on this continent....

Just the fact of one of the US TV shows promoting those new "adorable" and "cute" mix-breeds has lead a large number of people to contact me to hear my opinion about these hybrid dogs.... Well, if you buy one or not - that is your decision. But you need to be aware that every time someone buys such a dog, a financial incentive is also created to produce more! In other words: you support such irresponsible breeding with your dollars....

Would you buy a product that was well-made and cheap - if you knew it was made by under-paid child labor?

Same thing.


Cheers and woof,

Mogens Eliasen


If you have any suggestions to contributions or contents of "The Peeing Post", or some comments or questions pertaining to this issue or in to dogs in general, I will be happy to know about them. If I can find an answer for you, I will!

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P.S. The work with transferring "The Dog's Social Behavior" from video to DVD is coming along. It has taken way longer time than anticipated (a lot of technical challenges we did not expect or foresee...). But I am happy to announce that we can see our way through it now - and I expect we will be ready with the DVD before the end of November, with just a minimum of luck (just no technical crashes, please...)

The DVDs will be available in both North American and European standard format, so we should be past the annoying problems with European video equipment not always being able to play the video.

The offer on the web site to get the DVD at the "old" video price is still valid, but it will be taken down when the DVDs are ready. So, if you want to take advantage of this (or know someone else who wants to), then do not "sit on the fence", because there will be no warning of the price going up! The old web page at http://k9joy.com/DogsSocialBehavior is still there, but when you click on the order link, you get the offer of getting the two DVDs at the price announced for the video. (Yes, it is on two DVDs as opposed to one VHS video, as quite a few things have been added to make the information easier to use....)