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Middling advice

My husband and I are looking at getting a dog. We’ve never owned a dog as adults, so I’m trying to get as much information as I can ahead of time. Sort of get a plan together so that we’re not too surprised when the dog comes home.

This has led me to the library, picking up every book that could be useful on the subject of owning a dog. Some have been helpful, others were just a skim and dump back at the library. I started this process by finally finishing Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. Interesting book, but has a few odd spots. I was unaware that cats would thrive on veggies and dogs should be fed oatmeal. In fact, I’m pretty sure that these are dead wrong. But overall, it was relatively useful and a good starting point. Add some judicious logic and you’re well on your way to actually knowing new things.

I then picked up Sue Sternbergs Successful Dog Adoption. Fantastic book, especially since we’re looking to integrate a dog into our 2 cat home. The temperament tests are going to get copied and used on every dog we look at. We’re looking for our perfect dog, not a dog that’s just good enough for right now. I don’t want to be trying to keep the dog and cats from chasing each other after the first few weeks. My husband was a little reluctant at first (there are lots and lots of tests), but most of them are pretty obvious and easy to perform, so he’s on board now. This will make things both harder and easier. Long term it will be a blessing, but short term its going to be hard to find a dog that’s right for us.

After that, I hit a couple of stinkers. The American Animal Hospital Association encyclopedia of dog health and care was an overview that can be summed up as “take your dog to the vet.” Nothing useful there for anyone who’s ever been around a dog, let alone believes in medicine that’s not strictly Western in origin. The second was The holistic guide for a healthy dog. Absolutely a dud. I tried so hard to read it hoping for something alternative but practical, but it was largely a listing of herbs and what they do. I have an herb encyclopedia for that, I was hoping for something with actual data related to dogs. Both went back after a thorough skimming.

While I was wandering in the library, I picked up Your Cat. Our cats are now eating raw food, but I wanted to see another vets opinion on it. It seems like the standard opinion cliche applies, but the author of this one actually worked in the pet food industry for a while so I was hoping for a bit more. Turns out this was a good primer on simple things you can do for cat health. There were descriptions of symptoms for the fairly common age-related illnesses and some debunking of common myths. I’m particularly interested in the fact that she runs her practice around reducing the instance and maintenance of diabetes in cats by feeding species-appropriate diets. There’s a fabulous description of the circle of crystal control due to bad diet.

Overall, I’d say I’m pretty disappointed in the options in dog books. I know just enough to be dangerous - you’d think someone would have figured out this market and written for it by now.

Originally published at my blog. You can comment here or there.