Tag Archives | Purina

Solutions for Your S-t-r-e-s-s-ed Dog

Sit. Stay. Don’t stress. Good dog! If only helping our dogs avoid negative situations would be as easy as mastering a basic obedience cue.

Alas, dogs face stressful situations daily. And they depend on us to develop coping skills to be able to react in a healthy manner. The state of stress in dogs was one of the key panel discussions featuring leading veterinary and behavior experts at the recent Purina Better with Pets Summit held in New York City.


“Just like us, dogs face good stress and bad stress,” says Marty Becker, DVM, renowned veterinarian and best-selling author who served as this panel’s moderator. “Only when bad stress is chronic does it lead to health problems. Constant stress can be a recipe for illness, depression and a less-than quality of life.”

Some stress is actually good for our dogs, like the stress found in trying to figure out how to get treats out of a food puzzle. It is important to work our dogs’ minds as well as bodies.

Some stress inducers are easy to identify in our dogs, like being inside a crowded waiting room at a veterinary clinic, being chased by a large, aggressive dog off his leash or panting and pacing during a nasty thunderstorm. But as the panelists pointed out, the well-being of some dogs are impacted by stress sources that often go undetected.


Among the surprising stress culprits: flickering florescent lighting, stainless steel veterinary exam room tables and walls painted in bold reds or blues. Even by cranking up the volume on the stereo or television can spike stress in some dogs due to their superior sense of hearing.

How can you tell if your dog is feeling stressed out? Here are some common signs:

  • Ears pulled back
  • Lip licking
  • Pacing
  • Shaking
  • Yawning
  • Tucking in his tail
  • Clinging to his favorite person
  • Whining

And, most importantly, remember that our dogs are very good at gauging – and responding to – our moods. They can pick up when we are afraid, anxious or unsure.

“Some dogs suddenly start barking at other dogs on walks the second you get nervous and tighten your grip on the leash,” says Dr. Becker. “Dogs pick up on our emotional cues.”

Fortunately, pet experts are recognizing the impact stress can play on our dogs’ overall health and are taking new steps. As discussed at the Purina summit, here are some innovative stress-busting strategies being adopted:

  • Opting for pastel, soft blues, pinks and yellows in shelters and veterinary clinics. “Think Easter colors,” says Dr. Becker. Turns out that studies show dogs are calmer in those colored-rooms than ones painted white or bright red, blue or yellow.
  • Enhancing stainless steel exam tables with adding heated pads for the dog to feel warm and have better footing while being assessed by a veterinarian.
  • Placing dogs up for adopting at mobile pet events inside cages with horizontal bars instead of vertical ones. It turns out, horizontal bars are less threatening and give dogs better visibility of their surroundings.
  • Replacing long kennel runs with more living room-like rooms for dogs at shelters. New evidence suggest that kennel runs unintentionally trigger repetitive behavior (running back and forth, and soiling or spinning) that heightens stress levels in these dogs.
  • Encouraging people pressed for time to agree to be a shelter volunteer by spending 15 minutes sitting quietly in a room with a dog up for adoption. Experts are discovering that this quiet 15-minute interaction helps lower stress in some shelter dogs.
  • Replacing florescent lights with soft LED lights. It turns out that dogs are not only irritated and stressed by the flickering florescent lighting, but are also agitated by the noise these lights make.

Heather Lewis, an animal arts architect who is among the innovative pioneers re-designing veterinary clinics and shelters all over the country, shares this take-home message:

“We have an opportunity and challenge to make life better for all animals, including those in the shelter and our pets,” says Lewis. “it is vital to think about environment from the animal’s perspective.”

About the Author: Arden Moore, The Pet Health and Safety Coach, is a pet behavior consultant, master certified pet first aid instructor and host of the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio. And, she has written more than two dozen dog and cat books. Learn more at www.fourleggedlife.com.


Beneful and Four Legged Life Embrace the Power of Purposeful Play for Dogs — and People!

As Four Legged Life Founder and creator of National Dog Party Day™, I’ve long been a fan of play. Purposeful play that is.

After all, dogs – and people – learn best when they can do so in a fun, welcoming setting. As I prepared to unleash the second annual National Dog Party Day™ in three cities on June 22, I am grateful to welcome our major sponsor to the event: Beneful® brand dog food.

We share a lot in common and a long history. Since 2010, I’ve been a member of the Beneful Dream Team, serving as the pet behavior consultant for the brand’s annual Dream Dog Park Contest.. My role is to help the Beneful team renovate dream dog parks that truly meet the needs of dogs of all sizes, ages and energy levels.

Less than one month after I stage National Dog Party Day™ in San Diego, Miami and New York City to benefit three hard-working pet charities, I will join the Beneful team in Alabaster, Alabama for the grand opening of the second $500,000 Beneful Dream Dog Park on July 12. I’m looking forward to seeing the wide grins on the faces of the people in this pet-loving community and witness the friendly yelps and tail wags of joy from dogs who will have a fun, safe and truly wonderful place to explore, play fetch and lounge around. I urge you to visit www.benefuldreamdogpark.com. The site contains all the details as well as information on both the original Beneful Dream Dog Park in Johns Creek, GA and this year’s much-anticipated half-million dollar play space in Alabaster, AL.

Back to play. I love the Beneful motto:  Play. It’s good for you. At my National Dog Party Day™ events, I emphasize to attendees that this is a three-hour date night with their dogs. A chance to party with a purpose and spend three hours creating wonderful memories that will last a life time. We stage K9 Karaoke contests (you serenade your dog) as well as games called Snoopy Says, Tunnel of Love and Canine Musical Chairs. There is music, healthy eats and the chance to win great prizes. This year, net proceeds will go to Paws 4 You Rescue in Miami, SNAP (Spay Neuter Action Project) in San Diego and Bideawee in New York City.

June 22 will be a day dedicated to dogs, their people and the power of play. We can easily get caught up in a full slate of must-dos and deadlines and neglect a powerful ally to our mental and physical well-being: play. For many of us, we are fortunate to have a great play pal – our dogs. I’m fortunate to have a pair of rescues answering to the names of Chipper and Cleo. Not only do we take walks, visits to dog parks, but we also participate in a people-dog workout class called Leash Your Fitness and ride the waves as members of the So Cal Surf Dog team. That’s right. My two dogs love to surf at dog beaches in southern California.

Years ago, I wrote a book called Dog Parties: How to Party Like a Pup. It contained fun party games for dogs and their people. But the main purpose of my book was twofold: to sneak in good doggy manners in a fun setting and to provide an opportunity for people to live in the moment and celebrate their wonderful connection with their dogs.

Last year, I boldly created National Dog Party Day™ in partnership with Pet Sitters International, creators of Take Your Dog To Work Day®. On the third Friday of every June, we team up for a Double Dog Day Celebration with this mission: to work like a dog by day and party like a pup at night.

Each year, we will increase the number of places participating in National Dog Party Day™ and it is my hope that the partnership – and friendship – with the Beneful team continues.

So, no matter if it is a Beneful Dream Dog Park or a national dog party celebration, our focus is on play. After all, play IS good for you.

And I hope you will join us at National Dog Party Day on June 22. Learn more by sniffing around its website: www.dogpartyday.com. Now, let’s all play!




Catching Up with John O'Hurley and David Frei, Co-Hosts of The National Dog Show


On Thanksgiving Day, quarterbacks won’t be the only ones barking signals. From noon to 2 P.M., the best dogs representing more than 170 breeds will vie for top honors in the 10th annual National Dog Show Presented by Purina on NBC. The event is hosted by The Kennel Club of Philadelphia and is regarded as one of top American Kennel Club-sanctioned dog shows.

More than 25 million viewers are expected to watch the show, which will be hosted by actor John O’Hurley, best known for his role as J. Peterman on Seinfeld, and David Frei, the voice of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

On the eve of the Thanksgiving Day special, Vetstreet’s Arden Moore caught up with O’Hurley and Frei, who’ve become friends beyond the show ring.

You two are like the dynamic duo of the dog world. Congratulations on teaming up again for this Thanksgiving tradition.

John O’Hurley: On screen, we have a partnership that clicks. Off screen, we have a deep friendship that’s shared by our wives and family.

David Frei: Dynamic duo? I’m not sure which one of us is Batman and which one is Robin. But John and I have become close friends. My wife, Cheri, is a Catholic chaplain and she arranged for John’s son to be baptized by the monsignor on the Upper East Side in New York City.

Is it true that you are also dog in-laws?

Frei: We have Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who are half-sisters from the same breeder. I have Angel and he has Sadie. The dogs have actually never met.

O’Hurley: Sadie has a bit of an overbite, so she doesn’t compete in dog shows, but she is adorable. David’s dog is the spitting image of Sadie, but we live on different coasts, so they don’t get to see one another. If they could, it would be as if they were looking at themselves in the mirror.

Do you remember the first time you met?

Frei: Definitely! We were in a production meeting for the first telecast of The National Dog Show. John walked into the room and he looked and sounded just like J. Peterman. We hit it off right away. I kept expecting to see Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer to pop in at any moment.

John, you’ve had great success teaming up with partners. You won the first Dancing with the Stars title with professional dancer Charlotte Jorgensen, and for 10 years, you’ve worked with David on the dog show. What’s it like?

O’Hurley: Charlotte is the #1 ballroom dancer in the world, and David is the most knowledgeable guy in the world about dogs. I feel quite fortunate.

So you don’t plan to challenge David to a game of canine trivial pursuit?

O’Hurley: Definitely not. He would kill me. I stand in his shadow.

John, any new challenges this year?

O’Hurley: We started this show with 162 breeds and we’re now up to 185 breeds that are recognized by the American Kennel Club. One breed is not so new, but it fell out of favor, and it’s now back. It’s taken me since October to learn how to correctly pronounce the name. I’m talking about the Mexican hairless, the Xoloitzcuintli. Let me say that name again, Xoloitzcuintli.

Frei: See how John can just have that name roll off his lips? The Xoloitzcuintli comes in three sizes. All six new breeds will be joining the party on Thanksgiving Day.

Any parting comments?

Frei: I grew up in a football family and I’m a football guy. You can see hundreds of football games all season, but only one National Dog Show on Thanksgiving. So I’m urging everyone to set their TVs to NBC at noon and hide the remote until 2:00.

O’Hurley: We plan to bring back some of the best clips for this 10th anniversary show. Call over your dog to join you on the couch. It’s fitting that the National Dog Show is shown on Thanksgiving, when people are all together. I promise that this show will have something for everyone, whether you’re nine or 90.

To learn more about The National Dog Show, and hear more from Frei, O’Hurley and other key people involved in the show, tune in to Arden Moore’s “Oh Behave” show on Pet Life Radio.


Help Homeless Pets – Purina One Beyond Campaign

As the founder of Four Legged Life, I am always happy to do a shout out for any person, pet or group that is working to better the lives of pets all over this planet. The latest effort is being conducted by the folks of a new food called Purina One Beyond. It is a dog and cat food made from real meat, whole grains and zero corn or wheat.

Here’s the deal:  For every view of its YouTube video — www.youtube.com/purinaone — Purina is donating $1 up to $300,000 to homeless pets in its Purina One pet welfare program.

And, they are providing free bags of this new food to 25,000 pet parents before it hits the shelves in January.

All of this ends on Dec. 10, so please check it out now. Tell your friends and keep our dogs and cats their healthy best!