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December 2011

November 2011

A Recipe for Your Dog's Weight Loss

By Dr. Tracy Dewhirst for Exceptional Canine

Weight lossCute, chubby, roly-poly dogs -- we all know one. They might make us smile and sometimes laugh, but these dogs are often left behind while their owners and other dogs enjoy outdoor activities. Carrying excessive weight makes dogs sluggish and contributes to serious health problems. Check out our recent feature to learn how to tell if your dog is overweight.

Overweight dogs are more likely to suffer pain, develop metabolic diseases and need surgery on damaged joints or herniated vertebral discs. They also have difficulty breathing during routine activity, and when temperatures are hot and humid they have trouble effectively cooling themselves via panting.

The good news, however, is that your dog’s weight loss is achievable if you devise a plan and stick to it. My patients who have successfully lost weight have restored mobility and renewed energy. Their owners often say their dog acts like a puppy again.

Access Your Dog’s Health and Calorie Needs
Weight control should be a simple equation. The number of calories consumed must be equal to, or less than, the number of calories burned. However, the equation does not take into account your dog’s activity level, age, breed, reproductive status, or medical condition.

Some metabolic diseases can cause weight gain, and some diet foods might not be appropriate for dogs with underlying medical problems. This is why assessing your dog’s overall health and getting a proper energy requirement and calorie count from your veterinarian is important before beginning a diet.

Do not rely on feeding charts for dieting. Know the exact kilocalories per cup in your dog food, and feed for your dog’s individual needs and desired weight. Pay attention to extra calories. It is easy to feed 100 kilocalories (or more) in snacks and treats -- and these calories add up to pounds over time.

Consider a Specialized Weight Loss Food
Weight loss is often easier to achieve when your dog is fed a specialized food designed to help reduce calories, maintain nutritional balance and produce satiety. Foods that contain L- carnitine, an amino acid derivative, have been shown to help promote lean body mass and improve weight loss.

Get Your Dog Moving
Daily activity should be a part of any comprehensive diet program. Start inactive dogs off slowly; moderate walks are good. Outings can become more strenuous as your dog’s stamina builds. Also, metabolism rate increases with regular activity, making weight loss more rapid. Weigh your dog periodically and make necessary caloric adjustments during a trial diet.

Don’t Yield to Temptation
Another major factor in managing your dog’s weight is addressing begging. This learned behavior contributes to dogs being overweight because owners simply cannot refuse their dog’s innocent, hungry stares. Be strong. Remind yourself that the goal is to make your dog healthier and happier. Never reward begging. This only perpetuates the problem.

Dieting does not mean completely eliminating the joy of giving your dog a treat. But it does mean feeding healthy, low-calorie snacks when and only when your dog has earned it, not begged for it.

Start Now
Dogs that live active lives are content and fulfilled. Don’t waste another day. Start turning back the clock by encouraging your dog’s weight loss, so you can enjoy his new-found energy and second puppyhood.


Dr. Tracy Dewhirst, a graduate from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, practices small-animal and equine medicine in Knoxville, Tenn. She is a long-time columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel. Dewhirst also sits on the East Tennessee Peer Review Board.

Gingerbread Doghouse Competition, Asheville, Dec. 4-7

GrovebarkinnFor a few days in December, the illustrious Grove Park Inn in north Asheville is turning itself into the Grove "Bark" Inn with its sponsorship of a gingerbread doghouse competition and display from December 4 through 7. This fundraising event, new this year, will benefit local pet charities Animal Compassion Network, Asheville Humane Society, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, Humane Alliance of WNC, and Paws on a Mission.

Similar to The National Gingerbread House Competition held at the Grove Park Inn annually, contestants are invited to build a doghouse made entirely of edible materials. But the unique twist is that entries must be constructed and composed completely of dog-edible materials.  A panel of judges will select winners in each category and display attendees will each vote for the "People's Choice" award.

For more information about the event click here

New Ads from The Shelter Pet Project

The Shelter Pet Project is a national public service awareness campaign designed to dispel myths about shelter pets in order to boost adoptions. The campaign just launched a series of new television ads with the tagline, "A person is the best thing to happen to a shelter pet. Be that person." The campaign is a collaborative effort by The Humane Society of the United States, Maddie's Fund, and the Ad Council.

Here's one of the brand new ads with a few dogs sharing observations about their owners. Take a look!


Adopt a Pet Thanksgiving Weekend at 50 - 75% Off

AHSlogo-fullAsheville Humane Society is taking advantage of the traditional Thanksgiving shopping frenzy by holding its own "Fantastic Furry Frenzy" sale on Thanksgiving weekend. On Friday, November 25 (10 AM - 6 PM) and Saturday, November 26 (10 AM - 6 PM), every dog and cat available for adoption will be available at 50 to 75% off the regular adoption fees.

All animals are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped. Visit the Adoption Center at 14 Forever Friend Lane in Asheville (behind Deal Motor Cars near the Farmers Market) and find the love of your life just in time for the New Year! Visit for additional information.

New! Dog Lovers Bookstore

BooksJust in time for holiday shopping, Carolina Mountain Dog is pleased to announce our new Dog Lovers Bookstore!

We've selected some fine books especially for dog lovers and made them available in one convenient place. Just click on any title in the store and get more information about the book, or you can purchase it online at a great price, thanks to our association with Barnes & Noble.

Take a look right here and see what's in store for you. You'll also find a link to the bookstore in the navigation at the top of this page.

Supporting Dogs in Afghanistan

NowzadAmerican Dog Rescue is a nonprofit organization that works towards the goal of "no healthy dog without a home." The organization funds a number of projects and has recently teamed up with a British nonprofit called Nowzad Dogs to help raise money to rescue and rehabilitate the more than 500 abandoned dogs in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Nowzad Dogs is named after the war-torn town of Now Zad in Afghanistan. The organization was started by Pen Farthing, a former Royal Marine, to save support dogs of military personnel in Afghanistan. It is the first, and only, dog rescue organization now serving Afghanistan’s dogs. Through Nowzad’s work, neglected and undernourished dogs are relocated to western countries where they can find the love, care, and attention they deserve.
 For some of the many stray dogs in the Middle East they now have a guardian for the first time in their lives. Dogs that serve our troops as emotional support animals and become socialized in this effort deserve to earn their stripes in the form of new homes. They cannot be left behind to return to a homeless feral life because they will not survive.
For more information or to make a donation to Nowzad through American Dog Rescue please visit  

Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner at Plant Benefits Animal Haven

AnimalhavenOn Wednesday evening, November 23, from 5 to 9 PM, Plant, the new vegan restaurant in Asheville, will offer its version of Thanksgiving dinner. The menu features a 3-course dinner including truffled Ivy Creek Farm rutabaga bisque, roasted pumpkin seed crusted seitan, and hazelnut cream cake. You can see the complete menu at Plant's website. Dinner is $30 per person and optional wine pairings is an additional $14. Reservations are strongly recommended; call (828) 258-7500. Plant is located at 165 Merrimon Avenue in Asheville.

Proceeds from this special dinner will benefit Animal Haven of Asheville, a refuge for homeless and abused farm animals as well as dogs and cats.

This is a good opportunity to check out Plant if you haven't already done so. This blogger has enjoyed brunch at Plant and I highly recommend it.

Avoiding Winter Health Hazards

By the Editors of Exceptional Canine for Exceptional Canine

Dog in sweaterAs cold weather approaches, you winter-proof your car and your house. But it’s also important to think about your dog: Only you can protect him from winter hazards when the temperature drops.

Sheltering Your Best Friend
You should first determine whether it’s appropriate for your dog to stay outside during the winter. Base your decision on his breed and tolerance for cold weather -- talk to your vet or breeder if you’re not sure. If your dog does stay outside, he requires a climate-controlled dog shelter where he can escape from the elements. The Animal Humane Society advises that a draft-free shelter should be large enough for your dog to stand and turn around in, yet it should be cozy enough for him to retain body heat. A layer of straw or bedding material can offer insulation, says the AHS.

In addition, make sure that your dog’s outdoor water supply remains liquid. And take special care to check his paws for ice balls and cuts. Wipe his paws dry with a cloth after he walks on salt or chemical snow-removers.

Treating Frostbite
Frostbite is caused by exposure to extremely cold weather. The symptoms, which don’t develop until 48 hours after exposure, include pain and swelling. If the blood flow to the extremity is entirely interrupted, the tissue will turn black and fall off. To treat suspected frostbite:

  • Hug your dog to you so that your body heat can warm him.
  • Never rub him, as this could damage tissue.
  • Place him in a bath of warm (never hot) water. Test the water’s temperature by dipping your elbow in it -- a much more accurate analysis than using your hand.
  • Take your pet to the veterinarian immediately if he is severely chilled or unresponsive.

Beware of Hazards in the Garage
If your dog spends time in the garage during the winter, be aware of these potential hazards:

  • Licking up only a few teaspoons of antifreeze -- which tastes sweet to a pet -- can kill a dog. Be sure to check your car to make sure the radiator isn’t leaking.
  • Never leave your pet in the garage while you start the car, as carbon monoxide (which escapes from the tailpipe) can kill him.
  • Rat and mouse poisons are used more frequently in the winter months, says the American Humane Society. Make sure your dog can’t access them.

Your Dog’s Special Winter Needs
Be particularly attentive to your dog’s daily needs as winter arrives. His caloric needs might change if he’s either less active (and needs fewer calories) or exercising in the cold (and requires more). And regular grooming also helps your dog’s coat do its job better in protecting him from the cold, advises the American Kennel Club.

Caleb's Kids - Service Dogs for People with Disabilities

CalebsKids Here's an interesting organization we thought you'd like to know about.

Caleb's Kids was originally founded in January 2011 to bring attention to Caleb, a service dog who brightened the lives of two autistic twins. Now, the nonprofit organization is taking on a more proactive role. Caleb's Kids has gotten involved in facilitating funding, training, and the placement of service dogs to special needs families, including both children and adults.

For more information about Caleb's Kids, visit their website or Facebook page. You can also watch a video that tells the story of Caleb.

Tails and Trails 5K, Asheville, Nov. 19

Runner with dog The Fifth Annual Tails and Trails 5K will be held at the beautiful Buncombe County Sports Park on Saturday, November 19. The Timed 5K Run will be at 8:30 a.m and a 5K Fun Run/Walk for dogs and their owners at 10:00 a.m. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Asheville Humane Society and the Buncombe County Sports Park.

Saturday, November 19th, 2011
8:30 a.m. 5K Run (Timed) $100 first place prize (male/female)
10:00 a.m. Run/Walk for dogs and their owners

Buncombe County Sports Park

58 Apac Circle Asheville, NC 28806

Park information:


An individual can also run both races for $35.


Mail-in (through November 9th), Day of race 7:45-8:15 a.m.; 9:15-9:45 a.m.


Other Information
Please note that the course has been measured by a USA Track & Field Professional and will be certified 30 days prior to race day. All times for the 8:30 a.m. race will be official and chip-timed.  

There is also a $100 cash prize for first place male and female in the 8:30 a.m. race.
Please note that all dogs must be on a leash and have current vaccinations for the 10:00 am Run/Walk.




Participants are encouraged to bring donations for the Asheville Humane Society.

Shelter Appreciation Week, Nov. 6-12

HoorayforsheltersNovember 6 through 12 has been designated National Shelter Appreciation Week by the Humane Society of the United States.

It's always great to show your appreciation to your local animal shelter, of course, but please recognize their efforts during this special week. The Humane Society of the United States suggests you get involved with your local shelter in the way you feel most comfortable. For example, you can:

  • adopt a homeless animal
  • volunteer at the shelter
  • provide a temporary foster home for a shelter animal
  • donate money or supplies that go directly to animals in need
  • become a fan of your local shelter's Facebook page and join in their Facebook discussions
  • advocate adopting pets from shelters

 Visit our list of shelters and animal rescue organizations in the Carolina mountains.

Taste of Compassion, Asheville, Nov. 10

TasteThe eighth annual Taste of Compassion wine tasting and silent auction, benefiting Animal Compassion Network (ACN), will be held on Thursday, November 10 from 6 to 9 PM at The Venue, 21 N. Market Street, Asheville.

The evening includes tastings of more than 30 wines from around the world, courtesy of Mutual Distributing, hors d'oeuvres and desserts donated by area restaurants, a silent auction and music by local "gypsy jazz" band One Leg Up. A trolley service will be available from nearby free parking lots.

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at ACN's pet store for rescued pets, Pet Harmony, 803 Fairview Street, Asheville, or online at