Tuesday, May 18, 2010

About Choosing A Dog (yes, I know, this post has nothing to do with cats)

Alison, my trusty assistant, asked me to post this in view of the upcoming Disney film "Marmaduke".

It has become a sad American tradition that whenever a movie comes out that showcases a particular breed of dog, that breed skyrockets in popularity - generally to its detriment. I first remember this phenomenon with Lassie (collies) and 101 Dalmations (dalmations and cocker spaniels).

Now, with the prospect of great danes becoming the trendy new hip pet for the fashion-minded but woefully unprepared, we think it's time to speak out and say "NO!!" The vast majority of people are not suitable great dane owners. These dogs require a LOT of food to grow them to adulthood and still more to maintain them. They are a giant breed, and so they take up a lot of space and need a lot of yard to stretch their legs in. They are NOT apartment or condo dogs.

And the breed has a plethora of serious medical conditions just lurking beneath the surface: cardiomyopathy (dead dog quickly) and bone cancer (dead dog painfully) are the two I am most familiar with from my dog & cat days. Growth problems due to inappropriate nutritional choices (usually excesses rather than deficiencies) can lead to misery and permanent damage to joints and bones. And the simple fact is, as a giant breed, these dogs only live about 8-10 years on average.

So unless you really know what you are getting into, don't be tempted to get a dane just because you saw one in a movie. Go to the pound and pick up a homely but loving mutt. You'll feel better about yourself and never regret your decision.