Tag Archives: boxer

Table Talk: How to Feed your Pet the Natural & Healthy Way

Guest Blogger:  Many of our pet parents are interested in feeding their furry friends a healthy & natural diet so we thought we’d check in with the experts over at Boulder’s Natural Animal Hospital for some advice.  Boulder’s Natural Animal Hospital is a full service veterinary hospital located in Boulder, CO.


If you take some time to think about the trends and changes in the food products you find at your grocery store, you’ll notice that things are very different than they were even 5 years ago.

With more consumers adopting health-conscious and environmentally-conscious eating habits, natural and organic options have sprung up everywhere! Similarly, many companies have introduced ‘healthier’ options such as natural and fortified foods for your pet. With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to know what foods are right for your pet and what’s just plain hype. Have no fear: in this post, your friends at Boulder’s Natural Animal Hospital would like to help shed some light on the tricky subject of pet nutrition. We’ll discuss some things to look for as well as those to avoid and why, so you can be a savvy shopper and the best possible pet parent. Bon appetit!

Things to Look for

  • AAFCO Approved Foods: The motto of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is  “Feed Safety & Consumer Protection – Over a Century of Partnership & Progress”. This organization certifies pet foods that meet at least the minimum requirements for nutritional content. As such, seeking foods that are approved by the AAFCO is a good baseline. It’s also important to note that the AAFCO has not established official definition for the words ‘holistic’ and ‘organic’. So don’t be fooled by fancy language on the side of a bag.
  • Please Pass the Meat! Many people have made the choice to eliminate the consumption of meat from their diets. Some may also choose to feed their pet’s vegetarian fare. As a pet owner who places your companion’s well-being at the top of your list of priorities, it is imperative to note that dogs and cats are carnivores. Biologically, they need real meat and the proteins that come along with it to thrive. On the same note, Fido and Fluffy have not evolved to utilize grains as a source of nutrition. This means that rice, corn, and other carbohydrates are unhelpful at best and downright dangerous at worst. The only reason they are added to most pet foods is because they are less expensive and make the meal chunkier.
  • Watery Food: Though it may sound a little bit strange, the “waterier” your pet’s food the better. Dogs and cat’s alike need a large amount of water in their diets to stay hydrated. For their more wild relatives, a large amount of their daily water comes not just from drinking, but eating as well. This is because the bodies of prey animals are composed of up to 70% water! Compare that to your standard dry kibble and you might see a problem developing. If possible, feed your pet wet food at least a few times per week, but strive to make the mushy stuff a daily part of their diet if possible.

Things to Avoid

  • Enhanced, Fortified, Blah Blah Blah: If you put our ‘Things to Look for’ list into practice, you can forget all of the hype-filled claims that fortified foods come with. Remember that dogs and cats are biologically programmed to derive everything they need for optimal health from a natural diet. Additives can be harmful whether they present a short term danger or cause complications over time. In dog foods you should strictly avoid any brands that contain BHT, BHA, ethoxyquin and propyl gallate, as they are known to be harmful and some are even carcinogens. For both dogs and cats, avoid foods that contain artificial preservatives in favor of those preserved with vitamins E and C.
  • By-products: The first ingredient in your pet’s food should be meat… and we’re talking REAL meat. Remember that your pet is a carnivore by nature and his body is fine-tuned to receive the maximum benefit by processing and using the nutrients from prey animals. Fillers and meat by-products sometimes contains additives that can be harmful to your animal companion. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if the meat isn’t human-grade, you shouldn’t feed it to your pet.
  • Overfeeding: This tip might be a bit different than the others that we’ve discussed so far, but we feel that it is just as important. America’s pets have a weight problem, just like many of our people. The key to a happy and healthy pet is feeding them the right things in the right amounts. Pets don’t have the mechanisms in their minds to turn town a delicious bowl full of food if it’s sitting on the floor in front of them all day. Make sure you feed your pet the proper amount of food for their particular size and breed and you’ll have a much happier camper on your hands.

We hope that you’ve found these tips to be helpful and informative. Some pet parents may decide that trying to navigate the complex world of pet food brands is too risky and preparing a home-cooked diet is the way to go. If you would like to explore the home-feeding option, schedule an appointment with one of the skilled veterinarians at Boulder’s Natural Animal Hospital – just call 303-494-7877.

– The Boulder’s Natural Animal Hospital Staff




A Eulogy for Dudley

The first time I met Dudley, I was afraid.  Boxers are formidable looking dogs, built like backroom prize fighters from the rough parts of the last century.  They have long muscular legs, deep chests and thick, powerful necks fitting their savage-looking faces—faces that whisper “pug” and scream “pugnacious.”  They look like they could run down a wild boar, pin it to the forest floor and hold it there until a German aristocrat arrived with a thick spear.  Which is, I imagine, what they were originally bred for.

In the absence of wild boar to subdue, most boxers become very sweet, goofy and altogether lovable pets.  They have a coherent and untroubled temperment to match their healthy, naturally proportioned frames.  They are great dogs for young families, wandering bachelors, single ladies, junk yard proprietors, nice suburban couples or yes, German royalty.  They are an excellent choice for enthusiastic first-time dog owners as well as lovely additions to established domestic packs.  One could make a strong case for boxers as the best all-around breed.  I’ve known boxers since I was a child, seen them raised up from puppyhood and come to love even their faults.  The greatest of these, as far as I can tell, is that they make you love them dearly, convince you that you’ve found a loyal friend forever, and then, one day, without permission and contrary to everything you’ve come to expect from so vibrant and optimistic a creature, they die. Last week my pal, Dudley, passed away.

When I first walked through his door and saw him slowly sit up on the far side of the room, I wondered what it was going to feel like when he tore my arm off.  Bad, I thought.  Real bad.  I wondered, will it
be the right arm or the left?  Will he give it back?  Should I just leave it like a lizzard leaves his tail?  Will I still have to walk
him?  It was my second day on the job and I was suddenly convinced it was far different from the one to which I had applied.  That job seemed fun, whereas this job seemed underpaid by several million dollars an hour, with a bit more terror, gladiatorial combat and impending death than I’d noticed in the description.  Dudley just stood there waiting for me to approach.  No barking, no wagging, just statue posing.  As I came near I struggled not to stare into his amazing ghostly white and unblinking eyes; eyes that made me wonder if he was either completely blind or if, in fact, he could see everything, from the sweat beading on my forehead to the fears in my heart.  He seemed to leer like the coldest most inveterate judge, sizing up my past and future iniquities, waiting to devour my the
tender soul like a milkbone.  The first time I met Dudley, I was scared.

How could I anticipate all the good times we’d have?  All the long
walks, long talks (one-sided though they were) and many dateless
memories; the seasons turning in the background but the gladness and
ease of our time together unchanging.  My daily visits with Dudley
seem to run together as I look back, moments merging through months
like a beam of light piercing through a calendar folded accordion
style.  When I’d come in he’d either pop up like a gopher from the
same spot where I first saw him, or he’d remain in a snoring lump
until he heard my voice or felt my approaching footfalls.  Sometimes
he’d only wake (with a wag) when I held my forearm near his nose to
let my scent draw him back to earth.  We had our little routines.
Dudley would come back from a walk and instantly begin to drool in
anticipation of the treat he knew I’d give him.  Every day he would
crane his neck and kick-kick-kick his paw when I scratched his neck
just the right way, and over time it seems I could only ever scratch
his neck in just the right way.  Sometimes he’d kick his paws without
my even petting him, as if my very proximity tickled him.  He’d snort
with the deepest animal satisfaction as he wiggled like a trout on the
grass, and when weather permitted, I’d wiggle on the grass right
beside him and try to glean some of his strange rapture.  All these
moments, built one upon another, day after day, looked forward to and
fulfilled and missed and regained and missed again.  And now only

Dudley was very old for a Boxer, and his health had been in a gradual
decline.  I can’t say I was surprised when I heard the news.
Sometimes when I came in he’d be slow to rise.  The effort of getting
up would bring on coughing fits which shook my hand as I gently pet
his back in a frustrated attempt to soothe.  Sometimes he’d slip on
the last stair descending to the street, and I’d have to hold him and
guide him.  His ‘accidents’ were becoming almost daily occurrences for
which he was never scolded, nor ever repentant.  He made massive lakes
that started in and formed tributaries and bays on their way to
the living room; lakes that took up half a roll of paper towels and
plenty of precious walk time.

Then our walks got shorter and shorter.  Captain Dudley faded quickly
enough that I thought it could come any day, yet just gradually enough
that I wondered if maybe he wouldn’t be the one to finally overcome
that one great Boxer character flaw.

Some dogs are so loving, so happy to be around people and so eager to
please, that you swear they’d live forever if you could only train
them how.  Just keep saying “stay,” and they’ll never ever go.  I’ve
long thought that I would live my life with a series of dogs, and I’ve
already buried five of my own.  I know Dudley’s people were prepared,
and I’m sure that he had the best, most comfortable end possible.
Still, I keep thinking of new titles for Dudley that I’d like to share
with him next time I see him.  He started out as Captain Duderly, but
every day brought new accomplishments and ribbons on his lapel.  He
was Lord Duders the famed collector of rare flowers; Herr Dudermeister
the foul-mouthed and brilliant theologian; Dudely-dee, retired air
force pilot and amateur clown; and Vice-Chancellor Duds, gambler and
confidant to the king of Monaco.  He wore every hat with good humor.
Who is going to fill in as Secretary of Agriculture?  No one else is
qualified.  He was my pal.  I know he looked forward to our walks; I
hope he enjoyed them, the neck rubs and treats, enough to offset his
troubles and aches.  Considering how scary he was to me at first, I
really can’t imagine a gentler dog.  I never once heard him bark,
never growl, never anger.  I still have both my arms, and with them I
type:  Bon Voyage Capt. Dudley, you will be missed.

Rest in peace, dear Dudley. May heaven have a stuffed animal waiting for you!

Mattie’s Poop

Mattie the Boxer

Mattie is a gorgeous little reddish Boxer who walks like no other dog.  She hardly sniffs a thing, and only wants to go forward, fast, and now.  She could not attract more admiring attention if she were a fine colorful Victorian lady gliding down the street under a parasol, and like such a lady, she is most particular about where she evacuates.  It is important that Mattie goes because if she comes home still loaded, she has to be crated instead of free run of the home.  Even if it takes extra-long and we have to walk all the way to Indiana, I am resolved to not be satisfied until she is.

This is why it’s always very exciting when the great moment arrives.  You can tell it’s impending when she lowers her head to actually consider the ground as we walk.  Then as we approach the drop zone, she begins to swing her body back and forth in ever-tighter turns, just like a fish swimming up stream, if that fish were also a belly dancer playing hopscotch.  I stand back and enjoy the show, trying not to laugh (any disturbance could be fatal to the endeavor) as her turns get tighter and tighter and quicker and quicker until she is not actually moving around but rather just flailing like a possessed and very negative head-banging rock star.  Then comes the squat, which is more like a self-defense pose than anything, and then Mattie sheds about a quarter of her body weight.  But that’s not the best part.  The apex of this little ritual, the part that had me laughing like a mad man in the street the first time I saw it, is what she does with her legs. After all that twisting and dancing, all that kinetic energy needs somewhere to go, and so it shoots through her legs and discharges into the earth like lighting, as her hind legs thump up and down like the happiest of cartoon rabbits.  Then, lighter and leaner, she’s off again.

I feel privileged to witness this.  It’s what zoo keepers must feel like when baby Pandas are born.  Mattie’s creation is oh-so-much less cute than a baby Panda, but nonetheless receives prompt attention.  And this is the real advantage of having what is by now a preternatural ability to tell when a dog is getting ready to do his duty.  Before the pooch can begin kicking up earth, I have their rejected kibble bagged, tied and ready to toss. Dogs can somehow predict earthquakes, but I too can spot the tiniest shift indicating impending seismic movement in the seismometers themselves.  The 4th lumbar vertebra lifts about a half millimeter, the sniffing becomes 4-12% more assiduous, the path straightens out and The Poop Walk begins.  By this time, I’ve already got a bag open and ready.  A pair of figure skaters could not pick up each other’s poop with more speed and grace.

But there is a darker side to this ability?  The fact that I’m so proud of it is itself quite worrying.  Is the price I pay for my new talent…my sanity?   Could laughing like a madman as Mattie does her poop dance mean that I’m actually a madman? Is it wrong to be so emotionally invested in a dog’s baser functions?  There are little alarm bells in my head that chime even as I strut down the street chirping “Good Mattie!  Such a good little pooper!  And such a nice big poop!”  I’m afraid I’m over the hill.  Or the mound, as it were.  But I am a professional dammit, and no one can convince me that Mattie is not a good girl.  Dogs have such little responsibility, you can’t deny them their little glories.  I won’t be the parent that reproaches his 3rd grader for messing up his lines in the school play.  Yes it’s poop, and yes I’m losing it, but way to go Mattie.  I’m proud of you.