our @wisdompanel 3.0 canine dna test experience (and a discount for you!) #sponsored

I've speculated about our dog, N.A.S.H.A.'s, breed makeup since we adopted her in 2005. I call her a "mixed terrier" because a majority of her physical and behavioral traits seem terrier-ish to me, but I'm not certain. The only way to really be sure is to have her DNA tested. Yep, doggie DNA. I'm beyond excited that we are finally doing just that. We received a Canine DNA Test from Wisdom Panel. The process was super easy, and I can't wait to find out how accurate my assessment of N.A.S.H.A.'s ancestry is. Wisdom Panel reports that visual identification of a dog's breed(s) is only accurate about 25% of the time. So there's a good chance we'll be surprised!

a canine dna test in 3 easy steps

I am being compensated for helping to spread the word about Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 3.0. Well Minded only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. All opinions are my own. Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 3.0 is not responsible for the content of this article.

The Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test takes just three simple steps.

1. Collect dog's DNA. N.A.S.H.A. is fairly easy-going, but I was surprised that she didn't put up any sort of fight. All I had to do was place the collection swabs between her gum and her cheek and swab for a few seconds. There were two cheek swabs, and she didn't seem to mind at all.

It just took a gentle touch–no duct tape required ;)–to swab N.A.S.H.A.'s cheek.

It just took a gentle touch–no duct tape required ;)–to swab N.A.S.H.A.'s cheek.

2. Activate online. While I waited for the test swabs to dry completely, I went online and activated our kit by answering just a few basic questions. It only took about three minutes.

You can see the simple instructions behind our drying swabs.

You can see the simple instructions behind our drying swabs.

3. Mail test. On my way to pick the kids up at school, I dropped by the post office and mailed the kit off. Easy!

The report will come in 2-3 weeks, but in the meantime, I can track the test on the Wisdom Panel web site, just like I can track my UPS package! 

what are the benefits to testing my dog's dna with wisdom panel 3.0?

I wanted to have N.A.S.H.A.'s DNA tested simply because it's fun and I'm curious about her, but there are lots of reasons to have your dog tested:

• Create a better health plan for your pooch. Certain breeds are at higher risk for certain conditions and diseases. Knowing your dog's breed(s) can help you plan and prepare for those possibilities and can provide potentially life-saving information. 

• Determine if your dog has the MDR1 (Multi-Drug Resistance 1) genetic mutation. It is found in some hearing and sighthound breeds, as well as many mixed-breed dogs. The MDR1 gene produces a protein, P-glycoprotien, that is a drug transport pump, playing an important role in limiting drug absorption and distribution. It enhances the excretion of drugs commonly used in dogs, and most often affects the brain. Dogs with the MDR1 mutation may suffer adverse reactions to common drugs. Armed with this knowledge, you can provide a better, safer veterinary experience for your dog.

• Create a behavior plan. If you haven't already botched things up in the pet parenting department (wink), knowing your dog's breed(s) can help create a behavior plan that can reduce or eliminate unwanted behaviors and play to your dog's strengths and instincts. There is a reason why English Bulldogs don't make good jogging partners and why your Border Collie must be mentally challenged to stay out of trouble. 

• Create a nutrition plan. Just as humans have individual dietary needs, dogs do, as well (is your dog jumping on the gluten-free train?). Knowing your dog's genetic background can help determine the best nutrition plan for your pooch, which may improve quality of life and longevity.

• Determine the size of your puppy or appropriate weight of your adult dog. By having your puppy tested, you'll be able to determine the approximate size he'll be as an adult. In addition, knowing your dog's genetic background can help determine your pet's ideal weight.

And to think I just wanted to do it for fun!

where can I get wisdom panel 3.0?

I can't wait to see the Wisdom Panel folks this Saturday, December 5th, at the upcoming Holiday Pet Festival in nearby Scottsdale, Arizona. If you'll be attending, you can have your dog swabbed on-site for the discounted price of $39.99. Or you can purchase a kit to take home for the discounted price of $49.99. That is a sweet deal, as the MSRP is $84.99. If you're not local, you can still get $10 off your online purchase on the Wisdom Panel web site by using code Holidays2015. Perhaps you're looking for that unusual gift to give your dog or dog lover?

Stay tuned to hear about our experience at the Holiday Pet Festival and to find out what N.A.S.H.A.'s mutt make-up is. I can't wait! Maybe she's a pure-bred Saint Bernard!

Visit Wisdom Panel on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Have you had your dog's DNA tested? Were you surprised with the results?


doggie dna analysis: ava's story

thanksgiving meal dos and don'ts for dogs

I know many of you are already celebrating Christmas. Sometimes I'm a little slow on the latest trends, so I'm still thinking about Thanksgiving. Although feeding your dog the wrong kind of people food is a no-no, the right kinds can be enjoyable and healthy. A traditional Thanksgiving meal has both great choices and terrible choices for your pooch. Here are a list of dos and don'ts to help you treat your pet to a special Thanksgiving meal. 

We love our little beggars, but here are some Thanksgiving meal dos and don'ts for dogs.

We love our little beggars, but here are some Thanksgiving meal dos and don'ts for dogs.

thanksgiving meal dos and don'ts for dogs

DO feel free to toss you pooch some boneless, well-cooked turkey. It is, after all, really what your pooch is after. Just don't leave the turkey unattended. A little turkey is good. A whole turkey is bad.

DON'T let your dog get into the raw bread dough. Raw yeast dough converts into sugar and alcohol in the stomach, which could become life-threatening depending on the size of your dog  and the amount ingested. Plus, nobody wants a bloated, drunk dog wrecking the family meal. Leave that to Uncle Joe.

DO veggie it up! Sweet potatoes (hold the marshmallows) and green beans (hold the salt) are particularly healthy for your dog, depending on how you prepare them. Less is more, here, so hold off if your recipe calls for a ton of salt, sugar, or other ingredient that may not be canine-friendly. And no onions! They are toxic to dogs.

DON'T give your dog dessert, and don't allow him access to uncooked deserts, especially. Raw eggs could contain salmonella that could lead to food poisoning. Even cooked, sweet pies and the like just have too much sugar for Fido to handle. You don't want to excuse yourself from the festivities to clean up dog barf, do you? 

DO create a fun dog-friendly treat. Freezing a bite of turkey and a drop of gravy in an ice cube can provide fun and entertainment for your pooch. Or try putting some turkey and veggies in a Kong. Interactive treats are so fun! 

DON'T go overboard. Everything in moderation is my philosophy, and that should be especially true for your pooch. A little goes a long way. Make sure you keep track of who is passing scraps under the table, especially if children are involved. If all twelve guests at the dinner table are dropping turkey, Fido might overindulge. Will overindulge. 

So unless you're morally, ethically, or politically opposed to allowing your dog a bit of human food, feel free to include your pooch in the festivities and the meal. Just keep these tips in mind to keep things on the healthy side of the scale. Happy Thanksgiving!

a fresh take on kibble with brothers complete #sponsored #giveaway

Sometimes kibble gets a bad rap. Granted, there are some pretty crappy ones out there, but there are also some excellent options. We feed N.A.S.H.A. mostly kibble-type dog food and we rotate her diet regularly in order to keep things interesting for her and so her body gets proteins and nutrients from different sources. Since we regularly switch things up, we have the opportunity to try different types of food. We will only feed her what we consider to be the best of the best, and we keep those in our rotation. We think about the quality of the food as well as the quality of the company making the food. Brothers Complete has a fresh take on both.

Brothers Complete offers a fresh take on kibble. wellmindedpets.com

Brothers Complete offers a fresh take on kibble. wellmindedpets.com

I am being compensated for helping to spread the word about Brothers Complete. Well Minded only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. All opinions are my own. Brothers Complete is not responsible for the content of this article. 

brothers complete's fresh take on kibble

Brothers Complete offers high quality dog food in several protein varieties: chicken, turkey, lamb, and venison. Their web site has a plethora of information about why their food is so healthy for your pooch, but I'll give you the highlights:

• gmo free

• grain free and potato free

• sugar-free

• suitable for all sizes and life stages

• contains digestive enzymes, selective prebiotics, and encapsulated probiotics

• contains human-grade proteins

• over 90% animal protein

• great for dogs with allergies, skin issues, or sensitive tummies 

Brothers Complete says

The Brothers Complete lineup of dog food.

The Brothers Complete lineup of dog food.

The Brothers Complete family made the purposeful decision to not create a kibble dog food unless it would be the most nutritious, health-promoting dog food that it could possibly be–better than the best kibble there was. For ten years in our dog food store, we observed first-hand the recurring health problems that affected so many dogs–many of which ate the "best" kibble dog foods. We were convinced that something better had to be possible, and we were determined to create it.

I don't know that I have words to describe how much N.A.S.H.A. loves this food. I'll let her show you.

N.A.S.H.A. loved Brothers Complete. Like Crazy Eyes kind of love. wellmindedpets.com

N.A.S.H.A. loved Brothers Complete. Like Crazy Eyes kind of love. wellmindedpets.com

This food is seriously the sh– ...it's really great. But there is something even more special about it. It's fresh.

Brothers Complete uses a combination of four natural preservatives. The industry standard is one or two. 

Most pet food companies produce and store large amounts of kibble in order to have enough to supply to distributors. As a result, product is typically stored in a hot warehouse for six to eight months before being delivered to stores. Quite often, the fat oxidizes to some degree and becomes rancid. No, thank you. Since Brothers Complete sells mostly directly online, they produce food in small batches as needed, putting the food in the hands of the customer about three to six months sooner. The food that is stored for a short time at the Brothers Complete facility is kept cool in their warehouse at 55-60°. From there, the bags are shipped directly to customers.

Did you notice those metal bags? They aren't meant to bling-out the food and attract you to something shiny; they serve a purpose. The high tech, 4-ply, metalic bag protects the food from insects, moisture, light, and oxygen, keeping the food fresher and safer. The natural preservatives used in dog food are degraded by heat and light, so not only does the metal bag protect the food, itself, it also protects the natural preservatives, keeping it fresher.

Dogs overwhelmingly love the taste of Brothers Complete because it is so fresh! N.A.S.H.A. agrees and gives it her stamp of approval. Though we haven't made it through all of the varieties, yet, she thinks the venison version is delectable. I was impressed by the crunch! I know that might sound ridiculous, but I've never heard a food crunch like this. Brothers Complete even sounds fresh. Check it out: 

brothers complete's fresh take on business

In addition to organizing their business to mostly ship directly to the consumer, which allows them to deliver a higher-quality fresher product, the people at Brothers Complete are truly special. It's a family run business, and they treat their customers like family (I mean in the good way). That personal touch means so much. They are truly the most generous, NICEST people who want the best for their customers. 

The people at Brothers Complete will bend over backwards to make sure you and your dog have a positive experience with their food and treats. A great product and wonderful ethics? I'm in!

want to try?

Enter for your chance to win a ten pound bag of the Brothers Complete dog food of your choice, plus three bags of their biscuit treats!

when is it okay to let your dog off-leash?

Running free...romping...picture it in slow motion: tongue flapping in the wind, ears bouncing up and down, and that joyful look on your dog's face. Lovely, isn't it? Maybe. Maybe not. 

When is it okay to let your dog off-leash? wellmindedpets.com

When is it okay to let your dog off-leash? wellmindedpets.com

when is it okay to let your dog off-leash?

In my professional opinion, it is okay to let your dog off-leash in public at two–and only two–times.

1. When you are in a place where it is legal and appropriate to do so and you have 100% complete proven verbal control of your dog. Meaning, if there was a steak dinner, a thrown frisbee, or a tempting playmate, your dog would not go toward it without your permission. He never fails to obey your command. Ever. 

2. When you are in a place where off-leash dogs are expected and encouraged. A dog park for example. Or a dog beach. 

Period. End of story.

let me tell you why

As you probably already know, I am a professional pet sitter and dog walker. I walk all kinds of dogs, and I see other people walking all kinds of dogs. When I am walking a client's dog, I have rules. 

• I do not allow my client's dog to socialize with other dogs. You just never know, and I don't ever want harm to come to a dog in my care.

• We never go off-leash, and we don't go to off-leash places. I'll take your dog hiking, jogging, or to the park, but we're going on a leash. I do not have 100% complete verbal control of your dog, so attached to me he stays. 

• I avoid off-leash dogs like the plague. Their owners almost never have verbal control of them, so I keep my distance.

This week I had two dog walking experiences, one positive and one negative. Ironically, I was walking the same dog, Thor*. This is a dog I regularly walk. I have great leash control of him, and if he gets excited about a passing bunny or kid on a bike, I make him sit until the enticement has passed. He listens to me, and we walk well together. I am extra careful with him because when I was first hired to walk him, his owner let me know that he was dog-aggressive, meaning he might harm another dog if contact is made. When I walk this particular dog, I am extremely careful to keep my head up, be aware of my surroundings, and keep control of him.

the wrong way 

The other morning, I took Thor to an open grassy area in the neighborhood in which he lives. Though he was on his leash, the large, open space gave us a chance to romp and play rather than just walk up and down the sidewalk. About twenty yards away, I heard a car pull up. A lady got out, and I didn't think much of it, but then she opened one of the back doors, and three Labs popped out, none of them leashed. All three ran toward us. I immediately made Thor sit, but the rush of canine coming toward us was too much for him to sustain the position. I yelled "NO! NO! NO!" but the dogs wouldn't stop. I yelled at the lady: "He's not friendly!" She tried to call her dogs back and they sort-of listened, but then just ignored her. I screamed at her "GET CONTROL OF YOUR DOGS RIGHT NOW!" All the while, trying to move us in the opposite direction.

We escaped unscathed, but talk about a frightening adrenaline rush. 

That lady did not have control of her dogs. Thor could have fought with one or all of them, and any one of the four dogs could have been injured or killed. I could have been injured in the middle of it. The whole situation was a mess. She was in an area where it is not permitted to have dogs off-leash, and we weren't expecting it. I still get angry just thinking about it. It was completely irresponsible of her to create that situation. 

Even if your dog is friendly, not every dog is. It is not okay to allow your dog to approach another dog without permission. And that leads me to the positive experience I had this week...

the right way

Just a couple of days later, Thor and I were walking down the sidewalk (avoiding the nice open grassy area) and I noticed a man with a dog on a leash walking in the opposite direction toward us. I crossed the street to put some distance between us as we passed, and I made Thor sit while they passed. The gentleman stopped directly across the street from us and asked "is your dog friendly?" 

I replied "I'm sorry, he's not friendly with other dogs. Thank you so much for asking."

He nodded his head in an understanding way, and we both went on with our peaceful walks. Faith in humanity partially restored.

when in doubt, pull the leash out

Allowing your dog to be off-leash is risky. It's risky for your dog, for you, and for others. If your dog wants to romp free, find a place where others expect dogs to be off-leash. No matter how well you know your own dog, you don't know that dog you may encounter. A little bit of freedom isn't worth the potential price.  

* names have been changed in the interest of privacy


i believe in leashes: my story

n.a.s.h.a. trains me with the treat lineup from @VetIQpets #ad

N.A.S.H.A. has me trained. I get up early–4:30 a.m. early–and she kindly gets up with me so I don't have to go it alone. Before I start the coffee pot, I let her out for a few minutes, and then back in, and then I follow her straight to the dog pantry. She knows it's treat time. Typically she only gets that one treat each day, but sometimes when we have a particularly desirable treat in the rotation, she'll request more. At first I didn't realize what it meant when she gave me a dead leg. Was she just being a jokester? After repeated pokes, it became apparent that she was trying to communicate something. Had her water bowl gone dry? Nope. Did she want to play? Nope.

N.A.S.H.A. Trains Me with the Treat Lineup from VetIQ. wellmindedpets.com

N.A.S.H.A. Trains Me with the Treat Lineup from VetIQ. wellmindedpets.com

As a True Science Ambassador, I am being compensated for trying and conveying my opinion about True Science products. Neither True Science or VetIQ is responsible for the content of this article. All opinions expressed are my own.

As I'd head to the pantry, she'd bounce a bit to let me know I was getting warmer. And when I put my hand on the treat bag, she sat down and licked her chops, letting me know I'd figured it out. I'm blaming the VetIQ treats we have in the pantry right now for the recent dead-legs I've been getting. We've been trying Minties Dental Treats and Hip & Joint Soft Chews, which are more of a supplement than a treat, much to N.A.S.H.A.'s disappointment...she can only have a small amount. Both are vet recommended and made in the U.S.A.

what is VetIQ all about?

Their mission: 

VetIQ provides quality medication and supplements for your pet at prices you can afford. We desire to provide the best information possible so that you can make informed decisions for your pet.

I'm all about making informed decisions, especially when it comes to my family's health and the health of our pets. Each VetIQ product is given it's own web site, which is interesting to me. It may seem like overkill, but to those of us who like to be informed, these platforms offer all the facts we need to make good choices.

Hip & Joint from VetIQ


N.A.S.H.A. loves chewy treats, so I figured the Hip & Joint supplements would be a sure thing, and I was right. She loves them. Too bad she only gets half a treat every other day, so says the package, because she'd love a lot more. The supplements help support joint cartilage, help lubricate joints, and help maintain muscle–all important as our dogs age–with glucosamine, creatine, and omega 3s.

"Okay...I'm sitting. Kindly hand over the Hip & Joint."

"Okay...I'm sitting. Kindly hand over the Hip & Joint."

Minties from VetIQ


I figured the Minties dental treats would be a tougher sell, but I was wrong. She loves the Minties, too. We'd tried her on other dental chews in the past with no success, so I was pleasantly surprised. Minties help clean teeth, promote fresh breath with natural ingredients, and help control plaque and tartar. They are wheat free, gluten free, soy free, corn free, and are free of artificial flavors and animal by-products. It's especially important for senior dogs to maintain good dental health, and since N.A.S.H.A. is ten, now, that is important to us. 

"You mean I get more? Guinea pigs have it made!"

"You mean I get more? Guinea pigs have it made!"

Since N.A.S.H.A. enjoys these treats so much, we'll make them part of our regular healthy treat lineup. 

Follow VetIQ on Twitter. Follow Minties on Twitter.