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Old 12-16-2009, 04:20 PM   #1
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Hello everyone,

I have a lot of questions about my dog, that my vet may or may not know the answers to. I don't plan on flooding the forums with all my questions (or maybe I will ), and thanks everyone ahead of time for helping a newbie out.

My dog is a pound dog, and from what I could infer from the papers, he was either born in a shelter or picked up early as a puppy. A family adopted him and then returned him about 3 years later when they wer moving. He has huge separation anxiety, but is an otherwise wonderful companion. His withers are about 15 inches and weighs approximately 25 lbs. He's a lab and terrier mix and the vet recommended I get into coursing with him. How do I get started without throwing out tons of money(links very much appreciated)?

I just read Vagrey's kibble grading system and am mortified to find out how Beneful and Member's Mark stacks up against the more "haute couture" labels. Granted, I'm pretty much in the lowest tax bracket, but I plan on going to the store, returning what I can and buying the best I can afford. Until reading the thread, I've been mixing Hill's and Member's Mark (decided it was not so good brand). Member's Mark was my first bag of dog food ever and I'm just plan on mixing it out until it's gone.

Third, I bought insurance with Banfield. Anyone have any comments/concerns they'd like to share? I've had lukewarm experiences so far, but it may be simply because I'm a relatively new dog owner. My gut instinct isn't so sharp with the vet there and I'm thinking about moving my home location elsewhere. I have a strong medical background, and while I know vetinarian and human backgrounds aren't always congruent, something just didn't feel quite right.

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Old 12-16-2009, 04:48 PM   #2
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Hello Sempre Fi, welcome!! How wonderful of you to give this dog a home! Of course we want to hear more about him--his name and I hope we get to see some pictures :-) If you are relocating to a new area and don't yet know anyone to ask for personal recommendations, one of the best way to locate a vet is to contact the nearest university with a veterinary department. They will usually provide you with a few names of practices near you. I believe the AMVA will also provide a list if you contact them and provide them with your location and needs:
http://www.avma.org/contact_us.asp
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Old 12-16-2009, 05:03 PM   #3
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Hello Sempre Fi and

Glad you joined!
Please don't beat yourself up over the dog food. A LOT of people feed the supermarket brands after all. The good news is that you can get decent brands (not the top of the line) for less than what some of the supermarket brands cost. I'm not in great financial shape and these days I'm feeding Nutro. It's not great I admit, but by the time you figure in that you can buy ten bags and get the 11th one free, it costs about $0.75/lb. Also you can feed less than the supermarket brands as it has less filler.
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Old 12-16-2009, 05:32 PM   #4
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Welcome Sempre Fi! You will find a lot of people here that know a lot about dogs. Bless you for getting a rescue and giving him a forever home. Don't be shy about asking questions, I have asked a lot of 'stupid' ones here and everyone has been very polite 'curing' my ignorance! lol
I am not an expert though so can't help you much. Lucy is my first pet.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:00 PM   #5
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Hi Sempre Fi, I'm new here too. There are no stupid questions, never be afraid to ask. We all have new things to learn no matter how much we already know.

You will find that you feed less food to your dog with the better quality brands, this is because it's less filler and more food! If you keep this in mind it won't seem so expensive when you have to hand over the cash. Also you won't necessarily feed how much it says on the bag. Dog food companies know that we humans tend to equate fat with well fed. Keep your pet on the lean side. You should be able to feel his ribs but not see them.

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Old 12-17-2009, 01:44 AM   #6
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to the forum!!
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Old 12-17-2009, 01:57 AM   #7
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There are many great dog foods available out there. And absolutely, the better ones you feed less... Ash is on Solid Gold-Millenium formula since he's an active boy and he eats around 2 cups a day, so a 15lb bag lasts us a goodly amount of time! The important thing is to find a good formula that you can afford that maintains your dogs health the best. Just because it is a good dog food does not mean it will work for you... case in point--Solid Gold's Hundenflocken formula gives Ash a royal set of the toots. I couldn't stand being gassed out of the house. So we had to find another formula that didn't make him a walking scent pollutant.

Not sure how to get into coursing, but your best bet would be to look into local groups that might organize such events. Chat with them and see what is around your area for getting involved. It's how I will be getting Ash herding instinct tested, I will be contacting a local sheepdog club to find out when I can run him.

As far as Banfield, I have used their wellness plan for over a year and been happy with it here. It has allowed me to spread the cost of dog care over the year and do more thorough/frequent testing that I would have been able to. My vet here is fine. But I can only speak of my local office and vet. My guess is that it depends on how well each one is being run. Hope that helps.
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:23 PM   #8
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Hi Semper Fi, welcome to the DF from a fellow-newbie!
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Old 12-18-2009, 04:55 AM   #9
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Hello & welcome to df. Glad to have you aboard.
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Old 12-18-2009, 07:14 AM   #10
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Hello Sempre Fi and to Df Don't worry about all the questions you want to ask that's what we are here for so ask away Good on you for rescuing him! What's his name? Enjoy your stay on the forum
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