Posted by: magnumpetcare | January 4, 2015

Movie Review

It has been a while since Magnum watched an entire movie from beginning to end. On Saturday evening we happened to turn on the TV and the movie “Up” was just starting. Magnum liked animated movies as a puppy but had not watched one in several years. He could not stop watching this one. There was just the right amount of action in the movie to keep him interested but not too much that he would start tearing around the house. He even waited for a commercial break about half way through the movie before quickly going outside to relieve himself. He came back inside quickly so as to make sure he did not miss any of the movie. Magnum is usually sound asleep by 8:00 pm or so but he stayed up until 11:00 pm to see the end of the movie. Magnum gives the movie Up a 9/10.

Posted by: magnumpetcare | January 2, 2014

Interspecies Communication

Magnum had an interesting encounter with a neighborhood cat last summer. Even though Magnum did not grow up with cats, he seems to be pretty good with cats in general. What he does not like is the colony of feral cats that live in the neighbor’s back yard behind us. Magnum is territorial when it comes to our back yard. He will go after any cat or other animal that dares to venture into our backyard. If cats are not on our property, he is usually fine with them. Last summer a large orange cat ventured into our back yard. Magnum spotted the cat in the backyard and asked to go out. I did not notice that cat so I went ahead and let him out into the backyard. Magnum did what he usually does with backyard intruders and raced towards that cat barking and acting tough expecting the cat to run as most cats usually do. This cat calmly looked up at Magnum and held his ground. Magnum put on the breaks when he realized the cat was not moving. The cat sat down and started cleaning himself while still keeping an eye on Magnum. Magnum was stunned, he barked some more but the cat ignored him. There was probably about 20 feet between them. Magnum sat down.The cat continued to clean himself. After about 5 minutes of sitting, Magnum decided to lie down. Still the cat continued to clean himself. Another 5 minutes past. Magnum finally decided that the cat was boring. Magnum got up and calmly walked away. The cat then got up and calmly walked away in the other direction. This cat knew how to handle dogs. The cat seemed to know Magnum’s charge was just a big show. This cat was able to calm Magnum down, get Magnum to sit and then get Magnum to lie down, all without saying a word. The cat seemed to do it all through body language. Makes me think about how we train dogs. Dogs and cats are very good at reading body language which allows communication between different species. Dogs are also very good at reading our body language. To properly train (communicate) with a dog we need to be able to return the favour by being equally able to read the dog’s body language. Spoken words are really for our own benefit. Dogs do not really care what is coming out of our mouths. Dogs watch our body language just like what the orange cat did with Magnum. If you think about it, it is possible to train a dog without using any spoken words at all.

Later that summer Magnum had another encounter with cats in our backyard. One day I noticed Magnum was spending a lot of time at the back fence where we have a bench with a small pergola over it. I quietly went over to see what Magnum was doing. When I got there, I found that Magnum was very gently nuzzling and playing with three very small kittens that were on the bench. I think the kittens were too small to know that they should be afraid of Magnum. Even though these kittens were trespassing, Magnum seemed to understand that they were babies that did not know any better.

Sometimes you can learn so much from your dog by just sitting back and observing them. I feel I have learned a lot from Magnum over the past 5 years.


Posted by: magnumpetcare | January 1, 2014

Teeth Brushing

How many people actually brush their dog’s teeth. Magnum has been raw fed since he was 12 weeks old. At 4 years old we started to notice some tarter build up on his canine teeth. I have seen many raw fed dogs that have perfectly white teeth at Magnum’s age. I had assumed that his teeth would be the same. Magnum is a very delicate eater. He takes his time and usually takes about 20 minutes to eat his dinner which consists of 3 to 4 lbs of raw meat and bones.  He gnaws on bones occasionally but only for about 20 minutes or so at a time. So at 4 years old, we started brushing Magnum’s teeth daily. At 5 years old he still has some tarter on his teeth but I think his teeth are looking better. Hopefully the daily brushing will help keep his teeth in good shape. I was hoping that being raw fed that Magnum would not need daily teeth brushing but I guess every dog is different. I have seen some pretty horrible teeth on kibble fed dogs when they get older.Here are a couple of shots of Magnum’s canine teeth.

Right canine

Left canine

Posted by: magnumpetcare | July 30, 2012

Intact dogs

Yesterday (July 29th) we took Magnum down to the Beaches Jazz Festival in Toronto. We walked up and down the Boardwalk, took Magnum for a swim to cool off and then went for an ice-cream cone along Queen Street. We had a good walk. Magnum drew quite a bit of attention as usual. This first thing most people notice is his size. Then they notice his testicles. It seems many people in Toronto have not seen a dog with testicles? Testicles are a natural part of a male dogs body. I have kept intact dogs in the past without issue but Magnum is my first intact “city” dog. When we got Magnum, I again did much research to see what the benefits were of castrating male dogs. I found that the health benefits of keeping male dogs intact far out-way any benefits of castrating dogs.I am always amazed at the reasons people give for saying all male dogs should be castrated.

  1. All intact dogs contribute to pet overpopulation.  How can that be? Just because a dog is intact does not mean it will ever be bred. I have no plans to breed Magnum. Over 90% of the dogs we meet in Toronto are neutered but we still have pet overpopulation. People who choose to breed dogs will do so no matter what the laws are.
  2. They indicate the neutered dogs are healthier. How is that possible? Removing the testicles from a dog is not like cropping the ears or docking the tail. Castrating is removing an important organ from the body that does much more than make sperm. Testosterone is extremely important for proper growth and muscle development of dogs. I cringe  when I hear of puppies neutered under one year of age. Testosterone is important. Athletes know this. Why do you think some athletes cheat by adding extra testosterone into their system? So taking away testosterone will have the opposite affect, removing muscle mass and making bones weaker. I think it’s common sense.
  3. Intact dogs are more aggressive… Really? I have seen aggressive female dogs, both intact and spayed. I have seen aggressive male dogs, both intact and castrated. The only difference is an intact male dog has another possible trigger for aggressive behavior. A behavior that can be corrected with training just as any other unwanted behavior. I see quite a few aggressive dogs out there and the vast majority of them are neutered.
  4. Women often tell me they don’t like the “look” of testicles on a dog… So I guess they are castrating dogs for the same reason people crop dog’s ears and dock dog’s tails? Again testicles are a natural part of male dogs and are necessary for proper development of dogs. At the very least, I don’t think castration should not be done until the dog has fully matured. I will not compromise a dog’s health just for a certain look.

The bottom line is that I choose to not castrate Magnum. I made this decision after weighing all the pros and cons. We went this route so that Magnum can lead as healthy and natural a lifestyle as possible in the city. So the next time you see an intact dog, don’t assume that the owner is an irresponsible backyard breeder (I have been accursed of this). The owner may actually be a very responsible pet owner who has done their research and is doing what they feel is best for their dog.

I found the following document helpful when doing my research:

Magnum at three and a half years old


Posted by: magnumpetcare | February 22, 2012

City Coyotes

Magnum and I often see coyotes on our daily walks. The coyotes use the Hydro right-of-ways to travel around the city as well as city parks and ravines. Yesterday we got our closest look yet at one of the local coyotes. It was a male. He was about the size of a Golden Retriever and looked strong and healthy. He was a beautiful animal. No sign of mange that I often see on coyotes. He was walking along a bike path coming towards us. From a distance I first assumed that someones’ dog was off leash and called Magnum over next to me. As the coyote got closer, I realized what he was. He continued moving along the path towards us at a steady, slow trot. Magnum and I stood still and held our ground. When the coyote was within 20 feet of us, it looked like the coyote had no intension of moving off the path. Magnum still stood quietly beside me. I gave a yell at the coyote and waved at him. He stopped, looked at us for about 10 seconds and then moved off the path and went by us. He came within about 12 feet of Magnum and I as he passed. The coyote was quiet, relaxed and did not seem to show any fear of Magnum or I. Once he passed us, I think the coyote realized that Magnum was a male dog as the coyote started marking his territory.

I often run across dog walkers in our neighborhood who fear these coyotes and want them removed. Coyotes are one of the most adaptable  animals on this planet. Extermination of coyotes has been tried many times in the past with absolutely no success. They live everywhere and adapt to city life quite well. As our cities get larger and native habitat shrinks, I believe we will see more wildlife in the cities. We often see deer as well on our walks in the city. In nature, those that can adapt survive, those that cannot adapt perish. Hopefully we can adapt to living with these animals in our midst as well as they have adapted to our city life.

Toronto Animal Services – About City Coyotes –

Posted by: magnumpetcare | January 23, 2012

Mr. Clean

Sometimes I refer to Magnum as Felix Unger… Do you remember The Odd Couple? Magnum is a little different from your average dog in that he likes to be clean. When he was a pup, he used to always step around puddles during his walks. I sometimes catch him cleaning himself like a cat does, trying to lick himself all over. When Magnum comes back to the house after going for a walk, he waits patiently at the door for me to wipe all his feet before entering the rest of the house.

Magnum sleeps on a Kuranda bed. He drools a lot in his sleep. After a while his bed gets quite dirty from all the drool. He will start laying on the floor instead of his bed. He will approach his dirty bed and look at me as if to say “do something about this dirty bed”. We have two sets of bedding for the Kuranda bed. I will put fresh bedding on the Kuranda bed and he can hardly hold back his excitement!. He will start to jump on the bed before I finish making it with fresh bedding. He will then curl up on his fresh, clean Kuranda bed and stay there for at least a couple of hours. Nothing makes Magnum happier the the a clean bed with fresh bedding!

Magnum enjoying his clean bed!

Magnum enjoying his clean bed!

Posted by: magnumpetcare | November 30, 2011

High energy Dane

Magnum seemed to have more energy than other Danes from day one. Recently, we met up with one of his Dane playmates that we had not seen in a while. Mishka is a four and a half year old black female Dane. They were both happy to see each other. They ran and played for about five minutes and then she stopped… Magnum was perplexed. He ran circles around her, trying desperately to encourage her to play some more. She had had a enough and just wanted to enjoy a leisurely walk. Magnum continued to run around and explore, always on alert, looking for someone to play with him.

The next day, we met up again. Again they played for five or ten minutes and then Mishka had had enough. This time some more Danes showed up at the Dog Park. The owner of the new Danes was watching Magnum and Mishka play and said that Magnum must be very young because of all the energy he has. The male Dane with her was two and a half years old. He was not interested in playing. He walked around the dog park sedately. Magnum is almost three years old. All the time he was at the dog park, he was playing or running at full gallop round the park just for the fun of it. She could not believe that a 3-year-old Dane could be like this. I have heard people often comment that their Chihuahua thinks it is a Great Dane. Well, I think Magnum believes he is a Jack Russel Terrier, with too much energy to burn.

Magnum gets at least two, one to two-hour walks a day. Sometimes he gets some play time in with other dogs during these walks. Where does he get his energy?

Magnum has always looked thin. He is about 38″ tall at the shoulder and weighs between 140 lbs to 150 lbs. Our vet says Magnum is in fantastic shape. The sedate two and a half year old black male Dane we saw at the dog park was about the same height as Magnum but weighed over 180 lbs. The dog did not look fat, just solid. Magnum on the other hand, is much lighter, more athletic looking, rippling muscles and no extra fat at all.

I think Magnum energy level is high for a Great Dane for a few reasons. Number one being his raw diet. Number two being an intact male. Number three being that we are always trying to find new places for him to visit and new things for him to try so that he is mentally stimulated as well as physically stimulated. Number four, the only vaccination he gets is the one required by law, the rabies vaccination. He does not get annual vaccinations. This keeps his immune system strong. Overall Magnum’s energy level is high because he is a strong, healthy dog which is just the way we like it.

Posted by: magnumpetcare | November 30, 2011

Teaching Magnum to ring a bell… or did he teach us?

One of Magnum’s toys as a puppy was a squeaky football shaped toy. We did not think Magnum was too impressed with the toy as a pup. He would hit it with his nose to make it squeak and then walk away. Somewhere along the way he learned to use the squeaky toy to get our attention when he wants something. He keeps the squeaky toy on an end table in the living room. If he wants his water bowl refreshed (he does not drink water that has not been freshly poured), he hits the squeaky toy with his nose and then looks at his water dish. This morning it was pouring rain outside so I was delaying his morning walking. He started pounding away at the squeaky toy until I took him for a short walk in the rain. Later in the morning, he decided he needed a good rub down. He hit the squeaky toy again and then sat very straight with his back to me, waiting for a rub down. He is not big on eating but once in a while if he is hungry or we are late getting his meal ready, he will start hitting the squeaky toy with his nose. He only uses the squeaky toy to get our attention, He never uses the squeaky toy as something to play with. He has trained us well to respond to the squeaky toy!

On another note, as it has been raining all day, Magnum was wandering around the house looking bored. I said to him, “Why don’t you go and watch some TV?” just as a joke. Magnum turned and walked back into the living room. I followed him in there a couple of minutes later. There he was, standing in front of the television set… looking at a blank screen. How much of the English language do dogs really understand? I think they understand a lot more than most people think. Susana was standing in the kitchen when she noticed it was snowing outside. She exclaimed “look, it’s snowing outside”. Magnum ran to the window with much excitement, seemingly very happy to see the first snowfall of the season.

Posted by: magnumpetcare | November 25, 2011

Why we now make our own treats for Magnum

Recently while reviewing posts for our local Dog Park, I found out that many of the chicken jerky or chicken strips snack for dogs are making some dogs sick. It seems that the ones that can make dogs sick are made in China. You have to look at the fine print to see where the product is actually made. Some of these products will say “Manufactured in the US but the fine print says “Made in China”. I have seen too many health scares for food from China, be it food for humans or food for pets. The packaging lists the only ingredient is chicken. I then noticed that the product has been irradiated. Dogs that get sick from eating these products have kidney damage in some cases. Please check the following link for information on why we should not eat irradiated food.

“Studies on animals fed irradiated foods have shown increased tumors, reproductive failures and kidney damage. Some possible causes are: irradiation-induced vitamin deficiencies, the inactivity of enzymes in the food, DNA damage, and toxic radiolytic products in the food.”

Magnum is “Whole Prey” raw food only. He does not get kibble. The only canned food he gets is canned Tripe and canned pumpkin, neither of which is irradiated or has other ingredients added.  We thought the chicken jerky treats we were buying for him were safe as the ingredients list only chicken. Since we are now not sure how safe these chicken jerky products are for dogs, we went out and bought a food dehydrator. We are now buying chicken breasts and making our own homemade chicken jerky for Magnum. We will use the food dehydrator to make other treats for Magnum such as dehydrated liver snacks and make treats for use such as dehydrated fruit. So it turns out that the only “dog food” we buy from pet stores is canned tripe. Magnum gets about a quarter can of canned ripe mixed with a large spoonful of canned pumpkin and an egg with his meals. The rest of his meal consists of one or more of the following: chicken quarter, turkey neck, beef tongue, beef heart, chicken liver, chicken feet, chicken gizzards, chicken heart, mackerel, sardine, ground chicken patty, ground lamb patty, lamb, goat. All meat is raw,  frozen or semi-frozen. We would like Magnum to eat pork products as well but he will not touch anything that comes from a pig.

Posted by: magnumpetcare | November 21, 2011

You can lead a dog to water…

I do not think Great Danes are natural swimmers like Labs are. Magnum was introduced to water when he was about 9 months old. He watched people and dogs play in the water but would not go in on his own voluntarily. In September we rented dog friendly cottage for a long weekend. Magnum stood on the beach whining and prancing around while I swam in the water with my sister’s Lab. Finally, I put him on a leash and walked him into the water until his legs could not reach the bottom and he was swimming. After that, we could not keep him out of the water. He especially loves to run into the water at full gallop so as to make the biggest splashes. He is not normally a retriever but he loves to retrieve things that are thrown into the water for him.

Pepper watches Magnum's first swim

Magnum makes a big splash!

I used the same technique to introduce Magnum to stairs. Up until Magnum was 6 months old, he had never used the stairs in our 2 story home. As the bathtub was upstairs and he was in need of a bath, we needed him to be able to haul his now 90 lb body up the stairs by himself. I put the leash on him and walked him down the basement stairs first as they are carpeted. He then walked back up the stairs on his own. After that, he was fine going up and down stairs on his own volition. The stairs to the second floor are hardwood. I would not ask a dog to go up and down hardwood stairs without something on the stairs for traction. We added a carpet runner to these stairs so that he can access the second floor as well. Magnum now goes upstairs often, likes to drink from the bathroom sink and looks at the bathtub longingly. He actually does not mind baths. I think he likes the attention. He also likes to survey activity on our street from our bedroom window on the second floor.

Magnum surveying his "Kingdom"

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