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Nat Geo Wild's Pet Talk with Dr. Courtney Campbell, Dr. Tina Olivieri, Wildlife Expert David Mizejewski, and field reporter Andre Millan

CALIF.- Hosts, (left to right) David Mizejewski, Dr. Tina Olivieri, Dr. Courtney Campbell and Andre Millan of Pet Talk airing on Nat Geo WILD (Photo credit: National Geographic Channels/Stewart Volland)


Welcome to my fourth recap of Nat Geo Wild's Pet Talk.  I'm excited that Pet Talk is back!!! I'm watching it as I type on my new SlingerTV app.  Although this is Episode 4, it's really a re-airing of Episode 3 before the start of Season 2 of Pet Talk.  But let's go with it anyway.

Segment 1 – Biggest Pet Peeves

The Panelist – Dr. Campbell, Dr. Olivieri, and Wildlife Expert David Mizejewski share their pet peeves and invite dog parents to share a few as well.  I'm going to share what I learned on the show and add what I've learned with my dogs.

Dr. Campbell – pet parents who trust Dr. Google over their veterinarian.

I know that a lot of pet parents like doing their research on dog nutrition and health.  With the advent of social media, we have access to a lot of information anytime day or night.  While I'm a proponent of people doing research, I don't think we should write off the experience of our veterinarians.  The best thing to do is to find a veterinarian who is willing to take the time to help us understand our dog's health.

Dr. Olivieri – pet parents who are raising overweight dogs.

She doesn't mean dogs that have a thyroid or metabolic condition.  She's talking about those of us who have overweight dogs because we're overfeeding them.

Body Condition Scoring - Pet Obesity Prevention



Sydney and Zoey are overweight and are currently on a diet.  I slowly decreased the amount of raw I was feeding them and replaced the missing food with green beans.  I prefer frozen or fresh to the canned green beans because canned has sodium (even the no salt brands).

David – people who release exotic pets into the wild

There is a terrible trend of people buying exotic pets without doing their homework.  They're bringing home animals that are small and cute, and when they grow up and are too much to handle, the animals are released into the wild.  Pythons are currently competing with alligators in Florida for food.  Lionfish have become an invasive species in Florida waters.

Dog Parent – dogs that hump their human

I have never had this experience with any dog. However, I do know that this is a sign of dominance.  The advice shared to curb this behavior was:

  • Avoidance – when a dog is about to start the hump dance, move out of his/her reach.
  • Redirect – when a dog is about to start the hump dance, start playing a game with your dog.
  • Counter Conditioning – encourage behavior we want to see rather than punishing behavior that you don't want.

This brought to mind how my dogs behave when they see a cyclist on the trail.  I received similar advice from Andre Milan last year.

  • Avoidance – we live on 5 acres, so I play with the dogs on an area of they property where they can't see the trail or cyclists.
  • Redirect – the dogs understand the word “bicycle” so whenever I saw one, I'd show “BICYCLE” and then give the dogs treats when they turned to me.  It didn't take long for them to race to me for a treat (or praise/hug) when they saw a cyclist.
  • Counter Conditioning – now and then, the dogs fall off the wagon and go racing towards the trail.  I want to scream when they do this, but that only makes them run faster.  I began rewarding them when they returned when called.  Over the past year, they've only raced out to the trail three times.  THREE TIMES!!!


Kissing our dogs shows affection, but it can also be a health risk. Learn why.

DepositPhoto/liukov – kissing our dogs is a sign of affection, but it can also pose a health risk for some.


Segment 2 – Are Doggy Kisses Safe?

I will admit that I kiss my dogs daily.  Each of my dogs understand “give Mommy a kiss.”

The woman who joined the show has long makeout sessions with her dogs.  They lick her face, mouth, and get inside her mouth too.  Because I feed my dogs a raw diet and my dogs lick their privates on the regular, I don't engage in the mouth to mouth sessions.

Another reason this can be a problem for humans is that our dogs can transmit parasites to us.  The show discussed someone who had round worms contracted from her dog, who picked it up after licking their butts, then coughed it into the human's mouth.

Double gross.

Segment 3 – Urban Trends

Urban trends discussed were beehives and raising chickens.  We want to do both, but we won't.

DIY Beehives

I was able to reduce my dependence on allergy medication by eating local honey.  I love tea – LOVE IT – and I swapped sugar for honey.  It was great for my waistline and my allergies.

The only reason I'm hesitant to get a beehive is that I've been stung by a bee – once – and it hurt like hell.  And I worry about the dogs messing around and getting stung.  Friends have shared their experience, and I know I have little to worry about.  The bonus of having bees, besides the honey, is that they'll pollinate our flowers and plants too.

I've been reviewing beehive starter kits and quickly realized that I was in over my head, so I'm starting with a book about beekeeping instead called Backyard Beekeeper.


I love the idea of having fresh eggs; I don't like the idea of trying to protect our chickens from local coyotes.  The neighbor has had chickens for a year now, and they're all doing great.  The only problem they've shared has an overly aggressive rooster (he attacked the humans).

I also know that chickens live 5-7 years and they stop laying eggs at four years of age.  Chickens can be noisy and messy, and I don't think I have the time or energy to care for them properly.  So I will continue to buy eggs from local farms and happily accept free eggs from friends.


Cooked bones are dangerous for dogs because they harden during cooking and splinter when chewed.

Image: DepositPhoto/fotocat10 – Cooked bones are dangerous for dogs because they harden during cooking and splinter when chewed.


Segment 4 – Toss or Treat

In this segment, the panelist stood at a counter with several foods and tested a dog parent on which were “toss” and which were a “treat” for dogs.  This wasn't complicated nor were there any trick questions.  I'm curious about their opinions on avocados, raw eggs, garlic, and potatoes.  I know how I feel about these foods, but I'd like to see what they think.

Toss Treat
Barbeque Ribs X
Fresh Green Beans X
Restaurant Prepared Hamburger X
Grapes X
Peanut Butter X X
  • Barbeque Ribs – cooked bones are dangerous for dogs.
  • Fresh Green Beans – great fresh food for dogs, wonderful treat, and it can be added to a dog's meal to help weight loss.
  • Restaurant Prepared Hamburger – onions, sauces, and fat aren't good for dogs.  I plan beef patty is fine.
  • Grapes – can cause renal failure.
  • Peanut Butter – xylitol-free peanut butter is safe for dogs to eat in moderation; peanut butter still has a good amount of sugar so it should be an occasional snack.

Segment 5 – Hottest New Pet Trends

Andre Milan walks us through the Los Angeles Pet Expo.  The Seattle Pet Expo is coming up in June, and I'm excited to be an attendee this year instead of hosting a booth.  At the LA expo, there were exotic birds, snakes, essential oils, and a lot of great new products for pets.

I hope that the Seattle Pet Expo has a lot of variety this year.

If you plan to attend a local pet expo, here are a few tips from someone who has gone as a guest and gone as a vendor (twice):

  • Bring money.  Some people are selling things, and you can support a local small business.
  • Chat with the vendors.  The one thing that drove me bonkers about being a vendor at Seattle Pet Expo was the number of people who passed through quickly filling their bag with freebies.  They would barely look you in the face while they grabbed as many free things as their hand could hold.  It costs a lot of money to have a booth at the Expo, take a few minutes to talk to the vendor.  You may learn something amazing.
  • Leave your agenda at home.  Both times that I had a booth at the Seattle Pet Expo, I had to defend my views on raw feeding.  I don't mind discussing raw feeding with a person who has an alternate point of view; I do mind having someone approach me with a combative attitude about raw feeding.  It's supposed to be a fun day so have fun.  Although, I do appreciate the temptation to be snarky – one year there was a vegetarian/vegan booth, and I believe dogs and cats are carnivores.  I avoided the booth.


Fermented vegetables add good bacteria to a dog's gut, improving their immune system and reducing gas.

Image: DepositPhoto/PixelsAway – Fermented vegetables add good bacteria to a dog's gut, improving their immune system and reducing gas.


Segment 6 – Solutions for Dogs with Gas

This segment was a surprise because the solutions recommended are things I've read in raw feeding groups.

  • Cut out the grains; dogs don't need them, and they're difficult to digest.
  • Introduce live bacteria into the gut; I do this with digestive supplements, kefir, and raw goat milk.  On the show, fermented vegetables were recommended.  I'd love to start fermenting vegetables!

Wolf Hybrid vs. Husky Dog

When J and I started exploring adopting a dog, I wanted a Malamute or a Husky because they looked like wolves and I love wolves.  In this episode of Pet Talk, David shows us the difference between wolf hybrids and huskies and the one thing that stood out immediately was the difference in size.

I searched for a video to show you the difference.  In the below video, the white dog is the wolf hybrid.




Pet Talk airs on Friday nights on Nat Geo Wild.  And I'll do a recap on Saturday.  Next week we'll learn about our pets' dirty secrets.

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