By Marc Morrone
Tribune Content Agency
Q: My son loves wolves and he wants to get a Siberian husky but I heard that since they look like wolves they act like them too, and that they can turn on you, and be unpredictable. I wanted to know your opinion on this. - Cindy Greco, Las Vegas, NV
A: Actually if you placed a wolf next to a Siberian husky, you would see that they do not resemble each other as much as you think they do. Huskies are smaller, have shorter legs and snout, and a tail that can curl up over the back.
The biggest difference between huskies and wolves - and this applies to all breeds of dogs - is in the way they think of us. Dogs always view us as providers and think of us as essential to their survival. A wolf that has been socialized to be with humans views us only as an equal.
When man domesticated the northern wolves thousands of years ago and tried to have them pull sleds, the last thing in the world they wanted was an animal that acted like a wolf. Any one of these early dogs that had any wolf-like traits was not kept and thus never got to pass its genes down to the next generation. Only those that were calm and tractable were kept; thus their puppies acted the same way and after generations the domestic dog came about.
So do not worry about the temperament of a husky as they make delightful pets. The only issue I must warn you about is that they need lots of exercise. If you do not exercise them enough, they will do it themselves and this usually means they will end up running about your house like a lunatic.
They also need lots of bushing and combing to help with the shedding that their thick fur produces. So if your son is willing to exercise the dog and do the brushing, then I see no reason why he should not be allowed to have one.
Q: Recently you printed an article about how some cats do better on canned food rather than dry food and I wondered what your thoughts were on dog food? - Robert Baum, Chicago, IL
A: These questions always cause a lot of controversy as there are many different answers and there are many different animals involved.
Years ago when I used to go to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show at Madison Square Garden and I would talk to the breeders of all the prize winners. I went every year for 22 years and I always asked what they fed their dogs. Each year the answer was varied and different - some ate frozen food, some ate canned food and some ate dry food.
However, all the dogs there were prize winners and the best of their breed no matter what food they were fed. So that proves that each dog is an individual and a dog can be a prize winner no matter the diet.
However, what I have noticed from my own feeding of dogs over the last half-century is that a dog on a diet of dry food will definitely have larger stools than dogs on just canned food or raw foods. Dogs on a raw diet have very small stools and dogs on a canned food diet fall somewhere in between.
It has been my own experience that a dog on a raw or canned food diet sheds less and has cleaner teeth than dogs on dry food.
So you ask for my opinion and here you are: It is certainly not the definitive word on the situation - it is up to you to determine what works best for your pet.
Q: We got a betta fish for my bosses desk - he is in a little five gallon tank with a filter and a heater and has two cherry shrimps as companions. When we bought the fish the pet store gave us little pellets and when we looked on line it said to feed bettas frozen or live blood worms. He definitely likes the worms better than the pellets, but we wondered why the pellets are sold if the fish do not like them? - Jenny Glassman, Orlando, FL
A: Bettas in nature will eat small insects floating near the surface of the water and that is why he likes the blood worms so much - it is a more natural diet for them.
However, in nature they would be eating many different types of insects. The pellets have all the proper vitamins and minerals that the fish needs so the answer here is to give him the pellets as a staple and as a treat you can also give him the bloodworms to promote a bit of variety.
Marc Morrone has kept almost every kind of animal as a pet for the last half-century and he is happy to share his knowledge with others. Although he cannot answer every question, he will publish many of those that have a general interest. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org; please include your name, city and state.
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Printed in the August 21, 2016 - September 3, 2016 edition.