After a short hiatus, we’re continuing our DOGTV Interviews series – this week with Arden Moore. In addition to being a pet health and first aid educator, Arden is a well known speaker in the pet space, a podcast host, and a prolific author. She’s been part of our DOGTV Pack of experts for some time, and you can check out some of her health and safety tips at the end of this post. She’s also just a really fun person, who makes for a really fun interview. So sit back and enjoy our interview with Arden:
Let’s start at the beginning – can you tell me about the first pet you ever had?
I grew up in Crown Point, Indiana and our house had a lake in the backyard. We had two dogs and a cat. The cat’s name was Corky, and he was a Siamese. He would join us with our dogs , Peppy and Crackers, and we would swim to our raft in the middle of the lake. The cat would swim with us. The dogs and the cat would sit on the raft while we did our cannonballs and stuff. When it was time to go home we would put the cat in the water and he would do the dog paddle along with Crackers and Peppy all the way to shore. He would follow anyone around who had a fishing pole because he loved blue gills. So I grew up not putting limits on my first cat.
Arden demonstrating CPR compressions on Kona
What made you decide to become a pet first aid expert?
I was a newspaper reporter for 20 years and loved it and then I went to Prevention Magazine and Rodale Press and really honed my book and magazine skills. I went to the world of pets, focusing at first on health and behavior. And then I just realized one day, about 10 years in, there’s a big piece of the puzzle missing….pet safety. And that’s when I started training to become a master certified pet first aid and CPR instructor. I’ve been doing it for about 11 years. I think it’s one of the most important roles I could ever take because we’re teaching people how to potentially save the life of their dog or cat.
You host a show on Pet Life Radio – tell me about that!
Yes, it’s a podcast. My producer is Mark Winter. He’s the one who does the Pet Life Radio Network, which is the largest pet radio network on the planet. My show is called ‘Oh Behave!’ and we started in 2007. We realized a few years ago, we are the longest continuously running pet podcast still going. So we’ve been on 14 years, going into 15, and we have about half a million listeners globally. Oprah has selected my show for one of her top 3 pet podcasts for 3 years. My journalism skills get to meld with my love of pets, and I love doing the show. I’m just so stoked that we’ve been on the air since 2007.
In that time I’m sure you’ve had a lot of interesting guests. Can you tell us about some of your favorites?
Well we get people for “Howl-y-wood” as well as top dogs in the pet field. Yes, we’ve had Beke Lubeach from DOGTV on. She’s a good friend, a good person, I love her.
If you want a little celebrity highlights, all time favorite, *Betty White. Her wit was still sharp. She’s almost 100! I got to talk to her about 6 years ago. And on my birthday, October 6th, I was covering the American Dog Hero Awards in Beverly Hills and she was there as one of the presenters. I got to have a picture with Betty White on my birthday on the red carpet! She does a lot for not only pets, but companion animals and wildlife.
*Editor’s note – we interviewed Arden shortly before Betty passed. Arden has since posted a tribute episode featuring her memories of Betty that you can download here. RIP Betty, and thanks for all the good work you have done in support of the animals we all love. ❤
But some of the other ones, Dr. Marty Becker. Everyone knows America’s Family Veterinarian. He was my very first guest on my very first show. We have been friends for over 20 years. When we get together we are pun-sters. So everyone is probably groaning “don’t put Arden Moore and Marty Becker in the same room!” But we have a blast. He’s done a lot for the Fear Free Pets Movement and other things and he’s always teasing me about which one of us has written the most books.
Another one that might surprise you is author Dean Koontz. He writes books that scare you, right? But he got a dog named Trixie, who was basically a reject from the Canine Companions because she had a little hitch in her gitch, or something with one of her legs. So she wasn’t able to complete the training to be a service dog for someone with a disability. Dean and his wife adopted Trixie and it just turned his world around because he wasn’t just focused on scaring us! He developed this great love for Trixie, and now he and his wife have been major contributors for Canine Companions for Independence and he’s written books featuring Trixie. So you just never know what a dog or a cat can do to shift your life for the better.
The whole purpose of the Oh Behave show is to bring out ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things: celebrities and people in the veterinary field and animal world. I always want to make sure that everyone on my show feels like I’ve done my homework on them and they feel like a guest.
You mentioned that you and Dr. Marty Becker have an ongoing competition of who has written the most books. What is your grand total now?
You know, that’s the mystery! I have written a number of books where I have ghost-written or co-authored. When I was at Rodale Press I wrote books on health, landscaping, and gardening. I was the voice of Jerry Baker, America’s master gardener. I had to come up with lines like “aloe can be your pal-o” and “go with the mow”. Then I shifted gears and wrote a book with a medical naturopathic physician and I was talking about T cells and lymphocytes. So I don’t really know…I know I’ve written 28 pet books. The next two are going out in 2022 but I don’t know the exact total.
So to answer your question, a lot!
I know one of your books is about how to get your cat to do tricks. Will all of your cats do tricks? Or does it take a special temperament to get them to do that?
I learned from some of the best cat behaviorists something that we all need to understand: With cats you never force, you always negotiate. But they’re never too old to learn a trick. The key is, what is their motivation? Food? A favorite toy? Timing of the day? So you really need to time your training for when the cat is most receptive and keep it short. You’re not doing a 20 minute session on how to touch paws with a cat. It’s like 5 minutes, and you build on your small victories. And you let the cat walk away or start grooming themselves. That’s their very candid way of saying “enough, I’m done.”
Casey is Pet Safety Cat Casey, a certified pet therapy cat with Love On A Leash. I adopted him at 4 months of age. He knows how to sit, touch paws, do a slow spin, wear a harness, walk on a leash, ride a pet stroller, touch on a table when I ask him to, and stay. I have never ever before gotten a cat to stay! But he’s very food motivated and he likes to talk. And ever since he was a kitten I’ve tried to expose him to new things because mental enrichment is as important as giving them physical activity. I’ve always has cats that seem to show me something they want to learn.
Rusty is called Rusty the Purr-former. He’s about 2.5 and I adopted him when he was about 7 months old. He jumps through hoops, he comes to a whistle, and instead of touching paws he sits up on his two hind legs to receive treats.
So I think the secret is to find the behaviors that the cat is doing and either say a word or do clicker training, or clicking with the roof of your mouth when they do a touch-paw and you mark that and they get it. Some may take a little longer than others but I really think it’s one of the best things we can do is to teach our cat things to do. And just realize they will probably embarrass you when you want them to do something, they probably won’t do it when you ask them in front of a crowd.
I have a cat Mikey, he’s now 16, and he would never go in a carrier. He was terrified of the vet and I’m a fear free pet speaker and professional. We worked with Mikey and he sleeps in his carrier now, he purrs at the vet. So you can teach an old cat new tricks. Every morning I have a cup of coffee and I use those little moo moo creamers and I call out “MOO MOO” and the cats and the dog come running and one moo moo, which is like a thimble, is shared by 6 pets every morning.
Arden with Casey
Six pets! That is a full house – can you give us a roll call on all of them?
Kona is a terrier mix. Her nickname is Ice Cream Kona. She hails from the Rancho Coastal Humane Society. I adopted her when she was a little more than a year old. She had been in two different shelters, no one wanted her but she was always in a long run kennel with another dog. And on her little bio on her cage it said “I need to be with pets. I really love dogs.” So I temperament tested her, and she loves cats. She thinks cats are gods. So she is now a certified therapy dog. She is the one that assits me in the Pet First Aid for You classes. She just turned 7. I can throw a ball over her head while she’s running away from me and the ball bounces in front of her and she leaps and catches it. I’ve never seen a dog do that for fetch. She also is the only dog I’ve ever had who knows how to bring up or bring down energy when meeting a new dog, a cat, or a person. She’s highly intuitive, which makes her a very good therapy dog.
Then we have Emma. We guess she’s a little over two years old. We found her in the street in our neighborhood in Dallas, about a year old at the time, walking like a zombie, very lethargic. And my vet told me a good reason why, it turned out she had heartworms. So we think maybe she had been put in our neighborhood because either the person couldn’t afford it or something happened to that person. SO it was a long road to get her healthy because you can’t get them too excited because if their heat beats fast then the production of the heart worms goes up. So she was in a pet stroller. We were putting her in a little sling around the house. But now Emma is healthy, she is happy, and heartworm free.
Now we’ll segway to the cats, is Rusty the performer. Rusty is about 2.5 and from the Amazing AcroCats. I’ve never had ginger cats before and now I have two. He’s a feline foodie. He definitely goes crazy when there’s any food around. He sometimes pinch hits in our pet first aid classes that we do on Zoom as well as Emma.
We have Casey. Pet Safety Cat Casey. He’s 7, he’s a ginger cat and again from San Diego. He is very mellow, very big, very long, very sweet. Purrs like a Mack truck.
Mikey is 16, he’s a black cat. He is very loving. He gives everyone one of the cats and dogs grooming on their heads while we watch TV at night.
And then finally we have one-eyed Mort. He’s a gray striped tabby. And we brought him in from the streets. He’s just the sweetest. But he walks like a bulldog. We don’t know what his age is. Maybe 8, maybe 10? But he’s really blended well with the rest of the family, we call it the Furry Brady Bunch.
Wow! That’s a lot of fur babies to take care of. I’m sure your vacuum cleaner gets a workout.
Yes but the nice thing is everybody gets along. And it’s a clean household – because I don’t want somebody to come into my house and the first thing they say is “oh, you must have a cat.” Which we all know is code for “CLEAN THE LITTER BOX!.” We keep a very tidy house and most of these don’t really shed much. I used to have a husky mix. That was a different story.
So that’s our gang. We’ve got 2 therapy pets. 2 therapy pets in training, a senior at and a street cat named Mort that’s just delighted to be in the house.
I know Kona and Casey are your two main teaching assistants. Do any of the others serve as an understudy if they can’t make it to an event?
Yes, Rusty the cat and Emma the small dog, they’re both about two and a half, when possible they’re both in my Zoom classes for behavior and for pet first aid. So we’re doing things like one handed CPR on Rusty. And we’re using Emma to demonstrate where to place your hands to do the doggie Heimlich if they’re choking.
Arden, Kona, and Casey
You’re living in Dallas these days – how did you land there?
I grew up in the midwest. I spent a lot of my newspaper career in Florida working at the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. And then I moved to Pennsylvania to work at Rodale Press which was just outside of Philly. I spent a number of years in San Diego County. Oceanside specifically. And now I’m keeping a promise to my sister, because we’re getting older and she said “you promised that when we get older you would live close to me.” So I sold my house in Oceanside and came to Texas. There are no oceans here in Dallas, but people are very friendly. I’ve been here for about the last 7 years, and I ended up getting married, so I guess I’m here now!
Of the places you’ve lived, where would you say is the most pet friendly?
I would have to say San Diego is very pet friendly. There are a lot of outdoor eateries and at the time I had 2 dogs that were original members of the SoCal Surf Dog Team. So we surfed a lot but there were always pet events. I created a holiday called National Dog Party Day and we would have parties there and raise money for small to medium sized pet charities.
But I gotta tell you, Dallas is pretty alright too! We just got together with a friend the other day at a restaurant with a beautiful outdoor patio and they had water for the dogs. So I give Big D two paws up. It was the Lakehouse Bar and Grill.
I’m very selective when I take my pets out because I don’t want to do anything to cause stress to them and I don’t want to do anything that disrupts people trying ot have a nice meal. A big tip is to really really exercise your dog before you take them to a restaurant, and make sure they know how to get in a park position when you ask them.
Ok, let’s back up for a second – when is National Dog Party Day? That sounds so fun!
It was usually in June. It’s a holiday I created because I got tired of Yappy Hours where the humans turned into booze-hounds and let their dogs run willy-nilly. There was always a disconnect. So I created a bunch of party games, I actually created a dog party book. And it was a time for you to have a date with your dog. For about an hour and a half we did a bunch of different games.
We did one game called Canine Tunnel of Love. You take an agility tunnel and the clock starts when you kiss your dog on the top of the head at the start of going through the tunnel. The clock keeps ticking until both of you wiggle through the tunnel and once your out the dog kisses you back.
We also do canine musical chairs, canine karaoke, a bunch of different games. I would love to get back into it. It’s kind of been on hiatus for a few years. But it was all about a party with a purpose. And that’s my whole thing. Our pets learn when you make it a game, but make it with a purpose. When you’re with your dog at my dog parties you are living in the moment – you are bonding and you make some great memories.
Check out Arden’s book on Dog Parties on Amazon.
As a pet educator, what is the most important thing you would want a brand new dog parent to know about safety?
I think it’s your mental state. Your mental state of mind is paramount because dogs and cats can smell our emotional state. So in all my various classes, everyone gets the same tip: you all have permission, when ‘uh-oh’ happens, to freak out…later.
And when you know you have permission to freak out later, after you have stabilized and safely transported your pet safely to a veterinary clinic, it’s a really important gift to give yourself. Because during the moment you have to be present to render good care to an injured dog or cat. There’s a lot of physical how-tos in my class, but I think what separates our program, which is veterinary approved, is that we really get you into the right state of mind. The whole definition of pet first aid is that you are the life saving bridge between the ‘uh-oh’ and the veterinary clinic. So my job is to get you ready to go, and you have permission to freak out later.
What are some items you might recommend for a pet first aid kit?
You’ve got pay attention to what’s in the ingredients. The one ingredient in a pet first aid kit that could be great, or could be “yikes”, is hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is only to be used ona dog or a cat who ate something they shouldn’t have, like your medicine, and they’re not vomiting it up so the poison is getting into the bloodstream. With guidance on the phone from a vet, which I do in my classes, we teach you how to give a syringe of hydrogen peroxide cause that’s going to make that stuff come back up.
However, hydrogen peroxide for some reason, it’s an urban myth that it’s great to clean any kind of wound on a dog or a cat. Their skin is totally different than ours. We have pores and they don’t. If you pour hydrogen peroxide on a cut or a wound then you are destroying healthy tissue all around it. So in my class I make everyone raise their right paw and promise not to ever use hydrogen peroxide to clean a wound and then I saw “so help me paw”. And they all make that vow which is really good because it makes them remember.
In general, in a kit you need gauze, rolled and squares. You need some kind of splint material, popsicle sticks or whatever. Ointment like Neosporin. You should also have a cold compress, some sort of emergency blanket, latex gloves, alcohol pads, sting relief pads (because sometimes they could get stung by a bee), antiseptic wipes, tape, scissors, non-adhesive wound pads, oral syringe, tongue depressor, hand sanitizer, saline, eyewash, tick removal tweezers, and hydrogen peroxide (with the asterisks).
The main thing is if you’re hiking, if you’re traveling, and even at home I always advise having one pet first aid kit in the home and one in your car. Every 6 months, check the contents and replace things that could perish, like hydrogen peroxide or any kind of ointment.
In my classes I also teach you how to be a “mutt-gyver” so I teach you what you can use from what you’re wearing and what’s around you so that you can render aid to an injured pet even if you don’t have a first aid kit. So that could be drawstrings or shoelaces, spare poop bags, you can take an Ikea shopping bag and use it as a gurney. Again, ‘aloe is you pal-o’ for a mild burn or a cut when you’re out hiking with your pet. So we go through a whole bunch of hacks you can use when you don’t have a first aid kit.
I’m now at a place where I can help bring out the best in pets and their people. That’s my motto, that’s my mission. I feel like i’m not just writing about the lives of others, I’m actually helping people have better lives. I know it sounds corny but I really like what I’m doing.
Many thanks to Arden for taking the time to talk with us!
You can check out one of her safety videos here, teaching us how to address a common pet first aid issue – bee stings. You can also see more from Arden here on our streaming channel, and on her Facebook page.