Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Doggie Pseudoscience

I recently got an email about the frequency of washing my dog from the kennel where I board my dog, Marley. Needless to say, the brought in some naturalist veterinarian, to recommend shampoos and gave the standard crap advice. I'll forgo my rant on the obvious appeal to nature logical fallacy and go to my response to their call to avoid "chemicals." Here is the letter:

Dear Wag-A-Lot,

In your recent e-letter, you mentioned an article about the proper frequency we should wash our dog. In addition, you mentioned that we should use natural shampoos and "avoid artificially produced shampoos that contain chemicals as their major ingredients." I have had a hard time finding a shampoo that fits your description. The problem is that every natural or artificial shampoo has some form of chemical as a major ingredient. For example, most shampoos, such as the ones you mentioned (Spa and Earthbath), contain water, which is a chemical. Specifically, this is a molecule and all molecules are chemicals, so I originally filtered the list to only elements. However, I then did a little more research and found out that elements are also chemicals! In fact, since chemistry is the study of matter and its interactions with other matter, a chemical substance is any piece of matter which can be described by an empirical formula which expresses the relative numbers of each type of atom in it. Since finding this out, I have tried various forms of energy to clean my dog. First, I tried radiant energy in the form of light. I tried several types of lights from strobe lights to flashlights at various intensities, but this just seemed to make my dog excited and not any cleaner. I could try other forms such as X-rays, but I am not sure of places that offer X-ray dog cleaning. Do you know of any? Next, I tried potential energy by balancing my dog on top of a tall ledge. Not only did my dog stay filthy, but he also seemed rather uncomfortable. Fortunately, my dog was in a perfect setup to try the next form of energy - kinetic energy. Let's just say that the fall made my dog leery of going near me and he was actually dirtier.

Magnetism was my next energy type to try. After giving my dog a few treats so he would trust me again, I waved kitchen magnets over him. Maybe they are not strong enough to clean effectively. Can you suggest some effective magnets that might help clean my dog? He's getting very filthy and annoyed. In the meantime, maybe you can suggest some improvements on some other approaches. Heat - how long and hot do I need to cook my dog? Also, I never thought of hot dogs as being particularly clean. Electricity - I'm not a fan of shocking my dog, but if you guys know of an effective voltage and amperage I'll try it. I am an electrical engineer by trade and I feel I can administer this effectively on my own. Nuclear - are there nuclear power companies that offer dog cleaning? The ones I've contacted thought I was crazy.

I realize that I could also maybe try dark matter and dark energy, but if I'm not mistaken, scientists are still trying to detect these and there have been no attempts to harness them or put them into a dog shampoo. Please, let me know of any advice you can give me. My neighbors are complaining about my dogs stench and his howling over my treatments.


No comments: