What to expect from your new dog when adopting

September 30, 2008


When considering the birth rates among animals, it’s not hard to
understand why animal shelters are always filled with animals
waiting to be adopted. Shockingly, it has been calculated that over
a seven year period, one female cat and her offspring will produce
approximately 420,000 kittens. Likewise, one female dog and her
offspring will produce 67,000 puppies during a six year period.
Since there are more animals looking for homes than there are
people who want to adopt them, some 6.5 million animals are
euthanized each year.

Given the statistics cited above, adopting an animal can be a kind
and loving thing to do. However, before making the final decision
to adopt, there are a number of things to consider.

Many of the animals awaiting adoption in shelters have had very
rough beginnings. Some were abused, some abandoned and some were
“turned in” because the owners didn’t have time for them. Many were
left alone for long periods and some were never properly potty
trained. In short, when adopting an animal you must be prepared to
work with them. They may come to you cowed or with feelings of
trepidation and may be overly sensitive to your tone of voice or to
any commands you might give them. You will need to be patient and
by all means, loving. When they finally realize that they can trust
you they will reward you with more affection and loyalty than you
can imagine.

Adopting a dog as a means of entertaining a small child is not
recommended. A dog is not a toy and should not be treated as one.
Small children should be trained to understand “animal etiquette”.
In other words, animals are not to be hit, dragged, ridden or
teased. They should understand that being overly aggressive with a
new dog, especially one recently adopted, could cause the dog to
react by biting or running away. If feeding and exercising the dog
is to be the responsibility of a child, an adult should follow up
to be sure these things are getting done. It isn’t the dog’s fault
if a child fails to meet his or her obligations and the dog
shouldn’t have to suffer for the child’s failure.

Many adopted dogs will come to the new surroundings filled with
fears based upon earlier mistreatment or the harsh rules of their
previous owners. Some dogs will be reluctant to go from one room to
another, will shy away when corrected and hide upon hearing a loud
noise. New owners must be patient with them and speak to them
softly and affectionately. Dogs are not stupid and they will
gradually come to understand their new environment and show their
appreciation for your loving care.

When contemplating adoption, prospective new owners should be
prepared to deal with the fact that their new adoptee may not be
completely housebroken. Previous owners may have been irresponsible
in their approach to this training; furthermore, when the dog was
placed in the shelter it continued to do its “business” right in
its pen. Housebreaking is not a complex chore and should not deter
someone from adopting a pet. Some owners will use a cage to assist
in this training, while others will just take the dog out for a
walk several times a day. Fenced yards and doggie doors are minimal
expenses that pay extra dividends on cold or rainy days.

Adopted dogs are subject to all of the behavioral problems commonly
associated to dogs in general. These would include digging, jumping
up on people, jumping fences, barking and nipping. There are proven
solutions to all of these “offenses.” If your dog is prone to
digging, and always digs in one area, there are a number of
effective repellent sprays that work well. If he digs under your
fence, a little buried chicken wire works wonders in breaking that
habit. Spray bottles filled with water should be kept at hand to
break a dog from jumping up and to combat incessant barking. A
quick spritz in the face immediately following, or during, the
offensive behavior will usually bring about a quick behavior

Visiting an animal shelter can be an emotional experience for an
animal lover. It’s difficult to see all the animals in their pens
and not want to take them all home. Such feelings are
understandable and commendable; however, just be sure that prior to
adoption you consider all of the ramifications. And remember, your
best friend is waiting for you at your local animal shelter.


How to keep your dog’s coat looking its best

September 25, 2008


Dogs, unlike cats, don’t sit and groom themselves by the hour.
Actually, most dogs couldn’t care less about their appearance and
couldn’t be happier than when they’re rolling around the ground on
something stinky they’ve found. Unfortunately for them, “essence of
fido” isn’t a favorite scent of humans and wading through bales of
shedding dog hair left on the furniture is way overrated. So until
our canine companions totally take over, they’ll have to live with
us grooming them and trying to keep their coats healthy and shiny

Pet salons provide a full array of grooming services and many
people opt to avail themselves of their services. Prices are
usually reasonable and all the mess and fuss are left to the
professionals. However, for a variety of reasons not everyone
elects to go this route; some don’t bother grooming at all and
others just do it themselves at home.

To varying degrees, all dogs require grooming. Long-haired dogs
should be brushed and combed two or three times a week. Dogs with
thick undercoats should have the dead hair combed out weekly. This
will accelerate the shedding process and avoid hairy carpets and
furniture. Dogs with shorter hair should still be brushed and
rubbed down frequently to keep their coats and skin smart and

Just like any project, proper grooming requires both technique and
tools of the trade. A fine-toothed comb should be used to rake
fleas from the coat and for grooming soft, silky coated dogs. The
shedding comb offers a “skip-tooth” design; its long teeth pull
dead hair from the undercoat while the short teeth collect loose
hair. It’s also an excellent tool for removing matted hair. The
undercoat rake is especially designed for breeds with thick, heavy
coats and undercoats. The teeth are thick, allowing the rake to
attack the undercoat while being pulled gently through the dog’s

Although bathing is an essential component in keeping your dog’s
coat fresh and presentable, it should not be overdone. Most
veterinarians suggest bathing a dog no more than once a month. Over
bathing can dry a dog’s skin and lead to hot spots and itching,
which can lead to scratching and infection. If a dog is to be
bathed more than once a month, an aloe based shampoo and
conditioners should be used and foods and supplements with Omega
fatty acids should be given to bolster the production of coat oils.

Daily examinations, though admittedly a little too demanding and
time consuming for the average pet owner, are a valuable tool in
maintaining a dog’s appearance and good health. The dog should be
checked for cuts, rashes, fleas, ticks, bumps and burrs and other
hitchhikers that might attach to the coat. These should be removed
and antibiotics or appropriate medications applied as necessary.
Flea allergies and contact allergies can cause skin eruptions and
should be treated immediately.

It should be remembered that good skin and a healthy coat begin
with a good diet. A little amount of ‘people food” goes a long way
for a dog. Usually, a good grade dry dog food will provide all of
the nutrition and essential dietary elements necessary to keep a
dog in good health. If a dog’s coat is dull or its skin appears
itchy, sometimes a change in diet is necessary. However, most often
vitamin or fatty acid supplements will eliminate the problem.

As mentioned previously, professional groomers are readily
available and should not be overlooked if grooming becomes too
demanding. In addition to bathing and combing and thinning the
dog’s undercoat, they also clean the ears and clip the dog’s nails.
Actually, nails should be clipped weekly and often this is a chore
that neither the dog nor the owner handle well. In recent years,
the traveling groomer has emerged on the grooming scene. These
professionals will come to your home in their Van or RV, which is
fully equipped for grooming, and complete the full bathing and
grooming process right in your driveway.

Our dogs ask little in return for the limitless love and devotion
they bestow upon us. Helping them maintain their health by keeping
them groomed is the least we can do to reward their affection.

Find out more about How to keep your dog’s coat looking its best…

Hunting Dogs: Training equipment that is essential

September 22, 2008


Producing a “finished” hunting dog, one that will perform the tasks
of pointing out game or retrieving game, is not a simple matter. In
some cases, it can take several hunting seasons and specialized
training equipment to achieve the desired results.

It would be ludicrous to begin training a dog to perform hunting
skills without first teaching it basic obedience. Your dog must be
able to sit, stay, remain quite and come on demand before moving
into the more complex areas of the hunt. The success of the hunt,
as well as the safety of the dog and its handler, is directly
correlated to the dog’s performance and self control. For example,
an unruly dog that barks at incoming geese will not only spoil the
hunt, but will not be invited back again. Further, a dog that bolts
out of a blind too quickly can jeopardize a shot and even cause a
shooting accident. Control is most essential.

When the hunter is ready to begin training his dog for the hunt,
there is a variety of equipment that will prove valuable. Probably
the first and most essential item is a piece of 3/8-inch
polypropylene rope of about 30 feet in length. The rope allows the
handler to maintain control of his dog during exercises and
eliminates the chance of having to chase the dog and correct him
for straying.

Most dogs have a natural fear of loud noises, especially gunfire.
Therefore, the trainer will have to involve a training pistol or
firearm in his training program. A handgun is preferable; a shotgun
is too large and difficult to handle while holding the lead line
and juggling other training devices. When training the retriever,
training “bumpers” or dummies are utilized to teach the dog to
fetch. These aides come in various colors and sizes. White bumpers
are generally used for “marking” drills where the dog is being
taught to retrieve by sight and colored bumpers are used for
“running blinds” where the dog is sent blindly into an area to
retrieve a downed bird that fell out of sight.

The retriever should be trained to respond to the sound of a
whistle. The voice of the dog’s handler will not always be loud
enough or distinct enough to alert the dog to give up the search
and return to the handler’s side. Some of the more elaborate
whistles come with built-in megaphones that allow the sound to be
heard more easily and direct the blaring sound away from the
hunter(s). They are usually well worth the extra cost.

Some trainers will use a friend or “bird boys” who position
themselves some distance from the trainer and toss the bumpers high
into the air to simulate a falling bird. For those who train
without assistance, bird launchers are a big help. These launchers
come in single or multiple bird capacity; however, they are usually
bulky and can be expensive.

Electric dog training collars are effective but controversial.
These collars have a small electronic device attached that
administers a remote controlled mild electric shock to the dog. The
control is hand held by the trainer. These pieces of equipment
allow an immediate correction when the dog fails to respond to the
more conventional command. The level of shock involved has been
compared to the static shock one receives from a carpet or from
touching a car door handle in cold weather. Actually, the electric
collar could be considered a humane alternative to the aggressive
tactics or brute force used by some trainers.

One of the best ways to embark on training your hunting dog is
learn from the experts. Training tips and guidelines are now
available on tapes that show the student step by step training
procedures. These instructional tapes should be on every novice
trainer’s list of essential training equipment.

When you’re training your dog in the wilds you should be prepared
to care for him if he is injured. Therefore, the final thing on our
list of essentials is a First Aid Kit. Many of the items you’ll
need for your dog are also appropriate for use on humans, so the
kit can be mutually beneficial to both you and your dog. Fill the
kit with such items as: sterile bandages, topical solutions, tape,
scissors, tweezers, antibiotic ointments such as Neosporin,
ibuprofen (safe for both humans and canines) and possibly a
veterinarian prescribed anti-inflammatory such as Deramaxx or
Rimadly. A well stocked First Aid Kit has prevented many a pleasant
hunting trip from becoming a nightmare.

“Sit! Good Dog!” Teaching your dog new tricks

September 16, 2008


To teach “sit,” have a yummy treat in your fingers and place your
hand near your dog’s nose. Say, “sit,” and move the treat over your
dog’s head toward his tail. As he follows the treat, he should sit
naturally. When he successfully completes this behavior,
immediately give him the treat as well as verbal praise in an
excited voice, saying something such as “good dog!” When you are
first teaching this behavior, always give the food treat and the
verbal praise. When your dog seems to be associating the word sit
with this behavior, gradually wean him off the treats. You may want
to train your dog to a release command such as “okay!” so he knows
when he can discontinue each behavior. As with all training, you
should teach “sit” in short (10 minutes or less) sessions followed
by free play.

To teach “lie down,” first get your dog in the sitting position.
Hold a yummy treat in your fingers and place your hand near your
dog’s nose. Say, “lie down,” and bring the treat straight down to
the floor. As your dog follows the treat, he should naturally place
himself in the down position. As soon as he gets in the proper
position, reward him with the treat and verbal praise. If you are
using a release command such as “okay!” you can now use it to let
your dog know it is okay to stop lying down. As with all commands,
as he begins to associate the behavior with the verbal command,
begin to wean him from the food reward.

To teach “stay,” place your dog in either the sitting or down
position. Grab a yummy treat in one hand and ask your dog to stay
while placing your other hand with the palm open in front of his
nose. When your dogs stays for one or two seconds, give him the
treat and verbal praise, and use your release command. You will
want to gradually increase the length of the stay.

Once your dog has these building blocks firmly under his belt, you
can begin to teach him new and exciting tricks. One of the most
popular tricks to teach is “play dead.” To do this, ask your dog to
lie down. Teach him to roll on his back by holding a yummy treat in
your hand in front of his nose and moving it in a small circle
while giving the command “play dead.” As his nose follows the
treat, his body should follow until he is on his back. Reward him
with the treat and verbal praise. With practice, your dog will be
able to associate the command with the behavior and you can wean
him off the food reward.

Another popular trick is “shake.” To teach your dog to shake, first
get him into the sitting position. Have a treat ready and say,
“shake.” Gently grab right behind his paw and lift it into the
shake position. Give him the treat. You will need to repeat this
step several times until he learns that he will get the treat by
lifting his paw by himself. While he is learning “shake,” reward
even the smallest attempts at getting into position by himself with
food and praise. Eventually he will associate the command “shake”
and lifting his paw with positive rewards.

Another fun trick is “bow.” This is a very natural position for a
dog to be in. To teach this behavior, get your dog in the sitting
position. Have a treat in your fingers; hold it in front of his
nose and say, “bow.” Push the treat straight toward your dog’s
chest. As his nose is following the treat, he should naturally get
himself into the bow position. When he does, reward him with the
treat and verbal praise. As with all tricks, eventually wean him
from the treat.

Tricks are fun to teach your dog and it gives him mental
stimulation while enhancing the time you spend with him. There are
many books available on teaching new tricks to your dog and many
dog trainers offer tricks and games classes. Keep training sessions
short and fun, and always use positive reinforcement. In no time,
your dog will be entertaining your friends and family.

How to Choose a Veterinarian

September 13, 2008


Thinking about choosing a veterinarian for your new dog? Where do
you start? Usually, when picking a veterinarian, we thumb through
the phone book until we find one close to home. But just like a
doctor, you might not be happy with his “bedside” manner. I’ve
heard people complain that their animal’s veterinarian doesn’t
handle their animal well or they just didn’t like his manner. Below
are some helpful hints in choosing the best veterinarian for your

If you have friends, family or neighbors with animals, ask them for
a recommendation. If they do, ask questions about their experiences
with the vet. How does the veterinarian handle their animal? Is he
gentle? Does he thoroughly explain to the pet owner the health of
the animal after being looked over? It’s good to choose a
veterinarian that is informative about the animal he is checking. A
veterinarian not only has to be good with animals, but he has to be
people friendly as well. Don’t forget your instincts. After meeting
the vet, if you don’t feel good about him, don’t go back. Even if
he has a good reputation, don’t feel pressured to go back. What is
good for one person, may not be good for you.

Look up the Veterinary Medical Board and see if he has been any
complaints again him. This way, you can eliminate without having to
go any further. You can also check with the American Animal
Hospital Association
(AAHA). These are vet hospitals that have
achieved high animal care standards. These vet hospitals fill out a
detailed explanation of its equipment and services they offer.
Afterwards, a consultant inspects the facility to ensure it meets
AAHA’s standards. The following areas are checked: medical records,
dentistry, anesthesia, dentistry and surgery. Knowing this, may
give some dog owners peace of mind before taking their animal for
and of the above reasons. There are only around 17 percent of vet
hospitals around the US and Canada that are affiliated with the
AAHA. You can find them by going through the Healthypet’s Hospital

Make an appointment to meet the veterinarian as well as the staff.
How do they interact with customers as well as each other? While
you’re there, ask for a tour of the facility. It would be a good
idea to not ask for the tour in advance. This way you can see how
the facility is kept without being warned of a visitor. Look for
cleanliness especially in the kennel area. If you see unclean
kennels or droppings on the floor, it might mean they do not have
enough staff to care for the animals. Sanitation is important due
to the spread of diseases among animals. Also, ask the vet if it
would be ok to sit in during a treatment of an animal. This way you
can see how he handles the animal as well as the pet owner. You can
also see if he has a genuine care for animals or does he just see
it as a job?

Any veterinarian practicing in the United States has to of
graduated from an accredited school. Just like any doctor, he must
have a license that should be on display. If you don’t see one
displayed, ask him about it. Check to make sure it is a current

Ask about emergency care? Is it even offered? Accidents can happen
to your pet, and they don’t always happen during the 8-5 Monday
thru Friday schedule. Is there 24/7 emergency pet care? Find out if
your dog does have to stay overnight, will there be a member of
staff staying with him?

If possible, get a good veterinarian that is close to home. You
don’t want to drive an hour away if you have a restless or hurting
dog in the back seat.

If you have pet insurance, find out if they accept it? If not, what
about credit cards or payment plans? Vet bills, especially
emergency bills, can be costly.

Do your homework if you want to get a respected veterinarian that
you feel safe going to. Visit several veterinarians before making a
decision, and then compare notes. Finally, go with your instinct.

Grapes, Nuts, and Your Dogs Health — Foods that Fido should Avoid

September 9, 2008

Guest Article
By Carolyn Schweitzer

“Magoo was a big, playful Labrador retriever who often got himself into sticky situations…”

So begins a story in the latest report from the ASPCA on foods that may be toxic to dogs. It turns out that Magoo got into the pantry and snagged himself about a pound of raisins. He ate the whole thing, of course.

The ASPCA never mentions Magoo’s fate. But they do tell us that as little as a handful of raisins can impair a dogs health and has been fatal for some. Ditto for the grape.

Who Knew?

Growing up, I regarded our family dogs as “the first cycle of the dishwasher”. They were good about waiting their turn for whatever we left on our plates, and we weren’t too concerned about offering them “people food”. It never crossed our minds that our dogs health could be affected by a few measly table scraps. What was safe for us, we figured, was safe for our pets.

What’s more, whenever I ate grapes, I liked to give one or two to our German Shepherd “Tiffany”. The grapes always popped out of her mouth when she tried to bite into them and Tiffany, ever the good sport, refused to give up until she’d squashed each one into submission. It guaranteed at least 60 seconds of harmless fun.

Tiffany was also fond of chewing gum (she chewed it — wrapper and all — but didn’t swallow it!) We had the sugarless kind, which is often sweetened these days with xylitol.

Little did I know that I might have been poisoning our family pet! (More on xylitol below).

Why are grapes harmful?

As far as grapes and raisins go, no one is sure why they’re harmful. It’s been confirmed that even grapes grown without fertilizers or pesticides can be toxic to dogs. But not to every dog, and not every time. It’s also not known whether small amounts eaten over a long time period could have a cumulative effect.

What we do know is that the end result in nearly all reported cases of grape or raisin toxicity is acute kidney failure. (The term “acute” means that the condition is severe and comes on quickly.) The dog ultimately can’t produce urine, which means they can’t filter toxins out of their systems — a process essential to life.

During the twelve-month period in which the effects of grapes were studied, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center handled 140 cases involving one or more dogs. Over a third of the dogs developed symptoms ranging from vomiting to kidney failure, and seven dogs died. The ASPCA based their study on reported cases, so naturally there may be cases where a dogs health is entirely unaffected by eating grapes. But until they know all the facts, the Society advises against feeding pets grapes or raisins in any amount.

An ounce of prevention

So, your dog just scored himself a big box of raisins. What’s a pet owner to do?

The first line of defense, if the grapes or raisins were eaten recently, is to induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal (it absorbs toxins in the GI tract). Vomiting is also the first sign that your dog is in trouble, so skip right to the activated charcoal if vomiting has already occurred. (In a pinch you can make your own activated charcoal by charring a piece of toast until it’s blackened and crumbles easily.) Then call your vet right away.

Can’t reach the vet? Call ASPCA Poison Control: 888-426-4435

The vet will keep your dog on intravenous fluids for at least 48 hours and monitor blood chemistry daily. Normal blood work after 3 days usually means your dog is in the clear.

Keeping a watchful eye out, of course, is the best way to keep your pet out of trouble. Like children, dogs (and other pets) have a knack for getting into mischief when we’re not looking.

It’s Not Just the Grapes…

There are other foods your dog should be kept away from, and some of them may surprise you.

Here are some other foods that can put a dogs health in harms way:


Who can resist chocolate? Like it your not, your dog.  Chocolate is made with cocoa beans and cocoa beans contain a chemical called Theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. So on Valentine’s Day, you’re actually being kind to your best buddy if you eat all the chocolates yourself!  Read my special report on chocolate at http://www.great-dog-gift.com/chocolate to learn more, and see how different types of chocolate have varying effects on dogs health.

Cocoa Mulch

Cocoa bean shells are a by-product of chocolate production (which is how mulch made it into the “foods” category) and are popular as mulch for landscaping. Homeowners like the attractive color and scent, and the fact that the mulch breaks down into an organic fertilizer. However, some dogs like to eat it and it contains Theobromine.

Fatty foods

Fatty foods are hard for a dog to digest and can can overtax the pancreas, leading to pancreatitis. This can threaten your dogs health and is potentially fatal.


Macadamia nuts should be avoided. In fact most nuts are not good for a dogs health since their high phosporus content is said to lead to bladder stones.


Mulch isn’t food, but there’s one type tempting enough for dogs to eat. Some dogs are attracted to cocoa mulch, and will eat it in varying quantities. The coca bean shells can contain from 0.2% to 3% theobromine (the toxin ) as compaired to 1-4% in unprocessed beans.


Onions, especially raw onions, have been shown to trigger hemolytic anemia in dogs. (Stephen J Ettinger, D.V.M and Edward C. Fieldman, D.V.M. ‘s book: Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine vol. 2 pg 1884.) Stay away from onion powder too.


Potato poisonings among people and dogs are rare but have occurred. The toxin, solanine, is poorly absorbed and is only found in green sprouts (these occur in tubers exposed to sunlight) and green potato skins. This explains why incidents seldom occur. Note that cooked, mashed potatoes are fine for a dogs health, actually quite nutritious and digestible.

Artificial Sweeteners

Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, especially sugarless gum and candies. Ingesting large amounts of products sweetened with xylitol may cause a sudden drop in blood sugar in dogs, resulting depression, loss of coordination, and seizures. According to Dr. Eric K. Dunayer, a consulting veterinarian in clinical toxicology for the poison control center, “These signs can develop quite rapidly, at times less than 30 minutes after ingestion of the product” states Dr. Dunayer, “…therefore, it is important that pet owners seek veterinary treatment immediately.”


Turkey skin is currently thought to cause acute pancreatis in dogs, partly due to it’s high fat content.

Other foods listed by the ASPCA as harmful:


  1. Alcoholic beverages
  2. Avocado (the only “fatty” member of the vegetable family)
  3. Coffee (all forms of coffee)
  4. Moldy or spoiled foods
  5. Salt
  6. Yeast dough
  7. Garlic

The Bottom Line

Thanks to a more educated public, fewer fatalities from foods like chocolate are being reported these days. But it’s important to keep up with what’s currently known about foods and their effects on dogs health. Grapes and cocoa mulch, for example, were only discovered very recently to have harmful effects.
Check frequently with sources like the ASPCA, or sign up for the “Cold Noses News” and we’ll keep you informed. (You’ll also get a bunch of cool dog stuff along with your free registration).

Of course, being alert and getting your pet to the vet promptly will help assure a happy outcome if something unfortunate should happen.  Here’s to your dogs health and good nutrition!

Carolyn Schweitzer, a former family dentsit, is owner and editor of several websites, including http://www.Great-Dog-Gift.com.

Visit http://www.great-dog-gift.com/foodarticle to view the full illustrated article with links to resource articles from the ASPCA such as “How to Poison Proof your Home”.

Traveling with your pet: Tips for both your safety

September 7, 2008


Many people get nervous when they have to travel with their pets,
but traveling with your dog can be a very rewarding experience for
both of you.

If you are planning a trip by car, the first thing you need to do
is to get your dog used to riding in the car. The best way to do
this is to take short trips in town to places such as pet stores,
the dog park, or other places that are fun for your dog. He will
learn that car trips mean great fun and you will experience much
less of a hassle when traveling longer distances.

Another thing you need to do is decide how your dog will travel in
the car. If your dog is crate trained, and your vehicle is large
enough, you may want to consider crating him during car travel.
This will help prevent him from roaming around the car and offer
some protection in case of an accident. Bringing your dog’s crate
with you will also help keep your dog safe and happy once you
arrive at your destination. Many people choose to use other forms
of restraint, such as canine seatbelts. These products usually hook
on to a harness as well as your car’s seatbelt. You can choose
which seat to put your dog in. He will remain restrained in that
seat just as you are in yours. Canine seatbelts offer excellent
protection in the event of an accident. For those of you who prefer
to keep your dog loose in the car, you may want to consider
installing a divider of some sort. There are metal dividers and
mesh dividers available for all budgets. These devices allow for
your dog to have some roaming space in the back of the vehicle
while keeping him from interfering with your driving. Whichever way
you prefer to travel, it’s best to have a plan well in advance of a
trip to get your dog used to the method of restraint you will be

The next thing to consider is what supplies you will need to bring
with you. Make sure your dog has plenty of water available to him
at all times. You may not be able to find clean, drinkable water
available at rest stops along the way, so it is very important to
have an ample supply of your own. Some dogs will drink directly
from bottles, but if your dog does not, make sure you have a bowl
available for your dog to drink from. If your dog will be crated,
you can purchase a water bottle that attaches to his crate, just
like those used to water small animals like gerbils. You will also
want to make sure that you have an ample supply of food. Dogs’
digestive systems get used to their regular food. You do not want
to run the risk of not being able to find his usual food, otherwise
you may be dealing with loose stool or vomiting.

You will also want to make sure that you bring favorite toys to
help keep your dog occupied on the road and when you arrive at your
destination. It’s always a good idea to bring your veterinary
records with you as well. Some places that you may stay require up
to date records proving vaccination history. If your dog should
happen to get sick, you will also need your records. Some states
require health certificates for interstate travel so it is very
important to check with your veterinarian if you will need one of
these prior to traveling. Having your dog microchipped prior to
travel in case he should lose his tags is a great way to ensure his

Make sure to take frequent potty breaks along the way as sometimes
the motion of the car and stress of traveling will make your dog
need to go more often than usual. He will also need to stretch his
legs frequently, just as you will.

If you will be staying in a hotel during your travels, make sure in
advance that they will allow dogs. There are many resources on the
internet that will help you find dog friendly accommodations.

Some dogs will get stressed out during travel. If this has been
your experience in the past, make sure you talk with your
veterinarian prior to travel. There are medications available to
help calm your dog during events such as long car trips.

By following this advice and the advice of your veterinarian, you
can be assured that your travel experience will be a great one for
both you and your dog.

Did you just eat that? 10 things found in your home that can kill your dog

September 3, 2008


Dogs are very curious animals and as omnivores and natural
scavengers, can get into and eat just about anything. However,
there are many toxic substances found in your home that could
potentially kill your dog. The following is a list of ten common
household substances that you should make sure to keep out of your
dog’s reach.

1) Antifreeze: Many people do not realize it, but common antifreeze
kills many pets each year. It smells and tastes very sweet to your
dog and is very appealing to him. Ethylene glycol is toxic however,
and each winter, many animals are killed by it. Symptoms of
toxicity include seizures, vomiting, stumbling and lethargy leading
to kidney failure. Make sure to keep your antifreeze out of your
dog’s reach. If you suspect that your dog has ingested antifreeze,
take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.

2) Chocolate: Chocolate contains a substance called the obromine
which is toxic to dogs. Baking chocolate and dark chocolate is
especially dangerous. While it usually takes a somewhat large
amount of chocolate to kill a dog, poisoning and death does occur
with smaller amounts ingested. Signs of chocolate poisoning include
vomiting, diarrhea, increased urination, and increased activity.
This can progress to seizures and unusual heart rhythms. Call your
veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten

3) Bleach: As you might imagine, household bleach is toxic to dogs.
Keep all products containing bleach out of your dog’s reach.
Symptoms of bleach poisoning include drooling, vomiting, and
abdominal pain. Do NOT induce vomiting if you suspect your dog has
ingested bleach and contact your veterinarian immediately.

4) Tylenol: As little as two regular strength Tylenol tablets can
kill a small dog. Dogs lack the proper liver enzymes to break down
acetaminophen. Signs of toxicity include drooling, lethargy, and
abdominal pain. If you suspect your dog has ingested Tylenol, call
your veterinarian immediately.

5) Watch Batteries: If your dog ingests a watch battery, it can
cause a potentially fatal ulceration in the stomach within 12
hours. All other alkaline batteries are toxic to dogs as well.
Symptoms of toxicity include drooling, lack of appetite, vomiting,
and lethargy. If you suspect your dog has ingested a watch battery,
contact your vet immediately.

6) Moth Balls: Moth balls are very dangerous to dogs. They contain
an insecticide that causes central nervous system excitement and
seizures. When metabolized, ingestion of moth balls can lead to
liver failure. Symptoms of poisoning by moth balls include vomiting
and seizures. If your dog has consumed moth balls, do NOT induce
vomiting. Seek veterinary care immediately.

7) Fabric Softeners and other detergents: All sorts of household
detergents are toxic to dogs at one level or another, but fabric
fall into the highly toxic category. Signs of toxicity
include vomiting, lethargy, burns to the mouth, drooling, muscle
, and even coma. Do NOT induce vomiting if your dog has
ingested any detergent. Contact your veterinarian immediately.

8) Mouthwash: Mouthwash can contain boric acid which is highly
toxic to dogs. Symptoms of poisoning by mouthwash include vomiting,
drooling, seizures, and coma. You should take your dog to the
veterinarian immediately if you suspect poisoning by mouthwash or
other household item containing boric acid like contact lens
solution or denture cleaner.

9) Peach Pits: With most fruits, the pits and the seeds are toxic
to dogs. Signs of poisoning include drooling, vomiting, and
lethargy. If you suspect your dog has eaten a peach pit or the pit
or seeds of any fruit, take him to the veterinarian immediately.

10) Household Plants: Many common and popular household plants are
highly toxic to dogs. A partial list of toxic plants includes
poinsettias, lilies, ferns, devil’s ivy, aloe, and ivy. Symptoms of
poisoning due to ingestion of toxic plants include vomiting and
central nervous system excitement. Many of these plants are fatal
if ingested. Please contact your veterinarian immediately if you
suspect your dog has eaten a toxic houseplant.

With diligence on our part, we can help prevent our dogs from
getting into substances that are toxic to them. Many veterinary
websites offer lists of things that are toxic to dogs and
what you should do if your dog ingests such things. As always, if
you think your dog may have eaten something dangerous, contact your
veterinarian immediately or take your dog to the closest emergency