Teaching Your Children to Care for Their New Dog

May 11, 2009

If you have a child, you’ve probably heard those familiar words,
“Can we keep him?” Dog’s aren’t just a man’s best friend anymore;
they’ve become the whole family’s friend. If you’re like any
typical family, the children will probably spend the most time with
your new dog. This is why it’s very important you teach your child
how to take care of him. Here are a few dog rules to teach them:

1. Make sure you remember to feed the dog and give him fresh water
each day. Explain that dogs, especially puppies, need nutrition
each day for energy and proper growth. If you have an outside dog,
it’s especially important that his water dish is changed everyday.
Standing water is a breeding place for mosquitoes. Also dirt can
get flung into their dish. It is equally important for small
children to be supervised when dealing with this type of
responsibility. Sometimes smaller children can be too eager to
help. Explain to your children why we don’t feed dog’s certain
foods such as sweets. Dog food is made to meet their dog’s
nutritional needs and sweets can make their dog sick.

2. Being N-I-C-E to your dog is another lesson to teach children.
Younger children, particularly under the age of four, have a
tendency to be rough with animals. Pulling tails and ears just
comes naturally with their curiosity. With a new dog, you may not
know his temperament very well or how he may react to your child’s
curiosity. Lead by example. Show your child how to be kind to
animals. Show them how to gently pet them on the head or back and
that hitting or pulling can hurt the dog.

3. Teach your child about the importance of exercise with the
family dog. In order for the dog to stay healthy he must move
around and play. If the dog is not overpowering, let your child
walk the dog with a leash. Another fun activity for exercise is
fetch. Let your child throw a ball or stick for the pet to chase.
This is lots of fun for both participants.

4. If you have a rambunctious puppy, make sure your child doesn’t
leave things lying around. Puppies love to chew on whatever they
can sink their teeth into. If they see your daughter’s favorite
dolly on the floor, or your son’s tennis shoe, the puppy will show
no reserve. They will usually dive right in. Tell your child that
your puppy is too young to understand, and that until he gets
older, be extra careful about leaving things lying around.

5. Keep bathroom doors shut. Dogs are notorious for drinking from
the toilet bowl. If you can help it, reduce the temptation for him,
by teaching your child to keep bathroom doors shut.

6. If you have an indoor dog then he’s got to have potty breaks
outside. Keep a schedule of bathroom breaks for your dog. This is
one of the not so fun parts of taking care of a new pet. Remind
your child that if the new dog doesn’t keep to the scheduled potty
breaks that he may find a place in the house. In training a new dog
to use the bathroom outside, the scheduled times must be strictly

7. Make a chart. If you child is having problems remembering to
feed the pet or take it out for breaks, it would be a great idea to
make a chart of things to do each day. Let your child mark a check
when the chore has been completed. The more he completes the chore,
the easier it will be to remember.

Children don’t always see the bigger picture of taking care of a
new dog, but with our guidance, they will no doubt become good
little pet owners. It’s a good idea to applaud your child when he
takes on responsibility and follows through with it. This will give
them confidence to mature and take on more responsibility as they
get older. Taking care of a pet is a big responsibility. Teach your
kids that just as they have to be taken care of by parents, their
pet has to be taken care of as well. Our pets depend on us


Field Trials for your Sporting Dog

March 26, 2009

For those of you who aren’t too familiar with the term “field
trials,” it is a sport in which the sporting dog competes under
hunting conditions. The dog can pick up the scent of a rabbit or
small animal and follow the trail until he’s found it. There are
also the bird trials where the animal retrieves a fallen bird.
During competition, the different breeds are divided into various
groups. The following groups are: Pointing Dog Trials, Retriever
Trials, Spaniel Trials, Beagle Trials & Hound Trials. The following
guidelines are an example of what is expected before entering your
sporting dog.

If a club is hosting a trial, they must advertise the trial with a
fitting advertisement which states the following information: date
of actual trial along with the place, location of drawing, time of
drawing, sponsoring stakes and lastly, the contact person’s name,
city and state.

The next condition for entering is the age of the dog. There are
two seasons. If you are interested in entering your puppy in the
current season’s Puppy Stakes competition (July 1-December 31,
2005, he must be whelped (born) on or subsequent to June 1, 2004.
The next half of the season is from (January1-June 30, 2006), the
dog must be whelped on January 1, 2005 or after this date.

Before entering your dog in a trial, make sure you have all
information on the dog being entered. It is very important that all
information is put on the entry form. It will consist of the dog’s
name, the breed of the dog, registration number, color, sex and
sire and dam’s names.

“Field trialer” is the name of the owner or handler of the sporting
dog. Field trials is an enjoyable sport for field trialers because
of the exercise as well as the excitement of seeing their dogs
follow a trail. Talking with other field trialers is another thrill
of competing.

If you are new to the sport or just getting started, it can be mind
boggling choosing just the right dog, especially if you don’t even
know how to get started. The first decision in choosing a sporting
dog is deciding which pedigree you want. When choosing a dog, if
possible, find out information about the sire and dam. What kind of
accomplishments have they achieved? What are their strengths and

It’s a good idea to watch a particular breed in action to see if
that’s what you’re looking for in a sporting dog. Also talk to
other field trialers who are more experienced in this area. They
may be able to recommend a breeder. You can also read magazines or
books on the subject. Find out as much information as you can
before you choose your sporting dog.

Once you’ve chosen a puppy, look the puppy over from front to back.
Look for flaws in the structure of the puppy. Does he have unsteady
balance? Are his hind legs weak or stiff? Are the front legs bowed?
Serious flaws can prevent the dog from performing well out in the
field. The fields are not easy obstacles. There may be bushes the
dog may have to maneuver through and other obstructions in the way.
The dog must be healthy and strong in order to maneuver quickly.

Many field trialers will refer to the nose of the dog as being the
animal’s ability to find the scent and pursue. Each dog has its own
personality as to how he pursues the game. Some can be very
aggressive, while others are more cautious. Each dog may have its
own style which is what makes them so unique. One style is not
better than another. It is really up to the field trialer as to
what he likes better. The way the dog follows the scent is not the
most important aspect of the sport. The most important aspect is
that he finds the trail and stays on it until he finds the game.
How well does their nose perform. When they do lose the rabbit, how
far do they wonder off course? Do they try picking up the scent
again, once they lost it? These are questions to ask yourself about
your sporting dog.

Field trailing is an exciting sport, not only for the sporting dog,
but also for the field trialer. If this sport sounds interesting to
you, get involved with various clubs that support this type of
sport. Go out and give it a try.

AKC vs RBDA: What’s the difference

March 17, 2009

What is all the hype about our dogs belonging to a club? Many pet
owners do not even belong to a club. Dog owners, who take pride in
their pets, will generally register their dogs in some kind of
kennel club, especially if they plan to breed their dog. Registered
dogs tend to cost a little more and are more appealing to dog

AKC stands for American Kennel Club. It is the most well known
kennel club in the United States. They are dedicated to supporting
the sport of pure breeds. They were found back in 1884 and they are
a promoter of responsible dog ownership. Although the AKC is dog
friendly, no matter the status of the breed, they believe that
purebred dogs are more predictable in several aspects. Hence, they
believe that purebreds make better pets. Half of American homes
have pets and 36% of them are dog owners; therefore, more emphasis
should be placed on the subject.

The AKC stays very active. They encourage the sport of purebred
dogs. They sponsor over 15,000 dog competitions a year

The AKC deals with approximately one million applications a year,
although, they do not specialize in the selling of purebreds.
Because of this, they can not vouch for the health of the animal.

If you were to purchase a dog that comes from an AKC registered
blood line, you will also receive an application for your dog’s
registration. Someone who is buying an AKC registered dog must
realize that the certification is in no way guarantying that the
dog is in perfect health or that the quality of the dog is without
flaw. It is only stating that the canine is a direct offspring of a
known sire (stud/father) and dam (mother/bitch) and that it is born
on a factual date. They must also be from the same breed. In order
to register a litter of puppies, the sire and dam must be AKC
registered and the litter born in the US. The owner of the litter
wanting to register the litter must fill out an application which
requires basic information such as: date of mating and birth, the
number of males and females born in the litter, the sire and dam’s
registered names and numbers and lastly the owner’s address and
signature. You must fill out the form and send it back to the AKC.
They, in turn, will send you paperwork for each individual puppy to
be filled out partly by you. Once the puppies have been purchased,
the new owner will have to fill out the remaining information and
send it back, with a fee, the AKC. After they have processed your
application, you should receive an official AKC Certificate in the

The Rare Breed Dog Association is another type of dog registration.
You may wonder what exactly a “rare dog breed.” In simple terms, it
is a dog that the American Kennel Club does not recognize. They
have a number of services they offer such as: Public awareness of
the rare breed dog; Education of the rare breed dog; Registration
of the rare breed dog; as well as rare breed dog shows. Their goal
is to watch over the “Rare Breed Dog” in the US and educate the
public of the over 130 rare dog breeds that are out there. The RBDA
have a number of groups that they represent. The following are dog
groups along with a few of the actual breeds they represent:

Companion Group (American Hairless Terrier, Bolognese, Cavalier
King Charles)

Herding group (King and English Shepherd, Akbash)

Hound group (Basset Artesien Normand, Black Forest Hound, Batard)

Spitz group (Canadian Estimo Dog, Carolina Dog, Chinook)

Sporting group ( Barbet, Boykin Spaniel, Bracco Italiano) These
sporting group dogs are located in the Gundog group located in
various in Europe.

Terrier group (American Pit Bull Terrier, Cesky Terrier,

Working group ( Aidi, Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog, American Bulldog)

Whether you have a rare breed dog or a purebred dog, there our
resources out there to get your dog registered. Once again, either
way you go, it does not prove the quality of the animal, just the
family line. Although, if purchasing a dog, buying an AKC or RBDA
registered dog is the best way to tract the history of the dog.
Either way, a dog is a dog. They serve a variety of purposes, and
as long as they are fulfilling that purpose, that is what’s

Show Dogs: Where to start

February 19, 2009

Thinking about showing your dog off but don’t have any idea where
to start? Showing a dog is more than having a well groomed
attractive dog. There is hard work and dedication on the owner’s
part as well as the pet.

You can start doing your homework by checking out various dog
shows. This is the best place to start. Attend a few shows to see
what is expected. They are usually advertised in your local paper,
pet shop or even advertised on your local radio stations. Once
you’ve found a show to attend, plan to spend the whole day there.
Soak up what is going on around you. Watch the judges and what they
look for in a winning dog. Observe the pets with their handlers.
Watch to see how the handler deals with its dog before they show
it. After the judging, check out the score sheets to see how and
why the dog was given its score. For a novice, the score should
rank between 170-200. This is a great way to incorporate winning
techniques into your show dog’s training.

If you haven’t chosen a dog yet, it’s best to research what kind of
breeds are eligible to enter as well as what breed would be best
for you to work with. There are certain requirements to abide by
such as, your dog being AKC (American Kennel Club) registered. He
must also be at least six months old on the day of the show to
enter. If you’re having a tough time choosing a breed, talk to show
breeders. Ask questions about their particular breed’s temperament
and the pros as well as the cons of showing their breed. Read
plenty of magazines about the subject as well. Probably the most
popular breeder’s magazine would be the AKC Gazette. You will find
lots of helpful hints.

Once you’ve chosen a dog, it’s best to start training right away.
It would be beneficial to you and the dog to take an obedience
training course. You will learn the basic techniques needed to show
your dog. In this course, you will learn how to handle the leash,
move, stand and even train your dog. It also allows your dog to be
trained around other dogs so he can get used to distractions.

Of course, if handling the dog is not something you want to do, you
can always hire a professional handler. Talk to and get a copy of
several different professional handlers’ fees before choosing one.
You might want to attend a show where a particular handler will be
showing other owner’s dogs to see how well they do.

Before entering the novice level, you’re dog should be able to heel
while on the leash as well as off the leash. He should be able to
make left and right turns with you as well as about face. If you
come to a stop, he should follow by sitting. You’re dog should also
be able to stay in a sitting position for at least 2-3 minutes at a
time. If you’re dog is on the rambunctious side, you will have to
practice this more often.

When the dog is being examined by the judge, the handler should be
able to walk six feet away from the dog with it standing in a stay
position. After the handler gives the stay command, the judge
usually runs his hand across the dog. There is also the sit and
down exercises that all the dogs perform at the same time in the

The recommended dress attire for the handler is dress pants and a
suitable top. No low cut shirts or jeans (unless they are white or
black dress jeans). Good tractions shoes are also recommended.
Sandals are prohibited. The goal for dress is to where something
that is tasteful yet comfortable. You want to wear something that
is easy and breathable for you to move around in. Stay away from
noisy, clanging jewelry or loose hanging accessories that will
distract you or the dog.

Dogs also must abide by strict attire. They must be shown with only
a regular training collar. The collar must not be too loose or too
tight; it should fit just right around the neck. It can be made
from nylon as well as metal. The attached leash can also be nylon
as well as leather. Leather is the preferred material for leashes.

Remember, getting your dog started can be fun, but also strenuous
on both of you. Be both patient and firm with your canine, and
before you know it, you will reap the harvest of your dedication
and hard work. Have fun!

How to choose a hypoallergenic dog

February 9, 2009

With President Obama and his family struggling with this choice right now, here’s a timely post…

For people that love dogs, yet have allergic reactions to them,
there is a simple alternative. If you can’t do without a four
legged “friend,” choosing a hypoallergenic dog is the best
alternative. For those who are scratching their heads, a
hypoallergenic dog is not a special breed of dogs. They are dogs
that generate less (hypo) allergens (allergenic) in the air, which
has a lot to do with the dog’s physical size and length of its fur.
For allergy sufferers, finding an allergy-friendly dog is the most
reasonable choice. This doesn’t mean that the dog will be
completely allergy proof, but it does mean that this type of dog
tends to generate less amounts of allergy causing elements. It is
impossible to find a dog that causes no degree of allergens.

Allergy reactions from dogs can consist of skin rashes, watery and
itchy eyes, sneezing and a stuffy nose. More serious reactions are
wheezing, asthma attacks and not being able to breathe deeply.
These can be frightening reactions and choosing not to have a pet,
for these reasons, out ways the benefits of having one. For dog
lovers, who suffer with allergies, this is a hard fact to accept.
The reason some people suffer from simple pet hair is because of
their immune system. They are hypersensitive to the components
found on the dog hair. Many people think it is the animal hair that
causes the problem, but in reality it is what attaches itself to
the pet hair. The dog’s hair picks up pollen and dust attaching
itself to the hair follicle. With normal movements, the elements
are distracted on whatever it comes across. Hence, larger and
longer haired dogs have a tendency to generate more allergens than
smaller and shorter haired dogs Therefore, the bigger the dog, the
more allergy components it will distract.

If choosing a dog from a breeder, try spending at least 30 minutes
playing with the dog and being in the dog’s area to see how you
react to it. If you have a severe reaction in that amount of time,
then you can be assured that having it as a live-in would not be a
good idea. If you’re choosing a breeder who lives a substantial
distance away, send a clothing item to the breeder and ask them to
place it near the dog for a day and send it back to you in a
plastic bag. Wear the clothing item or breathe in the smell and see
how you react. If no reaction, you might want to consider visiting
the breeder in person. If you do get a negative reaction, it’s best
not to waste your time visiting in person. The allergic reaction
would probably be worse if you were around the real thing.

Another thing you might want to consider when choosing a dog is the
temperament. You want to choose a dog that will meet your needs,
and you in turn, can meet its needs as well. Not only do you want
to choose an allergy-friendly dog, but if you have a family, you
want one that is family-friendly as well. Here are a few breeds to
consider: Bichon Frise, Irish Terrier, Poodles. These dogs enjoy
family surroundings, they’re excellent with children and they make
great watch dogs. They also have low shedding levels. If you are a
single adult, you might want to consider a dog that is happy with
minimal people surroundings. A couple of good choices would be
Chihuahua or a Portuguese Water Dog. These dogs tend to bond with
one person rather than several.

Here are a few dogs to stay away from due to their high shedding
ability. They are: Cocker Spaniels, Irish Setters, Dachshunds,
Basset hounds, German Shepherds and Afghan Hounds.

If you choose an indoor dog, it’s best to choose one that can be
groomed regularly or that you can bath easily. It’s best to bath
them at least 1-2 times per week. This will reduce the amount of
pet dander. Taking care of your dog’s hair is an important part of
reducing the components that cause allergies. You can even choose a
hairless dog such as the Chinese Crested, American Hairless Terrier
or the Mexican Hairless.

Some people claim that certain breeds bring out the worst in their
allergies than others. In choosing a breed, be open to find the
best one that fits your lifestyle.

Overcoming arthritis in dogs

January 29, 2009

Arthritis is a health problem that not only humans deal with, but
so do their animals. In fact, one-fifth of dogs in the US, over the
age of seven, suffer with painful DJD (degenerative joint disease)
as veterinarians like to say. It is also one of the top recurring
pains in dogs that they treat. Arthritis in dogs can affect their
back, elbows, shoulders, hip and neck.

If you’re not sure if your dog has arthritis, here are a few
obvious signs:

Does he tend to favor once side over another (His joints could be
too painful on one side, so he will tend to put more pressure on
the other to avoid pain. He may even show discomfort while standing
or even sitting on a particular side)

Unusual weight gain (Because of the painful joints, he may tend to
be more lethargic or even sleep more not getting the exercise a
healthy dog would generally get)

Not as active (If you’ve noticed he isn’t as playful or unusually
hesitant in his movements. This is due to stiff joints)

If you’ve noticed your dog with any one of the above symptoms for
more than a week, don’t hesitate to take him to a veterinarian.
This way he can be properly diagnosed and treated.

There are home remedies that you might even want to try to ease his


Your dog’s diet is one area that you might want to look into. Dry
dog food is made up mostly of grains which cause inflammation of
the joints. A better choice would be to try preparing his meals
with raw or cooked meat as well as cooked vegetables. They are not
only healthier for him but should help alleviate some of the
swelling in his joints. (Stay away from anything spicy such as
peppers and even onions). Omega 3 fatty acids can be used as a
supplement in order to decrease the amount of inflammation in the
joints. Try giving him fish capsules. Flax seed is also a great


Even thought your dog may be in pain, it’s still important that he
gets a short amount of exercise. If he’s not skittish to water, try
having him swim. For smaller dogs, a kiddy pool would work great.
This way, there is no pressure on the joints, yet he is still being
mobile. Also take him for short 15 minute walks. Don’t expect too
much from him such as running after a ball or jumping.

Warm and Comfortable rest area

Provide a soft, comfortable area for your dog to rest. In the
winter time, when the cool air can stiffen joints, try placing an
old sleeping bag or pillow on the floor to help keep his joints
warm. If your dog is an outside dog, you may want to bring him into
the garage at night, to avoid the temperature drops.

These are just a few ways that we can help make our pets lives more
comfortable. Although, visiting a veterinarian should also be
considered. Your veterinarian will probably take an x-ray to see
the damage to the joints. With the rising amount of animals that
are developing arthritis, there are medications that have been
developed to alleviate and even help repair the joints.

A popular medication for dogs in alleviating pain is glucosamine.
It is a sugar that is generated from shell fish that motivates
joint repair and lessens joint pain. Glucosamine is a natural
ingredient that is found in animals, but with age, the body has a
decrease in production of this essential element. Glucosamine works
by stimulating your body to produce Synovial fluid. Synovial fluid
is needed for healthy joints. It lubricates the cartilage to aid in

Never take matters into your own hands by giving your dog human
medications. They can be toxic to his body, especially if given in
the wrong dosage form.

Animal care has come a long way in meeting the needs of our
canines. Taking your dog to regular check ups at a veterinarian is
one way to keep up with your dog’s health needs. If we want our
animals to have happy and healthy lives, taking care of their
body’s is important.

Vaccinations: When, Why and What should your pet be getting

January 24, 2009

Vaccinations are a very important part of dog ownership. Your dog
should be properly vaccinated against certain diseases at certain
times to help protect him and other animals he may come in to
contact with. The following is an explanation of vaccinations and
why they should be given.

When you get a puppy, most likely your veterinarian will recommend
a series of three sets of vaccinations. These will generally be
given at four week intervals starting at eight weeks of age. The
first vaccine will most likely be referred to as “distemper.” This
is usually a combination shot that will protect your dog against
distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, leptospirosis, and

1) Distemper -a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that is
similar to measles in humans. It can affect dogs of all ages but is
most often seen in unvaccinated puppies. It attacks the
gastrointestinal, respiratory, and nervous systems. Symptoms
include cough, nasal and eye discharge, lethargy, vomiting, and
diarrhea. In advanced stages, dogs may show neurological problems
such as lack of coordination, weakness, and seizures. Treatment
includes fluids and antibiotics but prognosis is guarded and in
about half of the cases, Distemper is fatal.

2) Hepatitis -which affects the liver, pancreas, kidneys, and the
lining of blood vessels. It causes fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea,
and lethargy. Treatment includes administration of fluids and
antibiotics but in serious cases a blood transfusion may be
necessary. The severity of the disease varies but young puppies
often die from Hepatitis.

3) Parainfluenza – caused by a virus and is quite mild in
comparison with other infectious diseases. Symptoms include
sneezing, discharge from the eyes and nose, and coughing. Treatment
varies but in many cases, no treatment is required.

4) Leptospirosis which is transmitted by contact with water
contaminated with infected urine. It affects the urinary tract,
kidneys, and liver. Symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and
abdominal pain. In further stages of the disease, dogs may become
very thirsty and have a low temperature. Treatment includes
antibiotics and fluid therapy. Please note however that some dogs
are allergic to the leptospirosis vaccine. Please check with your
veterinarian if you have questions or concerns. Oftentimes the
leptospirosis component is not a part of your puppy shots and will
be administered annually starting the next year your dog is due for

5) Coronavirus which causes inflammation of the intestines and
diarrhea. This disease most often affects puppies. Symptoms include
decreased appetite, orange or yellow diarrhea, lethargy, and fever.
Treatment includes fluid administration and antibiotics. Prognosis
is usually good. The distemper combination vaccine is given
annually after the first three series.

At your second visit (or at age 12 weeks), if you plan to take your
dog to puppy class or he will be around other dogs, it is a good
idea to get him vaccinated for Bordetella Bronchiseptica.
Bordetella Bronchiseptica is most often referred to as Kennel
Cough. This disease is incredibly infectious and is usually
transmitted in areas where many dogs are together such as boarding
facilities, doggy day care, and dog parks. If your dog becomes
infected, you will notice a dry cough. Infected dogs are usually
treated with antibiotics. Keep in mind that even though most places
that take in multiple dogs require immunization to Bordetella, no
vaccine is 100% effective so your dog may still become ill with
this disease. This vaccine comes in both intranasal and injectible
form. The intranasal form is dribbled into your dog’s nostrils.
Your dog may need a booster of the Bordetella vaccine at his 16
week visit and annually after that.

At age 16 weeks, your dog can be vaccinated for Rabies. Rabies is
usually transmitted to dogs through saliva – most often in the form
of a bite from an infected animal. Rabies affects all warm blooded
animals but is most often found in bats, skunks, and raccoons.
Rabies is always fatal. In many states, rabies vaccination is
required by law. Check with your veterinarian on how often this
immunization is recommended as protocols may vary. If your dog
becomes infected with Rabies, you may notice subtle behavioral
changes at first. This may be accompanied by fever, vomiting, and
diarrhea. The best defense against Rabies is to make certain your
dog is properly immunized.

By properly vaccinating your dog, you are helping to ensure both
his safety and the safety of other pets and humans.

Making your home puppy proof

January 5, 2009

Puppies are super cute and so much fun to have around. They are
filled with energy and curious about everything around them. It is
your job as a responsible pet owner to puppy proof your house to
make it safe from them and to protect your belongings.

The first thing you should do when puppy proofing your house is to
go room to room on your hands and knees. Look at the things in your
home from your puppy’s perspective. Think about what is at that
level that may be interesting to him. You may be surprised to find
many things that are potentially dangerous that you never even
thought of before.

One thing you should be aware of in your household is the location
of electrical cords. Make sure to limit your puppy’s access to
these areas. Puppies can chew through cords and get electrocuted
causing serious injury or even death. Wrap cords up and store them
away or lay down rubber or plastic runners that can be purchased at
most home supply stores.

Another potentially dangerous thing for puppies is your stairs.
Small puppies have a hard time navigating up and down stairs and
could fall down them and injure themselves. Stairs also lead to
areas in your house that may be off limits. The best way to ensure
that your puppy stays away from the stairs is to purchase baby
gates, available at most department and pet supply stores.

Just as curious toddlers are, puppies are very curious about what
is inside cabinets. Many people store cleaning supplies and
personal care products in cabinets that can be accessible to
puppies. These kinds of products contain harmful ingredients that
can injure or kill your puppy. Make sure to either store these
products in cabinets that are out of reach to puppies, or purchase
plastic cabinet locks that are available at most department and pet
supply stores.

Be aware of small objects that are located around the home, on
coffee tables and other surfaces that are accessible to your puppy.
Just as with small children, puppies can choke on items like coins,
needles, jewelry and small toys. Make sure to keep these kinds of
items out of your puppy’s reach.

Puppies seem to be attracted to shoes and socks. They love to chew
on them. Not only will this ruin your favorite shoes, if a puppy
were to chew on and swallow a shoelace or a sock, it could get
wrapped around their intestines causing serious injury or death.
Make sure to store your shoes and socks out of reach of your puppy,
and NEVER encourage them to chew on these items, no matter how cute
it may be.

Always limit your puppy’s access to the bathroom. Bathroom garbage
is very tempting to chew on. If your dog were to swallow some
dental floss or feminine products, this could be very harmful to
them. Puppies also are curious about toilets. Small pups could fall
in an open toilet and drown. Make sure to keep your bathroom door
shut at all times, or install a baby gate at the entrance to your
bathroom. The same can be said for the kitchen and kitchen garbage.

Open windows are another potential hazard to your puppy. Being very
curious about the world around them, they could easily fall out of
a window causing serious harm or death. On the ground floor, they
could exit out of the window and get lost or run into the street.
Be mindful of open windows when you are not directly supervising
your puppy.

House plants are another concern when it comes to puppies. Most
dogs are very attracted to plants and many household plants are
toxic to animals and can cause nausea, vomiting, and in some cases,
death. Always make sure to keep house plants away from your puppy’s

The best way to puppy proof your house is to crate train your puppy
right away. You are providing him with a safe place to go whenever
he wants to as well as a place to be safely contained when you are
not able to directly supervise him. If you need more information
about puppy proofing your home, consult your veterinarian or pet

Urine samples, Anal glands, and Dandruff: The truth about your dog’s dirty little secrets

December 9, 2008


When most people get a dog, they think of the fun times they will
have with their new furry companion. But there are many things that
aren’t so pleasant that we as dog owners must consider to keep our
friends happy and healthy.

So you go to the veterinarian, and your doctor asks you to bring
along a urine sample from your dog. Your first question is
probably, how do I do this? The easiest way to accomplish this is
to tape a Tupperware container to the end of a yard stick. While
your dog is out doing his business, get the container underneath
his urine stream. This is easier to do with male dogs than female
dogs but you can usually get a sample with one or two tries. Your
veterinarian will want as fresh a sample if possible. If you will
not be taking the sample to the vet right away, keep it
refrigerated until you bring it in. Your veterinarian will be
checking the sample for a variety of things like bacteria and
crystals. If bacteria is found, this might mean that your dog has a
urinary tract infection, and most likely your vet will put your dog
on a course of antibiotics. Crystals form in the urine whenever
minerals bind together. There are several different kinds of
crystals and these are most often treated with prescription diets.

Why does your veterinarian ask for a stool sample? Frequently,
intestinal parasites are found in dogs. They can get these by
eating fecal matter from another affected animal, carcasses, or
other unsavory things. You will want to bring in a fresh sample.
The doctor will look at it under the microscope looking for
telltale eggs of parasites. The most common are roundworms,
hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Several of today’s monthly
heartworm medications also protect against roundworms and
hookworms. If you live in the country or your dog is outside a lot,
he may need to be treated with a wormer on a quarterly basis for
tapeworms. Other diseases like coccidia, can also be seen under the
microscope from your dog’s stool sample.

What are anal glands? The anal glands are two small glands located
just on the inside of your dog’s anus. They secrete a foul smelling
liquid. Most of the time, your dog will empty his own glands while
defecating. In some dogs, however, the anal glands do not empty
properly and become impacted. If your dog is scooting a lot or
licking his hind end often, he may have a problem with his anal
glands. Make an appointment with your veterinarian. He will check
the anal glands by touch with a gloved hand. If they are full, he
can manually empty them. You can learn how to do this yourself at
home. Some dogs need to have their anal glands manually emptied on
a regular basis. Some owners choose to have their dog’s anal glands
surgically removed. This often helps the problem, but if you choose
to do this, discuss the possible outcomes with your veterinarian.
There is often a risk of fecal incontinence if this surgery does
not go properly.

In dogs, sometimes dandruff is just that – dandruff. This can be
caused by skin allergies, nutritional deficiencies, or improper
grooming. But sometimes dandruff can be more. Dandruff can be a
sign of a parasite called mange. There are a few different types of
mange: a) Demodectic Mange which is caused by a mite. This mite is
present in all dogs and rarely affects them adversely. Sometimes
however, there can be an overabundance of these mites causing skin
irritation and hair loss. b) Sarcoptic Mange which is caused by
another type of mite. A female mite will bury herself in your dog’s
skin and lay eggs. When the eggs hatch, the cycle will begin again.
Sarcoptic mange, also known as scabies, causes severe skin
irritation and hair loss in dogs. It is easily treatable. c)
Cheyletiella Mange is caused by a large mite that lives on the
surface of your dog’s skin. This infestation is also known as
“walking dandruff.” Cheyletiella mange is easily treatable with
topical medication and causes minor skin irritation.

It’s important to know about the less pleasant things that can
cause your dog health problems so that you are properly educated
and can recognize signs and symptoms. This will ensure that you
keep your dog as healthy as he can be.

B.A.R.F. Diet: Sounds yummy but what is it

December 4, 2008


It actually sounds kind of gross, but BARF is an acronym for
Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food. Many
health conscious veterinarians are huge advocates for this diet
which can completely replace commercially prepared dog food. One of
the first proponents of the BARF diet was Dr. Ian Billinghurst who
still recommends it today. He believes that it is the ultimate way
to get our pets in to optimum health. Many people believe that the
BARF diet simulates what your dog would eat in his natural

Many people feel that there are a lot of health advantages to
feeding a raw food diet. Many owners who have dogs with problems
such as allergies, skin problems, weight problems, and anal gland
problems have found that the bones and raw food diet has helped to
significantly remedy these issues.

Some of the advantages to feeding a biologically appropriate raw
food diet
include no consumption of preservatives found in most
commercially prepared kibble diets, it usually tastes better to
your dog than regular dog food, and in general, muscle mass and
body condition improve on a raw food diet. One also often finds
that dogs produce fewer stools, eat more slowly, and have fewer
health problems. Many advocates of the raw food diet also claim
that it is less expensive than commercially manufactured dog food.
One of the biggest disadvantages to this diet is that it takes
longer to prepare.

If you decide that you would like to try the BARF diet with your
dog, you must first do the research. There are many websites and
books available to guide you through the process. Talk to your
veterinarian, though many veterinarians are unfamiliar with the
BARF diet. Find people in your area that feed the raw food diet to
their animals. Make sure it is right for you and your dog before
you try it.

The next step is to transition your dog from his commercial dog
to his new bones and raw food diet. You may want to do this
gradually as oftentimes dogs develop digestive problems when
switching to new diets. Some advocates of the BARF diet recommend
switching your dog to the new diet cold turkey, however.

When feeding a raw food diet, you will generally want to feed your
dog twice per day. The first meal of the day will usually consist
of raw meat and bones like turkey or chicken legs, thighs, wings,
or necks, pork riblets, lamb chops, and the like. The second meal
will consist of a mush made with raw meat, fresh vegetables, and
Offal (the organs parts of the meat you are feeding). Usually you
will want to supplement this with cottage cheese, eggs with the
shells, yogurt, fruit, fish, and recreational bones (which are the
harder to chew kinds of bones). This can vary, so do your homework.
You will want to avoid grains. Advocates of the biologically
appropriate raw food diet agree that dogs do not have the proper
digestive systems to deal with whole grains and that most food
are grain related.

Most advocates of the raw food diet do not recommend supplements.
If you aren’t sure what to do, speak with your veterinarian.

Many people are hesitant to feed their dog a raw diet because they
are concerned about their dogs choking on bones. While these
incidents occur, proponents of raw food diets say they are rare,
and that generally, dogs choke on cooked bones, not raw ones.

There are commercially prepared raw food diets on the market. While
this is always an option for you if you choose to feed raw food,
many advocates of the BARF diet recommend against it. They argue
that these foods have different regulations that human grade foods,
oftentimes contain unnecessary supplements, are ground foods (and
the whole basis of the BARF diet is raw, meaty bones), and are much
more expensive than visiting your local butcher.

If you decide that the bones and raw food diet is something that
you’d like to try, first talk to your veterinarian about your
decision. Then, do as much research into the diet as possible. Talk
to others who feed the diet. You may find that by feeding the BARF
you are improving the health of your dog.