Archive for August, 2008
Are You Ready for a Dog? Maybe Later… Have you been thinking about getting a dog? If you are reading this, then it’s probably been on your mind for a while. You are probably the kind of person that thinks things through and that’s why you’ve chosen this article. We know all of the reasons we want a dog…love, companionship, fun, etc. But it’s important, also, to think about the negatives and make sure that they are things you are comfortable with. It’s possible that now is NOT the right time to get a dog.
You already know that dogs are a very big responsibility. If you change your mind after getting a dog, or your family decides it wasn’t a good idea after all, it will be the dog who suffers. Following is a simple list of all the negative things about owning a dog. Not all dogs will do these things, but it’s important to be prepared for the possiblity. Think twice before you get a dog. Here is the list that you and your family should understand about living with a dog: Some dogs get big. Some dogs bark a lot. When you walk a dog, you have to pick up the mess. Dogs can get sick and mess up the carpet. Dogs can chew furniture.
Dogs shed hair. Dogs get lonely when they are by themselves. Dogs can chew your toys. Dogs can get sick and cost a lot of money at the vet. Dogs can be picky about their food. Dogs jump on people. Dirty dog dishes need to be washed. Dogs need baths. Dogs scratch, bite, and chew. Dogs can’t always understand what you are saying. Dogs can get fleas, worms, and ticks. Dogs can run away. Dogs can bother the neighbors. Dogs need to go for walks. Dogs need things like leashes, collars, and toys which cost money. Dogs need a pet sitter or boarding when you want to go away.
Dogs need frequent brushing, so you need tools like the furminator to get rid of the dead undercoat. Dogs need exercise. Friends or family might be allergic to dogs. Dogs need obedience training. Dogs drool on your hands and on your clothes. Someday your dog will die. So there it is. I can’t think of any more negatives. And some of these may not be negatives for you, like exercising your dog. That may be a reason you want to get a dog. Just remember this list, and if they bother you a lot, then a dog may not the best pet for you. You might decide that this is not the best time to get a dog. Or that your home is not the best place for a dog right now. Or you might decide that the best pet for you is not a dog. Making the right decision now will help a dog live a happier, more comfortable life.
Microchip Identification – Is It Right for Your Pet?
It’s a horrible experience for a family – a pet was lost and never made it home. Though most dog owners fear this situation, few have done much to protect themselves from this painful ordeal.
Though collar tags that include your contact information on them can be a fair bit of protection, they can easily be lost, or worn and damaged to the point of being unreadable. Many families forget to buy new tags after moving to a new location, and this makes them entirely useless for recovering the pet.
Tattoos are another option that may be employed, but these too often blur and become unreadable over time and, depending on where they are located, can go completely un-noticed, particularly on thick-furred breeds. Tattoos are a bit more difficult to “update” when you move, and you must keep in mind that receiving a tattoo is *not* a pleasant experience for your pet.
In this age of modern technology, perhaps the best way to protect your canine family member is by using a microchip. While some owners will argue that they don’t want to subject their pets to an “invasive” procedure, you must understand that receiving a microchip is no more invasive than receiving a vaccination. In fact, they are injected using a syringe, usually under the skin between the shoulder blades, and most animals show no reaction at all to receiving them. These chips are no larger than a grain of rice, cannot be felt by hand, and do not move around under your pet’s skin. If you own a teacup breed, rest assured that the same chips are used in rare an exotic birds, so even the smallest dogs can use them.
The use of microchips in animals, reptiles, and even fish has been extensively tested an found to be harmless to the animal, so for this reason are widely advocated by veterinarians and other animal professionals worldwide. The chip itself has no battery or other internal power supply, so it cannot “burn out”, and it will last the lifetime of your pet. They are read by the use of a small handheld scanner, which sends a harmless radio wave out and allows the chip to emit its unique pre-programmed identification number almost instantaneously. This information is displayed on the scanner’s screen, along with brief data that allows your pet’s “rescuer” to know which company to call to learn whom the animal belongs to.
Two of the most widely-used and recognized microchip companies are HomeAgain and Avid. Shelters and veterinarians are familiar with them and know what to do when your pet is found wearing one of these chips. Both companies maintain databases that have detailed information on your pet, including your contact information, as well as some “backup” contacts, such as your veterinarian and/or other family members in case you cannot be reached. These databases are available 24 hours a day to shelters and other animal professionals. If you move to another location or the animal changes hands, it is a simple matter for the owner to have the information in the database updated.
Of course when taking your dog to the vet to get microchipped, its always a great idea to give him dog treats during the procedure. This is sure to distract him and keep him happy!
Dogs have been around for as long as man can remember. And for many of us that’s a good thing because our lives have been made that much richer. There seems to be a breed to suit just about anybody. Good job because some of us are hard to please.
Obviously it depends where you live as to just what dog you can have. It’s no good owning a great big dog like the mighty St Bernard if you live in a flat on the 5th floor of a high rise. Apart from it being cruel it’s just not practical in any way shape or form.
No if that’s you then a much much smaller dog like the Toy Fox Terrier or a Pug or a Jack Russell is the order of the day.
Obviously another thing to take into consideration is the costs of dog food and the like. You don’t need me to tell you that Bernie is going to woof down more chunks than little Chuiy.
Chihuahuas eat very little, but feeding costs can still be a bit high, since these dogs are often picky eaters. Recommended feeding for Bernie though is up to 4 cans (13.3oz) of a high-quality meaty product with biscuit added in equal amount or 5 cupfuls of a complete, dry dog food. This dog can eat 8-12 cups of food a day. Ouch!
If you’re looking for a dog somewhere in the middle then a Whippet just might fit the bill. The Whippet is a 25 to 45 pound dog that stands 19 to 24 inches in height. This dog is well muscled without being overly bulky or stocky and has loads of energy. A great dog to go for if you want a jogging partner for chasing squirrels and rabbits. They also love all kinds of dog treats, like pig ears.
Mr Rottweiler or St Bernie need a good sized yard to exercise in. Also remember these dogs as a puppy are still quite big dogs, so if you’ve got little toddlers yourself just be careful they don’t get knocked over or sent flying in some cases.
By the way don’t get hoodwinked by what you see in the films, Rottweiler’s and the like aren’t vicious dogs unless trained to be so. They can be the most loving and most gentle of pets, but they can be highly wary of strangers.
The Toy Fox Terrier on the other hand is just right for an apartment, weighing in as little as just 8 pounds and being around 10 inches high.
Nevertheless these tiny dogs, (one of the world’s smallest breeds) don’t believe what they see in the mirror. They actually think they are as powerful as something like a Rottweiler, you’ve just got to admire these little critters and you can’t help having a little laugh to yourself when you see them yapping away in a threatening manner against a much bigger dog.
Dog lice – When it is time to see the vet
Chances are that you have noticed lately that your dog’s new favorite hobby is scratching himself in at least three places at once. When you part his coat to examine what is causing the itch and excessive scratching, you notice tiny white dust-like particles that are attached to the hair shafts. What are these tiny particles and why are they causing your dog to itch?
Your dog is suffering from lice infestation. Dog lice are six legged parasites that feed either on your dog’s flesh or their blood, triggering intense itchy reactions. The tiny white particles that are attached to his hair are lice eggs or nits. Although dogs rarely get lice and it is actually more common for people to get human lice, dog lice is still out there and our dogs are not immune to them.
One tiny louse cannot kill your dog, but once that tiny louse decides to invite all his louse friends to live off of your dog, then your pet could literally be eaten alive. If your dog is suffering from a severe case of lice, he could lose about one quarter of his blood volume within months, causing severe anemia or shock.
If you have to take your dog to the vet for lice treatment, make sure to give him a nice treat after he gets home, like pig ears. This is sure to make him forget his worries!
Clicker Training – What is a Clicker ?A clicker is a small handheld noisemaker that makes a distinct “click” when it is pressed. Clicker training is a subset or restricted application of OPERANT CONDITIONING.
Clicker training is merely a tool that is used in operant conditioning. A clicker has also been called a bridge or a marker. Clicker training has been successfully used in animal training over the last couple of decades. Over 140 different species have been successfully “clicker trained”. Many of the animals you have seen in movies/theatrical appearances or commercials have been clicker trained.
To put it very basically, whenever an animal performs a desired action, the handler should immediately click with a hand held clicker, then deliver a reward the animal desires (such as a tasty treat like bully sticks). The animal will associate the click as a marker that clues the animal when it does a specific action, they will get a reward.
Alot of people traveling in RVs – fulltimers, partimers and weekenders alike – bring their doggies along for the trip. What do you do to keep your mutt looking pretty on the road? What happens when you let Fluffy out to do her business, and she comes back with a coat full of burrs and mud?
Even if you are just road tripping in a car, it pays to have a little ‘grooming emergency kit’ tucked away somewhere. These are the essentials:
1. Fine-Tooth Comb – you can work out the burrs before they get really entwined with any plastic comb. Just don’t yank on your poor dog – be gentle!
2. Dog brush – once you have the burrs out, brush through the fur to remove leaves, dirt, and mud. Use tools like the furminator to remove dead undercoat.
3. A small scissors is a lifesaver if there are matts.
4. Tweezers to remove the thorns and spines. Check your dogs feet every time you think of it – a thorn could become an infected abscess if neglected.
5. Baby Wipes are great for touch-ups between baths, for wiping eye boogers – and can really help out when you see any dangling dookie (you DON’T want THAT in your vehicle)!
6. A small spray bottle of doggie cologne, to help cover up any odors from Fido rolling in the cow pies. Find a scent you like since it will linger in the car or RV with you – there are hundreds to choose from; something for everybody. I am partial to the Christmas Spice-type scents…plus, after Christmas, you can probably buy a bunch of bottles on sale and use all year.
Heartworm Caused by MosquitoesHeartworm disease is caused by a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis, which lives in the right side of the heart and the adjacent blood vessels. Its presence in these blood vessels causes cardiovascular weakness, compromised lung incapacity, and eventual death. Heartworm disease occurs primarily in dogs but can occur in cats and other animals on rare occasions.
Heartworm is transmitted from dog to dog (and cat to cat) by mosquitoes. Over 70 species of mosquitoes have already been implicated. Transmission of the parasite occurs as follows: when a mosquito draws blood from a dog or cat infected with heartworm, it takes with it a number of small immature worms called microfilariae. Once inside the mosquito, the microfilariae develop into larvae. Later, when the mosquito bites a new victim, the larvae are injected and that dog or cat becomes infected.
It takes about six and a half to seven months for the larvae to mature and start producing thousands of new microfilariae inside the circulatory system. The adult worms end up occupying the right chamber of the heart and the pulmonary arteries, while the microscopic microfilariae circulate throughout the bloodstream.
All these worms within the blood vessels produce an increased workload on the heart, along with restricted blood flow to the lungs, kidneys, and liver, eventually causing multiple organ failure. At first, pets may exhibit a chronic cough and reduced exercise tolerance, followed by sudden collapse and death.
Once infected, one pet can easily become a “carrier” or reservoir of infection for an entire neighbourhood. Sometimes, a dog or cat may have heartworm disease but show no symptoms. By the time symptoms do occur, the disease is well advanced.
Prevention is preferred to treatment. While there are effective treatments available, most veterinarians prefer to promote prevention of heartworm disease. Oral and topical medications that are administered monthly and have shown to be highly effective in preventing heartworm disease are available from your veterinarian.
When giving heartworm preventative medication to your dog, such as Heartguard, Interceptor, or Sentinel, use it as a reward. Most dogs love the flavor of Heartguard, but just to be sure, act as if its a dog treat for them, like cow ears , so they wont refuse it every month.
Bordatella bronchiseptica (Kennel Cough)
Bordatella is another component of the syndrome known as Kennel Cough, and should be administered to high risk dogs. This consists of dogs being boarded or attending puppy classes, and many facilities now require vaccination before the dog can be admitted. The vaccine can be given via a squirt in the nose or injected under the skin, and yearly boosters are recommended to maintain immunity.
Leptospirosis is a re-emerging disease of great importance in both rural and urban areas. It thrives when the climate is warm and moist, and as a result, is most common in the spring and fall. It is spread by contact with urine from infected “host species”, which can include: raccoons, skunks, mice, voles, cattle, and pigs. Dogs can come into contact with contaminated urine in their environment in the form of water dishes, shallow ponds or puddles. The disease can range from mild to fatal, often causing severe kidney failure and liver disease. Furthermore, the organism is transmissible to humans, and care must be taken to ensure all areas of possible contamination be disinfected. Vaccination for dogs with potential exposure is recommended because of the serious illness associated with this disease.
Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme Disease)
Lyme Disease is transmitted by the Deer Tick (Ixodes scapularis) that carries the organism in endemic areas. Signs of disease include arthritis, enlarged lymph nodes, and fever. Behavrioural changes and neurological signs may also be observed, including seizures. Consult your veterinarian to find out if Lyme Disease is important in your area, or if you are traveling to an endemic area with your dog.
Make sure to give your dog a nice treat when he gets home, like beef trachea, after a long hard day of injections! He sure is going to appreciate it.
The Rabies virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected animal, most commonly bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. It causes a fatal brain and spinal cord infection, and signs of disease can vary from depression and dementia to aggressiveness. The virus can be shed for up to 14 days before signs of infection are apparent. The virus can be shed by the infected animal for a variable length of time, ranging from days to months. This disease is not only fatal to the infected animal, but is a considerable public health issue because it can be transmitted in the same manner to humans. Vaccination against Rabies is generally required by law, and is done once at 16 weeks of age and then boostered once a year. Depending on public health regulations, new three-year vaccines may now be used by your veterinarian.
Canine Distemper Virus
Distemper in dogs was once very common, but thanks to widespread vaccination, has now become quite rare and almost unheard of in vaccinated dogs. This virus affects multiple organ systems and can involve the brain. Again, signs of infection can vary and include discharge from the eyes and nose, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea; neurological signs soon follow, progressing to trouble walking and seizures. Treatment is usually futile and the prognosis for survival is poor, which is why vaccination against this disease is so important. This vaccine is given at 8, 12, and 16 weeks, and then boostered once a year from then on.
Adenovirus Type 2
Canine Adenovirus Type 2 is a component of a syndrome known as Kennel Cough, characterized by a hacking cough, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. This vaccine also protects against Infectious Canine Hepatitis, an often acutely fatal disease that causes destruction of the liver. This vaccine is given to puppies along with the other core vaccines at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age, and then boostered yearly.
This virus causes a respiratory infection known as Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, and is another major component of Kennel Cough. It is acquired by close contact with other infected dogs, most commonly at boarding facilities, dog parks, and puppy classes. Signs to watch for include: coughing, gagging, and retching. This vaccine is given in combination with the other core vaccines at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age, and then boostered once a year from then on.
Canine Parvoviral Enteritis is a serious and not uncommon disease in unvaccinated puppies. The virus destroys the cells in the intestines, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and intestinal bleeding. Immune suppression can also result when the virus infects the bone marrow. For some unknown reason, there is evidence that Doberman Pinchers, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, and Labrador Retrievers are more susceptible to infection. The virus persists for a long time in its environment, and thrives in unsanitary conditions. The vaccine for Canine Parvovirus is given to puppies in combination with the other core vaccines at 8, 12, and 16 weeks, and then once yearly.
As always, it would be a great idea when your dog comes home from a tough day at the vet, to let him lay down, and chew on his favorite dog treat, like cow ears.
One of pet owners’ greatest frustrations is inappropriate elimination in the house. When the beloved family dog starts to use the living room as his own personal restroom, owners are understandably distraught. Aside from the monetary and time costs of cleaning up the mess left by their dog, the most serious cost can be to the relationship between pet and master. Unable to understand, and therefore cope with, the reasons underlying a pet’s continued housesoiling, some owners choose to give up their animal altogether. This scenario is unfortunate, and often unnecessary, considering that the behaviour is one that is easier to manage than most owners think.
The first thing that dog owners must understand is that there are many causes of inappropriate urination in the dog. Pinning down the cause is often half the battle, since identifying the problem helps us to select the appropriate treatment and greatly increase the odds of its success.
One sure fix is to make sure the dog is taken outside frequently, to promote outside urination. Immediately after the animal urinates, make sure to give him a nice treat like dog beef jerky.