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Tweets from my dog.

A friend suggested that I write some tweets from a dog’s perspective. I thought that was an intriguing idea and found myself wondering what my dog would say to me in 120 characters or less.

The first one that came to mind was “In my defense, I was left unsupervised” which I originally saw on a T-shirt. I could see my dog sending this as an after thought to such puppy inpulses as: shredding my current book, chewing the thumbs off my favorite gloves, or ingesting an entire loaf of bread I irresponsibly left on the counter. Careful and consistent management (of dog and environment) is an important part of training and may help to prevent humans tweeting: “In his defense, he was left unsupervised.”

On a post on Care.com titled 26 Hilarious Hypothetical Dog Tweets I found this one: “Just got back from taking my person for a drag around the neighborhood. Remember: keep your human on a leash. It’s the law.” Dogs are not naturally inclined to walk sweetly at their humans’ sides, so teaching leash manners can be challenging to say the least, and may lead to the unfortunate use of prong or choke collars. I have many posts on loose leash walking, but if you are having difficulties getting Rover to resist the lure of squirrels and the base of every tree, contact a positive reinforcement trainer to help.It just might help to prevent you tweeting: “Just got back from being dragged around the neighborhood. Keeping him on a leash may be the law, but I’m headed to the doctor. #shouldersurgeryhereIcome”

“Dogs, just warning you, do not read “Old Yeller.” #prayforoldyeller.” (Care.com) I clearly remember reading Old Yeller in 4th grade and exactly where I was sitting when I read the end of the book. I was heartbroken, but also amazed at the power of good literature to move you to the core of your being. I think that was the moment I became a bibliophile. For a guide to some great books on dogs, where at least some dogs do not die, listen to our podcast: Literary Dogs. If there is a child in your life who loves to read and would like to read a story to your dog, check out Three Stories You Can Read to Your Dog.

 

“Leaving? I don’t think so.”

“Where are you? When will you be home? You coming home soon? #10minutesisforever.” Dogs are social creatures and do not revel in your absence. I don’t believe that Zuzu is hoping I will go away for several hours so that she can work on the great American canine novel. If you do need to leave your dog alone for several hours, be sure they are not going to get into mischief (#carpetsarenotjustforpee) while you are out. Making sure your dog has had some exercise, some mental stimulation, and something appropriate to do while you are gone** will help to make sure his next tweet isn’t, “Who doesn’t like Italian leather chew toys? #gottachewshoes.”

 

And of course who wouldn’t want their dog to tweet, “(insert your name) is the bestest friend ever. #lovemyhuman”

 

“Love you too buddy. #bestdogever”

 

 

*The Association of Professional Dog TrainersIf you need a trainer in your area, you can do a search by zip code at . Requiring that the trainer be certified helps (but does not guarantee) to locate a positive reinforcement trainer. If you are uncertain about how to choose a trainer, see: How to Choose a Dog Trainer (blog) and Choosing a Dog Trainer (podcast).

 

**For help with taking your dog from crazed to calm see my blog, “Fun-nel” of Activity, and our podcasts:  Funnel of Activity. and Tellington Touch Makes “Melty Dogs”

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A few close friends…

I was skimming through my photos for a particular image and found so many that I enjoyed, that I decided to do a post just on the happy animals who have populated my life in one way or another. Some of these are my animals, some are clients, some are just buddies I have made during my travels. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

First, here is my granddog Tex* enjoying the water:

Flatties (short for Flat Coated Retrievers) just wanna have fun:

 

 

Kids and dogs (or cats as the case may be!):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few friends of mine…canine and others of a different nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And lastly some former chicken clients say hi to their mom…

 

I hope these snippets make you smile and cheer up your day as much as they have for me!  And, remember, life is short, so go play with your dog!

 

 

 

 

*Tex, unfortunately is no longer with us. We miss him terribly, especially his exuberant nature and enthusiasm for life.

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Holiday Happiness for You and Your Dog!

 

“I’m dreaming of a treat-filled Christmas, just like I had a year ago!”

 

Christmas is coming and you want to give your best buddy a special gift and make his Christmas fun and stress free. Over the years I have written and podcasted about great products as well as simple ways of helping your pet have the best Christmas holiday ever.

First, here are somethings you can do to make sure your dog’s holidays are as stress free as possible.

Blogs:

Fido’s Guide to a Stress-free Holiday, Early Edition 

Santa Paws is Coming toTown!

Holiday Happiness or enough already?

And there’re off!

Make Your Holidays Merrier!

Podcasts:

Making Happy Dogs Happier (Low cost ways to improve your dog’s life.)

Helping Your Dog on Halloween Night  (Yes, Halloween is long gone, but in this episode we discuss how to tell if your dog is enjoying, tolerating, or trying to end an interaction, and strategies for making holidays more enjoyable for your dog.)

Funnel of Activity

“Biscuits on counters, and chasing the kittens, bright shiny balls, and chewing on mittens. Brown paper packages, chewing up strings, These are a few of my favorite things!”

And secondly, here are some things that might brighten up your dog’s life:

Blogs:

Whoever said breakfast had to come in a bowl?

Intelligence toys revisited.

A few of my favorite things!

Another day, another dollar…spent on the dog…

Podcasts:

Some of Julie’s Favorite Things

Some of Colleen’s Favorite Things

 

It’s been a great year for A Positive Connection as well as Your Family Dog  and I am looking forward to continuing to serve you and your dogs next year. Have a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

 

 

Behavior or "What the heck?" Dog products, training aids, recipes, instructions, etc. General Stress: signals, management, & warning signs Toy Box or stuff that doesn't fit neatly elsewhere0 comments

Just for fun!

So this week I decided that I’d seen some great animal videos lately and wanted to share them. Since it’s October, I’m starting with the cats in the pumpkin hats:

 

Let me say that not only do these cats and their earnestness delight me, but the training here is all positive reinforcement. There is no way you could shock or choke an animal into this, nor would the animal be willing to try another bell or ring it multiple times if the consequence for trying something would hurt.

 

I love this next one because it is just a dog being a dog, and how wonderful is that?

 

 

And for the winner in Dogs Just Wanna Have Fun category:

 

 

This Bernese Mountain Dog is so wonderfully patient and really shows off the gentle nature of this breed:

 

 

I love invertebrates, and I am a sucker (pun intended) for Octupuses. Here’s a lovely summary of how amazing they are (tool using, planning, walking wonders):

 

 

And last, here is one of my favorite videos of Homo sapiens doing one of the things they do best, dance!

I hope you enjoy these, let me know some of your favorites!

 

 

 

 

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A few of my favorite things!

I have posted blogs on various toys, books, foods, and management and training aids that I like, but I decided that this week I would write about things I have encountered lately, or that I have re-discovered, that I would recommend. 

First, books!

I have mentioned The Education of Will, by Patricia McConnell previously, but I wanted to recommend it to anyone who has experienced trauma, or has a dog who was traumatized. Her compelling memoir sheds realistic light on how pervasive trauma can be and how challenging it is to overcome. But, mostly it is a tale of hope and compassion and well worth the read. 

The book I am currently reading is The Dawn of the Dog, The Genesis of a Natural Species, by Janice Koler-Matznick. It is a well researched look at the origin of dogs. She takes on the status quo ideas of domestication and challenges them with reasons why dogs are not just sub-species of wolves. I have not finished the book, but I am impressed by her extensive research and, I am becoming increasingly convinced that man did not create dog, but, as one reviewer put it: “dog existed as a unique, naturally evolved species distinct from today’s wolves long before any association with humans.”For anyone curious about the origin of dog, and who wants an eminently readable book, I highly recommend it. 

Dean Koonz is a prolific author and often includes dogs in his books. I found an old copy of Dragon Tears and really enjoyed the role of the golden retriever mix in this book. He has delightful insight into the mind of dogs and how they see/smell and interpret the world. He also wrote an endearing (tissue alert!) book about his dog Trixie called A Big Little Life that I loved and find myself reflecting on years after I read it. 

For those interested in the world of dog shows, I found tucked in the back of one of my shelves, Dog Eat Dog, by Jane and Michael Stern. Published in 1997, it is a bit dated, but the essence of dog shows and what it takes to have a champion remains true. It’s a quick read and has a good index of dog show terms. For a really entertaining look at the world of dog shows, nothing beats Best in Show, directed by Christopher Guest and starring a delightful potpourri of Hollywood actors.

Uncommon Goods has a wonderful line of “Bad Dog” products. My favorites are the tumblers, especially the Bad Dog Tumblers, and the Bad Dog Best in Show Tumblers. They also have free, downloadable Bad Dog Birthday cards. The images are a fun and are an all too real portrayal of our canine companions at their best…or worse!

The current treat of choice for my dogs is lamb lung. High in protein, low in fat, they are easy to break into small pieces and are a great addition to any Kong! I buy them in the 12-oz, headed-out-on-the-Oregon-trail size, though they are also available in a more reasonable 5-oz size. They are not wet or gooey (I think they are dehydrated), but they since they break into small pieces they are great for training treats and I have yet to find a dog that doesn’t adore them. 

And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our podcast, Your Family Dog, featuring Colleen Pelar and me talking about all things canine. Our goal is to help families love living with dogs. Colleen’s gentle humor, compassion, and deep knowledge of dogs makes every episode a learning experience for me, and I hope for you as well. We cover a broad range of topics, from behavior problems, to dog sports, caring for your elderly dog, making happy dogs happier, managing vet visits, literary dogs, and so much more! With over 40 episodes, there is a topic of interest for every dog lover. Find us on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher. If you like us, please leave us a review. And, if you have a question or comment, please let us know by emailing us at feedback@yourfamilydogpodcast.com or call and leave a message at 614-349-1661.

 

*Dr. Michael Fox, from the back cover of the book. 

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A most beloved dog.

Yesterday marked a year since my most beloved dog, Mr. Bingley, passed away. He had soft tissue histiocytic sarcoma, a nasty, aggressive cancer unfortunately associated with Flat-coated Retrievers, and the time had come for me to make sure he didn’t suffer.* He had been officially diagnosed 9 months earlier and had responded well to treatment, but this cancer is relentless. When the chemo no longer worked, I was determined to make the most of his time left with me. For three months we played, swam, tossed a
million tennis balls, and had a wonderful photo session with Gary Chisolm. Despite his illness, Bingley seemed invincible.

But finally, over the course of about 5 days, Bing began slowing down and detaching from the world. He had raging fevers for three nights. When he stopped eating completely and would take just a small amount of water (this was a dog who use to put his entire head into the water bowl to drink with great gusto), I knew the time was imminent. Our wonderful oncology vet, Dr. Erin Malone, gently confirmed that he just wasn’t the same dog they all remembered and his cancer was getting the best of him. They prepped him and then allowed me to spend some time with him outside. He laid down on the cool concrete and rested his head in my hand for the last time. I felt as if my living heart was being ripped from my chest. 

Now, I am fully aware that this was my dog, and not my child or my husband, but there is something unique about the human-dog bond that elevates it to something more than pet ownership. Bingley was my best buddy, my faithful, fun, and loving companion for over 10 years. I lost more than my dog on July 6, 2016, I lost a best friend, and the sting of that loss is pervasive. I still reach for the soft fur on his ears, listen for his breathing next to my bed, wait for the feel of a wet tennis ball dropped by my feet (or next to my head to wake me up…), and search for the soft and sweet look on his face that said, “All is well Mom. Let’s go play.” 

I have Zuzu now, and I adore her. She is sweet, earnest, and special. She has qualities that Bingley didn’t have (such as not barking at the door), and I wouldn’t trade her for anything. This eases my grief for Bingley, but it doesn’t repair it, nor does she replace him. My husband told me recently of a study of people who remarried and had a family after the death of a spouse. Though happy in their new lives, most said there wasn’t a day that went by that they didn’t think about and intensely miss their first spouse. That is not to say that they weren’t happy, it’s just that when you lose someone that significant, there is a lasting residual effect.  For anyone who has loved and lost a dog, you know there is no reason that this cannot apply, in a similar way, to your canine buddy. Every dog can hold a special place in your heart, but if you are lucky, there will be a dog that is your champion, your all-star, your unbeatable best friend who not only loves you unconditionally, but lights up your world like a lighthouse on a stormy night, pointing you towards a safe harbor and a warm place to rest your heart. 

 

 

*If you have to consider euthanasia for your pet, it might be helpful for you to listen to Colleen Pelar’s and my podcast with Dr. Alicia Karas: Knowing When It’s Time to Say Goodbye 

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Life is short. Play with your dog.

img_3432My new dog Zuzu is a special individual. She can be a bit nervous, insecure and unfocused, but always sweet and very loving. In an attempt to increase her focus, boost her confidence and strengthen our bond, I enrolled us in Beginning Agility 1 at Agility and Rally for Fun (A.R.F).* We learned table, tunnel, tire, jumps, the dog walk, the incline, and we began weave poles and teeter. 

The instruction was very good, clear and positive, as well as offering a lot of suggestions about how you can practice at home. One suggestion was to get a bunch of cheap plungers and line them up 2 feet apart from one another as an intro to weave poles. I put them in a hallway with hula hoops along the wall to keep her going through the gauntlet rather than around it. Then I stood at one end of the hallway and tossed a toy down the hall. She would go through the plungers get the toy and then I called her back to me. She trotted happily through the plungers to restart the game.

I also used the hula hoops as practice for the tire. I would place them in doorways for her to go through or I would hold them 2 to 8 inches off the ground. Then I would interest her in a treat or a toy and toss it through the hoop for her to follow. 

 

Zuzu's extension ladder

Zuzu’s extension ladder

Dogs, believe it or not, are rather oblivious to the existence of their hindquarters. But it is imperative, for safety reasons, that your dog be aware of the position of all body parts and know how to place each paw where it’s suppose to be.** One way to get your dog to be aware of his rear end is to have him walk slowly through a ladder on the ground so that he places each paw between the rungs of the ladder. Keep a treat right at his nose, close to the ladder so that he is looking at the ladder and moving deliberately through it. I will also toss the hula hoops in a random pattern (overlapping) in the lawn and lure her carefully through those, keeping the treat near her nose and close to the ground.

Zuzu prepares to walk the plank.

To teach Zuzu to keep all four paws on a 12″ wide surface (mimicking the dog walk) I found a 12″ x 10′ x 1″ piece of wood and placed it on the extension ladder I’d used to teach Zuzu she has a rear end. The plank fits nicely on the ladder as it is about 3-4 inches narrower than the ladder. Zuzu had to step up about 4 inches to walk on the plank and the sides of the ladder (along with the ~2″ gap on each side of the plank) helped to keep her on the board. I could also move it to different spots along the ladder so that she was walking partway between the rungs and partway on the board, thus working two skills and keeping her thinking about where she was going and what she needed to do.

 

Zuzu, being the deliberate soul that she is, is unlikely to win any agility titles, and it is also unlikely that we will even enter any competitions (but I never say never anymore!). We are taking Beginning Agility 2 so that we can improve our basic skills, learn to work together better, and increase Zuzu’s confidence and focus. But, mostly we are doing it because life is short, and it’s fun to play with your dog. 

 

*To learn more about Agility (and lure coursing), be sure to check out our podcast with Dr. Suzanne Terrant, airing May 5, 2017. Go to: Your Family Dog, episode 31.

**The dog walk is only 12 inches wide. If the dog is unaware of where his back legs are (or even that he possesses such a thing as a rear end), then he is more likely to mis-step and fall off the dog walk, risking injury. He may also be unaware of how to move himself up the incline if he doesn’t have awareness of his rear end and that can also result in him falling off the equipment. 

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Food, glorious food!

Yum!

Reviews.com, a company that reviews all sorts of things, from deodorant, to mattresses, to yoga mats, to dog food, recently contacted me about their review of dog foods. I initially did not pay any attention to the email as I get a lot of people wanting me (or, more specifically, “the person in charge of …”) to include their products/opinions/ideas/thoughts-on-aliens on my website. Besides, I thought, The Whole Dog Journal has it’s yearly review of dog foods that I think is the best of the best, so why bother?

But, they contacted me a second time, actually addressing me by name in the email! So I thought, “Why not? If it’s worthless I will have wasted 10-15 minutes of my life, but gained a brief respite from vacuuming. If it’s any good, I have yet another resource to share that will help people to better provide for their dog.” 

So, I have to say that I was impressed by the thoroughness of their research and the standards they used to include foods in their recommended list. They had ten people working full-time (over 1400 hours) to produce this report. Here is how they conducted the research:

— We built a list of over 11,00 people with connections to the dog food industry and narrowed it down to the best.

— Over 20 experts contributed their valuable time to our work, including veterinarians, dog trainers, animal behaviorists, university researchers, and authors.

— We surveyed 300 dog owners and asked them if they knew what was in their dog’s food.

— We gathered a list of over 8,000 search queries to find out what matters most to dog owners.

— We read and analyzed 72 of the most popular articles and studies on dog food.

— We compiled a list of 2,223 formulas from 115 brands and reviewed their ingredients.

Their research led them to the absolutely inescapable conclusion that safe, quality ingredients are the key to good food and good health (physically and mentally) for your favorite canine. The use of inferior food products can lead to obesity, ear infections, liver or kidney issues, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, and perhaps much worse. 

Dogs need the right combination of protein, fat, moisture, fiber, and nutrients to live healthy, happy lives. The wrong ingredients in the wrong combinations can lead to a host of health problems, both physical and mental.

 

Digestive problems, including bloat and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are symptomatic of poor ingredients that don’t contain enough whole, unprocessed foods. Food allergies can also lead to digestive issues — many of the experts we reached out to have seen evidence that dogs are sensitive to wheat and corn, both popular fillers.

 

Obesity is on the rise in dogs. One main reason for this is overfeeding, but many of the experts we talked to were quick to point out that poor grain-based ingredients are also to blame.

 

Physical problems are only half of it. There was a unanimous consensus among trainers and behaviorists we talked to that poor diet causes mental health issues in dogs, including poor temperament and lack of focus. Marc Abraham elaborates: “Certain popular pet food brands on the market contain extra colorings, additives, and E numbers that, in my opinion, can affect behavior, leading to hyperactivity and difficulty with training.”

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Abraham that poor diet can lead to poor behavior and training issues. A dog who doesn’t feel well cannot perform well. Ask any parent of a child the day after Halloween if their child is cranky, unable to focus, distracted, amped up, or lethargic…

Included in the review are two handy charts: A Quick Guide to Dog Food Ingredients and A Quick Dog Food Type Comparison. Both give a handy overview of their subject matter with pros and cons. I especially liked the Food Type Comparison chart as it is hard to find information about the various types of food (dry, wet, dehydrated, raw and homemade) in one place.

And their conclusions? 

After putting in 1,400 hours of research and analyzing over 2,223 formulas, we discovered even some of the most popular brands still make food with unhealthy or unsafe ingredients. Of the 2,223 formulas we looked at, only 134 met our standard of approval — about 6 percent overall.

Why so few? They eliminated 2,089 foods because of the following reasons*:

1) We removed products where the first ingredient is not a meat of any kind. 194 disqualified

2) We removed products containing corn, soy, wheat, grain, or flour. 578 disqualified.

3) We removed products containing beet pulp or sugar. 146 disqualified.

4) We removed products that contained by-products or sauces. 44 disqualified.

5) We removed brands for recalls, ingredient sources, history, and customer satisfaction. 956 disqualified.

6) We reviewed the remaining formulas based on the best ratio of protein, fat, and carbs, as well as the source of protein. 171 disqualified.

Near the end of the article is the complete list of approved dry dog foods as well as links to their lists of preferred canned, puppy, and grain free foods. It is well worth your time to peruse the review and the list of acceptable foods. It was a definite eye opener for me! I had already decided to switch my dogs from Taste of the Wild and Blue Wilderness Puppy to Orijen and Orijen Large Breed Puppy before I read this article. After reading it, not only was I glad I switched, but I went to the local pet store to get some Orijen to tide us over until my auto-ship arrives.**

A few final thoughts on dog foods: The foods listed here are super premium and the price for a bag of one of these foods may take your breath away if you are accustomed to purchasing your dog food at the grocery store. I understand that $65+ for a bag of food is a lot of money. But, perhaps you could look at this from a slightly different perspective: 
 
1) With super premium foods you generally feed less because the nutrition is dense. A food such as Purina may suggest you feed 4-6 cups of food to provide the minimum daily nutrition. With one of the premium foods, you may only need to feed 2-3 cups for complete nutrition that helps your dog to truly thrive, not just survive.
 
2) If you feed your dog food that helps him to achieve and maintain his ideal weight (by not having fillers such as corn which may lead to weight gain), then you are helping your dog avoid obesity and the problems associated with that. According to petmd.com, “Obese dogs and cats can be predisposed to a number of different health issues. These issues include diabetes (particularly for cats), joint disease, heart disease, liver disease, skin disease, respiratory disease, and heat stroke. Even some forms of cancer have been linked to obesity.” Obesity also lowers the life expectancy of your dog.
 
3) You might just lower your vet bills! A healthy, happy, vibrant dog requires fewer vet visits as there are fewer health problems. Getting your dog on the right food may do wonders to eliminate itchy skin, ear infections, or more serious issues such as diabetes that require numerous vet visits and medications.
 
Making the right decision for your dog’s individual needs can be a challenge. This is why reviews such as those offered by Review.com and Whole Dog Journal can be so helpful, as they do the heavy lifting research-wise. All you have to do is the heavy lifting of a bag of wonderfulness for your dog.  
 
Bone apetit!
 
nash.jpg
 
 
*To see the details on who was eliminated for what reason, visit the article at: http://www.reviews.com/dog-food/
 
**As I have mentioned in previous blogs, we are lucky here in Granville to have two wonderful pet stores stocked with great foods (Bath and Biscuits, and Village Pet Market). I will also use online sources for dog food and have found both Amazon.com and Chewy.com to be excellent sources. For another source of information on dog’s nutritional needs and digestive tract see:

Care and management or living together in harmony Dog products, training aids, recipes, instructions, etc. General Informational or Doggie Demographics Toy Box or stuff that doesn't fit neatly elsewhere1 comment

Warning signs of cancer.

The Blue Buffalo Company  established The Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research in 2003, “as part of our ongoing mission to raise awareness about pet cancer and money to help support various universities and clinics conducting research on the causes of, prevention and treatment of dogs and cats with the disease.” 

Their pet cancer awareness website has a page devoted to pet cancer signs and symptoms that is very valuable in helping pet owners recognize some of the more common warning signs of cancer.

Here is their list:

Swollen Lymph Nodes

These “glands” are located throughout the body but are most easily detected behind the jaw or behind the knee. When these lymph nodes are enlarged they can suggest a common form of cancer called lymphoma. A biopsy or cytology of these enlarged lymph nodes can aid in the diagnosis. 

 

An Enlarging or Changing Lump

Any lump on a pet that is rapidly growing or changing in texture or shape should have a biopsy. Lumps belong in biopsy jars, not on pets. 

 

Abdominal Distension

When the “stomach” or belly becomes rapidly enlarged, this may suggest a mass or tumor in the abdomen or it may indicate some bleeding that is occurring in this area. A radiograph or an ultrasound of the abdomen can be very useful. 

 

Chronic Weight Loss

When a pet is losing weight and you have not put your pet on a diet, you should have your pet checked. This sign is not diagnostic for cancer, but can indicate that something is wrong. Many cancer patients have weight loss. 

 

Chronic Vomiting or Diarrhea

Unexplained vomiting or diarrhea should prompt further investigation. Often tumors of the gastrointestinal tract can cause chronic vomiting and/or diarrhea. Radiographs, ultrasound examinations and endoscopy are useful diagnostic tools when this occurs. 

 

Unexplained Bleeding

Bleeding from the mouth, nose, penis, vagina or gums that is not due to trauma should be examined. Although bleeding disorders do occur in pets, they usually are discovered while pets are young. If unexplained bleeding starts when a pet is old, a thorough search should be undertaken. 

 

Cough

A dry, non-productive cough in an older pet should prompt chest radiographs to be taken. This type of cough is the most common sign of lung cancer. Please remember there are many causes of cough in dogs and cats. 

 

Lameness

Unexplained lameness especially in large or giant breed dogs is a very common sign of bone cancer. Radiographs of the affected area are useful for detecting cancer of the bone. 

 

Straining to Urinate

Straining to urinate and blood in the urine usually indicate a common urinary tract infection; if the straining and bleeding are not rapidly controlled with antibiotics or are recurrent, cancer of the bladder may be the underlying cause. Cystoscopy or other techniques that allow a veterinarian to take a biopsy of the bladder are useful and sometimes necessary to establish a definitive diagnosis in these cases. 

 

Oral Odor

Oral tumors do occur in pets and can cause a pet to change its food preference (i.e. from hard to soft foods) or cause a pet to change the manner in which it chews its food. Many times a foul odor can be detected in pets with oral tumors. A thorough oral examination with radiographs or CT scan, necessitating sedation, is often necessary to determine the cause of the problem.

Cancer is a frightening and, too often, devastating diagnosis for pet owners. Being aware of the warning signs will give you a better chance of giving your dog the long and happy life he deserves. 

 

Bingley, Buckley, and Tex all crossed the Rainbow bridge in 2016. Bing and Buck both died of cancer.

Bingley, Buckley, and Tex all crossed the Rainbow bridge in 2016. Bing and Buck both died of cancer.

 

*While these may be some of the more common signs of cancer in dogs and cats, there are cancers that do not have early warning signs. This is why it is important to have your dog regularly examined by your vet, especially as he ages, so that changes in your dog’s health can be noticed sooner rather than later. Our vet’s technician was the first to notice Buckley’s pale gums and alert us to his anemia, which was the telltale sign of his cancer (see: The Big “C“). For more information on caring for your elderly dog, check out our podcast: Giving Older Dogs the Good Life. 

Decisions, decisions, decisions! General Toy Box or stuff that doesn't fit neatly elsewhere0 comments

Another day, another dollar…spent on the dog…

A

 

I am sure that it is possible to own a dog and not spend a small fortune on food, toys, treats, equipment, beds, vets, etc., but that doesn’t seem to be the way of the world in our house. I am always on the prowl for interesting, useful, or entertaining things that will improve the quality of life not only for my dogs, but for my clients by helping their dogs to be more successful members of their families.  I get a fair number of dog-related catalogs and recently In The Company of Dogs arrived with some interesting items I had not noticed before.

The first thing that caught my eye was the Piddle Place Potty System.  Small dogs can be very difficult to house train and I will recommend that owners consider training their petite canines to use a litter box. This potty system claims to be:

Ideal for puppy training, urban pets and older dogs, this compact, all-in-one system is a mess-free, eco-friendly alternative to disposable pads. The innovative portable potty features a super-porous, machine-washable grass mat and fully enclosed base reservoir with innovative quick-drain spout for easy emptying. Includes odor-neutralizing bio-enzyme treatment…

Moreover, this system is apparently not just for the tiniest members of the canine community as it is  “for dogs up to 100 lbs.” And, it’s portable, all for $159.00

For those desiring a less expensive potty solution, they also offer the Bark Potty: the all-natural dog potty solution. This is an:

Eco-friendly “dog park in a box” features shredded tree bark that naturally absorbs urine and neutralizes odors. Perfect for urbanites, busy households and travelers, it’s convenient, easy to use, recyclable—and a cost-effective alternative to disposable pee pads. Includes a 24″-sq. waxed cardboard tray packed with bark under fine netting, pheromone spray for training, and bag dispenser with roll of bags for solid waste.

It can be used either inside or out, but the downside to this system is that it lasts only 2-4 weeks, and I don’t think it is as portable as the Piddle place. Price: $26.95. 

Please note that I have not used either system so I don’t know how easy or convenient either of them are. I just thought they were intriguing products for house training. If you do try one of these systems, let me know how they work. 

The catalog also has a huge assortment of dog beds in a variety of sizes, shapes, covers, and styles from nests to bolster beds to loungers to orthopedic beds. No matter how your dog prefers to sleep, they have a bed for him. A couple that caught my eye were the Bear Hug Mod Fur Bed whose “Shaggy faux fur gives this uniquely shaped bed a contemporary vibe. The ultimate in ‘creature comfort.’” Sign me up! It ranges in  size from small to large and in price from $129 to $239. The Mod Fur also comes in a Nest bed that looks like a giant furry donut and is perfect for the dog who likes to curl up into a ball. (x-small to X-large, $179-$289)

There is also an entire collection of orthopedic beds (at least 8) that offer “joint relief for dogs with special needs.” Some are rectangular, some have bolsters, but all are pictured with joint challenged dogs happily lounging on their bed of choice. Sizes range from small to X-large and prices from $99.95 to $279.

Gates are another specialty item and they have some lovely ways to contain your pet.  A couple of my favorites are the  Wood Swirl Pet Gate and the Arched Gate with door.* Both are solid wood, fold flat and are really attractive. Each comes in two heights (24″ and 32″ for the Swirl, 24″ or 36″ in the Arched) and vary in the number of panels (2-5) so you can get just the right height and width for your home and dog. If you have a dog that pushes against the gate, they also sell support feet for the Arched gate.** Beauty is not cheap however, so be prepared to spend $99.95 up to $329 to artfully cordon off your beast. 

101_dog_birthdaycardCrunch_Page_2In addition to In the Company of Dogs, I have other favorite dog sites/catalogs. If you are looking for good prices, great customer service, and the convenience of autoship for food, treats, whatever, check out Chewy.com. I get both raw and dry food from them; treats for training; and calming aids such as D.A.P. collars, spray, and diffusers.*** They always let me know a week or more before my autoship so I can modify or reschedule as needed. I have never had a shipment take more than 2 days to reach me, nor have I had to return anything. When you call, the people who answer the phone are cheerful and helpful. It is customer service the way it ought to be. 

 

Bath & BiscuitsOf course, here in Granville, we are very lucky to have the Village Pet Market (222 S. Main St.) as well as Bath and Biscuits (1616 Columbus Rd). Both of these boutiques offer excellent choices in food, treats, equipment and service. 

 

The Village Pet Market is a locally owned and operated pet store featuring the best in food, treats, toys, and supplies for your dogs and cats. Friendly service and careful attention to the needs of pets and their owners make this a delightful place to shop. Located at 222 S. Main St, Granville. 740-587-3656

Village Pet Market

 

*See also Cats are not small dogs, part 2 for another gate option. Not as attractive, but functional and sturdy.

**These gates do not attach to the wall, so if your dog charges gates these might not work for you, as I am not sure how steady the feet make the gate. 

***DAP (or Dog Appeasing Pheromone) aids in helping a dog to relax and be more comfortable with situations that cause anxiety. This pheromone imitates the smell of a lactating female dog and is very comforting to most dogs.  For situational anxiety, I recommend you spray it on a bandana 10 minutes or so before the stressful event. It should last about an hour, and you can re-spritz the bandana as needed. It is very  important that you get either the Adaptil or Comfort Zone spray (same company, different name for the same product) as this is the only one with the patented pheromone. It also comes in a diffuser and a collar.

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