Pool Time…..

We bought Maya a pool this week so her and Lucky could enjoy some water fun while keeping cool in the heat! Maya loves it and jumped in right away, lucky still isn’t too sure and will only get close enough for a drink.

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Please remember to keep your pets cool on hot summer days! A pool is a great idea if they will go in it and use it. If they won’t, make sure they have plenty of shade and water to drink!

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Do Your Dogs Play Naked?

     After reading this article shared by one of my fellow bloggers (Life Embarked), my dogs always, always play naked!!!! Maya used to always go streight for Lucky’s collar, which was the buckle kind. I never in a million years would have thought this could happen! Just thought I would share this for my readers as well!

The Whole Dog Journal: Take It All Off!

Five things you can do to protect your dog.

By Nancy Kerns

I was pretty traumatized recently by a phenomenon I had heard about many times but had never before seen: the intense, chaotic, life-or-death struggle that ensues when one dog gets his jaw stuck in another dog’s collar.

It happened to some dogs that live a few houses down from my home office. I was working at my computer when I heard a dog screaming. I leaped up from my desk and ran down the sidewalk toward the screaming.

These dogs are just playing and are not entangled. But if they were, the leather collar would have to be cut to save them; its buckle can’t be released under tension.

It was two young Lab-mixes in the front yard of a house down the street. One had grabbed his friend’s collar and then mostly likely rolled over, twisting his lower jaw in the collar. His tongue, trapped under the thick nylon, was being lacerated by his own lower teeth; he was the one making all the noise.

His buddy was not screaming; he was fighting for his life, and being choked to death by his own collar. Both dogs were thrashing in pain and fear. The owner of one dog was trying to get close enough to them to free them, and I tried to help.

I grabbed one dog by the scruff; she grabbed the other. I frantically ran my hands through the mass of writhing fur, trying to find a buckle on the collar. I felt a quick-release buckle and released it – but it was the wrong one, not the collar that was threatening their lives.

Then I saw the other buckle; it was in the mouth of the dog whose jaw was trapped. And it was a standard metal buckle – the kind that you have to tighten slightly to free the metal prong from a hole punched in the nylon fabric. It was already so tight, there would be no way to tighten it enough to release it, if I even could get my hand in the dog’s mouth.

Just then, the owner of the other dog ran out of the house with a pair of scissors. I was doubtful that they could cut through the thick nylon, but they did. And in the nick of time! Even as the young woman worked, feverishly, the dog who was choking released his bowels. He was seconds from death.

Imagine what would have happened if that young woman hadn’t had the scissors handy. Or if the same thing happened at a dog park; maybe someone would have had a sharp-enough knife. What if the dog had been wearing a choke chain or pinch collar? I’ve seen dogs wearing these while playing at dog parks – but I’ve never seen a person there with bolt cutters.

These dogs survived the experience. But since I’ve been telling my friends about my experience (with all the fervor of the recently converted), I’ve heard about a number of dogs whose jaws were broken in similar situations – and other dogs who didn’t survive an experience like this. Don’t let it happen to your dog!

Here are five things you can do to keep your dog safe when he’s playing with other dogs.

1. Play Naked! Remove your dog’s collar or harness. A harness may not present the same choking hazard as a collar if another dog got tangled in it, but on the other hand, a harness has many more straps to get caught in.

2. Use a Collar With a Quick-Release Buckle. If you’re nervous about having your dog naked (and without ID), use a collar with a buckle that can be released even under tension. Another option is a safety breakaway collar, such as Premier Pet Product’s KeepSafe Break-Away Collar (see premierpet.com or call 800-933-5595).

3. Don’t Allow Your Dog to Play With Dogs Who Are Wearing Gear. At times, this may mean your dog won’t be able to play at a dog park, because it’s nearly impossible to get everyone to comply with sensible rules at a dog park. If I had a young dog who really liked wrestling and mouthing other dogs, I just wouldn’t take him to a dog park that was crowded with collar- and harness-wearing dogs. Not after what I saw.

4. Spread The Word. I’m now telling every dog owner I know about the way, the truth, and the light. Many people have never considered this potential hazard and may be open to hearing about how they can prevent a tragedy happening to their dogs.

5. Keep Something Sharp Handy. This is quite a long shot – and yet, I now know a young woman who saved two dogs’ lives with sharp scissors. I now have a box cutter in my car, and another one on a shelf near my office door. I hope to never witness this again, but I feel a little better knowing that there would be more I could do to help.

Are Our Pets Being Over Vaccinated? What Do You Think?

76281-Royalty-Free-RF-Clipart-Illustration-Of-A-Bulldog-Vet-Holding-A-SyringeI have often wondered if our pets are being over vaccinated. I found an article on WebMD and wanted to share it with you. I would love to hear your opinions on this topic. My dog Lucky is due for his shots in April, and I am planning on talking to his doctor and inquiring about a blood test to check his immunities rather than just jumping into the vaccinations. Of course, we will have the vaccines done if the vet thinks he really does need them.

WebMD Pet Health Feature

By Bill Hendrick

Many pet owners and some animal scientists believe that we are over vaccinating our pets. They also think that some shots may be doing more harm than good. One type of cancer in cats, for example, is known to be caused by vaccinations. In addition, vaccines can cause allergic reactions.

Because reports and rumors of side effects have become so widespread, pet owners increasingly are asking their vets about whether or not to vaccinate. Andy Smith, DVM, a long-time Atlanta veterinarian, says he has “this conversation with a client twice a week. It’s clear there’s a lot of confusion and concern.” So WebMD went to some top veterinary experts to find answers you can use in sorting out your own concerns.

Why do pets need vaccines?

Vaccines protect against contagious, potentially fatal diseases, says Margret Casal, DMV, PhD. Casal is associate professor of medical genetics at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Vaccines trigger immune responses, she says, and prepare pets to fight future infections.

Casal tells WebMD that vaccines have saved millions of pet lives. And even though some once common diseases are now rare, she says veterinary groups agree that many vaccines are still necessary.

Is there a vaccination controversy?

Yes, says Andrea Looney, DVM, of Cornell University. Some experts advocate yearly shots, others every three years, and a few believe no more vaccines are needed after the first year.

Looney says it’s similar to controversies over human vaccines. “There’s a lot of talk,” she says, “but no evidence [of widespread harm].”

Casal says fears sparked by this “over vaccination” controversy have led many pet owners to skip shots for preventable diseases, causing an alarming rise in pet deaths.

So should all dogs and cats still be vaccinated?

“Absolutely,” says Ronald Schultz, DVM, a pioneer in clinical immunology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. But Schulz is also very much in agreement with those who say pets are being over vaccinated, calling it a “serious problem.” Often, he says, pets are vaccinated by vets who just want to keep clients coming in. But too many vaccines, especially when given in “combo shots,” can “assault” immune systems.

Is it true that vaccines can even cause cancer?

In cats, definitely, says Richard Ford, DVM, professor of veterinary medicine at North Carolina State University. Ford says most but not all scientists believe the culprit is a chemical called an “adjuvant” that’s added to some feline vaccines. “Many [scientists] strongly recommend to avoid using any cat vaccine that is labeled ‘killed’ or ‘inactivated.’ All feline vaccines labeled in this way contain adjuvant. Vaccine labeled ‘attenuated’ or ‘recombinant’ does not contain adjuvant.”

Years ago, vets started noticing tumors forming in the area between the shoulders, where cats are vaccinated. The tumors are rare, occurring in 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000 cats. Veterinarians now give this type of vaccine low on a cats’ front or hind legs so they can amputate if a tumor develops, potentially saving the cats’ life.

Vaccines can definitely cause cancer, says Luci T. Dimick, DVM, of The Ohio State University. She says feline leukemia is caused by a virus and is listed as a “non-core” disease, meaning that it is not regarded as one for which vaccination is essential. Yet many vets feel kittens should be immunized against feline leukemia virus, even though it’s one of the injections, along with rabies, thought to cause cancerous tumors in some cats.

What about other types of reactions?

Vaccines can make pets sick and lethargic and induce diarrhea, Casal says. Fatal reactions, though, are rare. But the controversy over the potential for reactions to the vaccines, she points out, has resulted in a backlash that could have serious consequences. “Sadly,” she says, “some pet owners or even vets just trash a lot of vaccines.” That means some pets aren’t getting the protection they need against disease. “We’ve seen this in people,” Casal says, “which is why we’re seeing more mumps and measles.” Any treatment carries some risk, she says.

Kate Creevy, DVM, is a specialist in small animal internal medicine at the University of Georgia. She says it’s not known why some animals have reactions to vaccines while others don’t. “It may be true that some breeds are more prone to vaccine reactions than other breeds, although this is debatable.”

The most common adverse reactions are mild and short-term, including reduced appetite, fever, and swelling at the point of injection. Allergic reactions appear within minutes or hours and may include vomiting, diarrhea, swelling, and difficulty breathing.

Is there consensus about the major diseases pets face?

Yes, Creevy says. For dogs, they are:

parvovirus, a life-threatening illness that causes vomiting, diarrhea, and white blood cell destruction

distemper, also a life-threatening illness that causes vomiting, diarrhea, pneumonia, and seizures

adenovirus, a life-threatening illness that causes hepatitis

eptospirosis, which causes kidney and liver failure

parainfluenza and Bordetella, which cause kennel cough and are highly contagious, with generally non-life-threatening symptoms that include coughing and runny nose

rabies, a fatal central nervous system disease that can spread to owners. There is no cure for rabies and pets diagnosed with it are euthanized.

Major diseases for cats include:

panleukopenia (also known as feline distemper), which is life threatening, causing vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and low white blood cell count

feline leukemia virus, causing chronic immune suppression that can lead to cancer

herpesvirus and calicivirus which are both highly contagious but rarely life threatening, causing runny eyes, runny nose, fever, and malaise.

Eline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), a retroviral disease that causes chronic immune suppression.

Cats infected with FIV may appear normal for years. But eventually FIV will hinder their ability to fight off other infectious diseases.

But does the fact pets might be susceptible mean they need vaccination?

No, says Schultz. “Lifestyle and location play important roles. If your dog lived on the fifth floor of an apartment building, it wouldn’t have to worry about kennel cough, unless it is kenneled or taken out to be around other dogs. And your dog won’t get Lyme disease in many areas of the country. Ask your vet.”

Leptospira is a life-threatening bacterial infection. Disease outbreaks are usually caused by exposure to water contaminated with the urine of infected animals, including rats, cattle, pigs, horses, and deer. “If your dog doesn’t go hunting, or if it’s not around other animals, there’s no need [for it to be vaccinated,” Schultz says. Also, this vaccine causes more adverse reactions than many others, so it’s important to weigh the risk versus benefit when deciding if you pet needs it.

Vets talk of “core” and “non-core” vaccines. What’s this mean?

Core vaccines are those that are universally recommended and most commonly given. Non-core vaccines are optional, according to protocols set by major veterinary organizations.

Parvovirus vaccine is core, and dogs should get a minimum of three doses between six and 16 weeks, administered at intervals of three to four weeks. The final dose should be given at 14-16 weeks. Then the dog needs a booster a year later followed by revaccination every three years.

Other core vaccines for dogs are those against rabies, distemper, and adenovirus-2. Non-core vaccines include those to ward off Bordetella, parainfluenza, Leptospira, and Lyme disease.

What are the core vaccines for cats?

All kittens should be vaccinated as early as six weeks of age against panleukopenia, the feline form of parvovirus, and also for herpesvirus, rabies, and calicivirus.

Non-core vaccines are for protection from feline leukemia, feline immune deficiency virus, chlamydophilia, and Bordetella.

Why has the topic of pet vaccination become so hot?

Part of the intense focus on pet vaccination stems from the highly publicized debate that vaccines may cause autism in people, a discounted but widespread theory.

Also, new vaccines and research “show that some of the routinely administered vaccines for dogs and cats actually immunize for much longer than one year,” Ford says. “Today, selected vaccines are recommended to be administered to adult pets every three years.

Some veterinarians have expressed reluctance to implement triennial (every three year) vaccination, until there is more information available,” Ford says.

Would I be playing doctor to put my pet on an alternate schedule?

“Alternative vaccination schedules for kittens and puppies are not recommended,” Ford says. “However, among adult dogs and cats, alternative re-vaccination schedules are feasible.”

Are there any alternatives to just doing what vets say?

Yes. Do some research to arm yourself to ask good questions. You also can ask for blood work, called titer testing, a tool to help assess the status of your pet’s defenses against specific infections.

How can you tell if a vet is a good one?

“If they take time to explain vaccines and ask about your pet’s lifestyle, I’d say that’s a good vet,” Casal says. “If you have one who doesn’t want to hear questions, that’s not where you want to be.”

Does the federal government require rabies shots?

No. Only 39 states require rabies vaccines for dogs and 31 for cats, according to a 2008 survey by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians.

Even within states, rabies requirements vary widely, says Charles Rupprecht, VMD, PhD. Rupprecht is chief of the rabies program at the CDC. The disease is fatal in animals but can be cured in humans who seek medical help immediately after exposure to an infected animal.

Teaching Your Dog to Speak….

barking dogTeaching your dog new tricks can be a great way to strengthen your bond. Training of any kind is also great exercise for your dog’s mind and will tire your pup out as much any walk will. Thinking is hard work! Not only is it fun, but teaching your dog new tricks, will result in a better behaved, yet entertaining dog! I have decided to work on teaching my dog Lucky some new tricks. With the weather here so cold right now, working on learning new tricks is a great alternative to walking when the mercury dips too low. I will be posting mine and Lucky’s favorite tricks along with “how to” instructions, so that you can try them with your furry friend.

Last night, Lucky learned to speak on command. It took about fifteen minutes for him to catch on. He was so happy when he finally figured out what I wanted from him. After he knew what I was asking of him, we practiced for about fifteen minutes. Our full training session last night lasted 30 minutes and before we move on to the next trick, we will practice speak every night this week so I don’t confuse him. I decided to teach lucky the speak command first followed by the quiet command. It seemed to work well using the two commands together. When he figured out I wanted him to bark, he would bark a lot, about 10-12 barks in a row. After the third bark I would give him the quiet command and treat him after he was quiet for a couple seconds. This seemed to work well and he picked up on both commands rather quickly. He now will give 1-3 barks on the speak command without me having to give the quiet command. We will be using the quiet command more for excessive barking control.

Teaching your dog to “speak,” or bark on command can be fun as well as useful. A barking dog can ward off intruders and alert you to potential danger. Excessive barking can be a huge problem, but teaching the speak / quiet commands can sharpen the natural instinct to bark. With dedication and consistency, you can teach your dog to bark on command AND to be quiet. Different dog trainers and owners have varying techniques, but here is one basic method that works for many dogs.

I found a website that has steps to teaching your dog to speak, it was written by: By Jenna Stregowski, RVT, About.com Guider many dogs. These steps worked really well in teaching this command to Lucky, so I am passing in on to my readers. The biggest thing to remember is to not get frustrated and have fun! If you are having fun and enjoying it, your dog will too!

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 10-15 minutes, 1-2 times per day (may take several weeks)

Here’s How:

1. Choose one simple word for the bark command. The word should be easy to remember and used consistently. Good choices: “speak,” “bark” or “talk.”

2. Choose one simple word for the quiet command. This word should also be easy to remember and used consistently. Good choices: “enough,” “quiet,” or “hush.”

3. When your dog barks, briefly acknowledge it by checking for the source (look out the window or door, go to your dog). Then, get her attention with a clap, whistle or similar sound.

4. Immediately after the barking stops, say your quiet command in a firm, audible and upbeat voice while giving a treat.

5. Practice the “quiet” command frequently. You can do this anytime she barks, but
keep sessions brief.

6. Once your dog seems to understand “quiet,” you can move onto the bark command.

7. Create a situation that will cause your dog to bark. The best method is to have a friend ring the doorbell or knock on the door. As this occurs, say your speak command in a clear, upbeat voice.

8. After your dog barks 2-3 times in a row, say “good speak!” in a clear, upbeat voice while giving a treat.

9. Repeat the speak command process several times until your dog seems to understand.

10. Once your dog learns “speak” and “quiet” separately, you can use them together – have your dog speak a few times, then tell her to be quiet.

 

Tips:

1. Rewards should be immediate and very tasty. You need to make obeying “worth it” to your dog. Small, stinky liver treats or similar goodies work best.

2. Some people prefer to teach “speak” first, and “quiet” second. Others like to teach them together to begin with. This is your choice – it is about your comfort level, confidence and your dog’s ability to learn. Use your best judgment. Dogs with a tendency to become “excessive barkers” might need to learn the quiet command first.

3. Be patient yet consistent. These commands can take weeks to master for some dogs.

4. Teach speak only works on dogs that will bark. If you are training a puppy, wait until she develops the ability and desire to bark, otherwise she will become confused. Remember that the Basenji dog breed does not bark.

6 Great Ways to Challenge Your Dog’s Mind…..

Dog Playing

I came across this article on the Cesars Way website (there is a link to the website at the end of this post) and found it interesting….. I plan on trying a few of these tips with my dog Lucky. I think we will work on some new tricks in the next two weeks. I always have trouble thinking of new tricks that I would want him to perform though. He knows the basics, such as sit, stay, down, shake, and leave it. If you have any interesting or fun trick ideas for me to teach Lucky, I would love to hear them!
By Nicole Pajer

Just like people, dogs get bored with the same old everyday routine. Keeping  them mentally challenged and constantly exposing them to new things is just as  important as taking them for walks and exercising them. Bored dogs develop  destructive behaviors and take their negative energy out on things like your  furniture.

Here are some creative ways to stimulate your dog’s mind so they don’t get  bored and misbehave:

1. Work on a new trick.

Every time you engage your dog in a training session, you are providing him  with a mental challenge. Search around for new tricks to work on. If you’re  ready to move past the basic commands, check out books, scan the Internet, and  ask a trainer for ideas for new tricks and training ideas.

“My dog, Vince just recently turned 4-years old and I finally enrolled him in  obedience school. It has changed both our lives. Now on days where I work him on  new tricks and such, I have noticed that his temperament has calmed down.  Challenging him mentally makes him much less anxious in general and he has  become more relaxed around other dogs. Vince is proof that old dogs can  definitely learn new tricks.” – Sara Hicks

2. Play with interactive games or toys with your dog.

Purchase a doggie board game or a canine puzzle to challenge your pup. Engage  your dog in a game of Dog Memory or Dog Dominos. Give your dog one of the many  toys that allow you to hide treats and objects inside and engage your dog to  figure out how to work them out.

“This sounds silly but I bought this board game that I saw at the store for  my dog Snickers and I to play together. I put treats underneath a peg and she  has to figure out which ones to lift up in order to find where the treats are.  There is another version where I cover up the treats with this piece of plastic  and Snickers has to spin the board around to uncover the treats. It really  challenges her and I see her brain working so hard to figure everything out.” – Donna Marr

3. Run errands with your dog.

Even a quick run to the mailbox, a stopover at a friend’s house, or a spin  through the car wash will place your dog face to face with a variety of  stimulants.

“Even just taking Ryker for a car ride or to the car wash is stimulating for  him. He gets to see lots of different sights and sounds and experience new  situations. He loves going and gets so excited. And I can see his brain working  as it takes it all in. And when we come home, he falls right asleep, even though  it wasn’t physically taxing.” – Jennifer Brody

4. Give your dog a job to do.

Dogs are bred to complete tasks such as hunting and herding. When they aren’t  able to fulfill these types of duties, they can get restless. Engage your dog in  a game of Frisbee. Get him involved in a sport like agility or Flyball. Take him  for a long walk,  hike, or swim. Find jobs that fulfill your dog’s breed. If you have a  retriever, for example, nothing will leave it more satisfied than a hearty game  of fetch.

“I can take my dog for a walk or a run, but the thing that really makes her  the happiest is a hearty game of fetch. I take a tennis racket to the dog park  and hit a ball as far as I can. She will bring it back to me over and over again  like it’s her job.” – John Kurmai

5. Introduce your dog to new faces.

Every time your dog meets a new person or fellow canine, they are introduced  to new sights, sounds, and butts to sniff. Taking you pup to places like the dog  park will provide him with ample opportunity to engage his senses.

“I frequently take Bruiser to the dog park, which he absolutely loves!  Bruiser constantly meets new friends there and finds people to sniff and get  petted by. This has really made him listen better, less anxious and truly more  satisfied.” – Kat Malkowych

6. Give them new toys and rotate out the old ones:

You wouldn’t want to play with the same thing every day would you? Then you  shouldn’t expect your dog to continue to love the same toy that he’s had for  months. Give him a toy to play with for a few days and when he grows bored of  it, replace it with another one.

“Moogly has so many toys but still gets bored. It’s ridiculous! I am  constantly bringing new toys into the house but he has a short attention span so  they only keep him entertained for a while. We started keeping all of his toys  in a bin in the closet and rotating them out. He has so many now and we’ll  change up a new toy with one that he’s had for years and that he may have  forgotten about. He loves this and whenever we switch them up, he is just as  excited as when he gets a brand new toy.” – Katie Adams

Read more: http://www.cesarsway.com/training/dogtraining/6-Great-Ways-to-Challenge-Your-Dogs-Mind#ixzz2GAQMEunV

Cold Weather Tips, From Our Pets to Yours…..

Cold Weather Tips

Brrrr—it’s cold outside! The following guidelines will help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips.

1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife.

2. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.

3. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.

4. Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.

5. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.

Lucky sporting his winter coat. He is ready for his morning walk!

Lucky sporting his winter coat. He is ready for his morning walk!

6. Never leave your dog or cat alone in  a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

7. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.

8. Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him, and his fur, in tip-top shape.

9. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal  poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from  your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.

10. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.