Friday, December 31, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Yesterday's blog I shared a oouple of stories about my dear dog, Lacey.

I came across a couple of websites which have some helpful information regarding mourning the loss of a pet.

You can add your dog's name to the "Monday Night Candle Ceremony" held weekly at or These beautiful and touching sites allow visitors to add their own pets' names and, if they choose, write some special words about their pets. During each weekly ceremony on is a reading of The Rainbow Bridge, a poem about pets who have crossed over the rainbow and await the coming of those who have cared for them.

The human-animal bond is strong, sometimes as strong as any you may have with a person. When an animal companion dies, it can be just as heartbreaking as the death of a human loved one. Unfortunately, animal lovers are often met with insensitive comments, such as, "It was only a dog," or "Just get another one" when a dog companion dies. The dog's caregiver is left to mourn in private or get emotional support from strangers who might staff pet-loss support lines.

Fortunately on these websites you can find help and support.
I wish you had the option to turn off the music.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Items Chewed By Dogs

Yes, dogs have been know to chew just about anything, especially as a puppy.

My Golden Retriever was named after the first item she chewed; Lacey. The kids thought it was pretty funny when she ripped off the lace at the bottom of my nightgown and ran around the room.

May 2000- October 2003

I was reading an article that listed the top ten items that are surgically removed from dogs. Do you know what is #1?

It is the sock!

And Lacey ate one, too! Lucky for us it passed through her system.

Here is the list of the top TEN surgically removed items

1. Socks
2. Underwear
3. Pantyhose
4. Rocks
5. Balls
6. Chew Toys
7. Corn Cobs
8. Bones
9. Hair Ties/Ribbons
10. Sticks

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Snow Games for You and Your Dog

Do you have snow where you live?

As every retriever knows, the chief purpose of snow is to make snowballs. If your dog loves to play with balls, he will love snowballs. "Catch and chomp" is a favorite game among many retrievers. For more entertainment, roll snowballs down a hill and watch your dog return with a mouth full of melting snow and a funny look on its face.

Snowball toss, considered it winter Frisbee, is fun for most dogs too. See if your dog can intercept snowballs when thrown to someone else.

Build a snowman (or elephant) with your dog. Ask your dog to, "Find a stick," for the snowman's arms. Or bury one and see if your dog can find it.

Hide and seek is a classic especially with a good snowfall and snowbanks. The best hide and seek game involves hiding yourself, of course. It is easier if there are two of you, one to give the commands, including the command to go find, and one to hide. If there is just you, you may need to shout "find" from your hiding place. It is not really giving away where you are - the tracks you left in the snow will do that anyway!

If the snow is really deep and fluffy, some dogs like to swim through it after a stick or a snowball. And speaking of deep snow, build a labyrinth or a maze and watch your dog work through it for a treat.

Slippery snow is best for sliding and some dogs really take to it. And there are some dogs that are perfectly happy just rolling in snow.

Most ski resorts do not allow dogs, but you might find some areas to cross-country ski and snow shoe where dogs are permitted off leash. Keep in mind that if your dog is a novice to the sports, you will need to spend time familiarizing him with the equipment. A human being on cross country skis looks like a very strange creature to most dogs especially those two sticks he swings.

While you do not have to worry about heat stroke in the winter months, dehydration can be a problem even in the coldest conditions. If you are out for a long period of time, make sure you take a drink break. And remember, having fur does not mean you do not feel cold.

Also, take care of your dog's feet. During walks, check paws for icicles and balls or hard snow. They make walking very difficult. If you live in a city where roads and sidewalks are salted, you may want to consider getting some dog booties or rubbing your dog's paws with petroleum jelly before going out, and washing the salt off when you get home. Salt can dry and crack paw pads.

Winter can be as much fun as summer for your dog and you.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Latest Pet Food Recall

On December 18, 2010, the Kroger Co. began recalling select packages of pet food sold in some of its retail stores because the products may contain aflatoxin.

Also, Kroger stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

The recall also includes Dillons and Gerbes stores in Kansas and Missouri; Baker's stores in Nebraska; Food 4 Less stores in Nebraska, Illinois and Indiana (Chicago area); and Jay C, Hilander, Owen's, Pay Less and Scott's stores in Illinois and Indiana.

Stores the company operates under the following names are not included in this recall: Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, Smith's, QFC, City Market, Foods Co., and Food 4 Less stores in California and Nevada.

Kroger is recalling the following items:

Pet Pride Cat Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111088128

Pet Pride Cat Food sold in 18 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111071357

Pet Pride Tasty Blend Poultry & Seafood Cat Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111088152

Pet Pride Tasty Blend Poultry & Seafood Cat Food sold in 18 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111074580

Pet Pride Kitten Formula Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111071903

Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food sold in 22 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111074566

Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food sold in 50 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111074563

Kroger Value Cat Food sold in 3 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111000018

Kroger Value Chunk Dog Food sold in 15 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111071559Kroger Value Chunk Dog Food sold in 50 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code:1111000108

Aflatoxin is a naturally-occurring toxic chemical by-product from the growth of the fungus Aspergillus flavus on corn and other crops. If your pet shows any symptoms of illness, including sluggishness or lethargy combined with a reluctance to eat, yellowish tint to the eyes and/or gums, and severe or bloody diarrhea, please consult your veterinarian immediately.

The company is using its Customer Recall Notification system to alert customers who may have purchased these recalled products through register receipt tape messages and automated phone calls. Customers who have purchased a recalled item should not use it and should return it to a store for a full refund or replacement.

Customers who have questions about this recall may contact Kroger toll-free at (800) 632-6900.

For more information.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

So Far Still In One Piece

Ebony's Christmas present.....

Usually I choose the most durable toys for Ebony, but I could not resist this silly looking creature. It is rather funny watching Ebony play with this toy. So far it still has its stuffing and is in one piece.

I found the creature at this website, but looks like they do not sell it anymore.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dog Family Christmas

Most of you are gathered together with your families this Christmas Eve.

In my son's household that family gathering includes the dogs. Can you imagine a house full of Golden Retrievers? Cute, but I imagine chaotic!

Oh, did I forget to mention Koda, the German Shepard, as part of the family clan?

How can Ebony miss out on all this fun?! Besides, a black dog would add variety.

Maybe I should bring her when I visit on Christmas Day :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Heimlich Maneuver For Dogs

A few days ago I posted information about
performing CPR on your dog.

Today, I wanted to share information from a veterinarian about the Heimlich Maneuver on your dog.

Before administering any first aid, make absolutely certain your pet is actually choking. Many people confuse difficulty breathing with choking. If you witness your pet ingesting an item and then immediately begin pawing at the face, the throat, acting frantic, trying to cough and having difficulty breathing, only then should the Heimlich maneuver be considered. If your pet is not really choking, the Heimlich can cause serious injury.

After determining that your pet is choking, remove any item that may be constricting the neck. Examine inside the mouth and remove any foreign object you see. Do not blindly place your hand down your pet's throat and pull any object you feel. Dogs have small bones that support the base of their tongues. Owners probing the throat for a foreign object have mistaken these for chicken bones. Do not attempt to remove an object unless you can see and identify it.

If your pet is small and you cannot easily remove the object, lift and suspend him with the head pointed down. For larger animals, lift the rear legs so the head is tilted down. This can help dislodge an item stuck in the throat.

Another method is to administer a sharp blow with the palm of your hand between the shoulder blades. This can sometimes dislodge an object. If this does not work, a modified Heimlich maneuver can be attempted.

Grasp the animal around the waist so that the rear is nearest to you, similar to a bear hug.

Place a fist just behind the ribs.

Compress the abdomen several times (usually 3-5 times) with quick pushes.

Check the mouth to see if the foreign object has been removed.

This maneuver can be repeated one to two times but if not successful on the first attempt, make arrangements to immediately take your pet to the nearest veterinary hospital.

Even if you are successful in removing a foreign object, veterinary examination is recommended. Internal injury could have occurred that you may not realize.

Here is a video on the Heimlich for dogs.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's A Dog's Life

Did you read Merle's Door by Ted Kerasote or see the movie?

Ted's dog after Merle is Pukka and he has written a book about him, too.
I must read it!

You can get a glimpse of what a great life Pukka has in this charming video.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Homemade Dog Gift

Looking for that special homemade gift for your dog or a friend's dog?

Something quick and simple, make a bandanna. With different patterns and fabrics available, you can find the best design to fit any dog. All you need is some festive fabric and a pair of scissors.

Supplies needed to make 4 large bandannas or 8 small ones:

1. 1 yard cotton polyester blend fabric (can be pre-washed, though not required)

2. Pinking shears (scissors that help keep fabric from fraying)


Keep the fabric folded along the natural crease so that the width of the double layer of fabric is 23 inches.

With the fold along the bottom edge, grasp the lower right corner of the fabric and fold at a diagonal to that the bottom right corner is now even with the upper left edge. Make sure the previous right edge of the fabric is now flush with the upper edge of the fabric.

There should now be a triangular shaped piece of fabric with some extra fabric on the left side.

Using pinking shears, cut along the edges, including the base of the newly formed triangle. This will result in 4 large bandannas and some extra fabric.

For smaller bandannas, connect the two edges of the previously made bandannas. This will result in a smaller triangle. Cut the edges with pinking shears. There will now be 8 small bandannas.

Pinking shears are used to delay the inevitable fraying that occurs on the edges of the fabric. For longer lasting bandannas, fold, press and stitch the edges to prevent fraying.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Begging and Dogs

Company coming over for the holidays?

Does your dog beg for food at your parties?

Dog owners who have a begging dog problem must have rewarded the behavior at some point, either inadvertently or intentionally. Some owners of begging dogs decide to try to break the cycle of begging and reinforcement, but do not have the willpower to stay the course.

Instead, they occasionally cave in, reinforcing the dog's begging behavior on a random intermittent schedule. This schedule of reinforcement produces the most indelible learning of all. It ensures that the dog will continue to beg on the off chance that next time he may win.

Here are several suggestions to eliminate begging:

Have a set feeding regimen for your dog. For instance, feed him twice daily at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Feed proprietary dog food only so that there is no confusion over what is human food and what is dog food.

Feed your dog at the same time as you sit down to eat, so that he is fully occupied during mealtimes. Also, feed him in a separate location.

If necessary, crate train or tie your dog so that he is not free to roam (and beg) at mealtimes, but make sure he has something to do when confined.

Never give in to begging after you have indicated, "no" – not even once. Recognize begging for what it is and stand fast against repeat requests.

Remember that a behavior that worked in the past will initially be carried out at an even greater frequency when the expected reward is withheld. Do not worry about this exacerbation and do not let it weaken in your resolve. Your dog will eventually stop trying something that does not work. (Does this sound familiar to raising children?)

Teach doggy Zen. Hold a food item in your closed hand. Whatever your dog does by way of begging/nudging do not open your hand. When he relaxes into calm acceptance of the fact that you are in control, by sitting patiently and stopping begging, say "take it" and open your hand. You are now training an acceptable behavior – waiting for a command (more appropriately cue) before the "goods" are produced. The message is that good manners work; bad manners do not.

Punishment is never appropriate. Your dog would not understand why he was being punished and would wind up confused. Punishment teaches a dog nothing except how to avoid the punisher.

A well-behaved dog is a pleasure to have around. One that is constantly trying to push people's buttons is often viewed as a little beggar. The decision to reward or not reward should be made by the owner, not coaxed by the dog.

If the time is not right for the game in question, the dog should be instructed to perform some other behavior that is incompatible with asking/begging, such as going to his dog bed or blanket and lying down. This will only be possible if the owner exhibits firm but fair leadership.

Be in charge. Stay in control. As your faithful friend and follower, your dog will appreciate your lead.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Eco-Friendly Dog Biscuits

Wagatha's is a company founded by a life long professional chef and a Wall Street commodities trader. Norman Levitz and Neil Reilly have created Wagatha's Organic Dog Biscuits.

These are USDA certified organic biscuits made using pure, honest ingredients in a fully licensed human grade bakery. They contain no wheat (except for the Classic Recipe), corn, or soy products. They claim to make the world's best dog biscuits and you can see why by the ingredients.

They also donate 5% of the sales to the Morris Animal Foundation Canine Cancer Foundation.

Check out these dog biscuits.

I wonder if my dog will share them with me?

Saturday, December 11, 2010


As much as we try to protect our pets, accidents do happen. So, it is important to be as prepared as reasonably possible. One way to be prepared is to know how to give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

CPR is an emergency technique used to help someone whose heart and/or breathing has stopped. Although somewhat modified, the same techniques used for people – rescue breathing and chest compressions – can be used to help treat an animal in distress.

The first lesson to know about CPR is that it does not restart a stopped heart. The purpose of CPR, in both humans and animals, is to keep them alive until the heart begins beating on its own or a cardiac defibrillator can be used. In people, about 15 percent of those getting CPR actually survive. In animals, CPR is frequently unsuccessful, even if performed by a trained veterinarian. Even so, attempting CPR will give your pet a fighting chance.

Here is a video teaching you how to perform Dog CPR.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dog Holiday Stress

Do dogs experience holiday stress?


Tips to Help Minimize Dog Holiday Stress

What can you do to ease the burden of holiday stress for you dog?

Routine, Routine, Routine.

Keeping as close as you can to your pet's normal schedule is the best antidote to holiday stress. Stay consistent with feeding times and amounts, and be on guard against illegal snacks.

Maintain his exercise, walking schedule and playtime. A tired pet is a happy pet. This advice, by the way, goes for people too. Exercise is a great stress reliever. Staying in shape improves attitude and behavior in pets and people.

Getting your pet used to crowds in the home also helps. Bring your friends or family over to get your pet used to it, and reward him if he behaves correctly.

It is important to reserve a room for your pet to retreat to, equipped with his favorite toys, a bowl full of fresh water, some food perhaps, and clothing or blankets with your scent on it. This gives your pet a safe comfortable place to which he can retreat from the madness.

As for Christmas trees and holiday decorations, there are a lot of hazards your pet faces – it is important to know what to look for and how to secure your home. Here is an article that you may find helpful.

Traveling during the holidays is stressful whether you bring a pet or not. Dogs usually travel better because they are by nature in love with car rides. Pre-planning is an absolute must, whether by car or by airline.

If you decide to put your pet in a kennel, do not try to find one at the last minute, which is nearly impossible at holiday time. Research the facilities in your area and ask around. A kennel should see to your pet's emotional needs as well as to his physical requirements. Be prepared to ask many questions when you visit a kennel in person.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Dog Treats

I came across these recipes for dog treats, but they sound good enough for me to eat. I wonder how they taste? I am sure my dog will love them; maybe I will too.

Stay tuned........

Noel Nibbles

2 tablespoons honey
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cups white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
2 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup unsweetened chunky applesauce
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. In a bowl, mix together honey, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add water, applesauce and egg and stir, mixing well. Add nuts. Spoon into a greased muffin tin, filling each cup two-thirds full. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on a rack and store in sealed container. Makes 16 muffins.

Festive Holiday Cookies

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups water
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, combine applesauce, egg, peanut butter, vanilla and water. Mix well. Add flours, corn meal, oats and peanuts and mix well to form a dough. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until thoroughly mixed together. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes. Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on rack. Makes 30 cookies.

New Year Delights

2 tablespoons honey
2 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup unsweetened chunky applesauce
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup dried apple chips
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, mix together honey, water, applesauce, vanilla and egg. Add flour, apple chips, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix thoroughly, scraping sides and bottom of bowl to be sure no dry mixture is left. Spoon into greased muffin pans so that each cup is three-quarters full and bake for approximately 1 hour until lightly browned. Cool and store in an airtight container.
Makes 12 muffins.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dog's Mental Health

Are you giving your dog the gift of mental health?

It is important that your dog's mind stays in shape.

Domestic dogs are descended from gray wolves, and you can still sometimes see your dog exercising some of their wild instincts. The desire to chew on bones, dig to bury food or find a cool spot to rest, tug or roughhouse these behaviors likely served your dog's ancestors well. Today's dogs live differently with most of their needs provided for, but these instincts have not disappeared.

A dog that no longer has to worry about hunting food, running from predators, and defending its territory from intruders has a longer life expectancy - but fewer things to keep him busy. Without a way to exercise his natural instincts, a dog is likely to express frustration and boredom or he may decide to make his own "entertainment". This can lead to unwanted behaviors.

When it comes to improving your dog's mental health, a few changes can make a huge difference. Gift your dog with toys that challenges his mental abilities. There are several toys that challenge your dog's problem solving skills, toys that make crunching sounds or squeak, and super tough chewing toys.

Give your dog the gift of mental health.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holiday Plant Safety 101

Flowers and plants add beauty to any holiday, and make great holiday gifts. Although, if your family includes pets, you may want to learn which plants are safe.

Here is a list of plants to avoid:

•Holly (Ilex sp.). This plant, commonly found around Christmas time, can cause intense vomiting and diarrhea. Mental depression can also occur.

•Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp). Ingestion can result in vomiting, diarrhea, depression, lack of appetite, tremors, drooling and abdominal pain.

•Mistletoe (Phoradendron spp.). This plant, another Christmas plant, can also cause significant vomiting and diarrhea. In addition, this plant has been associated with difficulty breathing, slowed heart rate, collapse and, if a lot is ingested, death has occurred. Some animals may even show erratic behavior and possible hallucinations.

•Poinsettia (Euphorbia). This plant can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach and sometimes vomiting. It has a low level of toxicity and is overrated as a toxic plant. Many people consider it basically non-toxic.

•Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, Easter cactus (Schlumbergera or Zygocactus). In dogs, if large quantities of this plant are ingested, vomiting, possibly with blood, diarrhea, possibly with blood and mental depression have been reported. With small ingestions, typically there are no signs of toxicity. These plants are considered low toxicity plants.

Some less common toxic winter holiday plants include:

•American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens). Ingestion results in weakness, vomiting and seizures.

•European bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara). Ingestion results in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, lack of appetite, weakness, confusion and low heart rate.

•Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium). Ingestion results in vomiting, diarrhea, depression, drooling and lack of appetite.

•Christmas rose (Helleborus niger). Ingestion results in abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody diarrhea and delirium.

•Jerusalem cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicuni). Ingestion results in vomiting, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, seizures, mental depression, respiratory depression, shock and death.

•Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale). Ingestion of the bulbs results in mouth irritation, blooding vomiting, diarrhea, shock, kidney failure, liver damage and bone marrow suppression.

•Thanksgiving cactus (Zygocactus truncactus). Ingestion results in vomiting, diarrhea and depression. Cats also can develop staggering.

•Christams palm (Veitchia merrillii). This plant is considered nontoxic.

•Christmas orchid (Cattleya trianaei). This plant is considered nontoxic.

•Christmas dagger fern (Polystichym spp). This plant is considered nontoxic.

•Mistletoes cactus (Thipsalis cassutha). This plant is considered nontoxic.

•Burning bush (Euronymous alatus). Ingestion can result in vomiting, diarrhea, depression and lack of appetite.

Remember that ingesting bulb plants often cause the most severe illnesses.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Music For Your Pet This Holiday

Reduce holiday stress in your home.

A CD to play when your pets are home alone – or anytime they need to relax.

Tom Nazziola from Disney’s Baby Einstein, the highly acclaimed children’s music series, has created another CD for pets. Celebrate the holidays with his new Holiday Treats CD. This beautiful collection of holiday music was created using the same proven pet relaxation techniques that he used in his Music My Pet CD.

Specifically designed as a relaxation tool for pets, the Music My Pet CD follows the findings of recent pet anxiety studies to create beautiful music that soothes dogs, cats and other household pets. It uses only those core musical elements that were proven to have a calming effect on pets. Music My Pet has gotten rave reviews from pet industry experts and many satisfied pet owners.

Holiday Treats exquisite music will fill your home and your heart with a warm, magical holiday feeling of pure delight. Its calm, soothing dynamic will help calm your stressed-out pets (and you!).

So grab a cup of hot cocoa, curl up with your pet and relax to the soothing seasonal melodies you know and love.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Favorite Dog Treat

No more left over turkey?

No problem, this recipe can be made with ground meat.

Dogs love it!

Jerky Turkey Dog Treats


1 lb. raw ground turkey (or chicken)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh herbs such as thyme or parsley (optional)


1.Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.
2.Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree the mixture.
3.Line a jellyroll pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper (it makes clean-up easier) and pour the mixture into it.
4.Spread evenly.
5.Bake two hours with the oven door slightly ajar to allow the moisture to escape.
6.Remove from oven and using a pizza cutter or knife, cut into small, individual-sized portions.
7.Place pieces back in the oven, flipped over, and bake an additional one to two hours, or until the treats are dry and leathery.
8.Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Monday, November 29, 2010

For Dog Lovers Only

Yes, I know you have begun the holiday shopping. By any chance do you have a dog lover on your list? I came across a game for dog lovers only.


The traditional board game you love, with a fun new twist. It is all about DOGS! And if that is not enough, you can get the version that is all about your favorite dog breed; there are 14 breeds available.

Check it out here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dogs and Christmas Trees

Today I saw my first Christmas tree strapped on the roof of a car. Turkey leftovers barely gone and now the focus is Christmas.

Here are ten safety tips about Christmas trees and dogs.

Hope they are helpful.

1. Choose the Right Spot. Pick an area where the tree can be enjoyed by the family but so much in the center activity that it can be easily knocked over. An area by the wall or in a corner is ideal and out of the traffic flow pattern of the house. Try to place the tree near an outlet so you do not have to run electrical cords long distances.

2. Prepare the Area. Lay down plastic sheeting or buy a "tree bag." This is an extra large trash bag used for live trees. Center the tree on the bag. When the season is over and you have removed the tree ornaments, pull the bag over the tree. This will catch the pine needles as they fall from the tree – and prevent them from being chewed or swallowed by your pet.

3. Secure the Tree. Many trees have been sent swaying by a rambunctious dog or puppy. Dogs can knock over a tree by rubbing against or playing under it. Your pet can be injured if the trees or ornaments fall and break. You can place the tree in a corner and secure it from two sides to small hooks in the walls. Another trick is to place a small hook in the ceiling above the tree and use clear fishing line from the top of the tree to the hook. Apply gentle tension and tie. The clear line is invisible.

4. Hide the Cords. Electrical cords are a grave danger to pets – especially puppies that tend to chew on anything. Cords can cause electrocution and serious injury or even death. Secure the cords by positioning them higher than the pet can reach or hiding them with special covers.

5. No Hooks. Check your ornaments and replace hooks with a loop of string tied in a knot. Ornaments often fall from the tree and pets may catch their mouths on or swallow the hooks.

6. Choose Safe Ornaments. There is no perfectly pet-safe bulb, as any ornament can be ingested and cause an intestinal obstruction. Glass bulbs on the lower limbs can be especially dangerous. If broken, pets can step on them and cut their feet or worse yet – treat the bulbs like a ball and chew on them causing them to break, resulting in mouth or throat trauma and bleeding. Many pet owners have learned the hard way not to place any ornaments on the lower limbs. Ornaments made of food may be especially attractive to pets.

7. Ribbons. Big red velvet ribbons are a lovely addition and may replace tinsel and garland that can be eaten by dogs and caught in their intestine.

8. Presents. Dogs love to investigate and most do not understand that the presents are not meant to be opened before Christmas Day. Decorative ribbons and string can be ingested, gifts can be destroyed by a playful pet. Consider storing the presents in a safe area until right before the holiday or make sure your pet is always supervised while investigating and searching for his special gift.

9. Sweep and Water. Sweep up the pine needles. Ingestion of needles can cause vomiting and gastric irritation. Keep the tree watered and only turn the lights on when you are at home. Risk of fire is always there with a live tree. Do not allow your pet access to the tree water to drink.

10. Supervise. The safest thing to do is to allow your pet access to the tree only when supervised. Pets that continue to want to bother the tree should be encouraged – using positive reinforcement – to leave it alone. Bitter apple can be sprayed on low branches for persistent chewers.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Do you treat your dog with Thanksgiving leftovers?

It can be fun to keep our dogs with us as we enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday, but it is so hard to resist the temptation to share Thanksgiving dinner with them.

Turkey bones are a definite "no-no".

Turkey skin is something dogs love to eat, but consuming fatty food like poultry skin can lead to gastric distress and Pancreatitis, a serious inflammatory condition of the pancreas that causes vomiting and dehydration.

If you think you must share some of your Thanksgiving feast with your dogs, do it safely....

A sudden change in diet, like a big bowl full of turkey and all the trimmings could cause an upset stomach and diahrrea.

Add a few pieces of boneless, skinless turkey meat to their regular food.

Make something special to give your dog like Turkey Loaf or Turkey Gobbler Treats:

Turkey Loaf for Dogs

2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup cooked mixed vegetables
1 T. garlic powder
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup barley
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup canned low-fat gravy

Preparation -
Grease a 9" loaf pan; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey, vegetables, garlic powder, egg, barley and oats. Mix the ingredients together well and place the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Press the mixture to flatten and level, then use a table knife to cut a few shallow slits on top. Pour the gravy over the loaf and bake in a preheated oven at 350° for 1 to 1-1/4 hours or until nicely browned on top. Cool, then cut the loaf into about six slices. Wrap in plastic wrap or foil and store in the refrigerator. To feed - Break the slices into bite-size pieces.

Turkey Gobblers

2 cups cooked turkey, cut up or shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp. grated parmesan cheese
1 T. parsley , finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 T. brewers yeast
2 T. vegetable oil

Preparation -
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked turkey, garlic, grated cheese and parsley. Mix well. Add beaten eggs; mix again. Add flour, brewers yeast, and oil and mix thoroughly until all ingredients are well-blended. Drop by rounded teaspoons full onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a preheated oven at 350ยบ for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned. Move to wire racks to cool and harden. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

These treats sound good enough for me to eat!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dog Wisdom

I just finished reading a delightful book that acknowledges the wisdom we learn from our dogs. Not only that, but it is about one of my favorite people, Deepak Chopra.

The book, Walking Wisdom; Three Generations, Two Dogs, and the Search for a Happy Life, is written by his son, Gotham Chopra.

Gotham is a new father and he is contemplating the influences he wants to draw on for his own son. Not only will he impart the wisdom gleaned from his father, but he also understands the wisdom that his two dogs have taught him.

In the book, Gotham shares stories of his "walks and talks" with his dad relating to the dogs in their lives. They realize that the qualities that they observe and admire most in their dogs are values we humans would do well to nuture in ourselves.

Dogs do teach us!

I love this photo on the back of the cover. Listening to a podcast of Gotham talking about his book, he mentioned this photo. He was most concerned about what his dog, Cleo, was going to do about the lolly pop. Meanwhile, the only one looking at the camera is his famous dad. In the interview, Gotham laughs at his dad focusing on the camera.

I think it is a very sweet photo.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dog Art

Very clever and just in time for the holidays.

A paint kit for dogs!

It works like this. First, you place plastic down on the floor, and then the canvas. Apply some paint to the canvas followed by a top layer of clear plastic. Your dog can now walk and play over the canvas. By the way, a toy is included to help encourage your dog to "paint".

Presto, your dog has created a work of art!

Ready for is called Pup-Casso!

Check it out here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Best Dog Grooming Tool

For those of us with dogs that shed, you cannot be without this grooming tool.

I love the name......the FURminator.

At first I did not believe that this one brush could be better than others I have used. My son let me try his dog's FURminator on my dog, Ebony. I am a believer!Immediately, I went to the local pet store to purchase the FURminator.

The problem with shedding is simple: It is not the hair you see that causes the problem. It is the hair you do not see. Your pet's undercoat can become a dense mess of loose, dead hair - and the major source of shedding. But the patented design of the FURminator's unique stainless steel edge reaches down through your dog's topcoat into the undercoat where it grabs and removes loose hair quickly and easily, without cutting. It is totally safe and will not hurt your pet.

The FURminator removes more loose hair from your pet than any other grooming tool. Regular use promotes a healthy skin and coat, and reduces shedding by as much as 90 percent. And the more hair you remove from your pet, the less hair you will need to remove from your couch, your clothes, your floors, your carpet, your car and your home.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pets Can Help Us

Tests have shown that owning a pet can help people attain a better level of physical health. Petting an animal can lower your heart rate and your blood pressure and even promote healing. Also, recent studies show that having pets at work lowers stress levels and makes employees more productive.

But pets can help us in other ways, too. They help us to relax and focus on things other than our problems.

Pets fulfill the natural craving we have for emotional relationships. Whenever we do something for another living thing, we feel better about ourselves. Here are some other ways pets make us feel better:

A Cure for Loneliness

Pets can help us to feel less lonely and isolated. Feeling needed also works to foster positive feelings. Pets give a sense of purpose; they always need something – food, a walk, a stroke, and a kind word, and they are usually appreciative. As an added benefit, if you leash up your dog and take a walk through the neighborhood or through a dog-friendly park, more than likely someone will talk to you. Studies have shown that people walking with a dog talk to new people far more often than if the dog was not with them.

Coming home to your pet gives you something to look forward to. Dogs may score highest in "greetings," but most pets are delighted to see their owners walk through the door and will show it in some way. If you have a pet, you are not alone.

Someone to Love

If you love your pet, that love comes back to you tenfold. It is love of the best kind – unconditional and enduring. Animals offer this love, along with reliable companionship – often for a lot less trouble than having a relationship with a human. No matter how cranky you get, your pet always forgives you and continues to show affection.

Physical Contact

Cuddling and stroking your pet is good for you and helps you to forget about your day at work or your boredom. Petting an animal helps to promote a sense of pleasure and calmness.

Someone to Talk To

It is a known fact that talking things out relieves a lot of internal pressure, but just having someone to talk to makes a difference, too. Talk about anything – your pet will listen, and, even better, he will not disagree. Share your thoughts, feelings, troubles, worries – or say something stupid – your pet will still love you.

Sense of Security

Certain animals promote a sense of safety. Your dog will bark to warn you of impending danger. But the sense of having someone with you is often enough to make you feel less anxious and more secure.

Motivation to Move

If your pet needs to be walked every day, you will be exercising – whether you want to or not. Walking with your dog also helps you to deal with the physical stress of the day. Walking gives you an opportunity to get outside and breathe fresh air.

The Human-animal Bond

The strength of the human-animal bond is not a myth. Although life with a pet is not always easy, the joy of pet ownership can be a wonderful experience. A slurpy kiss from your dog promotes very special feelings and creates a human/animal bond that can last for many years.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November - Senior Pet Month

Most dogs are considered "senior" at around 7 years of age. This number may be higher for small breed dogs and slightly lower for large breed dogs.

It is hard to believe that Ebony, my black lab/border collie who still acts like a puppy, has now hit the "senior" age bracket. She has begun to get some gray hairs around her chin, too.

"Senior" Ebony with Beard

If your dog is five years old, does that means he is the same physiologic age as a 35-year-old person? Not exactly. The theory that every year in a dog's life is the same as seven years in ours is commonly known, but not very accurate. Size and breed play a major role when considering the age of your dog.

For a more accurate comparison between physiologic age of dogs, follow this formula:

A one-year-old small or medium sized dog is about 15 human years old. When the dog reaches two, he is the equivalent of a 24-year-old person. After that, each year is about four human years. This means that a seven-year-old dog is about the same as a 44-year-old person.

Large and giant breed dogs initially age slower but then age quickly. At one year of age, the dog is about the same physiologically as a 12-year-old child. After that, each year follows the standard seven human years. For giant breed dogs, five years old is considered the beginning of old age.

The average canine life span is around 12 years but differs from breed to breed. By the time most dogs reach seven years of age, they are entering their senior years. The record for the longest canine life span is 29 years.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Downward Facing Dog

It is astounding to me how a dog effortlessly preforms the yoga pose downward facing dog. For most of us who practice Yoga, this position can be challenging to hold.

If you are not familar with the pose, dogs look like this:

The human version by an experienced yoga practioner:

Recently, I learned that there are Yoga classes for both you and your dog. It is called Doga and you work together on yoga poses.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Guide Dogs

There are approximately 314 million visually impaired people in the world, whose daily routines can be made easier and possible by guide dogs. Currently 1,750 Seeing Eye® dog users in the U.S. and Canada and hundreds of organizations around the world that offer this specialized form of training and assistance.

The Seeing Eye is one such organization.

Since 1929, The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey, has partnered with people who are blind who seek to enhance their independence, dignity, and self-confidence by providing them with and instructing them in the use of Seeing Eye dogs. On their 60-acres of land in the Washington Valley, about 325 dogs reside and train to be seeing-eye dogs.

All of the dogs used at The Seeing Eye are bred within the program. Every dog is specifically matched to meet the individual needs of each student. Matches are made based on handler/dog compatibility in strength, pace, temperament, and home environment.

The Seeing Eye matches about 270 dogs with blind or visually impaired owners each year. The program involves a 90-day, 12 class training program, where the dogs train in a variety of situations. The owners also go through a three to four week course. After these weeks and months of rigorous training are complete the dog and owner can return home together.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fact and Fiction About Aggressive Dogs

I came across an interesting article about dog aggression. It outlined the facts and clarified the fiction. Unfortunately it did not mentioned where they got the statistics.

Here is the scoop:


Each year, 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs. (There are 58 million dogs in the United States.)

Children are three times more likely to be bitten than adults.

Over 500,000 people per year receive medical attention for dog bites.

There are about 10 dog bite fatalities per year.

Dog bites have reached epidemic proportions.

German shepherds and chow chows are more likely to be involved in biting incidents than other breeds.

Male dogs are six times more likely to bite than females.

Sexually intact dogs are 2.6 times more likely to bite than neutered dogs.

Rottweiler and pitbull breeds account for 67 percent of human fatalities.

The top 10 breeds involved in lethal dog bite attacks, accounting for four or more human deaths each over the last 20 years, are: pitbull-type (66), Rottweiler (39), German shepherd (17), husky-type (15), malamute (12), Doberman (9), chow chow (8), Saint Bernard (7), Great Dane (7) and Akita (4).

Twenty-five breeds have been involved in 238 dog bite fatalities over the past 20 years.

About 82 percent of deaths involved unrestrained dogs either on (58%) or off (24%) the owners' property

True and False

All dogs may bite – its what dogs do. (TRUE)

Dog bites can largely be prevented by proper training and management. (TRUE)

Dog bite fatalities are relatively uncommon. (TRUE)

People are more dangerous than dogs. (TRUE)

Chronically irresponsible dog owners are to blame for many of the problems. (TRUE)

The owners, rather than the dogs, are the main problem. (OFTEN TRUE)

Children should be taught never to play with or approach a strange dog, and to avoid direct eye contact with unfamiliar dogs. They should also never play with a dog without adult supervision. (TRUE)

The breed of dog involved in the deadly San Francisco attack, the Presa Canario, has been banned in several countries throughout the world. (TRUE)

To single out certain breeds as potentially more dangerous is canine racism. (FALSE)

For a more in-depth look at the issue,
see Aggressive Dogs and Society.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

When Dogs Enter Your Life

I am an avid follower of Deepak Chopra and David Simon. When I went to one of their workshops in Whistler, British Columbia, I met Davidji.

Davidji is a delightful being. I enjoy his presence and guided meditations.

This month in the Agni Newsletter there is an article about Davidji and his dog Peaches the Buddha Princess.

The article will put a smile on your face.

Read Davidji and Peaches the Buddha Princess.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dog Pumpkin Carvings

Tired of the traditional Jack-O-Lantern?

How about a dog pumpkin?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Protect Your Dog on Halloween

Halloween brings a fun time for most of us, but for some of our much-loved four-legged family members, Halloween can be a nightmare.

Dog owners may not be able to control external surroundings, but they can care for their dog's safety and well being by observing the following tips from the world's largest dog training company,
Bark Busters:

1. Do not leave your dog outside. Even if you have a fenced yard, bring your dog inside where it is safe. If your dog is usually kept outside, bring him in a few times before the big night to get him used to being indoors. Your dog may be used to strangers, but so many little ghouls and goblins running about may be too much. Remember also that it is a natural instinct for dogs to protect the family from strangers, and on Halloween there will be no shortage of strangers.

2. Keep your dog restrained. If your dog is timid or scared, or if he tends to love people a little too much, it is best to put him in a separate room away from the front door to limit his excitability, aggression, and chance of running outside and becoming lost.

3. Reassure your dog. The best thing you can do for your dog when he is feeling unsettled by Halloween activities is to act as you normally would. By over-reassuring your dog or giving him an unusual amount of attention, you inadvertently can communicate to him that because you are acting differently, there must be something to worry about.

4. Have your dog get used to costumes. Your dog may see his family members as strangers once they don their Halloween costumes. Before the kids put them on, allow your dog to scent the costumes. If your costume has a mask, keep the mask off when you are with your dog because dogs can become confused when they cannot see our faces.

5. Check your dog's ID tag. Be sure identification tags are secure on your dog's collar-just in case.

6. Keep candy away from your dog. Many candies-especially chocolate-are toxic to dogs. The severity of the toxicity depends greatly on factors such as breed, age, size, and how much candy was ingested. Problems may range from a mild upset tummy to vomiting and diarrhea, or even death. If you have any concerns at all, consult with a veterinarian immediately. If you want to keep your dog safe, make certain that sweets, including their wrappers, are kept well away from your dog.

7. Protect dogs from candles and pumpkins. Excited or agitated dogs can easily knock over a lit candle or pumpkin. Be sure those items are away from your dog's reach, or consider a battery-powered candle that does not burn

8. Think twice about dressing your dog in a costume. While some dogs might enjoy being dressed up, many do not. Experiment first to see if your dog likes being in a costume. If so, fine-he'll most likely enjoy himself and the extra attention it brings. However, if he shows any resistance, do not do it. Dogs feel enough stress around Halloween without also having to endure the discomfort and peculiarity of wearing a strange costume.

9. Be prepared. If you take your dog with you while trick-or-treating, be prepared at all times. Do not let your dog approach the door of a house, and stay clear of possible gags or gangs of goblins who will gather at the door. Dogs do not understand that the person jumping out at you will not hurt you; they often think they can only help you by acting aggressively. Neither children nor adults in costumes should approach a dog without the owner's consent.

10. Have fun but think of your dog's safety. Finally, if you want your dog to be included in Halloween festivities, think about his safety much as you would the safety of a small child. Your dog does not understand Halloween, so he needs you to provide the guidance and safety that you always do.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More Halloween Fun

Each year asks for photo submission for their Halloween Photo Contest.

Here are the winners for 2010.

Other great photos submitted this year.

If a Golden Retreiver ever graced you life,
this costume will give you a chuckle.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Ideas for You and Your Dog

Fun ideas that can include your pooch this Halloween.

1. Take your dog to the pumpkin patch.

Venture out into the country and find a dog-friendly pumpkin farm. Many of the pick-your-own pumpkin patches are dog friendly and may even host a doggie pumpkin patch day where dogs can explore, run and play in the fields. Have your pup help you pick the perfect pumpkins for carving.

2. Dress up and go trick-or-treating.

Dogs make the perfect costume accessory. There is nothing cuter than a great costume combo for a pet and their owner. There are endless possibilities for dog costumes these days. With a little extra creativity, a costume theme will unite you and your dog as a festive pair.

Be sure to check your community event calendars to search for pet costume contests, a fun-filled way to show your pet's great costume. Who knows you might even get some candy and biscuits out of this opportunity.

3. Watch the Great Pumpkin.

Snoopy's Halloween classic is a great way to spend time with your pet. Host a movie party for your friends and their dogs to enjoy this Halloween adventure or simply curl up on the couch and night in with your special pooch. This is a great way to catch up with friends and keep your pets included in the festivities.

4. Bake autumn dog treats.

Sure you can bake special goodies for your dog anytime, but autumn is a great time to make festive cut-out biscuits. Ghost, pumpkin and bat shaped cookies will taste good to Fido and keep your biscuit jar seasonally updated. Check out these treat recipes.

5. Take a Halloween hay ride.

This may not be the best idea for all dogs, but certainly those that enjoy being outside and going for rides might enjoy the opportunity to take a wagon ride in the hay. Autumn hay rides are a great past time and including your dog in the whirlwind festivities is a great idea.

6. Carve a pumpkin with your dog's image.

Profile portraits are fun for carving into pumpkins and easy to do. Simply take a picture of your pet's profile and blow it up to pumpkin carving size on paper. After you have picked a carving pumpkin, tape on your pooch's profile use your carving knife to trace your masterpiece. Making a dog-o-lantern is a fun way to keep your pup involved in the Halloween season.

7. Capture the memories.

Changing autumn leaves make a great backdrop for a family photo. It is time to get the family together and take some great photos of you and your pet in the naturally beautiful fall leaves. A few pumpkins and cornhusks make great fall backdrops for a homemade photo shoot. These photos are great for homemade cards and invitations.

Whatever your plans for the Halloween season, be sure to have fun, be safe, and most importantly remember to include your special pet in the festivities.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Light on The Trail

The Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington is one of my favorite places to take my dog for a walk. It was especially stunning this evening.

After a few days of rain, today the sun kept trying to pop out. Ebony and I were on the Trail late afternoon. The smell of the woods after a rain is very intoxicating and wonderful. The low sun was highlighting the yellow leaves and the plethora of colorful leaves on the ground. I was wishing I had my camera, but I did have my cell phone.

Here is a glimpse of the beauty I discovered today.....

I love the arches formed by these trees.

And the light across the path.

The yellow leaves of the popular trees against the dark sky is absolutely brilliant.

What a beautiful place to visit.