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.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Animal Blood Bank

Thousands of pets require blood product transfusion every year as the result of injury/trauma, toxin ingestion, surgery or other diseases. Advancements in veterinary medical care have increased the need for blood transfusions. Also, as pets have become an important part of the family, many pet owners want to do everything possible to keep their pets alive. When this occurs, how do they get the necessary blood products?

Here are the two most common ways. Often blood is purchased from an animal blood bank. Or a veterinarian will use a "donor" pet in their office to orchestrate a transfusion.

Veterinarians and their staff often use their own pets as donors however having blood on hand from an animal blood bank can save precious time when an emergency transfusion is required.

There are animal blood banks scattered across the country that draw and store blood, making it available to veterinarians.

Some animal blood banks are nonprofit organizations that work with volunteer donor pets in the community. Others are for profit businesses that house large numbers of donor pets and sell blood. Some blood banks are organized to immediately ship blood products for emergency use.

What do the animal blood banks do?

Animal blood banks organize healthy pets for regular blood draws. This blood is drawn into bags and "spun down" to divide the blood into different components. Commonly, blood is separated into packed red blood cells and plasma. These components are used to treat different medical problems. Most blood banks focus on dogs however some blood banks also supply cat blood. Because cats require sedation to donate blood, they are not commonly included in volunteer blood drives. Most cat blood will be drawn from resident donor cats or employee pets.

Blood donors are generally rotated on a schedule that allows a fresh supply to be available to balance the blood product expiration dates. A unit of packed canine red blood cells is good for 30 days. Plasma is frozen and remains viable from 90 days up to 1 year, depending on how it is stored and its required use.

No sedatives or anesthesia is required for the donor dog. A unit of blood is drawn from the dog's neck while he is lying down and comfortable. Donations generally take about 15-30 minutes and the donor is rewarded with treats and lots of love when the donation is complete. Dogs generally donate approximately 450 milliliters (~ 16 oz) and cats can donate approximately 55 milliliters (~ 2 oz) of blood.

If you are interesting in having your dog become a donor – ask your veterinarian for the animal blood bank nearest you.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pet Pumpkin Carving

Carving pumpkins is a Halloween tradition with many fond memories for both parent and child.

Nowadays more people are getting very skilled and creative in the pumpkin carving category.

Here are a few that caught my eye......

Thea by Debbie Johnson

Alyssa and Remy by Traci Commons' husband

And for those cat lovers; Pepper by Cynthia Spilsted

Monday, October 18, 2010

Trick or Treat for Bowser

What are your thoughts on Halloween costumes for dogs?

These are my favorites, so far......

And for the treat, try these:

Makes 14 treats

2 cups water
3/4 cup canned applesauce
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup oats

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a bowl, mix water, applesauce, vanilla and egg thoroughly.

In a separate blow, combine flour, nuts, baking powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon, stirring well.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well.

Spoon into greased muffin tins, filling each cup completely and bake for about 1 1/4 hours. Cool completely and store in a sealed container.

Makes 18 treats

1/4 cup warm water
5 tablespoons parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons soft margarine
1 tablespoon cod liver oil
1 cup white flour
1/4 cup soy flour

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine water, cheese, margarine and oil.
Add flour and form a dough.
Roll to 1/4 inch thick and cut with cookie cutter.
Bake at 300 degrees on an ungreased cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden.

Note: All recipes are for special-occasion treats for your pet. They should not replace meals and should be offered sparingly. If your pet has food allergies or special dietary requirements, check with your veterinarian before offering them.

If your pet is on a special diet, you may consult with your veterinarian and obtain a canned version of that diet. Often the canned formula can be rolled out, cut into shapes and baked. Most treats bake at 350 degrees F for 12 – 20 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nose Game for Dogs

Yesterday's blog I shared a mind game for dogs.

Here is the nose game!

Watch this short video that encourages dogs to problem solve using their sense of smell. An easy game for you to try at home.

Entertainment for all!

Mind Games for Dogs

Do you like to teach your dog tricks?

Remember the shell game?

That is when you hide an object under one of three containers and the person is asked to find it. I have seen dogs that play the shell game.

Here is a video that provides instruction on how to train your dog to not only find the treat, but also to show you which one it is under by tapping the container with its paw.

Enjoy training!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dog With A Laceration - Home Care

A laceration is a wound produced by the tearing of body tissue. The edges can be smooth, jagged or irregular depending on the initiating factor.

Lacerations are one of the most common reasons dogs go to veterinary emergency rooms. They can be a minor skin problem or a very significant major problem.

Depending on the underlying cause, depth and force of the trauma, there can be damage to underlying soft tissues and structures. Muscles, tendons, nerves and blood vessels can be damaged. Penetration into the chest or abdominal cavity can even occur as a result of the trauma that produced the laceration.

Minor trauma may only produce skin damage. Deeper or more forceful trauma can cause severe damage to the underlying structures that could even be life threatening. The traumas that most commonly lead to lacerations are usually associated with contamination from debris, dirt and bacteria.

Home Treatment of a Laceration: What Can I Do for My Dog at Home?

Specific treatment of a laceration depends on the degree and depth of injury, in addition to associated or secondary injuries. It is very difficult to give advice here without knowing the full extent of the injury. The best thing to do is to take your dog to your veterinarian to help you determine the extent of the injury.

If you cannot take your dog to your veterinarian – you can do the following:

Carefully evaluate your dog's wound. He could be in pain so take special care not to be bitten when examining the wound.

If your dog's wound is bleeding, take a clean towel and gently apply pressure. Again – be careful.

If the wound is superficial – if possible, try to clip around the wound. Take care not to get hair in the wound. You can place sterile KY Jelly in the wound to protect it while clipping the hair. This allows the hair to stick to the KY Jelly instead of the wound.

Examine the extent of the injury. If the wound is deep – if it seems to go deeper than the full thickness of the skin – and it is bleeding profusely, or if the wound is longer than about 1 inch, it really is best for you to see your veterinarian. The wound should be examined and most likely sutured.

Again, this is not the ideal course of action, but for those of you that simply cannot take your dog to the veterinarian, then you should do the following:

1- Clean the wound with lukewarm water. Flush it like crazy. You can't use too much water. If you have a syringe – you can drawl up water into the syringe and squirt it into the wound. If you also have a syringe with needle – you can squirt the water into the wound through the needle. The needle and syringe should never touch your dog. Squirting water through the needle actually applies enough water pressure that can effectively remove debris from wounds. What you are trying to do is use the water and the pressure of the water to remove debris from the wound. If you don't have a syringe – you can use a kitchen baster. If your dog is small – you can use the kitchen sprayer or if he is big – a sprayer from the hose on a gentle spray. The force of the water jet should never be enough that it would hurt you or your pet.

2- While you are cleaning – you can better evaluate the wound. If the laceration appears superficial – you may be done with cleaning it. Dry the area around the wound.

If the wound is deep or draining – the best thing to do is see your veterinarian. Some deeper or draining wounds can benefit from a bandage. You need to be VERY careful. NEVER make the bandage too tight. To apply a bandage - you can use a 4 x 4 then wrap it with gauze. If the wound is open, use a bandage material called Telfa. It is a gauze-like material impregnated with a substance that keeps it from sticking to the wound (which can hurt when removing the bandage). So you would have the telfa next to the wound, then some absorbent cloth if the would is draining a lot, and a wrap to hold it in place and keep it on the pet.

3- The typical bandage consists of gauze or telfa next to the wound, cast padding or gauze type wrap followed by an outer wrap consisting of Vetwrap®. A small strip of tape can be used to help secure the outer wrap.

4- If you place the bandage on a leg, make sure it is not too tight. Check the toes every few hours for swelling. If you see swelling – remove or loosen the bandage.

5- Observe your dog. For minor injuries, your dog should be otherwise acting normal – eating and drinking okay, no vomiting or diarrhea, normal urine and bowel movements. If your dog is vomiting, having diarrhea, acting lethargic, or if your dog won't eat or appears to be having difficulty breathing – please see your veterinarian.

6- Keep your dog from bothering the wound or bandage. One way to do this is to cover it. Or, if your dog is bothering the bandage, you can prevent him from getting to it by using and e-collar. (An e-collar is a cone-shaped object that goes around the neck of a pet to prevent him from licking or chewing.)

For more information, go to: "E-collars in Dogs".

You can also cover some wounds on the chest or abdomen with a t-shirt.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cesar's New Book

Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, has a new book, Cesar's Rules.

There is so much confusion about dog training out there -- what works, what doesn't, what's best, what does it even mean?

According to Cesar, training is about conditioning. He claims that what he does is not "training" in the traditional sense, but what he cares most about is "balance." That means fulfilling the instinctual needs of the dog. When a dog is balanced, training is much easier to perform.

The idea for Cesar's Rules came about because of this very thing. People say to him, "Cesar, will you train my dogs?" and he says, "I train people."

According to Cesar, in our society we don't always understand the needs of the dog --we humanize them and this can never lead to a balanced relationship.

Cesar's Rules is his first book about training. He addresses the various methods and theories, talks to other experts, and gives people a comprehensive guide to choose what works best for them.

Cesar believes that the most important aspect is that you feel comfortable. What makes you feel confident will help you feel calm and assertive, and step up as the pack leader. Dogs are learning all the time. They’re constantly making associations and taking in information from the world around them. To Cesar, reward-based training to rehabilitate a dog is not natural. But to train a dog, it’s the best method. As long as the dog’s needs are met, promoting positive behavior with rewards is just another way to establish trust between you and the dog.

Cesar says that once you have earned your dog's trust, respect, and loyalty, training will be that much easier. Your dog will look to you for protection and direction.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dog Food Delivery

Recently I learned about a service that can help make pet owners' lives a lot easier. is an online pet food delivery site. In addition to having lots of popular brands, they are also offering a special free shipping offer on orders of $75 or more. You can also lock in free shipping for life on all your future orders of $75 or more. They have a program that they call " Free Shipping for Life" that's really simple. Here is how it works. You choose a delivery schedule that fits your needs and they ship the food automatically, so you will never run out!

Having pet food delivered right to your door is great - especially for people that work and for anyone living in an apartment or condo. (Who wants to lug those heavy bags of food around?)

Let's face it - having your pet's food delivered to your door for free is something EVERYONE can love! If you can get the food conveniently and have it delivered to your door with free shipping - why do anything else? It seems like a great idea to me.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pet Product Recalls by FDA

Pet recalls can be of just about anything and everything. I wanted to give you the most current list of recalls just in case you have any of the products in your home.

Here is a list of recalls from the FDA:

09/07/10 The Hartz Mountain Corporation Recalls Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

08/30/10 P&G Voluntarily Recalls a Small Amount of Dry Cat Food

08/29/10 P&G Recalls Small Number of Bags of Cat Food From Stores in Loveland, Colorado

08/13/2010 Merrick Pet Care Recalls Filet Squares & Texas Hold'ems 10oz Bag (Item # 60016 All Lots) Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

08/09/2010 FDA: Salmonella risk from frozen rodents fed to reptiles

08/03/2010 Merrick Pet Care Recalls Texas Hold'ems 10 oz Bag (Item # 60016 Lot 10127 Best by May 6 2012) because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

07/30/2010 P&G Expands Voluntary Limited Recall of Specialized Dry Pet Foods Due to Possible Health Risk

07/28/2010 Evamist Hormone Spray May Cause Illness in Pets

07/27/2010 Mice Direct Recalls Frozen Reptile Feed Because of Possible Health Risk

07/25/2010 P&G Recalls Two Lots of Prescription Renal Diet Cat Food due to a Possible Health Risk

07/15/2010 Feline's Pride Expands Nationwide Recall of its Natural Chicken Formula Cat Food Due to Salmonella Contamination Salmonella

07/02/2010 Merrick Pet Care Recalls Beef Filet Squares for Dogs Treats 10oz Bag (Item #60016 Lot # 10084TL7 Best By March 24, 2012) Because Of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

07/02/2010 United Pet Group Voluntarily Expands Recall of Nutritional Supplements For Dogs to Include Additional Tablet and Powdered-Form Products for Dogs and Cats Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

07/01/2010 Feline's Pride Issues Nationwide Recall of its Natural Chicken Formula Cat Food Due to Salmonella Contamination

06/22/2010 United Pet Group Voluntarily Recalls Pro-Pet Adult Daily Vitamin Supplement for Dogs Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

06/18/2010 Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc. announces a voluntary recall of Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog Food Due to a Possible Health Risk

06/18/2010 Kent Nutrition Group, Inc. Conducts Nationwide Voluntary Recall of Kent Feeds Swine Products

06/09/2010 P&G Recalls Specific Canned Cat Foods Due to Low Levels of Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

06/02/2010 Kent Nutrition Group, Inc. Undertakes Limited Recall of Kent Feeds 20 Lamb DQ45 Medicated

04/12/2010 Response Products Voluntarily Recalls Advanced Cetyl M Joint Action Formula for Dogs Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Traveling with Dogs

Dogs love to go for car rides. For many dogs, their favorite words are "bye-bye". I have seen dogs jump, prance, smile and bark with delight at the thought of a car ride. How many times have you seen dogs hanging out the car window? Or on the owner's lap looking as happy as can be?

Yes, going for a ride in the car can be fun, but driving with dogs can also be very dangerous to both you and your dog.

There are some very common dangers and causes of injuries that can be prevented – and if you understand them, it will help keep you and your dog safe.

1. Jumpers – Many dogs love to hang out windows and watch what goes by, enjoying the feel of the air in their hair. Some dogs will jump out of an open car window, even though their owners would have sworn they would never do that. One day – for some reason – something extra excites them and out they go. Ebony did this after a rabbit!

2. Air and eye injuries – Some dogs that hang their head out of an open car window can obtain injures when things that are flying in the air hit their head or eyes. When these objects hit the dog's eyes it can cause corneal ulcers and injuries.

3.Airbags – Dogs can be severely (even fatally) injured by airbag deployment. For this reason, many dog seats and harnesses are created for use in the back seat.

4.Distraction – Dogs distract drivers. I have seen excited dogs on their owner's lap moving back and forth from the passenger window to the drivers' window.

5.Slowed reaction time – With a dog on your lap, your ability to drive and react quickly is impaired. Drivers are often unable to make a quick turn with their dog on their lap.

6.Injury in crashes – Pets can be severely injured in crashes and, when they are unrestrained, they can run out of the car and suffer even more injuries. Some have even run away.

7.Foot petal problems – Some dogs (and cats) love to get down by the floor, under the seat or near the foot petals.

Less than 20% of dog owners use some sort of harness or seat belt to restrain their dog while in a car. Seat belts and car seats are especially made to keep dogs safe.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Returning Home

Nearly a month in Greece, I was greeted by an exuberant dog.

No surprise, right?!

Next, I noticed she had gained weight. Did the caretaker give into my dog's begging or did the caretaker over feed her, I wonder?

Then, I laughed because I certainly over ate while in Greece and was feeling a bit pudgy myself.

Need I say, Greek food is FABULOUS!?!?.

Thus, Ebony and I are now on a weight loss program with plenty of exercise. I figure in a month we should both be back to normal.