Sunday, January 30, 2011

Can You Find This Dog?

Remember the fun of playing hide and seek when you were a child?

Some dogs enjoy the game too. But, on the other hand, there are times when your dog cannot be found. You search everywhere. Have you tried the couch?

Check out this dog, if you can find her.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Do You Pamper Your Dog?

It is estimated that nearly 40% of dogs are obese in the U.S.
Why are there so many fat dogs?

Pampering your dog is more popular now than ever. Jeweled collars, canopy beds, complete wardrobes, doggy daycare and gourmet treats are the norm for today's spoiled dogs. All this pampering has led pets to start packing on the pounds.

Pet obesity is on the rise and spoiled pooches are leading the pack. The unhealthy effects of obesity are similar for people and pets.

Excess weight can lead to an increased risk for diseases like Diabetes; complicate problems like arthritis; and is linked to certain types of cancer – not to mention making them uncomfortable.

Why Are So Many Dogs Spoiled Into Obesity?

Many people barely have enough time for themselves, let alone their pets. This means quality time with dog becomes extremely infrequent. With little time to show your dog how much you love him or her, special treats become a means of compensation. For others, it may not be a matter of time but of love. For many dog crazy owners, their dogs are their kids. They want to pamper their dog with tons of love and special treats. There are tons of gourmet treats available!

Doggy birthday cakes, frosted jumbo bones, and giant jerky treats are some of the extravagant goodies. Although luxury pet treats are becoming bigger and fancier, other alternatives exist for spoiling your dog.

Healthy Ways to Spoil Your Dog

There are healthier ways to spoil you dog that can still show your pet that you love him or her without helping them pack on the pounds. Here are some suggestions:

Trade up for healthier treats. Fresh baby carrots are a great, low-calorie alternative to fatty biscuits and permit the frequent treat-giving that many dogs have become accustomed to.

Make them work for it. Interactive toys keep dogs busy while rewarding them with small treats throughout the play activity. For already obese dogs, using pieces of their regular dog food as treats is helpful.

Forget the treats and get moving. Increasing play time with your dog can greatly increase calories burned in a day. Spoiling your dog does not have to involve food. Playing ball, going for a run or visiting a dog park are fun and healthful ways to interact with your pet.

Changing the trend of spoiled, obese pets requires a change in perception of pampering. It is important to understand that keeping a pet healthy is the best treatment of all.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Is Your Dog Fat?

Studies show between 25 and 40 percent of all American household pets are overweight or obese. This information was provided by Veterinary Pet Insurance, the nation's largest pet insurer. Their data suggests that this trend is leading to a steady rise in obesity-related pet illnesses and increased veterinary costs. Claims for obesity-related illnesses, such as diabetes and joint/back issues, have increased steadily.

"Humans aren't the only Americans being affected by our obesity epidemic-millions of American pets are growing from fluffy to flabby," said Dr. Peter Weinstein, medical director of Veterinary Pet Insurance and president of the California Veterinary Medical Association.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, up to 60 percent of American adults are overweight or obese. Additionally, an article printed in the Journal of Nutrition indicates obese pet owners are up to three times more likely to have overweight dogs.

"As we have moved to a more sedentary and pampered culture, so have our pets," said Weinstein. "Today, pets enjoy the same comfort food choices, plush surroundings and relaxed lifestyles that many Americans typically enjoy."

If your pet waddles, has a pendulous abdomen, and does not have the pep it used to have; your pet may be overweight. Pets that are 10 percent to 15 percent above the ideal body weight for their specific breed are considered obese.

Reasons for pet obesity include a lack of exercise and overfeeding and a variety of medical causes including hypothyroidism. Eager to please their pets, owners often indulge their pets with snacks and treats, or feed them human food. Age can also be a factor. After the age of seven, pets gain weight more easily as their metabolism slows.

According to Weinstein, once pets are suffering from obesity, veterinarians can help produce and monitor a diet and exercise plan to help animals return to a healthy weight. Of course, preventing obesity is much easier than losing unwanted weight once it is gained.

"In order to prevent pets from becoming obese, pet owners should monitor portion size, avoid table scraps and get lots of exercise with their pets," Weinstein said. "Regular check ups with a veterinarian is one way to keep a close tab on your pet's health and obesity. The earlier you catch a weight-related issue, the less life threatening it might become."

So, is your dog fat?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yes, Dogs Can Get Frostbite

Have you every had frostbite? Dogs can get it too!

Frostbite is injury to tissue that occurs when your or an animal is exposed to freezing temperatures accompanied by high winds. The extremities are the primary areas that are affected, so keep an eye on your dog's feet, tail and tips of the ears in extremely cold, windy weather.

The body responds to exposure to cold temperatures by reducing blood flow to the outer parts of the body. This preserves blood flow to the vital internal organs. The diversion of blood increases the chances frostbite in the ears, tail and toes. Without proper blood flow, these body parts are lacking in oxygen and warmth. Ice crystals can form in the body tissues, which can result in tissue death.

Unfortunately, frostbite injury is not immediately apparent. It may take several days before you notice the signs of frostbite injury.

What to Watch For

Skin discoloration on the ears, tail and toes
Pain and swelling
Sloughing of skin
Skin ulcers


Diagnosis of frostbite is based on a history of exposure to freezing temperatures and location, and type of skin injury.


Initially, remove your dog from the freezing environment and begin to slowly re-warm the affected tissues. Bandages may be applied to reduce damage to the tissues as they are re-warmed. Do not place the animal in hot water.

Wounds may need to be cleaned. Your veterinarian will also provide antibiotic therapy and pain relief. In severe cases, amputation of the affected area may be required to prevent further infection and the development of gangrene.

Home Care and Prevention

Removing the dog from the freezing environment is crucial. Re-warm the affected tissues in warm water (about 104 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 20 minutes, but do not rub or massage the affected areas. This can cause significant damage to the frostbitten tissues. After initial treatment, call your veterinarian for treatment to prevent infection and treat for pain.

To prevent frostbite, keep your dog protected from prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures. Limit the amount of time you allow your dog outdoors. Once indoors, keep your dog warm. Pay particular attention to the ears, tail and feet.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In The Dog House

Thinking of building or buying a dog house?

Here are some guidelines for dog houses:


Bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to a dog house, especially in colder climates. During the colder months, your dog generates the heat that keeps him warm. If the doghouse is too big, your dog may not be able to generate enough heat to warm it.

The house should be wide enough to allow the dog to turn around in and long enough for him to stretch out without his body touching any side. You should measure your dog when he is lounging in his most relaxed position. The width of the door should be large enough so he does not have to scrunch his shoulders to get in – so measure his width as well.

The Roof and the Floor

The floor should always be several inches above the ground, preferably on concrete blocks (if possible). This is to prevent water from running inside, which can lead to illness.

Straw can be used for bedding, but be sure to change it periodically to keep the environment clean. Do not use hay, which can get moldy and cause illness.

The roof should be slanted so snow and rain will not build up. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) suggests building a hinged roof to make cleaning easier and to spray regularly for fleas and ticks.

The Materials

You may be tempted to use pressure-treated wood, which stands up great against moisture and rot. However, it is very poisonous (containing, among other things, arsenic and heavy metals). It should not be used for any part of the dog house that comes in contact with your dog. This means the floor, ceiling and sides should be made from untreated wood.

Pressure-treated wood could be used for the base frame (which is then covered with untreated wood). Even so, inspect the house regularly to make sure he cannot get to the pressure-treated wood.

The Placement

The house should be placed to protect it and your dog from the prevailing wind, rain and snow. It should be placed so the sun can reach it during a good part of the day during winter. In the summer, the dog house should be in the shade and well ventilated.

If your dog will spend a lot of time in his house, you should consider running an air conditioning duct into it. A professional should help you do this. A duct should have a control on it to limit the amount of air running into the dog house – you do not want him to be too cold.

The threshold to the door should be upraised to block drafts. In colder months, a heavy tarp or blanket can be used to keep out the bad weather. It should be removed for warmer temperatures.

A Word About Breeds and Dog houses

Some dogs are just not built for the outdoors. A toy or shorthaired dog, for instance, should consider his house more of a playroom than a residence. Working dogs are usually better prepared for harsher climates and can live outdoors in cold weather. Akitas, malamutes and St. Bernards are a few examples. But you also have to consider the warmer months – these breeds have denser coats. They can overheat if the dog house is not well ventilated and/or cooled by air conditioning.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Puppy Dog Eyes

As Ebony ages she has definitely developed a taste for being indoors especially in winter or when it is raining.

I always thought she enjoyed being outdoors. She is one of those lucky dogs that is free to roam within the boundaries of the invisible fence.

As I write, she is giving me those "puppy dog eyes" though the french doors.

How about a close up? Look at those eyes!

It works!

I am going........

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Missed It!

Glancing at my 2011 dog calendar I noticed that yesterday was National Dress Up Your Pet Day. I did not notice any dogs on the Chehalis Western Trail here in Olympia, Washington wearing costumes. Did you see any costumed pets?

There are important things to consider before you dress up your pet.

For example:
1. Make sure your pet is comfortable. If he/she is "fighting" the costume or sweater -this can be very stressful.
2. Make sure he is not TOO hot. Pets can overheat.
3. Make sure there are no restrictive bands that can injure your pet.

Some pets like being dressed up and others HATE it. One great alternative that is also very cool is a bandanna. This is a fun way to dress up a pet that does not like to be dressed. Most dogs tolerate and even enjoy bandannas.

Ebony's bandanna says, "trouble" and was a gift from my son to her when she was a pup. She has not outgrown it!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sled Dog

Yesterday I shared a funny video of two dogs enjoying the snow.

I came across another great snow and dog video.

This silly dog is fixated on snow sleds. Watch him.

Snow Dogs

I know of several dogs who love the snow, but have not see two dogs as crazy about snow as these to Labrador Retriever brothers.

Talk about alpine enthusiasts!

Watch these guys.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dog Vaccines

Are dog vaccines safe?

This is a question commonly asked by dog lovers. They want to do the right thing, protect their dog but at the same time minimize risk of problems to their dog.

Most vaccines are safe and do more good than harm. However, there are three types of reactions that can occur from vaccines. The first are mild reactions, the second are allergic reactions and the third is serious reactions that are associated with immune system problems

Mild Reactions - A small percentage of dogs will feel a little "sore" after their vaccines. This is the exception rather than the rule. Some dogs may run a low-grade fever or just feel a little tired. They may be less active, sleep more and eat slightly less than normal. This is temporary and they generally do fine. It is often hard to tell what of this behavior is from the vaccine or from the stress of going to the clinic to get the vaccine.

Allergic Reactions - Some reactions are mild causing itching, hives, swelling, temporary nausea, and others can be serous anaphylactic reactions that are life threatening. Serious allergic type vaccine reactions in dogs are rare.

Immune System Associated Reactions - Some dogs may develop what is called an "Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia". This is an uncommon condition in which the immune system somehow becomes stimulated to destroy the bodies' own red cells. This is a complex disease and no one really knows the underlying cause. Vaccines are one possible theory as well as many other theories. Many dogs develop this disease without any recent history of vaccination. However, this disease is very serious and life threatening.

No one knows for sure why it occurs – but it is thought that post-vaccine immune stimulation may occur as a consequence of an overzealous immune system reaction to the vaccine. Regardless, they are life-threatening and awful.

So, are vaccines safe?

Many veterinarians feel that most vaccines are safe and do more good than harm if used properly. Each dog should be regarded relative to their risk and given the vaccines that truly protect them.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

How Do You Select A Veterinarian?

Whether you just moved to a new community or recently adopted your first pet, you will need to find a veterinarian. In many families, a veterinarian ranks as a second family doctor, so it is important for you to trust and feel comfortable with your selection.

Here are some suggestions I came across on how to find a veterinarian.

Yellow Pages This may be one of the easiest ways to find a veterinarian. You can find out the veterinary clinic's address and sometimes the business hours. But, just because the clinic is nearby, does not mean you and your new vet will hit it off. After selecting a promising veterinarian, schedule an interview to meet him or her before bringing your pet for a checkup or treatment.

Internet Searching the web may reveal qualified veterinarians in your area. Several search engines also have vet locators to help you find a veterinarian.If you cannot find a veterinarian in your area, search for local animal organizations. Often, these will have lists of veterinarians in your area.

Breeder If you purchased your new pet from a local breeder, ask him/her for a referral or recommendation. Breeders frequently have well established relationships with veterinarians and you may even find that this veterinarian has a special interest or knowledge in the breed you have chosen.

Word of Mouth This is probably one of the best means of finding a veterinarian. Ask your friends, neighbors or co-workers which veterinarian they use and why. Be aware though that the veterinarian your friends use may not be the best choice for you and your family.

Regardless of how you choose a veterinarian, developing a relationship takes work. Make sure you understand everything your veterinarian says. Do not be afraid to question anything and keep questioning until you fully understand the answer. If you do not feel comfortable with your veterinarian, try to resolve the issues. If you do not see any way to resolve your problems, consider seeking a different veterinarian.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Paw Health

When there is ice and snow, you can expect various melting products to be on the ground. Ice melt products are typically made of salt.

When your pet walks through the ice and snow, particles of salt, sand or even ice crystals can become lodged in the webbing. Your dog may even ingest the salts by licking his paws, which can cause illness.

The paws and paw pads are an important part of your dog's health.

Keep your pet's paws healthy in winter by following these suggestions:

After each walk, wash off your pet's feet. This will remove any ice and road salt that can cause excessive dryness. You can use a bucket or bowl to dip your dog's paws in, or use something like the Paw Plunger.

Trim the hair between your pet's toes to reduce the chance of collecting ice and snow crystals.

Petroleum jelly or a great product such as Nutri-Vet Paw Guard Wax can be placed on the surface of the pads, especially prior to walking outdoors. Not only does it help protect the paws, it also helps to heal cracked paw pads and abrasions.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pet Alert

If your home caught fire, would your pets survive? Traumatized by the smoke and fire, they would likely hide where firemen and emergency personnel could not see or hear them.

They make a "Rescue Rover" static cling Pet Alert Fire Rescue Safety Decal that tells firemen and emergency rescue personnel there are pets inside your home in need of rescue, in case of fire, flood or other natural disaster. Simply list the number of dogs, cats, birds and other pets on the Pet Alert decal and display it on glass doors or windows.

Endorsed by many fire departments, these easily recognizable 4" x 5" vibrant red on white decals greatly increase your pet's chances for survival.

Protect your pets from danger with a Pet Alert Fire Rescue Safety Decal. It could save their lives.

You can find them at

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dog Meets "Big" Duck

Another glorious, but cold day in Olympia, Washington.

After a picnic lunch soaking up the sunshine and some vitamin D, my friend, Maxine, and I along with my trusty dog, Ebony, decided to walk the beach from Burfoot Park.

I actually put on sunscreen! It is January!

The Olympics were stunning.

Ebony sat while we watched the Blue Heron feed.

But she could not understand what that duck was out in the water and stayed on point until it got closer.

On closer spoke.

This is Kitty who made her beautiful kayak and was enjoying our incredible January winter day.