2007/08/30

Problem Dogs - Dealing with a Nuisance



You love your dog, but sometimes he can be a real pain! If you know what might be causing his annoying behavior, though, you might be able to do something about it.


Digging

Some dogs just love to dig holes! Their reasons for doing so, however, will vary depending on the breed and the situation. Your dog might be digging holes out of sheer boredom. If you suspect this might be the case, simply exercise your dog more frequently. He'll be too tired to dig. Maybe your male dog is digging in order to get to the female dog that is in heat next door. In this case, having your dog neutered will solve the problem. If your dog is digging holes to bury items or just for the sake of digging, then set aside one area in which he can engage in that behavior. Protect the rest of your yard by spraying a non-toxic dog repellant in and around the off-limit areas.


Barking

A dog that barks all the time, for no apparent reason, is not only a nuisance to the owner, but can be a nuisance to an entire neighborhood as well. The most common reason for consistent barking is boredom and loneliness. Have your neighbors told you that your dog barks all day long while you're at work? If so, then you should consider enrolling your dog in doggie day care. There will be plenty of activities to keep him busy all day long and he'll have lots of other dogs to play with. If day care isn't an option, make sure that your dog has plenty of toys to keep him occupied while you're away from home. You might also try leaving the radio or television on while you're gone - hearing human voices might help your dog feel less lonely.


Destructive Chewing

Most dogs engage in destructive chewing for one of three reasons: teething, attention or boredom. If your puppy is chewing up everything he can sink his little teeth into, there's a good chance that he is simply teething. Make sure to provide the teething puppy with lots of chewable toys so that he won't go after your shoes or other household objects. If your dog isn't teething, then perhaps he's engaging in this destructive behavior in order to get your attention. If you don't spend a lot of time with your dog, but will chase him around for hours if he has your favorite shoe in his mouth, then your dog will understand very quickly that this is an effective way to get you to "play" with him. Spend more time with your dog and you may get him to stop chewing up things around the house. Bored dogs are also inclined to become chewers. If there's nothing or no one to play with, they'll make their own fun at the expense of your furniture and clothing. Provide your dog with plenty of toys and activities to keep him occupied.


Jumping

You might think its adorable when your big dog greets you at the door by jumping up on you and licking your face, but most of your guests probably won't get the same kick out of this behavior. When a small puppy jumps on you it's cute because you can control him and he's not heavy enough to knock you over. Not so with adult dogs. Having a large dog hurl himself at you is not an experience that most people, even dog lovers, enjoy. So, how do you get your dog to stop jumping as a way of greeting you and your guests? Consistent training is really the only way. Ideally, you should begin discouraging this behavior when the dog is still a puppy. If you are unable to get your dog to stop jumping up onto people, then a stint at obedience school is highly recommended.


Disobedience

Most of the time, dogs disobey their owners because they're not sure what is expected of them. In order to get your dog to be consistently obedient, you have to spend lot of time training him. Obedience training should start when the dog is still a puppy and be reinforced throughout the years. Some owners can train their dogs without any outside assistance; however, most will need to enroll themselves and their dog in a local obedience school. You and your dog will enjoy your time together much more once you can communicate effectively with each other.

Why Does Your Dog Do That?

This question seems to resound around the earth among new pet owners everywhere. Thousands of people at this very moment are looking at some odd behavior and asking themselves just why is the dog doing this? Let's look at a few of the common behaviors and see if we can understand the reasons behind them.

The first is the age old problem of garbage can raiding. This behavior is quite annoying as it creates a huge and unsightly mess to clean up. It involves an animal willfully tipping a trash receptacle and then going thru the contents, leaving a lot of destruction and debris in their wake. Why does Fido do this? Well, the simple answer is hunger. Your dog most likely smelled something delicious in the trash can, like perhaps a carryout box or even a piece of meat you threw out of the refrigerator. This problem can usually be resolved by getting rid of odiferous objects such as table scraps in a separate sealed bag or by using a more stable trashcan. If the outdoor receptacle seems to be the common target, have an enclosure built around it to keep the animal out.

Another common mystery to dog owners is the eating of grass. Dogs are naturally carnivorous, rather than herbivorous, it is hard to understand how an animal would bypass a plate of steak to go mow the yard with its teeth. The answer lies in the animal's own stomach. Your pet may have a bellyache from the plate of steak you gave him this afternoon. Dogs eat vegetation when they feel poorly, especially with illnesses related to digestion. This is probably not a danger to your pet unless your yard has been chemically treated. However, it is advisable to keep an eye on your pets eating habits and behaviors. If the animal displays signs of poor health a veterinary visit would be in order.

Another habit human companions of our canine friends find disgusting is litter box raiding. The scientific name for this situation is Coprophagy but even without the fancy word, we all know exactly what we mean here, if you let the dog in a house with a litter box, you can bet the dog will find it within no time. But why does your dog insist on eating what the cat left behind? There are many theories as to why our dogs do this. Some medical conditions can cause the symptom to occur. Some of these medical conditions include pancreatic of intestinal dysfunction, starvation or even severe malnutrition due to advanced infections of parasite such as worms.

Others believe that the eating of feces may be a way for dogs to replenish their B vitamin supply or a hold over from evolution. Still others claim it is a psychological condition caused by nervousness or a guilt complex instilled by an owner who was too harsh in housebreaking. No matter what the reason for it, the easiest way to prevent it is to keep the animals yard and walking area free of feces of any type including their own. Aside from this, walk your dog on a leash so as to have control should they find something you missed. Also put the cats litter box up out of the dogs reach but still accessible to the cat or get a litter box with a hood system. A visit to the veterinarian would also be in order as this condition may be symptomatic of various ailments and could also be a contributing factor in the animal developing a parasite infestation.

Hopefully these short insights into your dogs mind have given you a bit more information on what makes your dog tick. By understanding how your dog thinks, it is much easier to train them to perform or quit performing various actions as the case may be. For almost every behavior imaginable, someone else has experienced it and wrote about it on the Internet. If your dog is doing something you just can't comprehend or that makes you think your pet has lost its mind, do a bit of research and maybe you will find the dog's motivation and how to cure that problem that's driving you mad or at least satisfy your curiosity so you don't have to ask, Why does Fido do that?

Selecting Dog Food

All Natural Dog Food
Commercial dog food is a great convenience for busy caregivers. You want the best for your companion animals, but with a bewildering array of foods and claims to choose from, how do you decide what's best for your animals?

Standards For Dog Food Ingredients
The dog food industry is huge and extremely profitable ($25 billion a year in revenue worldwide). While manufacturers may appear to have the best interests of your companion animals at heart, they are generally more concerned about their stock prices and bottom lines. This may be especially true of dog food manufacturers owned by large, diverse, multinational parent companies. What this means to you is that if an inexpensive ingredient is available to replace a costlier one, many companies will make the substitution to save money. A few companies pride themselves on their "fixed formulas," meaning that they always use the same ingredients. This may be good ... if the ingredients are of acceptable quality to begin with.


Dog food may be labeled as "complete and balanced" if it meets the standards set by a group called AAFCO, the Association of American Feed Control Officials. These standards were formulated in the early 1990s by panels of canine and feline nutrition experts. A food may be certified in two ways: (1) by meeting AAFCO's published standards for content ("Nutrient Profiles"), or (2) by passing feeding tests or trials. While most researchers agree that feeding tests are superior in assessing the nutritional adequacy of a food, clinical experience as well as scientific studies have confirmed that even foods that pass feeding trials may still be inadequate for long-term maintenance. Also keep in mind that the standards set only "minimums" and "maximums," not "optimums." Commercial foods are designed to be adequate for the average animal, but not all foods will be suitable for an individual animal's variable needs.

Dog Food Problems
Commercial dog foods and some dog food ingredients have been implicated in a number of diseases in companion animals. Allergic skin disease, obesity, food intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic ear infections, cystitis (bladder inflammation), bladder and kidney stones, certain heart diseases, pancreatitis, feline hyperthyroidism, hip dysplasia, canine mammary cancer, bloat, and diabetes all have nutritional components - that is, nutritional factors are suspected or known to play a role in inducing or perpetuating these diseases. Thus, it is crucial that we, as caregivers, pay close attention to what we are feeding our animals and how they are reacting to the food.

One potential problem with commercial dog food is pesticide residues, antibiotics, and molds contained in dog food ingredients. Meat from sick animals may be loaded with drugs, some of which are known to pass unchanged through all the processing done to create a finished dog food (such as penicillin and pentobarbital). Between 1995 and 1999, there were two major recalls of dry dog food by different manufacturers due to mold contamination of grain ingredients. Some fungal toxins are very dangerous. The second recalled food killed more than 20 dogs.

Another problem is the unpredictable quality of common dog food ingredients. By-products, by-product meal, meat and bone meal, and similar ingredients can vary widely in their nutrient composition. Bone meals in the U.S. have had a lead contamination problem for many years. The protein in a meal containing a large amount of bone may be poorly digestible and fail to provide adequate nutrition, even though chemical analysis will reveal an acceptable amount of amino acids.

One of the biggest problems with commercial foods is the processing they undergo. Meals are rendered (cooked) at moderate to high temperatures for hours. Extruded foods pass through a steam heat/high pressure device that allows them to "puff" into kibble shapes when they come out of the machine. Even though they move through the extruder quickly, the extreme conditions may alter or damage some nutrients.

Dog food manufacturers are aware of these factors, and most add sufficient extra vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to compensate for losses in the manufacturing process. However, because the AAFCO profiles set only minimums for many nutrients, tests have shown that some minerals may be added to the food in excessive amounts.

Dog Food Label "Rules"


- The 95% Rule: If the product says "Salmon Cat Food" or "Beef Dog Food," 95% of the product must be the named ingredients. A product with a combination label, such as "Beef and Liver for Dogs," must contain 95% beef and liver, and there must be more beef than liver, since beef is named first.

- The 25% or "Dinner" Rule: Ingredients named on the label must comprise at least 25% of the product but less than 95%, when there is a qualifying "descriptor" term like "dinner," "entree," "formula," "platter," "nuggets," etc. In "Beef Dinner for Dogs," beef may or may not be the primary ingredient. If two ingredients are named ("Beef and Turkey Dinner for Dogs"), the two ingredients must total 25%, there must be more of the first ingredient (beef) than the second (turkey), and there must be at least 3% of the lesser ingredient.


- the 3% or "With" Rule: A product may be labeled "Cat Food with Salmon" if it contains at least 3% of the named ingredient. The "Flavor" Rule: A food may be labeled "Turkey Flavor Cat Food" even if the food does not contain such ingredients, as long as there is a "sufficiently detectable" amount of flavor. This may be derived from meals, by-products, or "digests" of various parts from the animal species indicated on the label. Source: Animal Protection Institute

10 Things In Your Home That Can Kill Your Dog

Dogs are very curious animals and as omnivores and natural scavengers, can get into and eat just about anything. However, there are many toxic substances found in your home that could potentially kill your dog. The following is a list of ten common household substances that you should make sure to keep out of your dog's reach.

1) Antifreeze: Many people do not realize it, but common antifreeze kills many pets each year. It smells and tastes very sweet to your dog and is very appealing to him. Ethylene glycol is toxic however, and each winter, many animals are killed by it. Symptoms of toxicity include seizures, vomiting, stumbling and lethargy leading to kidney failure. Make sure to keep your antifreeze out of your dog's reach. If you suspect that your dog has ingested antifreeze, take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.

2) Chocolate: Chocolate contains a substance called the obromine which is toxic to dogs. Baking chocolate and dark chocolate is especially dangerous. While it usually takes a somewhat large amount of chocolate to kill a dog, poisoning and death does occur with smaller amounts ingested. Signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, increased urination, and increased activity. This can progress to seizures and unusual heart rhythms. Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate.

3) Bleach: As you might imagine, household bleach is toxic to dogs. Keep all products containing bleach out of your dog's reach. Symptoms of bleach poisoning include drooling, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Do NOT induce vomiting if you suspect your dog has ingested bleach and contact your veterinarian immediately.

4) Tylenol: As little as two regular strength Tylenol tablets can kill a small dog. Dogs lack the proper liver enzymes to break down acetaminophen. Signs of toxicity include drooling, lethargy, and abdominal pain. If you suspect your dog has ingested Tylenol, call your veterinarian immediately.

5) Watch Batteries: If your dog ingests a watch battery, it can cause a potentially fatal ulceration in the stomach within 12 hours. All other alkaline batteries are toxic to dogs as well. Symptoms of toxicity include drooling, lack of appetite, vomiting, and lethargy. If you suspect your dog has ingested a watch battery, contact your vet immediately.

6) Moth Balls: Moth balls are very dangerous to dogs. They contain an insecticide that causes central nervous system excitement and seizures. When metabolized, ingestion of moth balls can lead to liver failure. Symptoms of poisoning by moth balls include vomiting and seizures. If your dog has consumed moth balls, do NOT induce vomiting. Seek veterinary care immediately.

7) Fabric Softeners and other detergents: All sorts of household detergents are toxic to dogs at one level or another, but fabric softeners fall into the highly toxic category. Signs of toxicity include vomiting, lethargy, burns to the mouth, drooling, muscle weakness, and even coma. Do NOT induce vomiting if your dog has ingested any detergent. Contact your veterinarian immediately.

8) Mouthwash: Mouthwash can contain boric acid which is highly toxic to dogs. Symptoms of poisoning by mouthwash include vomiting, drooling, seizures, and coma. You should take your dog to the veterinarian immediately if you suspect poisoning by mouthwash or other household item containing boric acid like contact lens solution or denture cleaner.

9) Peach Pits: With most fruits, the pits and the seeds are toxic to dogs. Signs of poisoning include drooling, vomiting, and lethargy. If you suspect your dog has eaten a peach pit or the pit or seeds of any fruit, take him to the veterinarian immediately.

10) Household Plants: Many common and popular household plants are highly toxic to dogs. A partial list of toxic plants includes poinsettias, lilies, ferns, devil's ivy, aloe, and ivy. Symptoms of poisoning due to ingestion of toxic plants include vomiting and central nervous system excitement. Many of these plants are fatal if ingested. Please contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten a toxic houseplant.

With diligence on our part, we can help prevent our dogs from getting into substances that are toxic to them. Many veterinary school websites offer lists of things that are toxic to dogs and what you should do if your dog ingests such things. As always, if you think your dog may have eaten something dangerous, contact your veterinarian immediately or take your dog to the closest emergency clinic.

2007/08/28

A nation of dog lovers?

Here in the UK, we like to think of ourselves as a nation of dog lovers. But according to a study commissioned by the Dogs Trust Charity, local authorities kill 150 stray dogs every week in the UK because their owners cannot be traced or a new home can’t be found.
As dog lovers, what can we do to make a difference and prevent this from happening? It seems like such a huge feat to overcome such a massive number, but we can make a difference; perhaps just a small difference, but it all counts.
According to the Dogs Trust, the most effective way of reducing these numbers is through the use of neutering and micro chipping.
Neutering
Neutering is an extremely common procedure that your vet will carry out under general anaesthetic. In the majority of cases, your dog will be ready to come home with you on the same day and will be fully recovered within a few weeks.
Many of the dogs picked up as strays by Local Authorities are un-neutered males. Often, they will pick up on the scent of an in-season bitch, and they will escape to try and find her. Bitches may also be frustrated when in season and will look to find a mate.
Neutering can also have a positive effect on the health and well being of your much-loved pooch. Un-neutered females can suffer from mammary tumors and an infection of the womb, called a Pyometra. Both of these can, at best, be costly to treat, and at worst can be fatal. Un-neutered males are at risk of developing Testicular cancer. Neutering is also believed to assist with behavioural problems in both dogs and bitches.
Micro-chipping
When a dog is micro-chipped, a chip the size of a grain of rice is implanted beneath the skin. The micro-chip has an unique identification number, which can be read using a scanner. This is a painless procedure for the dog and is relatively in-expensive and just think; if everyone did it, the problem of stray dogs would be no more. Look out for schemes from your Local Authority, offering cut price, or even free micro-chipping!!
Remember: By law, your dog must wear an identification tag, even if he is micro-chipped!
So, do your bit! Get your dog neutered and micro-chipped and spread the word around the park!

Double-nosed dog not to be sniffed at



He spotted a rare breed of Double-Nosed Andean tiger hound, which has two noses, on a recent trip to Bolivia.
The chairman of the Scientific Exploration Society said the dog, named Xingu, was "not terribly handsome".
He said: "This breed could be used for sniffing out mines or narcotics because they have an enhanced sense of smell."
Colonel Blashford-Snell first encountered a Double-Nosed Andean tiger hound called Bella in 2005 when he was carrying out reconnaissance for this year's expedition in the area near Ojaki.
He told Radio 4's Today programme: "While we were there, sitting by the fire one night, I saw an extraordinary-looking dog that appeared to have two noses.
"I was sober at the time, and then I remembered the story that the legendary explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett came back with in 1913 of seeing such strange dogs in the Amazon jungle.
"Nobody believed him, they laughed him out of court."
The dog seen two years ago was Bella, and on a second trip to the area, which began in May and has just ended, the explorer discovered her son Xingu in the village of Ojaki.
He had just produced a litter of puppies with a bitch that had a single nose.
Two of their offspring had double noses, and two had the normal quantity, but the double-nosed pups died after three days.
A veterinary expert with the group examined Xingu to see if he had a cleft palate, but this was not the case.

"There is a chance that these dogs came from a breed with double noses that's known in Spain as Pachon Navarro, which were hunting dogs at the time of the Conquistadors," said Colonel Blashford-Snell.
"I think it's highly likely some of these were taken to South America and they continued to breed. They're good hunting dogs."
He added that Xingu was "quite an aggressive little chap" who stood about 16 inches in height and loved salt biscuits but "wasn't a terribly handsome dog".
Xingu's best friend is apparently a wild pig called Gregory, and the two animals "rule the roost" in their village.

"Other dogs snarl at Xingu, because they can sense he's different. He's the smallest dog there but he sees the other dogs off," Colonel Blashford-Snell said.
"He's very intelligent and with a wonderful sense of smell, as you might think.
"The Bolivian Army came and took DNA samples because they're interested in the breed. He's not the only dog like this, there are others in the area."
The Scientific Exploration Society was in Bolivia to investigate a shallow crater about five miles in width.

According to Colonel Blashford-Snell, he has now found evidence that this was caused by a giant meteorite, which struck the Bolivian Amazon Basin up to 30,000 years ago.
He says he has found evidence of human habitation within 50 miles of the blast zone, and believes these people were wiped out as a result of the meteor's impact.
The explorers also carried with them a church organ from Dorset as a gift to local Bolivians in order to secure their help with finding the meteorite.

"D" IS FOR DOG


"D" stands for Dog, for all the d-doggy doings in which they engage. For:

Disposal: Don't have an in-sink garbage disposal? All out of storage containers? Are you sick of eating leftovers? No problem. Better than an electric disposal, dogs enjoy disposing of all your food garbage including egg shells, coffee grounds and melon rinds. Like the in-sink unit, remember to insert disposable food slowly, in small pieces. Do not overstuff regardless of how pitiful your dogs may look. Always be cautious not to overfeed your "unit." Make sure to do this doggy disposal step before undertaking the doggy dishwasher step listed below.

Dishwasher par excellent: Your dogs will lick your plate when you leave your dirty dishes on the table. But they don't stop there. If you haven't pre-rinsed your dishes prior to loading them into the dishwasher, just open the machine and let the Chief Dishwashers begin their work. As soon as they hear you open the door, they will run into the kitchen, poke their heads into the lower recesses of the dishwasher and begin lapping the remains of previous meals off your dishes. If you have more than one dog, they will encircle the dishwasher, one licking the pans on the left, another the plates on the right and a third will get the spoons in the flatware basket spotlessly clean. This is a convenient way for you to ease your work load. Just remember not to tell non-doggy or squeamish dinner guests, how you got your china so sparkly!

Dirty Laundry: If you have a difficult time deciding how to sort your laundry, get your dog to help you. Place all dirty clothing in random piles on the floor. Let the dogs into the room where you have carefully stacked the clothes to be laundered. Go away and leave your dogs unsupervised for about 15 minutes. When you return, you may or may not have any dirty laundry where you left it. The dirtiest items will have disappeared entirely (warning: may reappear during yard cleaning duties), favorite shirts will have been wadded into dog bedding, socks will have been recycled as tug toys and pants that were once too hot will have had cooling vents installed, normally in the pockets. Any piece that did not smell dirty enough to launder, will remain untouched, indicating that you may wear it again and again, only placing it in the hamper when the dog's desire to roll on it indicates that the clothing item in question is beginning to stink "real good."

Ditch digger: Not only can your dogs help you with inside chores, their assistance may also be utilized outdoors as ditch diggers. Once dug, ditches may be used for many practical purposes -- for building a new basement, as a vegetable cellar or bomb shelter, to plant a new bush or tree off of which your dogs can rip all the leaves and bark, to create tunnels for hiding from tornadoes, or as a convenient place where you can bury treasure such as doggy doodoo.

Delaying: such as the inevitable bath or trip to the veterinarian. Dogs will use such delaying tactics as dawdling over dinner, a half-hour potty break request given at least once every 15 minutes, or a deep and irresistible need to stop and smell every tree, curb, signpost and tire between your car and the clinic's door.

Driver: WARNING! Do not let them fool you! Contrary to their attempts to convince you of their skills in this area by climbing in your lap and poking their heads through the steering wheel while you are driving, do not, I repeat do not let your dog drive. They can't get insurance, the policeman would never believe it and worst of all, who knows where they would take us (probably to the nearest garbage dump).

Dashboard riders: closely related to and immediately following above. If they aren't allowed to drive, they will proceed to climb on the dashboard and ride, attempting to make you think they are one of those dog ornaments with the wobbly heads. Their plan is for you not to notice that they are riding where they shouldn't be. A live dog dashboard ornament looks very nice until you fail to see through, around or over them and drive over and destroy the flowers planted in front of the county courthouse where you will promptly be arrested for disturbing the peace.

Disturbers: As in ones who interrupt and disturb your rest, your sleep and your peace of mind.

Dark-barker: Don't let your neighborhood get too quiet at night, get a dog, and let them do one of the things they do best - barking at the dark. They may bark at nocturnal creatures such as skunk, owls or partying teenagers. Or they may bark at the wind in the trees or at nothing at all. Regardless, when it turns dark, (the later the hour, the darker it becomes, thus the greater is the need for barking, according to my resident expert dark-barker) your dog will bark and make noise for you and your sleepless neighbors from dusk until dawn. Dark barking serves no special purpose except to remind you that dogs will be dogs, warning us of who knows what.

Defender of The Pack: As in the original title, Defender of the Faith, doggy faith that is, that everything must and will be all right in their little doggy families. The worst violation is disturbing nap time, theirs not ours; penalty, one night of dark barking. Other offenses which require defense are biscuit stealing and doorbell ringing and undomesticated toads or rabbits running loose in your yard.

Debedding, or Disembedding: 1) To remove the sheets, blankets and pillows from your bed in one quick, wild movement during play. This is best accomplished while you are sleepily preparing for bed, forcing you to remake the bed or sleep on the couch. 2) To dig up all the flowers or shrubs which you planted in the holes your dogs dug (see above).

Destroyer, Devourer: Closely related, both self-explanatory. Applies particularly to things, which you value greatly, are very expensive or cannot be easily replaced.

Detail-oriented: Dogs do not go about haphazardly destroying things; rather, they are detail-oriented. Observe your dog delightedly shredding a paper towel. He or she will meticulously tear it up into tiny, equal-sized pieces, distributing it evenly over your entire living room floor 40 seconds prior to the arrival of company. "Detail" may also refer to their ability to work in teams, for example, a ditch-digging detail - when one member of the pack tires, they step back and let the next member of the work detail take over the destruction (or excavation depending on whose view point you consider).

Diligent: A dog's capacity to stick to the work which they have assigned themselves, not quitting until an item is totally obliterated, leaving you to detect and deduce from the ponderous remains, what exactly it was that your diligent, detailed devourers destroyed.

Devious: The manner in which they pursue the aforementioned activities. Signs that may indicate that deviousness is a (four)foot are complete silence from a remote part of the house or noises that sound like chewing on objects other than designated chew toys.

Desperate: demanding your attention. In their need to be petted, your dog may resort to pawing your hand, nudging your arm or licking you on the cheek. To relieve their state of desperation, sit down beside them, draw them close to your side, stroke and scratch them from head to tail, and whisper dumb sounds in their little doggy ears. For whatever else Dog may stand, "D" is also for:

Darling, Devoted, and Delightful: Despite of some of our dogs' dastardly doings, they are lovable and cute and dependable; they are always there for us, making us laugh (or cry first), making us feel better and delighting us by being themselves being dogs.


DOG picture








































2007/08/27

Safety Around Animals


Why Might A Dog Bite?


Over Excitement: Sometimes dogs get overexcited! If you are teasing a dog, or playing roughly, he may snap or bite. Teach children to always play gently, making sure that the dog is enjoying it.
Protection: Often, dogs are trying to protect something when they bite. Dogs feel very protective of their family, house, and personal belongings. They often protect their families, yards, and especially food!
Fear: Like many people, dogs sometimes get startled. Be careful not to approach them when they are asleep, or make a loud nose or quick gesture, or even come up behind them without them knowing it.
Illness: Dogs may bite when they are sick or hurt. They do not know if we are trying to help them or hurt them. Teach children to always call an adult to examine a sick or injured dog, even if it is their own dog.
Possessiveness: Even friendly dogs may not want to share their own special things, including food, bones, or even a favorite toy!
Accidents Happen: Many people are bitten by dogs when trying to break up a dog fight. NEVER try to separate two fighting dogs!

Preventing Your Dog From Biting


There is no way to guarantee that your dog will never bite someone. However, you can reduce the risk:
Spay or neuter your pet. Sterilization will not only reduce aggression but will also decrease a dog's tendency to roam. However, spaying/neutering won't reduce a dog's protectiveness.
Train and socialize your pet. Set appropriate limits on acceptable behavior. Help your dog become a trustworthy member of your family and community.
Teach your dog appropriate behavior. Don't play aggressive games with your dog such as wrestling, tug of war, or "siccing" your dog on another person. It's essential that your dog recognize you and all the members of your family--including young children--as dominant and not challenge your leadership.
Be a responsible pet owner. License and vaccinate your dog. For everyone's safety, don't allow him/her to roam. Make your pet a member of your family. Dogs who spend too much time in the doghouse or tied in the backyard have a much greater chance of developing behavioral problems such as aggression. Dogs who are well socialized are much less likely to bite.
Be cautious. Look for the warning signs. A dog may display aggressive signs before an attack such as barking, growling, disobeying commands or showing dominance. He/she should be remove from the situation immediately upon displaying any such behavior. If your dog is generally nervous around strangers do not expose him/her to social situations until proper training can take place.

How to Avoid Being Bitten
- Never approach a strange dog, particularly one who's confined or restrained.
- Don't pet a dog, even your own, without letting him/her see and sniff you first.
- Avoid running past a dog or turning your back on a dog and running away. A dog's natural instinct is to chase and catch fleeing prey.
- Don't disturb a dog who's sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- Use caution with strange dogs. Always assume that a strange dog may see you as an intruder or a threat.
- More than 60 percent of bite victims are children. Teach your children to remain motionless when they are approached by a strange dog.

What To Do If You Think A Dog May Attack
- Never scream and run. If you do, you'll probably trigger the dog's chase response and only increase your chances of being attacked. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until he/she is out of sight.
- If you allow a strange dog to sniff you, in most cases the dog will leave when he/she decides you aren't a threat.
- Avoid direct eye contact with the dog. Staring into a dog's eyes is perceived by the dog as an act of aggression and dominance and will only challenge the dog to attack.
- If the dog does attack, use any object you may have, such as a bicycle or book bag as a barrier between you and the dog.
- If you fall or are knocked down, curl into a ball with your face to the ground and put your hands, with fists closed, over your ears.

What To Do If You Are Bitten
Wash the wound and immediately call a doctor.
Report the bite to Lee County Animal Services. Tell as much as you can about the dog -- what the dog looks like, where you saw the dog, whether you've seen the dog before, and so on. It's important for Animal Services to locate the dog as quickly as possible.

Some Important Facts About Dachsund Dogs.



Dachsund dogs are instantly recognizable. Their short legs and long bodies have caused them to be nicknamed "weiner dogs," "hot dogs," and "sausage dogs." The reason that this breed looks so odd is that they were originally bred to help hunt down and destroy badgers. These animals were a danger to farmland, and the dachsund was able to fit into their burrows. Now, however, few dachsund dogs are working animals. Most are cherished family pets.


Although we generally perceive dachsund dogs to have a very elongated body, when compared to head size and other factors, the body length is in proportion. It is only the legs of dachsund dogs that are out of proportion, by being so short. Full grown dachsund dogs stand about eighteen inches at the shoulders. However, there has been a lot of crossbreeding dachsunds, so height is less standardized than weight. The average for dachsund dogs is about sixteen to twenty eight pounds. To comply with the dachsund standard, the legs must make up thirty percent of their height or less. The rest is made up of the dog's body. Dachsunds tend to appear in a wide variety of colors, again due to widespread crossbreeding. Dachsund dogs are available in cream, blue chocolate, light red, and ochre. Most dachsunds, however, are red and black or brown and black.

Dachsunds were bred to hunt by scent. This means that they are equipped with large lungs for their size, and contributes to a loud, deep bark for such a small dog. This breed's original function, hunting down small burrowing animals, was aided by dachsund dogs' loudness and superior sense of smell. They were able to enter badger excavations, due to their short stature, and their loud bark permitted their owners to easily follow them, even underground.

Modern dachsunds don't have to hunt anymore, but they will still feel the need to run in areas where they can smell everything and explore narrow spaces. Dachsunds don't need as much exercise as many larger breeds, which makes them easier for apartment dwellers to keep. However, they should still be walked regularly, preferably in an area that allows them to be stimulated by various interesting scents.


Functions of Fiber

Perhaps the awareness of the benefits of fiber in human diets has prompted pet owners to ask about its benefits in pet foods. Once described as "filler" or "bulk," fiber has gained recognition for the beneficial effect it has on the gastrointestinal system.

Fiber is the portion of carbohydrate in a diet that is difficult for the digestive system to break down and use. Despite its limited digestibility, fiber does have benefits for dogs.

Fiber helps address the concern about the prevalence of obesity in dogs. It is important in special diets designed for weight reduction or weight management. Fiber helps reduce caloric intake and provides dogs a satisfied feeling of fullness when being fed fewer calories.

However, high-fiber diets alone will not ensure weight loss. Strict portion control is also necessary for a successful weight loss program. Work with your veterinarian to plan a weight reduction program for your pudgy dog.

The value of fiber to help minimize constipation is well known. Fiber absorbs water and lends bulk to the intestinal contents. This stimulates the movement of the intestinal tract and normalizes passage time through the bowel. Fiber sources also contribute to fecal consistency.

When fermented by the microorganisms that normally reside in the intestinal tract, fiber provides an important source of energy for the cells lining the intestinal tract and promotes healthy cell function.

Sources of dietary fiber in dog food include beet pulp, rice bran, soybean hulls, apple and tomato pomace, peanut hulls, citrus pulp, the bran of oats, rice, wheat, and cellulose. Pulp is the solid residue that remains after juices are extracted from fruits or vegetables; pomace refers to the pulp of the fruit.
Studies suggest that certain forms of fiber in the diet tend to slow the absorption of sugar from the intestine, which can aid in blood sugar control.

In assessing the role of fiber in a dog’s diet, the old adage "more is not better" holds true. Excessive dietary fiber is associated with adverse effects such as loose stools, flatulence (or gas), and increased stool volume or density. Reputable dog food manufacturers formulate diets to provide balanced nutrition with proper levels of fiber for a dog's life stage and activity level.

Crate Training

Crate training is not putting your dog/puppy in a "cage" or "jail", and you are not being cruel if you follow these tips. Dogs feel secure in small, enclosed spaces, like a den. Dog crates make excellent dens.
A crate offers your dog security, a den with a roof, and a place to call his very own where he can go to get away from it all. It is also a safe place for him to stay when you're away or when you cannot watch him.
There are basically just a few steps in crate training and they are as follows:
1. Choose a crate the same size as your puppy/dog. He should only have enough room to stand up, turn around and lie down. His crate is for sleeping or for a safe place to be when you cannot be with him. If you have a large breed puppy, you may have to buy two different size crates or purchase a crate with a divider you can move as he grows.
2. Use a single-word command for your dog to enter his crate and throw in a treat or piece of kibble. When he enters, praise him and close the crate door. Gradually increase the time he spends in the crate before you let him out. Remember, your dog still needs time to play and eliminate. Maintain a regular schedule of trips outdoors so as not to confine him too long.
3. As a general guide, your puppy can stay in his crate comfortably for several hours, depending on his age. Take his age in months, add 1, and that's how many hours he should be able to stay in his crate (up to about 8 hours). For example, a 2-month old puppy should be comfortable in his crate for about 3 hours.
4. Providing your dog or puppy with a crate that is way too large may allow him to relieve himself in one end and sleep in the other. Placing food or water in his crate will allow him to fill up his bladder and bowel and he will have no choice but to relieve himself in his crate. Make sure you take your dog or puppy outdoors to eliminate on a regular schedule and especially prior to being left for prolonged periods of time. Always take your dog outside on a leash to the same area in your backyard to eliminate so you can praise him when his job is finished. This will take the guesswork out of his visits to the backyard.
Also, don't forget to play with your dog and exercise him. He needs this kind of stimulation for his mental and physical wellness.

Caring For Your Older Dog


Even though your dog may be slowing down, there is no reason the older years can't be some of the best years. With regular veterinary attention, daily care and proper nutrition, your older dog can still experience a happy and healthy life.


Recognizing Your Dog Is Getting Older
The most practical way to tell if your dog is getting older is by observing his behavior and appearance. Simply put, how old does your dog act, look, and feel? The following are some common signs of aging and what they may indicate about a dog's health. Use these signs as a guideline in determining if your dog is an older dog.

Changes in Hearing
You can tell if you dog's hearing isn't as sharp as it used to be if he doesn't respond to his name or verbal commands, or suddenly barks for no reason.

Changes in Urination and Housetraining Habits
Excessive thirst and frequent or uncontrolled urination are often signs of kidney problems or diabetes. Inappropriate urination may be a sign of incontinence caused by a hormone imbalance, which is most common in spayed females, or caused by other medical conditions.

Changes in Eating Habits
An older dog is more likely to develop tooth and gum conditions. And because of sore gums or loose teeth, he may let food drop out of his mouth or even refuse to eat.

Breathing Problems
Coughing, difficulty in breathing and tiredness could indicate possible cardiac problems.

Changes in Vision
A hazy, bluish cast on your aging dog's eyes is normal and usually does not hinder the eyesight. However, the hazy, whitish growth of cataracts can lead to blindness. Your veterinarian can help you distinguish the difference.

Weight Gain or Loss
Like humans, a dog's metabolism slows down as he gets older. And because older dogs may not be as active as they used to be, they have a tendency to gain weight. Performing a rib check can help determine if he's overweight. Sudden weight loss or unplanned chronic weight loss should be reported to your veterinarian. This could be a sign of an internal problem.

Skin and Coat
For older dogs, you'll notice that the skin thickens and becomes less pliable. It's a good idea to check for large lumps on or under the skin. This could be a sign of a tumor, cyst or cancer.

Tiredness and Lameness
As a dog gets older, you'll notice a decrease in energy level. He becomes tired more easily and likes to nap often. He can experience stiffness in his leg, hip and shoulder joints. This could just be normal wear and tear, or it could be a result of an old injury or a sign of arthritis.

Keeping Weight in Check
Heart conditions, joint pain, and diabetes can all be influenced by obesity. Discuss your dog's feeding program with your veterinarian to be sure he is getting the proper nutrition for his age and activity level.

Proper Nutrition
Aside from regular veterinary care, proper nutrition is one of the most important things you can do to help your dog maintain a long, happy and healthy life. Transitioning your dog to a senior life stage food will help him maintain his weight and give him the extra nutrition he needs.

When Your Dog Has Special Dietary Needs
If your dog is experiencing medical problems, check with your veterinarian to see if he could benefit from a special diet formulated to help meet the special nutritional needs of dogs who suffer from certain heart conditions, gastrointestinal conditions, kidney problems and obesity.

Proper Exercise
Because obesity and arthritis are two of the most common problems experienced by older dogs, regular exercise is very important. However, if your dog does have arthritis, consult your veterinarian before beginning an exercise program.

Daily Routine
Being consistent with a daily routine is also important to your older dog's physical, mental and emotional health.

Maintaining a Healthy Skin and Coat
As part of your dog's complete home health care program, you may want to schedule a special grooming session at least once a week. Bathing your older dog regularly is also very important. This is another great opportunity to give your dog that loving attention he needs.

Maintaining Healthy Teeth and Gums
Routine dental care by your veterinarian is very important since older dogs are more prone to gum disease and tartar buildup on their teeth. In addition to regular visits with a professional, it's always a good idea for you to check your dog's teeth and gums regularly.

Emotional Needs
It is your responsibility to be sensitive to what your older dog is going through and understand that he's also experiencing a lot of psychological changes. Daily care of your older dog requires a little more patience on your part.
With your special loving care and commitment, he can enjoy a quality life during these

A Police Dog

The term "police dog," is not an official breed classification. The AKC, American Kennel Club does not recognize such a breed; yet don't underestimate their importance.

A police dog is a term for any breed that works as an assistant in law enforcement. You may have heard of the term "K9." This is the official name for the unit of dogs that are trained for police work.

The K9 unit is what the United States Police have named their working dogs. But you may be surprised to know that many countries use police dogs. Germany is one country that has utilized police dogs for years.

Most often the German Shepherd is the police dog of choice. Not only do they have ties to police work, but also to the military. Germany is known for its long relationship with police and German Shepherds. In fact, some countries will only train German Shepherd for professional police work.


But don't be fooled, the German shepherd is not the only dog capable for police work. The Rottweiler and Labrador Retriever are other popular police dogs. Even though there are many breeds suitable for police work, it is interesting that most of them are descendants of Germanic countries.


Professional Training

Police dogs love to train! Many research hours have been devoted to understanding which dogs will do best in police work and why. The chosen dog will have a natural ability for the job and be easy to train.

One way these dogs learn so quickly is that learning how to "find," "guard," "chase," and "intimidate," are forms of play for the dog. A one word command will send the dog immediately to task. Just as important as learning the commands the police dog is learning to follow the handler's lead.

Law Enforcement Utilization

A police dog is most certainly trained to grab and hold a suspect. If an officer is running after a suspect he or she will most definitely give the command for the dog to grab the suspect. Keep in mind this is different than biting, it is holding. A police dog is never trained to bite, but in the heat of battle, a suspect may get injured as the dog performs its job.

Of course an altercation is avoided if possible, but this is not always the case. The officer involved will give a verbal warning before giving his dog the command to hold. If a person is smart, he or she will comply with the officer and not risk getting injured by the dog.

Police dogs don't just chase and hold suspects. They actually have a whole host of jobs they can perform. A few other tasks they are trained to do include tracking suspects, tracking and finding people or things and also to sniff out drugs, explosives or any other compound. Even though most police dogs are not bloodhounds, they still have an incredible sense of smell and are an invaluable asset to their handler.

The Most Popular Breeds of Fighting Dogs


Dogs were first trained to fight hundreds of years ago. Dogs are quick learners and can adopt fighting behavior easily and speedily, unlike most other animals. First of all, dogs were trained to fight large animals such as bears, tigers and lions. Later, they were taught to find against one another. This is where the concept of dog fighting comes in. Dogs fight in the wild over mates and territory and some breeds are naturally more aggressive than others.

In ancient times, dog fighting was very popular and a common pastime. It was considered by many moralists to be cruel and highly immoral so, after a while, dog fighting was banned. It still took place illicitly but, if caught, those involved in the organization of dog fighting events would be jailed or heavily fined. There are still people arranging dog fights today and these people are considered dangerous.

There are many different breeds of dog, in all shapes and sizes, that can be trained and used for fighting. The most commonly known fighting dogs are these:

American Pit Bull Terrier



The American Pit Bull Terrier, or APBT, is a pit bull breed. These dogs are tough and loyal and considered to be fighting dogs for those reasons. They like people and enjoy training. They are also curious and intelligent which makes them a good family dog. American Pit Bull Terriers do tend to show aggression to other dogs and this makes them a good fighting breed.

Old English Bulldog




The Old English Bulldog is another well known breed of fighting dog. This is a rare breed and has a very unique appearance. The Old English Bulldog has a muscular, broad body and is about 16 inches high. It has a strong lower jaw and can be used for dog fighting or bull fighting because its jaw is like a vice grip.

Rottweiler




The Rottweiler is a robust and sturdy working dog which descents from a breed of Roman cattle dog. They were introduced in Rottweil, Germany, back in the Middle Ages. A Rottweiler is considered a great guard dog because it attacks intruders and barks. It is a tall dog and strong enough to knock a large man to the ground and hold him there. The Rottweiler is the most valued and most recognized fighting dog.

There are many other fighting dog breeds but nearly all of them are used for security purposes these days, either in the military forces or guarding a property or home.

If Your Dog Is Overweight


Of course, the talk these days is the level of obesity in humans; it's growing every day, and of course, everyone from Oprah to your family doctor is after you to lose weight if you're overweight. However, the same careful consideration does not always go to the family pet. Nonetheless, pets, too, struggle with obesity these days, and just as with humans, complications from overweight and obesity can occur. The only permanent resolution in most cases for both dog and human is to lose the weight through diet and exercise.


To compare this to humans, if a man who is a healthy weight at 170 pounds gains 5 pounds, it's a relatively small gain and will probably not impact his overall health unless he continues the trend. However, if a 35-pound dog gains 5 pounds, he has gained one seventh, or 14 to 15%, of his weight. This is unhealthy, and is to be considered overweight to obese, depending on whether the dog was overweight before he gained that 5 pounds.



Just as with humans, dogs that are overweight or obese can experience the same disorders related to overweight and obesity, such as diabetes, breathing problems, strain on the heart and other cardiac problems, and a generally shortened lifespan, among others.

Now, keep in mind that although Fido may look awfully cute begging for those table scraps, oftentimes, this is one of the major causes of overweight. Your dog's food should be fine and nutritious for him by itself, with no additional food outside of his preordained diet. If you think it's not, check with your vet to make sure. Although an occasional "treat" is probably okay, it shouldn't be done regularly with human foods. Dog treats specifically made for your dog can be incorporated into your dog's diet as long as they are high-quality and you take into account the calories they contain; in general, your vet can tell you how many calories your dog should eat a day, depending on his activity level. There are also special low calorie dog foods for overweight dogs so that they can get down to their normal weight more quickly.

To check your dog's weight, in general, if you run your hand over your dog's back and sides, you should be able to feel but not see his ribs. He should look fit, alert and athletic, depending on his age. (Of course, older dogs will be slower in movement and may be less alert.) As with anything, check with your vet to make sure what your dog's healthy weight and appearance should be. There are some dog breeds that have a rounder shape, but in general, you should be able to feel but not see your dog's ribs if he is of a sleek coat.

If it is determined at your dog has a weight problem, then it behooves you to control what your dog eats. Cut back or eliminate those table scraps, switch to a lower calorie diet food if necessary and increase your dog's exercise as his health permits. Simply taking your dog for a long walk twice a day may help burn off enough calories that you won't have to significantly reduce your dog's calories, although you should still eliminate if not reduce table scraps, since they are not healthy or balanced for dogs. And of course, taking your dog for a walk twice a day will also only benefit you, since you'll be getting your exercise, too.

Different Breeds of Dogs

While there are many different beasts that are servants of man, including horses, donkeys, and cattle, there is only one animal, the dog, that actually serves many by his own choice. For more than 15,000 years, dogs have been the best friend of man. At first they were wolves that were domesticated, and they showed various instincts of the pack, such as devotions and loyalty. These characteristics are what help to make them such a wonderful companion for man. There are a variety of different breeds of dogs, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. While some are tall, others are short, and some have long snouts, while others have short snouts. Believe it or not, there are around 400 breeds of dogs around the world that are recognized. The following are some very common breeds of dogs that you may come in contact with, especially in a nearby pet shop.

Golden Retrievers
One of the most popular breeds of dogs, the Golden Retrievers are beautiful and smart dogs that are incredibly friendly and loyal to their masters. They are very smart and they also are quite social as well. While they tend to bark at almost everything unfamiliar, they are not usually the best choice for a watch dog, since they are so very friendly. They come in a variety of colors, from blonde to darer golden, and some people call them yellow retrievers as well.

American Eskimo Dogs
Another type of dog you may see is the American Eskimo dog. These dogs are actually descendents of ancient Nordic breeds. They are beautiful dogs, and they have thick coats that are usually white or cream in color. These dogs are very gentle and playful, and they are quite hardy as well. They have a head that is shaped like that of a fox, and their ears are triangular in shape and erect as well. They are extremely intelligent and fun loving, and they make great pets for people who have children.

Irish Setter
One of the most popular Irish American breeds of dogs is the Irish Setter. These dogs were working dogs originally, and they would corn game for hunters as well. Now they are used as bird dogs and gun dogs, and many hunters find they are excellent at their jobs. These dogs are also very friendly and affectionate as well, and their loyalty makes them a wonderful dog to have.

Akita Dogs
Akita dogs are dogs that actually originated in the country of Japan. Their name actually means "the most venerated one. They are usually used for hunting larger game, and they come in fairly large sizes. These dogs are quite strong and they are usually independent as well. They can definitely be a handful to manage, and they are not great family pets either. If you do own one of these dogs, you are probably a proud owner of such a rare breed of dogs.

A Little Known History of Killer Dogs


Most people are unaware that in the past, dogs were bred not only to be great hunters and protectors, but as killers for use in war. These animals were specifically bred to be killer dogs. They were treated poorly, and starved to make the vicious, then released against enemy soldiers. The effect was both lethal and demoralizing. Breeds of killer dogs include the giant molosians, which are now extinct, and the ancestors of some of today's breeds. However, this streak of viciousness is now less prevalent in their descendants, like the Rottweiler. Killer dogs were used all through the world, not just in remote areas. There are accounts of them being used in early English battles.
The benefits to early armies of utilizing killer dogs against the enemy were many. These animals moved quickly, making them hard to attack with missile fire. It was generally necessary to engage them with swords, which brought soldiers within range of these animals' vicious teeth. The impact on the enemy's morale when a large number of killer war dogs was released was impressive. Because the dogs had frequently been starved for some time before the battle, they did not discriminate when they fed, eating humans as well as fallen horses. Working in the same way that wolves do when hunting, war dogs were also able to hamstring the horses of the mounted nobility, making them useful against knights riding horseback.
However, when the need for these animals decreased, so did their viciousness. Mastiffs and other breeds are descended from these war dogs, but without the rigorous breeding and ill treatment, they became much more docile. They instead became used as royal pets and protectors for the nobility. They did still occasionally accompany their masters to war, however.
Generally, dogs descended from killer breeds are large in build, with powerful muscles. They can be trained to function in a pack, or to operate as guards. In war, they were often confined in solitary cages. Their handlers interacted with them as little as possible, feeding them infrequently and teaching them to react angrily to the human presence. This, plus exclusion from the presence of other dogs made the animals quite vicious. It was necessary to tow their cages to the battlefield, then release them from a point out of harm's way. Killer dogs were often used to soften up the enemy before the main army advanced. Although their modern descendants are now cherished pets, we should remember their history and treat these animals with respect.

Dental Care


If possible, get your puppy accustomed to having his teeth cleaned on a regular basis at home. Gently rub his teeth with a soft cloth or a child's soft toothbrush dipped in a solution of baking soda and water. Do not use toothpaste formulated for humans. Because pets swallow rather than spit out the preparation, this can cause stomach upset.
Deciduous (temporary) or "milk" teeth begin to appear when a puppy is about four weeks of age, and are lost gradually between 14 and 30 weeks of age. During this time, puppies may eat slightly less and chew more. Hard rubber or rawhide toys made especially for dogs are a good investment to help prevent household damage during this time.
Occasionally, a puppy will retain some deciduous teeth after his permanent teeth have appeared. This may damage the soft tissues of the mouth and may even accelerate wear of permanent teeth. A veterinarian should be consulted to determine whether or not removal is necessary.
Dental Problems
A cracked or broken tooth can be painful if the nerve tissue is exposed; if it becomes infected, there is the danger of the infection spreading through the bloodstream. Prompt veterinary attention is recommended.
Here are some of the common warning signs of dental problems in dogs:
· Loss of appetite
· Red, swollen and bleeding gums
· Drooling
· Blood in the saliva
· Yellow-brown tartar at the gum line
· Broken teeth
· Foul breath
However, the most common dental problems dogs experience is buildup from plaque and calculus. If left unchecked, plaque and calculus buildup can eventually cause inflammation of both the gums (gingivitis) and the membrane lining of the tooth socket (periodontitis). Without proper treatment, the teeth may become infected and fall out and the resulting infection may spread to other parts of the body such as the kidneys or valves of the heart.
Dental problems can be minimized or even prevented through regular cleaning and scaling under anesthesia, done by a veterinarian.
Additionally, dry, crunchy foods can be helpful in keeping teeth clean. As the dog chews, particles from the dry food scrape against the teeth, acting like a toothbrush to help remove plaque.

Vaccinations

To prevent health conditions, all dogs should follow a routine vaccination schedule administered by a veterinarian. Your veterinarian may provide routine vaccinations for canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, coronavirus, parainfluenza, Bordetella, Lyme disease and rabies. Remember, most vaccines must be given over a period of time and require multiple veterinary visits. So check with your veterinarian and get ready for a happy, healthy friendship with your dog.
Distemper
A highly contagious, often fatal virus that affects a dog's respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous system. Generally this virus spreads as an airborne infection, so vaccination is the only effective control.
Adenovirus
Also know as infectious hepatitis, a viral condition that affects the liver and cells lining the blood vessels and can cause high fever, thirst, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, liver damage and hemorrhage.
Coronavirus
A highly contagious viral infection of the gastrointestinal tract. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, high fever and dehydration.
Leptospirosis
An extremely contagious condition that spreads through contact with nasal secretions, urine or saliva of infected animals, and can affect humans as well. The ailment causes inflamed kidneys, fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Liver damage can also occur.
Parvovirus
A common and potentially fatal viral infection, symptoms of which include loss of appetite, lethargy, diarrhea, fever and vomiting. If left untreated, parvovirus can kill puppies very quickly.
Parainfluenza
This virus is one of a number of infectious agents that cause what is often called "kennel cough." This health condition is highly contagious and affects the respiratory system.
Rabies
Rabies is a fatal infection of the central nervous system that can affect all mammals, especially raccoons, bats, skunks, foxes, domestic dogs and cats, and humans. Since rabies poses a serious public health threat, most states require dogs to receive this vaccination.

Home Safe Home

Even pets that spend most of their time indoors may be exposed to a number of potential hazards. The following list will help keep your home safe and sound for your dog or cat.
1. Be aware of the plants you have in your house and in your yard. The ingestion of a poisonous plant can be fatal.
2. When cleaning your house, never allow your dog access to the area where cleaning agents are used or stored. Some may only cause a mild stomach upset, while others could cause severe burns of the tongue, mouth, and stomach or even be fatal.
3. When using rat or mouse baits, ant or roach traps, or snail and slug baits, place the products in areas that are inaccessible to your pet. Most bait contains sweet-smelling, inert ingredients, such as jelly, peanut butter, and sugars, which can be very attractive to your dog.
4. Never give your dog any medications unless under the directions of a veterinarian. Many medications that are used safely in humans can be deadly to a dog.
5. Keep all prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs out of the reach of your dog, preferably in closed cabinets. Pain-killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills are common examples of human medications that could be potentially lethal, even in small dosages.
6. Never leave chocolates unattended. Approximately one half ounce or less of baking chocolate per pound of body weight can cause problems. Even small amounts can cause pancreatic problems in dogs.
7. Many common household items have been shown to be lethal in other species. Miscellaneous items that are highly toxic even in low quantities include pennies (high concentration of zinc), mothballs (contains naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene — one or two balls can be life-threatening in most species), potpourri oils, fabric softener sheets, automatic dish detergents (contain cationic detergents which could cause corrosive lesions), batteries (contain acids or alkali which can also cause corrosive lesions), homemade play dough (contains high quantity of salt), winter heat source agents like hand or foot warmers (contain high levels of iron), cigarettes, coffee grounds, and alcoholic drinks.
8. All automotive products, such as oil, gasoline, and antifreeze should be stored properly. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze (ethylene glycol) can be deadly in a dog.
9. Before buying or using flea products on your dog or in your household, contact your veterinarian to discuss what types of flea products are recommended for him. Read ALL information before using a product on your pet or in your home. Always follow label instructions. Also, when using a fogger or a house spray, make sure to remove all pets from the area for the time period specified on the container. If you are uncertain about the usage of any product, contact the manufacturer or your veterinarian to clarify the directions BEFORE using the product.
10. When treating your lawn or garden with fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides, always keep your dog away from the area until the area dries completely. Discuss usage of products with the manufacturer of the products to be used. Always store such products in an area that will ensure no possible pet exposure.
11. Sharp objects such as knives and forks, paper clips, carpet tacks and pins should be kept out of a pet's reach. Children's toys and small objects may attract a playful dog and become lodged in his mouth or swallowed.
12. Exposed lamp cords and other wires should be kept as short as possible and, ideally, out of your dog’s sight and reach. If extension cords are used, mount them against a baseboard so they cannot be played with or chewed.
13. Dogs are sometimes at risk on a high-rise balcony. A lively dog could squeeze through the bars and fall, leading to injury or even death.
14. Other health-threatening pollutants are radon, fumes from household products such as cleaning agents, pesticides, paints and varnishes, microbial and fungal agents found in air conditioners, air ducts, filters and humidifiers. Among common air pollutants are nitrogen dioxide from gas appliances, wood-burning stoves and un-vented kerosene heaters. Gas stoves, and kerosene heaters or stoves should be vented to the outside of the house.
15. Lead paint should be removed with extreme caution. Cleanup should be prompt and thorough. Other items containing lead accessible to dogs include lead-base paint, linoleum, and caulking compounds. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, loss of appetite, loss of muscle coordination, blindness and seizures.

Traveling With Your Dog

Traveling By Car
Before taking your dog on a long trip, ask yourself these questions:
- Will your dog be welcome at the vacation destination?
- Will your dog enjoy the trip?
- Is your dog in good health?
If you've answered "yes," accustom your dog to riding in a car. Begin with short rides each day and gradually increase the length of each ride. If your dog is unable to adjust to short rides, a responsible sitter or a boarding kennel is preferable. If you board him, make reservations well in advance, especially for summer months and major holidays.
- Do not feed your dog for at least three hours before leaving on a trip. Take your dog for a walk just before you start the drive and he will be more comfortable as the trip gets underway.
- During stops, provide fresh drinking water for your dog.
- Feed your dog shortly after you arrive at your destination or when you have stopped for the day.
- If your car has adequate space, using a carrier is the safest way for your dog to travel. Never put the carrier on the sunny side of the car where your dog may become overheated.
- If a carrier is not feasible for your dog, consider using a restraining harness. They come in different sizes to fit all breeds and are available at pet supply stores.
- Always put your dog on a leash before letting him out of the car. If you walk your dog on the highway at night, wear reflective strips on your clothing and place a reflective collar on your dog for visibility and protection.
- Never leave your dog in a closed car, even on a mild day. Temperatures in cars can rise quickly even if the windows are open slightly. The heat and insufficient air circulation can quickly lead to heat stress, suffocation and death.



Traveling By Air
- Try to avoid peak travel periods when delays and stopovers are longer. Traveling in extreme hot or cold weather may be dangerous if your dog must wait very long before loading and unloading. Plan a trip with as few stops and transfers as possible.
- Make hotel, resort and airline reservations for your dog well in advance. Some airlines have limited space for transporting pets.
- Some airlines allow small dogs to travel with their owner (generally for an additional charge) if the carrier fits under the passenger seat. Otherwise, rent or purchase a carrier or crate which meets airline regulations and affix a LIVE ANIMAL sticker. Mark it with your name and address and the name of a person who can be contacted about your dog at your destination if necessary.
- Put a cushion or blanket on the crate floor. Attach a water cup to the crate door. The cup should be deep, but not too full of water to avoid spilling.
- On the day of the flight, take your dog for a long walk before leaving for the airport.
- At the end of the trip, pick up your dog promptly.
Certain countries and island destinations require a quarantine period for animals at the owner's expense. Ask your travel agent or the consul of the country you plan to visit about quarantines.



Health and Identification.
- Make sure your dog's vaccinations are up-to-date.
- If the mosquito season begins earlier or ends later in the area you will be visiting, make sure you bring the appropriate heartworm protection.
- Be certain your dog is wearing an identification tag giving his name, your name and home address and telephone number including the area code.
- Take along color pictures of your dog and a written description of his colorings and distinguishing marks. Record your dog's body size and weight. If he is lost, these identification aids could make the difference in locating him.
Packing for Your Dog
- Carry your dog's health and rabies certificates with you. They may be needed if you fly anywhere or may be required if you board your dog during your trip.
- Pack your dog's water and food bowls, grooming equipment and any heartworm or other medicine it may require
- If you are not certain that your dog's usual diet will be available at your destination, take a supply with you to avoid digestive upsets which could be caused by a sudden diet change.
At your vacation site, observe all rules and regulations regarding pets. Confine your dog in a carrier or restricted space when leaving him alone. Your consideration will help keep dogs welcome guests.

Packing for Your Dog
- Carry your dog's health and rabies certificates with you. They may be needed if you fly anywhere or may be required if you board your dog during your trip.
- Pack your dog's water and food bowls, grooming equipment and any heartworm or other medicine it may require
- If you are not certain that your dog's usual diet will be available at your destination, take a supply with you to avoid digestive upsets which could be caused by a sudden diet change.
At your vacation site, observe all rules and regulations regarding pets. Confine your dog in a carrier or restricted space when leaving him alone. Your consideration will help keep dogs welcome guests.

Childrens Roles In Pet Care




First, it's great that you want to share the responsibility of pet ownership with your children. However, it's important that you assign age-appropriate tasks. Here are a few examples of what you may expect:

Toddlers
A toddler can help parents with pet care simply by being involved — "helping" a parent fill food and water dishes, grooming, going with parents to take the dog for a walk or to the veterinarian. Another good trick is to have the toddler give the dog a treat for good behavior, i.e. gets in bed or crate before family leaves the house. The toddler and the pet both enjoy this special job!

The 5-7 Year Old
This age group is capable of doing some of the tasks above (feeding, watering, grooming) without parental help. Still you can't expect that a child this age will remember to do these jobs without friendly reminders from Mom or Dad.

The 8-12 Year Old
Parents still need to supervise children in this age group for some tasks, like walking the dog. Before a child is 10-12 years of age it's not advised that they walk a dog without adult supervision. But the child can feed, water and play with the dog alone (depending on the dog's temperament and area for exercising).

Teenagers
Depending on your teen's maturity, you can sometimes allow him/her to take full responsibility for the dog, including feeding, cleaning up after, driving to the veterinarian and exercising the pet. Allowing the teen to take the dog to obedience classes can also be a good activity for both.

Things You Need to Know When Breeding Dogs

If you want some excitement in your life, breeding dogs can be a great deal of fun. Watching puppies being born can be so exciting and rewarding as well. However, there are risks involved if you do not give the proper attention and care to the new puppies. You may actually find it frustrating or you may fail if you do not breed puppies in the appropriate manner.

What to Do? If you want to breed
dogs, there are a variety of things that you are going to need to know. You will need to know how to prepare, how to handle puppies, the right time to breed your dog and many other things as well. If you want your breeding experience to be successful and you want to raise puppies that are healthy and happy, then knowing the basics of dog breeding is extremely important.

When to Breed
It is important that you only breed your dog at the right time. You can breed your female when she shows the first sign of being in heat. About every six months, a female goes into heat, even when they are less than one year old. It is important that you wait until the female is fully developed before you breed her or they may be some problems. It can be risky to breed a female before she is fully developed. Remember that some breeds may take up to two years to be fully developed, while smaller breeds may be ready to breed earlier. One of the best ways to find out when the best time to breed is, is to talk to your vet. They may be able to do some exams and tests on your female to see if she is ready to breed and then to nurse puppies.

Tips for Successful Breeding
If your dog is full grown and is ready to breed, you then need to start looking for the right male to breed her with. In order for the male to breed successfully, usually he needs to be in an environment that is familiar. More than likely you will need to take your female to the home of the male dog. Be sure that she is fertile when you take her to be bred. Usually she will be most fertile between the 10th-14th day of her heating, although some dogs may vary.

What You Should Know About Dogs

Do you like dogs? Many people do. If you are contemplating getting your first dog, there are many basic things that you need to learn first, followed by some of the finer points, about dog ownership. Some Basic Information About Dogs Dogs are predatory animals because they are descendants of wolves (Canis Lupus). If you like to hurt animals smaller than yourself, it is advised that you not consider getting a large breed dog. Rotteilers and Mastiffs are big, strong dogs that can knock you to the ground and pin you there even if they don't mean any harm. You might consider
a Chihuahua. They are very small dogs and you might find it entertaining to have one shredding your fingers. There are breeds of dogs the like to engage playfully with humans while others do not. Bulldogs and Siberian Huskies are good examples of this. The Bulldog is playfully patronizing while the Siberian Husky is energetic but decidedly unsubservient. It is a good idea to get a dog that fits well into your home life. If you are ready for a smoochy dog, the Bulldog, with its sour-puss face, will fit very well. Outdoorsmen will do well to choose such high energy breeds as the Mastiff and terriers. If you like to jog, a husky can provide good motivation, just be sure the dog is well lease trained. Even though most dogs can be trained to tolerate the ear pulling and piggyback riding of children, it is best to choose a breed that is naturally more tolerant of these things and train them to be even more so. A good example of such a breed is the St. Bernard. If one of the things a dog is expected to tolerate is being treated like a doll by a child, it is best to choose a dog that is very playful, tolerant and small. Even though St. Bernards are very gentle, they do have large jaws and are stronger than they may realize. So, for parents considering getting a dog for their child, it is best to select one of the sturdier small breeds that are small enough to carry around and be dressed up in doll clothes. These dogs are small enough to control easier if they should be provoked. Some dog breeds are not suited to be guard dogs. Huskies are too friendly for guard duty. If a trespasser came on your property, the husky would greet them with a wagging tail and request for attention, even though they do resemble wolves. There are also dog breeds that need strong, experienced handlers because, under certain conditions, they have been known to maim, subdue and even kill people. Rottweilers and Irish Wolfhounds are among such breeds that need strong handling. In conclusion, choosing a dog should not be down casually. You need to consider the reason for having the dog and choose a breed that fits that purpose. Everyone in the family should be able to handle the dog. There are many things that need to be learned about dogs and the different breeds, as well as how to take care of one once you have brought him home.