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10 Tips For Crate Training Your Dog

Originally published November 21, 2014

crate training
This silly Snoozer is obviously comfortable with his crate.

When used properly, crate training provides you and your dog with multiple benefits. For you it provides a simple, effective means of restricting your dog when you cannot provide close supervision. If your dog is an explorer, he may get into things that will harm him. If she’s a chewer, your home may suffer from allowing her to roam unsupervised. Crating also helps with housebreaking because a dog has a natural aversion to soiling its own sleeping space.

For your dog crate training offers a safe haven, a room or space of his own. It is a familiar place. Whether you go on the road or just move around a large home, having a place of his own brings your dog a feeling of safety. If your dog is ill or just been spayed or neutered, a familiar crate is quite comforting. A crate is effective in combating separation anxiety or fear of a thunderstorm because of the snug, safe feeling an enclosed crate can provide.

Canine Hypothyroidism Causes and Treatment

Originally published May 18, 2015

Doug on canine hypothyroidism
Doug the Dog Boss

Canine Hypothyroidism is the reduced function (hypo) of the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in the neck, on the trachea, and makes a hormone called thyroxine that controls metabolism. When the gland doesn’t make enough thyroxine, the dogs metabolism slows abnormally.

It’s a common disease in dogs that can affect all breeds, but it is most often found in medium to large breeds like Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinchers, Irish Setters, Dachshunds, Boxers, Cocker Spaniels — and bulldogs. It usually occurs in middle-aged dogs (ages 4 to 10) and neutered males and spayed females are at a higher risk, though experts are not sure why. In most cases hypothyroidism is caused by your dog’s own immune system attacking his thyroid gland!

Canine Pneumonia and Heartworm

Originally published November 18, 2015

Bristol in recovery - canine pneumoniaBristol has canine pneumonia. He started coughing on Sunday, by Monday morning it was a continuous thing if he got active at all. A deep, rattly cough that ended with an ejection of phlegm. No blood (thankfully), so an embolism is not indicated. I contacted our Vet Tech, Alicia.

Because he is ill, Bristol has lost his seat on this weekend’s Rolling Rescue run. Hopefully he will be well again by the Rescue run in two weeks.

Parasitic pneumonia in dogs is often caused by lungworms directly or from the migration of other worms (e.g. heartworms) through the lung. 9 out of every 69 dogs (13%) treated for heartworm also develop pneumonia. At this stage (he’s just finishing his recovery period), I do not think the pneumonia was caused by heartworm migration, because they should all be long dead. However, the dead worm tissue in his lungs may have opened a path for a bacterial infection that resulted in pneumonia. Heart disease or heart failure can lead to pneumonia; perhaps this is aftermath of his heartworm infestation and damage to his heart. The heart damage should heal in time. His lungs may have been irritated by the couple of cold, damp nights we had.

Symptoms of Canine Pneumonia

The hallmark symptom shown by dogs suffering from pneumonia is coughing (although of course not all coughing dogs have pneumonia). In addition, watch out for these symptoms:

6 Tips on Selecting Pet Food

Originally published November 29th, 2015

pet foodThere is a bewildering array of pet food brands, and products within brands, out there to choose from. Products ranging from dry kibble, to canned, to fresh-frozen, to raw meat are available. All have some benefit, all have some risk. How do you decide which of these are best for your lifestyle and your pet’s health? Here are some tips to help you wend your way through the brand maze and select the best products to consider.

#1: The Pet Food Company

Many pet owners don’t trust larger pet food companies, thinking that a large corporation is by nature callous and uncaring. Smaller brands are more closely linked to their customers and likely to make better, safer products. However, statistics tell a different story.

When To Throw the Red Flag On Dogs Play

Originally published Nov. 4th, 2016

Cochise on dogs play
Cochise tells the tale

Most dogs like to play. Most of a dogs play is a lighthearted version of real-life skills: chasing, catching, fetching and … fighting.

As long as it’s done in the name of good, harmless fun, there is no problem. But if it should slide beyond play: because one “combatant” feels he is losing and doesn’t want to, things can get bloody fast.

Breaking up a dog fight is dangerous, especially if there is only one Peoples. It is best to red flag it before play turns to fight.

Signs of Play

Sampson demonstrates the classic Play Bow

When we’re playing, the tails will be swinging happily from side to side, we may bounce side to side or enter a play bow (forelegs and chest on the ground, butt in the air), we may lunge and retreat. When happy, our eyes are open and round, ears are up, and our mouths should be open and “smiling”. We may sound like we’re about to kill each other, but as long as it’s just trash-talking we’re okay.

We may wrestle each other to the ground and pin our opponent there. We may leap around and over one another, we may body slam each other, or we may take off and run – incorporating these other moves when we get the opportunity. Biting is okay as long as it’s gentle.

Animal Fostering for Military Personnel

Originally published Dec. 12, 2016
Our military members have a tough enough job to do in keeping this nation safe from enemy threats without having added burdens of having to give up their companion animals each time they are temporarily deployed. For you see, not all military personnel are constantly on the move; many are stationed at a base and only rarely sent away on TDY (Temporary DutY), so these people get to enjoy much the same life civilians do, including having pets. When duty does call them away, and if they are single, they must either find a reliable caretaker for their furkid – or give them up permanently.

Providing foster care for a military member’s beloved pet can relieve a great strain on them and offer support while they are off serving our nation.

Tails of Woe

Originally published: April 6th, 2017

The Dogtor is in

I’ve been working at the Humane Society in a neighboring county for about a month and a half. It’s hard work in a couple of ways. A large part of what I do is cleaning up after the animals. There is a lot of work to do and it has to be done before they open to the public, so it is fast paced work as well. It’s physically demanding and I come home tired.

It is also psychologically hard. I like working with the animals. I know I should not get attached because most of them will not be there long: they’ll be adopted or sent out on rescue. Keeping them around a long time is actually bad because this is (of necessity) a kill shelter, although they work hard to keep euthanasia to a bare minimum.

When I started working there, there was a little pit bull named “Freddie”. He was bright, and friendly, and even as a new employee he never objected to my coming into his pen to clean or work with him. He was obviously a favorite with all the staff. Everyone loved Freddie. He looked a bit like Gator, one of my foster dogs at the time.

We put Freddie down last week.

The Nose Knows Fear and Stress

Originally published Feb 8, 2017

This nose knows

Below is an excerpt from an article by Jaymi Heimbuch on Mother Nature Network. In it Ms. Heimbuch discusses how the sensitivity of canine noses is being used to screen human patients for a variety of medical problems including cancer, hypoglycemia, narcolepsy, seizure, and others. Today we want to focus on the part that discusses how service dogs are used in preventing P.T.S.D. attacks by sensing building fear and stress levels.

The How and Why of Pet Microchips and Registration

I’ve been talking to someone about the microchip in her cat. It came up that she’s never registered the chip. I explained that if she doesn’t register it, then if her cat ever gets out and makes its way to a veterinarian or shelter that scans and finds the chip, just having the chip in there will not help them get her beloved cat back to her.  Each pet microchip contains a unique registration number that needs to be listed in the pet microchip distributor’s registry.  But the pet owner is the one responsible for registering their pet.

Top 5 reasons to microchip your pet

  • Microchipping is the only permanent method of pet identification
  • Microchipping lasts for the lifetime of your pet (around 25 years)
  • Microchipping is a quick and almost painless procedure, like a vaccination
  • Microchipping is the best chance of your pet returning to you if stolen
  • Microchipping is recommended by the AAHA, ASPCA, AVMA, SAWA, and the Humane Society

What is a microchip?

Speak! Do Dogs Talk? Understanding Dog-speak

Originally published Feb. 14, 2017

Cochise explains

When us dogs talk, most of what we say is not said vocally. Some of what we say comes through body language: the position of our head and body, how we hold our ears, the shape of our eyes, things like that. But some of us are quite expressive vocally as well, even when it comes to communicating with peoples. Many peoples don’t understand the unvocalized parts of our communications, so we have to use what they do understand to convey our desires and affections.

Buster is a funny little guy. While he was here, he didn’t bark much, but if he was lonely he’d do whale song to get our attention. When he was joyful, he’d get happy feet. He is just full of personality.

Others were not so conversational, but had their own distinctive style of verbal expression. King among these had to be Malachi. He had a unique bark that led HairyFace to poke fun at him with this video: