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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:

Sneaky Ways to Medicate Your Dog

Originally published March 23, 2018

The Dogtor is in

If you provide care to a canine, you know there are times when you must medicate your dog . Some medications: like their heartworm prevention tabs, are flavored so most dogs will gulp them down like a treat. But when you have to get them to take a pill, that can be harder. Fortunately, most of us are smarter (or sneakier) than most of them.

Small Pills

Small pills like Diphenhydramine and Prednisone can be hidden pretty easily in a glob of peanut butter, cheese, or pumpkin puree. I can put a pill or two in a half-teaspoon of peanut butter and drop it on top of their kibbles and the dog will usually scarf it down without ever knowing.

If the dog is the suspicious type and will “search” the glob of peanut butter for alien objects, roll the glob in their kibbles. The kibbles sticking to the glob make it harder to detect your deception.

Worming Large Dogs At Low Cost

Originally published Dec. 12, 2017

The Dogtor is in

One of my Fosters, Ricky, has been producing bloody diarrhea since Thursday. I took him to the vet today. It was complicated, but the simple version is he has Hookworms. He’s now on an antidiarrheal, antibiotics, and a wormer. And because hookworms are quite contagious, I’ll be worming ALL seven of the dogs for the next three days just to be safe. There are two standard medications for this: Panacur and Safe-guard.

wormingPanacur comes as a liquid (suspension) or pills. A liter of Panacur liquid costs around $130.00 and is available only through vet supply outlets. I have also used Panacur paste for equines, but this is difficult to get the proper dose measured out for dogs. The dispenser is graduated in increments of 250 pounds up to 1000 pounds. Setting up the dispenser for an 80 pound dog is educated-guesswork. A 30 pound dog is hopeless.

The pills in boxes of three and in sizes for 10 pounds, 20 pounds, and 40 pounds. If your dog is bigger than 40 pounds, you combine boxes to get close to the right weight. Most places that sell pet medications have the pills and they run $7.00 to $15.00 per box. I figured I’d need 16 boxes to give seven dogs of various sizes three doses each.

Your Dog’s Poop Tells a Tale

Originally published Oct. 26, 2017

The Dogtor is in

Talking about your canine friends excrement may not be a glamorous topic, but there are some things that all dog owners should be aware of and watching for. Yes, that’s right: you need to be looking at your dog’s poop.

Why Examine Your Dog’s Poop

With dogs, as with people, what is excreted can give clues to problems that are building inside. Watching for signs of trouble as you clean up after your dog can give you warning well before severe symptoms set in. Here’s what to look for:

NOTE: To be as effective as possible I have included photos. To be as inoffensive as possible, I have made the on-page photos very small. Click the photos to view them full size — or skip that if you’re squeamish.