Monday, June 19, 2006

Get ready for ticks and fleas this season

With winter having been mild, we are already seeing more ticks and fleas this season. Pugs are especially reactive to flea bites and some to flea remedies. Although we use Frontline (and Advantage for the one who is allergic to Frontline), we have found alternative therapies for pregnant or nursing pets because we try to be as holistic as possible, reducing the number of chemicals in the environment.

One thing to understand is that healthy dogs attract few fleas. Keep them on a highly nutritional diet and the problem will already be reduced. Also, the addition of garlic and brewer's yeast to their diet allows the dogs to give off an odor that repels insects (but not an odor that I've been able to detect with my human nose). A nice combination tablet that I've seen is Love Drops through JP Pet's website.

With two pregnant dogs this summer, we wanted an extra boost, though. So after doing some research we found some nice alternatives at Nature's Pet and ordered a few. So far we've only had time to try one - Critter's Oil, but we've been very pleased with the results! And the combination of oils has a pleasant scent. One of our females hates getting squirted with Frontline, but she found the oil dabbed behind her ears and above her tail was not only tolerable, but enjoyable. We are going to use Critter Oil as her primary repellant unless we feel it is not as effective as we'd like.

But whichever method you choose, be sure to keep on top of the insects this year! May you have an itch-free summer!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Petunia, 1 week done

We made it through the first week! Puppies and Momma are all doing wonderful! Petunia is enjoying her momentary escapes to the outside world when we go on our walks, but hasn't been allowed to go to the really fun places like PetsMart so she can stay with her babies. So far they have required very little intervention. The runt is still keeping us entertained with his antics. The rest of them are just content to eat and sleep, only muttering when they need attention to their eliminations. I'm trying a new supplement - Kauffman's Stress Formula - and so far it really seems to be doing a great job supporting Petunia.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Petunia had her first litter of puppies! They were delivered on Thursday the 8th. She is a petite pug and we were worried about how many she could carry and whether or not she could deliver them naturally. On the previous Friday night, she started acting like she was going into labor, then nothing on Saturday, but we took her to the vet anyway. He confirmed that we still had a few days to go (we expected them on Tuesday) and he took x-rays. Found 5 puppies with an extra shadow that could have been a 6th. However, she was not to go past Thursday night. If the puppies hadn't come yet by Fri morning, she was to go in for a c-section.

Well, she waited and waited. I was already making arrangements for her to go in on Friday when she started into labor on Thursday morning. With the help of some homeopathic remedies to strengthen the uterus and to aid with contractions, she finally had the babies. Puppy #6 is nicknamed Shadow and puppy #7 is Surprise. All together there are 6 males and 1 female.

So can you count 7 puppies in the picture? Neither can we - lol! Try counting them at 2:30 in the morning when one of them is squealing and you're trying to make sure they're all ok.

Speaking of squealing - this litter has a runt. It's a cute little thing with a huge zest for life. Invariably it'll end up under one of the others and will shout his discomfort. So I'll rescue him and put him in the middle of the bed where at 3 days old, deaf (ears haven't opened) and blind, he'll squirm straight for momma's nipples and make it there in record time. He'll then make all sorts of contented noises while suckling and if another puppy crawls over him and steps on his head, he manages to squeal some more but never let go of that teat!! He's the only other one with a nickname so far. He came out of the sac looking like a 70 year old chinaman. Not too old, but somewhat aged and wise. I half expected him to recommend some ancient herbal remedies to me, but he just squawked his discomfort at being out in the big wide world.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Trying to stay cool

Just a reminder to all those with flat-nosed breeds - keep them cool during the summer. Due to their short noses, they cannot cool themselves. Some things to keep in mind: get a kiddie pool and fill it with water for them to play in, keep plenty of water available, keep them inside during the heat of the day, give ice cubes as a treat, try cooling collars and mats, and never never never leave them in a car.

In honor of the start of summer, we installed a fountain in the back yard. They are not left outside during the heat of the day, but now that it's been there a few days and they've become accustomed to the sound of running water, they love it and get their drinks of water from it! Unfortunately, they also loved the impatiens surrounding it, so we may be left with just the fountain and gravel. But I guess that's ok, too.