Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Grains of Rice

Grains of Rice Category: Pets and Animals

A post just reminded me of a story. In the post, the person said that they found what appeared to be grains of rice in the fur surrounding the anus of the dog. A sure sign of tapeworms.
Years ago, we were babysitting a neighbor's dog in addition to having our own. One day I went out to the yard to investigate and saw what looked like bird seed in the stools. Then it hit me - grains of rice... they must have worms! Or at least one of them did. And if one of them did, then I'd need to worm both of them to ensure that nothing was passed back and forth. So off to the vet we went with doses for both dogs. Time passed and both were doing very well - no more rice in the stools. And I was keeping a close eye - no one would suffer a bit of care while under my watch!! A week later, more grains of rice, so another dose of wormer was given. Again, it all cleared up.

Finally the boarder went home and I filled in his parents on what we had done because at this point we still didn't know whose stools had the problem. All was fine in the yard for about another month. Then one day I'm cleaning and I look out the door and there is my springer spaniel, raiding the pile of bird seed that I had set out. And the next day... rice in the stool. All that time it really had been bird seed!! And my dog sent me on a wild goose chase!

Gypsy Update

Gypsy Update Category: Pets and Animals

We just heard from Gypsy's mom. We have a water pug on our hands - go figure! She loves the water. Not ony does she super enjoy raiding the goldfish pond every once in a while, she actually (gasp) uses the bathroom in the rain!!! She is keeping them entertained with sticking her tush up in the air and barking herself backwards, burying her bones in interesting places (and actually remembering where they are!), and cuddling when they're all settled down. She is just beautiful - it's fun to watch her grow!

The honies

The honies Category: Pets and Animals

Never a dull moment - that's the motto of our lives. Springtime brings plenty of projects and it's the same in this house! But to give you an update on a few of the puppies...

We still have 3 pugs -- two males and one female -- for adoption. They are really something else. The boys are happy, healthy dogs with great attitudes toward life. They love their cuddling time and they're both pretty good on the leash. They are mostly housetrained in that they will use the doggy door to go outside when they need to. If they are in the crate or the pen the night before, they will wait for me to open it and then run outside with the others to use the bathroom. I'm very proud of them! Little Carmen, however, has an issue with the stairs on the back porch down to the ground. They are very scary. So she will sit on the top step while the others use the bathroom, wait for their return, run back inside with them and use the bathroom on my kitchen floor. If I try to pick her up and take her out, she pulls one of those expert escape moves and backs out of my reach lightning quick. She's the kind who will come up to you when you're not looking, but will dart out of reach when you go to grab her. The boys, however, revel in all the love and attention they can get and they work so hard to prove just how good they are. In the next two weeks I'll finish up some of my larger projects and in the meantime, we're going to start working on some basic commands while they're so eager to please!
Four-month old Rizzo went with me to visit family the other day and we worked on sit over there. She did very well with it! I was very proud of her! She's a little imp, always into something with that strut of hers. The other morning I was trying to wake up, but just couldn't seem to get out of bed. And I added some more furniture to the bedroom which, in the pugs eyes, made a lovely bridge over to the dresser. So as I was torn between sleep and awake, she sauntered over the bridge to the dresser and stuck her head in a partially open drawer and started pulling out unmentionables. Ugh. So I had to get up, rescue my clothes from her and get the drawers closed. Then I tried to relax again. Next thing I know she's on the dresser again and now she found the cosmetic bag and drew out a large powder brush. It was longer than she was tall, so she had to hold her head back really high to be able to halfway run back to the bed with it. Once successfully back onto the bed with her new treasure, it wasn't mean mom who took it from her. No~ it was mean Isabella. Hmph.. what to do now? One more trip to the dresser sticking her head behind the stereo resulted in hidden treasure. A crinkly bag with a cord in it! Crinkles and cords in one shot!! It was the jackpot. So she brought her grander treasure over to the bed. It was promptly stolen by Isabelle, but at least Rizzo got her powder brush back! Life was good till I gave up on sleeping and took all their toys away.

The females are all working their way into heat again. Tiki is in full blown heat and Cooter is beside himself. He has been known to open crates from both the inside and the outside, so we had Tiki in a crate where the bars have the little hooks on them. Still didn't stop him. I came in from working on the yard just as the door swung open and Tiki was leaping out. I caught her in my arms and put her back in, put a blanket over the crate and put Cooter in another crate. Sheesh! That boy is good! Might as well rename him Houdini!

Daisy is in heat again and has decided that Gator is the man for her. He's more than willing to oblige, but I have bad news for both of them - ain't happenin. And I remind myself that this is just the beginning.... so glad we already had Petunia spayed!! No matter how many black females we could have sold if we bred her one more time!!

The only mating we might consider is Mariah and Gator (the french bulldogs) and we're currently in contact with his breeder to check into that option.

Speaking of Mariah, she had an issue with her harness. Evidently, the price tag was torn off, but the little bit of plastic didn't come off with it and was irritating her where it poked her skin. She started rolling in the back yard to scratch herself, but I didn't realize what was going on. But she would roll and roll more frequently. Then I took her over to Mom's house to work on something and she finally got her point across. She got her motor going in the kitchen, took off at top speed and when she hit the doorway from the kitchen to the living room, she flipped over onto her back and slid 3 feet. She had Mom very impressed with her slip n slide skills on the carpet. Then I finally figured out something might be bothering her and that's when I found the plastic piece.

Now that the plastic piece has been cut off, she still enjoys her occasional roll in the dirt. But at a much more relaxed pace. She finds the longest patch of dirt in the yard, lays on her back and scootches the entire stretch on her back. When she rights herself, she looks like she has a monk's haircut of brown dirt. Then she sniffs and finds just the perfect spot, and then scootches along her belly, swimming in the dirt. Once completely covered with this precious substance, she shakes it all out, looking like pig pen. I guess it could be worse - she hasn't rolled in anything that smells nasty!!

What is really in dog food?

What is really in dog food? Category: Pets and Animals
This lawsuit filed against many of the major pet food manufacturer companies out there ought to be required reading for anyone owning a dog or cat or anyone thinking about getting one. What are you really feeding your dog or cat? When the raw products, which have very little nutritional benefit to begin with, go through the rendering process at high temperatures which destroys what little good they had to offer, then what is the benefit? When traces of phenobarbitol and anti-biotics are found present in the meat after being processed, how can they deny that there are sick and diseased animals being put back into the pet food?
The major brands of pet food have been purchased by major companies as a dumping ground for their waste products in a money-making agreement to please every shareholder.
And here is a news report on the subject:
Add to it that cyanuric acid was found in a randomly sampled bag of Iams large breed food and there are other foods causing illnesses which have not yet been recalled:
For those who are still intent on feeding dry dog food after reading these links, then the only ones I can recommend would be those among the Whole Dog Journal's list of better options. And at this particular point in time without further research, the only food I would feel comfortable buying for any long-term feeding would be Flint River Ranch dog food.
For now, we're very happy with our decision to switch to raw and the dogs are happy and healthy!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Warning - spread of a contagious virus

Warning - rapid spread of contagious virus

Hot on the heels of the pet food recall comes a virus that is kicking canine butts all across the US. This highly contagious virus is affecting whole households and in some cases, whole neighborhoods, at a time and apparently does not require physical contact nor contact with feces or urine.

So far it has been seen in Texas, Iowa, Missouri and New Jersey that we know of through communication on one board, only.

The beginning stages are a reluctance to eat. This is usually followed by vomiting, diarrhea or both. Most cases have an elevated temperature (102-103). Dehydration is quick. Vets are having problems diagnosing - at first it appears to be a poisoning or salmonella related. In many cases they are prescribing anti-biotics either as a precautionary measure or against the secondary infections that have been seen, especially upper respiratory infections. IV treatments or sub-cu treatments have also been used to deal with the dehydration. Puppies and seniors are especially at risk. Once the worst has passed (1- 5 days), there are some residual problems getting the dogs to eat and put the weight back on (2-4 weeks).

If you have a high risk dog or your dog is showing signs of dehydration, get it to a vet right away for proper treatement. Conventional treatment includes IV's or sub-cutaneous fluid injection. They might also prescribe anti-biotics for secondary issues or URI.

For myself, I will have on hand plenty of Parvaid (for many symptoms, but especially the diarrhea and vomiting) and Vibactra Plus (an anti-biotic and anti-viral) which should not only deal quite effectively with the symptoms, but should also serve as a preventative measure. Another good item to have on reserve is colloidal silver which deals with problems that are bacterial, viral or fungal in nature. I also have Willard Water which should help combat dehydration more effectively. I will also be calling my veterinarians to notify them of this illness in case it spreads to this area. Warning, do not use the Vibactra Plus at the same time as a vet-prescribed anti-biotic. And the same for any intestinal illness, be sure to follow up with probiotics to restore the natural balance of good bacteria in the system.

And the general wish for those who have had it to those who haven't, "I hope this is something you never have to deal with."

Friday, May 18, 2007

California Proposed Spay/Neuter Bill

CA Healthy Pet Act, AB 1634 Category: Pets and Animals

Elected representatives have a duty to evaluate legislation for the benefit of the people they represent and to the government they serve. And to do the most good with the money that is entrusted to them. It continues to amaze me when I see poorly written legislation such as the CA Healthy Pet Act, AB 1634 and the current Senate Bill S. 1082 which would adversely effect dietary supplement and natural remedies (

In an effort to educate the people of California, as well as the rest of the nation, this site points out problems with the California legislation.

There has been a massive influx of response to the officials, and the overwhelming majority are against the proposed legislation, but they still seem reluctant to believe that the masses of people could be right! If you are in California, it would be to your benefit to contact your representative. If snail mail is the preferred method of communication, try to use a postcard or fax instead of an enclosed letter which might have to undergo screening before arriving to its recipient.

The National Animal Interest Alliance has a 12-page article posted on their website outlining both the benefits and the associated risks with early alterations. There is a wealth of information on the subject to be found online, not just in conjunction with this bill and I would encourage people to do research before determining when they prefer to alter their pets. Obviously, we encourage spaying and neutering and animal population control, but the timing should be made to the animal's benefit, and according to the ultimate purpose of the animal. Not because legislation is micro-managing owner decisions.

If this legislation passes in California, I'll be very disappointed in the leaders of that state and their inability to truly evaluate all aspects of the decisions they make. Let's just hope that the leaders of the other 49 states are a little smarter...

Tick Season

Thursday, May 17, 2007
Tick Season Category: Pets and Animals

Does anyone out there have a tick for a friend? Anyone out there feeling a special little something for the little guys? I suppose they have to have a friend somewhere, and as kind as I am to the insect world, I haven't found my common ground with ticks. Fortunately I haven't had to deal with them for a very long time.

As a child, my father worked a Christmas tree farm seasonaly. He would grab some kids, take them out to the field, trim the trees in the summer and harvest them at Christmas. So twice a year we would go through "the routine." After coming home, mom would make them remove their outer clothes to a certain designated area, then father and son would have to sit in front of her while she ensured there were no ticks in their hair, then they would check the rest, shower, clean the clothes and the house was safe from these fearsome intruders. I was a mere observer in the process, but learned that ticks were horrible creatures. So one day when I was about 9, I was standing in the house, looked down, and there was a tick ON MY LEG!! I screamed and was immobile. I couldn't even run to my parents, the fear was so great! My brother ran down the stairs, asked what was wrong and in the "it's no big deal" gesture that a big brother can make, he swooped the tick off my leg and it met with swift justice. In our house, a tick wasn't dead unless it was burned with the edge of a match because they can grow back from the head.
Fast forward to being a young adult, newly married, with a wonderful pet-of-a-lifetime. I wanted to train her to become a search and rescue dog. In the area where we trained, there were many ticks, and many different kinds of ticks. The first trip out, there were 2 ticks on her I had to find and remove. The second trip, 5. But the third trip out did me in. Not only did I find and remove 12 ticks of all different shapes and sizes (not to mention the burs and foxtails), but then when I went to the bathroom to get a shower, I found one of them on me. It was on my arm, just under the edge of my t-shirt sleeve, hidden from view till I was in the bathroom. In the years that had passed, I had learned a few tricks. I now knew that putting a salve over them such as Vaseline would prevent air flow and they would remove their head in order to get to the air source. Of course, I couldn't find any. On to plan B - pouring isopropyl alcohol over them will cause them to pull out their head for safe removal. I awkwardly positioned my arm over the sink and began to pour. I poured on and off, rechecking the tick with no apparent change in movement. I was beginning to stress. Then I paused to think maybe it's head wasn't imbedded after all and it wouldn't hurt to try to tweeze it off. Success!! The tick pulled away quite easily in my tweezers, but now here I was with a tick and no matches. Of course, it cannot be flushed because urban legend has them crawling back up the pipes and adhering to places even harder to see. So I walk through the house, tick in tweezers, searching for a match. They have an amazing ability to squish their innards around to where they can escape tweezers. That sucker got away from me 3 times on my search. Finally I am back over the sink in the bathroom, match in hand, tick back in the tweezers and I've worked up a good and angry state of mind. I was supremely focused that this tick was not going to get away from me again! So I lit the match and POOF... the alcohol still in the basin of the sink whooshed up and singed my eyebrows and bangs. In the process, I had jumped back, flinging the tweezers with the tick to some corner of the bathroom. I spent the next 20 min on my hands and knees searching for the tick, afraid it was going to crawl in my bed at night if I didn't. Finally, behind the toilet, there was the scorched and quite dead tick.

We didn't do any more search and rescue after that.

Since then I've grown, and I think I could handle pulling off a tick without averting my head and closing my eyes. But I'd still rather not deal with them if I don't have to. We have been changing to a natural form of life for the dogs as much as possible and haven't had to use any flea/tick products yet this spring. Instead, I have diatomaceous earth and natural oils on standby when they're needed.

Just as important as trying to repel the fleas and ticks is the knowledge of the symptoms of tick-borne illnesses. These illnesses are often tricky to diagnose and when a dog has contracted one and it is usually up to the owner to track down the cause with determination to try to combat it. Here are a few pages to keep in on hand:

One of the biggest signs is the dog become quickly and mysteriously achy. Here is another list of some of the early symptoms:
low platelet counts
swollen lymph nodes
photosensitive eyes
discharge from the eyes
lameness, joint pain and swelling
recurrent diarrhea
vomiting bile
unexplained weight loss and/or loss of muscle mass
increased water consumption

Keep in mind that chronic conditions also develop when left untreated. Please see the above sites for more information.

May your summer be fun and tick-free!!

May is National Pet Month

May is National Pet Month Category: Pets and Animals
Someone just passed along a receipt to me from KMart that shows that in honor National Pet Month, KMart is celebrating by supporting pets and their owners. If someone adopts a dog from a local animal shelter between April 29th and May 26th, they will receive a FREE 1-month supply of Pedigree dry dog food from KMart. See store associate for details.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Planet Dog

Monday, May 14, 2007
Planet Dog Category: Pets and Animals

Thanks to part of our extended family of dog lovers, we learned about these absolutely wonderful chew bones made for puppies (orbee-tuff bones). They're perfect for pug puppies and we'd recommend them to anyone bringing home a new little one!

Then at a dog show, I met a distributor who was selling other Planet Dog items, including these wonderfully soft, yet strong, hemp and fleece harnesses. They also explained that a portion of the sales go to promote programs for and about dogs.

Now that I've had a minute to sit down and take a peek around their website, I'm very impressed. They have funds set aside for grants and have helped sponsor programs such as at-risk youth learning to work with dogs, the prison program where inmates do basic training on shelter dogs to help them find a home. And then there's one I really enjoyed reading about...
Because we raise small dogs, we see many people who don't have the room or the energy to deal with large breed dogs. It's true that they require more in some ways, but I truly love large breed dogs. So I loved this particular grant that I read about on Planet Dog's Grantees Page. The Service Dog Project in Massachusetts trains large breed "balance" dogs to help aid people with mobility issues such as Parkinson's, MS, and stroke recoveries. That sounds absolutely fabulous! Not only do they get help with balance and recovery, but they get the loving therapy of a wonderful, large breed dog.

There are a lot of good things happening out there in the world! :)

Carmen the booster signal

Friday, May 11, 2007
Carmen the booster signal Category: Pets and Animals

After little Makai went to his new home, Carmen was kind of lost for the day. she had other puppies and adults to play with, and still had mom, but it wasn't the same. You could tell she missed her littermates, being the only one left. But she soon enough found other things to occupy her puggy days and new ways to play with the others. Although the german shepherd, Jaeger, spent most of his time outside, she somehow became very attached to him. She would communicate with him through the wires when he was crated and took a liking to him, even though he was Goliath compared to her tiny body.

Spending most of his time in the back yard, Jaeger still found lots to do and lots to say. One day he gathered all the loose items in the yard and on the deck and arranged them in a circle. When those objects weren't enough, he disassembled my water fountain and put the pieces parts into his circle. Evidently that still wasn't enough, so he chewed the hose up and added it to his collection. That satisfied him, but when we replaced the hose with a new one, it became a personal challenge. So he tugged on the new hose till he broke a water line in the basement. That's when Jaeger became restricted to the kennel until he returned to his permanent home.
From his kennel, he told us when the pugs were playing, when they were flirting and when someone was walking by the alley. He had a lot to say. Carmen felt the need to repeat everything he said because obviously anything Jaeger said was very important. She was like a little booster signal in the living room. Jaeger barked, Carmen barked. Jaeger yipped, Carmen yipped. Jaeger howled, Carmen tried really hard to howl. If only we understood dog talk, we'd have a play by play of whatever trouble was going on at any given time :)

Vaccinations & Microchipping

Thursday, May 10, 2007
Vaccinations & microchipping Category: Pets and Animals

Dr. Jean Dodds has been a leader in veterinary medicine for years. She is an expert in several areas and has done her best to modify vaccination protocols. She has successfully broken through the barriers several times with governments and veterinary universities, but now she's taking on the whole establishment concerning rabies vaccinations. Thank goodness someone is doing what they can to get the legislation changed. Rabies vaccinations are so hard on our animals and she's moving to provide scientific evidence acceptable to the US government to prove that the immunity properties of the shots last 7 years so that we can avoid the side effects many dogs and cats are experiencing with over-vaccination. To hear a recent interview with her, check this out:

During the interview, she also mentions microchips. I'm an avid microchipper (pardon the pun). I had heard rumors that microchips were being associated with cancerous tumors, but figured it was like so many other things in life - if the dog is ill, then it's the weak link that gets attacked. However, after listening to Dr. Dodds in the interview above, I have to sit up and take notice that the microchips themselves might be causing an issue in our animals. For now, I'd highly recommend listening to the broadcast and monitoring your pets for lumps.

In the meantime, I ran across one more article that brings up some interesting reasons not to microchip. If you've been keeping up with pet news, you'll know that California is currently trying to pass some absolutely ridiculous legislation that will force all owners to spay/neuter their animals. There are some exclusions that even well established show kennels would be hard-pressed to meet (including that the pups must be entered into shows by the age of 3 months in order to be excluded, but the minimum age for show entry is 6 months). If this poorly written legislation actually passes, I will lose so much respect for California and legislators in general. Back to microchipping, if the legislation does pass, and you've registered your animal with the microchip companies, then they can use this information to find you and enforce early alterations. Very Big Brother! Check it out in the blog posting titled Outsourcing Pet Owner Privacy for Profit:

Say my name?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Say my name? Category: Pets and Animals
I'm the positive reinforcer at the house and Tony is the expert at negative reinforcement. Let's just go back to the early days. When I would pick up my keys, someone was usually going to get to go for a ride, so they would all sit at my feet and stare up at me hopefully with their best "I'll be a good dog" look. However, Tony was pretty adamant that everyone was going to be locked up when he left for work. Instead of training them that being in the crates while at work was a rewarding experience, he would just grab them, toss them in crates and leave. No treats, no special words of praise. So when Tony would grab his keys to leave for work, they'd all scatter and get under whatever piece of furniture they could make it to. It was particularly amusing to watch the scattered reactions when we both picked up our keys at the same time. The particularly brave would be at my feet hoping I'd pick them up before they got snatched and crated.
Things changed and I'm with them all now, so we've worked on conditioning and they're fine in their crates when I put them in. Some are even relieved to have a good time for a decent nap. But they still look at Tony suspiciously from time to time, even though they like sitting with him and playing with him.
I went away to the show this weekend and couldn't take my buddies with me. Tony was trying his best to take good care of everyone and was frustrated that when he'd call them, Daisy and Petunia would hide. Under the desk, under the bed, wherever they could go if he said their names. These being the same dogs who are always trying to get up on the sofa with him. He was just trying to feed them or let them out. He said he finally realized it was his voice using their names that had them suspiscious. If he just tossed food into a crate, or opened the door with a general call to go outside, they'd trot right along and do what they were supposed to do. But Lordy don't say their names!!

Anderson, South Carolina Show

Monday, May 07, 2007
Anderson, South Carolina Show Category: Pets and Animals
I went with my handler to a show this weekend and it was soooooo cool! I FINALLY got to see how a pug and frenchie are groomed from start to finish. The conditions were lousy - they had us set up in an open air cattle barn with sawdust everywhere, on top of red clay which got wet during the monsoon that poured down. I was covered with red clay from head to toe. It was interesting how many alternative solutions people came up with to keep their dogs clean! And some of the things people wore into the ring had me wondering if their nice clothes had suffered some tragic fate during the bad weather. So I learned about setting up, tearing down, grooming, and schedules. Remember I've only had one dog at a time and one ring to worry about I learned about politics (the same woman who complained to another person last month about their dog running up on hers intentionally let her dog run up on my handler's puppy's rear and got him all bent out of shape.). I met the coolest man from Germany who had us cracking up about his stud dog being a stud dog while being examined and they couldn't get his thingy back in even during the photo shoot, so he had to photoshop it out.But the kicker was this rep from Isle of the Dogs grooming products. She was a hoot. Said that one day she was helping a friend with her products for sale, including sqeaky toys and those little lights that hang on the collars and flash as you're walking your dogs at night. Well, it was getting close to ringtime for her, so she dumped her arms full of products, grabbed her dog, and ran to the ring. Ringside, her dog leaned down and drank out of a woman's iced tea and she was embarassed, offered to buy her some new tea, and the woman politely refused. So they're changing over for the next set of people and the woman with the iced tea turns out to be her JUDGE. So then she's trotting around the ring and realizes she has a flashing light still attached to her belt loop and tries to subtley reach over and turn it off. As she's stacking the dog on the table in front of the judge, the judge says in a very prim and cool voice, "do you realize that you have a sqeeze me sticker on your left breast?" It must have rubbed off of the squeaky toys. Needless to say, she got 3rd out of 3 dogs. But she made us feel better about our day - lol. I told her she should have said, "well, I was expecting a male judge." hahahaha ... crazy.
We came out of the weekend with Vincent getting some nice points. He was stunning and stately. And he's such a good boy with a sweet spirit. He was my buddy this weekend. And we met an awesome lady who has been working with and breeding frenchies for 27 years and knows a lot about health in general. She's going to run a saliva test on Gator and we're going to get a plan together!! It was good to see my little man again after so long. He got to come home with me. And Mushu got to go on the trip this weekend, too. He handled it all like a champ, a tribute to Daisy's even-tempered nature.

Puppy Intensive Care Book

Puppy Intensive Care Book Category: Pets and Animals
Just read a wonderful book by Mrya Savant-Harris, R.N. The book is called Puppy Intensive Care, a Breeder's Guide to Care of Newborn Puppies. It's really wonderful and covers the worst-case scenarios that new breeders fear the most. I learned a few new things in the book and am impressed with the information she lays out. This book is geared toward emergency care of newborn pups, how to handle situations at the beginning and doesn't cover anything like puppy development exercises or socialization, but that's ok. It's for a specific purpose and I'd recommend it to anyone who is planning a litter and wants expert advice. It even comes with a video that shows, among other things, how to tube feed. I haven't watched it yet, but will soon!