Monday, November 3, 2014

Foods and Plants that will Make Your Dog Sick

During the holidays, there are things that decorate the house and things that people eat that dogs should not eat.  Here are just a few health and safety tips.

  • High-fat holiday foods that people enjoy can make some of animals sick.  Fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis in pets, just like it can in people, and perhaps easier in smaller dogs. This is a very serious illness, get and can mean staying in the animal hospital.

  • Chocolate, coffee and tea contain something that causes cardiac problems and problems with the nervous system in pets, which can lead to seizures and gastro-intestinal upset.  Dark chocolate is even worse than regular chocolate, which is bad as it is.

  • If you have a party and serve alcohol, be sure that pets don't get tempted to finish off the glasses, that can be fatal, every year hundreds of dogs die from alcohol poisoning.

  • The pretty plant, Holly, causes digestive upset in dogs and cats.

  • Mistletoe causes heart problems and digestive upset

  • Poinsettias cause blisters in the mouth and digestive upset

  • Secure your tree if you have a cat, especially if it's your first Christmas with the cat and you don't know their habits.  They will sometimes climb the tree, and knock ornaments off the tree to play with.

  • Cats might swallow tree tinsel, ribbon and other things that can cause obstructions inside that might require surgery.

  • Don't have batteries lying around or other little things that your dog might chew on and make them very sick because of the toxins inside.

  • Macadamia nuts are not good for pets, they can affect the nervous and digestive system.

  • Potpourri, the wonderful smell comes from oils, and those oils can be toxic to pets.
  •   Xylitol which is in everything from gum, to candy, to toothpaste and more is very poisonous to dogs.
  •  DON'T GIVE PETS AS GIFTS unless you have planned well ahead for many pets end up in shelters or out on the streets because the family isn't prepared and gets tired of them, and that's just plain mean and sad.

A lot of these tips came from a vet in a town not far from here, his site is

Image: Pixabay

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Are Elderly People Good Pet Owners?

I remember when my grandparents decided it would not be wise to have any more pet dogs.  My grandfather had dogs as far back as I can remember, but when Penny, the last dog they owned, passed away, they figured that they wouldn't be around long enough to get another dog.

That's a sobering thought, but as the years go by, and I get older myself, I understand the importance of this kind of thinking.

Not long ago there was a Senior dog available at our animal shelter, in fact this happens quite frequently, and a Senior adopted the dog, the two will be great companions as they share good times in the later years of life.

As for my grandfather, little did he know that he was going to live many, many more years, until he was 97.

But this is a decision that every pet lover and owner will have to face one day, and we have an article that may help you a bit as you consider this question for yourself, or someone you here for the article.

There is a great need for adopting senior dogs, maybe this is something you feel drawn to do, no matter what age you are. I am back to update this post with a great article on the subject, "Adopting an Older Dog". 

Updated 2/27/17

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Silly Questions Only a Dog Would Ask

I received a funny email from a friend a while back that made me look at life from the point of view of a dog. I thought I'd share some of the things in the email just for fun this Labor Day weekend Sunday. I hope that you are having a good weekend, it's a bit cloudy and muggy here, but we are enjoying it anyway. 

Here are some silly questions a dog might ask:
Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?

Why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not ONE named for a dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around? We do love a nice ride! Would it be so hard to rename the "Chrysler Eagle" the "Chrysler Beagle"?

If a dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad dog?

We dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent ID's, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths. What do humans understand?

More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.

And here is a list of things a GOOD dog must remember that was also in the email:
  1. The sofa is not a 'face towel'.

  2. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.

  3. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on the toilet.

  4. I don't need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm under the coffee table.

  5. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the he house - not after.

  6. I will not sit in the middle of the living room and do any inappropriate licking in front of guests.

  7. The cat is not a 'squeaky toy' so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it's usually not a good thing.

Yorkie owners may enjoy a bit more humor, click the image for more information:

Oh, and we'd also like to invite you to visit a friend's doggie blog that goes by the name "Dog Pawsitive Tidbits".

We hope the silly little list above has given you a smile, and do wish you a very happy Labor Day weekend!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

When You Have to Find Your Pet a New Home

Giving up your pet is a heart-wrenching experience. If you find yourself in this position, don’t rush to action. Before making a final decision, evaluate your situation. Are you thinking of giving your pet up because of his behavior issues or destructive tendencies? These traits can be corrected with proper training. Here are links to a few posts related to training that may help you:

Biting Dogs and How to Stop Them 
Housebreaking and Training 
Training Your New Pet to Sit, Stay and Come 
If your dog or cat is having incontinence problems, a trip to the vet may reveal an underlying treatable medical issue. A busy schedule that doesn't leave you much time to pay attention to your pet may be balanced by taking her to daycare.

But sometimes a severe illness or other life-altering situation makes you unable to care for your beloved companion animal. Or sometimes a loved one dies, such as a parent, and leaves a pet behind you are unable to take in. If you must find a new home for a pet, follow these tips.

Get Your Pet Ready

Before re-homing your pet, make sure that all of his vaccinations and other health checkups are up to date. Spaying or neutering is also a must if you haven't had this done already. Get your pet a bath and a grooming session if necessary. Now is also the time to work out any behavior issues that your pet might have.

Put the Word Out

You might not have to look very far to find a new home for your pet. A trusted friend or family member may be more than happy to take him in. Start by asking people you know before broadening your search. And have your friends and associates pass the word along to their trusted friends and family members who may be looking for a pet.

Taking your pet out to meet people is another great way to find potential adopters and for you to evaluate the potential new owner. People love to interact with animals, especially dogs, so bring your pet to the park, go on long walks and seek out adoption events that will let you bring your pet. Also check with your veterinarian’s office to see if they have a community bulletin board suitable for this posting.

Be Discerning

Have a list of questions ready to ask people who show interest in your pet. Make sure that they understand the level of care involved and know what to expect during your pet's transition period. Check references and visit the homes of those who appear suitable. When you find the right place, you'll know. 

Personally I would not sell or give away a pet through a site like Craigslist or Facebook, there is too much potential for problems. You want to have a way to know the new owners background. A shelter or rescue service will do this work before placing a dog in a home.

Shelters and Dog Rescues

If for some reason you can't find a suitable home talk to your vet about local humane agencies with good reputations. Visit the shelters that you're considering, meet the staff and ask questions to make sure that you pet will get enough attention and the proper level of care. 

Updated 2/27/17

Monday, June 9, 2014

Puppies Behind Bars are Trained to Help in Many Ways

I care about all kinds of people, including people in prison. Hubby and I are involved in a prison ministry, but not the one I'm about to tell you about.  Some time ago I watched a program about an organization called "Puppies Behind Bars", and at the time there was also an article in a local paper, so I decided to visit the website.

It is amazing how much it means to people in prison to be able to be part of doing something good.  Through this program they are training puppies so many things, like training inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans, people with various needs and disabilities, to detect explosives, and more. So they are trained to help in the home, in homeland security or law enforcement.  If you would like to learn more, visit the Puppies Behind Bars.

If you know more about this, are part of this organization, or are being helped by a dog that has been through the program, I'd love to hear from you, please share in a comment, and thank you for what you are doing.

Updated 2/27/17

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Dog Breeds Most Likely to Suffer Bloat or Gastric Torsion Symptoms

"Bloat" or your veterinarian might call it "Gastric Torsion" can be a very serious and scary condition. If it isn't treated early, it can be life-threatening.

When the condition is present, the stomach in the dogs digestive system twists in a way that makes it hard for food to to move through, and it becomes bloated because of the food decay, and ultimately, unfortunately, can lead to death.

This is a condition that larger dogs are inclined to get. If you own one of the following breeds, you may want to learn more about this so you can prevent it:

  1. Big sized Poodle

  2. Labrador Retriever

  3. Saint Bernard

  4. Gordon Setter

  5. Great Dane

  6. Doberman Pinscher

  7. English Sheepdog

  8. Irish Setter

It is large dogs with large chest cavities that are more inclined to suffer from this condition.

What are some of the symptoms?

  1. Drooling more than usual

  2. Signs of pain in the abdomen

  3. Trying to vomit, but not producing anything or producing foamy mucous material

  4. Not wanting to play like usual, lying around curled up instead.

  5. Later when the stomach becomes more bloated, more discomfort and more danger

  6. Hard abdomen to the touch where it is usually soft to the touch
Dogs vomit for many reasons, even small dogs can spit up foamy yellow "stuff" which isn't uncommon, especially in the morning before eating because their stomachs are empty, and bigger dogs who play outside and aren't watched are good at finding things to eat that make them sick.  But if you suspect something more, it is ALWAYS best to have your pet checked by your veterinarian.  It may not be as serious as you think, but if it is, at least you will have support and guidance from your Vet.

Treatment:  Very basically, releasing the dangerous pressure and surgery are usually the treatment for this.  Do a search on this condition, you can use the search feature on this site if you wish, to find more information about this condition on the web.

Prevention:  Sometimes you can prevent this by not feeding one large meal a day, but feeding a few smaller meals...when you eat your three meals, give your dog a 3rd of what he/she should eat in a day, too.

When you change to a new food, it is ALWAYS a good idea to do it gradually for many reasons, mixing new food with old and gradually changing over.  Are you buying a dog?  See if any of it's "ancestors" have had the condition.

Updated 2/27/17

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Clipping a Dogs Nails Without Causing Bleeding and Pain

There was no way in Aspen's lifetime that she ever was well behaved during a nail clipping. And Happy, our Pom also has had to learn to cooperate with nail clipping.  My husband would hold Aspen firmly against him as I clipped, until she finally would let me clip them in older years because she wasn't as strong as she used to be.  It is good to learn how to do this properly, or you can get very frustrated as a pet owner, and your pet could be injured if you clip the nails beyond the vein that is in the nail.  Here is an article that you might find helpful. 

Improving a Dog’s Response to Nail Clipping Using Paws-itive Conditioning

By: Sandy Tuniewicz

The purpose of this document is to teach the dog owner specific methods of conditioning a dog to enjoy clipping of the nails.


Some pets accept nail trimming without much fuss, but others will not tolerate it at all. This document addresses some methods of modifying the anti-clipping behavior of the dog through training and conditioning.


Use a clicker or a special word as a marker to show the dog when it is doing the right thing. The marker is a bridge between the behavior and the food/treat. In this example we’ll use the word “YES” as the marker.


• Keep the dog’s interest during conditioning sessions by varying the food treats so the dog never knows what he’s getting.
• Have several different treats each session.


You can condition your dog as follows:

1. Touch the dog’s toe. If the dog doesn’t pull away, say “Yes,” and give him a yummy food treat. If the dog does pull away, try again only touching the floor in front of the toe first, then touching the toe. Note: Yummy food treat means steak, chicken, string cheese, ham or some other special treat that has a high value to your dog and that your dog does not every day. The treats should be in tiny pieces, about the size of a pinky nail.

2. Repeat this process for all front and back toes.

3. Once you can touch his front and back toes, put a little pressure on the nail like you would if you were clipping them. If the dog doesn’t pull away, say “Yes,” and give him a yummy food treat. If the dog does pull away, go back to just touching the dog’s toes, and progressing until you can put a little pressure on the nail.

4. Repeat this process for all toes.

5. Put the toe nail clippers in front of the toe. If the dog doesn’t pull away, say “Yes,” and give him a yummy food treat. If the dog does pull away, go back to just putting a little pressure on the nail, and progressing to putting the nail clippers in front of the toe.

6. Repeat this for all toes.

7. Once you’ve accomplished the above, try clipping one toe nail. Note: Starting with the back nails can work well.

8. Clip one nail per day, just taking off a little bit.

• Sessions should be short.
• Quit while you are ahead.
• Train no more than 5 minutes per session and several sessions per day.


Linda Caplan is/was a trainer, professional handler and Weimaraner breeder and has been in the dog fancy for 28 years. Sandy Tuniewicz is a technical writer, Pet Consultant, and the recipient of the 2005 Ulti-Mutt Sales award and the 2005 Dream Team Leader award from Shure Pets, the premier direct seller of pet products.  

(March 2013 update: Sandy's site is no longer available, or has moved...February 2017 update: I found Linda online and have linked her name to a site that shared information about her.)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Is Your Dog Showing Symptoms of an Ear Infection?

Dogs get many of the same ailments that humans do, including ear infections.  A dog will not be able to tell you that he/she has an ear infection, so if they exhibit signs of discomfort, such as pawing gently at the ear, snapping at you when usually even tempered, and not wanting to do the usual things they enjoy, you may need to take them to the vet for an evaluation. 

If you visit this link to an article about dog ear infections, you'll find some helpful information, you'll also find it listed under "pages" to the right. If you have any comments to make, come back here after you read the article, I don't think there's a place to make comments on the pages.

We hope that your dog is being kept warm during the cold months if you are living in a cold climate like we are.  There have been some extra cold days this year.

Updated 2/27/17 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Still A Popular Blog and Thoughts on Getting a New Dog

In spite of the passing of Aspen in August, something that I don't think I'll ever quite get over, though the pain isn't as acute as it used to be, this blog remains one of my most popular.  

As the new year came about, I reviewed each of my blogs, deciding which I am going to let go, and which I am going to keep.  Though tears may come to my eyes each time I see Aspen's face looking back at me in the header of the blog, this one will remain.

I have felt the pull to get a new dog, but am still struggling with the whole thing.  I guess until I "meet" the right dog and feel confident in the decision, the time is not right.  

Careful consideration should always be made when bringing a dog into the home, as you do not want to hurt the dog's feelings...and they do have giving them up if things don't work out as you had hoped.  

So, I wish you a happy New Year, we will see what it brings, and I'll keep bringing you articles to help in the care of your pets.

Related Posts:

Grieving a Lost Pet
Saying Goodbye to Aspen  

Updated 2/27/17