Friday, January 30, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Well, Jenny your Shih-tzus certainly look cute and well cared for. As long as you have chosen a groomer who is contentious, patient and knowledgeable, you can groom your cuties as often as you'd like (and your pocketbook allows).
Whether your pooch enjoys a weekly, monthly or annual (gasp) appointment with a pro, YOU must brush, clean and care for your pooch as well. I'll teach you everything you need to know about this in Happy Dog: Caring For Your Dog's Body Mind and Spirit. Here's some advice to tide you over until the book's release in September.
I've broken dogs into categories that are easy to understand without an advanced degree in animal cosmetology: Hair, Multi-Length Fur, Uniform Fur and Hairless. While technically, anything growing out of a follicle is "hair," I believe that my categories will allow you to care for your dog properly and interpret what you see growing all over your pooch.
Shih-tzus, Poodles and some Doodles, Maltese, Lhasa Apsos, Cocker Spaniels and other dogs with hair-like coats (Hair Dogs) should be professionally groomed at least every 4-6 weeks. Hair dogs tend the become matted rather quickly, so frequent professional grooming in addition to brushing regularly at home will help keep a Hair Dog pretty, comfortable and healthy. (If you've eaten recently, you don't even want to think about what I've found caught in the mats of dogs...well if you do, check out the 1/15/09 The Inspection Connection entry). In addition, a Hair Dog's coat grows until it is cut so she requires an appointment with professional who can wield scissors in a skilled and safe manner. (This does not mean you wielding a pair of professional clippers.)
Dogs with coats of mixed length are what I call Multi-Length Fur Dogs. These dogs often appear to be wearing fur pants around their back ends and legs (notice I did not say blue jeans, sweat pants or any other mini-human clothing). Some also have longer fur on their tail, undercarriage or beard. Golden Retrievers, Collies, Pomeranians and many mixed breeds also fall into this category. The dead, shorter fur from these dogs usually ends up your floors, clothing and furniture. The dead, longer fur requires trimming and, if not properly brushed out of the coat by you at home, will form mats. A professional grooming every 6-12 weeks helps your Multi-Length pooch's coat stay manageable, comfortable and clean.
Just because you're a short-haired pooch, doesn't mean that you should miss out on all the fun and pampering that happens at a good grooming salon. Moreover, if you've been reading our blog, you already know that short-haired dogs require more than semi-annual grooming. (If you haven't been reading our blog, shame on you! Now is a fine time to begin -- we'll wait while you catch up.)
Dogs with fur of the same length (Uniform Fur Dogs) should visit a professional groomer every 12-16 weeks. If you have a Uniform Fur Dog, such as a Bulldog, Bully breed, Dalmatian, Pug or Beagle, you should also be brushing your pooch at least a few times a week to help remove his dead fur before it falls off the dog and all over your house. A professional grooming removes excess dead fur and pampers your Uniform Fur Dog with a deep cleaning.
Hairless dogs need professional care too. If you have a Hairless breed, such as the Chinese Crested, Peruvian Inca Orchid, Hairless Khala and Mexican Hairless, take your non-furry friend to the groomer about every 4-8 weeks. A Hairless dog requires bathing, exfoliating and a bit of moisturizer. Some Hairless dogs do have a dash of hair and that hair needs regular brushing with a small, extra gentle slicker brush. Having an experienced professional groomer care for your Hairless pooch helps you monitor his sensitive skin, which is prone to rashes and pimples.
Monday, January 26, 2009
The FDA collects the most up-to date recall data and provides packaging and labelling information that will help you identify recalled products.
If you are in doubt, don't feed your dog a treat or food made with with peanut butter until you check with the manufacturer or retailer. If your pooch has already consumed a recalled product, contact your vet immediately.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Both Billy and Jill suffered the loss of young dogs. Billy's Portie Gabriel was almost 3 when he died tragically. Gabriel had swallowed pieces of an allegedly indestructible nylon bone and he passed away a few days after the surgery to remove the resulting blockage. Jill's Miniature Poodle Filbert died during surgery to remove a growth on a toe. Filbert was only 10 and in the prime of his life.
Simmons reminds us to revel in the moment with our dogs and to be thankful for our time together, even when it's cut painfully short. Read his article and have a good cry. Then, in honor of The Dooze, grab a tennis ball and enjoy some playtime with your pooch.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
RAGS: A few years ago, Jill and a few friends joined together to find a new home for a pooch in need. A Chicago family adopted a cute little Maltese from a shelter. Although the family probably meant well, they could not properly care for the dog or devote adequate time to him. In fact, when the pooch's leg was injured, the family never even took him to the vet. One friend, Jillisa, heard about the dog and convinced the family to give him up. She called Jill, who called another friend, Stacey. Working together, the friends found the scruffy little guy a forever home with another friend who lived out of state.
RICHES: Charley's new life is full of love, pampering, good grooming and proper veterinary care. Charley's new mom Jill recently wrote us with an update: "I consider Charley a true gift of love from Stacey [one of the rescuers], because she had lost her boy Sunny at about the same time we lost our cat. Stacey could have easily kept Charley as the newest member of her family, but she gave him to us. Charley has truly enhanced my life, as I have always been afraid of dogs! Now, I can't get enough of them. I'm truly a reformed cat person."
ROBES: Charley also inspired his mom to start a new business Doggie Robes. After she whipped up a terry cloth robe for Charley, her friends encouraged her to sell them. Charley is the company model and we hear that he "is quite a ham!"
We think President Obama would be pleased to hear about Charley! Rather than doing nothing, this group of friends took action. Their willingness to help others enabled a neglected pooch find a perfect home and they enriched the lives of Charley's parents too.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
If you see Kurt, tell him to you know of a top-notch groomer.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
However, it is now plain why flying a dog in cargo is a BAD idea.
Over the years, Billy has found a wide array of items, some outrageous and some humorous, on his furry clients. Here's a short list: mats, ticks, fleas so numerous that the dog could have made a living as a travelling flea circus, ring worm, rashes, very large and very small tumors, hemorrhoids, serious allergies, dandruff, oozing eye and ear infections, puncture wounds, bites, animal feces, paint, gum, multiple burrs, sticks, and even a gaping, oozing scabby hole the size of a dime.
If that list wasn't shocking enough, not once, but twice, Billy has discovered a condom protruding from a dog’s rectum, which proves that dogs will eat anything. Imagine Billy's chagrin when he told one owner who insisted that it was a worm until Billy pointed out that the “worm” had a rim and a ribbed tip. Clearly, these dogs had been eating the trash and the owner’s spent no time inspecting their dogs.
Alas, many perfectly good dog owners never think to touch their dogs all over. A pat on the head does not count as proper affection or proper dog care. Fido can’t tell you if he’s under the weather, or even if he's uncomfortably dirty -- you have to discover the problem yourself. An inspection allows you to gather, track, monitor and assess the state of your dog’s health and cleanliness in a systematic and thorough manner. Now that you know better, you have no excuse, especially since inspections are so easy and quick to perform.
So, give your pooch the once over with your hands, eyes and nose at least once a week. Fido's eyes, however, require daily inspections. Eyes are delicate and you must clean off any eye crust that forms while Fido sleeps.
Start at the nose and work back to the tip of the tail. Part your dog's fur and look at his skin, check his paws and pads, lift his tail and look inside his ears. Be sure you check every inch of his body and every nook and cranny. The entire process takes about five to ten minutes and your dog will appreciate the attention. You can even inspect while you're cuddling -- Fido will never suspect that you're inspecting his skin while you rub his belly.
If at anytime you see, feel, smell or sense trouble brewing, call your veterinarian immediately. Your inspection may save your dog's life (and your bank account).
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Start by getting down on all fours and inspecting your house from your dog's point of view. Things certainly look different from down there. Now, remove anything dangerous or small enough to be swallowed.
Here's the ASPCA's list of common household hazards. Bet you never thought that those stray dryer sheets or even that one ibuprofen tablet that rolled under the counter were serious dangers. Indeed, child-proof prescription bottles are no match for canine jaws. Just ask Zeke.
Dog-proofing requires constant attention. When you visit other people's homes be careful too. Everyone may not be as safety conscious as you.
Monday, January 12, 2009
If you are buying your dog, it's buyer beware. Never buy a dog from a puppy mill or pet store. Last year the Oprah Winfrey Show publicized the horrors of puppy mills. Just because a pet store is "fancy," the owners are "nice," or the little tiny puppies are cute, doesn't mean that they're not supporting the deplorable puppy mill industry. Some breeders are merely puppy mills in disguise. Learn how to avoid supporting puppy mills and recognize responsible breeders.
Last night at the Golden Globes, he thanked his dogs in his acceptance speech after winning the Best Actor award for his role in The Wrestler. Mickey's a dedicated dog owner and he's often seen with one of his seven chihuahuas -- including on the red carpet.
In honor of Mickey's win, make sure you take a few minutes today to thank your pooch for all her/his unconditional love and support.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Kids who grow up with dogs and pets learn empathy, responsibility and respect for nature. For many of us, helping care for the family dog is our first experience with chores and leaning to take care of others. A child who nurtures a dog, also learns to appreciate, not fear animals and nature and takes these important lessons into adulthood. In addition, your child will have a natural exercise partner. Having Sally and Tom running around and playing with a dog sure beats having them watch TV and gorge on junk food!
Moreover, kids who grow up with pets may have stronger immune systems and may be less likely to develop allergies, asthma and other problems. Here's another relevant article.
If you can't have a dog or cat, don't fret. Get creative and figure out ways to expose the kids in your life to animals. Although not as cuddly as a dog (or even a cat), a fish is a fine introduction to animals. Alternatively, take your kids to visit homes with pets and talk about the importance of respecting nature and being kind to animals. Visit the dog park or stop someone walking a dog and ask if your child can pet the pooch. (Be sure to verify that the dog is child-friendly and teach the child to allow the dog to smell his/her hand before petting.) Read books about animals and watch movies staring our four-legged friends. Many animal welfare organizations have websites and educational programs specifically for kids, such as the ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States. The Humane Society also has a site specifically aimed at teens.
Friday, January 9, 2009
The ASPCA's Top Ten Cold Weather Tips is a must read. Likewise, the Humane Society of the United States and American Humane offer excellent winter safety information too. So take a moment and review.
If you live in or visit urban areas, winter conditions pose an electric shock risk. We mean, in addition to the obvious risk from downed power lines. Dormant utilities leak excess electricity. When you add salt-based snow and ice melting products (which actually conduct electricity) and wet street and sidewalks to the mix, walking your pooch can become dicey. Use common sense and don't let Fido relieve himself on a metal lamppost and steer clear of metal grates and man hole covers. See this ASPCA article for detailed information. If your dog ever sustains an electric shock, call your vet immediately.
Many people skip their dog’s haircut in the winter believing that a dog needs a longer, thicker coat to keep warm. Hogwash! Except for those poor dogs forced to live outside or working dogs with legitimate outdoor jobs, most modern canine pets live in a temperature controlled home and have no need for a cold weather haircut, other than aesthetics.
If you do opt for a longer winter cut, leave Fido's body only slightly longer than usual and ask your groomer to cut the legs and paws shorter so snow, ice and salt have no place to cling. In addition, be sure that your groomer makes the winter cut balanced. We don't want your best pal to resemble an ottoman on stilts.
Moreover, if Fido is cold, rather than drastically changing his haircut, just put a sweater and boots on him! It’s much easier. But please, remove any canine clothing the minute your dog is inside your nice warm home. A dog can overheat if he’s dressed in too many layers. We’ve seen way too many dogs don their sweaters on the first day of winter and wear them straight through until the first spring thaw. Not only will the dog and sweater stink, but prolonged exposure to clothing causes mats and tangles and prevents air from reaching the skin.
Now that you're in the know, go out and enjoy the winter weather with your furry friend!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
The folks at The Athletic Minded Traveler, who we know as a fact are animal people, but not dog-owners, recently aired their views on dog poop. Their complaints, which cover abandoned poop, urination and exercising dogs in inappropriate places, are worth a listen.
All dog people must do their part to keep non-dog owners and neutral people from turning to the dark side. Darth Dog Hater can be a powerful influence when someone has stepped in dog poop or finds burn marks on their lawn.
Being a canine ambassador is easy:
- Pick up your dog's poop EVERY TIME and clean up anything someone else was too lazy to deal with. Keep extra bags with you at all times and hand it to a dog owner who forgot to bring one. If the owner clearly was going to skip the pick up, hand over the bag with a smug smile and say, "Oh here, I have some extras."
- Be mindful of where your dog urinates.
- Keep your pooch on leash and out of areas where he's not welcome. In fact, never remove Fido's leash unless he's in a 100% secure area. No dog can control his squirrel-chase instinct all of the time.
Pick up after your pooch to avoid Bad Poop Karma. If you leave it, you will be the one steping in poop some other time-- it always comes back to you.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
What would you do if you were out and about and needed help getting your injured pooch to the animal hospital? You'd be hard pressed to find an ambulance willing to transport your best pal or even to come out to a trail or remote area.
Rather than complain or sue, Betsy has decided to find an answer to the problem. Check out Betsy's website, created to raise awareness and help establish emergency services and transport for injured animals.
Betsy is a fine example of someone taking action to help animals and her community. If you have any ideas, would like to talk about the issue or just want to wish Max a speedy recovery, contact Betsy.
In addition, call your local animal control agency or local animal welfare organizations to find out if your area has any emergency animal transport. A severe or life threatening injury can happen anywhere -- in the snow, in the sand, on the grass or on the sidewalk. Whether you're near home or on vacation, locate the closest veterinary or emergency veterinary facility before you go out. Likewise, carry a charged cell phone and have the local veterinary hospitals on speed dial.
Monday, January 5, 2009
We've just received an interesting, but potentially embarrassing question from a friend of a cute little white dog. We've changed the names of those involved to protect the pooch--we don't want to hurt the little guy's chances with the gals at the dog park. So let's just call him "Dog Doe."
"Puppysitter" writes: "I was recently babysitting the most adorable 1 year old dog for a couple of weeks and we encountered a small problem. This neutered pup became aroused after humping a teddy bear and his little pecker peeped out. Unfortunately, the hair down there was longer that it should have been, and got caught in the shaft, which prevented his lil lipstick from going all the way back in. It was out for a day before we realized it, and he kept licking it. It was obvious he was irritated. When we took him into the vet's office- she gave him a shot for inflammation and lubricated him to remove the hair. After trimming the area, she gently tucked the unmentionable away in its place and put him on UTI medication in case he developed an infection. We were relieved when it was all over. "Dog Doe" is happy and carefree once again.
Is there a way to prevent this beyond simply puppy-scaping?"
Dear Puppysitter, thanks for asking a delicate question and thanks for taking Dog Doe to the vet right away! If you had waited, the poor guy could have developed a severe and painful infection.
Keeping the genital area clean and tidy on male and female dogs is extremely important. This true for all dogs, although dogs with Hair (rather than Fur) need some extra attention "down there." I mean, beyond the pooch's self-cleaning ability.
The coat on Hair dogs (such as Poodles, Doodles, Porties, Shih-Tzus, Yorkies, Beardies, Maltese, and mixes) keeps growing. That means, unless the hair is cut, it will get longer and bushier and then you risk retraction problems. If the hair is left uncut, it can wrap around the penis, which makes it too big to retract. Left out, it will dry up and it has no lubrication to help the retraction process. Occasionally, you'll see a dog with longer fur have a problem, but it's rare. Moreover, unkept genitals can cause a host of other unpleasant issues, such as mats, crusty debris--we could go on, but this is a family blog.
Regardless of your dog's coat type, you must keep his genitals neat and tidy. Whether Fido has a penis or a vagina, discharge is normal unless it becomes excessive. Moreover, if a male dog isn't neutered, you'll have lots of discharge, which contributes to the retraction danger. (Yes, another reason to neuter!) Keeping the genitals clean and tidy also prevents mats from developing and debris from hiding and exposes the area to air, which as we all know is a freeing feeling.
I recommend that the genital area be trimmed short or shaved on all dogs that have a lot of hair or fur there. Please, don’t attempt to cut or shave this area yourself. This is an extremely delicate area that requires the expert hand of a professional groomer--a good groomer with a gentle and steady touch. If your dog has Hair that grows, he'll need to go in for a genital touch up about every 4-6 weeks. Otherwise, see the groomer when the fur gets long or thick.
And one more thing, Puppysitter: I recommend that you keep all your teddy bears on high shelves, especially those under age 16.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, the preeminent source for up-to-date facts and figures on everything that’s hazardous to dogs and other pets just released its list of the Top 10 Pet Poisons of 2008. Take a few minutes now to review the list and then look around your house. You may be surprised by what you find.
Now, place any and all dangerous items in securely closed cabinets and drawers or on high shelves. Dogs are often quite clever when it comes to sniffing out dangers -- they have been known to open cabinets with their noses or perform astounding feats of gymnastics to reach an interesting item. If your home also has a cat, well then, you must be extra careful. You never know when the family cat will decide to cooperate with the dog.
In September, check out our book. It includes a plethora of pithy, helpful safety information in one convenient place.
In the meantime, visit the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center and talk to your vet and local animal welfare organizations to start down the road of awareness. We want you to have every tool available to prevent a tragedy.
If Fido ever eats, drinks, inhales or comes in contact with any known or suspected poison or is just acting weird, call the veterinarian and begin first aid immediately. Don't wait for symptoms to appear--that could be too late to help. If your vet isn't available or if you have a questions, call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. The consultation usually includes a fee so have your credit card handy.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
At least 3,453,897 times a week, Billy (and now Jill) comes across someone who claims that his or her short haired dog "never needs to be brushed." Hearing this type of blasphemy is our cross to bear, but we feel truly sorry for all those dirty, furry short-haired dogs out there. Moreover, (solely for emphasis) Billy has been known to lift up the owner's pant leg and check the socks for the tell-tale fur coating. Fur covered socks are always a dead giveaway that you've been neglecting your brushing duties.