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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do you have a 'ruff' time giving your dog a pill?

     Some dogs will gulp down anything you hold out in your hand that they think is even remotely something to eat.  Others have to sniff it, maybe lick it, and then if they're lucky, they can turn and walk away to their hidey place.
     Most of us have to give our dogs medicine in the form of a pill sometimes.  In the summer months, most veterinarians will recommend a heart worm preventative pill be taken once a month.  Heart worms go through several stages of development, and are spread by mosquitoes that bite an infected animal, then bite your precious pet, thereby spreading the worms where they grow inside your dog.  Here in Texas, it is best to simply plan keeping your dog on heart worm preventative all year.  All we need is a warm spell in December with a rain, and mosquitoes come out in full force.  But unfortunately not all dogs enjoy taking their pills.
     As I've said before, I have a kennel with a number of Miniature Dachshunds (I'll save the shameless plug for later).  Most of them think I've brought them a piece of candy when I offer their tiny little heart worm pill.  Others, however, look at me like I have just called them a bad name.
     There are a few different ways to administer the pill if you meet resistance, and it needn't be traumatic for either of you.  My dogs know what to expect, and don't resist at all.  But this is my technique for them:   Place your hand over the top of his muzzle and with your thumb on one side, fingers on the other side, push his lips against his teeth until he opens his mouth wide.  Drop the pill as far back into his mouth as possible; if it lands closer out on his tongue, you may need to push it a little further to the back of his throat.  Then allow him to close his mouth, but hold it shut and blow into his face and nostrils to make him swallow.  I also rub their throat to encourage swallowing.  This may sound complicated, but it is really very easy.  And for the dog who can discover a pill inside any kind of treat you may try to hide it in, it is good to know.
     Speaking of treats.  Many people have good luck giving their dog a pill by burying it inside a dab of peanut butter.  Peanut butter is sticky, but they love it, and will work it all around in their mouth, trying to get every tiny taste.  This is usually better than wrapping inside a piece of bread or cheese; my experience with that is that they roll it around in their mouth, and spit out the pill, wag their tail and look at you for another piece of cheese!
     If your dog is talented enough to catch treats that are tossed to him, and he usually just gulps them down, you might be able to wrap the pill in a treat and toss it to him with no problem.  I would toss a couple of treats first, then toss the loaded one. 
     Many types of pills, vitamins, Canine aspirin and these sorts of things are made with tasty ingredients that dogs usually are happy to take, and want more.  However, for those hard cases, I hope I've bee able to give you a few ideas here to help next time you have Ole Blue pinned down on the floor, with a plunger, trying to get a pill down his throat!
     The picture shown here are just a few things I keep on hand; Canine Aspirin is nice to have if you have an old dog like Sissy.  She's a 9 year old Lab mix who is pretty stiff in her joints, and sometimes she's in pain if she has walked a lot or tried to run. 
     If you have questions or comments, please leave them and I'll get back to you very soon.  If I don't know the answer, I know a good old Texas A&M Vet who does, and I will find out and let you know.  Please go up to the top of the page, and click to "follow" my blog.  And pass it on to others dog lovers you might know.  And now for the shameless plug:  www.dogwooddachshunds.com.  As always, thanks for stopping by, and . . . .
                                  Happy Tails, Everyone!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thinking of traveling with your dog? Or is boarding an option?

     In families that include dogs, there is always the question of where do they go while you go on vacation or any other trip that is overnight or even several days?  Many people have very strong feelings, pro and con, about leaving their dog at a boarding kennel.  The problem is, you just can't always take your dog(s) with you on trips.  Either they are not "welcome" where you're going, they don't travel well, you can't find hotels that welcome dogs, etc. 
     If you are considering a boarding kennel for the first time, there are some things you should consider.  There is actually the American Boarding Kennels Association, which sets certain standards.  But don't rule out a kennel if they are not a member. You should contact several kennels and ask lots of questions.  Do they require proof of immunization?  Is it temperature controlled?  Do they have access to outside for walks?  Are they kept on wire? (How would you like to walk on wire for days in your bare feet?  Many puppy mills utilize these wire cages.)  Is there adequate light? 
     Then I would visit the boarding kennel to see the operation.  Does it seem clean enough, is the smell overpowering, is there supervision for the animals? 
     If you dog has never been kennelled before, you might want to do a trial run of an afternoon stay; then an overnight stay.  This will prepare him and let him know he has not been abandoned forever, when you go on a week's vacation and leave him there.  I personally believe in talking to my dogs, and telling them what's going on.  I'm not absolutely SURE they understand me, but I guess it makes ME feel better!
     On the other hand, maybe you want to take your dog with you on your trip.  We actually did that a few weeks ago, and it was certainly an adventure!  A 9 year old Lab mix (who has never enjoyed riding, because it either means going to the vet or the beauty shop), and two miniature dachshunds.  All dogs react differently.  Some absolutely LOVE to ride.  (If you enjoy taking your dog around town with you on errands, etc., I'd suggest you start when he's too small to know what's going on.)  So anyway . . . Sissy, the Lab, took up most of the back seat, and panted for the first two hours.  Popeye was OK, but Missy trembled and shook for the first two hours.  Then we stopped for gas and to let them out (on leashes, of course--oh, and if your dog is not trained to the lease, do that before going on a road trip!  Just sayin'.).  So they got some MAJOR relief out in the grass, if you know what I mean.  They drank some water --  essential when you traveling --  we got back into the truck and they all laid down and went to sleep.  Missy had to be covered up, but they all slept another two hours till we got to our destination.
     If you will be staying in hotels, check ahead of time to see if your dog is welcome.  Surprisingly, several hotels are dog friendly.  Much better than when we first moved to Texas in the 80's, and had to throw a blanket over our Cocker Spaniel's head and carry her in through the hotel lobby,pretending she was a baby.
     Traveling with your dog can be hard, and if yours is nervous in the car, I would suggest you speak with your veterinarian prior to the trip about medications that could help.  We have given Dramamine to our dogs in the past for motion sickness.  There are also special treats you can give your dog for a calming effect. They have natural ingredients that help the dog to stay calm.  I give these to my dogs at times like the 4th of July.  They are very scared of fireworks and their sound effects.  They're also scared of thunderstorms, and the treats seem to help some then as well.  There are a few different brands.  You can get them from pet stores or order from a pet supply.  I have some called Ultra Calm Biscuits that I got through www.DrsFosterSmith.com .
     Bring your dog's regular food and water bowls so he's comfortable at mealtime.  He will also need his own bed or special blanket (Popeye!) and/or toy.
     And if you decide to take your dog on a trip or vacation with you, remember that he's there!  He is on vacation, too, and needs to be played with just as he would at home. 
   
    
    The goal here is to have a successful trip, a relaxing vacation for you AND your pet.  As always, if you have a thought, helpful hint, a question, please leave a comment, and I will get back to you.  And PLEASE  go to the top of the page, click on "Follow", and register to follow my blog.  Once again, thanks for stopping by; Happy Tails, Everyone!!!!!!
 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why should I microchip my pet?

      Most of us have a general idea about microchips, but maybe not what they really are, what they do, or how they can be beneficial to you and your pet.  As I've stated here before, I have a kennel and raise Miniature Dachshunds (another shameless plug, www.dogwooddachshunds.com).  I have decided that I will offer microchip service to new parents of my puppies.  So I bought the equipment (whew! not cheap!), and will soon send out a mailing informing everyone on my mailing  list of available service.  I will be doing microchips for my puppy customers and others as well.
      A microchip is a tiny capsule that is actually injected under the skin on the dog's back.  Inside that capsule is encoded information which is registered to the pet owner.  I will be using the AKC Companion Animal Recovery (CAR) system.  When a lost or stolen dog is taken to a shelter or veterinarian, they will be scanned for the presence of a microchip.  The information retained by AKC CAR will trace the dog, not only back to the owners, but to the person who administered the microchip.  Many dogs have found their way back home through the use of microchips, to the extreme joy of both dogs and owners.
      To find someone to microchip your dog or cat, simply call your own veterinarian, as it's quite possible they will provide the service.  The cost varies widely, from as little as $45 to $165.  Some are pre-registered with CAR (probably the more expensive ones), and some will give you paperwork that you will mail in to CAR with a small one-time fee that will keep your pet registered with them for life.
      It is definitely something to think about.  A small cost that could save heartache later.  If you have a comment or question about this subject, or any other we've discussed here, please leave it in the comment section and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.  As always, if I don't know the answer, I'll find out for you. 
      Thanks for stopping by, and as always, Happy Tails, Everyone!!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pets with Pets

      Today, while on patrol duty around the house, Popeye evidently rooted around under a bed, behind a desk or other fixed and rarely moved object (no judgements here!).  There he found what is actually a Christmas ornament.  It is a tiny red bag that held two out of date coupons for a Chic-fil-A sandwich, and a "Eat More Chicken" cow attached to the top, and the usual loop of string to attach it to the Christmas tree.  He was so excited, and would alternately shake it, growl at it, and lick it.  When he got tired, he pulled it over underneath his chin and went to sleep with his new "baby".
      Most dogs do love to play with toys.  Sometimes they seem to only want to see how fast they can destroy it.  Popeye is an expert at removing a squeaker from any type of stuffed toy.  So those are off limits around here!  Dachshunds are particularly known to become especially attached to a certain toy or object.  Popeye's toy obsession has always been tennis balls, and he will become wild over the small soccer ball that you can get at PetSmart (which has a squeaker).  He doesn't try to remove the squeaker, but seems to be trying to play tunes with it.  So that stays put away most of the time.  But his other love and obsession has been his blanket.  He rolls on it, bites it, shakes it, growls, and eventually burrows under it to go to sleep.  So the addition of this new "baby" is especially cute.
      Suitable toys are an important part of a dog's day.  Most dogs love to chew, and will get great satisfaction from various chew toys that can be obtained from the pet store.  Real bones, especially from chicken, turkey, and some pork bones are not advised as they can splinter and injure the dog's mouth and intestines if swallowed.  Large dogs with especially powerful jaws can break surprisingly large bones.  Caution is also advised when offering rawhide chews to your dogs, as they can cause blockage if swallowed.  They can also get stuck in the dog's throat and cause choking.  I provide the hard rubber Kong, and the very hard "nylabone" for the house dogs as well as all the dogs in the kennel.  (Shameless plug:  www.dogwooddachshunds.com)  Most dogs also love the braided and knotted ropes available at pet stores, and they are great fun.  But when you see that they are getting frayed with long loose strings, you should remove and discard them.  The dogs will obsessively pull at the strings and eventually swallow them, where they can get tangled in their intestines and may not pass. 
       So as you can see, toys are fun and an important part of a dog's life.  But it's our responsibility to see that they are not only fun, but safe as well. 
       Thanks for stopping by; leave a comment just to say "Hi", and/or tell me about your pets, whatever they may be!  And sign up to follow the blog--it's free!  And  .  .  .  Happy Tails, Everyone!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Be alert to burrowing Dachshunds . . .

     In case you don't know, Dachshunds are digging, burrowing dogs that were originally bred to dig into badger holes or other such animals.  But now in our modern world we don't do too much badger hunting around these parts of Texas.  But that doesn't take the instinct away.
     My little Missy, an 8 lb. red Mini-Doxie who is retired from the kennel, now has a life a luxury here in the house where she sleeps most of the time.  However, just a little while ago we found her up on the bed, where she had gotten herself trapped inside a pillow case.  In her quest to burrow just a little deeper, get a little further inside whatever imaginary wild animal den she was in, she managed to get stuck.  It was actually very funny, but Missy is a pretty serious little dog.  She is mostly about work and sleep.  So I'm sure she was very embarrassed with her predicament.
     If you have a Dachshund who is athletic and likes to work, you might consider participating in the Earth Dog Competitions.  This is great fun for the dogs because they get to "tunnel" through a course in order to get to the prize at the end.  If you're interested in learning more about this popular activity to participate in with your dog, check the AKC website (www.akc.org) or Earth Dog Trials.  It's a great way for people to enter their dogs into competitions other than the standard dog show most of us are familiar with. 
     I've included here a picture of Popeye and Missy on a day when they had been especially adventurous and found a rabbit's nest.  I have spared you the picture I took of Missy holding two newborn bunnies in her mouth with only feet sticking out!  She is truly a great hunter, and will not be deterred from her quest once she has locked in on something.  Popeye will tag along with her tohelp dig; his main job is to tear grass away, then she digs.  But in all reality, Popeye would really rather be stretched out in my lap! 
     I hope you've enjoyed this little peek into my "day to day".  Happy Tails, Everyone!

We ALL must watch our weight!

      As I sit here munching on a Mountain Trail Mix (sounds healthy, but it has M&Ms in it, REALLY?), I'm struck by the absolute control we must exercise over the food intake and weight of our pets.  It is so easy for pets to gain weight, and like us, the older they get, the more diligent we must be to watch their diet.
      Dachshunds in particular must be held at a healthy weight because it is very hard on their backs to carry excess weight.  They are by nature very active and love to run around outside to play fetch or dig for some real or imagined vermin.  It is when their weight gets out of control that we must worry.   When they get excited, they don't understand that they should not jump from high places.  But this is very dangerous for all dachshunds, but especially so for overweight ones.
      It is sometimes hard to resist those begging eyes and the absolute cuteness of these little guys when they are asking for a handout, a bite off your plate, or an extra treat.  But remember:  calories add up.  Their bodies are tiny compared to ours, and their correct amount of food should reflect that difference.  One or two treats per day should be plenty, and I would suggest they "earn" it by performing a trick, going potty outside, or willingly going into their crate.  
       All breeds can have a variance of acceptable weight from one individual to another.  At maturity (1 1/2 to 2 years) a Miniature Dachshund can weigh anywhere from 7 pounds to 15 pounds.  (Show quality dogs must be 11 pounds or less).  A good way to judge if your dog is at a good weight is to look at him straight down from above when he is standing on all fours.  If you can see a "waist" indention just in front of his hips, he is probably at a good weight.  You should be able to feel his ribs under the skin, but not see them.  On long haired varieties of any dog, you may have to resort to feel to determine if you think you dog is overweight.  Most high quality dog foods have a weight control variety.  But if you will read the directions on the bag to see the correct amount to feed your dog, and stick to it, he will probably stabilize at a healthy weight.
      One trick I like to use with my dogs is to break a treat into tiny little pieces.  They really don't "get" the concept that they have a big treat, and so should not expect another.  They will snarf that down and dance around, looking for another. 
       You can also give your dog healthy treats out of your fridge. Carrot chips appeal to lots of dogs, as well as bits of apple.  Careful, though.  There are many things that are harmful to dogs, like grapes, onions, chocolate, and many types plants; way too many to list here.  Google "plants harmful to dogs" and you will find listings that will be helpful.
      As always, questions or comments are welcome.  If you haven't signed up to follow me, please do!  Happy tails, everyone!
      
     

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Make sure your "Hotdog" is a "cool dog" in the summer heat.

     Summer is definitely here.  In fact, here in East Central Texas near Houston, it has been here for some time.  We've seen several heat records broken already, with a high of 105 degrees on at least two consecutive days.  In early June!  It hasn't been easy keeping ourselves cool.  And if you are lucky enough to have a canine companion, it is also your responsibility to keep him cool as well. 
     A responsible and loving dog owner will become familiar with the signs and symptoms of an overheated dog, and the precautions to take to prevent this potentially fatal illness. 
     My focus in this blog is generally the lovable and comical miniature dachshund.  This subject, however, is critical for all breeds.  I want to especially caution the owners of dogs with the short muzzle, as they have more difficulty getting air in and out than the longer snouts of, say, a dachshund!  Boxers, any type of Bulldog, Boston Terriers, some Chihuahuas, and some of the types of dogs that could experience serious difficulty in hot weather. 
      On especially hot days, don't expect your dog to be able to exercise as much as on other more balmy days.  Yes, they love to play fetch, Frisbee, etc.  And if they are like Popeye, they will chase the ball as long as you have strength to throw it for them.  But we must take into account the recovery time needed during any especially hot days.
      You should be alert to potential heat related emergencies both at home and when out and about, such as at the dog park.  Other dog owners may not be as educated as you on the dangers of possible heat stroke in their dog and you may save someone else's dog's life.  Let's first look at the signs and symptoms of a dog in heat stress.
      Unlike you and myself, dogs don't sweat.  They expel heat by panting hard and fast.  This could be accompanied by excessive salivating.  The could be very thirsty as they may become dehydrated quickly.  An overheated dog's gums will probably be pale, while the inside of his ears and paw pads could be very red.  As the heat stress progresses and gets worse, your dog may become dizzy and disoriented; he may also have vomiting and diarrhea.  This is quickly becoming a heat related emergency, and the next stage is unconsciousness and death.  Obviously, you must treat your dog or get help for him before he gets to this state.   So, here are some things you can do to cool your dog before you find yourself in a real emergency.
      Of course the best course of action is to prevent the onset of heat emergency.  You can do this easily by thinking ahead and using some common sense.  If your dog stays outside during the day, be sure he has some shade to get into to avoid direct sun.  Make sure he has a very large bowl, oven a bucket of fresh water.  And check on him frequently.  Never, ever leave your dog in a car with the windows up.  Temperatures soar inside a shut car, and will be fatal to the dog.
      Cool your dog by wetting him down with water.  As the water evaporates, it will cool the skin.  You can allow him to lie in front of a fan to help him cool.  Ice packs (wrap packs in cloth to avoid the cold shock) placed on the head and body will also help bring the temperature down. 
      When in doubt as to whether you are doing enough--if you dog is still panting very fast and does not seem to be getting relief, take him to a veterinarian immediately. 
      These little guys are our "best friends".  They are dependant on us to protect them and provide for them.  Staying informed on possible emergencies is a great way to ensure happy tails! 
      As always, I'll be happy to hear comments, or questions.  If I don't know the answer, I'll get it for you.  Thanks for stopping by!
    

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Why you should spay and neuter your pets.

     Today, I feel a special need to tell you a little about the spay/neuter question some of you may have.  I decided this would be my subject today while I was cleaning my kennels.  It was pretty nice outside this morning, and not too awfully hot.  My house dogs, Popeye and Missy, had gone out with me while I had first watered my vegetable garden where I picked a bowl of green beans and a cucumber.  I sat the bowl down on the path and then began the process of cleaning the outdoor runs that are attached to the kennel (the dogs let themselves out through doggie doors).  This is a very glamorous job in which some very complicated equipment is utilized to .  .  .  Oh, let me be honest.  You take a scooper and a scraper in and pick up all the poop in the runs!  Then they get hosed down, so they're nice and clean.  We (my husband/partner in scooping poop) do this at least once per day.  So, anyway--as I began to clean the runs, I saw my precious and wonderful Popeye go over to my bowl of freshly picked vegetables and--after sniffing the contents--turned and lifted his leg to the side of the bowl.  Now, first of all, Popeye is a mini-Dachshund, so he's not far off the ground.  And he was neutered when he was about 1 1/2 years old, so he doesn't have much, uh, behind his actions.  Now you will be relieved to know that he didn't even come close to the bowl.  But it did make me think I would like to tell you how you can avoid this scene at your house.  Notice I said I had him neutered at age 1 1/2.  I had considered using him in my breeding program, even though he lived in my house.  Well, the "marking" business (table legs, drapes, etc.) convinced me that I had enough males in the kennel without using him, so I had him "fixed".  But he already had the behaviour instilled in him.  So it still comes out when he goes outside.  He almost never does it in the house, unless another dog visits that he does not know.  So, read on for a little more information about this subject.   
     There are actually several reasons to spay female and neuter male dogs.  And they are good and valid reasons.  First of all, it reduces cancer risk in both males and females.  (Yes, dogs get cancer, just like we do!)  And I truly believe it makes for a happier, more satisfied dog when he or she is not bothered by the naturally occurring urge to breed.  This is (almost) completely a non-issue with the "altered" dog
     Some of the undesirable behaviour you will see in an "intact" male dog include aggressiveness toward other dogs and/or people, as he will feel more desire to be the "top dog", and  raising their leg to pee on everything in sight, especially if another dog has come into his territory (such as your yard, or living room).  He will do this if the other dog is male, because he wants to make clear that HE is top dog around here.  He will "mark his territory" if a female dog comes around, ESPECIALLY if she happens to be in her "heat" cycle.  If you acquire your dog when he is a puppy, ask your veterinarian about getting your puppy neutered as soon as possible.  Usually by twelve to fifteen weeks of age, most vets will do it.  It is important that you have this done by the time the puppy is six to seven months of age, because he will definitely be on the verge of this state in maturity.  If you have your puppy neutered prior to his beginning to lift his leg, he will probably never begin.  If you are not able to have him neutered until after he has begun to lift his leg, he will likely continue to do that to urinate, and may continue to mark territory to some extent.  But it is not nearly as strong of an urge.  If you have a young puppy neutered, when he is an old dog, he will likely still go outside and squat to pee.  It's not very manly looking, but but your drapes won't smell like dog pee!
     It is also very important that you spay your female dogs early.  Many people believe they should allow the dog to have a litter of puppies before having her "fixed".  They believe this will cause her to be calmer and more satisfied, fulfilled maybe.  I believe this is erroneous and misguided thinking.  A mistake many people make is projecting their human ideas and emotions onto their canine companion, and they are not the same.  The female pet dogs I have had in my house that I had spayed early (by five months) actually seem happier and more playful than ones that have been spayed after having puppies.  Not that it's a waste of time after having puppies.  A female dog will have a "heat" cycle (a "period" of about three weeks duration) approximately every six months.  During this time, your dog may not feel well, and she may have a little or a lot of discharge.  This can turn into quite a mess if she is in your house. and she is susceptible to the sweet talk of any intact male she may come into contact with.  In that case, in 96 days, you family will increase and you will have the responsibility of this new litter.  And she may turn into quite an escape artist during this heat cycle, as her instinct to breed is a very strong one and she will go looking for "Mr. Right Now". 
     I think dogs that have been spayed or neutered are healthier, happier animals who behave better than intact ones do.  And that in turn makes for happier owners.  If you have questions about this or other subjects about your dog, whether or not it is a Miniature Dachshund, please leave a comment to ask, and I'll happily respond.  If I don't know the answer, I'll find out for you. 
     Now, I'd better go take care of those green beans!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hello, Dachshund World!

     It has occurred to me that I might have something to say to the world of MiniatureDachshund lovers everywhere.  Of course, it is up to those of you who fall into that category to make that decision as to whether or not you might enjoy reading about our little short legged, long bodied friends.
     I began breeding Miniature Dachshunds about seven years ago.  Until then, I was simply a dog lover, like most people. I've always found it strange to find people who don't like dogs.  Who wouldn't like dogs?  And a puppy?  Yes, puppies are the best!  Well, an old dog is very cool in his own way, too.
     There is a certain dignity about dogs, don't you think?  Especially when you get to know one personally.  I have been privileged to know many dogs so far in my life.  I currently share my time with several Miniature Dachshunds.  These little ones are also known as Doxies, and Wiener Dogs.
     On these pages I will be giving you updates on the escapades of Popeye, Missy, and Roadie, among others.  I also hope to be able to pass along some tips, ideas for training, food choices, and care of these canine friends.
      Right now as I type, Popeye is worried about his treat that he expects this time of day.  He's had his dinner, and has been patiently watching every move I make.  Popeye is a black and tan miniature doxie who has never had a clue that he is a dog.  He has one of those perpetual motion tails.  Many times he will be wagging his tail, and looking at me for no apparent reason.  He is so much fun. 
     I hope you stop by often and see what is going on here.  My kennel is Dogwood Dachshunds, and you can see it at www.dogwooddachshunds.com.  Please leave a comment or question.  I will do my best to answer question and offer any help and advice I can on your life with dogs.  Especially our beloved Miniature Dachshunds!