Monday, March 31, 2014

The Importance Of Bathing Your Dog

Consider bathing your dog anywhere from once a month to once every other month.  Bathing is important in the overall health of your dog.  Here are some of the benefits your dog will receive through consistent bathing.

* Removes dirt and debris from their fur
* Promotes healthy skin
* Keeps coat shiny
* Helps remove dead hair
* Strengthens human/dog bond
* Allows you to find possible fleas and ticks or cuts and scrapes that need attention
* Your dog will be more comfortable with a well kept coat

WET dog!



Saturday, March 29, 2014

Piper's Home!

Thank you for you thoughts and prayers.  Pipe came home this afternoon.  He is quite lame and confused, but happy to be home.  He's resting, eating and drinking, so all is as it should be.  We will get the results on the lump in two weeks.  In total he had 3 lumps removed.  Two of them the vet was confident were benign lipomas.  One was a bit thicker so he was sending it for testing to be sure.  His teeth were cleaned.  Two small teeth in the back were pulled due to the roots receding.  His ears were completely cleaned out, which sounds like it was quite a job!  Now we take the next two weeks keeping him quiet, eating well and taking his meds.  

Comfortable at HOME!  :)
 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Exercise (Continued) and Piper

Here is some good exercise advice from Victoria Stilwell that links up nicely with my post from Tuesday.





Piper: He in surgery now.  The vet has given me an update.  He is not 100% sure whether the lump looks like a benign tumor or something more.  Apparently it has a hardness or thickness that prevents him from being certain simply by seeing it.  It will be sent out for testing.  A second lump was also found during surgery.  The vet feels confident that the new lump is a benign growth.  Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers and I will continue to update!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cautiously Optimistic

We got Piper's pre-surgery blood work back and it was excellent.  Even his liver levels were back to normal from previously being sick last fall.  Now he is headed into surgery tomorrow to remove a suspicious lump.  I am hoping for a smooth procedure and an easy recovery.  I will keep everyone posted from there!  Thank you for all of your well wishes.

  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What Exercise Does For Your Dog

  • Reduces sluggishness
  • Strengthens their heart
  • Lowers their blood pressure
  • Helps them maintain a healthy weight
  • Helps prevent or delay osteoarthritis
  • Helps keep oxygen and glucose within balance in the brain, promoting mental health
  • Improves behavior
  • Helps maintain normal digestion
  • Decreases likelihood of urinary tract infections
  • Decreases insomnia
  • Builds confidence
  • Promotes healthy lungs
  • maintains healthy muscle
Get Exercising!

RUN!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Piper Update And A Question

Our second opinion agreed with the original plan for Piper.  We are having his lump surgically removed this Friday.  Once it's out, we will know more about what we're dealing with.  Hopefully it's benign and we'll have no worries.  There don't seem to be any troubling signs thus far that there is any cancer that has spread through his body, but that will remain to be seen. 

Now as for the question I have... When you take your dog for a wellness visit, does your vet do blood draws and vaccinations in front of you or do they take you dog "out back" with a technician to handle such things?  I'm curious because I have always had those procedures done in front of me, until recently with a new vet I have been seeing.  I have to admit I'm very uncomfortable not being there with my dog when such things are being done.  Am I alone in feeling that way?  I think I have to speak up!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Piper's Health

We recently found a suspicious lump on Piper's side.  It didn't feel like one of those fatty tumors aging dogs sometimes get, but I hoped I was wrong. I waited to see if perhaps he had banged himself playing and maybe it was swelling that would subside, because he otherwise was acting perfectly fine.  Unfortunately it has not gone away.  This past weekend we were told by the vet that it didn't feel good and it should be surgically removed.  Tomorrow we go for a second opinion and to get some of my many many questions answered.  Our hopes right now are that either we find out it's not cancerous, or if it is, that it has not spread.  I will post updates when I have them.

Piper

Friday, March 21, 2014

2 Great Dog Apps!

Dog Friendly ~ FREE

This app puts dog friendly places right at your fingertips!  If you're a traveler that likes to take along your pup, this app is for you!  Easily find dog friendly dining and places to stay.  It's a must have for travel people and pups!

DogCap ~ FREE or upgrade for $0.99

Place funny text on your dog photos to share what he's thinking.  Free version has a good selection to choose from, so upgrade is not necessary.  Very cute!

Made with DogCap



Thursday, March 20, 2014

How To Teach Your Dog To Sit

In my opinion, one of the most (I'd argue THE most) important behaviors you can teach your dog is to sit.  It provides your dog a way to show good manners when waiting for food, treats, stopped on walks or greeting people.  It can be an instant "calmer" for your dog if he tends to get a bit squirrely.   People use various methods to teach sit, but I hope most are using positive reinforcement techniques.  I like the clicker, so this method uses this great training tool.

Steps:

**If you have never used a clicker with your dog before, it's important to build an association to the clicker/treat with your dog first.  They must learn a "click" means a tasty treat is coming.  So starting with some clicks and immediate treats, before clicking for any kind of specific behavior**

1. You must "capture" the sit naturally first.  Choose a more calm and relaxed part of your day, and just be in a room with your dog naturally.  When your dog chooses to sit on his own (and he eventually will) you must click the moment his bottom touches the ground and immediately pass him a treat (reward).  You'll want to keep your treat hand and the treats very still as not to get your dog too excited he's receiving one before he does anything, which will cause unneeded distraction. You will repeat this exactly the same way multiple times until you see the dog's recognition that sitting means click and a treat.

2. Once your dog associated the click/reward with his sitting, you'll want to give the behavior a "cue".  Most likely it will be you verbally saying "sit".  Now you begin saying the word "sit" just as your dog looks like he is about to sit, well before his butt actually touches the ground.  You're trying to model the cue as it will start to happen once he's fully trained.  Then once he sits, it's click/reward time.  If you give the cue and he does not end up actually sitting, you should say nothing and do nothing until he actually sits.  Be patient.  Once he sits, then click/reward.  Since you'll be practicing this multiple times, when you reward, it's a good idea to toss the treat a bit away from your dog so he has to stand to go get it.  Then he's in position to once again follow your cue.

3. Finally you transition to click/rewarding only the sits you ask for and not the ones he chooses to do himself. 

Dogs need regular reinforcement to retain good training.  Asking (cue) your dog to sit before meals for example, is good practice.

Here are a couple videos modeling this technique.



  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Murray's Top 5 Dog Foods- March 2014

Murray's current top 5 picks for GRAIN FREE dry dog food.  These are all American made with moderate levels of protein.

1. NutriSource Pure Vita by Tuffy's Pet Foods- Produced in Minnesota- Holistic food that's rich in antioxidants.  Great for all life stages. Comes in 3 flavors.

2. AvoDerm Natural- Produced in California- All life stages.  Rich in antioxidants.  Comes in 2 flavors.

3. Natural Balance Alpha Dog Formulas- Produced in California- Multiple sources of protein.  Prebiotics for healthy digestion.  Comes in 3 flavors.

4. Wellness Simple Food Solutions- Produced in Massachusetts- A natural dry food good for dog's with food sensitivities and/or allergies.  Limited ingredients.  Contains both pro and prebiotics to aid in digestion.  No fillers.  Comes in 2 flavors.

5. Hill's Science Diet Ideal Balance- Produced in Kansas- Balanced, natural ingredients.  Potatoes for digestions. No preservatives.  Comes in 1 flavor.

Murray Approved!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

New Dog Gadget!

It's called the FitBark and I can see this newest doggie gadget being really useful to dog parents.  It allows pup parents to track their dog's health through an app!  How cool!  After all, don't we all want to be taking the very best care of our fur kids?  Exercise is a vital part that healthy lifestyle.  Appropriate types and amounts of activity help to promote physical as well a mental health in your dog.  The FitBark promises to give you the solution for carefully monitoring and improving your dog's exercise habits.  It personalizes to your particular dog's age, weight and size, and then it informs you as to how much exercise he needs each day to stay healthy and how much of that amount he's actually accomplished that day.  AND...after you see what a normal day of activity should look like for your dog, you will be able to notice more quickly if there is any sudden change, which could signal to you he is not feeling well.  That's another great benefit...earlier illness detection.  The FitBark will also allow you real time access to what you dog is doing at any given time.  Whether he's sleeping, walking or running, you can check in!  You can also sync more than one FitBark device onto one account as well as human fit trackers too!  The whole family can be tracked together!  It's expected to be very lightweight as well as waterproof.  So track any swimming too!  You are able to pre-order HERE now.

Dog "trainer" just took on a whole new meaning.  :)

Exercise!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fresh Dog Natural Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner

We're always looking for just the right shampoo/conditioner for the dogs in my house and about a year ago we tried a sample of the Fresh Dog brand and I can report we were pretty happy!

My first impression was how soft it makes Murray and Piper's coat.  They are both silky smooth but still fluffy after a bath with Fresh Dog.  Murray's semi-curly coat really feels nice with this shampoo, and his fur can be hard to manage.  I also like that there is no overwhelming soapy smell.  Some people might prefer more of a scent on their dog after a bath, but I like a more fresh, natural smell, which this shampoo/conditioner has.  I don't particularly care for a lot of ingredients (which makes soaps smelly) that will cause irritaion, and with Fresh Dog I was even able to wash around my furry faces without any eye irritations.  I believe it has also really helped with Murray's dry, flaky skin.  Over the past year his skin has noticeably improved.

I also found it to be very reasonably priced for the amount of product you receive.  It's $12.00 for 17 ounces on Amazon. If you would like to try a bottle, simply click the photos below.

Pros:
Leaves fur soft
Pleasant scent
Non-irritating
Helps moisturize dry skin
Affordable

Cons:
Scent might be too light for some


Monday, March 10, 2014

Dog Health During The Iditarod



It's that time of year when the Iditarod Race of 2014 has taken place.  Every year I wonder about the welfare and care that has to be considered for the racing dogs, and I get a bit concerned.  This year I looked into it.  If you're like me, here are some things that will help put your mind at ease:

 *The guidelines of the International Sled Dog Veterinary Medical Association (I.S.D.V.M.A.) are closely followed and the ISDVMA is regularly checking that they have the latest health information for racing dogs..

*  These dogs have spent the better part of two years racing  before even being considered for the Iditarod.  They are well trained.

* There are strict guidelines that cover reasons a dog must be dropped from the race. All dropped dogs are monitored carefully by veterinarians and not released until recovered.

* In the month leading up to the race, each dog's heart and blood are thoroughly tested to ensure their readiness.  They are also all micro-chipped for safety.

* There is random drug testing performed.

* Two weeks before the race all the dogs get a full physical exam.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Murray Tip

When it comes time to give your dog a bath, a curry bath brush is excellent for sloughing off itchy, dry, winter skin.  I use ours to gently massage Murray's skin after I have soaped him up.  He loves how it feels, and it really helps keep his skin clearer.

Friday, March 7, 2014

SPCA Benefit


Sharing the poster for the benefit for the Montgomery County SPCA in Amsterdam, NY for anyone local who might be interested.  Sounds like lots of fun and will be especially helpful to the good people helping our local animals in need. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Tips To Stay Safe At The Dog Park

Fun at the park!
Stay alert!  Running, playing (sometimes fighting) dogs move fast and can catch you off guard if you're not paying attention.  Knocking someone off their feet is very common, and can result in severe injuries.  This can be avoided if you're aware.



Only take healthy dogs to play at a dog park.  Young puppies and dogs with compromised health should stay away.  It's important your dog be protected through vaccinations and any other necessary medications to be sure they are not at risk for catching something from another dog at the park.  It's also just as important to keep your dog home if he has something that could put other dogs at risk.  Also, dogs that aren't feeling well might not act like themselves, and behavior issues, like unusual aggression, could arise due to the discomfort they're feeling.
A dog's dream!



Be honest with yourself about your dog's personality.  If your dog greets other dogs or people in a rude or intrusive manner, a dog park might not be for him.  If you dog gets scared of other dogs or strange people, stay away from dog parks.  These qualities don't simply disappear because you're at a dog park.



Go to the park alone first.  Assess a usual day in the time you might go.  Notice the types of dogs that are there. Look for how the owners are conducting themselves.  Also look for anything you'll need to bring for your dog when you go, like poop bags (what dog parent doesn't carry these everywhere?), water and bowls for example.  Not all parks are equipped with these things.


Unleash your dog inside a dag park.  Keeping a dog leashed in a dog park is dangerous for a few reasons.  It's definitely a tripping hazard for other dogs and people, but t also creates fear and frustration in dogs who are leashed being around other unleashed dogs.  Fear and frustration can trigger aggression and therefor fighting.

Recognize when your dog has had enough.  Look for signs of being tired or feeling annoyed.  Dogs that are done with their time in the park should head out.  You don't want to overdo it and stress your pup.

Use parks with separate areas for large and small dogs. Small dogs sound and move differently and could provoke a larger dog into going after it as prey.  Also, for obvious reasons, simply the size difference can cause unwanted injuries.

Dogs at play



Make sure your dog has strong recall skills before heading to a dog park. You want to be able to get your dog's attention and get him away from any situation you might need to in the park.

Don't allow your dog to be a bully!  Too many people think excessive nipping, biting and pouncing is cute play, but that's not always the case.  If your dog is aggravating another dog, trying to get them to wrestle around, generally not leaving the uninterested dog alone, you need to stop your dog before it becomes a problem.  It is rude and can lead to danger.  You don't let the dogs just sort this out, you have to act.

If your dog resource guards, a dog park is probably not for you either.  Even if the rules don't allow them, toys and treats are commonly found at dog parks.  In a pack of dogs, your resource guarding dog might feel particularly threatened should he become in possession of one of these items.

Last but not least... PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE!  It's a distraction.You need to watch for potentially dangerous situations AND your dog might be looking for you to get involved and play!  It's also rude.  If you're tuned out, someone else has to watch your dog.



Play Safe!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dogs and Distemper

The stray dogs of Sochi had many obstacles to overcome in order to find safe, loving homes, and it turns out that distemper is one of them.  Amanda Bird, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation is still waiting to get her Sochi dog home.  Her pup, that she even named "Sochi", is currently under care in California fighting parvo, but has also now been found to have distemper.  Being that most dogs in the U.S. are vaccinated against distemper, many don't even know what exactly it is or what to look for.

Distemper is an extremely contagious virus in dogs, similar to what measles is in humans.  All dogs that are not vaccinated are at risk.  It is less common in the U.S. due to vaccine requirements, but worldwide it is still the leading cause of infectious disease fatalities in dogs.

Dogs can pick up distemper by coming into contact with any secretion from an infected dog, and also through virus particles found in the air.  This is why it's crucial to have your dog vaccinated against distemper.

Symptoms can include and will worsen over time:
Fever
Inflamed, runny eyes
Nasal discharge
No appetite
Coughing
Vomiting
Seizures
Paralysis
Twitching

There is no cure for distemper, just treatment of the symptoms.  The sooner a dog is treated by a veterinarian the better.  Many dogs lose their battle anywhere from weeks to months after being infected, even if after a time of being seemingly recovered.  A positive outcome becomes less likely when there are neurological issues due to the illness, and even some dogs who do live, go on the rest of their lives with central nervous system problems.

Protect your pup!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Birthday Hangover

Sorry Furiends...we've been away all day recovering from the treats and sweets for Mom's birthday yesterday.  Mom promises to get back to her blogging duties soon!  Love, Murray

Tired from the birthday fun

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