Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Litter Box Training

This is something that we began with our litters. So many times we as doggie owners are out of the home for extended periods of times and the pups can not hold their pee. I think this will be a lot less stressful on the pups and they should be easier to train. We have had great success.
The litter we use is purchased at Tractor Supply. It is in the rabbit section and is a green pine pellet made by Cozy n Fresh. Your puppy is used to being in their whelping pen which is a 4 x 4 area. They have been using a low pan from the bottom of a rabbit cage (also sold at Tractor Supply)that is 24 x 24. They can just hop in and out quickly. That works great in their area. If you are placing a litterbox in the crate with them then I would just use a low cat litter pan. Your puppy is not old enough to search it out from accross the house. That would not happen until they are older. Just remember that the less space they have the less chance of error. Make their space small with just enough room for a bed, litterbox and water and food.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

~About Schnauzers~

The American Miniature Schnauzer Club offers excellent information on schnauzers. From size to colors and grooming. Please take a look. If you have never had the opportunity to experience a schnauzer, you don't know what you have missed. Not only are they smart, loving and non-shedding but they are just like small people with fur. Until you have talked to them and had that head cock look, you just don't know the love they give and expect so little in return.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Choosing a Dog Food

Your dog adds so much to your life, and you want to feed him a healthy food, but with all of the choices out there, how do you know which food is best?

First of all, keep in mind that there is no one food that is best for every dog. There is no single food that will give every dog the brightest eyes, the shiniest coat, the most energy, and the best digestion. Dogs are individuals just like people, which means that you could feed a brand of very well-formulated food to a group of dogs and find that most of them do great on it, some not as well, and it may actually cause some gastrointestinal upset in a few dogs. Luckily, there are many well-formulated dog foods to choose from today, and it is fine to try several to determine which one works best for your dog.

Consider your dog's stage of life

Make sure that the food you choose is appropriate for your dog's stage of life. A puppy eating an adult food will not get the higher amounts of calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals he needs for proper growth. An adult dog eating puppy food is likely to become overweight. An older dog may need a senior food that is more easily digested. When it comes to nutrition, one size does not fit all.

Select a food type

People often wonder if they should feed dry food, semi-moist or canned. The answer is that it depends on the individual animal, although dry food is recommended most often.

Look at the ingredients

High-quality ingredients are essential for a healthy food. Some economy brands of dog food are made from inexpensive ingredients that are not easily digested, and therefore, do not provide the best nutrition. While they may technically meet the legal specifications for percentages of protein, fat, carbohydrates, etc., these foods have lower energy values and lower-grade proteins. Because of this, many health-building nutrients may pass right through your dog's system without being absorbed. It also means that you have to feed larger amounts of that lower quality food to provide your pet with the same nutrition as a smaller amount of premium food. When you compare the cost of these foods on a per-serving basis, and realize how quickly you go through a bag, economy foods may actually cost more in the long run.

When you are looking for a healthy food for your dog, reviewing the list of ingredients on the back of the bag is a good place to start. By law, pet food labels must list their ingredients by weight. Look for meat, fish, egg, or some type of meat meal or fish meal as the first or second ingredient. Meat, fish, and eggs all have a high biological value, which means they have a high percentage of protein in the form of digestible, usable amino acids. For more information on ingredients, see the articles on:

Compare the Guaranteed Analysis

The next thing to look at is the Guaranteed Analysis on the back of the bag. It is a chart that lists the percentages of various ingredients contained in that food. However, the numbers given in the Guaranteed Analysis do not take into account the amount of moisture in that food. All pet foods have different levels of moisture; canned foods can have up to 80%, and dry foods can have as little as 6%. To determine the actual amount of an ingredient in a food, or to compare between brands or between wet and dry foods, the numbers need to be converted to what is called Dry Matter (DM) basis. For more information, or to see the formula used to convert to Dry Matter, see the article "Dog Food Labels."

Check for the AAFCO statement

To evaluate a particular dog food, compare the DM ingredient amounts to a nutrition chart such as the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Dog Food Nutrient Profiles. Dog foods labeled as 'complete and balanced' must meet standards established by AAFCO, either by meeting a nutrient profile or by passing a feeding trial. For more information on AAFCO, see "Government Regulation of Pet Food."

Take your time in switching foods

When you have done some comparison and picked out a well-formulated food, make sure you allow ample time for your dog to make the transition from his current food to the new one. Normal bacteria in the intestine help your dog digest food. A sudden change in food can lead to changes in the number and type of these bacteria, making it harder for food to be digested, and resulting in intestinal upset. To avoid problems, switch to a new food slowly, over the course of at least 7-10 days. Start by mixing 25% new and 75% old food, and feed that for at least 3 days. If all goes well, go to 50% of each type of food for 3 days, then 75% new and 25% old for 3 days. By now, your pet should be ready to eat only the new food. If problems occur, consult your veterinarian for advice.

After you have done all you can to make sure a food is nutritionally sound, take a look at your dog after he has been on the new food for at least a month. Bright eyes, a shiny coat, good body condition (not too thin or overweight), and good energy will let you know you are doing a good job with your pet's nutrition.

What does Schnauzers Of Taylor feed their fur children?
Life's Abundance

Friday, September 01, 2006


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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Senior Companion Animals


Aging is a poorly understood and complex biologic process that is progressive and irreversible. However, age-associated pathologic changes and their effect on physiologic processes are manageable and possibly even preventable. The challenge to the practitioner is to differentiate normal aging from age-related disease and to minimize the impact of pathologic changes in our patients. With advancing knowledge of age-related diseases, combined with newer diagnostic testing and additional therapeutics options, veterinarians have numerous opportunities to better meet the challenges presented during the aging process and minimize or delay the impact of aging on our patients. The goal of the health care we provide our elderly patients must be to improve the quality of life, not just the length. With increasing veterinary competition and decreases in vaccine-associated income, addressing the needs of the aging patient can also be a significant profit center.


Definition of Aging

Numerous definitions of aging exist. Dr. R. T. Goldston defines aging as “a complex biologic process resulting in progressive reduction of an individual’s ability to maintain homeostasis under internal physiologic and external environment stresses, thereby decreasing the individual’s viability and increasing its vulnerability to disease, and eventually causing its death.”4

Aging actually begins at birth. But aging is not a disease, rather the cumulative effects of time upon the physical, mental, and various organ systems. A patient’s age simply defines a point in time in that animal’s life. But that life stage dictates any client education issues, the preventative health care program, and disease risk assessment in that patient.

Signs of Aging

The common age-related changes in dogs and cats include dryness of mucosal tissues, progressive degeneration of organ function (lack of reserve), tissue hypoxia, cellular membrane alterations, decreased enzyme systems, decreased immune surveillance, and personality/behavioral changes (Table 1). These progressive changes are normal, expected, and represent the complex interactions aging has on bodily functions. Aging changes proceed at varying rates in different organ systems of the animal and may vary in degrees of clinical significance between individuals of the same age. In general, aging changes seen in older animals are fairly predictable. For example, the greying of the muzzle and thinning of the hair coat are consistent and early indicators of aging. Identifying various internal organ dysfunctions before they are blatantly obvious is more challenging.


An animal’s life can easily be divided into four stages as follows:

However, disagreements arise when assigning specific age parameters to each life stage for cats and especially dogs. The various breeds have different rates of aging, with variable risk factors that results in significantly different life expectancies.

The pediatric life stage begins at birth and ends around one year of age. The next life stage is the maintenance period ending at around seven years of age. The senior period represents the life stage of transition between the adult and geriatric. The senior life stage signals the onset of detectable, progressive declines in physical condition, organ function, sensory function, mental function, and immunity.

In establishing age-related criterion for determining the onset of the geriatric period, size was the predominant factor according to a survey of ACVIM (American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine) and ABVP (American Board of Veterinary Practitioners) diplomates by Dr. Goldston. This group defined the beginning age of the geriatric patient3,4 as follows (also see Table 2):

Small breed dogs — 11.5 years
Medium breed dogs —10 years
Large breed dogs — 8.9 years
Giant breed dogs — 7.5 years
Cats — 12 years

The comparative age analogy chart (Table 3) provides a basis for client education of aging and age-related risks that allows the owner to better connect with the pet’s relative age.

The oldest dog on record was a mixed breed that lived to be 29 years old. The oldest cat was 39 years old.5 Although the maximum life span for most dogs is around 27 years, few ever reach age 20. In fact, the average life span of all dog breeds is reported to be only 13 years with large and giant breeds having a shorter life expectancy than small breeds.2 Cats housed indoors have an average lifespan of 14 years versus 3.5 years for cats that are kept outdoors1 Clearly there are a number of factors, most notably genetics, environmental, preventative health care, nutrition, and the human animal bond that can significantly influence aging and ultimate longevity.


The underlying causes of why animals age are complex and have not been definitively determined. Recent advances in cellular and molecular biology have contributed significantly to our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of aging in the domestic dog and cat and have given rise to four prominent subcelluar theories for the aging process (Table 4).

The cumulative cellular damage theory suggests that ionizing irradiation of genetic material (DNA, RNA), plus environmental pollutants and oxygen-derived free radical damage to subcelluar organelles underlies the aging process. This would support the use of antioxidants and/or free radical scavengers in an attempt to slow the aging process. Accumulations of intracellular substances such as lipofusion, glycosylated compounds, and beta amyloid in the central and peripheral nervous system affects the aging process in the waste product theory. The immunologic theory suggests various immunologic events such as antigen/antibody reactions and/or deceases in immune surveillance of infectious agents or neoplasia may also hasten the aging process. The genetic theory says that aging change for each cell is due to an intrinsic pre-programmed genetic code determined at conception. This specific gene acts as a "biologic clock" measuring either time or some repetitive cellular process such as cell division. At the predetermined time an alteration in the cells biochemical pathways results in the cellular dysfunction and eventual death.3


Common to all aging systems is progressive and irreversible change. However, the specific rate of aging change is less predictable and determined by numerous factors including genetics, nutrition, environment, immunity, stress, and disease.2 Knowledge of the common age-related changes and age-related pathologic changes allows the veterinarian to plan and manage more effective health care programs for elderly pets.

In the older dog, the integumentary system undergoes normal aging changes associated with cellular atrophy of the epidermis, dermis, and adnexal structures. Follicular atrophy results in fewer hair shafts; in addition, atrophy of the pigment-producing melanocytes results in greying of the remaining hairs. The hair coat becomes dry, scaly, and dull from decreased quantity and quality (more waxy) of sebum production. The skin thickens and becomes less pliable with age. The nose and footpads become hyperkeratotic and the nails are longer and more brittle.7,8

Dental disease is the most common age-related change in the alimentary system. Dental calculus and tartar accompanied by varying degrees of periodontal disease and tooth loss also increases with age. Fatty infiltration of the salivary glands results in decreased saliva. Appetite may be suppressed from taste bud atrophy and decreased sensation of smell. Esophageal function is decreased by neuronalloss. The esophageal muscle loses tone and may fail to adequately relax at the cardia. The ability to secrete hydrochloric acid by the parietal cells is decreased as is gastric epithelial turnover. Hepatic function may decrease as intracellular fat droplets accumulate in the hepatocytes and the number of hepatocytes decrease. Colonic motility may decrease with age and,combined with drier colonic mucosa, predis-poses the older pet to constipation.7,8

A gradual decline in renal function is a normal part of aging. Because the kidneys have such a reserve capacity,any decline in functional nephrons may be insignificant. However, renal failure is the third leading cause of death in dogs and number two in older cats. Glomerular filtration rate may decrease as a result of decreased renal perfusion, decreased systemic pressure, and altered permeability of the glomerular membrane.7,8 Evaluation of renal function including a BUN and urine specific gravity is an important component of any Senior Care™ program.

Muscle mass loss is a normal finding in the geriatric patient. This change is associated with a combination of inactivity, progressive atrophy of existing muscle cells, a decrease in muscle cell numbers due to fibrosis, reduced oxygen transport to the muscles, and a decreased sensitivity to ATP. Some additional muscle atrophy can also be attributed to decreased dietary protein.

The quality of articular cartilage is also influenced by aging. The cartilage matrix is composed of proteoglycan macromolecules (hyaluronic acid and glycosaminoglycan [GAG]), type I collagen, and 80% water. In the older patient, the production of GAGs, chondroitin sulfate, and type I collagen is diminished by the decreased numbers of chrondrocytes. Car-tilage homeostasis shifts toward catabolism and the aging cartilage has limited ability to regenerate and main-tain itself in the face of the cumulative effects of ongoing trauma. The tensile strength and shock absorption qualities are diminished resulting in cartilage splitting, cartilage fragmentation, inflammation, synovitis, and microfractures in the subchondral bone.4 Primary idiopathic osteoarthritis is the eventual outcome.

Mild hypothermia is often problematic in the older dog and cat and is usually attributed to less subcutaneous fat and a decreased basal metabolic rate, combined with lack of peripheral vaso constriction. Hypothyroidism can also be a common cause. The old dog and cat become heat seekers. The resulting behaviors may manifest as reclusiveness, periodic trembling, reluctance to go outside for eliminations, and/or sleep cycle disturbances.

Personality and behavioral changes can also be associated with age-related functional changes in the central nervous system. Elderly patients desire more attention, are more jealous, are more irritable, are less mentally alert, dislike change, and have altered sleep cycles. Some have clinical signs related to significant impaired cognitive mental function commonly referred to as senility, dementia, or cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS).

The pathogenesis of CDS is a progressive age-related neuronal degenerative disease associated with lipofusion or beta amyloid plaque formation leading to neuronal dysfunction and eventual neuron death. In addition, other neuronal toxins, neuronal cellular infiltrates, cerebral hypoxia associated with arteriocapillary fibrosis, and endothelial proliferation, or the lack of specific neurotransmitters (ACH, GABA, dopamine) can all adversely affect neuronal function resulting in personality changes and abnormal behaviors in older dogs and geriatric cats.6

Failing eye sight and hearing loss are common findings in older dogs. The most common cause of hearing impairments in dogs is acquired neuronal loss associated with degeneration of the cochlea.

Gradual increases or decreases in the overall body condition score are often associated with aging. These changes are often insidious and not easily detected by the owner. Regular weight monitoring combined with body condition scoring allows the veterinarian to better assess minor changes in overall weight status.

According to a study funded by the Morris Animal Foundation for Animals, in the older dog, the four most common causes of disease-related death were 1) cancer, 2) cardiovascular disease, 3) renal failure, and 4) epilepsy and hepatic diseases (equal number of occurrences). In cats, the top four fatal diseases included 1) cancer, 2) renal failure, 3) cardiovascular disease, and 4) diabetes mellitus.9


From a clinical perspective, how do we transpose this knowledge of aging to our older patients? Progressive practices are using a Senior Care™ program as the vehicle to provide high-quality health care to their older patients. The cornerstones of a Senior Care™ program include client education programs, programs for prevention and early detection of age-related problems, and timely and appropriate medical intervention (Table 5).

One major obstacle in delivering quality health care to the older pet is the lack of knowledge by the owners of the aging process and the early warning symptoms of disease. Many of the age-related diseases have such an insidious onset, most owners do not recognize the problem until it is well advanced. Sadly, at this point in the course of disease, many of the early management alternatives/options may no longer be viable choices.

Unfortunately once observed, some uninformed owners fail to seek veterinary assistance for a particular age-related problem, falsely assuming that their pet is “just getting old” and that nothing can be done. As a consequence, those owners and their pets endure chronic progressive problems that might have been preventable, curable, or at least effectively controlled in the early stages.

A major focus of any geriatric client education program must be emphasizing the awareness of the aging process and the future impact aging will have on the pet’s health care. Empowering our clients to be more active health care partners is a must. Implementing a Senior Care™ program in the clinic provides a way to educate clients on the early warning signs of disease and treatment options.

One of the most significant advances in human geriatric medicine has been the introduction of routine health screening coupled with empowering the patient to be more responsible for their health care. Routine screening improves the early identification of a problem. As a result, the patients are being treated earlier and are living longer. The veterinary profession does a very good job of managing older, chronically ill patients. Instead of reacting to age-related disease, a Senior Care™ program in the clinic is a proactive approach to health care advocating routine age-related physical examinations and a program of diagnostic screening of apparently “healthy” older pets. A program of early detection before disease symptoms are obvious to the owner, before sedation or general anesthesia is administered, before specific medications are prescribed, or before chronic medications are refilled. This early intervention strategy actively probes for problems before they become profound, expensive, or even uncontrollable.

Finally veterinarians must be able to provide timely and appropriate medical options to manage age-related diseases while constantly looking for ways to couple any medical advances and newer technologies to their patients. There is a continual challenge to stay abreast of current knowledge of aging and the pathophysiology of multiple organ dysfunction. Various drug interactions must be throughly investigated when treating animals requiring multiple drug therapy. Anesthesia of the older patient requires special considerations prior to, during, and following a procedure. Newer safer anesthetics and anesthetic monitoring equipment are proven investments in progressive small animal practices. Meeting the specific nutritional demands of aged patients requires continual updating as newer nutritional advances important in modifying aging and in specific disease-managing diets are made available.


Age is not a disease but rather manifestations of the body’s decreased repair (lack of reserve). Detecting these changes and attempting to modify their impact on our patients is what geriatric medicine is all about.

William D. Fortney, DVM
Department of Clinical Sciences
Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Artificial Respiration/CPR

If your dog becomes unconscious, respiratory arrest may occur, and usually occurs before cardiac arrest. The heart may continue to beat for several minutes after the breathing stops. Artificial respiration, or rescue breathing, must begin immediately to save your dog's life. If the heart stops, chest compressions must be given right away to keep the blood pumping. Artificial respiration and chest compressions given together are called cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.

Artificial Respiration

If your dog has gone into respiratory arrest, begin artificial respiration immediately.

Lay your dog on his side on a flat surface.

Be sure your dog has stopped breathing: watch for the rise and fall of the chest, feel for breath on your hand, look at the gums - they will turn blue from lack of oxygen.

Check the airway - it must be clear. Open the mouth and look for a foreign object. If an object is blocking the airway, grab the tongue and pull it outward. If this does not dislodge the object, use your fingers, pliers, or tongs to grasp it. If the object cannot be reached or pulled out, use the Heimlich maneuver.

Once the airway is clear, begin rescue breathing.

With your dog on his side, lift the chin to straighten out his throat.

Use one hand to grasp the muzzle and hold the mouth shut.

Put your mouth completely over the nose and blow gently; the chest should expand. Blow just enough to move his chest (blow harder for large dogs, gently for cats and small dogs).

Wait for the air to leave the lungs before breathing again.

Continue this, giving 20 breaths per minute (one breath every three seconds), until your dog breathes on his own or as long as the heart beats.

Continue to monitor the heartbeat.


If your dog's heart has stopped beating, CPR must begin immediately. It is best to have two people performing CPR - one continuing artificial respiration while the other does chest compressions. Follow the instructions for artificial respiration, alternating with chest compressions. For two people performing CPR, alternate one breath with three compressions. For one person performing CPR, alternate one breath with five compressions.

For Small Dogs (under 30 pounds)

Lay your dog on her side on a flat surface.

Place the palm of your hand on the rib cage over the heart. Place your other hand on top of the first. (For puppies and kittens, put your thumb on one side of the chest and the rest of your fingers on the other side.)

Compress the chest about one inch. Squeeze and release rhythmically at a rate of 80 to 100 compressions per minute.

For Medium & Large Dogs (over 30 pounds)

Lay your dog on her side on a flat surface.

Place one hand on top of the other over the widest portion of the rib cage, not over the heart.

Keeping your arms straight, push down on the rib cage. Compress the chest ¼ of its width. Squeeze and release rhythmically at a rate of 80 compressions per minute.

Continue CPR until your dog breathes on his own and has a steady heartbeat.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Treats vs Table Scraps

Most of us are guilty of sneaking a tasty table scrap to our pets during or after dinner. While there is not anything inherently wrong with giving your pet an occasional morsel left on your plate, there are some very good reasons to limit your handouts to treats made for dogs. Giving dogs a bit of leftover lean meat, non-buttered vegetables, and a little rice will not cause problems, but unfortunately, many people do not stop there.

Once a moocher, always a moocher.

Once you reward begging behavior with table scraps or something off your plate, you can expect to see the same hopeful eyes looking up at you every meal from that day forward. That is fine if you do not mind, but if you have a dog that whines, the behavior may disrupt your dinner. If you do mind, you will have a hard time training your dog to stay out of the room now that he knows he just might get a handout. Also, some dinner guests do not appreciate a tongue-wagging dog at their elbow while they try to eat their meal.

Table scraps do not offer the nutrition dogs need.

The more you fill your pet up with your food the less likely he is to eat his own. And since our nutritional needs are not the same as our dogs', your dog will get less of the vitamins and minerals he needs and probably more of those he does not need. Quality dog treats are developed with your dog's nutritional needs in mind.

Table scraps are the quickest route to weight problems.

Many times scraps are nothing more than empty calories. And since you probably save that hunk of fat or sweet morsel you know your dog will like, he gets all the wrong food for a trim waistline. Overweight pets, besides not looking their best, have a higher risk of many health problems.

Table scraps are a leading cause of digestive disorders.

The rich foods we eat can wreak havoc on your dog's digestive tract. A simple, consistent diet keeps their system functioning as it should. Throw in your very different foods and spices and do not be surprised if your dog has bad gas, bad breath, loose stools, etc.

You could end up with a finicky eater.

If your dog develops a taste for your food, he may stop eating his own. After all, which would you prefer, dry dog food or juicy steak and hamburger every night?

You may create a thief.

Pets that are used to eating human food are more likely to devour the turkey leftovers you left unattended on the kitchen table. Or bury their heads in the garbage can to get at that fish you 'forgot' to give them. As you know, many bones, chocolate, and other food items can be dangerous to your dog.
Treats are a better choice.

A dog treat gives you and your dog the same satisfaction as giving or receiving a table scrap. It promotes that special bond between you and your dog, it gives your pet a new, delicious taste to savor, and it makes both of you feel good.

Quality dog treats are usually more nutritious and tend to have far fewer calories than most table scraps. Liver products are great treats because they provide nutrients your dog is unlikely to obtain from any other food source.

There are other benefits, too, depending on the type of treat you buy. Biscuit-type treats are good for your dog's teeth as they help scrape off plaque and tartar that can cause dental problems. Rawhide satisfies a dog's urge to chew, relieves boredom, and is also good for teeth.

Treats also do not encourage bad behavior. In fact, it is usually the opposite. Treats can be used during training to reward good behavior, but be careful not to overdo it.

As with anything in life, treats should be used in moderation. Too many treats can add weight and affect your dog's meals. As a rule, treats should never account for more than 10% of your dog's food intake. Your dog's food is his sole source for the nutrition he needs, so do not 'fill' your pet up on treats before meal time. Remember, no chocolate, no bones that splinter easily, and no high-fat, greasy foods.

Foods To Avoid

Which foods could be dangerous for my dog?

A. Some foods which are edible for humans, and even other species of animals, can pose hazards for dogs because of their different metabolism. Some may cause only mild digestive upsets, whereas, others can cause severe illness, and even death. The following common food items should not be fed (intentionally or unintentionally) to dogs. This list is, of course, incomplete because we can not possibly list everything your dog should not eat.

Items to avoid Reasons to avoid
Alcoholic beverages Can cause intoxication, coma, and death.
Baby food Can contain onion powder, which can be toxic to dogs. (Please see onion below.) Can also result in nutritional deficiencies, if fed in large amounts.
Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.
Cat food Generally too high in protein and fats.
Chocolate, coffee, tea, and other caffeine Contain caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline, which can be toxic and affect the heart and nervous systems.
Citrus oil extracts Can cause vomiting.
Fat trimmings Can cause pancreatitis.
Grapes and raisins Contain an unknown toxin, which can damage the kidneys.
Hops Unknown compound causes panting, increased heart rate, elevated temperature, seizures, and death.
Human vitamin supplements containing iron Can damage the lining of the digestive system and be toxic to the other organs including the liver and kidneys.
Large amounts of liver Can cause Vitamin A toxicity, which affects muscles and bones.
Macadamia nuts Contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle.
Marijuana Can depress the nervous system, cause vomiting, and changes in the heart rate.
Milk and other dairy products Some adult dogs and cats do not have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk. This can result in diarrhea. Lactose-free milk products are available for pets.
Moldy or spoiled food, garbage Can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting and diarrhea and can also affect other organs.
Mushrooms Can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock, and result in death.
Onions and garlic (raw, cooked, or powder) Contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia. Cats are more susceptible than dogs. Garlic is less toxic than onions.
Persimmons Seeds can cause intestinal obstruction and enteritis.
Pits from peaches and plums Can cause obstruction of the digestive tract.
Potato, rhubarb, and tomato leaves; potato and tomato stems Contain oxalates, which can affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems. This is more of a problem in livestock.
Raw eggs Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.
Raw fish Can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. More common if raw fish is fed regularly.
Salt If eaten in large quantities it may lead to electrolyte imbalances.
String Can become trapped in the digestive system; called a "string foreign body."
Sugary foods Can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly diabetes mellitus.
Table scraps (in large amounts) Table scraps are not nutritionally balanced. They should never be more than 10% of the diet. Fat should be trimmed from meat; bones should not be fed.
Tobacco Contains nicotine, which affects the digestive and nervous systems. Can result in rapid heart beat, collapse, coma, and death.
Yeast dough Can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Dog's Purpose - from a 4-year old

A veterinarian had been called to examine a ten-year old Irish
Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their
little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping
a miracle.

The veterinarian examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. He
told the family that nothing could be done for Belker, and offered to
perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

While arrangements were being made, Ron and Lisa told the veterinarian
they thought it would be good for the four-year-old Shane to observe
the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the

The next day, the veterinarian felt the familiar catch in his throat
as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old
dog for the last time, that the veterinarian wondered if he understood what
was going on.

Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy
seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.

They sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud
about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane,
who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why." Startled, they
all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned everyone.

I've never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, "People are
born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving
everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The four-year-old
continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have
to stay as long."

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A Basic Dog First Aid Kit

Activated Charcoal (available at drug stores) for absorbing poisons
Adhesive tape to secure bandages
Antibacterial ointment or powder for cleaning wounds
Artificial tears for flushing eyes
Benadryl, for allergic reactions, as directed by the vet (usually childrens benadryl at half a teaspoon)
Blunt-tipped scissors to trim hair from wounds and cut bandaging material
Chlorhexidine for cleaning wounds
Cloths or sanitary napkins to help stem blood flow
Cotton balls
Cotton swabs
Disinfectant solution
Eye dropper, turkey baster, or syringe to flush wounds
Gauze pads and rolls to make bandages and a muzzle
Hydrogen peroxide (3 percent) to induce vomiting as instructed (Do so only on the vets instruction. Do not induce vomiting unless the vet advises you to; in some cases of poisoning, throwing up can make the situation worse.)
Kaopectate (ask your vet what amount is appropriate to control your dog's diarrhea)
K-Y Brand Jelly or petroleum jelly to lubricate the thermometer
Needleless syringe for giving liquid medications
Plaster splint for broken limbs
Rectal thermometer
Some pet stores will sell already made up first aid kits for your dogs, however, they may not include all of the items listed above. These items are good to have around so you can be ready for just about any situation your dog can get into. Having a well supplied first aid kit around the house for your dog will help to control the situation before it gets out of hand and help the vet out as well.

Doggie Goodnight Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep,
The queen-size bed is soft and deep.
I sleep right in the center groove,
My human being can hardly move!

I've trapped her legs,
She's tucked in tight,
And here is where I pass the night.
No one disturbs me or dares intrude,
Till morning comes and I want food!

I sneak up slowly and it begins,
My nibbles on my human's chin.
She wakes up slowly and smiles and shouts,
"You darling beast! Just cut it out!"
But morning's here and it's time to play,
I always seem to get my way.

So thank you Lord, for giving me
This human person that I see.
The one who hugs and hold me tight,
And shares her bed with me at night!

- Author unknown
Thanks to Nellie's mom and her friend Julie for this!

Thanks to Debbi for photo of model Kyzer!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Dental Care

Dental care is so important beginning in puppies into adulthood. A huge improvement can be seen in reducing calculus reformation following a dental cleaning by applying ProVSeal™ (KBA, Los Angeles, CA) hydrophobic “dental wax”. The professional wax is applied by a veterinarian to all clean dry tooth surfaces in the anesthetized patient while the wax is very warm to assure thorough coating. (This procedure is similar to a “hot wax” treatment on your car.) ProVSeal™ home care “wax” is applied twice weekly to the outside of all upper teeth with a finger or an applicator.
All home care is more easily accomplished by holding the muzzle closed with one hand and applying the home care product (wax, tooth brush, gel application) with the other. The ProVSeal™ makes other home care much easier.
One of the most logical ways to promote dental health is food. Everyone is going to feed their dogs. Hard kibble is preferable to soft food or food mixed with water. Calculus accumulation is typically less with dry food. Some foods are formulated to help control plaque and tartar buildup. It is best to select a food that has been shown to reduce tartar buildup.
Good housekeeping practices such as washing food and water bowls in hot soapy water daily, washing long muzzle hair weekly, and keeping the dogs areas clean are essential.