In the news…bloat myths and the human walking project

We usually talk about taking the dog out for a walk but a shelter in Australia decided to change things up a bit and created a program to get people out of the office and walking…with their awesome shelter dogs. The program allowed people to interact with shelter dogs in a nontraditional way..changing how people saw the dogs.

On a different note, apparently there is a new myth floating around the internet about not giving your dogs ice water for fear it could cause bloat…well it’s a myth and you can read more about that here.

Why you should consider adopting an older dog

So you decided you’re ready to add a new furry family member…that’s wonderful. But before you start searching for a new puppy here are a few myths and facts about adopting an older animal.

1) MYTH: Older dogs are harder to train

Actually, it’s often the other way around…puppies can be more challenging to train. It’s a bit like trying to teach a toddler v.s school age child there are big differences in their ability to concentrate and understand what is being asked of them. Not to mention that in many cases, older dogs are already housebroken and know basic commands.

2) FACT: Older dogs are great because you already know their size, their temperament, etc.

Unlike young dogs where you only have a rough idea of how big they will become and what their personality is like…older dogs are generally “what you see is what you get”.

3) MYTH: Older dogs will cost more

This is not always the case. While some older dogs may have health issues (any responsible rescue will make potential adopters aware of a dog’s health status and any cost associated with treating these conditions, allowing you to make an informed decision) many do not or they are easily managed. Don’t forget, the first year of owning a puppy can be rather expensive since they require vaccinations and to be spayed/neutered.

4) FACT: Older dogs have to wait longer for their forever homes than young dogs

Even with all the wonderful things an older dog has to offer they still wait on average four times longer to be adopted.

So when you are searching for a new companion…please don’t over look an older dog, they just might be the perfect fit for your family.

(This was originally posted on C & K Pets)

The Cone of Shame….

A few weeks before our pup’s spay surgery we went out a bought a dreaded cone of shame. We even tried it out and attempted to get her used to it so when the big day arrived it wouldn’t be as stressful. There are surprisingly a number of new (and supposedly more humane) alternatives to the original e-collar (aka Elizabethan collar).

One we tried was an inflatable version that looks suspiciously like a life preserver (as you can see in the photo).

Photo: Petco
Photo: Petco

I suppose if you have a dog with a short nose then this might do the trick. It also has the advantage of not restricting your pet’s vision and elimiates the “bulldozer” effect. Unfortunately for our gal, it did little (except make us laugh).

Another option is the soft e-collar. One of the more popular ones is the Comfy Cone. Rather than the usual hard plastic, it’s constructed of foam and nylon to make a less uncomfortable but still protective barrier.

Photo: Dr Foster and Smith (website)
Comfy Cone Photo: Dr Foster and Smith (website)

We didn’t try this option but this may be a great alternative for some pet owners. Some online reviews did complain their dogs did figure out how to fold the foam (allowing them to lick their wounds). Personally, I would probably give it a try next time (BEFORE it was actually needed and buy it from a store that allows returns…just in case).

We had a lot of trouble finding one that would fit our dog. The one from the vet was white (unlike the too short clear one we originally tried..and she didn’t mind). She did not approve of this at ALL, fortunately after a bit of effort we found a clear one that fit properly.

Regardless of the cone you choose, it’s important to make sure that the cone extends past the animal’s nose.

Possible new virus affecting dogs…

WXYZ News Detroit has reported that several dogs in the Ann Arbor area have died as a result of a new virus. The vets are suggesting it may spread from humans to dogs but (personally)….this is a bit unlikely unless the virus has managed a serious feat of mutation. Dog physiology is very different from humans, limiting the ability of viruses to jump between species (except for swine…that’s why they are often used as human analogs). Typically, viruses must infect an intermediate physiologically to humans (eg. a pig) and undergo genetic reassortment (preferably with a virus that CAN infect humans) before they can become an issue for us. Of course this is not ALWAYS the case (eg. bird flu) but direct transmission from animals to humans is rare (unlike bacteria….lots of bacteria can harm both animals and humans). The “backwards” jump from humans to pets is even more unusual. Only time (and research) can tell us what is really going on….

Regardless, be on the lookout for any signs of illness in your dog (especially if you are in Michigan) and visit your vet if you have any concerns. Also, it always helps (pets and people) to prevent illnesses by frequent handwashing!

It’s a busy October in the pet world…

Photo: docoverachiever
Photo: docoverachiever

The first week of October is a busy one in the pet world! First is walk your dog week. Apparently, estimates range from 35-55% of dogs in North America are overweight..not surprising since unfortunately so are many of their owners. Dogs should have a minimum of a 30 minute walk daily. However, if (like many pet owners) you and your dog could stand to lose a few pounds…starting with a 20 minute walk 3x is a great start. Walking helps improve behavior, increase the bond between you and your dog (and of course helps keep everyone healthier).

This week is also adopt a shelter dog month…help change a life. There are many myths about shelter dogs but 4Keepsanimalrescue has a great page addressing the reality of rescue dogs. And don’t forget National Cat Day on October 29th (but more on that later).

Cat Problems….

Photo: @Doug88888
Photo: @Doug88888

Cats are cute, cuddly and their antics can provide their owners with some great entertainment. Unfortunately, they can also have behavioral issues…unlike with dogs…usually this is something people just put up with. But is that necessary?
Here’s a few ideas to deal with common kitty issues that might be a problem in your house. Continue reading

Fresher Breath For Your Dog?

When puppies are teething they have a funny smell to their breath. Some say it smells like bad fish but personally I think it smells a bit like old nachos. In any case, it’s not a great smell. So when we saw Tropiclean’s Liquid Floss it was worth a try.

This product is designed to be sprayed on toys (preferably rope type toys) and in theory as the dog is chewing on the toy, the spray will be worked on to their teeth. The product makers claim that this will help to reduce tartar building and give your dog fresher smelling breath. It’s ingredients include: chlorophyllin (a derivative of chlorophyll that has odor reducing properties), plant-derived alcohol, cetylpyridinium chloride (an antiseptic and plaque preventing ingredient often found in mouthwash) , and green tea leaf extract. We sprayed this toy and gave it to the pup. She didn’t seem to appreciate the minty smell and only chewed on the toy a few times (this is a puppy that likes bitter apple spray). We tried again on a different toy and she tried licking and chewing on it a bit more. Personally, I like the smell of the Liquid Floss but I don’t think it did much to improve her breath. I’m also not sure this product would replace brushing (or bone chewing). However, Tropiclean does make both a toothpaste (well gel to be specific) and foam so we might give those a try instead. Tropiclean Liquid Floss is available for around $11.99.

Continue reading