Archives for May, 2009

What to do if your dog stops breathing

Hello Everybody,

We took Roxie in to see Dr. Maria for her periodic chiropractic adjustment (see my April 23rd post), and I found out the essential oil blend they use to settle her down is called “Peace and Calming”. They gave us a sample and we use it whenever we have thunder, as Roxie (being the hyper little girl that she is) is extremely thunder-phobic. Our experience with Peace and Calming is it takes at least an hour to start working, but does seem to quiet her down.

Andy Lewis sent out this information that I’d like to pass along, about what to do if your dog stops breathing. Andy is the one who created Dog Food Secrets:

Getting a CPR Certificate for Your Dog

Performing pet CPR can be challenging if you do not have the proper training. Check with your local American Red Cross, neighborhood ASPCA, or animal shelter for information on pet CPR classes.

If you face an emergency, and you do not have formal training, these guidelines may save your dog’s life:

CPR For Dogs Under 30 Pounds

  1. Kneel facing the dog’s chest.
  2. Place one hand on top of the dog’s ribs behind the elbow.
  3. Place the other hand underneath the ribs, behind the elbow.
  4. Press the two hands together, compressing the chest one-half to one inch.
  5. Combine with rescue breathing, 5 compressions for each breath, and keep going for as fast a pace as you can tolerate.

(Note: Rescue breathing on dogs is done by closing the dog’s mouth and breathing into the dog’s nose.)

CPR For Dogs 30 to 90 Pounds

  1. Kneel facing the dog’s back.
  2. Extend your arms straight with one hand resting on top of the other and lock your elbows straight.
  3. Place your joined hands, palms down, where the dog’s left elbow would touch his ribs if he were standing.
  4. Compress the chest about 1 – 3 inches in, depending on the dog’s size.
  5. Combine the compressions with rescue breathing, 5 compressions for each breath, then recheck the pulse to see if it has returned.

CPR For Dogs Over 90 Pounds

Follow the same rules for dogs 30 – 90 lbs., with one exception: Do 10 compressions for each breath, then recheck the pulse.

Hopefully none of us will have to use this information, but you never know.

Hugs to your dogs,


May 27, 2009 | Comments are off | Home Health Care for Dogs

Dog-Safe gardening

Hi Everybody,

I love to garden, so I thought I’d pass along the link to the ASPCA Guide to Pet-Safe Gardening , plus give you my two-cents worth on dog-safe gardening:

1. Poisonous Plants

I found out after planting them that kalanchoes are a potentially dangerous plant for pets. Fortunately, Roxie and Gypsy ignore them. Another popular plant in this area to be avoided is the sago palm.

Here is a link to the ASPCA plant list complete with pictures of toxic and non-toxic plants.

2. Fertilizer

Rick and I have found a fertilizer that is organic and free from toxic substances, which we now use exclusively for our lawn. It is a 7/2/2 combination that contains bat guano, molasses and other natural ingredients. The only problem is Gypsy really likes the taste of the molasses and will hunt down any that has not been washed into the ground. It does no harm, other than to make her poop really dark!

Another fertilizer we’ve used is blood meal, especially for flowering plants. We made the mistake one time of using it in the back yard and learned out the hard way that both Roxie and Gypsy find it irresistable. They both rolled in it and tore up our potted plants.

3. Cocoa Mulch

We have never used cocoa mulch, but it makes sense to me that it can be toxic to dogs just like chocolate because it also contains theobromine. Plus it smells sweet, so dogs would find it attractive. We use a “living” mulch that contains compost and tree trimmings native to the San Antonio area.

4. Insecticides/Flea Control

We gave up using standard pesticides several years back, and now make use of natural alternatives. We have used Beneficial Nematodes with good results to control fleas and grubs. Nematodes are microscopic, and they come on a sponge that can be stored for a short time in the refrigerator.

Nematodes are best applied in the early evening, and when you get ready to use them, you soak the sponge in water. They should be applied to moist ground, so if you are in the middle of a drought like we are in San Antonio, you’ll have to run your sprinklers to dampen the area. The nematodes are applied using a spray attachment on your hose. The ground should be watered again afterwards to help them get worked into the soil. The nematodes will eat themselves out of food (grubs, fleas, etc.) in a short time.

We have also used Diatomaceous Earth with some success. It is only effective as long as the powder remains in your lawn, so you may find yourself reapplying it every few days. You want the type of DE found in garden supply stores, not pool supply stores. It works by cutting the exoskeleton of insects that come in contact with it, but is safe for humans and pets. The only precaution is to not breath in the dust as you are applying it, so it is best not to spread it on a windy day and to use a dust mask.

5. Compost

We have a compost bin, and we end up with a fantastic product to use in our garden. We are able to recycle most plant/vegetable waste plus coffee grounds and tea bags. Banana peels also work great and seem to be a favorite of earth worms. Because the bin we have is a closed system, we don’t have a concern about Roxie and Gypsy getting into the compost.

As a final note, if the worst happens and you suspect your pet has gotten into something dangerous, you can contact your vet or the Animal Poison Control Center 24 hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.

Happy gardening,


May 19, 2009 | Comments are off | Holistic

Puppies Behind Bars and Dog Tags

Happy Friday everyone,

Anytime Oprah does a show about animals, I try to catch it. Today, her show was titled “Amazing Animals” and featured a segment about Puppies Behind Bars and Dog Tags.

Puppies Behind Bars is a program where inmates are trained to raise puppies to become service dogs for the disabled and explosive detection canines for law enforcement. The Dog Tags program provides service dogs for veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The segment featured Glenn Close, interviews with inmates involved in training the puppies, and a veteran who was the recipient of a yellow lab named Frankie. An incredibly emotional part of the story was the meeting of the veteran and the inmate who trained Frankie, with Frankie breaking the ice.

At the end of the segment, Glenn Close promoted Dog Tags Chewy Shoes to help raise money for the Dog Tags program.

For me this was an uplifting, inspirational show, and I came away thinking (after shedding some tears) this is one of those programs where everybody wins.

Hope you and your dogs all have a great weekend,


May 15, 2009 | Comments are off | Dog Behavior

Merle’s Door – Lessons from a Freethinking Dog

Hi Everybody,

I am an avid reader, and a sucker for a great book about dogs, especially one that is a true story.

I just finished Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog by Ted Kerasote. This was a great read, and I had a hard time putting it down.

Merle essentially adopts Ted when the two meet while Ted and some friends are on a rafting trip on the San Juan River near Bluff, Utah. The author chronicles his years with Merle, and interweaves the story with scientific and historical research about dogs. What makes this book unique in my opinion is the author’s depiction of a mutually respectful and loving relationship with Merle, and his contention that Merle was an independent thinker. By making his own decisions and following his own path, Merle enriched Ted’s life and taught him unexpected lessons.

Ted’s description of Merle’s eventual decline was heartbreaking, and it reminded me so much of our little poodle/terrier mix Cubby who went through similar issues before passing on at the age of 10. This book, however, is so much an expression of gratitude for their life together it is worth the tears at the end.

I would love to see this book made into a movie. Here is the link once again: Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog.

Talk to you soon,


May 13, 2009 | Comments are off | Dog Behavior

Does your dog have a fat deficiency?

Hi Everyone from a warm evening in San Antonio,

We just finished with our daily flea-combing/brush/play routine with Roxie and Gypsy. Everyday, around five p.m., Roxie starts getting antsy because she know her daily fetch session is about to begin. She has gone so far as to go out the doggie door, get the ball, then bring it back inside to drop it at my feet!

I wanted to pass along some information I learned from Andy Lewis who created Dog Food Secrets. I’ve mentioned him in previous posts as he is a wealth of knowledge about dog food and dog nutrition. He learned the hard way about commercial dog food after losing his dog Noble to kidney failure.

But first, please allow me to digress and go on a short rant about the propaganda we have received over about the last decade to cut fat from our diets. We have listened, and processed food manufacturers have met our demand for low-fat or non-fat food products. I use the term food loosely as some of these items in no way resemble food. The result of avoiding fats is we as a nation are more overweight and sickly than ever! It boils down to common sense, balance, and moderation. We need a certain amount of the right types of fats for our bodies and brains to function properly.

Just like humans, dogs need the right types of fats in their diets. Their diets should be about 5% of monosaturated fats (olive oil, nut oils, canola oil), polyunsaturated fats (corn oil, safflower oil) and saturated fats (butter, lard, coconut oil, palm oil).

Your dog may have a fat deficiency if you see any of the following:

1. Dull coat

2. Delayed wound healing

3. Lack of energy

4. Heart problems

5. Growth deficits

6. Dry skin

Of course, you don’t want to go overboard, as excess fats can result in obesity, liver disease, diabetes, heart disease and more.

Hope you found this helpful.

Until next time,


May 12, 2009 | Comments are off | Homemade Dog Food

Hi Everybody, did you know Ces…

Hi Everybody, did you know Cesar Millan is doing a Dog Whisperer episode about Puppy Mills tonight on National Geographic at 8 PM Central?

May 08, 2009 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Could a Dog Improve Your Life and Tax Bill?

Good Evening to All,

Rick grilled a whole chicken for dinner tonight, but before cooking it, he set aside some pieces for Roxie and Gypsy. They enjoyed the raw chicken wings, neck, tail, and liver for their dinner and ate all of it with their usual gusto.

Rick passed along this intriguing article to me today. The writer, Lisa De Pasquale, discusses something we all as dog lovers already know, which is how much pets enrich our lives. I know for me, I cannot imagine not having a dog in my life, as they add immeasurably to what makes life worth living.

Her second point, though, is not so clear cut. She would like to see a change in the tax code to allow us to declare our pets as tax exemptions. My political views can best be described as libertarian, and I believe we should be looking at ways to simplify the tax code rather than add a further wrinkle to already impossibly complex legislation.

Anyway, take a look and tell me what you think: Could a Dog Improve Your Life and Tax Bill?

Give your dogs a hug for me,


May 05, 2009 | Comments are off | Homemade Dog Food

Puppy Mills – a national disgrace, and what we can do to help

Hello Everyone,

I have to tell you about a book I just finished A Rare Breed of Love. Jana Kohl is the author, who tells the story of Baby, a white poodle rescued from a California puppy mill by a woman Jana named “Drive-by Angel”. Identified only by the number 94 tatooed in her ear, the little dog had outlived her usefulness as breeding stock and was to be put down by the breeder. Drive-by Angel took the dog home, named her “Baby” and proceeded to prepare her for adoption. A couple of days after bringing her home, Baby jumped off a sofa and shattered her left front leg. Baby, being overbred, denied exercise and proper nutrition, suffered from osteoporosis, so her leg had to be amputated. Baby never barked, as her vocal cords had been cut to save the breeder from the inconvenience of hearing the dog’s cries.

Jana adopted Baby from Drive-by Angel, and became what she describes as an “accidental activist” taking on the puppy mills.

The book is a beautiful one, not only because of the story it tells, but there are stunning photographs of Baby with celebrities and politicians who share a love of animals.

What I went away with from this book is action steps, that we, as dog lovers and advocates can take:

All of Jana’s profits from the sale of her book go to the HSUS. To find out more: A Rare Breed of Love: The True Story of Baby and the Mission She Inspired to Help Dogs Everywhere.

Thanks for listening,


May 04, 2009 | Comments are off | Stray Dog