Archives for June, 2009

Hot Weather Dog Safety

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Hello Everyone,

All of us dog lovers hear this every summer, but with temperatures hitting 100 degrees every day in San Antonio it bears repeating tips for keeping dogs safe in the summer heat.

Dogs don’t sweat like we humans do, and their cooling off mechanism, panting, is not as efficient as ours. If the air temperature they are taking in is too hot, panting does little to cool off a dog, and they can quickly become overheated. This is especially a problem for dogs like Pugs, Pekingese, and Boston terriers.

Signs of heat exhaustion in a dog are similar to those of shock, and include rapid, shallow breathing, labored breathing, heavy panting, weakness, general lethargy, drooling, red (instead of pink) gums, a very red, floppy tongue, or a very high body temperature (greater than 105 degrees).

If your dog is exhibiting signs of overheating, move him to a cool spot, and cool him down immediately by spraying him with cool (not cold) water or wrapping him in cool, moist towels, give him some cool (not cold) water to drink, and get him to a vet as soon as possible. It is not a good idea to use ice as your dog could go into shock.

Every summer we see a heartbreaking story on the news about a dog dying of heat stroke in a vehicle, so the first thing to remember is never leave your dog in a vehicle in hot weather, even in the shade or with the windows down. When the temperature is at 93 degrees, a car’s interior temperature can reach about 140 degrees in only 20 minutes!

In hot weather, truck beds can get scorching hot, especially those with dark colors, so don’t allow your dog to ride in the bed of an open pickup truck.

If your dog spends any time outside in the heat, make sure he has access to shade and fresh water.

If you walk your dogs, take them during the cooler times of the day. In San Antonio, that means before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Rick and I take Roxie and Gypsy for our walk about 7:30 in the morning in the summertime.

Another reminder about walks, is asphalt can get hot enough in the summertime to burn a dog’s paws. Before venturing out, check the asphalt with your bare feet or hands. If you cannot keep your hands or bare feet on the asphalt for at least three seconds, it is too hot to safely walk your dog.

By the way, we have finally added a picture of Roxie, myself, and Gypsy to the “About Us” page. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Jean

Jun 24, 2009 | 0 | Home Health Care for Dogs

To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate, that is the question

Hi Everyone from hot and dry San Antonio,

We are experiencing higher than normal temperatures for June, having hit 100 degrees every day for a week with no relief in sight. Even our hyper little girl Roxie has slowed down in the heat, as her daily fetch sessions have become shorter and shorter.

There is growing evidence from more and more credible sources that we are over-vaccinating our dogs. For years, we have faithfully taken our precious pets in to get their round of shots for rabies, parvo, distemper, etc. because that is what we are told by most veterinarians.

I made the mistake of asking our very traditional vet if he does titer (pronounced tighter) testing which is a blood test to show if a dog has immunity. He went ballistic, telling me I had too much time on my hands and spent too much time on the internet! We have since switched to a more open-minded holistic vet.

Here are some sources I’ve found for information regarding vaccinations:

  1. Jan Rasmussen, who is the award-winning author of Scared Poopless, and a tireless advocate for dogs has written several articles about vaccines and titer testing.
  2. Dr. Andrew Jones has stated “Our companions are suffering from generations of over-vaccination, which combined with inadequate nutrition, poor breeding practices and environmental stresses are leaving each generation more susceptible to congenital disorders and chronic disease.”
  3. Dr. Karen Becker has recorded a video about vaccines and titer testing.

For me, all I know is we lost two sweet dogs, Cubby and Skittles, both at the age of 10. Cubby fell victim to liver failure, and Skittles had throat cancer. We had dutifully done everything our vet told us to do: feeding them nothing but dry kibble, giving them annual vaccinations, administering commercial flea products, and putting them on monthly heartworm preventative. Did those things contribute to their early deaths? I can’t help but think they did.

That is why, with Roxie and Gypsy we are doing things differently. I make their dog food, we use natural flea prevention methods, we do not have them on monthly heartworm prevention, and we have found a vet, Dr. Maria Williams, who will titer them for immunity before doing knee-jerk vaccinations.

Here is the link to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association to find a vet in your area.

I would love to hear what you have experienced regarding vaccinations.

All the best to you and your dogs,

Jean

Jun 17, 2009 | 1 | Holistic, Home Health Care for Dogs, Homemade Dog Food

Is your dog dehydrated?

Happy Friday Everyone,

My dogs Roxie and Gypsy are always a source of joy and entertainment for me, but today Roxie gave me a lesson in doggie behavior and shattered an illusion at the same time. Several times I have found bird feathers in a small pile in our back yard, and I’ve always thought a cat was doing the deed at night. But today, I watched Roxie catch a small bird that was struggling to fly, kill it, and then eat it, stopping only to spit out the feathers! What really surprised me was Gypsy left her alone and didn’t try to take the bird away from her, but merely sniffed the area after Roxie was finished. Rick has since nicknamed Roxie “BK” for bird-killer.

I’d like to share some home health care tips for dogs from Dr. Andrew Jones regarding dehydration:

Tests for Dehydration

  • Skin – The first test for dehydration is ‘tenting’ the skin. Pinch the skin between your dog’s shoulder blades and see how quickly it springs back. It should go back in less than 5 seconds. If the skin tent is prolonged, then your dog is dehydrated.
  • Eyes – Your dog’s eyes will be sunken into her head, specifically, the eyes recede into the eye socket.
  • Gums (Capillary Refill) – Your dog’s gums are the best indicator of deydration. Lift your dog’s lips to expose the gums (pink tissue above the teeth). Place your index finger on the gums and press your finger flat to the gum. This temporarily squeezes blood in that spot out of the small blood vessels (capillaries). When you lift your finger, the blood should return in less than 2 seconds. This response will be delayed in a dehydrated dog.
  • Gum moisture – The gums often feel dry and tacky in a dehydrated dog. When you pull your index finger away from the gums, it should feel wet, and easily slide away. In a dehydrated dog, your finger will stick to the gums.

Possible solutions

  • Ice – Some dogs will readily lick ice cubes when they are dehydrated, even if they are reluctant to drink water. Float the ice in their water bowl.
  • Electrolytes – Dogs that are more severely dehydrated will benefit from additional electrolytes. ‘Pedialyte’ is an oral electrolyte re-hydration supplement for children. A needle-less syringe or a turkey baster works well. Insert the tip into the center of your dog’s mouth. Tilt his head back, hold his mouth closed and squirt in the fluid.

    A safe rule of thumb is to give 30 ml (2 tablespoons) per 10 pounds of weight every hour.

Enjoy your weekend and please give your dogs a hug for me,

Jean

Jun 12, 2009 | 1 | Dog Behavior, Holistic, Home Health Care for Dogs

Is Table Food really bad for your pets?

Hello Everybody,

I’ve been a subscriber to the Dr. Mercola site for years as I’ve found it to be one of the best and most objective sources of health information on the web. I was delighted when recently a Healthy Pets site was added.

Dr. Karen Becker is at the helm of the Mercola Healthy Pets site, and her videos are great! A video that was near and dear to my heart is titled “Is Table Food really bad for your pets?”. She makes the analogy between the idea of dog chow or cat chow vs. “kid chow” as being all you need to feed your child and you shouldn’t feed your child anything else!

Here is the link to the approximately six minute video (and others): Mercola Healthy Pet videos.

Take Care,

Jean

Jun 09, 2009 | 0 | Holistic, Homemade Dog Food