Tag Archives: Health

What would happen to your pets if you died?

31 Jul

Have you wondered what would happen to your pet if you passed away?  A tragedy on your part, I understand, but what of them?  Presuming you have taken care of your children if you have them and they are under age (through a will and discussions with peoples involved)…what about the dogs?

I laugh when super wealthy folks will their pets 10 million dollars, but I can sort of see their point.  I don’t know anyone that would really want my dogs (or be able to handle them) other than a short visit.  They would probably not be able to stay together (which they are used to)  Unless financially tended to and some provision made for them, they would go to the pound.  Their world would change forever. their content life of eating a certain food at a specific time, sleeping on the same spot, playing the same games and the loving pettings in each one’s specific favorite way would end.  You know they would mourn the changes and life they had.  They wouldn’t understand or know why it changes, just that is has. 

All the scent’s they are used to, the routines they count on, the pack they lovingly share  – perhaps that is a gap in the marketplace someone can open a business for.  BillyBob’s afterlife canine care…. Will us XXX.00 dollars and instructions…we will see that your dog’s care will continue as you wish – and they stay together (if more than one).  Loving environment guaranteed.  Billy Bob can hire loving retired people, kind-hearted teenager’s, and generally great pet loving people to help fill the gap in the pets lives.  Medical care for special needs dogs, exercise, play, and clean living space.  There can be attorney inspectors for  a person’s will wishes.  Maybe not 10 million dollars, but perhaps 20,000 dollars would allow a successful business and a great option for pets. Far fetched I know, but I just love my pups and I would be happy if they are provided for.  I wouldn’t burden anyone else, and someone could make a living.

I don’t know, clearly I am being a bit silly.  I just wonder from their perspective how hard it would be.  Yes they would adjust, I know.  We work hard at taking care of them in our own way, and we believe it is the best for our pets.  I guess it finds a way to work out most of the time.  I think I will look into being sure mine will be ok if an unforseen tragedy occurs.  Who knows maybe I will find a Billy Bob’s out there.


My dog is afraid of thunderstorms

2 Mar

So, if you read my blog you will know I have 4 dogs.  One is a friends, and three are mine.  I have a well-behaved pack.  Once in a while there is a small issue, but we work on it and resolve it rather quickly. 

There is one issue I have not been able to resolve just yet….storm anxiety.  Of course off all my dogs, it is the biggest and strongest that is afraid.  The other dogs are fine, and just look at him like “dude – really?”

I have tried the medicine, and honestly all I get is a big dog with anxiety that is now drunk.  I have to worry about him falling and hurting himself.  He won’t fall asleep, he just runs and panics on the meds.  Sooo, I threw them away.

I put on background noise to help distract and over ride the storm, but thunder is loud.  It works a bit.  I have exercised him hard on the days of a storm so he will be tired and sleep deeply…denied a victory there too. 

At night-time, when a storm hits,  I will have him jump onto the bed and put my arm around him and I fall back to sleep.  He will sleep sometimes and it works, or if it is super aggressive storm he jumps down and runs in circles. 

He has a bed, a safe haven to go to, but it is not a winner during storms.  Play time during a storm is doesn’t happen either.  It is funny that it is the dog bred to hunt lions because of the irony.  It is sad because he trembles and is feeling real fear. 

I have spoken to trainers and taken their advise.  So far nothing has really worked.  I keep looking, I would love to see him sleep right through one at some point.  Especially now that spring is near and storms are a brewing!

Dog having surgery

11 Nov

Well, as it goes you can’t have 4 dogs without one of them needing some medical something or the other.  My dogs are young and healthy.  I have never been one to spend a lot on medications and treatments, but sometimes when it is necessary – it needs to be done.  I do the time left probabilities, quality of life potential vs cost ratio.  I hope I don’t have to use that formula on family members, because I have gotten good with the formula.  (just saying…)

So needless to say the puggle has a cyst on his eye lid.  It looks miserable.  He is young (4), otherwise healthy and this should be a quick surgery and repair.  No rehab, a little pain med and a funny plastic neck helmet for a few days – back to normal.  Now the doc wanted me to send the removed tissue to get lab worked for cancer.  On my family, of course I would do this.  I’m not so convinced it is a good idea with a dog. 

I have 2 family members that had dogs with cancer.  Both rather young.  One was aggressively treated the other just pain meds.  The out come was the same, except the non treated one went a bit sooner.  She was also discovered soooo late staged.  It is outrageously sad.  I can’t think about the potential loss of my dear canine companions.  It pains me to try to write this thought process out.  I have never had a human tell me that the treatment for cancer they have survived was a piece of cake.  That it was no big deal.  I understand that if you catch this early then odds are in your favor.  But at least humans have better meds, treatments, testing, and better insurance coverage.  Even with pet insurance – is it worth it?  Perhaps.

Its an uncomfortable concept, and one I don’t think I am faced with.  I lean against putting an animal that I love so dearly through the ringer.  I think in this case(when it is a pet), where something may be aggressive and painful, maybe making good memories and best remaining times is more compassionate.  Sometimes not knowing is better.  Perhaps just foolish. 

I hope he recovers without a hitch.  Cyst’s can grow back easily.  So I hope there is a good long term outcome for his eye.  Here is hoping for one of those routine deals that we forget about in a few weeks.

Socializing dogs

17 Jul
About.com offered these two articles about socializing dogs that are very helpful  The first is for puppies and the second addresses adult dogs.  Below that is an ariticle written by Nikki Litwin on Cesar Milan’s site.  These are all great articles and very helpful if you are having struggles getting your dogs to make friends and influence other canines….

Dogs are social animals and live in packs.  They have

How Should a Puppy Be Socialized?

Socialization should involve as many people and situations as possible. Introduce your puppy to a wide variety of people, including men, women, children of all ages, people in wheelchairs, men with beards, and people wearing all kinds of clothing (e.g., uniforms, sunglasses, raincoats and umbrellas, hats and gloves, etc.). Before your puppy has gotten all of his vaccinations, you can begin to socialize him by inviting people to your home to meet him.

Handling exercises are another important part of socializing. Think the ways your dog may be handled in his lifetime – a child could pull his tail, a veterinarian might need to restrain him, you may need to hold his feet to clip his nails. If you get your puppy used to being handled in a gentle manner now, you will be less likely to have trouble handling him when he has reached adulthood.

Once your veterinarian approves taking your puppy to new places, you can begin socializing him outside your home. This is a good time to get him used to riding in the car, meeting other dogs, visiting the groomer and pet supply store, and taking walks in your neighborhood.

Socialization should always be kept positive. Allow your puppy to approach new things in his own time. You can use treats and praise to encourage your puppy to approach unfamiliar people and objects. Never push your puppy past his comfort level or he may become fearful of the things you are trying to get him to accept.


The good news is that it is fairly easy to socialize an adult dog. Here are some ideas for making sure your dog gets plenty of socialization throughout his life:

  • Take regular walks in places your dog will get to meet other people and animals.
  • Visit the dog park.
  • Invite over friends and their dogs for playdates.
  • Enroll your dog in a dog daycare once or twice a week.

It’s important that all of your dog’s interactions with other people and animals be kept as positive as possible. Use praise and treats to tell your dog that having other people and animals around is a good thing.

How and When To Socialize Written by Nikki Litwin

Socializing dogs is a hot topic among trainers, breeders, and vets. Do we risk their health and take the puppy out and about? Or do we protect them and isolate them until they have all their shots?

I believe there is a happy middle ground. As a breeder, trainer, and rescue volunteer, I have been in the unique position to see the benefits of early socialization and the consequences of early isolation. Puppies go through many emotional and developmental stages in a very short amount of time. There is a “window of opportunity” to achieve the most benefit from early socialization and unfortunately, that “window” does not always coincide with the completion of their shots.

So how do we get around that? Here are a few suggestions to help you socialize your new pup as well as protect him until his shots are complete.

It is always a good idea to consult with your vet to make sure your puppy is in good health at all times. Most puppies stay with their mothers until they are 7 to 12 weeks old. That is a crucial time for the pup to learn about doggie manners and to begin the bond with people. They learn about bite inhibition from the mom and the other pups. When they bite each other in play, they learn that biting too hard can have consequences. If you have a puppy that did not have that learning lesson, you can imitate that lesson by yelping loudly when your pup bites you. The noise will startle them and make them realize that they hurt you.

Only when the dog returns to a calm, relaxed state, should you give him something appropriate to bite and chew on. This is their reward, as well as a distraction. You want them to concentrate on that object, but only when there is no confusion about the behavior you’re rewarding. If you give it to them too soon, they may mistake the “treat” or toy, as a consequence for being over-excited and biting. Practice this every time they start to get too involved with chewing on or biting you, especially when playing with them.

Meeting people and experiencing new situations is most critical during the 3 to 12 month old period. It is something that dogs need their whole life to stay social and to be reminded that our modern and busy society is a good and safe place, but it is most critical during that ever-changing developmental stage. A good goal with your pup is to make sure they meet at least five new people every week. You can do this by inviting neighbors, friends, or your children’s friends over and having them bring a toy or treat for your pup when they visit. Even better would be to teach your pup to sit before receiving these “gifts” and then you are teaching greeting manners as well as socializing! If you have a limited pool of people to work with, have them come over wearing hats, sunglasses, costumes, strong cologne…anything that would make them look and smell different to the pup.

Puppies also need to experience new situations and environments when they are young. Show your pup the world in a positive and fun way. The secret is to avoid taking them to places where you are likely to run into strange dogs with no known shot history (therefore potentially exposing them to parvo or other dangerous viruses). As a rule, dog parks should be avoided for pups who haven’t received all of their shots yet.

Have them on leash on your front yard when the neighborhood is most busy. Play with them, feed them yummy treats, and let them watch the world go by at a distance where they can be curious but not frightened. If something seems to make them especially nervous, find a distance where they can feel comfortable and work with them till they can move closer without fear. This is also a good time to teach and practice off-leash skills, such as “stay” and “come.” Pups that learn boundaries early in life will be that much more disciplined as they get older.

Take your pup to the pet store and let them “shop” through the store. Let them smell and explore. This is an area of high distraction, so keep your own toy or treats with you to focus them on you and practice attention work with them. If someone wants to visit with your pup, that is a perfect time to practice your greeting manners and introduce them to a new person at the same time. If you are not comfortable with them being on the floor, bring a piece of cardboard to fit in the bottom of the shopping cart and let them ride through the store. This is a particularly good approach for small breeds as they won’t feel so intimidated if people want to lean over them.

Go for coffee or ice cream with the family. Take the pup and let them watch the world go by while you are enjoying your time. Take a towel or small blanket with you and a special toy or treats for the pup to bring the focus back to you and teach the pup to stay on their “spot.” Again, look for those opportunities to work on greeting skills with strangers, and remember that the best time to do activities like this is after some good exercise! Go for a long walk or run before asking a puppy to stay still for an extended amount of time.

A great toy to take along is a Kong stuffed with peanut butter that has been frozen. The pup will lie down and work at getting that peanut butter out and be calm for quite a long time. Bring a plastic, zip lock bag to store the Kong for travel. It keeps things neat and tidy!!

Socializing can be easy and fun and should be part of the total approach to training your new pup. Begin training early and begin socializing even earlier. Enjoy the process – you will soon have the most perfect, balanced, friendly pup that everyone adores!

Nikki Litwin is the owner of Total Dog Training in Los Angeles. She has been training dogs for 22 years and specializes in proper puppy raising and rehabilitating shy dogs. Her passion for dogs includes showing and competing with her German wirehaired pointers and Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

Loosing your best friend

10 Jun

I wonder why dogs have such short lives compared to ours.  12 – 15 years on average is so short for our beloved family members.  I think it may be God‘s way of encouraging us to always have one in our home.  If their life span was too much longer, perhaps many folks wouldn’t be able to have them.  With the exception of having being very up in age (90 +)we can be more willing to commit to caring for a dog with confidence.  It is even more appealing to an elderly person to adopt an older dog.  The commitment is not as long-term , for obvious reasons, and they are much more calm – and trained.

That short life span has a clear down side.  The sorrow of their passing.  I have had 4 in my life that have passed.  2 of old age, one of disease, and one a tragic situation.  Each time, for me, the ability to live without a dog is shorter and shorter.  I have gone so far as to have multiple dogs at staggered ages to better ensure always having their companionship.

For me, in each case of a loss, the pain has been deep.  I know for many friends that is how it is for them as well.  I know I have cried for weeks after their passings.  I still mourn their loss now, even though years have passed.  Each one still holds their unique personalities that formed our relationship in my thoughts and memories.  I miss them very much, and would love to have them back. 

These great dogs of ours touch our lives in such a unique and special way.  I beleive only a special soul is meant to care for them.  God put that desire for loving a dog in most (but not all) of us.  He loves dogs as much as we do.  When God’s  hand is so obviously  involved you know that the impact on our lives is going to be great.  And it is.

I know some people have suffered so deeply from their loss, that they cannot bear to go through that pain again.  I understand that a lot.  I admire the bond they created with their canine companion. It is evidence to me that – that person is truly one of God’s good creations.   There is a different tenderness to the heart of a dog owner (and yes cat owners too).  The relationship with our dogs encompass a tremendous amount of trust, love, respect, dependability, support, and caring.  These qualities are very consistent throughout the years.  There is not one human relationship we have that holds that kind of stability.  When the pack looses a member there is a void.

I know when this sad time comes (expected or not) what we all go through.  The mourning is as intense and real for our pet/friend as it is for any family member.  I can still begin to cry when I think about my past dogs.  I have so much love in my heart for them even today.  Grieving is a process.  It phases back and forth and up and down.  As painful as it is, and how much we never want to go through that again.  But…eventually we realize there is so much to gain by giving it another go.

So for anyone who is hurting or missing their best buddy – may God Bless you and your family.  Take your time, heal your heart, and save that collar for a special day of remembering in the future.  The devine gift our dogs are.  Blessings and gifts from a loving God.

Dogs and arthritis

27 Jan

 I have a young dog with arthritis.  It is sad and frustrating for him and myself.  He wants to run, play and wrestle…and sometimes just can’t.  So I have been reading about it and thought I would share some of the things I learned.  Feel free to visit the web site listed below.

Osteoarthritis that is a progressive degenerative joint disease where the cartilage breaks down causing the bones to rub against each other and the result is dog joint pain and stiffness.

Hip Dysplasia is a genetic degenerative disease cause by a malformation of the hip sockets. Chronic inflammation of the joints occurs and the tissues surrounding the area begin to deteriorate and breakdown.

Elbow Dysplasia is also a degenerative hereditary disease where the bones do not form well and causes the bones to chip. It is considered to be hereditary and is seen as a common cause of front-leg lameness in larger breeds of dogs.

Knee Dysplasia is a malformation of the leg bones that causes the loosening of bone at the kneecap which is painful, and causes lameness and limping in your dog.

Hypertrophic Dog Arthritis is excessive bone growth or spurs in the joints.

Osteochondrosis results from poor breeding practices caused by a poor diet that leads to cartilage deterioration.

Degeneration of the Shoulders whereby unstable joint or trauma cause the breakdown of cartilage in the shoulder, leading to inflammation and pain on movement, and consequently, chronic canine arthritis that affects other parts of the body as well.

Degenrative arthritis is a painful condition and can make your dog’s life miserable, therefore the sooner you detect the signs of dog arthritis, the faster you can adopt measures to slow its progression and help save your dog from further pain. Here is a rundown on some of the signs and symptoms that your dog may have athritis:

Canine Arthritis Symptoms
  • Stiffness, lameness, or limping after rest
  • Loss of appetite or unusual weight gain
  • Inactivity and sleeping a lot more
  • Relutance to walk, run or climb stairs
  • Unusual urinating in the house
  • Irritability and behavioural changes
  • Depressed or withdrawn


Arthritis doesn’t discriminate. It affects not only people of all ages — including children — but also strikes our furry friends, too. If you’re a dog-owner, you make sure your buddy takes his heartworm medicine, eats well, looks bright-eyed and playful, and greets you as only a doggy can when you come home. You notice changes in mood and activity, so if your pet isn’t feeling his best you may suspect a cold or stomach virus – but it could be arthritis. In fact, arthritis affects one in every five adult dogs in the U.S. and is one of the most common sources of chronic pain that veterinarians treat

Dino to Fido

Arthritis is one of the oldest diseases in history. We know that the dinosaurs had it and there is evidence that early humans lived with the same chronic aches and pains. So it makes sense that Dogs Get Arthritis, Too. In fact, it is a common ailment of man’s best friend.

The Human-Hound Connection

Now you know that both you and your dog can get arthritis, but did you know that managing your dog’s arthritis can help you better manage yours? It’s true that having a pet can give you a positive spin on life, boost your attitude and lift your spirits. Pet-owners also tend to live longer and have fewer visits to the doctor’s office.

More good news is that the treatment strategy for osteoarthritis in humans and in canines is similar:

  • Early diagnosis and treatment
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Exercise
  • Proper medication

Don’t Spare Yourself to Spoil the Dog

We can’t help it. We spoil our pets. If you focus more on your dog’s health than on yours, try these tips to keep both of you healthy and active.

  • Visit the doctor. Your pet needs to see the veterinarian at least once a year for a check-up – maybe more. When you make his appointment, call your own doctor and schedule one for yourself. Make sure you both get some baseline X-rays to chart your bone deterioration.
  • Shed excess pounds. Pay more attention to what your pet eats and when, and do the same for yourself. Read the food labels for each of you to make sure that every bite is giving you both good energy and nutrition. Limit your servings and don’t cheat by eating between meals or slipping Fido extra snacks.
  • Coordinate your dog’s medication schedule with your own to make sure you both take your dosage every day. Arrange medicine with mealtime if it needs to be taken with food. Keep your meds together so you will see yours every time you reach for his. Use colorful stickers or permanent markers to help distinguish whose medication is whose, especially if you have trouble reading small print.
  • Never let your dog take your medicine – and don’t take his – without discussing it with your doctor.
  • Let Rover take you for walk. Instead of kicking your dog off the couch so you can stretch out, kick him off, grab the leash and stretch out together. Take a walk or run with your four-legged friend. You’ll both strengthen the muscles around your joints, which reduces stress on the joint itself. But don’t over do it. Both of you need to increase exercise levels slowly and stay hydrated. Monitor how you both feel after the walk to determine if you need to increase or decrease your level next time. Don’t only treat your own blisters and sore feet – be sure to check Fido’s paws and pads after exercising for lesions or lacerations.

Therapies may include:

  • Healthy diet and exercise to help maintain proper weight.
  • Working with your veterinarian to find a drug treatment that helps relieve the pain.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS): the most common form of pharmaceutical treatment for arthritis in dogs.
  • Over-the-counter pet treatments, such as pills or food containing either glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate or Omega fatty acids. Both have shown to help relieve the symptoms of arthritis in dogs.
  • A veterinarian-prescribed NSAID and an over-the-counter treatment that together may help decrease pain and disease progression.

Never give your dog human medication without checking first with your veterinarian. Certain medications can be toxic to dogs – particularly acetaminophen and ibuprofen – and a safe dose will differ between a greyhound and a dachshund.

No matter how you decide to treat your dog’s arthritis, make sure you work with a veterinarian to ensure that you select a program that helps your best buddy.


Fixing some problems and getting an impactful focus on the Arizona Tragedy

11 Jan

The left is blaming the right.  The right is blaming the left.  His friends, acquaintances call him a left-wing pot head.   Talk radio, fox news, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, health care, immigration, and so on are being blamed.  Except for the people who met him –  all of these accusations are  incorrect, and unintelligent, and as crazy as the shooter himself.  This guy did not have political capacity.  He didn’t have human attachment capacity.  He doesn’t have the ability to keep a sane thought for the most part. 

We need to focus on prayer for those impacted.  Those that lost their lives, injured and lost their regular health and lifestyles, those that lost family members and friends.  The shooter’s family has now a burden to bear forever.

Can we focus please at this time on the opportunity to get improved mental health in this country?  There are so many people who have severe mental illness, are dysfunctional and unable to connect with society, that need help.  This situation is screaming this obvious need.  If there is a person over the age of 18 in this country with a severe mental illness there is almost no way to get them consistent and quality  comprehensive help.  Parents have few options.  The socially compromised individual has almost no means to help themselves.  They are unstable and are left un-medicated, un-counseled, wandering aimlessly with struggles with anyone they pass, and many times drug and legal problems.

While everyone is trying to blame others, and make political benefits for themselves – the real group we can help to everyone’s benefit is the mentally and socially challenged.  We have politicians and reporters talking about restricting first amendment rights, second amendment rights, changing the security for congress members, and prevent people to have access to their elected officials.  How about talking about how to help this group of people in need?

Why can’t we focus on accomplishing a clear and comprehensive process for helping people with mental and social challenges.  Can this nation use this opportunity and its’ resources to truly do some good?  Can America make the right changes that we will look back on with pain of the event, but pride for the response?

Just a thought.