Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Marvelous working dog Ruby keeps her human safe

Depending on dog breed and the individual, many dog owners face problems with their furry friends wanting to herd or chase cars. Other dogs just don't understand traffic, and might wander off into the street. In Ruby's case roles are reversed; she's a Golden Retriever working to keep her human safe.

Ruby is a working dog from Tender Loving Canines, and she helps autistic boy Garrett cope with the world. Garrett tends to wander off, and even with several locks on the front door, he is an escape artist who often ends up in the middle of a busy street or in a neighbor's house. To make matters even worse, he has a disorder making him prone to eat unsuitable items.

Before Ruby, the family avoided going anywhere out of fear of losing him. Keeping Garrett safe was a taxing job that required several people. Today, Garrett's mom holds Ruby's leash, and Garrett in turn is attached to Ruby, who is trained to prevent him from trying to leave.

It is important that the right dog is paired with the right person, and before placing Ruby, the trainers made several visits to ensure she was a good fit, and that Garrett would be gentle with her. They still make follow-up visits, and right now, they're training Ruby to track and find Garrett if he disappears.

While all these tasks are important to the family, Ruby's main impact might be even more important. Garrett's autism is severe and he never had a friend before - he would barely talk even to the family. Ruby alleviates loneliness. Garrett even sings to her, something that would have been unthinkable before her arrival.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rare Breed Monday: Portuguese Podengo

The Portuguese Podengo is an ancient hound from Portugal. The dogs are hardy, intelligent, loyal, fearless, and energetic. The breed is believed to stem from dogs used and distributed by Phoenician traders around 700 BC. 

During the ages the Portuguese Podengo developed into three different sizes, and each size can have a smooth or wire coat. The six types are not interbred, but they're all referred to as Portuguese Podengo.

The Podengo Grande is the largest, and was developed for hunting deer and wild boar. The dogs are tough, hardy, and observant. This size is very rare even in Portugal.

The Podengo Medio is knee-high and has a characteristic style of doing things. It is good at chasing, but also stalks like a cat, and jumps right up to see above brush or grass. They are very active and usually good with children and other animals.

The Podengo Pequeno is watchful and observant, very active, and can be remarkably funny and silly. Most Podengos in the US are this size, with a large majority having the wire coat.

These are rustic dogs that don't require much grooming. They have an independent streak and aren't always easy to train, but they make wonderful dogs for experienced owners.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, September 26, 2014

Many animals pass through the Duluth Animal Hospital, but few get the attention of Roo - the two legged Chihuhua - and Penny the chicken. 

Penny was rescued from an experiment when she was nine weeks old. The experiment had ran its course and that was pretty much it for the fluffy bird. Luckily for Penny, Alicia Williams spotted her and asked if she could take Penny home.

After a while Penny got bored with being home alone, so her new human brought her to work. Penny even lays eggs a few times a week.

Roo was found outdoors at the tender age of seven weeks. He was born without front legs and dumped in a park where a good samaritan found him. Today, he too is adopted by Williams, and Penny is his best friend.

People come in to Duluth Animal Hospital just to see Penny and Roo, and many schedule their appointments around the duo's schedule to make sure to meet them.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Three fabulous dogs.

Most dogs are heroes just through existing and being there for their families in everyday life. Many also hold jobs, often doing things humans can't. Dogs have been to space, they find lost people or explosives, detect disease, guide humans, and many other things. Here are three examples of fabulous dogs.

Smoky was a four-pound Yorkshire terrier who fought in World War II. She backpacked through the New Guinea jungles and cheered up injured soldiers.

Being one of the first therapy dogs in a war zone is no small feat, but she did even more: Smokey stringed communication lines and performed other intricate tasks. Proof that good things sometimes comes in small packages!

Bazz is a beekeeper. This black lab is trained to detect a deadly disease that wipes out beehives in south Austarlia. Bazz is able to sniff out the disease, and saves thousands of bees.

The suit protects him from being stung, while still giving access to the scents he needs to do his job.

Jet the Border Collie was the first four-legged air traffic controller. He started his job in 1999 and paved the way for other pawed airport workers controlling birds on the air field.

Jet was hired to prevent collisions between planes and birds, and kept the birds away so efficiently he was featured in People Magazine.

Every dog is a hero in their own way, whether they work or not. What is the best thing your dog does for you?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

NYC hotel takes dog friendly to a new level

Image from theoutnyc.com
OUT is a hotel in Hell's Kitchen that takes dog friendly to a whole new level. While other hotels might accept four-footed friends in the rooms and even provide a bowl of water, OUT focuses on the doggie experience.

Naturally, the hotel rooms are comfortable for people, but that's not really the point. The suites have private fenced-in outdoor terraces complete with a dog house, a bed, and a plastic fire hydrant. Furry guests have access to their terrace around the clock through a pet door.

The rooms also have treat jars stuffed with organic snacks for dogs, and visiting pooches get complimentary doggie cupcakes.

The hotel has a dog-walking service. The first two walks are free, and after that dog owners are charged an hourly fee. They can also arrange a dog sitter for those who don't expect their furry friends to behave with just the room's built in dog-cam as supervision.

On the website, the hotel says, "Enjoy tug-of-war on your PRIVATE fully appointed terrace which features a dog house, pet fire hydrant and comfy seating for two and four-legged friends. Inside your pooch will be spoiled with their own doggie bed, dining set, organic treats and even pet spa products."

Do you travel with your dog? What amenities do you look for?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Like cats and dogs?

Image from lifewithcats.tv
Panda the kitten was found sitting on a sidewalk when he was so small he hadn't even opened his eyes yet. A woman found him and rushed him to a vet, who determined the kitten was only a week old. 

Taking care of a newborn kitten is a round-the-clock commitment, and Panda's good samaritan knew the kitten needed experienced care. The Helen Woodward Center just outside San Diego agreed to take him in.

Normally, the kitten's mom will provide everything the newborn needs during the first four weeks of life - feeding, keeping warm, developing social skills, and learning to excrete on their own. Newborn kittens nurse every 1-2 hours. If you ever need to care for a cat this young, contact your veterinarian to learn how to bottle feed the cat, and use commercial milk replacer. Cow's milk is too hard to digest.

Now, Panda is in foster care with an experienced caregiver, and he has made a special friend who helps make sure he gets everything the needs: Shadow the dog. Shadow takes the task as fostermom seriously, and makes sure the kitten is safe and happy.

When Panda first met Shadow, he was so small the dog's ear could work as a blanket!

Image from lifewithcats.tv

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, September 22, 2014

Rare Breed Monday: Jagdterrier

The Jagdterrier is a German working terrier also called the German Hunt Terrier. The breed was developed between the two world wars when German breeders had a strong focus on bringing back breeds and species from the nation's mythology.

The strong nationalism and interest in genetic engineering didn't stop with dogs - breeders tried to recreate the primitive cattle and horses seen in cave paintings in France as well as bringing back an extinct species of zebra. In the midst of experimentation and nationalism, the climate was perfect to introduce a German Hunt Terrier that could compete with the British and American fox terriers.

A massive breeding program rolled out. It included 700 dogs, and any dog that didn't look right or have the correct requirements was killed. It took ten years until the Jagdterrier bred true, and the dog was warmly embraced through the country. 

These dogs are known to be reliable, courageous, intelligent, and adaptable. They are small, but brave enough to hold their ground when faced with a bear or a mountain lion. Jagdterriers make good family dogs given sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, but they still have a strong hunting instinct and can take off in pursuit of perceived prey.

In recent years, some Jagdterriers have been imported to the USA, but they are still rare here. 

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sunshine story: Brody the Border Collie

Image from Brody's Facebook page
The story of Brody the Border Collie is the kind of rags to riches story everyone loves, and it doesn't get any less fantastic by his way of pawing it forward. 

Once upon a time, Brody was shy, timid, infested with heart worms, and alone. He walked the streets of Palmetto, Florida, until he was picked up by Manatee County Animal Control. Luckily, Skyway Border Collie Rescue came to his aid. They treated and cured his heart worms, and put his photo up on Petfinder.

Brody was soon adopted, but he was still shy and skittish, and his new owner decided to teach him tricks to improve his confidence.

Today, Brody is a performer who paints and stars in commercials. He is a Champion Trick Dog - he knows over 200 tricks - paints for charity, and a number of other things. Besides an impressive resume, he has his own Facebook page, and a website with photos and information.

Being a Border Collie, Brody is energetic, likes
to work, and is always ready to help.
Image from Brody's Facebook page.
Naturally, he is handy around the house too. Check out these videos and see how he can help with the laundry, and help his mom out of bed on a cold morning.

If you are in Florida, there are opportunities to meet Brody in real life. He is a quite busy doggy and will be at:

  • October 4th, Pasco Pawfest at the Florida Estate Winery in Land O Lakes, benefiting RaffleRescue.org - a pet food assistance program for low income seniors. Brody will draw the winning ticket for his donated paining "Purple Haze."
  • November 1st, Pasco Animal Welfare Society Fundraiser at the Florida Estate Winery. Brody will perform live, and one of his paintings will be auctioned.
  • November 8, Brody paints live for Broward County Animal Services. This is hosted by the Cesar Millan foundation with an appearance of Cesar. The foundation has made 150 limited prints of one of Brody's masterpieces, and they will auction out seats to watch Brody paint live.
  • November 15, Dogtoberfest to benefit the Suncoast Animal League at Highlander Park in Dunedin.
  • December 6, Brody will paint for and perform at the Pasco Animal Welfare Societies "Meet the Vets and Pets" event.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The importance of toys for dogs

To modern day pooches who don't have a job, toys are necessary. Toys can provide comfort, keep your dog from being bored, and prevent behavioral problems. 

It is important to pick toys appropriate for the dog's size and energy level - a toy being available in a pet store doesn't mean it's suitable for all dogs. A calm small dog has completely different requirements than an energetic large dog. Toys that are too small can be dangerous too - they might be swallowed, or choke the dog. Use common sense.

To be on the safe side, remove all strings, ribbons, eyes, and other parts that can be chewed off and swallowed. Also look over your dog's toys from time to time - many toys are great when they're new, but should be tossed out when they're getting worn. Rope toys, for instance, are great until the dog gets the knots open. After that they become a dangerous pile of string.

Soft toys made for children should not be used by pets. The filling can be very dangerous, and has even killed dogs. Not even pet-safe fillings are made to be eaten.

Many dogs who spend most of the day alone like to have a comfort toy, like a piece of dirty laundry that smells of you. It can be an old T-shirt, a blanket, or a towel. Pick something sturdy and be prepared for it being destroyed by excessive bedding, sniffing, and carrying.

If your dog tires of toys quickly, try rotating them on a weekly basis. You can make kits with a variety of toys and change them once a week - this makes old toys like new. Some toys can be refreshed too. Antlers, for example, are pretty expensive, and many dogs tire of them after a week. Try soaking the antlers in some chicken broth - it will make them interesting again.

The most important thing to your dog is having some of your time and attention. Take some time to toss a ball or a frisbee, or play hide-and-seek. Hiding small treats and teaching your dog to seek them can be fun for both, and helps your dog use both mind and nose.

What's your dog's favorite toy? We'd love to hear your favorite tips.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Do your pets like to go in the car?

Many dogs love to go for a ride in the car, but cats usually aren't as impressed. Whether they like it or not, it's sometimes necessary. Here are some tips on keeping your pets safe in the car.

To keep your pets safe, let's start with some common mistakes that can prove fatal:

  • Keep pets out of the front seat. If something happens and an airbag deploys - even with your pet in a crate - it can cause injury.
  • Don't let pets stick their head out the window. Sure, dogs love to stick their head out the window of a moving car, but debris and gravel can hit them and cause severe injury. Remember the tiny rock that made a big dent on your windshield? Imagine that hitting your dog's face.
  • Never transport your pet on the bed of an open pickup truck.

There is a lot of debate whether pet safety harnesses for cars work or not. There are dog restraints and seat belts that definitely keep your dog from roaming around and distracting the driver, but they haven't been proven to protect dogs in a crash.

The safest way for your dog to travel is in a crate anchored by a seatbelt or similar.

When it comes to cats, they should definitely travel in a carrier. Keep the carrier in the back seat and secure it with a seat belt.

If you're going further than a spin around town, take plenty of rest stops, and if possible, bring a human buddy to keep an eye on your furry friend. That way you can run in to use a restroom or buy a snack without having to worry.

There are many dangers involved with leaving pets in cars. One is temperature - if it's just 72 F outside, the temperature inside your car can reach over 110 F in less than an hour. If it is 85 F outside, the temperature inside passes 100 F in less than 10 minutes. Most pets handle cold better than heat, but that can be dangerous too.

Also consider the risk of theft. Every year, cats and dogs are stolen from cars, sometimes along with the car.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Do you have a chewer?

From time to time even the most well behaved dog falls for the temptation to chew on something, and it's hard not to yell at the poor pooch when coming home to find a favorite pair of shoes, the TV remote control, or a pair of headphones chewed to pieces. Of course, disciplining a dog after the fact has no impact besides scaring the dog - and possibly causing new problems - so there's nothing to do but clean up the mess.

Why is chewing on shoes, sofa cushions, and other things so irresistible to dogs?

When talking about puppies, they explore the world through sight and smell, but also through putting things in their mouth. They're much like human babies, and tasting and chewing things is one of their favorite ways to learn about the big world around them. It is also important to know that puppies teeth for about six months. Chewing helps the teething process, and makes the sore gums feel a little better.

If you have problems with a teething puppy chewing your things, try to freeze a wet wash cloth and offer it for chewing. Just remember to keep an eye on the dog so he doesn't swallow any of it.

Doggy adolescence takes place right after the puppy stage, and this phase can last up to two to three years of age depending on breed. At this time there's a lot going on in a dog's body. Doggy teenagers have a lot of energy, get bored easily, and might even want to try to bend the rules. It's a hard time in a dog's life, and many humans are unprepared for it.

Many young dogs are surrendered, because their owners aren't ready for coping with a large, furry teenager. The cute little puppy they brought home is gone, and while the dog might have an adult body, it's not yet mature.

Of course, adult dogs sometimes chew as well. When a pair of favorite shoes are gone, or a piece of furniture gets a new design-by-dog, it's easy to think they do it to spite us. That's not it.

Common reasons for chewing include:

  • The dog was never taught what's acceptable to chew
  • The dog is bored, or insufficiently exercised
  • The dog suffers from separation anxiety
  • It's a fear related behavior
  • Chewing can be a call for attention

Whatever the reason, remember the dog doesn't do it to spite you. Take responsibility for your things and keep them out of reach. Books, shoes, clothes, remote controls, trash, and smilier must be stored out of reach. See it from the bright side - this is a great opportunity to declutter!

Invest in some good chewing toys. Many dogs love to chew antlers. They're expensive to buy, but if you get a good size antler it will last for a while. If the dog loses interest, soak the antler in some broth and it will be as interesting as when it was new.

Regardless of what type of chewing toys you choose, make sure they don't look like forbidden objects. That is, don't pick toys that look like shoes, and don't offer old socks and shoes as toys. Set the stage for success and make it easy for your dog to understand what's allowed.

Many behavioral problems, not just chewing, stem from boredom, lack of interaction, and lack of exercise. Spend some extra time with your dog. Time with you will give mental stimulation, and help your doggie learn what's acceptable. If he or she tends to slink away and chew on things, use a leash and confine your dog when you're busy.

Is your dog getting ample exercise based on age, fitness level, and breed? Do you provide something to do and think about? Consider investing in puzzle toys, spend some time learning tricks together, go jogging, or enroll in a training program. A tired dog is a good dog, but exercise alone won't do the trick. Dogs need both physical and mental stimulation.

If time is a problem, use the things you normally do with your dog as entertainment. Mealtime can, for instance, become exercise. Try mixing kibble with some soft dog food, peanut butter, some mashed banana, or even some Greek yogurt and freezing it in a Kong. Instead of gobbling down the food your dog will have to work for it, which will make doggie tired.

Some behavioral problems might require professional help. If your problem is with separation anxiety, consider seeking a behavioral specialist.

If you catch doggie chewing on your best shoes, interrupt through making a loud noise. You can, for instance, put some coins in an empty plastic bottle and shake it. Then, offer a suitable toy, and give plenty of praise when your dog takes it.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, September 15, 2014

Rare Breed Monday: Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Image from akc.org
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier stems from the hills between Scotland and England. It was recorded as a distinct breed around the year 1700 and has been popular in all walks of life ever since.

These dogs were originally used for hunting otters and badgers, and some of the hunting instinct remains - they can be trained coexist with cats, but might very well hunt smaller pets. They make great company dogs and can adapt to living in a city apartment as well as in the countryside.

Dandie Dinmonts are known for being intelligent, independent, brave, and confident. The average Dandie Dinmont is affectionate towards the family and good with older children. They're fairly small and usually weigh between 18 and 24 lbs, but have the demeanor of a much larger dog.

Since the dog has such a long back, children as well as adults should be taught not to lift it - and how to lift it when necessary. All dogs should be handled gently, but breeds with long backs are prone to disc problems.

Dandie Dinmonts don't really shed, but they require recent brushing, and the coat should be stripped once a year. They have moderate exercise needs and will be content with daily walks and play sessions.

~ Maria Sadowski ~



Friday, September 12, 2014

Hero bulldog saves drowning kittens

Pets often have an uncanny instinct for when someone is in trouble, and Napoleon the English Bulldog is not an exception. 

This story took place a few years ago, but it's still so fantastic that he deserves a mention. And what better way to round off the week than sharing a sunshine story?

One late summer day, Napoleon left his owner's side and raced out of the yard, across the road, and into a lake. The normally well behaved dog had never done anything like that before. English Bulldogs are really bad at swimming, and even with enormous paddling efforts they tend to go bottoms up in the water.

Napoleon paddled along the best he could and by the time his owner caught up with him, he was pulling a burlap sack out of the lake. Napoleon had his heart set on dragging the sack back to home, and when the owner came close enough, he heard meowing.

The bag held six kittens, thrown in the lake to drown! Two of them didn't make it, but thanks to Napoleon the remaining four could be nursed back to health and adopted to good homes.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Are small dogs different from large dogs?

To a certain extent a dog is a dog, but there are differences between having a Chihuahua and a Great Dane - not just in food consumption. We humans tend to treat small dogs differently, and we forget to consider the world seen from their perspective. Each breed has its own challenges, and it is important for us humans to learn as much as possible.

Many times, a small dog is perceived harder to house train than a large dog. If a large dog has an accident inside there's a big mess that everyone will notice - and the owners will go to great lengths to prevent it from happening again. A tiny dog can snake off behind the sofa and pee ten times before someone notices it, and once it's discovered, the puppy already has a bad habit.

To house train a small dog, you have to watch it all the time. Use baby gates, exercise pens, and a leash to help you keep track of him or her. Take the dog out every time it has napped, eaten, or played, and give lots of praise when the right thing happens.

Another difference between small and large dogs is that we rarely pick up and carry a large dog. No one would even consider putting a Labrador in their purse, or carry a Newfoundland under their arm. Small dogs sometimes need to be carried, if nothing else to avoid people in a crowd stepping on them.

While the dog might not have an aversion to being carried per se, many small dogs dance out of reach when someone tries to pick them up. It make sense - a hulking shape five feet taller than the dog leaning over it can be scary. It's a good idea to train the dog by always saying "Pick up" when picking the dog up - this little warning can make a big difference.

Many owners with small dogs choose to carry them when meeting new people, and this is generally a bad idea. A dog that's held can't express what they're feeling and can't get away if they don't like the stranger. Let the dog meet strangers on its four paws. That way, your dog doesn't have to bite someone to show they're uncomfortable. They can walk away - or towards - interaction.

Excessive barking is another problem many encounter with small dogs. These tiny boys and girls live in a land of giants where everyone else is five feet taller. It's tempting to yell at a dog who is barking, but many dogs interpret this as getting "help" with the barking, and the more you yell the more they'll bark. Instead, do your best to ignore noisy behaviors, and reward calm and quiet behaviors.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Food truck for dogs

Food trucks for people have grown increasingly popular and serve everything from hot dogs to exotic delicacies. Thus far, food trucks for pets are less common, but this might change in the future. Earlier this year, Natural Pawz in Houston debuted their Pawz Treat Truck.

The dog treat truck offers treats, bones, ice cream, and other doggy snacks. Natural Pawz is Houston's largest locally owned natural pet supply store, and besides the food truck being a great promotional tool, they donate a portion of the proceeds to Houston Humane Society.

The truck has been rolling around the city since March, and will continue to visit dog parks, festivals, charity events, and similar through the rest of the year.

What do you think of the idea? Does your area have something similar?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Have you voted in the hero dog awards?

The American Humane Association holds a competition each year to find and recognize at least some of the exceptional hero dogs in the USA. Voting is open a few more days - polls close September 15 - so you still have time to make your voice heard.

There are eight categories:

  • Law Enforcement Dogs
  • Arson Dogs
  • Service Dogs
  • Therapy Dogs
  • Military Dogs
  • Guide and Hearing Dogs
  • Search and Rescue Dogs
  • Emerging Hero Dogs

The category for emerging heroes is intended for ordinary dogs who do something extraordinary. They might not be working dogs, but they are are heroes to their families.

Besides these eight categories, one dog is chosen as the winning American Hero Dog. This award gives a $5,000 award to a charity.

Last year, Elle the Pitbull won the American Hero Dog award. Elle does a phenomenal job as therapy dog. She also works with a children's reading program, and as a safety educator. She visits an elementary school, a middle school, and a retirement home on a regular basis and is called a "Hometown Hero" by the people in her community.

Who will win this year? Go to www.herodogawards.org/vote and help your favorite to the title!

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, September 8, 2014

Rare Breed Monday, Norwich Terrier

The Norwich Terrier is a perky and eager working dog from England. This is also one of the smallest terrier breeds - they're generally around 10 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh around 12 lbs. 

The Norwich Terrier is almost the same breed as the Norfolk Terrier - the difference is that the Norwich has upright ears and the Norfolk has dropped ears - and the two varieties were considered one breed until a few decades ago.

Traditionally, Norwich Terriers were used to hunt vermin and foxes, and the breed still has a strong hunting instinct. They're known for being fearless, loyal, and curious, and they adapt well to different situations. These dogs are active and require exercise. Like all working dogs, they're happiest when they have a job to do, and many Norwich terriers compete in obedience, agility, and other types of dog sports.

While Norwich Terriers are generally good with other dogs, cats, and children, owners do well to remember the strong hunting instinct. Rabbits, gerbils, and other small rodents might be considered prey.

This is not a breed that should be let off leash outside a fenced yard. Given the opportunity, they will chase squirrels, bolt out through an open gate, and dig holes for entertainment. They're intelligent, eager to please, and love their families, but instincts bred in through generations are difficult to shake.

~ Maria Sadowski ~


Friday, September 5, 2014

Why do cats paw at the water dish?

Cats have a strong instinct for survival. In the wild, they will look for a water source far away from where they eat, to make sure the water isn't contaminated by their dead prey. The also prefer moving water, because it's generally fresher and safer than standing water.

Knowing these facts can help solve a number of problems with house cats and water. For instance, if your cat drinks from everything but the water dish, consider moving the water away from the food bowl. Put it in the opposite corner of the room.

If the cat prefers to drink from the tap, a fountain, or even the toilet, odds are it wants moving water instead of the kind that has been sitting in the bowl all day. Cats who splash their water with their paws before drinking are likely attempting to solve the same problem. There are great recirculating water fountains for cats. If this isn't an option in your household, consider changing the water in the bowl more often - at least twice a day.

That said, some cats just like to play with water. They like the reflective surface and they way it splashes when they hit it.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Canine flu in Manhattan

During the past few weeks veterinarians in Manhattan have noted a number of cases of canine influenza, and they're warning humans to be careful when letting furry friends meet other dogs. The virus is airborne, and if a dog is coughing, your dog probably shouldn't say hello.

Canine flu is similar to regular flu, but doesn't affect humans. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fever, loss of appetite, and difficulty breathing. Light cases might only get a cough, but severe cases can develop pneumonia.

The Canine Influenza Virus is relatively new and highly contagious, and most dogs don't have any resistance to it. Nearly 100% of exposed dogs get the flu, but a small percentage might not show visible symptoms. Dogs of any breed and age can catch it. If you think your dog has it, keep it isolated and call your vet.

There is no specific cure for the influenza, but there is a vaccine, so if you want to be on the safe side you might want to contact your vet and discuss having your dog vaccinated. This would be especially important for dogs who meet many other dogs. The vaccine doesn't always prevent the flu, but it diminishes symptoms.

The Canine Influenza Virus was first discovered in Florida, and is believed to have spread over the country with visitors returning home. It has been identified in 30 states.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Be careful with laundry detergent pods

Laundry detergent pods look like candy or toys,
but are highly toxic. Keep them out of reach at all times.
Laundry detergent isn't the first thing that comes to mind when pondering household items that might pose a danger to children and pets, but laundry detergent pods regularly cause visits to emergency rooms for toddlers, dogs, and cats.

The pods are highly concentrated and toxic. Pets tend to think they're toys, and children think they're candy.

To a dog or a cat they're fun to kick around, hold between the paws, and eventually chew on.

The outer material in the pods looks like plastic, but it is designed to release the detergent as soon as it comes in contact with moisture. This is fantastic when said moisture is the water in a laundry machine, but less fantastic when it's a child's or pet's mouth.

Detergent from a pod can cause burning of the trachea and stomach, and life-threatening damage to the respiratory system. If it accidentally squirts into the eyes it can also cause irreparable eye damage.

To make things even worse, the pod itself is often gone by the time a parent or pet owner realizes something has gone wrong, and poisoning gives general symptoms, so the doctor or vet might have to try many different things before figuring out what happened. Symptoms include vomiting, drooling, respiratory problems, and problems swallowing.

Keep detergent securely stored away at all times. Never leave a detergent pod where a child or a pet can get to it - it's easy to do so by accident, for example on top of a pile of laundry, but the innocent looking little things can be deadly.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Jiff the Pomeranian sets new world records

Jiff the Pomeranian might have a small body, but it's packed full with talent, and he recently landed two world records that will appear in the 60th anniversary edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.

What did he do? He walked 10 meters on his hind legs in 6.56 seconds, and 5 meters on his front paws in 7.76 seconds. Many dogs can stand on their hind legs, but walking is another matter, and walking on the front paws requires extraordinary balance.

Jiff and his family recently moved from Illinois to Los Angeles, which is a perfect place for him. He loves to perform and gets a lot of attention.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dog of the Month: English Bulldog

The English Bulldog is a muscular and heavy dog with wrinkled face. The average bulldog is patient, friendly, and gets along with children, other dogs, and other pets.

Many bulldogs never venture out of their yard without their human, even if given the opportunity. They are calm dogs that like to lounge on the sofa and frown upon excessive exercise. They need regular walks, but they're not explosive packages of energy.

It is important to know that bulldogs are very sensitive to heat and must be protected against heat stroke. They are also unable to swim. Owners with pools should take measures to protect the dog from falling in, and owners who consider taking their bulldog on a boat should invest in a good life vest.

Bulldogs require little grooming. They are gentle, protective, and often form strong bonds with children.

~ Maria Sadowski ~