Destroy Your Pet’s Destructive Behavior

DestructiveDog

Cleaning up your dog’s messes can be exhausting. Not to mention, expensive. Many pet owners have to come home to their new clothing ripped to shreds or their furniture wrecked to pieces.

Before coming up with a solution to your dog’s destructive habits, it’s important to determine what’s setting off your dog’s war against your home. Take it from the experts at PetParent to explain the five root causes of your pup’s destructive behavior.

To find out more about these five causes, go to: http://bit.ly/1rwANML

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Pet Parent City Guides

We would like to introduce you to our friends at PetParent. Their City Guides bring you the best of each city for your pets.

Looking to bring your dog with you to dinner or out to the park? They’ll help you find the right place!

Need to find the best boutiques or groomers in town? Their interactive maps will help!

Travelling and need to find a pet-friendly hotel? They’ve got that covered too!

PetParent City Guides have done all the research, now YOU have all the fun!

Look for your city HERE!

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Dog Swimming Safety Tips!

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Underwater Dogs now shipping!

One of our favorite calendars, Underwater Dogs, is now in stock and shipping!

Our good friends at Pet Parent also recently made a very timely post concerning ‘Dog Swimming Safety Tips’.  Their article addresses how to keep your pooches safe while playing in the water this summer. Be sure to check out the full article from Pet Parent here.

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Chagas Disease and Your Dog

At a dog show this past weekend I had a conversation with someone whose dog had been diagnosed with and treated for Chagas disease. This is a zoonotic parasite which means that it can be shared with humans and since I live closely with my dogs any zoonotic disease, such as giardia, Lyme Disease, West Nile virus, rabies and chagas, always catches my attention. This parasite is becoming an increasing problem in Texas, where I live, and the south in general. Texas A & M is reporting that more and more vets are testing for it. A Houston Chronicle article cites an A & M Professor as saying that Texas is increasingly a hot spot.

Sharing Kisses

One of the ways that a dog can acquire this parasite (Trypanosoma cruzi) is through a bite from Triatominae, otherwise known as the Kissing Bug ,which makes this insect sound far sweeter than it is.  They are called this because they will feed on humans , as well as dogs and other mammals, at night and are attracted to the mouth area, apparently because of the  exhaled carbon dioxide. Upon waking, a victim of this “kiss” will likely scratch the bite. This allows the infected feces of the insect to enter the wound, and thus the bloodstream.

It looks much like a squash bug. I prefer calling it the Eastern Bloodsucking Conenose which makes it sound as villainous as it is. It is part of a group of bugs called Assassin Bugs. and there are seven species found in Texas.  

Kissing Bug

The parasite can also be acquired by your dog when he eats feces from an infected wild animal such as raccoons, when a kissing bug bites him, or in utero. The disease can be chronic or acute and so may go unnoticed. Sudden heart disease may be an indication of chagas. Although it can effect other organs, the heart muscle is frequently affected and symptoms can range from arrhythmias, congestive heart failure and exercise intolerance.

 

Some Hope

There are some studies that indicate  a vaccine may protect a dog but taking steps to prevent the insect from access to your sleeping dog may help as well. Check your dogs bedding frequently at night and wash his bedding often. If your dog sleeps outside consider installing screening around his sleeping area.

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Dogs At The Beach

Summertime – And the Livin’ Is Easy

Those famous lyrics couldn’t be further from the truth for many dogs who suffer through the best of intentions by their parents. We all want to share the good times with our friends. But summer fun comes with its own set of perils. What might be grand fun at the moment may have repercussions later, or just not be a lot of fun at all for Fido.

Take, for example, going to the beach. Every dog loves going to the beach, chasing waves, and watching beach volleyball, right?

These guys sure look like they are having fun!!

 

Actually many dogs only enjoy the beach only after repeated exposure. Consider these beach related hazards before packing up your boogie board and Bowser and heading for the surf.

  • The temperature of the sand can reach over 130 degrees. These temperatures can make just walking on the sand a painful business for Fido. And if you place your hand just 6 or 10 inches from the surface of the sand, you can experience the heat that is radiating onto your dog’s tender underparts.
  • Sunburn. Yes, dogs CAN get sunburned, especially those that have fair skin and a light colored coat. But those who have recently had a haircut are also at risk. Pay special attention to the tips of their ears and the end of their noses. Apply sunscreen if you will be out for very long Check with your vet or order online. Do not share your sunscreen as it most likely contains ingredients that are toxic to dogs.
  • The salt water can be very drying to your dog’s skin and might make him very itchy. Though the itching might make him uncomfortable, it is the scratching that can lead to secondary bacterial infections.
  • Paw pads will soften in the water. This makes them especially vulnerable to hot asphalt and sand.
  • Over-activity in the sun can lead quickly to heatstroke. This is easy to overlook when your dog is running again and again after that Frisbee. Some dogs will just keep running and playing fetch till they drop. Heatstroke is very serious and many dogs will die or have permanent organ damage. Though some dogs have better designed cooling systems, those with short noses are seriously at risk for heatstroke. Familiarize yourself this summer with the early signs of heatstroke.
  • Broken glass, undercurrents and jellyfish are additional hazards. Imagine the horror of watching your dog be pulled under and away from you as you watch on helplessly.
  • Just getting to the beach may cause problems for Fido. Many dogs get car sick, and while this isn’t deadly, it is certainly no picnic for your dog, or the car occupants. Check with your vet, as new drugs have become available specifically for dogs. Also, refrain from feeding them for 5 hours before the road trip.
  • There is no antidote for salt toxicity. Don’t allow your dog to ingest copious amount of salt water. Sodium builds up in the brain and the brain swells. As the pressure builds it can cause seizures, permanent neurological damage or death. Offer fresh, clean, cool water frequently.

 

While this list makes going to the beach sound rife with danger, it is really not much more dangerous than walking down the street with your dog.  But for most people, it happens on an irregular basis. That being said, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself and prepare for that day of fun in the sun.

 

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Your Dog’s DNA – Why It Matters, Or Does It?

“Who’s Your Daddy?”

With Mother’s Day just past and Father’s Day on the horizon, discussing your dog’s genetic background seems appropriate. If you want to do a background check, and find out what sort of relatives your dog may be  hiding, this is the time to order that DNA kit, grab a QTip,  and wrestle with your dog as you try to get a sample of his cheek cells.


How can you possibly be my Daddy?

How can you possibly be my Daddy?

 

DNA test kits for dogs have been available for over 5 years but have come a long way recently. Since the first kits  became available, the databases on which they rely  have grown enormously, making these tests more accurate than ever. But what do they really tell you?

What To Expect

All the kits on the market are similar and provide a couple of swabs, a couple of envelopes to protect the swabs, and a couple pages of instructions. There are several manufacturers, the main difference between them appearing to be the number of breeds in their data bases. The more breeds in their databases the more likely one or more may appear in your dog’s DNA. The tests are designed to determine how much a dog’s genetic material is from a particular breed, thus the more breeds the better.  If the database only has genetic markers from 50 breeds and you dog’s genetic material is not from one of those 50 breeds the less revealing the test will be. One company asks  you to send a photo with your swab.

Claims and Suggestions

The companies all have carefully constructed claims. They are careful to point out that different tests may indeed show vastly different results. Basically they are saying that the breeds they have identified may have made a contribution to your dog’s genetic past.

The advertising suggests however that knowing your dog’s genetic background will influence how you exercise your dog, how you play with your dog, how you train your dog, and what you feed your dog. The suggestion seems to be that by tailoring training, exercise, etc., you will be a better pet parent. I’m not sure that it is useful information.  People who spend time training, playing and exercising their dog, generally know what games he likes, what training approach is effective and how much exercise he need or want.

So while I don’t think it will make you a better pet parent, I do think it shows that you are a very curious one!

 

 

 

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Parting Ways with Your Veterinarian

I am fortunate to have a wonderful veterinarian. Part of the wonderful – ness is the freedom I feel to ask questions about his diagnosis and treatment approach. But over the years I have found a few red flags that make me sit up, take notice, and possibly rethink (or possibly just run as fast as I, with my short-legged bulldog friend, can) .
A less than clear reason that I would add to the points below is a lack of sensitivity. Sometimes it is hard to put your finger on it. Sometimes it is more egregious. A response to your dog’s malady on the order of “He’s doomed. No hope, just pickle him and move on” would clearly qualify as such. But I have also had a vet just shrug when breaking some very bad news to me and mine. After picking my jaw up from off the ground, I began the quest for another vet.

Clear Indicators A Change is Needed

Any of the following would cause me concern:

  • A paternalistic attitude whereby options aren’t presented for discussion but instead you are told what you must or should do.
  • If your dog’s condition is not  getting any better or is worsening, if your vet cannot arrive at a diagnosis , if a procedure is recommended that seems complicated and your vet has not had extensive experience performing and he does not recommend a specialist, it is probably time to seek another vet.
  • A recommendation of a protocol that you know is outdated. Probably the best example I can think of concerns vaccines. Laws relating to required vaccinations and the duration of protection afforded by many vaccines have changed drastically. If my vet recommended a yearly rabies vaccine I would be seriously concerned, as these laws and recommendations changed years ago.
  • A missed diagnosis or botched procedure. Accidents do happen of course but if either of these scenarios occurs it should be explained and thoroughly discussed. And if the account given does not fully restore your faith in your vet, it may be time to look elsewhere.
  • Follow your gut! If you are not 100% comfortable, for whatever reason,  I would begin looking around, and asking fellow dog owners for recommendations.

waving dog

Departing Gracefully and On Good Terms

Unless you live in a very small community and you cross paths with your vet socially, the chances are pretty good that you will never need to offer an explanation. Simply calling the office and asking for  your dog’s records to be faxed to the new vet is probably all that is needed. If asked why, my reply has been that the new vet has more convenient hours or location.

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Poet Cat Writes Haiku

This cute poet cat may have gone a bit crazy with the haiku in celebration of the cats dominance over the dogs. Which is your favorite?

Haiku Cat

Dear lesser species
Go drink your toilet water
While I plot your death

                     You go chase that ball
                      I will watch from the window
                      And find your weakness

Ha I took your bed
I do not even want it
But it is mine now

                      Watch me twitch my tail
                      Yes I want to play with you
                      Yes come closer. Fool!

What are you their slave?
They throw and you bring it back
Next time just bite them

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War

War is raging over here at DogBreedStore. Did you see what those mangy cats did to the site? #cattakeover #catsrule

 

War

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The Cats Have Taken Over!

The cats have taken over DogBreedstore and are wreaking havoc on the site! Take a look at the mess they’ve caused at DogBreedstore.com. #cattakeover #catsrule

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