Archive for January, 2009
Sephi is seven years old now. I assumed that she slept a lot due to her age so I didn’t think much of it. It’s too bad I disregarded it because worse issues began to develop. Some time last spring, I noticed her skin was flaking more than usual. It wasn’t very bad and I assumed it was just the weather. But over time, it kept getting worse and worse. She began to develop balding spots on her stomach. I took her to the vet and they gave her medicine. The medicine didn’t work so the vet gave something else. That didn’t work either so they sent Sephi to a dermatologist. The Dermatologist gave her some very powerful medicine. After a couple of weeks on the medicine Sephi stopped eating. I was very concerned because Sephi loves food. The only way she would stop eating would be if she wasn’t feeling well. After three days of not eating, I took her back to the vet. They determined that she was having liver problems and that the problems were most likely due to the medication she was on. They kept her overnight and within a couple days after her vet visit, she was eating again. Her skin, however, was still a problem and it was spreading from her stomach to her legs and tail. The vet gave her yet another medication. We stuck to it pretty well, but there were still no changes in her skin. So far I had spent over $1,000.00 on vet bills for Sephi and nothing was working.
Finally, on what seemed like our millionth visit to the vet, the veterinarian came up with what seemed like the most logical reason for Sephi’s problem, and the solution. She suspected that Sephi had Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism in dogs can develop in their middle-age or senior years. Certain breeds can be even more susceptible. The symptoms for hypothyroidism in dogs are as follows:
*your dog doesn’t like cold weather and likes to be in warm places
*aggression or other distinct changes in the dog’s behavior
*your dog doesn’t have the same endurance for exercise
*your dog is not interested in playing
*hair loss or bald spots
*darkening of the skin
*frequent infections involving the skin
*weakness or stiffness
When I thought Sephi was just being sleepy all the time because she was getting old was actually hypothyroidism in dogs. Sephi didn’t have the aggression, weight gain, constipation, weakness, pale gums, or stiffness, but all the other symptoms applied. The vet gave her medicine to help the hypothyroidism in dogs and within a week or so, Sephi’s energy level increased and her skin was doing noticeably better. Now, four weeks later, her skin is almost completely better and her hair is growing back on the bald spots.
So if your dog is middle-aged, look out for the symptoms for hypothyroidism in dogs. Don’t assume that the extra fatigue or reoccurring skin issues are due to you dog’s aging. Have your vet test for hypothyroidism in dogs. It would be a much less expensive route than the one I took.
Sephi will need to be on medication for the rest of her life. And she will have to be periodically tested to see if the thyroid hormone levels need to be adjusted with more or less medication. But at least she is back to normal!
Check out the following website for more information on hypothyroidism in dogs:
Sure, we have multiple products to keep your pet safe from the car. But what about products to keep your car safe from your pet? We have those too! Dog seat covers are great for protecting the interior of your car from your dog. With dog seat covers, the upholstery is protected from dog hair and muddy paw prints. What is the difference between dog seat covers and other seat covers? Dog seat covers generally have a dog theme, like the Brown Paw Print Dog Seat Covers and. And some can also be used in the home, like the Slumber Pet Quilted Couch and Dog Car Seat Covers.
Riding in the car can also be enjoyable for dogs; however, concerned pet owners are justified in worrying about their pet’s safety while inside the travelling vehicle. Dogs may tend to misbehave under certain circumstances or due to some distractions. Given such, it is safe to conclude that it may be dangerous for the dog’s health to travel by car. This does not mean though that the owners cannot bring their best animal pets along on their travels. They could still bring with them their dogs wherever they please for as long as they are secured by some means.
It is highly advisable for pet owners to have their pet safely transported by placing them inside a crate or by using a dog car barrier. The barrier will hold your pets in place and restrict them from unnecessary movements that my injure them.
Some owners just love their pets so much that they can’t seem to leave them home while the family goes out. But bringing your pets along can be very inconvenient without crates to keep them secured especially when you travel by car.
Pet owners should choose among the many kinds of pet crates available in the market. To guide you of your choice, here are some brief backgrounds of each of the types of crates:
1. Solid plastic crates – best if travelling by plane and safer but consume much space.
2. Fixed or Folding Aluminum Crates – light in weight but durable, it is best for veterinary hospitals and car travel.
3. Wired Crates – can also be folded but heavy. It allows better ventilation and clear view for pets and is used for car travel and veterinary hospital.
4. Soft crates – easy to carry and store since it is lightweight and can be folded. However, it cannot be used for pets who like to dig or chew in the crate.
5. Tents – like soft crates, it is portable and space-efficient.
The word, “griffon” is a general term used to describe dogs with wiry hair and certain facial features. In fact, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon was bred to recreate an extinct griffon hunting dog breed. The modern Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a hardy and all-around hunting dog. His brown nose is highly sensitive to smell. He can be trained to hunt both birds and mammals; he can both point and retrieve game; he will eagerly retrieve from both land and water; and he is well adapted to hunt under almost every weather condition. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a great swimmer and his stiff, harsh, double-coat helps to protect him from the colder elements.
Even though the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon was bred to be a hunting dog, he also makes a great family dog. He is a loyal people-oriented dog who is easy to train because he is eager to please. Positive reinforcement works best with this dog as he can be rather sensitive to harsh methods of training. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is great with older children and good with other pets. A dog like this, though, needs plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon may take his time to be thorough when on the hunting ground but his overall nature is to be sociable and always raring to go. If he is not properly exercised or stimulated he tends to be destructive.
If you are considering a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, keep not only their high energy level in mind, but also be aware of certain health issues. Like most large-dog breeds, you need to be concerned about hip dysplasia. Make sure both parents are certified with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (www.offa.org). Wirehaired Pointing Griffon also tend to get ear infections. This is more due to the ear-type than the breed.
Grooming requirements need to be considered as well. Wirehaired Pointing Griffons need their coats brushed regularly. And twice a year they may need to have the dead hairs of their coat removed with hand-stripping. Hand-stripping, as defined by Wikipedia, is a “process of pulling the dead hair out of the coat of a non-shedding dog, either by using a stripping knife or the fingers”. Hand-stripping is not necessarily a requirement unless you plan on showing the dog.
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon colors are generally a mixture and can be described as gray or silver or white with splashes of brown or chestnut or orange. The standard size and weight of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is approximately 19-23 inches and 50-70 pounds. He has a long head and muzzle with long eyebrows and a mustache. His nose is brown and he has a straight tail which is sometimes docked to about a third of its length.
For more information on dogs, visit http://dogbreedinfo.synthasite.com.
Angela Sayer (1985). The Complete Book of the Dog. New York City: Gallery Books.
AWPGA Web Team. (2000-2008). To the Point. Available: http://www.awpga.com. Last accessed 18 January 2009.
D. Caroline Coile, Ph.D. (2007). The Dog Breed Bible. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.
Ernest H. Hart (1968). Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. Neptune City, NJ: T.F.H. Publications, Inc.
Wikipedia. (Last updated 12 January 2009). Dog Grooming. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand-stripping. Last accessed 18 January 2009.
Does your dog try to get into the front seat while you are driving? Or do they try to lay their head on your shoulder and sniff or lick your ear? This can be dangerously distracting. A high quality alternative to getting a wire mesh car barrier is to get a pet net instead. The Pet Net from Hatchbag ® is made of strong flexible nylon-mesh netting. It uses a dual lock reclosable fastner rather than the hook and loop system. The dual lock system is five times stronger and therefore, better at keeping your dog from getting around it. The pet net is easy to install and easy to remove for when you don’t need it.
Do you like to be environmentally conscious? I do! I used to use plastic grocery bags to pick up after my dog. But then I bought those inexpensive canvas bags for my groceries. So after running out of plastic bags, I started buying inexpensive diaper bags from the dollar store as my dog poopie waste bags. They worked great but it was a lot of plastic to put into the trash and it kept the doggie doo from naturally disintegrating. Then I found these great biodegradable dog poopie waste bags. These biodegradable dog poopie waste bagsare a bit more expensive but definitely worth it. They are scented so they smell good and best of all, they will dissolve naturally into the environment!
Hip dysplasia is all too common with large breed dogs now days. It is especially prevalent because of those unscrupulous dog breeders who breed dogs just to make money. Generally, they have not done any research or testing on the dogs they are breeding in order to make sure they won’t pass on any defects. Well, if you want to buy a quality dog, here is what you do to make sure your new dog will be unlikely to have hip dysplasia problems in the future – Check out the OFA.
Who is OFA and what do they do? The OFA, which stands for the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals is a non-profit organization dedicated “to the advancement of canine health”. One of the primary directives of the OFA is “To collate and disseminate information concerning orthopedic and genetic diseases of animals.” Basically, for a small fee, they test dogs for various genetic problems, including hip dysplasia. A good breeder will have both parents tested for hip dysplasia and will be certified by the OFA. And a good breeder will be glad to show you the certification before you buy their puppies. Feel free to check out the OFA website for more information.
PetAutoSafety.com has recently acquired a very high quality dog seat belt car harness. The new dog seat belt car harness is the best on the market. Safety tested in conjunction with the University of Ottowa, the metal hardware of the dog seat belt car harness is designed to hold up to 2,000 pounds. It is easy to use and comfortable for your dog to wear. Outside of the car, the seat belt strap can be detached and replaced with a dog leash. The seat belt strap is made of the same high quality automotive materials as seat belt webbing and loops around the seat belt of the car.
So you want a specific breed of dog and you can’t find it in a shelter or with a breed rescue group. What is your alternative? You can buy a dog from a pet store or breeder. However, there is great danger in doing this. The dog you are buying may have come from a puppy mill. Puppy mill breeders are known to unscrupulously breed dogs without any thought to the health and temperament to the dogs themselves. And don’t be fooled just because the purebred dog you are buying has papers. All that papers mean is that the dog is a purebred. It doesn’t mean that there has been multiple inbreeding of the dogs which deteriorates the quality of the breed. And it doesn’t mean that the dog won’t come with severe health or temperament issues associated with unscrupulous breeding.
My parents bought a dog once who was purebred German Shepherd. We named him Rocky and he had papers. But by the time he grew up, he looked nothing like a real German Shepherd. They bought another dog who was also a purebred German Shepherd with papers. Her name was Tanya and she looked like a standard German Shepherd. However, she had to be put to sleep after only two years of age because of severe hip dysplasia problems. The breeder had enticed my parents with a guarantee that the dog would not get hip dysplasia. But the catch which my parents were unaware of was that the guarantee was only for one year and these dogs generally do not show signs of hip dysplasia until after they are a year old. My parents tried to report the deficiency of the breed to AKC but AKC said that they played no part whatsoever in regulating such a thing. Their only interest was in documenting that the dog was a purebred German Shepherd.
So, let it be known that a dog with papers does not mean you are getting a quality breed. For both you and your new dog’s benefit, you must research before buying a dog. Read the following article for more great information on papers: