Canine Hip Dysplasia: Unexplained Canine Hip Dysplasia Occurrences

It is believed that canine hip dysplasia has increased since large breeds of dogs evolved into companion dogs from the hunting or guard functions for which they were bred and kept for in the past. One piece of evidence is the way breeders had selectively bred aggressiveness out, and tamed the dog down, so as to create a desirable trait.

This was strikingly apparent in the German Shepherd from the time of its post-World War 1 introduction into the United States until its present role of popularity. A study of the canine hip dysplasia breed frequency figures published by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals shows a genuine relationship between calm disposition and occurrence of hip dysplasia.

Another unexplained aspect of the occurrence of canine hip dysplasia was discovered at an Animal Hospital in Boston (Angell Memorial). The first recorded diagnosed cases of the disease took place in the early 1930’s, from a kennel of Setters and Pointers bred and kept solely for work in the field. Three English Setters had recognizable hip dysplasia and the owner, being an intensely practical man, had the dogs put to sleep.

For about a period of fifteen years or so, this kennel was kept on close track and not another case of canine hip dysplasia turned up. Although no x-ray diagnostic program was carried out, the owner started working his dogs at about three or four months of age and would surely have noticed any dogs that were incapacitated in one way or another.

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A similar, but not the same circumstance, was in 1954 when a record of 80 x-ray diagnosed cases of canine hip dysplasia turned up, mostly by the Boxer breed. Subsequent to this, although boxers were popular in the city of Boston, the incidence of diagnosed hip dysplasia cases declined in this breed. There was no breed effort at hip dysplasia reduction similar to that of the Swedish Kennel Club, although there was a change in the general type of the breed during those years.

While an x-ray test is the only accepted method of accurate diagnosis of the mild case of canine hip dysplasia, the breeder should decide whether radiographic deviation from perfection of the hip joint is a characteristic so undesirable to the breed involved that, it should not be bred, regardless of the other desirable traits of the dog.

Canine hip dysplasia will be around until we discover much more about its cause. For now, breeders should select dogs for breeding that are entirely sound of body and mind, and judged at maturity on all aspects of their movement, form, temperament, and any qualities that make them desirable companion for humans.

Accessories You Need Before Bringing Puppy Home

Pet accessories are an important part of taking care of your dog. Generally we use accessories to accentuate the beauty of things. When it comes to pet care accessories are used to protect your pet from harmful elements. You can also gain a lot of satisfaction from buying accessories for you pet. There is a wide variety to choose from and you might wonder where to start, particularly if this is your first pet.

Here are some tips on what to look for when choosing accessories for your pet:

1. Food and water bowls:

The most important thing about choosing good bowls is that they are not easily tipped over. You will probably want to check that especially the water bowl is pretty sturdy. It’s vital that your dog has free access to water at all times and one of the ways people are doing this is by buying large water systems for their pets. Much like human watering systems these will keep your dog with fresh water for longer.

2. Dog Collar:

Whether you want a plain or fancy variety – collars are important and will be an item you use daily. This means the comfort and fit are important. Experts recommend a space between the dog’s neck and the collar to be at least 2 fingers wide. A collar should never be too loose or too tight. Make sure you get a good fit and take your dog along when you buying a collar.

3. Dog leash:

It’s not hard to choose a leash – you just want to keep in mind that it needs to be strong enough to hold your dog. Leashes are often sold clearly marked with the breeds the leash is suitable for.

4. Grooming accessories:

Depending on the kind of breed you have the amount of grooming accessories needed will vary.

If you have a dog that will need relatively little grooming, that is with a short coat, then you will need only a basic toolkit.

You will need
– dog shampoo
– dog clippers
– styptic powder
– dog toothbrush
– dog toothpaste
– dog brush or comb

These are the basics. There are many other products you can use to keep your dog clean and fragrant. If you have a more high maintenance dog you will need these plus a wider variety of brushes and combs to care for your pets coat and grooming needs.

5. Dog houses:

If your dog will be sleeping outside then it’s important that they have their own place for shelter. A dog house will keep your dog out of the harsh sunlight or rain or even snow. When choosing a dog house try to choose the right size. The dog should fit snuggly inside with enough space to move around.

6. Dog beds:

If your dog will be spending time inside it’s also a good idea to buy a dog bed. This gives your dog a ‘retreat’ and they will value having their own comfy space where they can go when cold or sleepy. Again just try to choose the right size. Many dog beds are designed for specific breeds so you won’t have a problem finding a bed for your dog.

7. Dog toys and treats:

Most dogs love playing, and just like children, love being spoilt. It is especially important if you are away for long periods of time that your dog has something to play with. It’s best to give them a variety of toys; this will keep them away from your slippers!

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Again the most important thing is the size. Treats and toys should be size appropriate. If the toy is too big they won’t be able to play with it and it won’t be fun for anyone.

There is a wide variety of toys for you dog to chew, play and bite. Spend some time choosing some fun toys for your dog.

These are the most important accessories you will need for your dog. There are many more things you could buy your dog but by catering for the items on this list your dog should have everything he needs to be a healthy, happy dog.

Canine Hip Dysplasia: The Connection Between Hip Dysplasia In Dogs & Arthritis In Humans

Canine hip dysplasia is a developmental malformation of the hip joint in dogs. The same condition was recognized in humans by Hippocrates in the year 370 B.C. In the past six decades, a lot of money, effort, and time have been used in the study and research of canine hip dysplasia. This calls for all of us who are interested in, and have a deep love for dogs, to pause and determine our course of action toward the control of this condition.

What we knew about hip dysplasia back in the 30’s was limited to only what could be read in the medical press which, summed up briefly: “It constituted faulty growth and development of all tissues in and around the hip joint, that it was not uncommon in a tribe of Canadian Indian children and Italian children and, if not corrected in its early stage, could lead to very painful, arthritic hips in human at middle age or beyond.”

Additional Knowledge Of Canine Hip Dysplasia

As knowledge and experience with this condition in dogs had increased, we learned that there was an acute stage during the period of rapid growth of the dog. During this stage, the canine, usually one of a large breed, would have difficulty getting up, particularly on a slippery floor.

The dog would flop down instead of easing itself to the ground, and would, in different ways, show pain in the area of the hip joints. As our understanding of canine hip dysplasia further increased, we learned that canines recovered from the acute phase and by the time they were matured physically, the hip joint symptoms not only lessened, but very often disappeared completely.

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The Connection Between Canine Hip Dysplasia & Human Hip Problems

The later phase of arthritis that occurred in humans might or might not be evident during middle age or later in life depending on race, lifestyle, activity, sensitivity, and weight of the person. We found out that some dogs were able to live long lives with this condition, experiencing only minimal discomfort or malfunction.

There are two main factors that account for the clear difference between the course of hip dysplasia in human and in dogs. First, man walks entirely on his “hind legs” and for many more years than do dogs. Second, diagnoses of this condition in dogs were being made on the basis of joint laxity (looseness) in the young dog.

As to the first factor, we can say that dogs with dysfunction or pain in both hind legs can and do shift a considerable part of their weight-bearing function to their forelegs. The second factor, we can say that hip joint laxity has been reported to be present in all large breeds of dogs, except racing Greyhounds, at some phase of their growth period.

The same has been reported to be present in children. It is established that hip joint laxity may be a precursor to hip dysplasia but it should be realized that it very often does not lead to the later-life arthritic changes that complete the cycle and define the disease.

Abusive Dog Training: It Is Not Necessary!

The myth that puppies need to experience pain, physical discomfort or fear in order to learn persists widely today despite convincing evidence to the contrary. This often leads to ego crushing physical punishment and the trauma of social isolation. The result may be a guilt ridden owner applying such punishments during the pup’s most impressionable age, between 5 and 16 weeks.

Clients should be made aware there are so-called “professionals” operating in many communities who still practice archaic correctional techniques. The following case was reported in the July, 1998 issue of Animal Behavior Consultant Newsletter:

“An obedience instructor in a training class was demonstrating a correction with a client’s nippy puppy. She stuck her fingers down the pup’s throat when it nipped, causing a gag reflex. She then took the puppy between her hands and shook it. The puppy collapsed. The instructor and owner took the pup to a veterinary hospital, where it died.”

Regrettably, this kind of abusive treatment abounds in popular books. Physical punishment can rarely be administered quickly enough to be associated by pups with misbehavior, or with proper consistency. Consequently the owner, who should appear to the pup as a model of consistency, is perceived by the pet as unpredictable. The owner’s homecoming times produce ambivalent behavior as the pup vacillates between joy and hyper submissive “shamed” actions. Most clients are quick to appreciate that their puppy is responding to them, rather than to the fact that a pair of shoes has been chewed up in the bedroom. Interestingly, physical punishment often accompanies the onset of client complaints that their puppy will not come to them when called; understandable, when one considers that the pup has received punishment inconsistently from hands that also try to express tenderness through petting.

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Puppies who learn that human hands and actions may be dependably associated with pleasure rather than pain seldom exhibit hand-shyness, submissive urination or defensive aggression. Training systems that use social rewards produce more healthy and stable behavior than those employing punishment. This is especially true in pups with highly excitable or inhibitable nervous systems. Accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative in puppy training requires patience and self-control, but the benefits outweigh the heartbreak of vexing behavior problems.

The puppy owners will be better equipped to influence their pet’s behavior if they understand the behavioral effects of health, nervous typology and consistency in handling. Therefore, the veterinarian who spends a few extra minutes to explain these factors will help to prevent early fear imprints and resultant behavior problems that often prompt owners to get rid of their pets.

Canine Hip Dysplasia: The Cause Is Still A Mystery To Veterinarians

In the early seventies, many young dogs were put to sleep after being diagnosed with hip dysplasia. It was practical choice in the old days and dog owners would agree with the decision from the veterinarian due to the understanding that “the dog would be crippled in time, for the rest of his life, or that he will not be able to hunt, track, or do obedience work because of his injured hips”, according to the doctor.

Not All Veterinarians Agreed With This Diagnosis

The truth is that every young dog with hip dysplasia has a good chance of leading a normal and functioning life if nothing is done for the hips except to let time elapse until he has fully reached his maturity stage. Because of this fact, many reputable veterinarians would not perform surgery on an immature dog.

There are no published and worthwhile statistics which show that young dogs subject to such surgery turn out better than those that were not operated. Moreover, those that were left alone are still eligible to compete in dog shows, tracking, and obedience trials. Not only does experience dispute the worth or need of surgery but severing tendon or muscle in the young dog doesn’t make any scientific sense. Its effect is to let the “ball” slide out of its “socket”, and this creates “hip dysplasia” artificially.

When done later in life on a dog with persistent hip pain, the operation can provide immediate relief of discomfort by altering the weight-bearing surface of the hip joint. However, no worthwhile statistics have been published to show the length of time that such relief will persist or the percentage of adult dogs that were improved by surgery.

Hip Dysplasia May Not Be Genetic In Dogs

Since hip dysplasia was accepted to be genetic in humans, early researches were focused on trying to establish whether it was a dominant, recessive, or other characteristic in dogs. Sufficient statistics have accumulated to conclude that canine hip dysplasia is genetically influenced but a Swedish study on 11,036 German Shepherds showed that ten years of selective breeding not only failed to reduce the number of canine hip dysplasia offspring but also did not reduce the number of grade two or three (moderate or severe) cases.

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The Swedish authors concluded that canine hip dysplasia was not as greatly genetically influenced as they formerly had thought. They found that other characteristics of the pelvic inlet were suggestive indications and that the rate of bone maturation of the dog is also important.

The Greyhound, the only breed of large dog that’s not affected, has very slow bone maturation. When the Greyhound was crossed with the German Shepherd, hip dysplasia did not appear in the first generation. It was discovered that a very restricted diet, which contributes to slow growth, reduced hip dysplasia in affected breeds.

Although we still do not understand exactly the causes of canine hip dysplasia, it is reasonable to believe that a program of breeding based on the x-ray diagnosis of this condition should be carefully scrutinized.

A Pet’s Tale: Keeping Animals Safe

The saying “it’s a dog’s life” does not mean what it used to. Today, animals of all types are protected by state and federal laws and have been granted certain rights that help protect and keep them healthy. In addition, many people are closer with their pets than in the recent past, with a large number saying that they consider their animals to be a part of the family. In fact, a day in the life of a pet may entail visiting a spa or salon, being carried in a designer bag or wearing a jewel-encrusted collar-quite a different story from 100 years ago.

Seem far-fetched? On average, dog owners say they spent more than $263 on their four-footed friends in the past 12 months (not including food expenses). Cat owners spent more than $100. One reason for the improvement of animals’ quality of life is that animal welfare organizations such as the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) have worked to change the way people think about and treat them. Celebrating its 140th anniversary this year, the association is the oldest animal welfare organization in the Western Hemisphere. The association will mark its anniversary with a yearlong celebration highlighting the progress it has made for animals since it was founded by a New York City socialite in 1866.

With the mark of this milestone anniversary, the group is launching what it calls its most aggressive initiative to date, working city by city to turn the United States into one “Humane Community.” The program is designed to bring community organizations together to help ensure that no adoptable companion animal is euthanized for reasons other than behavior or medical issues.

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The new initiative includes increasing the demand for adoptable shelter animals, while at the same time reducing the number of unwanted litters being born. Additionally, the association’s “Meet-Your-Match” program is being revamped and will more effectively pair new pet owners with shelter dogs and cats. The group plans to expand its Humane Law Enforcement Department as well, allowing for more investigations and arrests for animal cruelty.

“While our 140th year is gearing up to be one of unprecedented growth, it is our sincerest hope that the further we get from our date of inception, the closer we come to being an organization that is no longer needed-that our work will have permeated society to the point that the rights of companion animals will be second nature to everyone,” said Ed Sayres, president & CEO, the ASPCA.

There are more than 140 million pet cats and dogs in the U.S.

Canine Cardiac Disease – How Common Heart Murmurs In Dogs Could Be The Result Of CCD

If your dog gets diagnosed with a common heart murmur problem, it may be a sign of canine cardiac disease.

According to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, a heart murmur results from blood flow running through the heart that is abnormal. Some heart murmurs are perfectly normal while others, similar to those heard in aging dogs, may be a sign that some type of heart disease is prevalent. The most common cardiac diseases in dogs include:

1. Congenital birth defects that show up when a puppy is young.
2. Degenerative valve disease (heart valve leaks) that mostly affect older or middle-aged dogs.
3. Loss of heart muscle tissue that is typically seen in young dogs or middle-aged larger dog breeds.

Detecting The Disease

Heart disease may not show up or be detected until it has reached a point where your dog experiences heart failure, collapse, or even sudden death. Your veterinarian can certainly check your dog out for heart murmurs by using a stethoscope. However, as the dog owner, your responsibility is to be on alert for certain signs such as difficulty in breathing, coughing, intolerance to exercise, or a swollen abdomen (caused by fluid retention).

Canine cardiac disease can further be checked for by specific information regarding your dog’s breed type, age, chest x-rays, blood pressure measurements, and EKG readings. For a definitive diagnosis, an ultrasound of your dog’s heart is required.

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Treatment

Treating your dog back to good health will depend entirely upon the stage of the disease and how severely it has affected other parts of the body. If your puppy is young and has a congenital defect, it may be surgically removed.

Heart disease that is acquired later in your dog’s life requires heavy lifestyle management and changes in living. Such changes include maintaining a healthy body weight, additional exercise (or reduced activity depending upon your dog’s condition), special cardiac diets, and specific medications that can be used to reduce stress put on your dog’s heart from his condition.

The prognosis for dogs that have canine heart disease will vary. Some dogs may be fortunate enough to have successful long-term care. Others may have a shorter lifespan ranging from a few weeks to a few years. It is important to keep in mind that the earlier your dog’s condition is assessed, the easier it will be to treat and the odds will be greater that your dog or puppy will enjoy a long, healthy life.

A Look At Unique Pet Supplies For Dogs

If you have a pet, then you are undoubtedly in the market for pet supplies and plenty of them. If that’s the case, you are in luck because there is a world full of pet products just waiting to be purchased and a lot of eager pets waiting to try them out. We all know about pet beds and brushes, toys and other goodies, which is why this article is aimed at focusing on unique pet supplies and why they are important to your furry little friend.

A harness is often used to walk dogs that are strong or tend to pull their masters when walking. If you have a larger breed dog and he/she isn’t well mannered on a walk, this could end with you being in pain if the dog pulls frequently or changes direction without notice. Smaller dogs are easy to control, but larger dogs often need a harness. This is one of the best pet supplies in existence because it reduces pulling on both your dog and, in turn, your dog pulling on you. A harness is made of either fabric or leather, just as standard collars, and fits comfortably around the dogs legs and chest. While wearing a harness, the dog is prevented from pulling as hard and will result in less injury to it’s owner. Depending on the material and manufacturer, a dog harness can often be found for as little as $10.00 and will go up from there.

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Did you know that one of the latest crazes in pet supplies is a seat belt? Well, it’s true. If you’re dog is known to wander around inside the vehicle, this may pose as a distraction and is not a safe situation. Therefore, some manufacturers have introduced a seat belt, which connects to the buckle of most automobiles and secures your dog safely in a seat.

If you are house training a new puppy or trying to retrain an adult dog, training pads may be the pet supplies that you have been looking for. These pads feature a scent that will draw your dog to it’s location when he/she has to use the bathroom. This always beats having to clean up a mess on the carpet and, even better yet, they are disposable.

Pet supplies are everywhere, including online and at most retail stores. Perhaps the largest variety of pet supplies is found on the world wide web simply because it has a wider reach than most local stores. Everything from beds to litter boxes and even sporty little outfits is available for your pup, including Halloween costumes.

Can I Give My Dog The Flu?

Avian Flu and Other Zoonotic Diseases

Everyone seems on edge about the latest outbreak of avian flu. People in China are told to kill their poultry in order to keep the virus from spreading. Meanwhile people in the United States watch on in fear that the avian flu will come to their shores. So what exactly is all the hubbub about? After all, every winter millions of people come down with bird flu.

Origin of Influenza

Influenza, the term, came into use around 1504, though it had little to do with the virus. It came from the word: influence. At the time, influence meant: “the ethereal power of the stars acting on men.” It was basically a supernatural way of explaining the effects of disease on people at the time. During a particularly nasty outbreak of the flu in Europe during 1743, the term was officially attached to the name of the disease. 96 years later, the term was shortened to just: flu.

The flu, itself, is a whole family of viruses called Orthomyxovirids. They are a diverse family that are commonly found in the guts of birds. The specific type of viruses that infect birds, are called type A flu. It was one of these type A’s that was believed to have infected people a long time ago. Thus giving us, the flu for the first time. Though the virus that initially infected man, has long since evolved into a variety of human specific strains, the initially origin appears to lay squarely among birds. As such, all human flu bugs could, technically, be called: avian flu.

Pathogens and specificity

Pathogens are viewed as being any living organism that is capable of causing a disease. It is a term that is generally reserved for bacteria, fungi and viruses. Pathogens are usually very specific in who, or what, they infect. This has a lot to do with the way in which they are constructed.

Both bacterial and viral outer structure, consist of a receptor binding proteins. These proteins give the pathogen a certain geometry. This geometry allows the pathogen to attach to complementary receptor sites on the cells of the critter that they are trying to infect. Because of the wide variety of life forms on the planet, each cell type has a different arrangement of receptors. Most of the time, the pathogen’s geometry will not fit these receptors, and the critter remains immune. Only those unlucky few species, whose cell receptors do fit, are the ones that have to suffer the infection.

Occasionally, though, a new pathogen comes along that has a geometry that is general enough to allow it to latch onto many different species. These are the pathogens that are often the more deadly.

Influenza is one of these general viruses. It is capable of infecting most bird species. It’s also very good at doing what all life forms do. It evolves. This has allowed it to cross multiple species barriers, and jump from birds, to people, to pigs, cows, and horses. Thus making influenza a very cosmopolitan virus family. This still doesn’t explain all the worry about this recent outbreak of avian flu though. For that, one must go back in time to 1918, and the Spanish flu.

It was the close of World War I, and the world appeared to be returning back to a more peaceful state. Then, in various parts of the globe, people started coming down with a particularly virulent form of the flu. This was a unique case though. Instead of the very young, and elderly dying, it was affecting young men and women instead. Usually these are the most immune to the effects of the flu. By the end of 1918, this form of the flu had killed ~50 million people. It was the largest pandemic (worldwide epidemic) in recorded history. So what happened?

Normally when one gets the flu, it is more of a hassle than anything else. This has a lot to do with the fact that the flu types we normally catch, are viruses that have infected us before. They have changed just enough so that they can infect us again, but they still remain recognizable to our immune system. As such, our bodies can keep the virus in check, and then eventually eliminate it. The 1918 flu, though, was different. It is now largely believed to have been a case where a new flu virus had hopped species. It went from birds to humans, possibly after circulating and hybridizing inside pigs (which can catch both bird and human versions of the flu). This new bug was completely alien to our immune systems and thus, took many completely by surprise.

This is what has many scared about this newest avian flu virus (dubbed: H5N1, for the specific proteins found on it). It has proven to be particularly virulent among birds, and the few cases of it infecting people have many worried that another pandemic is on the rise.

Zoonoses.

Influenza is a type of disease referred to a zoonosis. It means that it can be transmitted from one animal group, to another. Zoonotic diseases used to be further broken up into those that humans catch from other animals (anthropozoonoses) and ones that other animals catch from humans (zooanthroponoses). Unfortunately, both terms have been misused and confused so much, that neither is particularly favored anymore. Now they are all viewed as zoonotic diseases. In the end this makes the most sense, as human beings are animals anyway. To break things up any further, just seems excessive.

The flu is not the only zoonotic disease that humans get from other animals. Our primate cousins have given us quite a few different diseases including: malaria, hepatitis B, Dengue fever and lymphoma. Of course the most infamous of these zoonotic diseases would probably be HIV.

Though there are those that would like to believe that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus was a genetically engineered weapon that was released among the African populace (they give far too much credit to genetic engineers, who are proud enough to make yeast that can fluoresce), the simian origin of HIV is pretty well established. HIV has close ties to the simian version: SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus). The big difference between the two, besides their first letters, is that SIV rarely kills the apes it infects. In fact, many apes are capable of carrying viral loads equivalent to those seen in humans with advanced AIDS, yet rarely show any signs of trouble. This suggests that the host and the pathogen have been doing this for a very long time, and the host’s body has found a way to handle the virus. Humans only recently acquired HIV. As such, our bodies have yet to “learn” how to deal with the threat that this virus poses. Which is one reason why HIV is so very virulent at the moment.

These are just some of the diseases that other animals have given to humans. But what of the reverse? What have we given our animal brethren?

Many of the “classic” diseases that most humans catch, are ones that we are capable of giving to our primate cousins. This includes the flu, measles, chicken pox and tuberculosis.

One particularly nasty disease that we are capable of transmitting is the infamous Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). FMD rarely affects humans, but it does use us as a carrier for it. The disease can hang out in our nasal passages, throat, and on our clothing. It usually infects various forms of livestock (cattle, pigs, sheep, goats). Symptoms usually include fever and prominent sores on the feet and mouth (hence the name). Most infected animals do survive. Only ~5% die from the disease.

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The second disease is far more pernicious, and the victims have us to blame. It is the coral disease referred to as: white pox. This disease can kill up to 10 square centimeters of coral a day (~120ft a year). Over the past decade over 90% of Caribbean reef coral (Acropora palmata), have died. The culprit behind it is the little human gut bacterium: Serratia marcescens. While humans can occasionally fall victim to this bacterium, it usually doesn’t infect us. Instead it lives in our guts and gets expelled in our feces. Improper sewage treatment has resulted in human excrement flowing out into the Caribbean, where the newly released bacterium has infected the local coral.

So remember; the next time you start to feel under the weather, don’t worry about coughing on your dog. Chances are, your canine pal probably won’t get it. Unless, of course, it is the flu.

A Look at Discount Dog Beds

Many people want to make sure their family pet has just the right bed, but might not be willing to pay the (often quite hefty) price. It’s actually more difficult to find designer and luxury dog beds especially for oversized pets than it is to find discount dog beds for average sized animals. If you’re not too fussy about the design of the fabrics being used in the bed; if your dog is of average size and weight; and if her sleeping habits are not too extreme in the curling up or stretching out situations; you can probably save a lot of money when you purchase a dog bed that’s right for her.

To begin with, a lot of the more expensive bed-makers change their designs just like clothing designers do for people, if not quite as often. The changes do result in closeouts and discontinued items being drastically marked down at pet shops across the country and on the Internet. Then there are the many pet supermarkets and discount retailers who carry a variety of comfortable beds, in a variety of colors at prices much reduced from the luxury beds available at upscale pet shops.

See: cooling dog bed reviews

Then there is always the option to go ahead and make your own dog bed. If you’ve got any sewing ability at all, (and for the most part, a dog bed is more about being comfortable and durable than about looking great) you can produce an average-sized, comfortable, washable dog bed for just a few dollars worth of fabric and filler material. Cut a couple of pieces of fabric – it can be from an old sheet, a shower curtain, or a nice comfy old bathrobe – and sew them together to make a pillow of the right size. Stuff it with filler material and you have a comfy, simple dog bed. You may also create a fancier dog bed with an upper ring by cutting a long rectangle of fabric and creating a tubular pillow to go around the edge. Then fasten the upper ring to the original base with hand stitching.

You have just created a comfortable, washable bed for your dog made with love by your own two hands using a piece of fabric you’d probably throw away, some kind of filler material and a little bit of your precious time. What better way to save money and take care of your loving pet at the same time? You’ll enjoy the process of making the bed just as much as your pet will enjoy sleeping in it.

Can Chew Treats Kill Your Dog?

Chew treats. You’ve probably given dozens of them to your dog and they love them. They clean their teeth and keep them occupied for hours. Its a perfectly harmless canine treat right? Wrong. Chew treats can harm or even kill your dog. If you are concerned about your dogs health read on.

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Why are chew treats dangerous?
The two most popular kind of edible chew treats are those made of rawhide and those made from compressed vegetable protein. When your dog chews these treats, they may swallow large pieces of them. These pieces of chew treat cannot be digested by your pet and they can become lodged in their intestines. Intestinal blockages can kill your dog in hours. They can cause a condition called intestinal strangulation which is when blood flow is cut off to the intestines. The intestinal tissue then begins to die and rot.

How do I know if my dog has a blockage?
If your dog has a blockage, you may see some of the following symptoms. They may vomit, refuse to eat, regurgitate food, have diarrhea or abdominal pain. If your dog has any of these symptoms, you should consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. If they get a blockage, it will not clear itself. They will require surgery.

Should I stop giving my dog chew treats?
You do not have to stop giving your dog chew treats altogether. You should however monitor the use of these treats. When you can not be around your pet, take the treats away. When your dog has worn the treats down into small pieces, replace them.

Remember, as a pet owner it is your responsibility to look after your dog’s health. We all love out pets and it would be a shame to lose them over something as simple as a chew treat. So keep a watchful eye on your pet and help them live a long and happy life.

A Look at Diamond Dog Tags

Diamond dog tags are the cream of the crop, the best of the best, the most luxurious type of dog tag you can buy.

Diamond dog tags can cost up to $7500 or more. If you can afford such luxuries, a diamond dog tag is the perfect addition to your collection. Give your dog a diamond bone, heart, fire hydrant, or any of a limitless number of shapes and designs.

You can even buy dog-and-owner tag duos. Put one on your dog’s collar, and hang one as a pendant from your neck (or as a charm on your bracelet.)

A diamond dog tag deserves a great collar or necklace. You wouldn’t frame a masterpiece painting with cardboard, would you? The same principle applies to dog tags. Most retailers of diamond dog tags also carry luxury collars. Ask them about the selection. You can have diamonds on the collar (for maximum effect), rhinestones, crystals, sapphires, gold, silver, or any other precious stone. Perhaps a series of your dog’s birthstone would be the perfect touch.

See: cooling pad for dogs

Diamonds for dogs are about the same as diamonds for humans. They start at a few hundred dollars, and can go as high as tens of thousands of dollars, depending on size, cut, and supplier.

Where can you buy a diamond dog tag? There are many sources online. The award-winning pet accessories website animalstars.com is a great place to start. There you will find a wide selection of dog tags, and not only diamond, but also gold, silver, and pearl. You can even find cheap ones – great for use as a backup in case your diamond dog tag ever falls off your rambunctious pup.

Can an old dog be taught new tricks?

Have you ever seen a well trained dog and thought, “I wish my dog could do tricks like that”?

It is probably the dream of most dog owners to be able to teach their pet to do some of the tricks they see other dogs doing, but there is one thing they must remember above all others before starting down the path of teaching tricks. The dog must have at least some basic obedience. There is not much chance of teaching it to do tricks if it is a badly behaved dog in the first place.

The basic commands such as sit, down, heel etc, should be known by your dog before trick training starts, as this will make life so much easier later on. Once these have been mastered you can begin to build on them and your dog will soon be amazing your friends with the following three simple tricks.

Begging

To start teaching this trick it is best to have your dog sit in a corner of the room with his back to the wall and you standing in front of him. The walls will support your dog and give him the confidence that he won’t fall over if he raises his front legs off the floor.

Take some small pieces of food and hold it above your dog whilst enticing him to reach up for it. Each time he takes the food, praise him and repeat the procedure slowly encouraging him to reach higher each time.

Whilst encouraging the dog to reach up for the food, you must make sure that he is keeping his haunches on the ground. This is achieved by moving the food back over his head slightly making the dog shift his weight back over his haunches and teaching him to keep his balance.

Once the begging trick has bee mastered in the corner of the room you can gradually begin to move away from the wall and practise the trick where the dog has no back support. You must expect at this stage that the dog will seem to go backwards in his learning, but this is to be expected until he can perfect it just using his own body weight.

Shaking hands

There are two parts of this trick for your dog to learn. A verbal part and a non-verbal part which both work together to give the dog a cue that you want him to perform the trick.

Firstly the dog should start off in a sitting position. Give him a single word verbal command such as ‘shake’, whilst at the same time reaching out with your right hand until it is just a few inches from your dogs’ right leg. Your outstretched hand is the non-verbal cue.

Initially your dog will probably just sit motionless unsure of what to do, so with your left hand, gently push or prod his right leg forwards until it rests in your right hand. When he has done this, praise him so that he knows he has done what you wanted him to do.

Practice this trick several times; praising after each successful result and gradually reducing the amount of left hand prompting until only the verbal and non-verbal cues are all that are needed.

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Shaking the head: ‘No’

Before you can begin to teach this trick to your dog, you will need to find something which will make him shake his head naturally. Some things which may help are blowing gently on the ear, tickling the ear with a feather or even lightly attaching a paperclip to the ear – remembering that you should not cause the dog any pain.

Once you have found the method which makes him shake his head you will then have to decide on which verbal and non-verbal cue you want to use. A single word such as ‘head’ along with shrugging of your shoulders is just one idea.

Again your dog should start in a sitting position when first teaching him this trick. As in the shaking hands trick, use both cues together, along with the prod (tickling his ear, etc) in an effort to stimulate your dog to shake his head. Once he does, reward him, even if it is just a small movement.

This trick is best learned in short sessions with momentary breaks in between, so don’t try to repeat the exercise more that five times in one session or the dog will become confused and not learn.

Gradually reduce the amount of prodding so that all that are needed are the verbal and non-verbal cues. Once your dog has mastered the trick, he can be progressed to learn it in standing position and laying positions as well.

The main thing with training dogs to perform tricks is for the owner to learn that patience is a virtue and that the dog will learn in his own time. Do not scold the dog if he does not seem to be learning, it is always better to be patient and encourage him more.

A Look at Custom Pet Tags

Customized pet ID tags feature information chosen by the customer and can include personal messages, information about medical conditions or dietary needs. Made-to-order tags can be engraved, embossed, personalized, and reflective.

Engraved tags are available in different colors and styles such as bone, mouse, round, square, and more. They cost as little as $3.00. Large tags may have five lines of information and small may have only three lines of engraved text. Both sides of tags can have engraved text. Tags can have engraved art work and logos of the customer’s choice. Laser engraved tags displaying information on both sides are expensive. Personalized engraved tags can be made on order. Both computer and hand-engraved pet tags are available in the market.

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Wear-proof and sturdy personalized pet tags can have engraved text on both the sides. The text may contain two phone numbers, and vet and medical information. All personalized ID tags should have name of pet and the owner, address and telephone number. They may carry a “reward” depending on owner’s willingness to pay a reward if lost pet is found. Tags can be designed in different shapes, sizes and colors. Light-weight tags come in stainless steel, plastic and aluminum. Personalized pet tags can be bought at as little as $3.00.

Reflective pet tags feature a reflective sticker on their back for reflecting headlights to make drivers aware of pets roaming on the roads. Reflective pet tag stickers cost as little as $1.00. They protect pets especially in the night. Reflective tags make pets visible even from a distance when vehicle light falls on the tag surface. Reflective tags without batteries save pets in the night and offer emergency data.

Reflective pet tags were introduced a decade ago. They are brightly colored stickers that shine. The reflective coating is placed on non-engraved side of the tags. The coating reflects only in very low light conditions.

Camping with Your Dogs – Ten Commandments

In the U.S. alone, more than 30 million people each year take their pets with them while camping. Yet, when we first started RVing with our dogs, we were unable to find much written on the subject. Sure, there were the occasional articles in magazines that reminded us to use pet ID tags, bring plenty of water, and take their favorite toy. But in terms of providing genuine support or bottom–line information, there was nothing out there. Since it was something that we felt was badly needed, we decided to write this article.
While there are numerous issues to consider while camping with dogs, these are some of the most important.
1. Make Sure that Your Dog Can’t Get Lost
It’s one thing if your dog gets free in your neighborhood. It’s another when you’re at a rest stop, nine hundred miles from home. Either train your dog to come when called or make absolutely sure that they’re on a leash at all times.

2. Get All of their Vaccinations Up to Date
If your dog gets into an altercation with another animal (or a person), the central issue will become their rabies shots. If you stay at a campground that has a demanding pet policy, you’ll need to verify your dog’s vaccination records. If you cross into Canada, you’ll have to confirm that your dogs have had their shots. You get the idea.

3. Make Your Dogs Easy to Identify
If your dog does get lost (unfortunately, it happens all the time), the ability to easily identify them will become critical. For permanent identification purposes, consider tattoos or microchips. At a minimum, make sure they wear tags that show their name, your current phone number, and the date of their last rabies vaccination.

4. Clean Up After Your Dog
The biggest complaint about dogs has nothing to do with their bark, their bite, or their behavior. If you pick up after your dog, you’ll be helping dog owners everywhere.

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5. Learn How to Provide First Aid to Your Dog
If a medical crisis occurs while at home, you drive to your local veterinarian. But if you’re heading down a dark highway in a strange town, it will seem like a bad dream. Although there are ways to get help while on the road, it always takes more time. In the meantime, your ability to provide competent first aid could save your dog’s life.

6. Involve Your Dog in Everything You Do
If you really want your dogs to have a good time, include them in your activities. Take them with you on long walks. Buy a cheap plastic wading pool and let them play in the water. Throw a ball. Cook them up a hamburger. If you do stuff like that, they’ll do cartwheels the next time you decide to take them camping.

7. Call the Campgrounds Before You Go
Even if a park claims they’re pet–friendly, always call ahead to confirm their policy regarding your dogs. We’ve arrived at parks (with our two German Shepard dogs) after a long day on the road only to discover that “pet–friendly” meant dogs weighing under 20 pounds.

8. Plan Ahead for the Unexpected
Have a plan (for your dogs) in case of a flat tire, a serious accident, or a fire in your RV. Start with a few extra leashes, a pet carrier, and an extra fire extinguisher. Then have a fire drill to identify potential problems.

9. Learn About Your Camping Environment
The U.S. is a huge country with a vast assortment of dangerous wildlife, treacherous plants, unpredictable weather conditions, and demanding environmental challenges. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you might inadvertently be putting yourself and your dog in danger.

10. Recognize and Respect the Views of Others
While some of us can’t imagine traveling without dogs, others can’t image traveling with them. If you keep your dog under control and clean up after them, you won’t give others much to grumble about.

Happy Camping with Rover!

A Look at Custom Dog Tags

Have you been shopping and shopping for just the right dog tag, without finding what you’re looking for to suit your dog’s personality? Choose your exact specifications, give them to the manufacturer, and they’ll produce a dog tag to your liking. Some retailers even specialize in custom dog tags.

Do you like the look and solid feel of stainless steel, brass, or aluminum? Or perhaps you are not picky, and just need a plastic tag. Plastic won’t last quite as long, but they are inexpensive and easily replaceable. A metal or plastic dog tag shouldn’t cost more than $40 in most cases, and in many cases they cost under $10. You can have all of your dog’s ID information imprinted in the surface of any metal or plastic dog tag.

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Some dog tags are jeweled. You can sometimes choose an exact pattern that you wish the design to be in. If you want the shape of a cursive “R” for Rex, and you want it done in rhinestone, you can find someone to do that. Some retailers will offer a more limited array of options, but you can still usually choose from two or three types of embedded stones.

When it comes to really high-end dog tags, such as sapphire, real silver, gold, or diamond, there tend to be more choices. This is because you will be paying many hundreds, or even thousands of dollars for the material itself, so it’s worth it for the retailer to give you as many options as you like.

You also must choose the material and style of the dog tag’s collar or necklace. There are leather, nylon, rubber, and so on, on the lower financial end; and silk or silver chains on the higher end. Choose a collar or necklace that compliments whatever dog tag you go with. Just make sure your dog is comfortable with it.

Varieties of California Natural Dog Food

California Natural Dog Food specializes in dry pet food. The combination in the dog food is one protein, one fat and one carbohydrate. It has the least number of ingredients of any type of dry pet food and the combination is ideally created to make a hypoallergic pet food. Dogs have sensitive systems and cheap pet food ingredients like protein fillers can be harmful for pets and are totally avoided in the California Natural Dog Food.

Lamb, Chicken and More

Let us look at some of the products that are a part of the California Natural Dog Food. For each combination of food there is a dry and canned dog food variation. For example there is the California Natural Lamb Meal and Rice dry dog food and there is an equivalent canned version of it. It uses 100 per cent lamb meat with brown rice which is ideal for dogs who may be allergic to typical pet food ingredients. Otherwise white and brown rice as well as sunflower oil are a source of energy for the pet dog.

Just like lamb there is a chicken meal California Natural Dog Food too. It is again combined with a rice formula, preferably brown rice which makes the food tasty, nutritious and easily digestible. This is also available as canned food. High quality and balanced nutrition are maintained in both versions equally.

Lamb and fish like herring and salmon also make up the ingredients of California Natural Dog Food. The lamb meal dry dog food is especially good for less active and overweight dogs. It contains low fat and also lower calories. The herring is easily digestible and lends the proteins and fatty acids to the California Natural Herring and Sweet Potato Adult Dry Dog Food. The nutrients and fiber are supplied by the addition of sweet potato in this formula. Wild-catch salmon and mackerel are also supplied in the canned version as they are very nutritious.

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A new product of California Natural Dog Food is the California Natural Health Bars. They are large bars of baked ingredients which are even fit for human beings. This product is meant for dogs that are allergic to typical pet food ingredients.

Supplement Needed

Of course there are some conflicting reviews and experiences. Though California Natural Dog Food seems to be one of the best dog foods available, besides being commercially available and convenient too, it still may not be suitable for some dogs. Additionally, it may even need to be supplemented, as it is sometimes considered not to be a completed diet.

Dogs need to be fed and looked after well. The pet owners have the responsibility to read the labels thoroughly and choose the correct food for their dogs. Even the California Natural Dog Food, which is safe, does not guarantee a complete nutrition and may have to be supplemented with raw or freshly cooked ingredients.

A Guide To Dog Training

Before starting dog training, it is best that you know your options well. These days you can find many types of dog training, in many different places. These trainings vary in price and each one them has something different to offer.

The first type of dog training is known as puppy preschool. This is a dog training course meant for puppies that are about 6 weeks to 5 months old. These puppy preschool classes generally last for no more than 6 to 8 weeks. In these training sessions, your puppy is essentially taught how to socialize with people and as well as other puppies. Here your puppy also begins to learn how to sit down, stay at a place, and how to come.

The second type of dog training course is meant for the dogs that are at least 5 months old. This type of dog training is known as the basic dog training. The duration of these classes is usually about 8 to 10 weeks. This is the basic course, where your dog is taught the art of walking properly on a leash, sitting, staying, coming and heeling.

The third type of dog training course is known as the intermediate dog training. This dog training aims at teaching the dog mostly the same things that are taught in the basic training course, in a more detailed form. Here the dog is trained to stay for a longer span of time, and is also taught to follow the orders given by other people.

The intermediate dog training generally lasts for about 8 to 10 weeks, and is meant for those that are no less than 5 months old. It is essential for the dog to have completed its basic dog training course, or to be accustomed to the basic commands that could have been taught by the owner.

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The next type of training course is known as the advanced dog training course. Here, once again, the course is quite similar to its previous one, i.e., the intermediate dog training course, except for the fact that this time it is more detailed. Here, the dog is taught how to sit even without you in the view.

This training course is about 8 to 10 weeks long, and is meant for those that have completed their intermediate training. Here, they are also trained to walk beside their owners without a leash. Moreover, it gradually prepares the dog to take the Canine Good Citizen training course. The Canine Good Citizen training for dogs is the last course. To pass this course, your dog will be taught the 10 necessary aspects.

This course is strictly meant for those dogs that have completed all the previous courses. The test is quite tough and can only be passed if the dog is really well behaved. Depending on whether your dog can pass, the course can last for several weeks.

Keeping this information in mind, you should be able to decide the dog training course best suited for your dog. However, you may seek the opinion of your local dog trainers to know more. Many trainers consult for free. So now you should be at least a step closer to introducing your dog into a training course!

The Playful and Inquisitive Dog: Cairn Terrier

The Cairn is assumed as one of the subcategories of Scotland’s terriers along with the Westies (West Highland White) and the Scottish, The Westies and the Cairns are highly related. For one, Westies are hybrids of white dogs crossed with Cairns of western Scotland. The Westie can be considered as the white variety of the Cairn who has a coat of any color but white. Scotties, however, have longer heads and bodies, have generally dark coats and are aloof than the other two. These dogs originated from the short-haired Skyes.

Cairn is the smallest breed among the terrier group. The name Cairn was coined after the small stone piles that marked borders of Scottish farms and graves. During the early times, this breed was used to guide small animals into these piles of stones. However, cairns are strong and sturdy but are not heavy.

This dog was already present during the 1500s even before it became popular in 1930, after the appearance of “Toto” in “The Wizard of Oz” as Dorothy’s companion dog. Presently, like the American pit bull terriers, Cairns are used as companion dogs. Among the variety’s talents are tracking, watching over the house, hunting, and performing tricks and sports regarding competitive obedience.

The following are some of the basic facts breeders would really love to know about Cairns:

Category: Terrier

Living Environment: indoors (highly recommended); outdoors (fenced yard)

Coat: shaggy and coarse outer coat and short and soft furry undercoat

Colors: any color except white

Height: between 9.5 and 10 inches

Weight: between 13 and 14 pounds

Temperament: like most terriers that were bred as hunters, these dogs are mischievous, alert, restless and high-spirited; also have a special connection with children age six and above

Breeders should note of the following health issues:

• Atopy, a type of allergy
• Cataract, or loss of transparency of one or both lenses of the eyes
• Cryptorchidism, wherein testicles do not descend into the scrotum
• Glaucoma, a condition that causes an increase pressure within the eye
• Patellar luxation, a disorder in the kneecap

Care and Exercise:

• Daily brushing is recommended to prevent tangles and mats.
• Hair around ears and eyes must be trimmed regularly.
• Do not over feed them as they gain weight easily.
• Their physique requires a regular exercise routine which includes a daily play time while on leash.
• They should be on leash while walking in public places because of their hunting instincts.

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Origin/History:

As already noted, the Cairns were existent since around the 1500s. At around 1700s, the Isle of Skye and other highlands in Scotland were already producing lots of small terriers. Scottish breeds were separated into two: the Skye terriers and the Dandie Dinmont terriers.

The Dandie Dinmonts were categorized as a separate breed. The Skyes included the Scotties, the Westies, and the Cairns.

In the year 1912, the Cairns receive their official name based on their excellent ability to hunt down vermin such as otters, foxes, and badgers that were hiding in cairns. However, it was in the year 1913 when they received the official recognition from the American Kennel Club.

The Cairn terrier is one heck of an agile little dog that is very appropriate for the whole family. This breed is playful, prying, and is always ready to join the fun. If you are still not convinced, just reckon how Dorothy was entertained and accompanied by this type of dog.

A Good Dog Fence Makes For Better Neighbors

Believe it or not, not everyone likes your family pet. By keeping your pet in an identified space with a good quality dog fence, Fido can remain as a good neighbor. I know, I know, it’s almost impossible to imagine that anyone who knows Fido doesn’t immediately fall in love with her. She might just be ok with the neighbors but the things she does in their yard make for some unhappy relationships. This is just one of the main reasons why every pet owner has an obligation to control their pets traveling range with pet fencing.

The problem of course is the about relieving themselves in someone else’s yard, Yes, your pet may be friendly and would like to visit the neighbors but the fact is, many people do not share your love affair with your pet. They don’t want the bother of picking up after an animal that’s not theirs nor having their yards soiled with urine “hot spots” and doggie piles. Dogs, although usually very friendly also can be destructive of plants and landscaping, making many breeds poor neighbors.

That’s not to say that your dog isn’t a nice animal. Dogs are typically social and enjoys the interaction with a variety of people. This play interaction however is not without consequences. Things get broken, chewed on and otherwise “enjoyed” by your pet no matter if they belong to you or the neighbor. Having to face an angry neighbor because your dog destroyed his prize winning rose bush garden isn’t something to be desired.

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There’s also the issue of community security. This is especially true if your dog is a larger breed. Having a large dog escape the security of their yard could be seen as negligence on your part. Communities are becoming increasingly upset at pet owners who allow their animals free run of a neighborhood. Heaven forbid if your dog, while free, attacks someone or another animal. This is especially serious if the other dog or pet was on a leash.

The saying is that a good fence makes for good neighbors. A good dog fence also makes for a happy and healthy environment for your pet. By securing your dog using secure fencing, your best friend also has the security of knowing where his yard boundaries are located. There is no need to “guard” anything beyond the fence lines so you pet is more inclined to stay in his yard to better “watch” his property. Overall, electronic dog fencing is a good investment no matter what type of dog you may have as a pet.

Some Information Regarding Cairn Terrier Pet Dogs

If you are thinking of getting a Cairn terrier pet dog, then you need to know some information about it first. Why? Well, knowing the right information about anything will help you in the long run. This is especially true when we are talking about a pet ownership. Before you get a Cairn terrier pet dog, you need to be sure that you know what you are getting yourself into. You need to know how to take proper care of your cairn terrier pet dog and you also need to know what to expect when you are getting one.

Thankfully, there are a lot of sites on the internet which can provide you the necessary information. To save you some time, however, here are the basics:

Originally bred in the Scottish highlands, the Cairn terrier is the smallest of all terrier breeds. You should not let the size deceive you when you are getting a Cairn terrier pet dog, however. The Cairn terrier was first bred because of its working ability. You know what this means? This means energy.

A Cairn terrier pet dog has a lot of energy to spare. They can gain a lot from taking brisk walks daily. However, you should know that they do best when they have a fenced-in yard to play in. This way, they get more room when they play. Their high energy also means that they aren’t really suitable for apartment or condo living. If you live in such places, then having a Cairn terrier pet dog is not for you.

Their energy may also put them in danger. This is the reason why you need to make sure that a Cairn terrier pet dog stays in one area. Their natural instincts tell them to dig and run and these activities may lead to accidents if unsupervised.

There are, however, a lot of positive things that can be said about a Cairn terrier pet dog’s energy. For one thing, it makes the dog fun to play with. It can play for hours on end, giving you the companionship that you want. Another positive with this energy is the fact that this energy can be channeled into good purposes. A Cairn terrier pet dog is naturally inquisitive and is always willing to participate in a new adventure. This means that a Cairn terrier pet dog can be easily taught to do tricks. They learn tricks very fast and thrive in obedience training.

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You need to make sure that your Cairn terrier pet dog is trained properly since untrained ones have a tendency to be destructive when they are bored.

Let us talk about the proper care for a Cairn terrier pet dog. One thing you do not need to worry about is its coat. The Cairn terrier pet dog was not bred for the beauty of its coat. The coat of a Cairn terrier pet dog is weather resistant and sheds little to no fur. Because of this, it can be a great indoor pet.

Being the smallest of terrier breeds, however, makes Cairn terrier pet dogs especially vulnerable to various health problems. Care must be taken when feeding it as it can gain weight quite rapidly. A Cairn terrier pet dog is also especially sensitive to fleas. However, you can be sure that this is one of the best breeds around.

A Golden Retriever Might be the Right Addition to Your Family

Selecting the right pet for you and your family is an important decision. There are several hundred breeds of dogs from around the world so your choices are virtually limitless.

The American Kennel Club categorized the different breeds by groups with each group having distinguishing characteristics that are shared by all the breeds in it. The Golden Retriever is in the Sporting Group.

The Sporting Group is made up of some of the oldest and most popular breeds. Many of the dogs in this category were bred for hunting although most people who own sporting dogs only keep them as family pets, rather than hunters. The hunting traits, however, create some of the most enjoyable aspects of owning a sporting dog. Goldens are natural retrievers, so you can enjoy them fetching a tennis ball for what seems like forever. Another trait is their outgoing personality, making sporting dogs enthusiastic and responsive partners.

The Golden Retriever was bred to be tough and strong. Don’t let the happy, silly face fool you. While any Golden will delight in lazing around the house or wrestling on the floor with your family, the breed is particularly adept in the field.

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As puppies, Goldens are full of energy and can be especially mouthy. Make sure you direct your puppy’s need to chew to appropriate chew toys. Remember, puppies aren’t fussy and don’t discriminate. A chair leg works as well for them as a sterilized bone. Goldens are very trainable, athletic, and good-natured. They have a keen desire to please. You can find them performing with tails wagging and eyes shining in the obedience, agility, and fly ball arenas. They are also excellent with children.
The Golden Retriever is generally light yellow to deep golden honey in color. The coat tends to get a little deeper in color after the first year. They tend to be about twenty-four inches tall at the withers (shoulders), with females being slightly shorter. Their coat should be long and either flat or wavy. They’ll need to be brushed properly or their coat will form thick mats

So, if you are looking for a loyal companion that will be great with kids or adults, you should definitely find a local breeder and spend some time getting to know a Golden.

Buying A Golden Puppy

We all know that Golden Retrievers are beautiful, obedient, and make great family pets and hunting dogs. Golden’s also make great guide dogs for the blind, narcotic detection dogs, and even tracking dogs for finding missing people. Although there are many other dog breeds out there, Golden Retrievers remain one of the most versatile and most astonishing breeds that you can get.

Before you rush out and buy a Golden Retriever puppy, you should first take the time to learn a bit more about the breed. You can attend dog shows, meet with various owners of Golden Retrievers, and even go to your local kennel club. Most people who own Golden Retrievers are extremely proud of them and will be more than happy to share their enthusiasm with you.

When you buy you’re Golden Retriever puppy, it’s always a great idea to buy from a backyard breeder or local puppy mill. Backyard breeders are normally the best way to get a Golden puppy, as they know and care a lot about the breed in general. Although you can always go to a reputable breeder, backyard breeders aren’t just in it for the money – they actually care about their dogs and want you to get the best Golden possible.

You can also visit the Golden Retriever Club of America and their local member clubs, as they can supply you with a list of breeders in your area. If these breeders don’t have any Golden’s for sale themselves, they will be more than willing to help you find what you’re looking for. This way, you can get a Golden from a very reliable source.

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Whatever you do, you should never rush into buying a Golden Retriever. You should always take your time, and have a little bit of patience. When you buy your puppy, you want a healthy puppy who will grow up to be a fine testament of the breed. By taking your time and making a careful decision, you can save yourself a lot of time and money later on down the road.

Golden puppies that are poor quality, are normally produced by breeders who just want to have a litter or breeders who are just looking for the profits and care very little about giving thoughts to looks, quality, or temperament. If you buy a puppy from either of these breeders, you’ll more than likely end up with a puppy who has poor health, poor temperaments, and even disqualifications in breed.

When you get your puppy, you should always think long term. Only buy from a quality breeder, and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Always remember that you aren’t just buying a Golden Retriever puppy – you are buying a companion and a friend for life.

A Glimpse on the Various Types of Terrier Dogs

Whatever your dog preference is, you are sure to find terrier dogs among the candidates for a pal. You’ll get energy you want with little grooming and added wit.

Basically bred for hunting and killing vermin, Terrier dogs are now known to offer wide spectrum of features and characters that you might find lovable. They are not as cuddly as toy dogs (while there are some terrier dogs in the toy and companion dog brackets) and they may not be as intelligent like other breeds but they set off these lacks with various things that only they can offer.

Let us discuss in brief some of the terrier dog types that you may find interesting:

Less aggressive but definitely not timid. This best describes Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers. They are definitely alert and very spirited, but when the call for steadiness arrives, they are sure to show you some air of confidence and steady disposition.

This dog type too is gifted with intelligence which makes them very responsive with obedience training.

Parson Russell Terrier is a dog type that exhibits boldness, cleverness, affection and exuberant disposition. While many may find this a playful pal, it is still not advisable for everyone to take Parson Russell home. In fact, formal obedience training is a must for owners since this dog type is more likely to display mischievousness and too much playfulness that make this a very independent pet. For people with active lifestyles and those who can tolerate explorative disposition, this scamp is the best for you.

The Norwich Terrier, on the other hand, is a type of dog that resulted from breeding small Terriers with other smaller breeds, possibly Yorkshire Terriers. Maintenance of Norwich Terrier is minimal and they are content with modest living quarters. They have active disposition though and can be affectionate and fearless. Additionally, they are also known to display stocky and happy personalities which make them ideal pals.

Much like the Norwich Terriers, Norfolk Terriers are also well-spirited, fearless, charming and always ready for game. While both may have some similar physical characteristics, Norfolks can still be distinguished through their folds in the ears.

Basically workman-like dogs, Kerry Blue Terriers are excellent watchdogs and work well in farm settings. This dog got its name from its blue-shade coat color which was originally black during puppyhood.

Wire Fox Terriers are of great interest since they display power through its excellent endurance capabilities and speed. Alertness and quick movements are the dominant expressions of this dog type. It is advisable though that the owner trains this dog and should be given enough doses of daily exercises.

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Meanwhile, Smooth Fox Terriers are the frolic and lively types of dogs that are ideal in both country and city living. Displaying intelligence and cleverness, this dog makes good trainees and must be well credited by that. They are also likely to show great affection towards their owners.

These are just some of the many terrier dog types that can be considered as your next pets. In general, this dog type has good dispositions and makes ideal home pets. While some may display obscure aggressiveness, this still does not negate the fact that most types have the capacity to develop affection and keen expression of their attachment to their owners. Be warned though that some dog types in this breed can be very playful and should be given enough amount of attention and time during obedience training and exercises.

Buying Premium Dog Food

So you are wondering if the dog food you are feeding is really good for your canine.

Maybe you heard that your particular brand of dog food is bad for your dog.

Here I will try to explain what to look for as well as the ingredients and how they measure up to what you are currently feeding. Please keep in mind dog food is essential to their health as for most it is their main source of nutrition.

Some easy tips are:

Do not buy dog food that contains BHT or BHA, they are chemical preservatives and could be harmful.
Do not buy food that has by-products in it; these are often left over from is given to the human market. That means by-products could be feet, intestines, necks etc.

Grains that are often difficult to digest like corn, wheat, gluten and soy, are often used as a protein source instead of meat. – This is not healthy and in addition can cause allergies.

Now we get into the fun part!

The first 5 ingredients play a significant role in the overall nutritional make up of a dog food

What are the protein sources? I believe the primary source should come from quality animal protein, not vegetable protein or grain. Foods that list 2 or more grains in the first 5 ingredients may have more vegetable protein than animal protein.

What about grains? Two or more grains listed in the first 5 ingredients means your food may have more vegetable protein than animal protein. Grains such as soy, corn, corn gluten and wheat gluten can be difficult to digest, which means less nutrition and more clean up.

Are there by-products? Some manufacturers consider by-products inferior sources of protein and, depending on the source, they can be difficult to digest.

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What are the fat sources? Some fats are better than others. We believe the primary fat source in dog food should be animal based because animal fats contain a profile of fatty acids that are easily metabolized and thus are generally more available to the body.

Look for an identifiable animal protein such as “chicken meal” rather a generic term; such as, “poultry meal,” which can contain any fowl (turkey, chicken, geese, etc.).

Some manufacturers use chicken in their pet foods; however, look for Chicken “Meal” Why? Because chicken meat contains a certain amount of moisture in the flesh; however, chicken “meal” is a concentrated source of chicken protein because most of the water has been removed. Therefore, it only stands to reason that you get a greater “protein content” in 1 pound of chicken meal versus 1 pound of chicken.

Make sure your dog food has bacteria cultures (acidophilus) for easy digestion. Look for vegetables and fiber for anti-oxidants protection, vitamins and minerals.

A Dogs Golden Years

With appropriate care most dogs live complete and happy lives. Unfortunately, an adored pet never seems to live long enough. Each breed has different life spans. While taking care of your aging dog you need to adapt his environment for his comfort. As dogs get older, they develop aches, joint pain, generalized weakness and an almost definite increase in medical problems.

Adjust his surroundings to minimize discomfort. Protect him from excessive heat and cold. Older dogs are unable to regulate body temperature as a younger dog.

Try to give your dog regular exercise. Make sure your dogs health matches his exercise routine. If your dog exhibits signs of heavy panting or opposes exercise you need to change his routine.

Adapt his diet and feeding schedule to his needs. As dogs age they are less active and need fewer calories. Prescription diets are available. Discuss special diets with your veterinarian.

Older dogs can experience hearing loss and declining eyesight. Accommodate for his safety.

Senior dogs require special dental care. They are more likely to develop gum problems and disease. Complete dental cleaning should be performed by your vet every six months which does require anesthesia. Make sure complete bloodwork is performed.

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Older dogs need extra bathing and grooming. Dry skin can be a normal part of aging or it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. They also require more frequent nail trimming.

Take into consideration his age in human years. If he is 13 in dog years, he may suffer the same aging ailments as a 75 year old human.

Continue with bi-annual vet exams. Senior dogs need extra care with their aging problems.

Give his life quality! Keep those memories alive!

Buying A New Puppy? How To Avoid The Pitfalls

Many books and articles have been written regarding the art of choosing a puppy (i.e. performing puppy tests, looking for parental OFA certifications, and so on…), but few, if any, discuss the contractual end of purchasing a puppy. I can tell you through personal experience that purchasing a quality show puppy from a famous breeder can be quite a stressful experience because no breeder would give up the pick of the litter to a competitor (for obvious reasons) or to a novice without co-ownership of the puppy. Co-ownership of a puppy entitles the breeder to many rights to the detriment of the buyer. To begin with, the breeder might also be an experienced handler and might contractually require the purchaser to use the breeder as the puppies’ trainer and handler. Agreeing to this could be a monumental mistake because the purchaser might be required to pay (even though they might be co-owners) for the breeders time to train and handle the puppy. Agreeing to this can COST you THOUSANDS of dollars.

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In the contract, the breeder might require your bitch/dog to whelp/stud puppies. And, of course, they would contractually want the picks of the litter (they may choose either male or a female puppies as they please). Furthermore, you as the purchaser, might be required to pay the costs of breeding and whelping the puppies (i.e. food, vet-bills, housing, AKC registrations, stud fees, breeder’s time) even though you may not be allowed to get the picks of the litter. What’s more, you may not be able to see nor be with your dog for the duration of gestation and delivery. Some breeders have been known to switch animals when they are sent away for whelping or stud service. Therefore, I would recommend that you microchip you puppy and that you get an AKC DNA ID as soon as possible after you purchase your puppy. This way, you will get back your beloved animal without concern as to the nature of its identity.

When you purchase your puppy, most reputable breeders will guarantee that your puppy will be free of various ailments for the duration of two years. What they may fail to mention, however, is that if your puppy becomes incurably ill, the replacement puppy may be one of their own choosing and not yours; which translates to the fact that you may end up with a new puppy that has a lousy temperament.

So, remember. The devil is in the fine print. Read your contract carefully, otherwise you may become the victim of your own ignorance.

A Dogs Communication – Could Your Dog be Trying to Tell You Something?

Is barking a form of language among dogs with precise significance, or just playful noise? Dogs exchange information among themselves less by voice than by a wide range of facial expressions, body postures and gestures, as well as by various scents. Dogs, who bark at night, are probably working off excess energy or announcing their presence, and this is undoubtedly the only message conveyed to other dogs within ear shot.

When a dog goes to his owner and deliberately barks, it is simply meant to attract attention. You must try to guess his general behavior, rather than from the circumstances and his general behavior, rather than from the particular form or pitch of bark he makes. The howling or baying of hunting dogs is an instinctive hunting cry informing the pack that the dog is on a trail. Barking at strange noises is a warning as well as a threat display.

A lonely dog who bowls may be sending out a gathering cry to other dogs nearby. Wild dogs on the other hand, never back, they only howl. Could the barking of domesticated dogs be a form of communication more closely resembling speech? A pet dog that shares a close relationship with his owner and has been taught to understand many words obviously makes an effort, sometimes quite successfully, to give meaning to his own utterances.

A dog who wishes to assert his importance and boldness instinctively employs all of the effects that make him look bigger and more frightening, raising his back ton increase his height and holding his head high in defiance. A dog who wants to show submission does just the opposite, making himself look small by crouching down with his tail between his legs and his ears laid back flat.

A dog who wishes to assert his dominance will take a perpendicular position with his head over the other dog’s shoulders, while nudging or pushing, with his neck arched, head and tail raised and tense. The conventional play invitation is a posture with the forehead crouched, the hind quarters high, a wagging tail, bright eye and a little yap. A rigid stance with a steady gaze and a high, trembling tail is hostile. A high, steady tail signifies self confidence, and held low indicates inferiority, fatigue, ill health, or a bad mood.

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Pawing at the neck is an expression of affection, nose-nudging is another invitation to play. Paw-giving is a conventional canine gesture with two possible meanings. When he gives his paw to his owner while avoiding eye contact he’s saying “Please forgive me” or when he wants attention, he is saying “I’m here, don’t forget me.” When he offers his paw to another dog, it’s a sign of submission.

An owner, who takes the trouble to observe his dog and pay him the courtesy of listening to him, can establish a simple two-way communications system with his pet. Canine messages are generally very elementary, as he asks much less of us than we do of him. “I’m hungry,” “I’m thirsty”, “I need to go out”, or “Come with me I think something is wrong” are among the messages he manages to convey very well considering his limited means. His most eloquent utterance is the emotional gurgle of barks that means to say “I’ve missed you!”

Buy from a Reputable Breeder

Breeders specialize in their chosen breed. They know the breed standard, temperament, and characteristics. They strive to breed only animals that epitomize these qualities. This benefits the buyer by allowing the buyer a type of quality control. You will know better what you are getting – fewer surprises, fewer disappointments.

1. They make it a point to be aware of all known inherited defects affecting their breed. Reputable breeders then screen their breeding animals to be sure they are free of such defects. This may not totally eliminate an inherited defect from showing up, but it will greatly decrease the chances of them occurring.

2. A breeder is a valuable source of information should any problems arise after your pet is in your home. They can give advice on almost all aspects of caring for and training dogs. In the event that you find it impossible to keep your pet, many breeders will help you relocate your pet.

3. Most breeders provide you with written instructions on how to feed, care for and train your pet. You also have the comfort of knowing you have a concerned individual who is only a phone call away.

4. Breeders take the time to properly socialize their puppies. They give the special handling needed during the critical developmental stages in the puppies’ lives. This socialization helps the puppies adapt and adjust to life with humans as well as laying a foundation for learning. A carefully bred, well-socialized puppy makes a happy, eager to please dog that is a pleasure to live with.

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5. Because the breeder has been laying the foundation for learning through socialization, and because your puppy has not been kept in a small cage for a long period, buying your pet from a breeder may make it easier to housebreak your pet. Constant confinement in a cage, such as in a pet store, leads to a loss of the puppies’ naturally clean nature. This complicates housebreaking because they are no longer bothered by living with their own waste. By living in a home situation with the breeder, they maintain their naturally clean nature making it easier to housebreak them.

6. If you wish to show your pet, your pet’s breeder will help you get started in whatever area you wish to pursue- be it conformation, obedience, agility, carting, herding or tracking. A reputable breeder wants to better his beloved breed by constantly striving to produce animals of high quality. This endeavor carries a high price, not only in time and money but more importantly in emotion. Along with the joy of breeding litters comes much heartache. The satisfaction of bringing joy to the lives of others through the ownership of quality, loving companions is well worth the effort. On the other hand, buying a puppy also carries a price in terms of money and emotions. It is worth spending the time and effort on your part to find a reputable breeder for the purchase of your special companion so you can both enjoy a long, wonderful relationship together.

A Dog in One Pack- Jack Russell Terrier

We basically want to find companions who would give us most of the benefits we think we need. Well, if you are looking for a dog that is somewhat a one-in-package pal, you might find Jack Russell Terriers interesting enough.

This dog has a history that is somehow loomed to give rise to the specie.

It was said that the breeder of this dog, a young Theologian student of Oxford University named John Russell once met a milkman with a white terrier that has spots on his eyes and ears. This dog became his interest which later proved to be his foundation for breeding a new dog breed that many has learned to love as pets. The dog he first saw was named “Trump” from which another 60 types of terriers were later bred from.

With a terrier’s basic nature to go on and over the ground (terrier by the way came from the Latin term “terra” which means earth), Jack Russell terriers also have the disposition to hunt and scour for hunting. Thus, they should be given enough grooming so as to set off the dirt they gather from digging soil to either bury a treasure or to recover a hidden treasure kept long ago.

An excellent ratter, Jack Russell Terriers proves to be good “housekeepers” since they keep most rats away from home. Any unlucky rat that happens to be inside the quarters of this terrier is sure to meet its instant doom. Thus, owners find themselves with both a dog and cat in one pal.

One basic character of this dog is its disposition towards strangers. They can easily figure out who must be kept away from their homes and who can be accepted inside the house. This very attitude also makes them good watchdogs. They were designed specifically to be aggressive on preys. And while they can be very vocal, many of them only barks when they find good reason to.

They do not appear vicious though. But once they smell threat, they can show off aggressiveness that could serve as warning towards the strangers. However, once the stranger is let into the house by the owner, a Jack Russell can already tolerate his or her presence.

This terrier is also a family dog and desires for human companionship. And their love for children is significantly interesting. However, once they are abused or had been shown improper treatments, may it be intentional or accidental, they can react through aggressive behaviors. Their aggressiveness is further manifested with their lack of fear towards larger dogs which can unfortunately lead to injuries, some can even be fatal.

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They are also marked for their intelligence and good spirit. These characteristics can be highly observable through their curiosity in things. Thus, they require supplementation on formal training unless you can tolerate difficult behaviors. The good thing though with Jack Russell is that it can acknowledge training and do well in most of them. In fact, they are known to champion various ring shows and other similar competitions.

The Hollywood has recognized the disposition of these dogs too. Coupled with feisty and good physical characteristics, this pal has already made names in the screens. If Wishbone, Milo (from The Mask) and Eddie (from the Frasier) ring the bell on you then there is no doubt that you can recognize this dog.

Jack Russell fair well with grooming. A dog of relatively small size, this breed will not tax you with grooming needs.

Burial Options: Deciding The Right Burial Option For Your Dog

As we spend a decade or more with our dogs, they literally become a part of our lives, a member of our family, and the thought of them not being with us anymore can be too much to handle.

Unfortunately, this is something that will happen. It is inevitable. And while planning for our pet’s final resting place is something that we would prefer not to do, it is wise to decide early on which option is the best.

Looking at your choices is difficult and can affect your better judgment when you are in the process of grieving for the loss of your pet. Therefore, deciding on which memorial option is the best for your beloved dog should taken care of long before he or she passes.

Here is a list of some of the traditional ways we lay our dogs to their final resting place:

Pet Cemetery

These are burial grounds that are usually located in a quiet, park-like area. A few of them have a special place where the remains of the owners can be buried alongside their pets. One well known pet cemetery that has been around for about 40 years is located on church grounds in New Jersey.

There are two questions that you should ask before deciding on a pet cemetery:

1. Is the owner of the property committed to keeping the land as a pet cemetery in the future? To find out, contact the county recorder’s clerk and verify that the property is indeed dedicated as a pet cemetery. Otherwise, the company can legally exhume your dog and sell the land.

2. Does the cemetery charge a maintenance fee? This is to ensure proper up keeping of the burial grounds.

Cremation

Three types of pet cremations are available:

1. Individual cremation: Only one dog is cremated and the ashes can be returned to the family.

2. Private cremation: Several pets are cremated but kept in separate chambers so that the ashes can be returned to the right family.

3. Common cremation: Includes several pets and the ashes are not returned.

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A respectable crematory should offer you a tour of their facility and allow you to be there during your dog’s cremation. Ashes that are returned to the owners can be buried, spread in a special location, or placed in an urn.

Body disposal: Your vet will dispose of your dog’s body for a minimum charge. The bodies are either incinerated or sent to a landfill. If your dog is to be cremated, ask for the name and phone number of the crematorium and call to verify that the facility works with your veterinarian.

Backyard Burial: Check your local county’s regulations concerning backyard burials for your pets. Consider this question: If you think you are going to be moving in a few years, will it bother you to leave behind your dog’s remains?

A Dog Can Be Your Best Friend When It Comes To Home Security

Burglar alarms are not the be-all and end-all of home security. There are plenty of other things you can install in your home that will help to stop a burglar from gaining entry – and many of them are very simple and inexpensive.

The key is to secure the possible points of entry. This means that doors should be made of strong, solid material (definitely not plastic or glass), be properly secured to their hinges and have tamper-resistant locks. Ideally, you should have an extra deadbolt that you put on at night, made from very strong metal.

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Windows should be made from toughened glass, preferably double-glazed, so that they are almost impossible to break. Although window locks are relatively uncommon, they help greatly with security, and you should consider installing them. If your house has windows in a position where they can be easily and discreetly accessed from the street, such as basement windows, you should consider putting metal bars on them.

It is also important for your garden to be secure, as far more burglars enter through the back of your house than the front. This means that your fences should be high and have some kind of anti-climbing measures (spikes or anti-climb paint can work well). If you don’t like fences, get big hedges instead.

Another thing to consider is getting a dog – surprisingly effective against burglars, who don’t generally want to mess with dogs if they can avoid it. For this strategy to be more effective, put up a ‘beware of the dog’ sign. Smaller dogs are not so great for this because they are not generally scary – something like a big German Shepherd works best, not only because of their size, but because of their strong guard instincts that cause them to be hostile to strangers.

Guide To Bullmastiff Breed

History and origin: The Bullmastiff is believed to have been evolved between 200 or 300 years ago by crossing the Mastiff with the Bulldog. He was used as a guard dog against poachers (who were hunting on large estates) without actually harming them. The Bullmastiff was bred to be courageous, quick, strong, and willing to challenge humans.
Description: The Bullmastiff stands 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 100 and 135 pounds. He has a powerful, heavily muscled and boned body and a short, low-maintenance shedding coat that needs regular brushing. Ears may be cropped or uncropped. The color may be fawn, reddish brown, or brindle; a small white patch on the chest is acceptable.

About the breed: The Bullmastiff is a trustworthy, affectionate, lazy, powerful breed with a natural instinct of guarding his home and family. These dogs are usually very suspicious of strangers and other dogs and are one of the most territorial of breeds. Though normally gentle with children in their own family, Bullmastiffs can be unpredictable with friends, relatives, and co-workers. Keep in mind that this breed was designed to challenge human beings and will do so without hesitation if a threat is perceived. When a Bullmastiff becomes aggressive, it is explosive and unstoppable. This breed is capable of killing another dog in seconds, so do not consider letting him off leash.

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The only way to minimize this instinctive behavior is to socialize and train the dog from day one, allowing the Bullmastiff puppy to interact with people and dogs in a controlled, positive environment. Males should be neutered by the eighth month. Females tend to be less aggressive and are quite more timid than males. The Bullmastiff is normally content to lie around the house. Though less energetic than the Boxer, he does tend to be slightly more active than the Mastiff. Training should begin early and should be firm but not overbearing, as this breed matures slowly and can become worried if pushed too hard. Patience and consistency are required, as well as positive, confident attitude. Spoiling will create a pushy dog that lacks confidence, a combination that could be dangerous. Mature children are permissible provided absolutely no roughhousing is permitted. This breed eats large quantities of food. He usually lives ten to twelve years, and is susceptible to bloat, hip dysplasia, eyelid abnormalities, gastrointestinal disorders, and respiratory problems. He snores and drools and is often flatulent.

Feeding: Recommended feeding for this breed is at least 2 ½ cans (13.3oz) of a branded meaty product with biscuit added in equal amount or 5 cupfuls of a dry, complete food.

Ideal home: A large house in the country with a fenced yard or kennel is preferred, though this breed is easygoing in the home. The owner of a Bullmastiff must be a strong, easygoing, confident leader who is fully aware of the power of this breed and who does not project worry or concern. Time must be available to train, socialize, and handle this breed. Though very affectionate with his family, the Bullmastiff may be unpredictable and aggressive with your children’s friends. Spoilers and weak, nervous, or overbearing people should avoid this breed, as should the elderly and the disabled. The Bullmastiff needs regular exercise; a child or lightweight person may have a hard time controlling the lead.

A Comparison of Five Pet Health Insurance Plans

It doesn’t matter if you have already decided to purchase health insurance for the family pet or if you are simply. When you are comparing the quote of one health insurance quote to another remember that the base doller amount is not the only number you have to consider. In addition to the monthly payment make sure you also check out exactly what type of veterinary care and treatments are covered (some basic insurance plans do not include cancer treatment), what kind of deductible you, the pet owner, will be expected to pay, is there a yearly cap on medical expenses, and what type of discounts are available.

At the moment there are only a handful of companies that offer pet health insurance. Five of the most popular companies are Pets Best Pet Insurance, Veterinary Pet Insurance, ShelterCare, Pets Health and PetCare.
An insurance plan through Pets Best Pet Insurance will cost approximately $32.00 a month ($384.00 annually). Pets Best will cover pet sterilization provided the pet owner purchases an additional wellness plan. Pets Best does not cover pre-existing medical conditions a pet has so its best to insure them early in life before problems develop. Pets Best has a life time limit of $99,750 dollars per pet. Pets Best health insurance plans come with a $75.00 deductible. Multiple pet discounts are available. Pet’s Best pet health insurance does cover cancer.

Veterinary Pet Insurance is a company that offers pet owner a $14,000 a year cap on an insurance plan that only costs approximately $20.00 dollars a month. Veterinary Pet Insurance offers plans with a $50.00 deductible (after the deductible they pay ninety percent of the bill) on plans that include pet sterilization and cancer coverage. Veterinary Pet Insurance does not accept pre-existing conditions and does not offer multi-pet discounts.

ShelterCare is a pet insurance that cost pet’s owners approximately $29.95. For that $29.95 there is absolutely no deductible and cancer treatments are covered. ShelterCare will not pay for pet sterilization nor will they cover any pre-existing conditions. ShelterCare does not have a benefit cap. ShelterCare offers premium discounts for multi-pet plans, medical service, and micro-chips.

A pet health insurance policy through PetsHealth insurance company will cost the pet owner approximately $37.17 dollars per month. PetsHealth covers 80% of the pets vet bill after the $100.00 doller deductible is paid. PetsHealth has a $13,000 doller cap on each per year. PetHealth does insure pre-existing conditions after ninety days. Multi-pet discounts are available through PetHealth. PetsHealth does offer pet health insurance plans that cover cancer on a case by case basis.

PetCare is a pet health insurance company that estimates the average cost for a policy for a pet is $29.95 a month. This plan includes a fifty doller deductible. While PetCare is happy to cover the cost your pet’s cancer treatments they will not pay for any pre-existing conditions nor will they pay for pet sterilization. PetCare offers discounts for multi-pet plans and medical service.

None of the estimated monthly prices for these insurance companies include any extra insurances riders.
Any one or all of these companies can change their policies between now and the time you purchase a pet health insurance plan.

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Remember to read the fine print before you sign up for a pet health insurance plan.
All five of these pet health insurance companies have their own websites where you can go to get up to date pet health insurance quotes.

There are other pet health insurance companies with different prices, discounts, stipulations, and benefit caps if you are not content with the previous five comparisons.

Unfortunate Impressions on Bull Dog Terriers

People might be wondering why there is such a name as “bull dog”.

Originally, Great Britain and later, America were obsessed with bloody fights between bulls and dogs. The main function of the canine is to hang on to the bull’s neck and worry the poor animal until it dies. Obviously, these dogs had developed great strength in their jaws.

Among the popular choices of dogs for this sport were the pit bulls. Back then, the selection of pit bulls was so varied that many showed a variety of characteristics that made the sport highly interesting. Later in the life of the sport though, the center of attraction switched towards the fight between pit bulls and not against the bulls themselves.

From these canines rooted most of the bull dog terriers that we know of today.

One of the significant bull dog terriers we have is the American Staffordshire Terrier who is of great interest since it possesses intriguing seemingly opposing characters.

They project strength and physically power but they are not vicious. In fact, this dog is very much associated with its relationship to its family, especially among children. The physical features it has are now only due to their basic nature and orientation during their bloody fights as fighting machines. But this does not negate the fact that they can sometimes show aggressiveness which may somehow work against them. Nevertheless, this can be set off with their loving nature and devotion to human family. Thus, it has a stable temperament which make them good pets and excellent watchdogs.

AmStaff terrier, as it is called by its shorter name suffers in reputation though since it is commonly associated with pit bulls. These dogs are known for their love for challnge and are therefore employed in illegal dog fighting.

Most of the problems root from irresponsible training. Sadly, there are too few AmStaff that are properly trained. And what’s even depressing is that there are innumerable pit bulls that are continually ill-treated by sadistic owners.

We are often confused of what true pit bulls are. In fact, many contend that these dogs must not be called by that name since it elicits unwanted images of gory dog fights. While this breed is not yet officially recognized by the American Dog Breeders Association or the United Kennel Club, the legitimate name remains to be American Pit Bull Terrier.

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While it is true that American Pit Bull Terrier is violent in nature, this doesn’t imply that they are made purely for brutal stuffs. As we have earlier said, these dogs are only products of maltreatment and exploitive training (and inhumane) for self serving purposes. Otherwise, American Pit Bull Terriers can be very people loving.

These are also known for their being hardworking on which they excel from. They are also fond of excessive physical activities that would exhaust their power reserves. Thus, this breed is great for those who need company during athletic training. If you are the couch potato personality, please find another breed of dog that would suit your lifestyle.

To clear things off, American Pit Bull Terrier are not officially recognized not because of its ill reputation but mainly due to beliefs that it is not a purebred. One major standard for a dog to be distinguished as member of Kennel Clubs is that it should be purebred. Until more comprehensive findings on its origin are found, this dog will remain unfortunately tagged as “nasty”.

A Very Interesting Way How Dogs Learn To Seek Attention

Did you know that your dog is capable of actually faking an injury in order to get extra attention? Think of children in that aspect. Regardless if you have kids or not, we all have seen an example of when a child will cry extra loud or scream about something that is “wrong” in order to – yep, you guessed it – get attention. But how can your dog do the same?

It is to be noted that this is a learned response that a dog must have picked up. For example, I recall a miniature poodle that required knee repair on the right rear knee. The surgery went well, and the dog recovered from anesthesia and was sent home the following day. At the one-week recheck the dog was still holding up the right rear leg, but this is not uncommon after only one week. Upon manipulation the knee felt strong, and a recheck appointment was scheduled for two weeks later. At the three-week post examination the dog was still holding the leg in the air and getting around on three legs. Again upon palpation the knee felt strong. X rays were taken to ensure that the surgical correction had not broken down. The radiograph confirmed that the knee was stable, but still the dog limped around on only three legs.

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The doctor then questioned the owners about allowing her too much activity or letting her run on slippery floors, but the owners were conscientious about such things and had been extremely careful. Further discussion revealed the problematic behavior of her owners. It seems they had been lifting and holding their poodle a lot to “help” her out. They were very accommodating, and when she limped into a room they basically waited on her as if she were a princess. The doctor counseled the owners to stop paying so much attention to this limping and begin to treat her normally. The owners complied but still she held her right leg up in the air.

Finally the doctor decided to bandage up her left rear leg to evaluate if she could actually bear weight on it. The dog was able to and showed no sign of pain or apprehension. The good leg remained bandaged for one week, and upon removing the bandage the dog was four-legged again. Basically, the owners trained this dog to limp and had no idea that she could do so in an attempt to gain attention. It was a fascinating lesson. The moral to the story is: Be careful what you reinforce – you may get it.

The Bull(y) and Strong Dog: Staffordshire Terrier

The Staffordshire bulls are known for their great strength because of their sizes. Their variety is muscular and stocky but is also known for their agility. Surprisingly, this breed is one of the two breeds recognized by the UK Kennel Club as very suitable for children. Furthermore, their types ranked 5th when it comes to dog popularity in the UK, where the breed originated. Interestingly, Staffies are the only breed of dog that are “totally reliable” when it comes to standard of breed.

The following are some of the basic facts breeders would really love to know about Staffies:

Category: Terrier

Living Environment: either indoors or outdoors

Coat: smooth (or silky like most terriers), dense, and short

Colors: black, brindle, red, blue, fawn; or any of these colors mixed with white

Height: between 14 and 16 inches

Weight: between 24 and 38 pounds

Colors: brindle, blue, black, red, fawn, white; or any of these with white

Temperament: aggressive towards other animals but very friendly with children

Health Issues: heat stroke, cataracts, and breathing problems

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Care and Exercise Tips:

• Bathe when necessary.
• Brush their coat only occasionally using a brush with firm bristles.
• Rub down their coat with a chamois or towel to remove hairs that are loose.
• Their physique requires a regular exercise routine which includes a daily play time while on a leash.
• They should be on leash while walking in public places.

Origin/History:

The Staffordshire bull terriers, also known as the Staffies, are known to have existed around the 17th century. Since dog fighting gained a surge of popularity over bull baiting, it became a must to develop a breed of dog that is agile, strong, and has a more punishing head than the Bulldog.

In this light, fighting Bulldogs of that time were crossed with some terrier blood. The hybrid was known as the Pit Dog or the Bull and Terrier. The new cross breed became well known for their tenacity and courage, and despite their reputation of being furious with other animals they were excellent companions especially with children.

The Staffie pit dog became a favorite of steelworkers and miners alike. The breed also provided chain makers of the “Black Country” with extra income when worked against ratters or badgers.

The enforcement of the Humane Act in 1835 completely prohibited sports like dog fighting and bull baiting. However, a group of men in the Staffordshire chose to maintain their breed of dogs by introducing them to the show business.

Through the years, the breeders themselves changed the name of the dog into Staffordshire bull terrier to differentiate its physique from the English bull terrier. However, the name of the dog was officially registered only in 1935 by the American Kennel Club.

In 1938, a couple of Staffies gained popularity as Champions at the Birmingham National. The popularity of Ch. Lady Eve and were Ch. Gentleman Jim reached many established countries including France, Australia, Germany, Spain, Holland and even the USA. Since then, Staffies became successful as show dogs and were very popular as compared to other terriers.

The Stafford bull terrier, yes, has become a popular pet while still retaining reputations gained through generations of fighting dogs bred for tenacity, courage, agility, and most importantly, its reliability and great affinity with people especially with children.

And today you can say that the bull is not so bully after all! In fact, the bull is totally reliable as children’s pets.

A Question On Dog Instinct

To what extent are dogs guided by instinct? Can one train dogs to forget their natural instincts and just obey without question?

The relevant meaning of instinct given in a dictionary is as follows: “The natural impulse apparently independent of reason or experience by which animals are guided.” This sounds very sensible. Take a puppy: every time he is asked to do something he doesn’t want to do, or if he fears the approach of a bigger or fiercer dog than himself, he quickly lies on the floor with his legs in the air and tummy exposed to the enemy. This attitude has come down through generations of domesticated dogs; yet it is the remains of an instinct of the wild. For in the wild no young puppy would have been attacked in this position; it is against the laws of nature. This habit is a great hindrance in training, for when a dog does it and you try to put his lead on, he just waves his legs in the air and bites, especially if you try to get hold of his collar. Therefore we must train these dogs to understand that this position will not save them from being made to do what we wish them to do.

Dogs are guided a lot by instinct, but a lot more by smell, and smell can vary considerably with individual persons, according to their state of mind. For example, why is it that dogs take instantly to some people and won’t go near others, especially when those they don’t wish to know want to be friends with them? I think each human being has a friendly or unfriendly smell, which dogs can always detect. Fear, I believe, sends out an unpleasant smell, for dogs sense nervous people yards away.

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Why do dogs go and sniff at the base of another dog’s tail? It is the old instinct to find out whether that dog belongs to his pack or another by the scent from the anal glands. Why do dogs roll in something dirty, in spite of knowing quite well they will get beaten or bathed for their sin? Because in the old times of wild dogs they wanted to show their enemies they were about, by leaving their own scent on something not carrying it. That is also why they lift their legs where any other dog has lifted his leg; a dog’s particular scent indicates to his pack where he has gone.

Certainly one cannot give in to instinct when training a dog to be obedient. A dog must do as he is told without question, providing the thing he is asked to do is fair and reasonable. For example, I do not think jumping through fire is fair or reasonable, and I hate to see animals made to do it as a trick. Animals have an instinctive fear of fire from the old days of forest fires, and to train them to do this trick must involve a certain amount of cruelty.

Wherever possible we use the dog’s natural instincts if they can be guided into the right channels. Take tracking, for example. A dog’s natural instinct is to find food by using his nose, and most trainers agree that food at the end of the trail is a great incentive when teaching a dog to track. That is the ancient instinct to stay free.

Guide To Bulldog Breed

History and origin: Bulldogs were first used in England during the Middle Ages as baiters and fighters of bulls. They were originally bred to have courage and tenacity similar to the Mastiff. These early dogs were incredibly aggressive. It was not until the 19th century that the present personable temperament was achieved.

Description: The Bulldog stands 13 to 15 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 40 and 60 pounds. He has a dense, powerful body, an extremely blunt muzzle, a pronounced under-bite, and a short, smooth shedding coat that requires regular brushing with a fairly stiff brush. The color may be brindle, white, fawn, red, or patched.

About the breed: The Bulldog is a courageous, intelligent, sweet, stubborn, incredibly strong dog that is filled with athletic enthusiasm. Despite his ferocious appearance, this breed has a docile temperament. He is extremely personable and loving, but because of his strength and enthusiasm, he is not always the best choice for the elderly or the disabled. Though normally not aggressive, he may resist training because he has a stubborn streak left over from his bull-fighting days.

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The Bulldog needs training from early on, particularly in learning not to pull on the leash, not to jump up on people, and in general to contain his exuberance. He is a fast-learner and loves taking part in games. He loves children and gets along well with strangers; just make sure he does not get overenthusiastic and knock your friends or your children with his bowling-ball body. Training should start form puppy hood and should be firm and persistent. You must gain adequate control of this eager, powerful, stubborn breed early in life. The Bulldog is susceptible to respiratory problems. He will snort and sneeze, spewing out undesirable secretions, usually while licking your face. The Bulldog also snores. In addition, the deep wrinkles on his face and forehead tend to get infected if not cleaned and powdered with cornstarch once a day. Some Bulldogs may need eyelid surgery if a condition known as entropion sets in, causing the eyelids to turn in so that the eyelashes rub against the cornea.

This breed is also sensitive to extremes in temperature and can easily become overheated. Finally, because of his heavy frame, the Bulldog can develop structural problems and arthritis later in life. Do not take this dog jogging or let him get overweight.

Feeding: Recommended feeding for this breed is 1 can (13.3oz) of high quality meaty product with biscuit added. 1 teaspoon of cod liver oil daily is recommended in winter.

Ideal home: An apartment is fine provided this breed is exercised regularly. The owner of a Bulldog should be an active, capable leader who desires a sweet, personable, vigorous dog that is good with family and friends. Children are fine as long as no roughhousing is allowed. The elderly and the disabled may have difficulty dealing with this breed’s high level of enthusiasm; the Bulldog can be a very physical animal and, in his eagerness to play, may knock his owner down and cause an injury. Time to train, exercise, and socialize this breed is important.

A Question About Smelly, Oily Dog Skin

“My dog has a very bad, oily smell to her skin. What is the cause and is there any way to get rid of it?”

Your dog may have a seborrheic skin condition. Chronic low-level inflammation of the skin causes increased production of fatty acids. Bacteria grow more easily in this bed of extra fatty acids, and they create that “dog smell” that you are complaining about.

You can treat mild cases using a medicated antiseborrheic shampoo once a week. Moderate to severe cases will probably need to be seen by your veterinarian, who can prescribe steroids and other medications that will help to decrease the inflammation in the skin. When using medicated shampoos, remember to let them sit in contact with the skin for ten minutes.

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There are many types of medicated shampoos on the market. It is recommended that you buy one from your veterinary hospital. However, if your doctor prescribes one from the pet store, that is also alright. Just be sure you get the directions for its use from the doctor. Don’t rely on the pet store clerk to give advice on this condition.

Bull Terriers—Today And Yesterday

Today, bull terriers are known for their playful temperament and protective tendencies. Yet, the history behind the creation and purpose of these dogs does not indicate that these dogs would even bee seen as a common household pet. A breed created purposefully for the cruel intentions of human beings, the bull terrier is known today for being energetic and a great companion. It is interesting to compare yesterday’s history of bull terriers to the realty of today.

A Twisted History

The bull terrier resulted from a cross between bulldogs and different types of terriers. The purpose of such a cross was to breed dogs for dog fighting. In 1835, traditional dog fighting was outlawed in England. Thus, to keep the sport under wraps, a smaller breed was needed so as to be more discreet. Thus, the bulldogs used in traditional dogfights were mixed with terriers to create a much lighter and agile dog.

Historically, the bull terrier is known for being even more aggressive and deadly than the bulldog alone. It became known as the “canine gladiator” that would fight to its death. It wasn’t until James Hinks bred the bull terrier with the White Terrier that the breed became standardized. Hinks did this to eliminate a few unattractive features in the dog and to achieve an all white dog. Today, this particular breed is known as the white bull terrier.

Ted Lyon was the first to introduce color into the breed in the early 20th century. He did so because genetic problems were occurring with the pure white ones, such as albinism. Now, any bull terrier that is not pure white is known as a colored bull terrier.

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A Different Sort Of Dog

Over the years, many different dogs have been crossed with the bull terrier to achieve the look that we associated with the dogs today. It is thought that at some point throughout history, the Dalmatian, Spanish Pointer, Greyhound, Foxhound, Borzoi, and Collie were crossed to achieve the modern appearance.

Not only is the modern look of the bull terrier different than it once was, but the temperament of the dog is much more easy-going and playful. They are known for their athleticism and their clowning antics. Today, there is no trace of the fighting machine that these dogs once were.

A Positive Change

Bull terriers are just one example of something that can change drastically over a period of time. Given several centuries, it is easy to see how something can go from one exchange to the other.

A Question About Jaundice

“My brother tells me he has had his puppy inoculated against jaundice. Can you tell me a little about this disease?”

Jaundice can be present in the puppy from several causes. There may be something blocking the bile duct, preventing the bile’s escaping from the liver into the small intestine in the usual way; it has to be absorbed, therefore, by the lymphatics, and some of its constituents are then deposited in the body, causing the well-known yellow appearance of the mucous membranes, etc.

The most likely cause of jaundice in a puppy is the virus of contagious hepatitis. The temperature rises to an alarming degree and the puppy becomes very ill. Unless veterinary aid is sought quickly, the puppy may die. The urine often becomes green, and the stool clay-colored and offensive. Vomiting is often present, as well as convulsions or fits.

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The treatment of jaundice must, of course, depend on the cause and symptoms present. If the cause is obstruction, an enema is sometimes given to relieve the constipation. An operation may be necessary, but if it is contagious hepatitis, antibiotics will be used. In all cases of jaundice, expert advice must be taken without delay.

Taking Care Of Your Bull Terrier

Dog fighting and bull baiting were considered to be a leading form of entertainment throughout Europe in the past. Owners of these warrior dogs were in a constant state of breeding different strains in order to produce increasingly better and stronger fighting dogs.

Sometime during the early 1800s, there was a cross between the old English Terrier and the Bulldog. The result was a dog which was known as the “Bull and Terrier”. Soon enough, the Spanish Pointer was added to the mix in order to give more size to the animal.

The final result was a strong, agile, and tenacious dog that fought its way through the pits with total domination. These Bull and Terrier dogs became increasingly popular at fighting exhibitions but were never adored like other breeds because of their association with “lower society”.

Eventually, all dogfighting was abolished and enthusiasts of the Bull and Terrier started to compete them with other dogs for show and appearance. Sometime during the decade of the 1860s, a man named James Hinks crossed the Bull and Terrier with Dalmations. This created a strain of all white dogs which became known as the Bull Terrier.

This strain of all white Bull Terriers had much success in the ring and quickly attracted the attention of more and more people. They eventually somewhat of a fashionable canine companion for men who wanted to have a masculine, rugged, and good-looking dog by their side.

Through additional breeding, the Bull Terrier’s distinctive head shape started to emerge. Sometime during the early 1900s, the all white strain had other colors incorporated into it by being crossed with Staffordshire Bull Terriers. At first this practice was rejected by most Bull Terrier fans but finally gained its own status as its distinctive breed by the AKC in 1936.

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Personality

Three words can easily sum up the personality and temperament of the Bull Terrier: assertive, comical, and exuberant. These dogs have extremely high energy levels and are considered to be a bit on the mischievous side, like that of a cat.

A bit stubborn, the Bull Terrier sometimes prefers to see things his own way which can lead to problems with training. However, with enough time and the right attitude, these dogs can be trained to be excellent watched dogs with the fighting ability to protect its family should a physical confrontation be warranted. But never forget, regardless of its tough-guy image, Bull Terriers are sweet natured and devoted to its family.

Taking Care Of Your Bull Terrier

Bull Terrier dogs must be entertained in order for them to remain happy. Physical and mental stimulation is required every day through vigorous walks on the leash and fun games to play. This dog has moderate tolerance to cold and heat which makes it suitable for staying outdoors during the daytime hours, but should be kept inside at night with the family. Grooming is minimal due to its short coat. A weekly brushing to remove dead hair is all that is needed.

Health Information

The average lifespan of a healthy Bull Terrier is between 12 and 15 years. There are a few major health concerns that need to be looked after, including kidney problems and deafness. Minor health issues include allergies, compulsive behavior, and heart problems. Occasionally seen is patellar luxation, but this is extremely rare with the Bull Terrier.

A Question About Hip Replacement Surgery For The Family Dog

“Our veterinarian wants to refer us to a specialist for a total hip replacement because our dog’s hip dysplasia is so bad. It will cost about $2,000 per hip. Do you think we should do that?”

The total hip replacement is a major surgery. It requires very special knowledge, special equipment, support staff and the prosthesis (artificial joint) itself. The old hip is literally taken out and replaced with a plastic socket and a metal ball. The dog is totally free from the pain of hip arthritis after surgery, because the arthritic joint is gone.

There is some pain after the surgery due to the incisions through the muscles and movement of muscle tissue in order to get access to the joint. After an initial healing period, these dogs do quite well. By the way, both hips will not be done at the same time. There will probably need to be at least two months between procedures.

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The best recommendation is for you to have a family meeting and discuss the expense and the aftercare. Then talk to the specialist and ask all your questions. You will be impressed with the professionalism of such a specialist and with the speed in which your dog recovers.

Brush Up On Your Dog’s Dental Health

Many pet owners may be surprised to learn a dog’s dental health is as important to overall well-being as a daily game of fetch.

Dental problems in pets go way beyond bad breath. Periodontal disease is the most common health problem in dogs today. At least 80 percent of dogs suffer from it by age 2. Left untreated, dental problems can be very painful and affect the quality of a pet’s life.

Small-breed dogs under 20 pounds are at an even greater risk than larger breeds. First, small dogs have small mouths that crowd the teeth, and second, those teeth are excessively large for those small jaws.

Fortunately, small breeds don’t need to suffer, says Dr. Daniel Carmichael, veterinary dental specialist with the Veterinary Medical Center in West Islip, N.Y. He recommends:

1. See your veterinarian for regular dental checkups. Work with your vet to schedule regular professional dental checkups and ask how you can maintain your pet’s dental health. Monitor for bad breath, which can be a sign of a more serious dental problem.

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2. Brush those canines. Daily tooth brushing is the best way to remove and prevent plaque build- up. You can try the new state-of-the-art Hartz® Dental™ Electric Tooth-brush to make brushing your dog’s teeth easier. It features a vibrating brush head and, when used as directed, is clinically proven to reduce tartar by 85 percent and plaque by 28 percent after three weeks. Use toothpaste made for dogs (beef-flavored paste is appealing to pets) as it’s designed to be swallowed and does not foam up in the mouth.

3. Choose smart snacks for your dog. Chewing rawhide has been proven in clinical studies to help reduce plaque and tartar. Tasty beef and chicken flavors encourage your pooch to chew longer, increasing the dental benefits. Another option is Hartz® Dental™ Nutri-Fresh Chew™ with OdorZap™ crystals to freshen breath, in addition to reducing tartar up to 61 percent.

4. Provide toys with dental benefits. Some newer chew toys have raised tips that help remove plaque and tartar. The Hartz® Dental™ Chew™ ‘n Clean® Deli Cuts are one example and come in three yummy flavors. These toys provide chewing exercise to strengthen gums and help relieve anxiety and boredom.

A Question About Dog Inoculations

“People have warned me that if I have my dog inoculated against distemper or other diseases that I will actually give him these diseases. Is this true?”

All vaccines are made from the bacteria or viruses of the disease, but they are either given in a dead form or so weak that the disease cannot be given to a puppy. What does happen is that in receiving these harmless doses, the puppy builds up an immunity to the disease in question by manufacturing antibodies. Therefore you can quite safely have your puppy protected against disease by having it vaccinated at nine weeks old and by giving it booster doses at intervals of two years or according to your vet’s advice.

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Be sure to have the inoculation given to the puppy in the flank. A lot of dogs have given their first bite when being done in the shoulder. Hold the puppy under your arm so that it can’t even see the vet giving the injection from behind your arm. You should try to get your puppy to be friendly with the vet, so that its pulse doesn’t race with fright when he comes. Inoculations should be given when the puppy is in good health.

Broken Legs are Serious Risks for Italian Greyhounds

We have two Italian Greyhounds (affectionately referred to as IG’s). Dixie was two when we brought Yankee home. I read that IG’s are happier with another animal and thought that another IG would be half as much trouble and twice as much fun. After a few days of establishing a pack order the two became great friends.

For those not familiar with IG’s, they are about ¼ scale of the famous racetrack breed. In their finest form they look half-starved, even though it may look cruel to most pet owners, that’s when they are the most active and truly happiest. A pound or two slows them down tremendously and even becomes dangerous.

They are fearless leapers. No matter how many times I try to explain to them Newton’s Laws of Gravity, it does no good. Heart-stopping stories abound over the internet chat rooms about their Superman like tendencies. The extra weight increases the risk of broken bones.

They are also tremendous jumpers. In her hey-day Dixie could jump straight up over 6 feet high to grab a snack. At will she could jump flat-footed on to the dining room table, landing as soft as a butterfly with sore feet.

But more than anything, those long thin legs were meant for speed. Unfortunately, they can run faster than they can think. IG’s become single focused when running. Twice I have nearly had a heart attack as they ran full speed into each other from opposite directions, tumbling like out of control race cars. Chasing after one another, they’d scrape the trees so close that bark literally flew off and misjudging turns, wiping-out in to brick walls and other immoveable objects was a common occurrence.

Well, one day the inevitable finally happened, Dixie went into a door facing and snapped her left leg. The break was clean through. Her little paw dangling 90 degrees from just below her knee told me everything I didn’t want to know.

I did the best I could to immobilize it as my wife called the vet. As soon as we got there they took her back for x-rays. She was obviously in a lot of pain but had quit yelping after I first picked her up. In fact, she was the calmest of any of us.

My wife was crying because of the dog. I was crying because of the bill. If I would’ve known how much it was going to cost in the lobby I would have cried a lot harder. This was going to be a big payday for the vet.

The choices were simple, they could try a cast, but it would probably not set right because of the very tiny, toothpick-thin fibula. The vet recommended a titanium plate and screws.

The surgery alone would run $1,000. The total bill would actually end up over $1,800. I could have bought 3 Dixies and a lifetime supply of dog food for that much. My wife got mad because she didn’t like my sense of humor, but I wasn’t joking. I know the power of the purse, and I have no intention of getting hit by hers again so I relented.

The next morning they put in the custom made plate and screws. It was really tricky because the screws had to be big enough to hold things together, but small enough not to interrupt blood flow.

More painful (if you can believe that) than the vet bill, was the care and attention Dixie would require for the next 3 to 4 months. For the next three months she would have to be kept in a crate at all times.

For the first three weeks when we took her out to go potty we would have to hold on to her. No walking was allowed. It is absolutely crucial for dogs to find the perfect spot to relieve themselves, not any spot will do. Humans cannot fully appreciate this until they miss an entire showing of Monday Night Football.

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A few weeks after the surgery we got a bit of good news, the leg was healing fine. She would still have to be crated, but we could put her on a real tight lead and let her stand on her three good legs to go potty. In about two to three week intervals after that she was allowed a little more freedom.

Slowly things got back to normal. The first month after she got full clearance to run was rather tiring. Each jump, every full trot run brought held breaths in anticipation of another vet trip.

It has taken two full years to get to where she no longer yelps or pulls up after a full run or sharp turn. She has lost a noticeable amount of her initial burst. She can longer track down Yankee from behind, but they still love to chase each other in the backyard and that gives us great pleasure. If you’ve never seen these gracious runners play at full speed then you cannot fully appreciate why we went to all the trouble and expense.

My wife loves to show Dixie’s scar to anyone who comes by. She talks about the whole adventure like it was The Good Old Days. Out of fear that my wife will read this article I will state that if I had to do it again I would. But I won’t like it.

A Question About Dog Allergies

My puppy has lots of tiny red spots on his tummy and seems forever scratching; the vet says he thinks it is an allergy to something. What does he mean?

An allergy means a sensitivity to something or other; usually a food of some kind. Heat bumps in children are an example. Perhaps your puppy has an allergy to eggs, or fish, or even milk with the cream on it. Perhaps you have bathed it in some kind of medicated shampoo to which its skin is sensitive.

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Only by a process of elimination will you be able to find out what is causing this irritation. In the meantime, just to make sure the vet is right in his diagnosis, It is strongly advisable that you bathe the dog in a good anti-pesticide soap that the druggist can recommend for mange; when you have washed the puppy, dry it with the soap left in. This will make sure the spots you mention are not follicular mange, which has the same symptoms and which the soap will cure.

Bringing Home Your New Puppy

The fun of bringing a new puppy home and introducing him to his new family is a very special experience. He will, of course, become a well-mannered dog, staying quietly at our side, eager to follow our every command. Well, it is a long road from the cuddly puppy to the mature dog, but with some effort and understanding it can be traveled successfully. It all begins with day one in the new home.

The first few days a puppy is in his new home can be trying for both the puppy and the new owner because both are trying to adjust to a new situation. After all, the puppy finds he has been suddenly taken from his den and litter mates and is expected to immediately accept a new, foreign way of life. However, with patience and a sense of humor on the part of the new owner, the first few days can be accomplished with good feelings on both sides.

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Breeders and behaviorists generally agree that seven weeks of age (forty-nine days) is the ideal age for a puppy to go to his new home, with six to eight weeks being the most desirable age range. The six- to eight-week old puppy still needs a lot of rest and will take morning and afternoon naps. For the first day or two, however, he might be very excited and spend much of the day in motion, checking out his new home. As long as he is not hurting himself or anything else in the environment, let him investigate wherever and whatever takes his fancy.

If the puppy is eight weeks old when he first comes home, be very patient with him. This is the fear period and sharp noises or harsh treatment will leave him with fear which may take months to overcome. Let him take his time getting acquainted with everything and do not take him to places where he will be subjected to loud and frightening sounds or activities. If possible, trips to the veterinarian should be arranged either before or after the eighth week.

If the puppy is ten to twelve weeks old when you first bring him home, he will be more rambunctious, especially if he is one of the larger breeds, and he will sleep considerably less during the day. However, he is at an age where you can get his attention quite easily and where he will want to please you and stay close to you.

A Nipping/Biting Puppy And How To Prevent It

If your puppy is younger than 16 weeks and are constantly nipping, it’s normal behavior – young puppies mouth a lot. They mouth when playing; they also mouth to communicate their needs. If your puppy starts mouthing, ask yourself these questions: Is he hungry or thirsty? Does he need to eliminate? Is he sleepy? Does he need to play? Remember, puppies nip when they feel needy (just like a baby cries). If your puppy does not let up, ask yourself if he wants something, like an outing, exercise, or a drink. The following things can help you control mouthing and nipping:

1. If your puppy does not need anything and he still will not quit, crate or isolate him with a favorite bone. Do not scold your puppy as you isolate her. Calmly place the puppy in her area.
2. Whenever your puppy licks you, say “Kisses” and praise her warmly. Encourage licking by slathering your hands with a frozen stick of butter.
3. Withhold your attention when your puppy nips softly. Keep your hand still; withdrawing your hand is an invitation to play and nip harder.
4. If your puppy starts biting down hard, turn quickly, say “Ep, Ep!” and glare into her eyes for two seconds; then go back to your normal routine. If she persists, try spritzing yourself with Bitter Apple or affix a leash onto your puppy so that you can tug the lead sharply to the side. If
necessary, place her in a quiet area to cool off.

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If you have a puppy who still nips when he is older than 16 weeks, you need to start curbing it now. Although nipping will continue, you need to make clear that it is unacceptable. Following are a few tips to help you:

1. Stop all challenge games. These games include wrestling, tug-of-war, chasing your dog around, and teasing. When you engage in these types of activities, you’re sending the wrong message. These games teach dogs to clamp down hard on any object – a leash, the laundry, your shirt, or even your skin – and challenge.
2. Discourage all nipping, whether it’s a bite on your arm or a nibble on your finger. Teeth do not belong on human skin, period.
3. Purchase a few weapons to use in defense, such as Mouth Spray, Bitter Apple spray, or a long-distance squirt gun. Never stare at your pup while you spritz or spray her; doing so turns an unpleasant result into a confrontational interaction.
4. Leave a leash on your puppy so you have something to direct her with and can avoid physical confrontation. If your dog’s not wearing the Teaching Lead, place a short lead onto her buckle collar.
5. If your puppy begins to mouth, turn to him, use a lead or collar to snap her head from your body, or spritz the region he is nipping with a spray. Do not glare at him; otherwise, he will perceive your actions as confrontational play.
6. If he continues to nip, ask yourself these questions: Do I look convincing? Am I snapping or pulling? (Pulling encourages play.) Is my dog taking me seriously? You may need more training before you earn his respect.