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Chances are that your dog is one of your most faithful companions. But, from time to time, he may present you with unique challenges that could lead to frustration for both you and your four-legged friend. The information in this section will help you handle the responsibilities and potential difficulties that accompany the joy of sharing your life with a dog.

Wellness Tips From Dogs

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Let others know when they've invaded your territory.

When it's in your best interest, practice obedience.

Take naps. Stretch before rising.

Run, romp and play daily.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone you know is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On hot days, drink lots of water and rest under a shade tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wave your entire body.

No matter how often you have been scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout. Instead run right back and make friends.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

~Author Unknown~

Caring for Your Dog: The Top Ten Essentials

1. Outfit your dog with a collar and ID tag that includes your name, address, and telephone number. No matter how careful you are, there's a chance your companion may become lost—an ID tag greatly increases the chance that your pet will be returned home safely.

2.  Follow local laws for licensing your dog and vaccinating him for rabies. Check with your local shelter or humane society for information regarding legal requirements, where to obtain tags, and where to have your pet vaccinated.

3.  Follow this simple rule—off property, on leash. Even a dog with a valid license, rabies tag, and ID tag should not be allowed to roam outside of your home or fenced yard. It is best for you, your community, and your dog to keep your pet under control at all times.

4.  Give your dog proper shelter. A fenced yard with a doghouse is a bonus, especially for large and active dogs; however, dogs should never be left outside alone or for extended periods of time. Dogs need and crave companionship and should spend most of their time inside with their family.

5.  Take your dog to the veterinarian for regular check-ups. If you do not have a veterinarian, contact the Humane Society or a pet-owning friend for a referral.

6.  Spay or neuter your dog. Dogs who have this routine surgery tend to live longer, be healthier, and have fewer behavior problems (e.g., biting, running away). By spaying or neutering your dog, you are also doing your part to reduce the problem of pet overpopulation.

7.  Give your pooch a nutritionally balanced diet, including constant access to fresh water. Ask your veterinarian for advice on what and how often to feed your pet.

8.  Enroll your dog in a training class. Positive training will allow you to control your companion's behavior safely and humanely, and the experience offers a terrific opportunity to enhance the bond you share with your dog.

9.  Give your dog enough exercise to keep him physically fit (but not exhausted). Most dog owners find that playing with their canine companion, along with walking him twice a day, provides sufficient exercise. If you have questions about the level of exercise appropriate for your dog, consult your veterinarian.

10.  Be loyal to and patient with your faithful companion. Make sure the expectations you have of your dog are reasonable and remember that the vast majority of behavior problems can be solved. If you are struggling with your pet's behavior, contact your veterinarian or search the internet for information on your particular issue.


Reprinted by permission of The Humane Society of the United States



Raising orphan puppies can be a very rewarding job but is also extremely time consuming. Without a canine Mom, the foster parents are responsible for providing for all the pups’ needs: feeding, warmth, cleaning, socialization and stimulation to eliminate. For puppies less than a month old all this requires at least a half an hour every 2 to 3 hours round the clock.

Puppies less than a month old should be set up in a small area (crate or large box with bedding) that can be kept consistently warm (80-98 degrees). The puppies will curl up together to keep warm but still need warm blankets and hot water bottles since they can’t regulate their body temperature on their own at this age. If you are fostering a single pup, a heating pad set on LOW, may be used but it's important to make certain to leave half the area free of heat so the pup can move away if it gets to warm. It's important to warm the puppies before you feed the puppies!

As the puppies grow and become more mobile, their living quarters should be expanded slowly. The area should be warm, draft free, and easily cleaned. A small bathroom or laundry room often works well. "Baby proof" any area the puppies are in. Look for hazards such as exposed cords, open toilet bowls, small spaces where puppies could get stuck, or toxic items they could chew on. Puppies less than 8 weeks old should only go outside during warm weather for short periods with adult supervision. Do not allow other dogs to be around the puppies without constant adult supervision. Adult dogs may view newborn puppies as prey and may attack or even kill the puppies without warning.

Puppy milk replacer should be mixed and fed according to the package instructions for newborns. At first, puppies need to be fed every 2 - 3 hours round the clock. By the time the puppies are 3 to 4 weeks of age, they can be fed every 4 to 5 hours during the day and go 6 to 8 hours at night without eating. Do not hold puppies on their backs for feedings, as this can predispose them to aspirating the formula into their lungs. If the puppies are not sucking well on their own, they may need to be tube fed. Contact a vet clinic for lessons on how to tube feed if this seems necessary. After each feeding, stimulate urination and defecation by gently rubbing the ano-genital region with a wad of toilet tissue. Use a clean warm washcloth to gently wash the puppies’ faces after feeding.

Use a flea comb to check the puppies for flea infestation as soon as they arrive. Fleas can kill your puppies! Contact a vet for information on what type of flea sprays are safe for use on the age of puppies you are fostering.

By 3 weeks of age the puppies can slowly begin being weaned. Start by offering formula in a low dish for the puppies to lick at just before bottle feeding so that they will be hungry and more likely to try eating on their own. Gradually start adding canned puppy food to the formula. Continue bottle feeding until all the puppies are consistently eating well from the dish. By 4 to 5 weeks the puppies should be ready to start eating some dry kibble that has been soaked in formula or water and mixed with canned food. Offer food at least four times a day. At this point bottle feeding is usually not necessary. Continue offering soaked dry kibble until 7 or 8 weeks of age but gradually use less and less liquid to start preparing them to eat plain dry puppy kibble. Puppies who are learning to eat solid food are very messy eaters. Be prepared to wash off the puppies with a warm wet washcloth after each feeding.

Over 80% of puppies are infected with round worms at birth (they are infected in utero by encysted larva present in the mother’s tissues.) All puppies should be dewormed every 10 to 14 days starting at 2 weeks of age. The first vaccines are usually given at 6 weeks of age and then repeated again at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age. Generally, puppies are ready to be separated from their littermates and go to new homes at about 8 weeks of age.

Orphan puppies need lots of socialization with both humans and other animals in order to develop into good family pets. Gentle holding, petting, and talking to the pups should be done daily. Exposure to a variety of people and noises is desirable.

Unfortunately, the mortality rate among orphan puppies is often high. While formula can provide all the necessary nutrients for growth, it does not provide the same protective antibodies that are present in the mother’s milk. This means that bottle fed puppies are much more susceptible to infectious disease. An apparently healthy puppy can be come ill and die in less than 24 hours. Newborn puppies should be monitored very closely for any signs of diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, eye or skin infections, coughing, or trouble breathing. Call the vet immediately if you observe any of these signs. Healthy puppies should be gaining weight daily. If possible, weigh the pups daily on a small kitchen or postal scale (a drop of nail polish on the top of the pup’s head can help you distinguish between identical looking pups.) Any puppy that loses weight should be observed very carefully for signs of disease and offered extra feedings. Do not hesitate to contact a vet if you have any questions or concerns about your puppies.




Bloat - The Mother of All Emergencies
By Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DipABVP

There are many injuries and physical disorders that represent life-threatening emergencies. There is only one condition so drastic that it over shadows them all in terms of rapidity of consequences and effort in emergency treatment. This is, gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), the "bloat."

What Is it and Why Is it so Serious?

The normal stomach sits high in the abdomen and contains a small amount of gas, some mucus, and any food being digested. It undergoes a normal rhythm of contraction, receiving food from the esophagus above, grinding the food, and meting the ground food out to the small intestine at its other end. Normally this proceeds uneventfully except for the occasional burp.

In the bloated stomach, gas and/or food stretches the stomach many times its normal size, causing tremendous abdominal pain. For reasons we do not fully understand, this grossly distended stomach has a tendency to rotate, thus twisting off not only its own blood supply but the only exit routes for the gas inside. Not only is this condition extremely painful but it is also rapidly life threatening. A dog with a bloated, twisted stomach (more scientifically called "Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus") will die in pain in a matter of hours unless drastic steps are taken.

What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Bloat?

Classically, this condition affects dog breeds which are said to be "deep chested," meaning the length of their chest from backbone to sternum is relatively long while the chest width from right to left is narrow. Examples of deep chested breeds would be the Great Dane, Greyhound, and the setter breeds. Still, any dog can bloat, even dachshunds and Chihuahuas.

Dogs weighing more than 99 pounds have an approximate 20% risk of bloat

Classically also, the dog had eaten a large meal and exercised heavily shortly thereafter. Still, we usually do not know why a given dog bloats on an individual basis. No specific diet or dietary ingredient has been proven to be associated with bloat. Some factors found to increase and decrease the risk of bloat are listed below:

Factors Increasing the Risk of Bloating

* Feeding only one meal a day
* Having closely related family members with a history of bloat
* Eating rapidly
* Being thin or underweight
* Fearful or anxious temperament
* History of aggression towards people or other dogs
* Male dogs are more likely to bloat than females
* Older dogs (7 - 12 years) were the highest risk group
* Moistening dry food particularly if citric acid is listed as a preservative.

Factors Decreasing the Risk of Bloat

* Inclusion of canned dog food in the diet
* Inclusion of table scraps in the diet
* Happy or easy-going temperament
* Eating 2 or more meals per day
* Feeding a a dry food containing a calcium-rich meat meal (such as meat/lamb meal, fish meal, chicken by-product meal, meat meal, or bone meal) listed in the first four ingredients of the ingredient list.

This article was taken from The Pet Health Library


Exercising With Your Dog

Many people enjoy running or hiking with their dogs. Before doing so it is as important to train your dog to run or hike long distances as it is to train yourself.

Start out slowly, putting the dog on a training schedule
similar to your own. Begin a training regime by running or walking your dog around your neighborhood increasing the distance as you and your dog become conditioned. Once properly conditioned, trips on running or hiking trails can be attempted.

Nutrition is another consideration in training your dog. A complete and balanced diet will allow your dog to keep its energy up during a hike or run. Do not run on a full stomach. Feed after the run and make sure your dog is
rested and cooled down. This will help avoid an upset stomach during the exercise.

The biggest threat for your dog while running or hiking in the summer is the heat and humidity. Early morning is the best time to run or hike with your dog. If the evenings cool off, then that can be a good time as well. Dogs can quickly overheat, especially if they have a dark or heavy coat. If overheating occurs, hose down your pet with cool water and offer it cold water to drink.
It is important not to force feed your dog water, it will drink when ready.

The most common type of injury suffered by dogs that are running or hiking with their owners are footpad injuries. Do not run with your dogs on hot pavement as this can easily lead to burns. Those hiking in the woods can get cuts and scrapes. While these are difficult to avoid, leather boots are available for those dogs that
will be exercising on extremely rough ground or ice and snow. If your pet gets a cut or scrape, proper first aid care should be administered immediately. Finally, those dogs that run in grass can catch a nail on grass leading to any number of soft tissue or joint injuries. Keeping the nails trimmed is a good way to prevent this last type of injury.


Keep your pets on a leash and keep them under control at all times, especially in the woods. Do not allow your dog to chase the wildlife.  Good obedience training builds a solid foundation for the control necessary to run or hike with your dog.

When should you start exercising with your dog? A dog can start running at any age. However, be cautious when exercising with a puppy as over exertion can lead to stress related injuries.  While the larger breeds will have an easier time keeping up, some of the smaller herding breeds do very well running or hiking.

When should a dog discontinue running or hiking with its owner? If the dog is showing no signs of lameness and is willing to run, there is no reason to quit. However,
lameness can be something as simple as muscle soreness which is gone in one to two days or as complex as arthritis which will continue to worsen as the dog ages. It is important to visit your local veterinarian to determine the cause of the lameness and your dog's ability to continue exercising.

Using common sense when hiking or running with your dog will make it an activity that can be enjoyed safely for a long time. For further information contact your local veterinarian.

Finding a Lost Pet

When your beloved dog or cat strays from home, it can be a traumatic experience for both of you. Here are some tips that we hope will help you find your pet.

  • Contact local animal shelters and animal control agencies. File a lost pet report with every shelter within a 50-mile radius of your home and visit the nearest shelters daily, if possible.  If there is no shelter in your community, contact the local police department. Provide these agencies with an accurate description and a recent photograph of your pet. Notify the police if you believe your pet was stolen.

  • Search the neighborhood. Walk or drive through your neighborhood several times each day. Ask neighbors, letter carriers, and delivery people if they have seen your pet. Hand out a recent photograph of your pet and information on how you can be reached if your pet is found.

  • Advertise. Post notices at grocery stores, community centers, veterinary offices, traffic intersections and other locations. Also, place advertisements in newspapers and with radio stations. Include your pet's sex, age, weight, breed, color, and any special markings. When describing your pet, leave out one identifying characteristic and ask the person who finds your pet to describe it.

  • Be wary of pet-recovery scams. When talking to a stranger who claims to have found your pet, ask him to describe the pet thoroughly before you offer any information. If he does not include the identifying characteristic you left out of the advertisements, he may not really have your pet. Be particularly wary of people who insist that you give or wire them money for the return of your pet.

  • Don't give up your search. Animals who have been lost for months have been reunited with their owners.

A pet—even an indoor pet—has a better chance of being returned if she always wears a collar and an ID tag with your name, address, and telephone number. Ask your local animal shelter or veterinarian if permanent methods of identification (such as microchips) are available in your area.

If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them. 

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