River Dance Dog

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

I’mma Let You Finish, But This Dog Does the Best Riverdance of All Time!

by Ben Westhoff (Subscribe to Ben Westhoff’s posts)
Sep 21st 2009 2:00PM

Categories: Dogs, Classic Videos

What makes Riverdance so mesmerizing (or bizarrely disconcerting, if you prefer) is the fact that its performers don’t use their arms. In fact, one gets the impression that it’s not something that should be undertaken by bipedal animals at all. How appropriate, then, that a canine is responsible for the most satisfying Riverdance yet. What makes the moves of this mutt — identified as Mini — so satisfying is that they expose the phenomenon for what it is — cultural detritus that is best when practiced by adorable pets.

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Beware of Hawks

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

Last month I wrote about the dangers of dogs and hawks. I felt it was important to share the following stories and insights I received from readers since I’d not personally heard of any incidents where a hawk carried off a dog. However, many readers have had their share of heartbreak and close calls regarding large birds of prey and their small dogs and puppies. Their response prompted me to create a new section in this column called Bark Back where I will share comments and advice from readers.

~ Bark Back ~

Dear Lisa: Believe it – hawks DO attempt to hunt small dogs! Just this week I lost my 8 year old “Min Pin” after a large hawk attempted to fly off with him. My poor dog managed to break free from the talons but the hawk was high enough in the air to cause him a severe head injury when he fell to the ground, as well as suffering a punctured lung from a talon piercing his chest. He did not survive long enough to get him to our vet for a merciful passing. You are right to advise leashes or other restraints.Please pass on this warning and re-emphasize the dangers. – T.D.

Dear Lisa: Large hawks will most certainly capture small dogs and fly off with them for a tasty meal. We lost a 15 yr. old Minpin/Chihauhau mix to a Red-tailed hawk last spring. Our dog weighed about 10 lbs. She evidently managed to struggle free while in the air but the fall killed her. We had seen a pair of hawks hanging around our yard and the physical evidence was positive proof. – R.B.

Dear Lisa: I am an attorney in Macon, Ga. and have a client that lost a Chihuahua to a hawk on Thanksgiving Day 1999. Many family members observed this tragedy and it was reported in our local newspaper. The family was outside enjoying a warm fall day after the holiday meal when the hawk swooped down only a few feet from them and carried off the dog. – G.L.

Dear Lisa: I just read your newsletter responding to the inquiry about the danger of hawks to dogs. We live in Southern California, and I have a co-worker whose friend’s Yorkie was snatched up by a hawk while in the back yard. This woman only looked away for a minute, but it was too late and you can imagine the heartbreak!! Please inform your readers so they can keep their dogs close at all times, preferably on a leash! – V.G.

Dear Lisa: I read your column, and would ask that you consider elaborating on your response regarding keeping hawks away from dogs. It’s something I’ve also been wondering about for some time. I recently moved to a rural area and have seen hawks. Althoughyour response wasexcellentfor someone who has onedog (or a small number of dogs) and/or lives in an area without a fenced in yard, it’s not very practical for a breeder who has a number of adults as well as a number of puppies. I never took the step of contacting an organization associatedwith raptors (hawks, etc.) They may have some practicalinformation about how to discourage hawks from hanging around the property. – M.G.

There really isn’t a good way to rid your property of birds of prey since nearly 800 species of native and migratory birds are protected by federal law. The statute makes it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or sell live or dead birds or any of their parts. These birds are very territorial to boot, so it’s best to put your energies into protecting your pets. Here are some reader recommendations based on their personal experiences to answer your question:

Dear Lisa: I live in a rural area where hawks and owls are common. I don’t worry about my adult Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, but am very cautious with puppies. When the weather allows the pups to play outside, I keep them in a covered and enclosed pen. The cover prevents the pups from being seen from the air, but I can watch them through the wire sides. I actually had a large owl land in the yard and attempt to get into the pen from the side. Until the pups are at least 15-20 lbs I don’t let them into the main (fully fenced) yard unless a responsible person is watching carefully for predators. Until my dogs are close to full grown they are only allowed out of the covered pen in the presence of a person and/or adult dogs. – A.R.

Dear Lisa: I manage a Min Pin Show Kennel and tragically lost1 puppy in an ex-pen ona beautiful spring day! These were out on the deck and before we could do anything we witnessed the large hawk fly down and grab the puppy. This was in Connecticut. All ex-pens are covered now but when the pups are out you can hear the birds screeching to each other letting them know “food” is around. – S.M.

Thanks to the many comments and I look forward to hearing from you!

Lisa Peterson, a long-time owner/breeder/handler of Norwegian Elkhounds, is the AKC Director of Club Communications. If you have a question, send it to Lisa at lxp@akc.org and she may select it to be answered here in Ask AKC.

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Sugar-Free Gum and Snacks Can be Deadly for Pets

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

Sugar-Free Gum and Snacks Can be Deadly for Pets

by Kirsten Taylor (Subscribe to Kirsten Taylor’s posts)
Sep 8th 2009 11:00AM

Categories: Pet Health

Soap bubbles: Good. Bubblegum: Bad! Photo: Tim PopUp/Flickr

Most pet owners know that chocolate is a big no-no for dogs. But here’s something to chew on: a common ingredient in sugarless gum and snacks can cause a canine catastrophe.

The culprit is a sweetener called xylitol. While you may never have heard of it, there’s a good chance you have it in your house. Xylitol is common in sugarless gum and in sugar-free snacks, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Cases of xylitol poisoning in dogs have increased in recent years as the sweetener has been added to lots of new foods, Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, vice president of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, told Paw Nation. “There definitely has been an increase in the exposures of dogs to xylitol over the last several years, simply because there’s more xylitol out there.”

The chemical is completely safe for humans and most other animals, but in dogs, xylitol causes blood sugar levels to plummet. When blood sugar drops, Gwaltney-Brant says, “the brain isn’t getting enough energy to do its job.” After swallowing xylitol, dogs may vomit and become lethargic and disoriented. “If blood sugar drops low enough, they can have seizures,” Gwaltney-Brant says. Without treatment, dogs can die.

That’s not all. Dogs that eat a lot of xylitol can also suffer from liver damage. Researchers aren’t sure what causes the liver problems, Gwaltney-Brant says, but the results can be grave.

A little xylitol goes a long way. Just two sticks of sugarless gum can be fatal for a 20-pound dog, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune, and a single sugar-free pudding cup can spell trouble for a 90-pound pooch. But those numbers can be misleading, Gwaltney-Brant cautions. Some brands of gum or candy contain no xylitol, while others contain relatively large amounts. Even within a single brand, the level of xylitol can vary from flavor to flavor and batch to batch, she says.

If you know or suspect your dog has gotten into foods that might contain xylitol, take him to the vet immediately, Gwaltney-Brant says. Problems from blood sugar levels dropping can occur quickly — “often within 30 minutes to an hour,” she notes. Vets can monitor blood sugar levels and start treatment to get blood sugar back up to safe levels.

If you’re a fan of sugar-free products, check the labels to see whether they contain xylitol. And it should go without saying that you should do your best to keep Fido away from your gum. He can’t blow bubbles anyway.

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Grooming tips part 2

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy
A dog that is not being shown will probably need a bath every three weeks or so–more often if he decides to roll in a mud puddle or encounters a skunk! A dirty coat tends to tangle more than a clean one, so it behooves you to bathe your dog as often as needed.
Before you actually put your dog into the sink or laundry tub, brush him out thoroughly. Water tends to “set in” mats, making them almost impossible to remove. Be sure to check the hair between the pads of the feet, which can mat and give your dog sore feet. Trim this hair level with the pads, then stand the dog in show pose and trim the hair on the top of the paws level with the table to give the feet a neater appearance. Pull any excess hair out of the ear canal with your fingers to prevent matted hair in the canal from cutting off air circulation, which can lead to ear infections. Your dog may not like to have you do this, but don’t think you’re really hurting him when you do: There are no nerves inside the ear canal. If you want to clean visible excess wax and dirt out of the ear with a Q-tip, fine, but be sure not to poke down deep into the ear canal, as you can injure the eardrum.
Ask your vet to show you how to express your dog’s anal glands. When full, they will feel like two hard peas on either side of the anus just below the root of the tail. To clean them–a foul-smelling job definitely to be done just before a bath–cover the anus with a tissue and squeeze gently upward and outward until any fluid is extracted. This will prevent an anal abscess from forming.
If you place a rubber shower mat in the bottom of the sink or tub, you dog will have firm footing and will be less likely to struggle. Use lukewarm water and two soapings with a quality shampoo designed for your dog’s coat, particularly on the legs, to get all the dirt out, and use your fingernails or a toothbrush to thoroughly clean any encrusted matter out of the hair beneath the eyes and around the mouth. Try not to get any soapy water into the eyes or ears, and use a tearless shampoo on the face to lessen the possibility of irritation. Wash the head last as this is what dogs generally object to the most.
Keep a sharp eye out for external parasites, such as fleas or ticks, as one flea can make a dog scratch out a coat that took months to grow. I find that special pyrethrin shampoos available from your veterinarian seem to be less harsh on the coat than most over-the-counter varieties. Any shampoo residue, which can cause the dog to scratch, can be removed by pouring a quart of warm water with a capful of cider vinegar over the dog, then rinsing thoroughly.
After you have rinsed the soap out, put a capful or two of conditioner into a quart of warm water and pour it over the dog, avoiding the face. Allow the conditioner to remain in the coat for a few minutes, then rinse. Some people use special oil treatments or other hair care products at this stage.
Squeeze any excess moisture out of the coat, then wrap the dog in a couple of thick bath towels for ten to fifteen minutes to lessen the amount of time he will have to spend under the dryer. Use a corner of the towel to wipe the face and blot the ears. This is a good time to cut toenails–your dog is more or less captive while swaddled in towels, and his nails are softer when wet. Cut the nails to where they hook over being careful not to cut into the red streak (quick) that can be seen in any translucent nails. If you do accidentally cut too deep and the nail bleeds, use styptic powder to stop the bleeding. Pay special attention to any dewclaws. As they do not touch the ground, they will not wear down naturally like the other nails.
A Shih Tzu should be dried with a blow dryer; one with a stand will free both your hands to work on the dog, Brush the dog gently while his coat dries to separate the hair and speed up the drying process. Once he is thoroughly dry, give him a part and put in his topknot. Then put him down on the floor and watch him prance around. They seem to know how good they look at this stage!
Between baths, if you notice your dog sitting down or rubbing his rear along the floor, check his rear. If his stool has been soft, the anal opening (particularly on a puppy) may be caked with fecal matter. Watch also that his eyes and ears do not appear irritated, and have his teeth cleaned periodically to avoid dental problems later on. Any “hot spots” caused by excessive scratching should be medicated at once to keep them from getting worse.
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Dangerous foods for dogs/puppies

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

DANGEROUS “people food” and Commercial Pet Product
do not feed to your pets:
Some foods dogs should not eat and could be deadly-

If your dog has ingested any of these foods, get veterinary help immediately. If your vet doesn’t feel it’s a worry and says JUST TO WATCH THEM I would invest the money and call the ASPCA Poison Hotline –
(888) 426-4435. A $55 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card. It’s the best investment I’ve personally made as my vet said not to worry just watch my dog overnight. Had I listened to my vet instead of my GUT feeling my dog would be dead now. Another person I know told me that her dog ate a few raisins. She called her vet who said, give some Maalox and it should be fine tomorrow. They went to bed and found the dog DEAD the next morning. Don’t take that chance! Stand up to your vet and if the y won’t do something, find one who will.

Grapes and Raisins: Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs.  As little as a single serving of raisins can kill a dog.
Onions: Onions destroy red blood cells and can cause anemia.
Chocolate: Chocolate can cause seizures, coma and death. Baker’s chocolate is the most dangerous. A dog can consume milk chocolate and appear to be fine because it is not as concentrated, but it is still dangerous.
Coffee, Coffee grounds, tea and tea bags: Drinks/foods containing caffeine cause many of the same symptoms chocolate causes
Macadamia Nuts and Walnuts: Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, muscle tremor and paralysis.
Limit all other nuts as they are not good for dogs in general, their high phosphorous content is said to possibly lead to bladder stones. Exception to this rule seems to be PEANUT BUTTER. However- always use Salt/Sugar free ORGANIC Peanut butter (sugar encourages cancer growth) free . Use only ORGANIC peanut butter as regular peanut butter has lots of toxins and is full of pesticides!
Animal fat and fried foods: Excessive fat can cause pancreatitis.
Bones: Cooked bones can splinter and damage a dog’s internal organs. Raw Bone should always be supervised as a piece can always break off and cause problems. Try frozen oxtails or frozen knuckle bones then take the bone away before the dog can swallow a final small piece whole. It’s a good natural way to clean teeth too.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes can cause tremors and heart arrhythmias. Tomato plants and the most toxic, but tomatoes themselves are also unsafe.
Avocados: The fruit, pit and plant are all toxic. They can cause difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen and heart.
Nutmeg: Nutmeg can cause tremors, seizures and death
Apples, Cherries, Peaches
PITS and similar fruit are great for your dog – HOWEVER, the seeds of these fruits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs as well as humans. Unlike humans, dogs do not know to stop eating20at the core/pit and easily ingest them. It can also become lodged in the intestines and kill the dog in 24 hours with no warning.
Raw eggs: Raw eggs can cause salmonella poisoning in dogs. Dogs have a shorter digestive tract than humans and are not as likely to suffer from food poisoning, but it is still possible. BEST to use ORGANIC EGGS if you do raw. Scrambled lightly is best!
Salt: Excessive salt intake can cause kidney problems.
Mushrooms: Can be deadly- never let your pets chew on mushrooms found in your yard. Only safe “food” mushrooms are shitaki, maitake and reishi.
Xylitol: even a small amount can cause liver failure and death. Read more at here and in this article at About.com.
Sugar and Corn Syrups. EVEN ORGANIC IS BAD!  (this does not include Honey or Molasses though they should only be in small amounts and never for cancer dogs)
Read more at the ASPCA website

Food that most dogs can eat:
Some “human” foods are good for dogs. Most of these are healthier than the boxed treats you buy in the grocery store. . This is just a small list of examples of foods dogs can eat, not a list of every food they should eat. Dogs won’t necessarily get all the nutrients they need if they eat these foods exclusively, so check with your veterinarian if you are interested in feeding your dog a home cooked diet.
Any food that causes stomach upsets or digestive problems in your dogs should be avoided. Like people, some dogs cannot tolerate certain foods

Meats:
Meats should be boneless and it’s best if the skin is removed.  Some people like a RAW diet. Some people rather cook. If you cook meat do not over cook. Keep it ‘rare’ so you don’t kill the enzymes.  ESPECIALLY FOR SICK animals. However all Fish and Pork must be well cooked. Also note – totally Raw and cooked diets should never be mixed at the same meal as they digest differently.
Skinless, boneless chicken breast
Skinless, boneless turkey breast
Fish: do not feed TUNA as high mer cury content – be careful of small bones.

Do not feed ‘cold cuts’. They are high in salt and nitrates. Can lead to kidney and digestive problems.
What’s GOOD for your Dog?

Vegetables most are GREAT for your dog and they should have them!
Dogs have shorter digestive tracts than humans and cannot digest most vegetables whole or in large chunks. It’s best to put them through a food processor before giving them to your dog– best veggies for your dog are:
Carrots (for healthy dogs) (not for cancer dogs though as high in sugar)
Green Beans
Lettuce
Yams

Grains:
Grains should not be given in large amounts or make up a large part of a dog’s diet, but these foods are generally safe in small amounts
Rice
Bread (not white breads or anything sugar or that converts to sugar) remember the simple rule feed no WHITE colored foods!

Dairy products
Use caution with dairy products as they are high in fat and can cause pancreatitis, gas and diarrhea. Usually, nonfat plain yogurt is safe in small amounts as is cottage cheese in small amounts.

Dangerous & Unhealthy Commercial Dog food treats and foods Rawhides and dog treats- HOOVES and OTHER TREATS: are generally NOT recommended. Most rawhides have chemical that cause cancer .But i f you do still want to use them from time to time as a treat it is important that if you do give them that they are of the highest grade and US manufactured. Therefore make sure you buy ones made in the USA and are UNBLEACHED. Do not buy the white ones as they are full of chemicals. Good quality rawhide should only get gooey and gum up when chewed, never chip off. If they chip -the chips can get lodged in the little dip in their esophagus and they can choke on that. As many as 40% of all dogs are allergic to cow skin rawhide chews.
NEVER give COW HOOVES! They splinter and sharp pieces have killed many dogs. Better alternatives are pig ears, nylabones, and American made bully sticks – however ALWAYS be with your pet when they are eating these as there is always a danger of a piece breaking off and splitting. Nylarbones are not detectable on an x-ray. Also when giving Pigs/Cows ears it’s best to give basted or natural – NOT SMOKED. That puts a carcinogenic coating on it. Unbleach/natural lambs ears are another better choice. Always supervise your pet when chewing these types of things.
Greenies – are the latest popular treat to become deadly. It is found that they can be slippery and if a piece slides down the throat the dog can die. Also some animals are having problems digesting. For now we recommend you avoid them till further changes are made.. For more on Rawhides click here. Also supervise any chew treats! Also read labels. Many commercial dog treats contain: BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin & propylene glycol– and corn syrups/sugars that cause cancer. Do NOT use treats with ANY OF THESE THINGS!
SAFE ALTERNATIVES –  KONG TOYS – the 3 hole KONG GOODIE SHIPS our personal favorite and other STUFFABLE HARD RUBBER TOYS. Fill them with frozen meat, cheese, and peanut butter for a long lasting SAFE TREAT! Also give your dog frozen carrots to naturally clean teeth. Organic carrots are best, if not scrub and wash well and then freeze.
Very bad but not ‘dangerous foods and treats include anything with CORN SYRUP** and Sugar. “Cane” sugars and molasses are also not good.. Honey &  Black Strap Molasses is ok in small doses.  Read more on our food page or visit the dogfoodproject. Most treats and food sold in supermarkets are what are making our animals die young and get cancer and diabetes. READ the LABLES!
Corn Syrup** A DOG BECOMES HYPOGLYCEMIC IT IS OKAY CORN SYRUP FOR EMERGENCIES – especially for diabetic dogs.
When in doubt check the web and research before giving any food or just avoid it!

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