The Dog Bed: A Story by Sissy

Once upon a time in a not far away land, my humans got Rosie a dog bed that was almost too small for her.  It was soft, however, so Rosie liked it.

I was very jealous of Rosie’s big dog bed.  I only had a little one, which the humans said was perfect for my size.  I knew, however, that I needed something BIG!  So, I stole Rosie’s bed.

Rosie was confused and started to think that the bed was actually mine.  I was so happy.

Then, my humans decided that we needed two beds.  They purchased the exact same type and size so we wouldn’t get jealous.  Finally, we were both happy.

Sometimes, though, I still like to hoard all of the beds!

Why Do my Dog’s Ears Have Pockets of Skin?

A cat’s Henry’s pocket

After Rosie’s bath, my human started to dry her hair with a hair dryer, lifting the double-layered coat with a comb to make sure all hairs got the warm air.  Lifting open an ear to dry a small clump of hair around it, my human noticed something strange: Rosie’s ear has a pocket of skin near the base.  You can put the tip of your finger in it or open it up like a book.  What in the world is this? my human wondered.

The answer is that it is a cutaneous marginal pouch, also known as Henry’s pocket.  Though no one knows for sure what use they are, these “pockets” of skin could help dogs hear high-pitched sounds or aid them in flattening their ears.  Henry’s pockets are commonly found on dogs who have longer hair or ears that stand up.  Rosie’s pockets cannot be seen unless you lift up her ears, but some dogs’ pockets are very visible.

Because it can be dark and damp in your dog’s pockets, it is a good idea of clean them out regularly to avoid infections and to check them often for hidden fleas or ticks.

Christmas Safety Tips For Your Dog

Christmas is a time of joy, for our Savior came on this special day.  And it’s almost here!  Are you excited?  You are probably very busy shopping and gift wrapping.  But what about your dog?  Holidays can be very stressful for animals, and special care must be given to your pet so he can have a safe and happy Christmas.

Safety First

You may not realize it, but your dog’s health and safety are at risk during Christmas.

First of all, don’t feed your dog any Christmas cookies, candy, or leftover food.  It will encourage begging, and anything other than your dog’s normal diet will result in stomach pains and maybe even vomiting.  Also, your dog could develop life-threatening pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis inflames the pancreas and causes terrible pain and nausea for your pet.  So please resist, and, if you have company over, kindly explain to them that your dog cannot have any human food.  Be sure to set out a jar of your dog’s biscuits so your guests can feed him those!

Caution!  Never feed your dog any meat bones!  If you’re having a turkey or some meat this Christmas, you will probably be tempted to give your dog one of those juicy bones.  But resist!  That juicy bone could result in an emergency trip to the vet or even death.  Bones from turkeys and any other meat easily break into small pieces.  These can become quickly lodged in your dog’s throat, causing him to choke.  Please never put your dog at such a risk!  Feed him a safe dog biscuit instead.

Decorate your house with your dog’s safety in mind

I’m sure you’ve decorated your house for this holiday.  Christmas trees, lights, wreaths, and many other pretty decorations make your house look very festive.  However, your dog’s health will be at risk with all of these pretty decorations.  Always put them somewhere high so your dog can’t reach them.  Also, if your dog loves to sniff and poke his nose everywhere, put a little gate around your Christmas tree.  This way, he won’t damage or upset it, causing it to fall on him.  Always make sure that all wires are out of your dog’s reach.  Dogs love to chew!

Keep the presents around the tree but away from your dog.  Dogs are curious, and we love to play the game “find what’s inside the box.”  You can either put a small gate around the tree and presents or put all presents up on a table beside the tree.  Please be extra cautious of foil wrappers with food presents.  When swallowed, foil acts like a knife, tearing sharply on the inside.

Make sure you never bring toxic plants into the house.  Mistletoe, poinsettias, and holly are poison for dogs.  Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog tangles with any of these.

Last of all, just in case, know your veterinarian’s emergency phone number.  Write it down and keep it on the fridge for easy access if an emergency should occur.

How to Avoid Stress

Any major holiday can be very stressing for your pet.  To help avoid stress, try to keep on your dog’s normal schedule so he won’t become confused or upset.  Try to give him his food, walks, and playtime at the same time as always.

Dogs can become moody on Christmas, so make sure to give your dog personal space.  If your guests include small children, ask them not to crowd your dog and, if this happens, put your dog in his cage or a room with some toys.  If small children irritate him, your dog might lash out and bite them, as he feels trapped and panicky.  Even the sweetest of dogs can be pushed too far!

Traveling?

Many people go long distances to see their families on this very special holiday, and if you can’t bring your dog, you need to do some thinking.

Your dog will need to stay somewhere while you’re gone.  It can either be with a friend or at a doggy day care.  If you choose to leave your dog at a day care, make sure your dog will get plenty of exercise and there is a clean, safe environment.  If your dog has any health issues or doesn’t like other dogs, alert the staff so they can take the best care of your dog.

Even if you’re only going to be away from your dog for a few hours, it can be very stressing for your dog, especially if he’s a puppy or a senior dog.  If your dog can’t handle being alone even for a few hours, leave him with a friend or a doggy daycare.  Never leave your dog alone for too long!

Have a fun and safe Christmas with your dog!

Vet Time and Play Time

Yesterday, I had to go back to the vet for a checkup to see if my gum and ear infection had healed.  Thankfully, it has, and I am back to normal.  Afterwards, my humans went outside to enjoy this crazy 70 degree December weather.  I went out for a little while, but I preferred to nap after such an exhausting day.  My humans did, however, get many pictures of Rosie playing with her favorite toy.

The First Guide Dog of the USA

Morris Frank settled down on the couch to listen to his father read aloud the evening paper.  This had become a routine every since Morris had lost the sight of his only seeing eye in a boxing match at age 16.  Since then, Morris felt confined and incapable, depending on other people for day-to-day activities.  Morris sighed as his father read through the news but caught his breath when a certain headline was read.  Morris continued to hold in his breath as his father read through the article.  The writer, Dorothy Harrison Eustis, was describing how German Shepherds were being trained in Germany as guides for the blinded veterans of WWI.

“If what she wrote is true, I must have one of those!” Morris exclaimed when his father finished.

He sent a letter asking the writer if the story was true, and, if so, where he could get such a dog.  If he was given a guide dog, Morris promised to help spread the word for other blind people, suggesting that they set up an instruction center in the United States.

Mrs. Eustis answered and told him that, yes, the story was definitely true.  She also invited him to where she was in Switzerland to receive a seeing eye dog.

Morris traveled to Switzerland and trained with a German Shepherd he named Buddy.  On the return home, Buddy skillfully guided Morris through the welcoming crowd.  One newspaperman stepped up to him and dared him to go across West Street.  Morris was a little nervous about such an endeavor as West Street was filled with traffic, but he let Buddy lead the way.  They crossed without mishap, impressing everyone there.  Now, Morris’s goal was to get a guide dog accepted everywhere: in restaurants, public transportation, offices, etc.  Morris even boarded a plane and flew with Buddy at his feet.

Mrs. Eustis and Morris founded the first guide dog school in the US, calling it the Seeing Eye.  Morris traveled to give lectures and supported laws about rights for people with guide dogs.  Morris retired from work at the Seeing Eye in 1956, going on to open his own insurance agency.  The Seeing Eye, Inc. is still running today, providing blind people with carefully trained guide dogs to help them gain back their independence.

Winter Care for Dogs

winter-in-snowIt’s time to say goodbye to colorful fall and say hello to cold winter.  You’re probably planning on wearing a heavy coat, lighting the fireplace, and drinking lots of hot chocolate.  But what about your dog?  Special attention and care must be given to him so he can have a comfortable and warm winter.

Care for Outdoor Dogs

winter-doghouseIt’s very cold outside, and, if you own an outdoor dog or have a dog who mostly likes to be outdoors, this can be a big problem.  A doghouse is warm, but it’s not enough to keep your dog from freezing in low and negative temperatures.  If you’re expecting freezing temperatures and lots of snow, consider buying an outdoor heater to put in the doghouse or bring your dog inside.  Please remember that veterinary experts suggest that dogs not be left outside when it is 20 degrees outside, or 40 degrees for puppies, senior dogs, or those with little fur.  Also, even if you aren’t expecting a lot of snow, make sure your dog’s doghouse is only big enough for him to stand up and do a tight circle in to conserve the heat.  Put fresh straw in the doghouse and a very warm bed on top  to keep your furry friend warm and cozy.

winter-chainedNEVER leave your dog chained or tied up outside!  First of all, it’s dangerous to tie up your dog, no matter what the weather.  He could easily get tangled and strangle to death.  Also, if your dog gets tangled or wrapped around a tree, he will not be able to reach his water and will die of thirst.  You must also remember that dogs who are chained or tethered are three more times likely to bite someone, as they feel scared and trapped.  It’s not good for your dog to be tied outside alone.  It is a detriment to his health, safety, and happiness.  Also, if you leave your dog tied up outside in the snow, he could get frostbite or die of overexposure.  Please do not risk your dog’s life!

With the cold weather, it’s easy for your dog’s water to turn into a block of ice.  Your dog cannot drink ice, and without water he will die of thirst.  However, you can fix the “icy” problem by buying a special heated dog dish that will keep your dog’s water from freezing outside.  Remember, your dog cannot drink ice.sissy after outside

With the cold weather here, don’t have your dog’s hair cut.  It is meant to keep him nice and warm, like a big coat.  If you have a Poodle, have your groomer give him a short trim to keep him comfortable and free of mats.  I grow out my hair for the winter, and I look like a little teddy bear.  My humans have to spend a lot of time brushing my long, curly hair to keep it from matting.

Swirling snowflakes, mounds of snow, and icicles hanging from the trees.  Snow is wonderfully fun, even for your four-legged friend! However, you must take precautions with your dog.  Here are a few snow tips:

  • Be careful when taking your dog for walks on the snow, as it could hurt his paws and causewinter-snow-trench them to bleed.  Also, if the snow has been chemically treated, make sure that your dog doesn’t eat it, and scrub his paws with warm water and soap after his walk to make sure he doesn’t lick off any of it.  If your dog’s paws get irritated by snow, doggy snow boots might be a good investment.
  • After your dog runs in the snow, thoroughly dry him with a towel, especially around his paws and belly where little snow balls cling.
  •  Never let your dog out of your sight when he is out of a fenced yard.  (If your dog does not come when called 100% of the time, he should never be in an open area without a leash.)  If he wanders off, even for a little way, he could easily become lost.  The snow ruins finding a scent for dogs, so they cannot smell their way home.winter-walk
  • If your dog gets cold, buy him a sweater to keep him warm (puppies and older dogs are especially sensitive to the cold).  I have a very stylish pyramid sweater made by Blueberry which you can buy for $12.99 on Amazon.com with Prime shipping, and it keeps me very warm when I start shivering.
  • Never leave your dog outside for a long time as he could get frostbite.
  • If you have a small dog or a puppy, never let him outside off leash when there are powerful winds.  He could get blown away!

If you have a large amount of snow, shovel away a small area of your yard for your dog to go potty in.  The bigger your dog, the larger the space will have to be.  If it’s extremely cold and snowy outside, you could use a pee pad or a lot of newspapers for your dog to go potty on.

Fireplaces

A dog curled up beside a roaring fire – it’s picture perfect, isn’t it?  It is also, however, very dangerous!  Among many other dangers, your dog could become curious of the pretty, colorful flames and try to touch it, or a spark could fly from the fire and set his beautiful coat aflame.  Continue to enjoy your fire, but put a little fence around it to keep your pets out.

winter-fireplace

Have a warm and fun winter with your dog!

Get to Know Me Interview: Kitty, the Cat

After Rosie and I did our Get to Know Me Interviews, Kitty threw a big fit.  She said that she didn’t feel included and was most upset.  She frowned, rolled her eyes, and acted aloof all day.  Finally, I told her, with great reluctance, that I would whip up an interview post just for her.  Her mood immediately changed, and she said that she liked that.  So, as a special favor to Kitty, here is her interview:

Kitty, the Cat

What is your name, age, and breed?

My name is Kitty Cat, and this month I will turn 7.  Who knows what my breed is, but whatever it is, I’m certain that I’ve descended from royal cats.  So, I’ll go ahead and add Queen Kitty Cat to my title.

What are your hobbies? 

Hunting and sleeping.  I love to sleep on my humans’ beds.

What is your favorite color?

Purple, the color of royalty, of course.

What is your favorite food?

Meat!

What is your favorite toy? 

A piece of string.  My humans make it dance so I can catch it.  It’s a good way to keep my hunting skills keen.

What is your pet peeve? 

Getting wet!  I hate it!!

Would you rather be inside or out? 

Usually, I want to be inside so I can sleep on the beds.

What is your favorite movie?

The Jungle Book…but I never watch the ending as I can’t stand to see Shere Khan lose.

What is your favorite book?

Anything about cats.

Wet cat food or dry? 

Totally wet!  However, my stupid humans refuse to give it to my except on special occasions.  Their excuse is that it makes me fat.

What is your favorite season?

Spring.

Would you rather be with your humans or not?

Yes, but don’t tell them I said so.  I pretend to be aloof, but I really crave their company.  Shh, it’s a secret!

How would you describe your personality? 

I’m sassy, bossy, and have a definite attitude.  Sometimes, I can be a bit grumpy, while other times I’m very affectionate.  I’ll play with Rosie every once in a while, but only if I get to win.  I’m a sore loser.

Do you have any goals for the future?

To become a queen and rule the world.   

Kitty, pretending to be a queen

Happy Birthday, Kitty!

Kitty just showed up on our front porch one day, demanding attention, so my humans have no idea when her true birthday is.  She was a lanky, almost grownup kitten, and the veterinarian estimated that her birthday was in November.  This November she turned 7.

Happy Birthday, Kitty!

How to Make Thanksgiving Safe and Stress-Free for Your Dog

thanksgiving-mealThanksgiving is almost here.  Are you thinking of all the family you will have over and the food you will eat?  Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for families to get together and share a special meal, but what about your dog?  Dogs don’t understand holidays, and Thanksgiving can be very stressful and even dangerous for them.th-hiding

For some dogs, having many people over can be upsetting and confusing.  If your dog shows signs of becoming stressed, leave him alone in a nice quiet room or his cage so he can rest.

th-bones

Bones can be life-threatening to dogs

Caution!  You will be greatly tempted to feed your dog one of those juicy turkey bones this Thanksgiving, but please resist!  Feeding your dog one of those bones could endanger his life. Bones from turkeys or any other kind of meat easily break into small pieces.  These can quickly become lodged in your dog’s throat, causing him to choke.  This could lead to an emergency trip to the vet or even death.  Never put your dog at such a risk!  Feed him a safe dog biscuit instead, and make sure that the bones are not thrown away in a trash can that your dog can get to.

It is very easy to forget your dog during a fun holiday like Thanksgiving, and we easily become underfoot and get stepped on.  Ouch!  Make sure your dog gets all of the attention he needs, and, if he is underfoot, he might be better off in his cage.

th-jumpSome dogs get very excited when company arrives. They wait eagerly by the window or run outside to greet the guests.  Dogs love people so much that we want to give them kisses.  However, dogs are a lot shorter than humans, so we have to jump.  And with our jumps, we scratch people, tear clothes, and scare small children. We don’t mean to be bad; we are just so happy to see you!  Teach your dog the command “off” to help him keep all four paws on the ground.  When your dog jumps up on anyone, even you, tell him, “Off,” and help him put all paws on the floor.  Don’t ever push or hit your dog.  You could easily hurt him, even if he is a big dog.  Always help him gently.  When your dog is on the ground, tell him how good he is.  Another way to fix your problem is to tell your dog to sit or to put his leash on when company arrives.  If your dog has a solid sit, there should be no jumping problems.  And, on a leash, your dog will know that you want him to stick by you and not jump.  Tip: In order not to confuse your dog, use the command “off” when you want him off of the couch, a person, etc.  Use the command “down” when you want your dog to lie down.

Try to take your dog for a long walk before the company arrives.  This way, he will be tired when the guests arrive and willing to lie down and sleep.  Also, if you have anyone over who doesn’t like dogs and is uncomfortable around them, respect his or her feelings by putting your dog in his cage or a separate room.

th-beggingI know all of the Thanksgiving food is delicious, but please don’t feed your dog any table scraps!  Dogs cannot handle the food humans eat, and our tummies hurt, and we can even throw up.  Also, your dog could develop life-threatening pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis inflames the pancreas and causes terrible pain and nausea for your dog.  Your guests will probably be tempted to feed your dog some scraps – just look at those pleading eyes!  However, tell your guests that your dog cannot have any scraps, and set out a bowl of your dog’s normal dog biscuits so everyone can give those to your dog.

For most dogs, a small piece of plain turkey won’t hurt them.  Just make sure that there is no seasoning (onions and garlic are toxic to dogs) or bones.  Take the skin off of the meat to avoid excess grease.  If your dog is a senior, has tummy problems, or has a health problem, don’t feed him any turkey as it could effect his health.  Also, as mentioned in the paragraph above, don’t feed your dog any other people foods!  The only reason dogs can have turkey is because it is often in their dog food, so their stomachs are accustomed to it.

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A doggy daycare

Are you traveling this Thanksgiving?  If so, you will need someone to watch your dog.  Leaving your dog alone in the yard for days is never a good idea, as such boredom will cause your dog to bark, be destructive, and climb, jump over, or dig under the fence.  You can leave your dog with a willing friend, hire someone to come play with, walk, and feed your dog at your house every day, leave your dog at a doggy day care, or leave your dog at a dog sitter’s home.  Choose which kind based on your dog’s needs and personality.  If your dog is antisocial with other canines, don’t leave him at a doggy daycare where he will have to deal with a lot of other dogs.  And, if he is a homebody, have someone come to your house two or three times a day to care for his needs.

Have a fun and safe Thanksgiving with your dog!