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 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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
It’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
It’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.
NEVER 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.
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 cause 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.
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.
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.