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We hope that you enjoy the DOT posts and the different views from everyone included. We promise lots of cute pictures, laughter, maybe a tear or two, and some information. Please note that the views and opinions expressed here are each author's own and do not necessarily represent DOT as a whole.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nailing Down Dog Nails

I must confess, I had another post planned for today, but something wonderful happened at our house, and I wanted to share it with you.

Around our house, the Knight - my husband, also known to the fur-kids as Dadaw - has nail duty. He was raised in a home where shelties were raised too, so I suppose he learned to help trim the dogs' nails after he'd mastered trimming his own. In fact, it's not unusual for my family to whisper in his ear when they hug him hello, and before we leave, he and the family dog(s) have some quality time together. He has a knack many vet techs would love to have.

Rewind to last winter. We brought home baby Sissy, our second basset hound. Bassets are notorious for being very persnickity about their feet, and Sissy took it to a new level. Finally, the Knight began to suggest that I make sure the vet trimmed her nails while we were there. It was a blow to his Dadaw-ego.

Several of you and a couple of our local friends bought Pedipaws when they first hit the market. The Knight already owned a couple of Dremel tools, so he did some research and decided Sissy wouldn't like it. So imagine my surprise - and the eye rolling - when a Pedipaws found its way into our cart a few weeks ago.

(Insert nail in that little cut-out. You can see the file below.)

He started with one nail every other night, and in under two weeks, Sissy has decided that the buzzy thing can touch all her nails in one sitting. The Knight still has to pin her down a bit, but I predict that in a few more weeks, she'll sit in his lap like Gretchen does. I don't think Sissy will ever like it, but for our pack, Pedipaws is fantastic.

Sissy's nails are rather thick, thick enough that "we" use the big dog clippers. I think that's why the Knight originally discounted the "as seen on TV" tool, but in a matter of seconds, a whole paw's worth of nails can be filed without a fight.

Gretchen seems to prefer the human fingernail clippers, but I like the smooth finish Pedipaws provides, so she's going to have to adjust.

Me? Despite countless tutorials and many assists, I've always been too afraid of nicking the quick to try on my own. However, I think that if the Knight ever tires of giving his girls their pedicures, I just might give it a whirl.

Happy Dogs on Thursday. Don't forget to visit some of the other members, and let us know about your Pedipaws experiences too.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lost Dog

One In three pets will get lost sometime in their lives. Those are terrifying statistics. Are you prepared? Have you taken all the important steps to keep your pet safe? Do you know what to do if your pet does get lost? It's important to know what to do and do it quickly to assure that your pet is one of the lucky ones.
First, just as you carry ID when you leave the house, your pet should also have ID. Dogs and cats should have identification tags attached to their collars. The tags should give the owner's address and phone number. It might also be helpful to have as second contact phone number, a friend or relative that is usually at home when you're not, or your veterinarian. The address and phone number should always be up to date. If you haven't updated Fido's tag since you moved or changed your phone number, now is the time to do it.

ID tags come in steel, bronze or plastic and in many shapes and colors. Choose whatever you like, but be sure they have enough room for the important information and check them frequently to be sure they're in good condition and legible.
The plastic tags can break and tags that have the information stamped on them can become illegible if the animal is very active or the tag gets hard use. My dogs playing in dirt and water frequently have rubbed the lettering off some tags. I choose tags that are engraved instead of stamping. The letters are deeper and dirt and rub marks don't cause the letters to fade.

There are many places to purchase ID tags, especially online. I use Boomerang Tags. They are deeply engraved and will print on both sides of the tag. I have my info on one side and my vet's on the back.

What if your dog is out without a collar or the collar breaks? How will anyone know who he belongs to? For many years dogs have been identified by tattoos. Usually the dog is tattooed on the right earlobe or the inner thigh. There are a couple registries that keep track of tattoos. They are National Dog Registry and Tattoo-A-Pet.

The number tattooed on your pet should be registered with one or both of them. If someone finds your missing pet and reports to them, they will contact you. Most animal control people and vets know where to look for a tattoo. Sometimes, however, with very long haired dogs, it's not easy to find a tattoo.

A microchip is the size of a grain of rice and holds a unique number. The chip is inserted between the shoulders of a dog or cat and the number is readable with a scanner. Vets and shelters have the scanners to read the number. There are several registries that will match the number with the owner's information and contact the owner.

The three registries in this country are Companion Animal Recovery (CAR) run by the American Kennel Club, Home Again, and American Veterinary Identification Devices (AVID). The owner must be sure to register the microchip with one or more of these registries. Today, many dog breeders have their puppies microchipped before they go to their new homes.

So, your dog is chipped or tattooed and has a collar with up to date tags. Now what? As soon as the dog is missing, calls should be made to the local animal control and shelter. It's also a good idea to contact any veterinarians in the area. There is an organization called Find Toto which when contacted about a missing pet, automatically makes calls to neighbors within a certain geographic area. They act as a clearing house for any sightings and keep the owner up to date.

Don't delay.
Make sure you have a lock on the fence so neighborhood kids can't open it and let Fido out.

Check his ID tags to be sure the information is up to date and legible.

Make an appointment with your vet to have a microchip inserted. It doesn't hurt. My dogs were so distracted by the yummy liver treats being offered, they didn't even react.

Register the microchip with one or more registries.

Have the vet scan each year at your regular appointment to be sure the chip is reading properly.

Make a list of important phone numbers: animal control, local shelter, vets in the area, FindToto
and keep it handy.

I hope none of us ever have our pets get lost, but if they do, being prepared in advance can make the difference between being reunited with our pet or tragedy.
Be sure to drop in on The other Dogs On Thursday and say hello.

Mr Linky isn't cooperating with me today, so just leave a comment.
edited: This has been fixed! Please add your name to the linky below!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

To Express or Not to Express: Anal Glands

Hi all, happy Doggy Day! Its Nichole here once again and I regret to report that this will be my last article posting over here (no fear - esp you Sue! - you can still find me on my own blog, as well as in the world of Ravelry, Facebook, etc). I have made the tough decision to bow out of the little group that runs Dogs on Thursday (Chan, Sue and Nat will still be here), as in the past month I've quickly realized that with my growing responsibilities at work and other things, I'm just not able to put the time in that I would like here. Sure, I could probably manage an article once a month and all, but I prefer not to do it half-arse, so to speak. I have told the girls that I'd be glad to pitch-hit when they need a hand now and then, so who knows... maybe I'll be back next month with another posting!

In the meantime, I'm happy to bring you a very informative article on a subject that many of us doggy parents have had questions about... anal glands. I'd like to thank Tanya and Ashley at The Grooming Emporium for allowing me to reprint the following article, which was originally published in The Grooming Emporium's May 2009 newsletter.

To Express or Not to Express: Anal Glands
by Ashley (email: Ashley at TheGroomingEmporium dot com)

Anal glands (also called anal sacs or scent glands) are located inside the anus of most carnivores, as well as a few other mammals. These glands secrete a foul smelling fluid-like material. Normally, as an animal defecates, the glands empty some of this material for the purpose of scent marking. When an animal is stressed or scared, he may express his anal glands resulting in a noticeable foul odor. Some animals, such as skunks and opossums, use these glands as a defense mechanism. Skunks are well known for spraying, whereas opossums voluntarily express their anal glands as they play dead (or "play possum"). The odor gives the opossum a rotting smell, making its act more believable to potential predators. Clearly these glands serve an important purpose to all kinds of animals, however, they can also become a nuisance.

The quality of your pet's food may contribute to problems with the anal glands. The glands are expressed physically as stool passes. If the stool is not firm enough, the glands will not properly express. Because many pet foods contain low quality ingredients and grains, they can cause softer, less bulky stools, which can lead to inadequate expression of the anal glands. Ideally, the pet will be fed a high quality food which may improve or resolve the issue completely. In addition, what a pet eats may effect the material that builds up in the glands. If the material is too thick it will be difficult to express and may block the duct that drains the material leading to impaction. Dogs are more likely to suffer from complications with their anal glands than cats, and small breeds are more likely to have problems than other dogs. Alternatively, pets with medical issues causing chronic soft stools or diarrhea may also have trouble expressing their anal glands. Some dogs may benefit from the addition of 100% canned pumpkin (which is a good source of fiber) to their diet. The fiber helps to firm up and add bulk to the stool, which in turn will help to express the glands. Another possible cause for anal gland problems is the positioning of the glands themselves. In some animals, the glands may be naturally situated in a way that they cannot express, or not express easily despite a proper diet and normal, firm stools. This is far less common, however, if you pet is affected he will need the glands expressed routinely to avoid complications. The frequency varies from pet to pet, and those who need their anal glands expressed more than once a month may benefit from having the glands surgically removed by a veterinarian.

There are several signs that your pet may need his anal glands expressed. A common, often misunderstood sign is scooting, or dragging the rear end on the ground. This is often believed to be a sign of intestinal parasites, however it is most often an attempt to relieve the discomfort of full anal glands. Many pets will excessively chew or lick at their hind end which can cause the glands to express a small amount of material and a foul odor may be noticed. Some pets will circle and chew at their tail, others may sit abruptly at times, which may be followed by scooting, licking, or chewing. These are all signs that the glands are full enough that they are causing the pet to be uncomfortable. If the pet is not given relief, complications can occur, sometimes in a short period of time. It's important to remember that individual pets will show different signs and watching for any sign of discomfort is important.

If the anal glands are not expressed they will become impacted. This leads to infection within the glands. The gland will become painful. If they are expressed at this point, the material may contain blood and pus. It will require veterinary treatment to heal properly, and in many cases requires a pet to be sedated to have the glands flushed. If the infection is overlooked, the infected glands will abscess. This is often noticed by the owner as a swelling next to the pet's anus. If left untreated, the abscess may rupture through the skin, leaving a sore and drainage through the opening. This is a very serious condition that needs to be treated, sometimes surgically, by a veterinarian. This is very painful for the pet and easily avoided, which is why a basic understanding of these glands is so important to every dog and cat owner.

Anal glands should only be expressed when the pet is having difficulty expressing them on his own. If he is not showing signs that the glands are full, then the glands should not be expressed. Some groomers express all dog's anal glands every time they come in from grooming. If this is done, it may reduce the dog's ability to express the glands on his own, eventually leading to complications if they are not expressed manually on a regular schedule. When selecting a groomer be sure to ask about this and request that your dog's anal glands are not expressed routinely if he is not having any problems. If a pet needs his anal glands expressed it is most successfully done internally rather than externally. Vets will typically express internally, though many groomers express externally, so it's important to check which method your groomer uses. Here at the Grooming Emporium, we have been trained by veterinary staff to express anal glands internally. After the glands have been expressed, the pet may continue to lick, chew, or scoot for a few days. This is normal, although if the behavior continues, it may be indicative of a more serious health issue that should be addressed by a veterinarian.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dogs on Thursday...summer is here.

Welcome to this weeks Dogs on Thursday post.

Please welcome two new members this week Cynthia and Rachael. Please go over to their blogs and welcome them to the group.

Since summer has come to many of us I figured I would talk about travel sites. First off I hope that all your non-fur babies are all safe over the summer holidays. They will be out of school and this time of year makes me miss teaching but not enough to go back. :)

Ok...our first site is a great place to find pet friendly hotels and travel information. I know that my brother when he was driving across country with his dog Apollo used this site to find places to stay along the way. The site is called You can search for petfriendly hotels by state or city. This site is only for the US and Cananda but many of the tips and tools will help international people as well.

The next site I've used personally many times to find dog parks in areas that I lived in and also to find places that allowed dogs for camping! Abby is the only one who has camped with us so far but there are hopes to plan a camping trip that they all get to go on! This site is called This site has resources for city living, attractions, off leash dog parks, dog friendly beaches and campgrounds. It's a great place to start when thinking about vacationing with your dogs.

Well, I hope you like this sites. I know they have come in handy so many times!

Have a great DOT day!! Dont' forget to check out people's DOT blog posts!

Natalie, Jackjack, Abby, and Frankie.