Monthly Archives: February 2012

Caring for a Shih Tzu


This breed needs exercise, but not much more than a daily walk around the neighborhood, or a run though the park. It can even be suitably energized with fetching games inside when the weather does not permit outdoor activities. This is a walking dog rather than a jogging dog, but owing to its size, it can also make an enjoyable biking companion, given a comfortable bike basket from which to settle in to catch the wind in its face. Because of its short muzzle, the Shih Tzu cannot tolerate high temperatures.


Another consideration regarding its nose is the tendency for water to get into the nostrils. Some owners use water bottles (the sort used for small cage animals) for their Shih Tzu to avoid this problem. This dog gets along better as an indoor dog rather than an outdoor dog. This arrangement is highly recommended, in fact. This is not only to protect your dog from temperatures, but because the hair tends to get dirty and matted as it grows.


The plush coat requires combing or brushing on alternate days, everyday if it is kept at show length. It is essential to teach puppies to accept grooming while young so that they look forward to this activity with you. Make no mistake, if you choose to grow the hair long on your Shih Tzu, you will need to commit yourself to an intense grooming schedule; the hair can get out of hand quickly. Some owners who do not plan to show their Shih Tzu, but have the breed for companionship only, will choose to keep their pet in a teddy bear cut, or an abbreviated long style that is easier to manage.


Another option is to keep the tail, ears and “beard” long, with the feet fluffy, and the rest of the hair on the body trimmed to an inch or shorter, or to keep the hair on the undercarriage long so that it blends with the legs, giving the hair the appearance of a skirt. Whatever cut is chosen, the hair around the eyes should be kept trimmed to avoid mishaps or gunk build-up, but just long enough to keep dust from blowing into the eyes.


Another reason to keep your Shih Tzu inside is that it has a tendency to bark, sometimes for long stretches of time. Even if it is kept indoors, this breed will bark frequently, at anyone, or anything, going by. It gets bored when it is alone, and this explains its behavior to some degree, but keep in mind that the Shih Tzu was bred as a palace watchdog, and it will continue to carry that instinct if it is from a pure line. This quality makes it a particularly good choice for an alarm system, but maybe not a good option for someone who lives in an apartment and is at work all day — although there are solutions for this type of situation. When the dog is with people it can be distracted from barking as much, but this trait must be expected and appreciated, rather than taken as an annoyance that must be trained out of the Shih Tzu. Rather than punishing the barking behavior, find response words that will work quickly to quiet your dog, or distractions that can be depended on to draw its attention away from what is going on outside the window or door.


Pet Profile: Scottish Terrier

Developed in Scotland in the 1800s, the Scottish Terrier is an interesting dog breed which is part of the Terrier Group. The compact, energetic and independent dog is especially known for its bearded muzzle and unique profile.

Nicknamed “little diehard,” the Scottish Terrier is smart, feisty and fearless. And while it is aggressive toward other animals and dogs, it is usually friendly towards humans. The Scottish Terrier is also known for its stubbornness and independence, and yet, it is always devoted to its human family. When left alone, it may bark and/or dig.

The Scottish Terrier’s beard and eyebrows enhance its keen and sharp expression. It has two coats — a two inch long, wiry and very hardy outer coat and a dense undercoat. The outer coat, which comes in wheaten, black, or brindle of any color, frequently has sprinklings of white or silver hairs. The heavy boned, short-legged, and compact Scottish Terrier also packs a lot of power in its small body — qualities needed in a dog that has to face formidable opponents in narrow places.

The consummate adventure seeker, it loves to play games outside and requires daily leash-led walks. Its wire coat, meanwhile, should be combed twice or thrice a week, and shaped once every three months. The Scottish Terrier is a good housedog, but can live outside in warm and temperate climates.


A Safe Valentine’s Day for Your Pet

Valentine’s Day can be an exciting and love-filled day for most people.  However, there are some holiday dangers that can affect your pup.  Here are five steps to keeping your furry friend safe this Valentine’s Day.


#5 Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Theirs

Everyone knows that chocolate causes abnormally high heart rhythms in dogs, among other problems.  But not everyone is aware that baking chocolate is especially toxic. While an M&M or two on Valentine’s Day may not do any harm, a dog or cat that snatches a large chunk of baking chocolate from the counter may end up in the ER. It is essential to keep ALL chocolates out of your pet’s reach. Yes, even that last raspberry-filled nugget from the assorted box of chocolates no one ever seems to want to eat.

#4 Skip the Candygram

Sugar-free candies and gums often contain large amounts of xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to pets, especially dogs. If ingested, it may cause vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and in severe cases, liver failure.

#3 Restart the Heart

If your dog or cat should ingest large amounts of chocolate, gum, or candy, it may go into cardiac arrest. Be prepared this Valentine’s Day by learning the proper methods for artificial respiration and cardiopulmonary respiration (CPR) on dogs and cats, both of which can be found in our on the below link.

#2 A Rose is Just a Rose

But then again, it can also be a something that hurts your pets. The aroma from your Valentine’s Day floral arrangement may be too enticing for your dog or cat, and it only takes a nibble to cause a severe reaction. Even small amounts may lead to cases of upset stomachs or vomiting, particularly if the plant or flower is toxic. Be extremely careful if your arrangement contains lilies, as these lovely flowers are fatally poisonous to cats.

#1 To Give or Not to Give

Are you planning to gift a loved one a new puppy or kitten for Valentine’s Day? You may want to reconsider. Mull it over and do your homework — animals are not disposable, nor can they easily be repackaged, regifted, or returned if the recipient is not pleased.

Pet Profile: Border Collie

Physical Characteristics

The Border Collie is a medium-sized dog with a body that is a bit longer than it is tall. Always alert and aware of its surrounding, the Border Collie has an intelligent expression. When a Border Collie has short hair, its coat remains smooth; as it grows longer, however, the texture of the coat becomes to slightly wavy to rough.

The Border Collie appears in many different colors and color combinations, including solid color, bi-color, tri-color, merle, and sable. Random white patches are occasionally found scattered on the dog’s body or head, but are usually clear white or ticked.

Because of its strong bones, the dog is able to run gracefully and have a tireless gait, changing direction and covering ground almost effortlessly. The Border Collie’s stamina and agility also allows it to remain active for long periods of time.

Personality and Temperament

Highly energetic and enthusiastic, the Border Collie is intelligent, obedient, and loyal towards its master(s). Eager to learn, the Border Collie is most in its element when challenged with difficult tricks and tasks. A lack of activity, conversely, may lead to frustration in the breed.

The Border Collie often keeps its distance from strangers, displaying a guarding instinct. It also has a tendency to stare at other animals and chase them.


Although the Border Collie can live outside, it prefers be indoors, spending time with its family. The breed is generally not suited for apartment living and should be given regular access to the outdoors.

To avoid having a frustrated or ill-mannered Border Collie, provide it plenty of physical and mental exercise daily. An occasional brushing of the hair is recommended, as the Border Collie’s coat may become tangled with dead hair.



This breed, which has a lifespan of 10 to 14 years, is prone to minor health problems such as seizures, progressive retinal atrophy, osteochondritis dissecans, lens luxation, hypothryoidism, patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), and Collie eye anomaly (CEA), and major ailments like canine hip dysplasia (CHD). The Border Collie may also occasionally suffer from compulsive behavior, cerebellar abiotrophy, and ceroid lipofuscinosis. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may run hip, DNA, CEA, and eye exams on this breed of dog.