Monthly Archives: July 2012

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.

Care

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.

Must Haves in Your Pet First Aid Kit

Bandages

Gauze, clean rags, even a sock can be used as bandage material to help control bleeding and keep wounds clean until they can be treated by a veterinarian. Non-adhesive vet wrap is also great to have in a pet first aid kit, as it does not stick to animal fur and is easier to remove. Meanwhile, duct tape can be useful for holding temporary wraps or splints.

Scissors

It would be extremely difficult to cut tape, gauze, splints, or any other type of bandaging material without the use of scissors. There are even specially designed scissors or shears with an edge that allows you to remove bandaging near your pet’s skin without accidentally cutting him or her.

Sterile Saline Eye Wash

Sterile saline wash is vital should your pet ever have debris or smoke in its eyes. Just apply liberally and flush the eyes until all debris is removed. You may also want to keep some sterile eye lubrication in your first aid kit, so that you can sooth your pet’s eyes after using the sterile flush.

Water

Water is not only useful for rehydrating a pet, but also for flushing wounds, soothing burns, washing off toxins, soaking a paw, or cooling an overheated pet. Keep a gallon of water in your first aid kit along with a collapsible dish in case you are away from home.

Medications

In addition to a small quantity of your pet’s regular medications, keep styptic powder, diphenhydramine, and sugar tablets in the pet first aid kit. Styptic powder stops bleeding in cases of minor cuts or torn nails; diphenhydramine (or Benadryl) is an antihistamine that can be used temporarily for mild allergic reactions; and sugar tablets can help a diabetic pet or a small pet with low blood sugar.

Hydrogen peroxide can also be kept in a dog first aid kit, as it can inducing vomiting and help get rid of ingested toxins or foreign objects. However, this should only be under the direction of a veterinarian, as some toxins or materials will cause more harm if they are vomited up. Additionally, hydrogen peroxide should never be given to a cat.

Dish Soap

Dish soap, such as Dawn, is very effective in removing toxins from the skin and fur. Just remember to rinse and flush your pet afterwards with water.

Thermometer

A thermometer is necessary in determining if your pet has a fever or is hypothermic (the normal body temperature for a dog and cat is approximately 99.5-102.5°F). However, veterinarians typically recommend that the temperature be taken rectally, as it more accurately reflects the pet’s core body temperature. To make the insertion easier on your pet, keep a petroleum or water-based lubricant in the first aid kit.

Contact Card

In an emergency, don’t lose valuable time looking up the phone numbers for an animal emergency hospital, veterinarian, local police, or poison helpline (we recommend Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-213-6680). Keep them all on a small index card in your wallet, along with the identification numbers for your pet’s microchip and rabies tag. The Pet Poison Helpline also has a great iPhone App for toxin information and guidelines.

Restraints

Dogs and cats can become fearful, aggressive, and unpredictable when hurt. Avoid injury to yourself and keep your pet safe by having a blanket, slip-leash, muzzle, and/or mesh bag in your first aid kit. Blankets can be used to wrap injured pets up like a taco, and mesh bags (with handles) work great for transporting cats. Muzzles, meanwhile, can ensure you’re not accidentally bitten when administering first aid.

Treats

Don’t forget the treats! It’s a great way to calm and distract an injured pet. This is especially helpful during bandaging, but really can help in any stress-filled first aid situation.

Pet Profile: Boxer

Physical Characteristics

The Boxer is tightly muscular, with a squarely proportioned body. It stands from 21 to 25 inches in height at the withers, and weighs from 55 to 75 pounds. The head is the most distinctive and the most valued in overall appearance. with a blunt and broad muzzle and an undershot jaw – meaning that the lower jaw is longer than the upper. This is a brachycephalic breed, though not as extreme as the Bulldog. The muzzle is not as short, and the underbite not as pronounced. The teeth and tongue do not appear with the Boxer when its mouth is closed.

When the Boxer is standing at attention, the line of the body, from the back of the head, slopes gently down the neck to the withers, and the chest is full-bodied, as if puffed out with pride. The Boxer is muscular throughout, but not overly so in any one area. This breed should be proportionally athletic in appearance. In movement, the Boxer covers a lot of ground with its wide gait. The coat is shiny and short, and can be in several shades of fawn, which range in shades of tan/yellow, to browns, to reds. The other acceptable coloring is brindle, a type of coat striping where any shade of fawn is striped by black. It is common for Boxers to have additional marking called “flash,” where the chest, face, or paws are white. Flash can be in one area or in all of the expected areas of the body.

The Boxer has an alert expression, making it appear to always be watching for something to happen, even when at rest. Its hefty appearance and strong jaw make the Boxer an impressive watchdog. With its unusual combination of strength and agility, combined with stylish elegance, the Boxer stands apart from other dogs.

Personality and Temperament

An active family will surely find the Boxer to be a perfect companion. The Boxer is high-spirited, curious, outgoing, and dedicated. It responds well to commands and is sensitive to the needs of those it serves. In general, this breed is good with other household pets and dogs, but may sometimes show signs of aggression towards strange dogs or to dogs of the same gender. Otherwise, there should be no other signs of aggression towards strangers that it is introduced to. The Boxer is known to be temperamentally reserved with strangers, so at its worst, the Boxer should be indifferent to new people. With those it is familiar with, the Boxer may get overly rambunctious, and will need to be trained from a young age not to jump on people. Playing, however, should be highly encouraged. Its bright, playful attitude and highly social nature make the breed an excellent companion for the park, for exercise, and for keeping the family motivated.

Care

The Boxer’s coat needs just occasional brushing to get rid of dead hair. Daily physical and mental exercise is essential for the dog, which also loves to run. A long walk on leash or a good jog is enough to meet the dog’s exercise needs. It is not suited to live outdoors nor does it like hot weather. The dog is at its best when given a chance to spend equal time in the yard and home. Some Boxers may snore.

How to Keep Your Pet Entertained

Stay Active

Even shy cats and dogs respond well to social activities and sharing companionship with their families — human or otherwise. Providing a time for daily exercise and for relaxing together is necessary for a well-adjusted pet. Walking your dog for just 15-20 minutes in the morning before leaving for the day may help him or her to release some pent up energy — at least enough until you come home from work to walk again.

It is similar for cats. Giving your cat some playtime before walking out the door can stimulate the mind and body, and playing a little game such as with lasers or feather toys can help your cat to release some of the energy he has had to hold in all day.

Hire a “Friend”

If your day is just too hectic to spend enough time in the early morning playing or taking walks, or if you have a pet that has an energy level that exceeds your allowance of time, you might consider hiring a local dog walker or pet sitter (or even a neighbor) to come in and spend some time with your pet in the middle of the day.

Doggie day care centers are also an excellent option, and are fortunately a growing trade. These facilities provide daily activities and socialization with other dogs, along with healthy meal choices. Just as you would for a daycare for a child, do your research, and ask lots of questions before enrolling your dog in a daycare program.

Go Ahead, Toy Around

There is a growing industry in the pet market, and toys are no exception. Just as the ’80s saw mentally stimulating toys for newborns, so has the pet industry recognized the need for animals to be mentally stimulated. Puzzle-type toys that release treats at certain intervals or in response to interaction are excellent ways to keeping your pet from thinking about more destructive matters. Hard plastic toys with holes can be stuffed with various food products, like kibble (one that is different form the usual) or bits of meat flavored treats, so that the game is enticing enough to stick with until the goal has been reached.

Cats particularly enjoy having places to climb, hide, and exercise their claws. A cat tower or scratching post can provide critical moments of relief for your cat. It may take several tries to find the perfect scratching material, but it is worth it, both for your sanity and for your cat’s mental health.

Best Hypoallergenic Dogs

Want to adopt a dog, but suffer from pet allergies? There may still be hope. Pet allergy sufferers are actually allergic to the protein (Can F1) in a dog’s dander, saliva, and other secretions. And while no pet is 100% “hypoallergenic” — all dogs produce dander, saliva, and urine — there are some dogs that produce fewer symptom-causing allergens, or shed less of them. The following are some dogs you may want to consider if you have pet allergies but still can’t resist a canine companion.

1. Poodle (Standard and Miniature)

Originally used as an aid for duck hunters in France, the Poodle has become a favorite among dog allergy sufferers too. This is mainly because the Poodle sheds little of its tight, curly locks, which helps retain the dander.

2. Portuguese Water Dog

When the Obamas were in search of a dog that wouldn’t trigger Malia’s allergies, the President and First Lady eventually picked this gregarious and fun-loving dog breed. Why? The Portuguese Water Dog produces little dander and doesn’t shed much.

3. Airedale Terrier

Many people that are allergic to other dog breeds seem to have fewer problems living with the oft-considered largest and toughest of terriers due to its low dander production and short, wiry coat, which helps retain the dander.

4. Bichon Frisé

Don’t let its puffed white coat fool you. The Bichon Frisé does not shed much and produces little dander. It’s no wonder this breed is recommended for many dog allergy sufferers seeking a lovable lapdog.

5. West Highland White Terrier

The “Westie” is not only known for its friendly and strong-willed personality, but also for the minimal shedding of its dense and wiry coat. The West Highland White Terrier’s coat also helps retain the little allergy-causing dander it produces.

Summer Pool Safety Tips

The pool is an excellent place to spend your summers. There’s the sun, the toys and the refreshing drinks with the tiny little umbrellas. Oh, and lest we forget — the water! However, pools can also be dangerous for our dogs. Not all dogs are good swimmers and some breeds like the bulldog may even drown if left unsupervised around a pool. Here are five great tips to help prevent such a tragedy from happening to your dog.

 

1. Teach Your Dog to Swim

When possible, train your dog to swim. Not comfortable with such a task? Enlist the help of a dog trainer. They are more than equipped to handle your pooch’s fear of water and teach him or her a few swimming basics.

2. Invest in a Dog Life Vest

Life vests and life jackets are perfect for the dog that will never be a great swimmer. They provide extra buoyancy and a dash of bright colors so that your dog can stay afloat and remain highly visible. Just don’t rely on the life vest so much that you leave your dog unattended.

3. Take Care with Older Dogs

Senior dogs are more likely to suffer from arthritis, vision loss, seizures and a host of other health issues that may require your special attention around the pool or prohibit them from swimming altogether. Confirm with your veterinarian if your dog is healthy enough to swim in the pool.

4. Learn Dog CPR

Being able to properly administer artificial respiration and CPR on a dog is vital should your dog accidentally drown in your pool. Some animal organizations and shelters even offer classes on the proper techniques.

5. Fence Your Pool

A pool fence or enclosure is a great option if you are unable to supervise a dog that spends most, if not all, his or her time in the backyard. Not a big fan of enclosing your pool with unseemly posts and metal bars? Consider using an “invisible” fence. Invisible, or underground, fencing enables you to keep your pool looking spectacular without sacrificing your dog’s safety.

Pet Profile: Corgi

This type of Corgi was first used by farmers in South Wales to skillfully herd cattle, sheep, and ponies. A friendly and beautiful dog, it is still used today as a farm herder — nipping at heels and bending under hooves — but is more often kept as a house pet.

       

Physical Characteristics

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, an agile cattle and sheep herder, has a smooth and free gait, with good drive and reach. Low to the ground and long, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi differs from its cousin, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, in that it is not as long bodied or as heavy-boned. One of the immediately recognizable differences is the tail, which is short in the Pembroke and long in the Cardigan. The short tail is a natural trait, but it may be docked for a more pleasing appearance, as well.

Although the dog’s expression is interested, intelligent, and foxy, it is not sly. Its longish, coarse outer coat is red, sable, fawn, black, or tan in color, and its undercoat is weather-resistant.

Personality and Temperament

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is fun, friendly, devoted, and willing to please. It behaves well with children, but it may nip at heels during play. Many Pembroke Welsh Corgis are shy around strangers and some bark incessantly. This quick-witted dog not only has an active body but an active mind.

Care

As the Pembroke Welsh Corgi loves to herd, a regular herding session is an ideal form of exercise. If it is unable to herd, take it out for a moderate leash-led walk or play session.

The Pembroke is suited to live outdoors in temperate weather, but temperamentally it prefers to share its owner’s home, while having access to the yard. Coat care comprises of a weekly brushing routine to ride the dog’s coat of any dead hair.

Health

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, which has an average lifespan of about 11 to 13 years, is prone to serious health concerns such as intervertebral disc disease and canine hip dysplasia (CHD), as well as minor issues like epilepsy and degenerative myelopathy. Lens luxation, von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD), progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and urinary stones are also noticed in the breed on occasion. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may recommend hip, eye, and DNA tests for the dog.