Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pets Gone Bad

Does it feel like only your pet misbehaves? That pet professionals must have the most well behaved dogs and cats. Pet sitters and dog walkers never have over weight pets, groomers dogs never get dirty matted fur, and veterinarian's pets surely never do anything wrong because their parents know all things pet. Guess again.

My kitchen is missing a big piece of wallpaper and the woodwork is well, clawed to shreds. Keeping a tablecloth on the dining room table is impossible as nightfall means race time for the felines. They tear through the dining room, up the hall, back down the hall, then up and over the table making sure to pull the table cloth and usually everything on it with them. With morning light I just shake my head and clean up as they look on.

On Monday I went to my vet's house to walk her dog. The sweetest, goofiest, Akita around. She is such a laid back couch potato that some days getting her to go out is a task in itself. Monday was not so different from other days until we got back to the house. She grabbed her bone and laid down on her doggy bed. She only does that when she does not feel well. As I went to give her fresh water I realized a pillow had been thrown off the couch and blankets had been moved aside. Reaching to fix everything I saw it. She had chewed a hole in the couch and pulled some of the stuffing out. YIKES! I gave her a questioning look to which I received a " I don't see anything, it wasn't me" look in return. I covered the hole and replaced the pillow hoping if she couldn't see it she wouldn't do any more damage. I left a note for mom and dad.

When I made my visit today there was a note from "mom" They have adopted another rescue kitty and she is being acclimated in the Akita's room. To show her parents exactly how she felt about that she chewed a hole in their couch. Payback for giving her room to a cat.

So next time the dog decides your designer shoes are tasty or the cat sees the woodwork as an inside tree, remember even the professionals pets go down the wrong path every now and then.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kids and Dogs

I was reminded Sunday of how important it is to teach your children safety around dogs. I have written on this subject before, but feel it is so important that it is worth repeating.

We have all seen the wonderful old TV shows, a little boy running with his pet dog, so happy and so well behaved. Think Timmy and Lassie. Lassie saves the boy from yet another disaster and receives a big neck squeezing hug in return. It all looks great on TV but in real life Timmy might just have gotten his face bit if he tries that with a dog who sees it as a threat.

I have a young grandson who loves dogs, however he has not been taught that running up to a dog can be a sign of aggression or attack. In a dog's world this approach means defensive posture and protect ones self. I watched Sunday as an old man was walking his little dog and my grandson ran straight at them. The poor dog lunged at the boy, pulling on the leash, barking and growling a warning to stay back. The old man held the dog back, but he would not have been able to if it had been a big dog. My grandson would have run arms open into the face of a dog who felt threatened. It could have turned into a disaster. He could have been bitten, scarred for life, and the poor dog would have probably had to be put down for "attacking a child"

People please remember biting is a dogs last defense. A healthy dog will usually not attack without warning or reason. Know dog body language, it is your first tell tale sign of how a dog is feeling. LOOK; the posture, the tail, the ears, and the lips. LISTEN; breathing, growling, the bark. A happy bark sounds much different then a scared bark and it certainly sounds different from a don't come any closer bark. Here are some very good drawings of what might be going on with a dog. You have most likely seen a dog do some of these things, a playful bow or relaxed is good. A dog in the dominant or defensive posture means trouble. Do not approach!

Teach your children from when they are small that dogs do not like screaming, someone running up to them too fast, and they do not like to be hugged around the neck. Explain to your child that it is like a big person holding them very tight and not letting go. They, your child, would need to kick and hit, but a dog bites instead. It is their way of protecting themselves.

If taught from a young age, children will grow to respect dogs as living creatures. Hopefully there will be fewer children bitten, less animal abuse, fewer dogs being surrendered to shelters, and no dogs being put down because they defended themselves.

Teach your children respect for dogs and teach your dogs good behavior with children. It's a win win for everyone.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ashes Update

This is how it started.

The mystery of what was causing Ashes to lose her fur has not been solved. Last week it looked like the reverse mohawk was regrowing. I was thrilled that the mystery had been solved and she was going to be back to her furry self. Unfortunetly I was too quick to jump to an easy solution.

On Friday of last week I was checking Ashes over and found both her sides covered with little bumps. Almost like she had been bitten all over by something. I checked carefully for any sign of fleas but could not find any evidence of infestation. I decided it was time to call in the pros.

The vet came this Wednesday morning. By that time Ashes skin was now covered in crusty like scabs. She still had an appetite and was not acting ill, but something was not right. After an exam, a fur sample, and a skin scraping we sit and wait for the results or a ringworm test.

She has to put up with me toweling her every night and forcing a liquid antibiotic down her throat. Not something either one of us enjoys, but if it will keep her from getting a skin infection it must be done.

As of this morning her skin is not quite as pink and she shows no signs of getting worse. That is a good thing. If the ringworm test comes back negative and she does not show improvement we keep looking. I decided until we know more I will not put her back on Skin and Coat, the least amount of change right now is better.

So as of today the mystery that was solved is now back to an open case.