Check Your Dogs Vital Signs

Your dog’s vital signs are easy to take and can provide advance warning of any health problems that might be affecting your pet. When checking your dog’s vital signs be sure to include the following tests:

Your dog’s temperature should normally range between 99.5° and 102.5°. If your dog’s temperature goes above 103°, there is a problem. It’s easy to take your pet’s temperature with a lubricated rectal thermometer. A better option that’s less invasive is to use a thermometer designed for reading your dog’s temperature inside one of its ears.

Checking your dog’s pulse is important, but first find out what is a normal pulse for your breed of dog. Pulse rates can vary between size and breed. Once you know what’s normal, you can check your dog’s heart beat in either of two locations. One is inside the upper thigh on your dog’s rear legs where you’ll find the femoral artery. The other is on its chest behind the left leg. To take your dog’s pulse, count the beats per minute for 15 seconds then multiply by four. Normal heartbeats fall within a range of 60-150 per minute.

Respiration, or breathing, is another indicator of good health. Do this when your dog is relaxed, not after it’s been playing or running around for a while. When you have determined the normal respiration for your dog, it will be easy to spot any future changes in its breathing. The average range is around 10-30 breaths per minute, but this number varies according to the breed and size. Do a 15-second count of the breaths then multiply by four to get the one minute rate.

Another health indicator in your dog is circulation of the blood. Just like humans, a dog’s blood has to be carried efficiently throughout its body in order to deliver the necessary nutrients to the cells. Check your dog’s circulation by lifting its upper lip and pressing your finger on the gum line above the canine tooth. When you take your finger away, count how many seconds it takes for the gum to return to its normal pink color. More than a couple of seconds indicates a problem and you should call your vet as soon as possible.

After completing these health tests, do a hands-on and visual check of your pet. Run your hands over your dog’s joints, back, and belly for signs of discomfort or swelling. Check the eyes and ears for any signs of infection or parasites. Be sure to check the paws because they are a perfect place for foreign matter to get trapped.

Water is necessary for all life forms. Be aware of your dog’s water intake every day as it can provide life-saving information on your dog. Don’t hesitate to call your vet if you notice a sudden and significant increase in your dog’s water intake. A simple way to check for dehydration in your dog is to pull up some skin around its neck and then release it. It should fall back right away if the dog has enough fluids in its body. If your dog is dehydrated the skin will lose its elasticity and take longer to return to normal. Any sign of dehydration in your pet can be life threatening, and is a warning to immediately call your vet.

A compassionate owner will make their dog’s life comfortable and enjoyable, always being sure that their dog is healthy and safe. This is the greatest gift an owner can give to the most loyal friend one will ever have. A loving dog is truly a gift from heaven and should always be regarded as a possession to be treasured.

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Jan 18, Fussy eater, Diabetic, Insulin, Blind, Lack of Hair Growth…

Teddy is on Hills w/d. He is the fussiest eater on the planet so we mix in Hills z/d (about 2 large tablespoons), otherwise he will not eat. His daily
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Pillow pet armor

Squishy armor.
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Thousands Sign a Petition to Help Two Cold Dogs in Michigan

I hate to start off a piece by stating the blindingly obvious, but for a lot of the country, it is COLD outside right now. The Northeast and Midwest are facing a brutal winter that’s colder than anything seen in the U.S. for 20 years. Even in places like Atlanta, where they’re used to having relatively mild winters, people are looking for the thickest, warmest coats they can find. (Side note: Before we even get into it, no, this extreme cold does not mean that climate change is a myth made up by rogue scientists and political pundits; please look up the difference between climate and weather before commenting.)

For hardworking dog writers like myself, the cold weather means a lot of stories about cold dogs. Just this morning, Michael Leaverton wrote about a dog who froze to the ground; yesterday, I wrote about how 40 dogs were seized from a puppy farm in New York because they were left outside with little protection.

Today, the news gives us yet another story about dogs stuck out in the cold. An online petition is asking Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and the Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell to remove two German Shepherds from their owner because the dogs have been left out in the cold. As of this writing, the petition has gotten almost 3,800 signatures since it was launched on Jan. 8 (which is a day ago, as of this writing).

The story of the petition shows the odd nature of politics on the Internet. Even though the dogs live in Kalamazoo, the petition was started by Sharon Rushen, a resident of New Jersey. Rushen was inspired when Kristan Daniel used Facebook to write about her concerns regarding her neighbors' dogs. She also contacted local television station WWMT, which did a story on the dogs and talked to their owner, Donnie Anderson. And then, as they say, the story went viral.

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Kristan Daniel speaking with WWMT.

Temperatures in Kalamazoo are hitting minus-40 if you factor in wind-chill factor. Anderson told the news crew that his dogs were very well taken care of, and that they were born outside and stay outside. When police checked out Daniel's complaint about the dogs, they said that Anderson was in compliance with the law, which requires that dogs have enough food, water, and shelter to keep them from losing body condition.

Daniel told that "I think there needs to be stricter laws for specific weather conditions like these. I don't think any pet should be left outside. It's just too cold."

Nevertheless, she has very mixed feelings about the petition.

"I think it's great but I don't want people to think I'm doing this because it's my neighbors, because it's more about all animals," she said. "I just feel like for all animals, something needs to change."

She also alleges that this is not new for Anderson, and she claims that one of his dogs died last year and remained in the cage all day before the body was taken away. (The petition alleges that the dog froze to death, but I can't find a mention of cause on Daniel's Facebook page.)

The social media campaign does seem to be having an effect on Anderson. Yesterday, Daniel wrote on Facebook that he had taken the dogs in and given them fresh straw in their cages when he came out in the morning.

Like I said at the beginning, it is really, really cold outside these days. Forty below is nothing to sneeze at, and I think most people would recommend bringing dogs inside when the temperature drops that low. Daniel also alleges that although the dogs have food and water, both have been frozen by the cold.

But is a petition to the governor, started by a woman in another state, going after the problem with an awfully big stick? The petition says nothing about making the changes that Daniel mentions; it's all about getting the authorities to take two dogs away from one man, Donnie Anderson. That seems like an awful lot of sound and fury that, in the end, accomplishes little. It's genuinely good to see people showing concern for the health of dogs, whether they're in the neighborhood or far away. But if you petition only for one or two dogs at a time, it will be a very long time before real change gets made.

Via MLive and WWMT

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Wow. There was a lot of great information in this …

Wow. There was a lot of great information in this post. Some dogs really do get a bad rap, every pit or rot I've ever met was just the sweetest dog. In fact, when I got bitten, it was by a golden retriever, which I always thought was considered a gentler breed. Thankfully, Darryl Isaacs ( helped me with my recovery. But that's beside the point, thank you for the post, it was most enjoyable.

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The Cat Needs a Lozenge

It started innocently enough, my son asking Penelope a question about her feet: “Penelope, how many fingers do you have?”

And without much thought, I answered for her, in a high pitched Muppet voice: “None, I have 20 toes.”

And thus began one of the kids’ greatest sources of entertainment for the past two weeks. He argued with her for a while, about why cats have four legs instead of two arms and two legs. In this case, Penelope was right. But sometimes she’s not, like when she insisted that cats were permanently excused from school due to a 1960 Act of Congress declaring they already knew everything there was to know. She is opinionated.

Like most pet owners, I sometimes imitate my pets saying something, but never has it evolved to this degree. Penelope has a distinct personality, for sure, and plenty to say. I don’t even pay attention to what she is saying half the time, the material just kind of writes itself. She’s a saucy thing. I’m just the translator.


The kids look forward to this now, which, had I known was going to happen would have picked a voice less damaging to my vocal cords. “Penelope!” they yell after school, barging into the front door. Sometimes they are actually looking for the cat. Sometimes though, my son will appear in front of me accusingly. “I said, PENELOPE!!! Where are you?” and then I sigh, and say, “Right here!” or, if I’m smart, “Hiding somewhere in the house! Come catch me!”

Penelope only has about 5 minute in her before her voice needs a rest. She is, after all, new to this talking thing.

Last night, my daughter was angry with me for reasons that only nine year old girls understand, something to do with Animal Jam time restrictions. I was persona non grata. I was sitting on her bed wondering if I was going to be able to get a goodnight hug when in walked Penelope.

“Hi Penelope,” she said.

“Hi,” she answered.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m looking for mice,” she replied. “Seen any lately?”

“No,” my daughter laughed.

“I think you’re holding out on me,” Penelope replied, and just like that Animal Jam was forgotten and I got my hug.

All these years with pets and I’m still learning how much they enrich our lives. Thanks kiddo. Penelope is now the new intermediary. Please tell me someone else talks for their pet like this too, so I know I haven’t entirely gone off the deep end. :D

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Hostages: “Suspicious Minds”/“Endgame”

Hostages: “Suspicious Minds”/“Endgame”
The big one was a black man, chewing on a cigar, with a crew cut and an incredibly flattering greatcoat. The smaller one was a white man, with a face that was just asking Duncan tried to stand up, and lurched forward, his head spinning. McNulty
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Children's Book Review: head lice and picture day
What are the lice doing to make his head itch so much? Are they up there having a square dance? No, they are chewing on his scalp and sucking his blood. The lice are hard to get rid of, so he imagines them as human size monster houseguests who have 
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No More Woof—Dog-human communication breakthrough or internet scam?

Do you often wonder is your dog is excited, tired, hungry, wants to play, doesn’t like the food choice, or needs to go pee? Yeah, me either. Most dogs I’ve been around are very good at letting their owners know their feelings in these areas and many others without having them translated into English. And if I put one of these on my dogs, I don’t think I would want to know their thoughts. You’ve…
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Adopting a Shelter Dog

Adopting a shelter dog and saving it from a possible early death can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience for you, your family and especially the dog.

In most cities the cost to adopt a shelter dog is relatively cheap. Most shelters only charge a modest fee for adopting a dog but that fee actually covers only a small part of the shelter’s costs for food, healthcare, facilities and care giving. Dogs housed in animal shelters will have been examined to make sure they’re in good health before being put up for adoption. The dogs are usually vaccinated, wormed and neutered or spayed. In well-run shelters, a dog’s behavior has been assessed so a prospective new owner can be better matched to the type of dog they want.

Before taking your family to the local animal shelter to choose a new dog, you should understand that the cost of adoption is only a small fraction of the total cost of owning a dog. The average dog owner will spend approximately $ 2,200 per year on food, medical care, vet visits and other dog related expenses. The actual yearly outlay of expenses will vary depending on the type of dog, and also why it ended up in the animal shelter.

Many dogs are surrendered to shelters because they have serious behavior problems, and a new owner will have to contend with those behaviors as well as fear and abandonment issues a dog may have from being mistreated or abandoned to a shelter.

It’s fairly easy to recognize a shelter dog who has fear issues. The dog may run or hide from strangers, bark a lot, or growl at humans. It can be difficult to reduce a dog’s fear, but if you fall in love with a dog displaying those symptoms, understand that those fears can be overcome with patience on your part.

If you’re thinking of adopting a shelter dog, you should get some background information on any dog you’re seriously considering. There are some dogs in shelters who have been given back several times because new owners couldn’t cope with the dog’s crying, barking or other destructive behavior when left alone. Sometimes this is caused simply by separation anxiety where the dog becomes fearful every time its owner leaves it alone. You can lessen this fear by spending as much time as possible with your new dog, gradually cutting down on the amount of time spent one-on-one.

Unfortunately, many dogs who end up in shelters have never been properly potty trained. If this is the case, you’ll need to treat the dog as it were a puppy. Set a regular schedule of when you take your dog outside to go. When it does its duty, reward it with a treat and praise. It shouldn’t take long for the dog to associate going outside to the bathroom with getting a tasty treat.

Many dogs are surrendered to shelters simply because their owners never taught them how to behave. A dog may display unwanted behavior such as jumping on people, humping people’s legs, or ignoring you when you tug on its leash.

While some people are not bothered by this type of behavior, some are and become very distressed by their inability to correct the behavior. The poor dog then ends up abandoned to a shelter. If the owner had a little more patience and understanding of dog behavior, these unwanted actions could be easily corrected with a little bit of positive training. If you’re adopting a shelter dog be sure it’s the right one for you before taking it home.

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Nice Tick photos

A few nice Tick images I found:

Soft tick

Image by dr_relling
This Norwegian soft tick is about one millimeter long. It is sitting on the back of the hand of a friend who’s not particularly hairy ;-)
Taken with Tamron 90mm 1:1 macro

Lone Star Tick, Paynetown SRA, Monroe County IN

Image by b_nicodemus
Plucked from myself 24 hours after hiking the ‘Blue Bird’ trail at Paynetown SRA. This is the furthest north I have found this tick. Plucked one last year from myself at Big Oaks NWR, Jennings/Jefferson Co, Indiana.

Tick sticky trap

Image by fairfaxcounty
The tick sticky trap consists of a piece of plywood with double-sided carpet tape around the inside of the board and a cooler with dry ice in the middle. The ticks are attracted to the CO2 emitted from the cooler and get stuck on the double-sided carpet tape when they try to cross it.

If you find one in the field, PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB IT

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