Dog Blog Where We Share Our Love for Older Dogs Sat, 24 Nov 2007 20:19:36 +0000 en hourly 1 Hello world! Sat, 24 Nov 2007 20:19:36 +0000 Jonni Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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Canine Parvovirus – A Serious Cantagious Disease in Dogs Fri, 20 Jul 2007 18:47:09 +0000 Jonni

Canine parvovirus, sometimes known simply as ‘parvo,’ is a serious contagious disease caused by a virus. This illness is spread when dogs come into contact with the feces of infected animals. Dog parks, highway rest stops and popular walking trails in cities are areas where dog feces are often found, and where an unvaccinated dog may pick up the virus. Humans may also unknowingly bring the virus home on the bottom of their shoes or on their car tires, so dogs who never go outside the yard can still be infected with this disease. The virus can live in the soil or other contaminated surfaces for as long as six months.

Most animal shelters and kennels make every effort to avoid the spread of contagious diseases by cleaning the kennels with bleach, but any time that large numbers of animals are kept in close quarters, there is a possibility of infection, so keeping up on your dog’s vaccinations is always a good idea.

Although puppies are more commonly affected by this illness than adult dogs, both my brother and I once owned adult dogs who became seriously ill from canine parvovirus. Both animals had been vaccinated while in our care, but they were acquired after the dogs had reached adulthood, so they may not have received proper vaccination as puppies. Both dogs recovered, but only after several weeks of intensive in-hospital care.

Since this virus attacks the lining of the dog or puppy’s digestive system, the symptoms of the disease are diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, lack of appetite, and bloody, foul-smelling stools. In addition to severe abdominal discomfort, bloody diarrhea and vomiting, the dog may also have a high fever, and congestive heart failure is possible. Severe symptoms may follow several days of gradually decreasing appetite. Illness usually becomes apparent from three to 12 days after the dog was exposed to the virus.

Obviously, this is a very serious disease, and immediate medical care is required to reduce the risk of death. The veterinarian will make sure to keep the dog from becoming dangerously dehydrated, which can keep the dog or puppy alive long enough for its own immune system to fight the disease. Antibiotics are not effective against this virus, but they are usually given to an infected animal to help prevent the occurrence of secondary bacterial infections, which can cause shock or septicemia. Secondary infections can occur without antibiotics because parvovirus suppresses the dog’s ability to make white blood cells. A blood test showing a low white blood cell count is one of the ways a veterinarian can make a diagnosis of canine parvovirus.

Because the illness causes severe dehydration, the dog will also be put on intravenous fluids, and the animal will probably need to stay under the doctor’s care a week or more. Because the gastrointestinal tract has been affected, the veterinarian may withhold food and water from the dog until the virus has come under control.

Unfortunately, some dogs and puppies who survive a bout of parvovirus can be affected by symptoms six months or more after the original symptoms, particularly if the virus has infected the heart.

To prevent infection, puppies must be vaccinated under the proper schedule, and they should not be taken outside the yard or introduced to any other dogs until at least two weeks after the last puppy shots are administered. Some veterinarians and dog breeders suggest that you avoid dog parks entirely, even after your puppy has been vaccinated, because of the possibility of picking up this or other contagious canine illnesses. If you adopt an older dog from the local shelter, you should take him to your veterinarian for a checkup and ask that he be vaccinated, unless the shelter administered routine vaccinations while the dog was in their care.

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These Common Household Products Can Poison Your Dog Fri, 20 Jul 2007 16:52:34 +0000 Jonni
Several months ago I adopted Hank, a five-year old mutt, from the local Humane Society. I had every hope that he would be a companion and playmate for Banjo, my Australian Shepherd. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out the way I expected. All in all, it was a very bad day for me, for the local veterinarian, for the people at the animal shelter who had come to love quiet, mild-mannered Hank, and, of course, for Hank himself.

The first inkling I had that something was very wrong with Hank came while walking him around the exercise yard at the shelter. Hank stopped to piddle so often that I remarked on it, but the shelter volunteer said it was common with animals that are locked in their pens for so long every day. A housebroken dog, she said, will “hold it” until he gets outside, and then the floodgates open. That sounded reasonable to me, so I filled out the adoption paperwork, handed over the fees, and took Hank out to my car, where I saw the second indication of severe illness. Hank actually fell into my small car. This lack of coordination seemed like a small problem, but it did put me on alert.

He and Banjo seemed to get on just fine when I introduced them at home, but Hank still wasn’t acting right. The floodgates were still open, and he couldn’t stay away from the water dish. His fur was falling out in great gobs, and something in Hank’s eyes told me he just didn’t feel good. I called the local vet and asked for an emergency appointment.

To make a long story short, Hank had to be put down that afternoon after tests showed his kidneys were shutting down. The vet said it was most likely that Hank had been poisoned, probably with antifreeze, a sweet-tasting liquid that dogs find irresistible, but which can cause mental confusion, vomiting, kidney failure, and death. Hank would have lapped up the antifreeze before he was brought to the shelter, where he spent several weeks waiting for someone to take him home. If the shelter volunteers had been more observant, could they have saved Hank? It’s possible, but we’ll really never know.

Unfortunately, antifreeze is not the only common household chemical that can cause serious illness in dogs. Since dogs are curious creatures, and some of these poisons taste good to both dogs and children, special caution should be taken to keep the following substances away from your pets. If you suspect that your dog has ingested any of these products, or if it shows any of the following signs of illness, he must be taken immediately to the nearest veterinary clinic.

Antidepressant drugs, which can cause irregular heartbeat, vomiting hyperactivity, tremors and seizure.

Pesticides, such as flea and tick collars, sprays and powders; rat poisons; strychnine; and zinc phosphate. The symptoms of poisoning will vary, depending on the particular pesticide that was ingested. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, lack of balance or coordination, nosebleeds, internal bleeding through the gut or urinary track, difficulty breathing, listlessness, nervousness, seizures, and death. If your pet gets into one of these poisons, try to take the container with you to the vet’s office, so he or she can give the appropriate antidote and emergency treatment as quickly as possible.

Antifreeze, as noted earlier. Immediate veterinary treatment may be able to save your pet, from kidney failure if it is rushed to the animal clinic in time.

Ammonia, disinfectants, and fabric softener can cause vomiting, diarrhea and seizures. Call your pet’s veterinarian immediately – the clinic may suggest that you give the dog milk or water to dilute the poison before rushing it to the clinic.

Household bleach can cause excessive salivation (or slobbering), and vomiting. Again, call your vet immediately to see if you should try to dilute the poisons by giving your dog emergency care at home before rushing it to the clinic. Bleach can cause ulcerations to the stomach lining and gastrointestinal tract.

Lead from old paint, batteries, lead glazing on pottery, and bird shot may cause vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, muscle spasms, blindness, and personality changes. The dog’s veterinarian will need to run some tests to see if lead is the cause of the illness, and may need to perform surgery if the item is still in the dog’s stomach.

Petroleum products, like gasoline or other fuels, solvents, and paints, can poison a dog either through eating it, breathing it, (which can burn the lining of the lungs), or getting it on the skin. If one of these products gets on your dog’s fur, immediately wash it off with water and detergent, and then get him to the vet. If the product has been ingested or if the dog has been breathing the fumes, medical care will be required to reduce the damage.

Less potent but still dangerous substances that can cause symptoms of poisoning in dogs are chocolate, caffeine, onions and garlic.

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More Pet Food Recalls Sat, 21 Apr 2007 19:20:04 +0000 Jonni As many of you already know, a new wave of recalls has been announced in the last 24 hours. Evidence suggesting that a shipment of the ingredient “Rice Protein Concentrate” contained melamine has come to light. Natural Balance, Royal Canin and Blue Buffalo have all announced recalls of their products containing this ingredient. These ingredients appear to be coming from China.

Royal Canin, my favorite cat food maker, is on the list. You can see a news article about this most recent recall at

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Need Pit Bull Pictures? Mon, 02 Apr 2007 18:53:46 +0000 Jonni

For some reason (who knows why?) a lot of people search the Internet for pit bull pictures. I have no idea what people need the pictures for, but I do know that one of the best places to look for photos of pit bulls is on your local Humane Society website.

I cadged a few pit bull pictures from shelter websites around the country. The dogs shown in this post are available for adoption now, but may no longer be available when you read this. However, there will be more pit bulls at the local shelter, even if the wonderful animals pictured here are no longer availablpit bull picturee.

Pit bulls are one of the most common breeds at animal shelters and breed rescue organizations. The only breed that seems to show up more are labs, and that’s only because there are more labs in the United States than any other breed. (Occasionally, a shelter will label a black pit bull as a “lab mix,” to avoid the common anti-pit bull sentiment and increase the pup’s chances of finding a new home.)

Our first two pit bulls are now housed at the Humane Society of New York. Tuttles was previously adopted, but his new owner was called overseas, and Tuttles now needs a new home. This one-year old pup would be a loyal and loving pet to an experienced pit bull owner.

G Willager Katrina is an unusual Pit Bull/Catahoula Leopard Dog cross. This is a big dog, who was rescued from the Katrina aftermath. pit bull picture

Since most of us have never met a Catahoula Leopard dog, I grabbed this info from Wikipedia:

“Catahoulas are highly intelligent, energetic, and quick, yet are generally very loving and gentle with children. They are inquisitive and have an independent streak. However, the Catahoula temperament is not suited for everyone; these dogs tend to be very protective of their territory and family, and also, may be aggressive toward other dogs—especially of the same sex. These traits, combined with their independent nature, their high energy levels, and physical strength, can make a Catahoula “too much dog” for inexperienced or meek owners, and can make having such a a dog a liability in suburban neighborhoods. Ideally, a Catahoula should have proper obedience training, secure confinement on the owner’s property, and an outlet for its energy.”

You can see from this description that a dog with Catahoula Leopard Dog and Pit Bull genes will need some special handling. This may be why G Willager still hasn’t found a home after all these months.

senior pit bull pictureOur last pit bull today is now living at the Louisiana Boxer Rescue. Sadie isn’t a boxer, but she may not be all pit bull, either. It’s often hard to tell with these “all-American” dogs. Sadie was abandoned at a vet’s office with her three pups, and has spent too much without a permanent home. She’s a senior – 7 to 8 years old, but still has years of love left in her. She’ll be spayed before you take her home, has had all her shots, and will receive heartworm medication. All she needs now is a human to love and protect.

Want more pit bull pictures? Just find your local Humane Society’s website and search the animals available for adoption. Maybe one of those faces will be so appealing that you’ll decide to take her home….

Here’s a question for all you dog lovers out there – why do you think this breed shows up so often in shelters? Do pit bull owners resist spaying and neutering their dogs? Or are the dogs too difficult to handle by inexperienced owners? I grew up with these dogs, and have great respect for them, but they can be stubborn. Give us your opinion, by adding your comments below.

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Rascal is Ready For You. Thu, 22 Mar 2007 15:28:41 +0000 Jonni

Pit bulls are not for everyone, but these dogs can be fantastic family pets with the right handling, and if the dog’s temperament is sound. Rascal2 is now waiting at the A&S Pit Bull and Am Staff Rescue in Antioch, Illinois.

Rascal has already been there too long, and may not be available when you read this. Hopefully, he will go to a good home, and the rescue organization won’t need to euthenize him.

Unfortunately, there are far too many of these large, energetic dogs available in shelters and rescue organizations, and not all of them can find homes. Rascal appears to have a good temperament, according to the rescue group, and is good with people and other animals – but the scare stories that abound, and the large numbers of unwanted pit bulls, means that he has several stikes against him.

My mother once owned a Staffordshire terrier (the English version of a pit bull) and he was a loving, even-tempered dog. Much of his personality was the result of careful breeding to remove all traces of the pit bull’s traditional fighting temperament. Unfortunately, when you adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue group you have no way of knowing the philosophy of the breeders, or how the dog was treated in his previous home.

Some of these animals are, unfortunately, the result of random breeding by less-then-savory characters who still participate in dog fighting as a sport. This means that extreme care must be taken to make sure the dog is sound and safe before you bring him home. You can read more about dog behavior and temperament on my main site. Most responsible shelters will test their animals before releasing them for adoption, but this does require training – and not all shelters have volunteers or staff who are qualified to do this testing correctly. To be safe, be sure to get to know as much as you can about any dog you adopt (no matter what it’s breed) before you decide to bring him home to your family.

I hope by now Rascal has found a new home, with a nice soft, warm bed and plenty of attention and exercise – doesn’t every dog deserve a human to love?

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Pet Food Recall Info Thu, 22 Mar 2007 14:33:12 +0000 Jonni If you’ve been looking for more information about the recent pet food recall, I suggest you go straight to the source – You can find the FDA’s statement at their website.

You can find the press releases and list of recalled dog and cat food at the following websites:

Menu Foods, Inc. Press Release

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company Press Release

Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. Press Release

P&G Pet Care Press Release (Consumers who have purchased IAMS or Eukanuba pet food who have questions should check the IAMS web site. Consumers who have purchased other pet food distributed by Menu Foods, Inc. should contact Menu.)

There have been no dry foods recalled at this time.

My next post will be about something more positive – like a nice older dog waiting for you at your local animal shelter.

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An Angel is Waiting For You Wed, 21 Mar 2007 21:11:40 +0000 Jonni Angel, I haven’t written in my dog blog for months – too busy moving to a new home, writing books, and building websites.

Now that I have a few minutes to spare (between writing a new website and rebuilding my new garden…) I thought it might be fun to highlight some of the great older dogs available now at animal shelters. My main site at has lots of articles on how to choose the right dog to adopt, but showing some pictures of real-life adoptable pooches might help you to see who might be waiting for you at the local shelter.

Today’s special canine is “Angel,” a spitz mix female, 10 and 1/2 years old, who is now at the Portland Oregon Humane Society Shelter. (Of course, by the time you read this she may have found a home, but if you’re in the area be sure to check out the nice dogs available on their website. It’s unusual to find small dogs like this at large city shelters – so Angel probably won’t be there very long.

Since Angel is a small dog, it would probably be best for her to go to a new home with older adults, instead of children. She’s still got a lot of years left to love her new owners, but may not want to play with active kids, who are often too rough for smaller dogs.

You may think that 10 years old is much “too” old – but my last pooch was a 10 year old Border collie (adopted from the Portland shelter), and I could barely keep up with her. A dog this age, especially a small one like Angel, could live another 5 to 8 years, and you know how grateful she’ll be to live with humans who love and care for her. Unlike humans, dogs readily adapt to their new families, and within a few days she’ll act like she belonged to you her whole life.

Have you adopted an older dog from an animal shelter or from a friend? Have you had good experiences (or bad…)? We’d love to hear your story – just add your comments to this article, or to any page on our site.

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Dogs in the News, Sept. 19 Tue, 19 Sep 2006 14:50:36 +0000 Jonni Central Fla. Inmates To Help Train Dogs – Orlando,FL,USA
In the “Paws and Stripes” program, inmates work with untrained dogs from rescue shelters and help the animals with social skills.

Owners put their dogs health at risk by under exercising
Easier – Chester,UK
British dogs are being grossly under-exercised by their owners according to new research from Halifax Pet Insurance. The survey

How to let dogs run free, be ‘good citizens’ in park
Louisville Courier-Journal – Louisville,KY,USA
I have been going to Barringer Hill for a number of years with my dogs and even before being a dog owner. In all this time, I’ve

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Serious Dog Urine Cleaning Products from a Surprising Source Tue, 12 Sep 2006 22:06:15 +0000 Jonni Nobody enjoys thinking about dog urine stains and odor, but it happens. Even older dogs have accidents. (And let’s also admit that dogs sometimes do it on purpose in order to mark their territory – no accident involved).

I’m thinking about this unpleasant subject at the moment because I just moved, and a very distinctive stain showed that a medium-sized dog had recently lifted his leg on my new porch. To prevent my own dog from re-marking the house when I moved him to his new home, I had to find a good dog urine cleaning product, and fast. With the help of my local pet store owner, (who also runs a house cleaning service), I did find a great product – but not at her pet store.

So where did my friendly pet store owner take me to find a serious dog urine cleaning product? She led me next door, to the auto supply house. She asked the proprietor to search his shelves for a product that would be good enough to remove the smell and the stain from my porch wall, but which would not be so strong that it would remove the paint. The product he had in stock was called Unbelievable!, from CORE Products Co., Inc., (but the man at the auto parts store said there are other brands that work as well). The product was developed for professional cleaners, and works to remove pet and food stains (and odors) from a car’s upholstery and carpet.

The product costs far less than the enzyme product I recently purchased from a veterinarian and it worked immediately. I just sprayed it on the siding where the dog lifted his leg, and the stain disappeared instantly, along with the smell. I’ll be trying it on that suspicious spot on the carpet in a few minutes.

So, next time you have a need for a dog urine cleaner, don’t head for the pet store – go to the auto supply store, and ask for a product that works on urine stains and odors. You’ll save money by not buying a product from the pet store or vet’s, and be happier with the results.

Some day (when I don’t feel like I’m in a hurry), I’ll try out a home-made product made from diluted hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. This works phenomenally well to neutralize skunk odor, but I’ve never tried it on dog or cat urine. If it does work, it will cost only a few pennies, and be much cheaper than anything you could buy at a store.

The first product that most people turn in these situations is enzyme-based cleaning products that can be purchased at grocery and pet stores. I recently had an opportunity to use an enzyme product on a borrowed cat carrier that had been sprayed by the owner’s cat, and most of the odor did go away, eventually. However, the enzyme product, which I purchased from a veterinarian, was expensive. It also took a long time to work, and my own cats could still tell that the carrier had been sprayed, even though my own human nose can no longer detect it. The product I purchased from the auto parts store worked better, and faster. And it cost less.

Some people try using ammonia for urine stains, but this doesn’t make much sense, except that it’s cheap and it’s something that you probably have on hand. If you’ve ever raised rabbits, you’ve already discovered that ammonia is a nitrogen-based compound that can be created by a buildup of urine. You know the hutch needs to be cleaned when you smell the ammonia. It doesn’t make sense to use ammonia to clean up urine. And besides – it stinks!)

Vinegar has traditionally been used to get rid of animal stains and odors, but I haven’t found that it works all that well. Vinegar does remove odors from the air, but it doesn’t do a thorough job of permanently removing the urine from a carpet or other surface. Therefore, the odor comes back, and it can encourage additional accidents.

Until I prove to myself that the hydrogen peroxide/baking soda recipe works, I’ll be sticking with the stain and odor removing product that I purchased from the auto parts store. It’s a serious dog urine cleaning product, and I’ve just proven to myself that it works.

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