How To Care For your Pet Dog

He will be there by your side, as your loving companion – he will offer you protection if ever the need arises. Pet dog owners in turn must know how to look after their pet dog, and be responsible for it. The dog’s needs are simple and easy to follow. When puppies come home they need lots of love and attention. They may stress a little at first, as this is probably the first time they are away from their mother and their littermates. It is important that you begin the process of socialization, generally integrating your new pet into your family and teaching it to relate to people and other animals through gentle play, interaction and having pleasant encounters with family friends and pets

A stress free environment for your puppy

Try and avoid sudden loud noises such as children screaming or doors slamming. Also limit the visitors your new puppy has – gradually allowing it to get used to more and more strange faces.

Provide a warm comfortable bed – or alternatively a cardboard box with many layers of newspaper and a washable blanket on top. Make sure your puppy will still fit into it as it grows. Place the puppy’s bed where you want it to sleep as an adult or grown dog – usually the best place would be a quiet, private corner. For the first few nights – settling period – a fluffy toy and a warm (not hot) water bottle placed beneath the bedding will help. The puppy may be noisy and stresses at night immediately after separation from its littermates. A low radio or ticking clock can help sooth it.

When the puppy is awake during the day – give it lots of body contact and talk to your puppy in a soft voice to express friendship and a gruff voice to express disapproval of any of its unwanted actions.

Keeping your puppy safe

The following are things to consider when preparing for the arrival of a new puppy. Lock away household and garden chemicals.- Make sure electrical cords are out of biting reach.

Be extra careful when using lawnmowers, skateboards, roller blades or any other similar thing.

Make sure the puppy cannot get through’ any swimming pool fencing.

Teaching your puppy the house rules

The newest member of the ‘family pack’ must learn that you are the pack leader and that it is the bottom dog in the pack. Once the new puppy recognizes its place in the family hierarchy it will be happier and easily trained to obey commands. The puppy will look to its pack leader to protect it and make decisions for it.

Nutritional needs

It is best to start by feeding your puppy the same diet it ate before it joined your family. You can introduce any changes slowly over several days to avoid causing digestive upsets. Commercial puppy foods are recommended and later commercial adult food – a well balanced good quality dry food is essential. A constant supply of fresh clean water should be available. A deep stainless steel or earthenware bowl will keep the water cooler and in summer ice can be added to the water.

Play time with your Pet Dog

Puppies love to play and this helps them to grow and learn. In the early days when they play among their littermates, it gives them exercise and is the way in which they compete for their order in the pack. Don’t be rough with your puppy – but it’s also important in these early stages that your puppy learns that family members are dominant. Chewing helps puppies through teething – but it is also a way of investigating their environment. This need is easily satisfied with chewable objects and toys. Make sure they don’t resemble objects that you don’t want chewed, for example how does the puppy distinguish between his old shoe and all of the other shoes in the household?

Puppy Dog Potty Training

Anticipate toilet needs. Take your puppy outside as soon as it wakes up, as well as before and after every meal. Go right outside with your puppy – this is very important. Take it to a specific area of the garden and wait until it has finished – always praise the puppy afterwards.

The importance of Exercising your Pet Dog

A retractable leash is ideal for a puppy, in this way you can’t force the puppy to over exercise. Adult dogs also need exercise and play – walking a dog everyday is great, or play in the park with a ball or stick. If everyday is too hard to manage, try at least four times a week.

Grooming your Dog

Get your new dog used to being groomed, handled and examined as soon as possible. Your grooming equipment should include a dog brush and comb. Establish a daily routine where you examine your dogs mouth, teeth, eyes, ears, abdomen, paws and other parts of its anatomy, and although it may not need grooming do it anyway. If your dog is regularly groomed you will only need to wash it if it gets really dirty or smelly. It is best to use lukewarm water and give the dog a brush out first. Use a proper dog shampoo and dry it off with its own special dog towel, before it gets cold. Nails should be clipped as needed depending on the breed of the dog and the surface that the dog usually walks on. If it’s a hard surface they walk on the nails will wear down naturally. Special dog nail clippers are available – if you are not confident with this process ask your vet or a dog groomer to show you the process.

Following these simple steps will ensure you, your family and the newest edition to the family will have a happy, healthy and rewarding time together.

http://www.pet-library.com

(c) By Katharine Logan, 2005

Ataxia – Any Puppy or Dog Can Have or Get It

The word ataxia comes from the Greek. It means lack of order. It can show up in a puppy or dog, from the age of 3-4 weeks old to its senior years. It is a neurological disorder; producing a steady degeneration of a animal’s motor skills and mobility. In essence, it affects their coordination and balance.

Three Types of Ataxia

The three forms of ataxia are interconnected. They include:

Cerebellar Ataxia is the degeneration of the cerebellum’s cortex. It can and usually does affect other motor skills, most often starting with the head and neck then progresses to the limbs. The puppy or dog may position themselves at a wide stance to keep their balance, goose step their front legs (high step), appears to be stepping over things that are not there, they will in all probability have head and body tremors, and torso sways.

Sensory Ataxia occurs when the spinal cord is slowly and progressively compressed. It affects the dog’s ability to sense precisely where their limbs are and how to coordinate them; causing them to be unable to stand and/or walk with a wobbly, uncoordinated gait.

Vestibular Ataxia begins with the central and/or peripheral nervous system. It occurs when messages from the inner ear to the brain are scrambled. Usually the dog has a misleading sense of movement and/or hearing impairment. To compensate they often tilt their head, lean on people or objects to steady themselves, tip over, fall or roll over. The earliest signs is often noticed when the animal changes in how they move their head and neck.

When it affects the animal’s trunk, they may appear to walk just great, in a straight line, but stumble, stagger or even fall on quick, unexpected turns.

Signs and Symptoms to Watch For

A telltale sign there is a problem, is often exaggerated movements and changes in behavior. Other things to note include: head tilts to one side, tripping, falling, unable to get up, unsteady, wobbling (appears drugged or drunk), legs buckle, confusion, lack of coordination, hearing loss, excessive drowsiness to stupor like behavior, seizures, involuntary eye movements, usually up and down, drooling, facial paralysis, exaggerated steps with front legs, depression, when walking, (high-stepping or goose steps), crossing of limbs while walking, vertigo, avoids stairs and dark corners, unable to focus on task, lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting (due to motion sickness), and coma.

Most often, when the dog is at rest, or when they can focus visually on something on the horizon, the symptoms are not displayed or are not as pronounced.

Sources and Causes

The root sources of a puppy or dog’s ataxia are believed to be from: a genetic disorder (both parents carry the recessive gene), toxins, trauma, virus, seizures, ear infections, medications such as anti-seizure medications containing potassium bromide and phenobarbital. A growing number of veterinarians believe there may be a connection with dogs that have vestibular ataxia, to those that have received the antibiotics streptomycin, aminoglycoside and gentamicin.

Who Can Get Ataxia?

Puppies can be born with it, particularly should both parents be carriers of the recessive gene that causes it. Symptoms may be obvious in as early as 3-4 weeks of age. Others may develop it a bit later in life, and there are those who get it as late as their senior years, where it is referred to as Old Dog Vestibular Syndrome.

No breed is immune to ataxia. However, it most commonly it appears in: Airedale, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Australian Kelpie, Border Collie, Brittany Spaniel, Chinese Crested, Coton de Tulear, English Pointer, Kerry Blue Terrier, Golden Retriever, Gordon Setter, hounds (all types), Jack Russell Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Parson Terrier, Rough Coat Collie.

Diagnosis

Currently there is no cure for ataxia. There are measures you can take to maintain the quality of your pet’s life, for as long as possible. Depending on how severe your individual case is or how quickly the disease progresses. Interestingly, older dogs seem to respond quite well from their particular version of the disorder. They may not act like puppies again, but they can often regain some of their former self.

Following a physical examination, concentrating on your dog’s medical history, known history of their parentage, the dog’s age, time of onset, how quickly the disorder has progressed, and blood work, your veterinarian will refer you to a neurologist should they believe your dog may have ataxia. The neurologist will most likely do a CT scan, MRI and draw spinal fluid, before offering you their diagnosis and recommendations for further plans of action or that final difficult decision.

What You Can Do To Help Your Dog

If your dog is suffering from ataxia, try to keep them from slippery flooring such as tile and hardwood. Even something as small as a scatter rug or mat, will help them get a grip while trying to stand. In the winter, try to avoid icy areas.

Keeping their muscles toned up is imperative. Make lengths of walks and types of exercise reasonable. Stop often, to give your dog a chance to rest. Swimming is a wonderful way to exercise and tone up your pet, without stressing the limbs. Be sure you’re in the pool to support and encourage them.

If possible, avoid stairs or carry them up and down.

Leave a small light on at night or in darker areas of the house, to help them navigate their way around.

Crate them, if they are to be left unsupervised for any great length of time. It will reduce the odds of them getting injured.

Basically, just be there for them, to assist whenever they need you.

Bottom line: The rate of progression and its severity will be the determining factor on how you treat this disease. Talk to your veterinarian and neurologist. Ask the hard questions.

Whenever possible, find out if a DNA test has been performed for ataxia, on both parents of a prospective puppy. Remember, it is a recessive gene; if both parents have it; odds are eventually you will be faced with this problem.

Neuter or spay a carrier. Do not breed a dog that you know is the carrier of that gene. It will only perpetuate the disorder.

Make life as comfortable as possible, for as long as you can for your dog. It may take a bit more effort and sacrifice on your part, however your pet will appreciate it.

The Founding of a Thailand Dog Rescue – An Interview With Amandine Lecesne, Of Care For Dogs

Founding any animal rescue is not for the faint of heart. Founding a rescue in a foreign country filled with unfamiliar regulations and different cultural perception towards animals is downright intimidating, at least to almost any rational thinking human being. Yet without brave souls willing to take on such a task countless more animals in the world would suffer. Not to mention that serial volunteers, such as myself, would be without opportunities to help, at least without diving head on into founding an organization ourselves.

This summer marks the third anniversary of Care for Dogs in Chiangmai, Thailand, my favorite place to volunteer. Within their shelter walls I have whiled away hours socializing dogs one day, then the next day, I’ve escaped to spectacular gold-covered, Buddhist temples (wats) to help capture dogs for their spay/neuter program. I am eagerly counting the days until I can return and do much more. As a result of the gifts they have given to both me and to the animals of Northern, Thailand, I wanted to learn more.

Indeed, I wanted to get a peek inside the mind of one of those extraordinary folks who boldly go where even the most foolhardy rescuers have never gone before – establishing a rescue from the ground up. What makes these most intrepid of rescuers tick? Is it a passion for red-tape and astronomical odds, or is there more to it? The following is an interview with Amandine Lecesne. Amandine is one of the co-founders of Care for Dogs.

How did you get your start in animal rescue?

I grew up in the Alps in France and I remember watching the deer out my window and loving their grace. I learned a profound reverence for nature’s families. At thirteen, I stopped eating meat out of respect for animals and at 17, began dreaming of starting a shelter. Though I never set out to complete my dream, years later, when the opportunity presented itself to start Care for Dogs, I jumped on it!” What brought you to Thailand?

“I moved to Thailand in 2005 to work as a teacher and to do some volunteer work. I hadn’t found a passion yet, and I wanted to explore options. I had worked as a counselor and, once in Thailand, started working with immigrants. But once here, I couldn’t overlook the hundreds of street dogs limping, scrounging for scraps in trash, being kicked and hit, birthing litters on street corners, starving, walking around with tumors or open wounds, scratching fleas off, losing energy from the bloodsucking ticks riddling their bodies, and dying either from traffic accidents or of diseases. Helping the street dogs became a priority and it has been an incredible joy to see some of these creatures find safety and protection and even start wagging their tails again!”

What made you decide to start an animal rescue in Chiangmai?

“We set up a shelter/animal rescue group in Thailand primarily because there was such a tremendous need for one. Although all countries have a need for shelters/spay campaigns/adoption programs, etc, Thailand is one of the only countries whose overall human population really wanted to help reduce the stray/suffering dog population without resorting to eating dogs, but they just didn’t have the funds/knowledge to go about doing so in a kind and loving manner. It was obvious to us that there was both a really desperate need for an animal rescue group/shelter as well as a desire from the community to see such a program be put in place.”

When and how did you go about founding Care for Dogs?

“I developed an intimate friendship with Karin Hawelka who was as passionate about caring for the street dogs around our area as I was, and was as hopeful that, if we started a shelter, we could potentially attract enough financial support to really make a difference in the dogs’ lives. Though our rescue work started much earlier, our shelter officially opened June 2006. We’ve been expanding our efforts and impact ever since!”

What is your job like there?

“Unlike Karin who stays and maintains the shelter operations on a daily basis, I go back and forth between Thailand and the states (I go back to the US in part to work, in part to continue my studies). When I’m in Thailand, my job consists of giving vaccinations, bringing dogs to the vet to be spayed, cleaning wounds, administering ivermectin to dogs suffering from mange, putting IV lines in for dogs who need extra hydration, responding to emergency calls, helping with adoptions, deworming street dogs, doing heartworm tests (and giving the appropriate treatment if they test positive), caring for newborns, and often (unfortunately, too often) caring for dying and/or severely ill dogs.

What I enjoy doing the most, though, is going around the familiar temples and parking lots on which many dogs roam. I like checking in on the doggies to make sure they’re healthy, being looked after by neighboring street vendors, up to date on their vaccinations and deworming, free from ticks and fleas, as well as spayed/neutered. I love calling out when I arrive and having 4-7 dogs who know me come rushing out of bushes, corners, under benches, to say hi and eagerly receive kisses and belly rubs! These dogs are truly the loves of my life.”

What does your family think of your Care for Dogs work?

“My family has been extremely supportive of the work we do. They’ve had the opportunity to come to Thailand and see the issues first hand and therefore understand our inability to turn a blind eye to the animals’ suffering.”

What is the best rescue story you’ve seen?

“One of the best rescue stories we’ve seen started in September of 2007. It was at that time that several concerned children of an old lady that had recently passed away contacted Care for Dogs and explained that their kind elderly mother had been taking street dogs into her home for years. Although she’d had good intentions to provide a safe home for each of the rescues, she had felt pressured by her neighbors to keep them quiet and had resorted to locking them up in covered up cages so as to stop them from seeing anything that would alarm them, including each other.

Unfortunately, she knew, that a sad reality was that if the dogs barked too much, they could be poisoned or taken and sent away to the meat market by annoyed neighbors. When we got to her house, we were shocked and horrified to witness 14 dogs being kept in a constant state of loneliness and boredom. Although some were “fortunate” to be imprisoned with another dog, some were completely isolated in their own small dark space. Some of the dogs were at various stages of blindness, apparent from their white eyes and a couple were quite old and frail. All of them, though, were completely terrified of anything outside of their tiny 2 x 2 cell.

When they first arrived at the Care For Dog shelter, many of the 14 dogs were unable to leave the security of a corner or the darkness under a floor of a hut for quite some time, cowering with their tail between their legs. With our volunteers’ help and patient understanding, slowly but surely, they all emerged into the main area of the shelter and started getting some much needed play and socialization. Although the dogs have not all fully recovered from their neglect, we hope that some day, with the love and affection they continue to receive on a daily basis that they will! We’re incredibly grateful to have been a part of these dogs’ rescue and have enjoyed helping each of them start wagging their tails again.”

What are your goals for Care for Dogs?

“Our main priority is on spaying. Sterilizing is the only effective preventative method to reduce the number of unwanted street dogs. We are currently spaying between 400-500 dogs a year, though we hope to increase those numbers even further. We are also striving to see that every dog has a loving and forever home. To date, we have found homes for over 500 animals!

In general, we strive to work with communities so that families adopt stray dogs instead of purchasing purebreds, give them a stable and caring home, pet their dogs instead of hit them, spay/neuter them before reproductive age, and take them to the vet whenever they fall ill. Until that process is achieved, we will continue to work hard with communities, temples, schools, and families, to teach animal compassion, relating, bonding, and understanding.”

What volunteer opportunities exist at Care for Dogs?

“Individuals who wish to volunteer with us have the opportunity to come socialize our dogs by playing, grooming, bathing, or walking them. Many street dogs have never had the constant love and support volunteers can provide them! Our dogs, in turn, are always fond of newcomers who have a passion for helpers. They can sense good intentions and will eagerly jump on the occasion to be paid attention to. People can also help with vet trips and/or temple runs, learn to give injections and treat mange, pick up dogs who need to be spayed or taken to the vet for a physical, do heartworm tests, help with emergency calls, assist with writing articles for the website, aid us in fundraising or other types of administrative work. We also always have loads of opportunities for those wishing to help us with translations!”

What would you like the Thai people to know most about dogs in their country?

“I’d like everyone to realize just how incredibly caring and loving dogs can be. Because of the attachments that they are able to form, they can also be pained by the separation from those they’ve learned to care about. I’d like all humans to be simply more humane when interacting with animals, and understand that street dogs are frightened, hungry, and often hurting and that they would benefit so much from a kind gesture of food or hug. It’s important to remember that, a long time ago, human beings were the ones who brought wolves into their homes in order to protect their territory. We are the ones who transformed wolves into dogs and made them dependent on our care and affection. We therefore have a responsibility to them to hold up our part of the bargain – wolves and dogs have, for many centuries, protected and watched over us. Now it is our turn to protect and watch over them”

What would you like the people of the world to know most about the dogs of Thailand?,

“I would be grateful if people around the world would see and realize that many street dogs in Thailand are being at best ignored, but at worst abused, maltreated and harassed. It’s important to funnel our energy into programs, like Care for Dogs, which help local communities manage the street dog population with kindness, understanding and patience. I would also like the people of the world to realize that vet services in Thailand are a tenth cheaper than they would be in the West so you can imagine what a difference to our efforts even a small contribution can make!”

Is there anything else you would like to mention about the work of Care for Dogs?

“Our first priority is spaying female street, temple, parking lot and community dogs in order to reduce the number of homeless dogs in a humane way. Our current budget allows us to spay between 400-500 dogs per year. After spaying, we keep the dogs for one week at our shelter for after-care before they are returned to their original areas. We wish we could keep all street dogs with us but due to limitations in space, we just can’t! We’re convinced, however, that spaying the ones we do find will inevitably reduce the overpopulation and limit the suffering future generations will have to endure.

Additionally, vaccinations are a very important part of our protocol for homeless dogs. Deworming, heartworm prevention, de-flea and de-tick treatments are also a regular part of our health care program. Once the dogs are healthy and spayed, we actively look for new homes for the dogs at our shelter. For every dog that’s adopted, we can take a new one to our shelter. Last year we found new homes for 202 dogs and cats, and this year, 180 homes were found!

Furthermore we operate a rescue-service. We regularly take in sick or injured dogs for treatment. On average, we have approx. 20 – 30 dogs staying at the shelter for medical treatment. Last, but not least, we have organized an educational program named “Professor Paws”. We work with local schools to enable school classes to visit our shelter, sensitizeing the kids and teachers to the homeless dog situation. Last year, we also started a school project in a temple where we introduced a group of students to basic dog care and organized spayings, vaccinations and feeding. The students even organized various fundraising events (e.g. movie nights or bake sales) to help raise funds for this project.

We are also currently developing future school-temple projects as well as dog-care workshops for dog owners in surrounding villages. “

As you see Amandine and fellow co-founder Karin Hawelka are as irrepressible as they are inspirational. Perhaps to some people establishing an animal rescue simply feels like the most natural thing on Earth. Brave souls!