December 2014

Be Not Afraid

Okay, readers, it’s confession time. I’m about to tell you something that I haven’t ever confessed in these pages, not even hinted at it in 17 years: I once was so pig-ignorant about dog care that I allowed my dog – my best friend at the time, my stalwart, beloved Border Collie Rupert, to develop heartworm disease. It’s true, and deeply painful to think about now.   More...

Spice It Up!

Maybe you’ve heard about turmeric? It’s all the rage, you know. I’ve recently been exploring the 4,000-year-old history of human use of this plant product and what it can do for you and your dog. Though I’ve had turmeric sitting in my spice cabinet for longer than I can remember, it wasn’t until February of last year that I found out just how beneficial this plant-based substance can be for people and for dogs.   More...

Home Care to Save Teeth

Subscribers Only — Cooper, my service-dog-in-training, trotted briskly at the side of my power wheelchair as we headed to the veterinary clinic, a mile from home. He was overdue for a routine dental cleaning, and my regular veterinary clinic was not within rolling distance. I decided to take a chance on a new vet, since it was just a standard dental cleaning. I dropped him off and rolled back home, relieved that I was finally able to afford the procedure.   More...

Alternative Approach

Subscribers Only — The position of the American Heartworm Association is crystal clear: The group believes that a fast-kill approach using Immiticide is the only medically responsible action for treating the parasite.   More...

Heart of the Matter

Subscribers Only — Heartworms might more accurately be called heart-and-lung-worms; these life-threatening parasites are almost as frequently found in the lungs of infected dogs as their hearts. But perhaps the term also references the owners of infected dogs, because when we learn our beloved dog has been diagnosed with these horrid parasites, our hearts are very much affected, if only figuratively. Treatment for heartworm can be risky, expensive, and inconvenient – altogether, quite a source of fear and anxiety for dog owners. The more information you have before initiating treatment, though, the better you will be able to support your dog through the process.   More...

The Right Tool at the Right Time

Subscribers Only — Few dogs behave in ways that please us all day every day – especially puppies, adolescent dogs, or newly adopted adult dogs who have little experience living closely with humans. “Training” is what we usually call our formal efforts to teach dogs how to behave in ways that please us more – and most frequently, dog owners use that term to describe what is needed to prevent their dogs from causing chaos in or destruction…   More...

Fear Itself

Recently, on the drive home from our annual vacation in Maine, our 11-year-old Brittany, Vinny, suddenly and inexplicably awoke from a sound sleep, and began to tremble, pant, pace, and obsessively lick at the sides of his travel crate. When I crawled back over the seat to find out what was wrong, I observed that Vinny’s eyes were “squinty,” and he avoided looking at me as he continued to lick and pant.   More...

Five Things To Do To Determine How Much To Feed Your Dog

Subscribers Only — Each and every one of the six people who adopted the puppies I fostered recently asked me the same question: “How much should I feed him?” I was surprised the first time, and cracking up by the last time I heard the inevitable question. “How much to feed” is not something I’ve ever struggled with or worried about. And yet, it must be a problem! Just look at the dogs at your local park or in the waiting room at your vet’s office – most of them are quite frankly obese! So here a few basic guidelines.   More...