Monthly Archives: November 2020

Does My Dog Need a Coat?

When the mercury drops and the snow flies, you can almost hear a swish of canine hearts as they take to the sky. Most, that is, but not all of them. There are dogs that long to avoid even a hint of Jack Frost altogether. While others, look forward to this most wonderful time of the year, age and health conditions can start to make cold a more difficult foe to contend with.

To help our beloved friends we can add an extra layer of warmth for insulation, but when does a dog need a coat?

While it would be phenomenal to simply plug a few variables into an algorithm and find out if our four-legged friends are uncomfortably chilled and at what temperature they would appreciate an extra layer, unfortunately, the result would always be: it depends.

dog coats
If your dog is cold, their behavior will tell you. Photo: munro1/Getty Images

When are dog coats needed?

Physiologically speaking, dogs have the ability to maintain their body temperature within optimal boundaries even when the surrounding temperature differs based, in large part, on several factors. Quite literally size matters and when it comes to body heat retention, typically, the bigger the dog, the lower the temperature they will be able to joyfully frolic in. In addition, coat quality, activity level, age, health, and the conditions to which a dog is acclimatized are also important factors.

Nature is full of surprising tricks that can change the equation, however, and rather quickly too.

Should a typically cold-hardy, extra-large Great Pyrenees, who was born and raised in Northern Minnesota, develop diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or a hormonal imbalance (such as Cushing’s disease) – physiological conditions that make regulating body temperature a challenge—she very likely would benefit from the addition of an extra layer.

does my dog need a coat?
To help our beloved friends we can add an extra layer of warmth for insulation, but when does a dog need a coat? Photo: South_agency/Getty Images

Your dog will tell you if he needs a jacket

If your dog is cold, their behavior will tell you. They may seem reluctant to go outside, walk very slowly, exhibit whining or barking, even shivering or trembling. Should you share your heart and home with a stoic-dog who will endure pain and hardship without much fanfare, your job is a bit harder. You have to watch closely and look for subtle changes in their typical daily behavior and those that may seem totally unrelated to cold. It can take some sleuthing, but once you identify it, you’ll never miss it again.

The most important thing we can do for our four-legged friends is to become a keen observer, especially as the conditions change outside and within them over time. Like all relationships, developing this awareness takes work, but it’s work that is so worth doing.

Read Next: The Best Dog Winter Coats and Jackets

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The Changing Role & Responsibility of Rescues & Shelters

There may have been a time when schools only needed to be charged with teaching students reading, writing and arithmetic. But as society changes schools become responsible for instruction that either used to be provided at home, or represents a new field of study. When I was in high school we had a choice of […]

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Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting

Victoria and Aly talk about how to be more effective when learning and working from home. Social distancing is the thing these days, but how do we keep from going nuts and what are the best practices to stay productive and efficient when working or learning from home. Dealing with the social aspect of isolation. Aly shares some top tips for how to be productive while staying home, including staying engaged and avoiding passivity. The use of rituals of physical, technical and mental preparation in staying efficient at home.

The post Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting first appeared on Victoria Stilwell Positively.

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Successful Rescue of Seven Newborn Puppies from Under an Arizona House

Ingenious puppy rescue on GoPro video

In mid-October, a call came into the Arizona Humane Society’s (AHS) Emergency Dispatch in from someone who reported seeing free-roaming adult dogs entering and exiting a hole under an abandoned Phoenix house slated for demolition. When the two AHS Emergency Animal Medical Technicians™ (EAMTs), Theresa Scheckel and Dan McGrath, arrived on the scene, witnesses told them they believed the female dog had recently given birth, but that the puppies were nowhere to be found.

A video clip of the operation shows two malnourished adult dogs squeezing through a narrow gap between the building and the ground and excitedly responding to Scheckel and McGrath’s whistles and coaxing. The dogs seem people-friendly, and the female looks to be a nursing mother.

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Snake Avoidance Training: Your Questions Answered

Last month I shared my positive reinforcement snake-avoidance training protocol).

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Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting

Victoria and Aly talk about how to be more effective when learning and working from home. Social distancing is the thing these days, but how do we keep from going nuts and what are the best practices to stay productive and efficient when working or learning from home. Dealing with the social aspect of isolation. Aly shares some top tips for how to be productive while staying home, including staying engaged and avoiding passivity. The use of rituals of physical, technical and mental preparation in staying efficient at home.

The post Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting first appeared on Victoria Stilwell Positively.

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Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

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Taffy and Hadley: A Beautiful Friendship

dog friendship

Taffy and Hadley have a beautiful friendship that is heartwarming to everyone who knows them. I rescued Taffy, a 12 lb. Chihuahua Terrier mix about 14 years ago. She will be 16 this December. She has one eye and is mostly blind as well as mostly deaf. About a year ago she started having a mild cough that quickly became chronic and serious. We were at our vet every 2-4 weeks for the first several months, for bloodwork, x-rays, ultrasound, etc. She’s now being treated for chronic bronchitis and will be on steroids for the rest of her life. She also has canine dementia which is heartbreaking to watch. She’s a very different little girl than she used to be. But aren’t we all as we get older.

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Dogs Are Testing Positive For New Tick-Borne Bacteria

New species of bacteria identified that may cause disease in dogs and humans.
dog tick borne disease

Researchers have identified a new species of Rickettsia bacteria that may cause significant disease in dogs and humans.

This new, yet-unnamed species, initially identified in three dogs, is part of the spotted-fever group Rickettsia which includes Rickettsia rickettsii, the bacteria that cause Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF).

Rickettsia pathogens fall into four groups; of those, spotted-fever group Rickettsia (which ticks transmit) is the most commonly known and contains the most identified species. There are more than 25 species of tick-borne, spotted-fever group Rickettsia species worldwide, with R. rickettsii being one of the most virulent and dangerous.

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How to Take a Great Photo of Your Dog

For fab holiday pictures, focus on your dog’s natural behaviors.
How to Take Photo of Dog

Dogs are beautiful, charming, endearing—in fact, they ought to be in pictures. While this is true year-round, it’s especially appropriate this year, when many of us are doing our best to inject some fun into pandemic-beleaguered holidays. Focusing on our fabulous dogs is a good way to do that. Read on for ways to optimize the results.

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