Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

With Halloween is just around the corner, your home will probably be filled extra sweets and candies. If the kiddies and the grown ups don't munch on them all before the big day, your furry children may try to get their share. Chocolate is toxic to dogs because it contains theobromine, which is a stimulant found in the cocoa bean. It's similar to caffeine and is used medicinally as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, and a smooth muscle … [Read more...]

Halloween Costumes for Pets

With Halloween just a couple of weeks away, this can be a fun time of the year for both you and your pets.  In a future post, I will I go over some of the steps you can take to keep your dog safe and free from anxiety when the tricker-or-treaters come around. For now, let's talk costumes! According to the National Retail Federation’s Halloween Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, Americans are projected to spend $1 on … [Read more...]

October Is ‘Adopt A Shelter Dog’ Month

If you are willing to open your heart and home to a dog in need, now is a good a time to do it. There are so many wonderful dogs in shelters waiting to be adopted. Unfortunately some people think that if a dog ends up in a shelter it must be their fault, he’s a biter or barks too much or urinates in the house, so they shy away from adopting a “problem” dog. It’s simply not true. There are great dogs in shelters, they just need a second chance. I have … [Read more...]

Mushroom Poisoning in Dogs

When my oldest Chihuahua, Carl was about three years old, he suddenly became very lethargic and started vomiting. I took him to my vet. After running some blood tests the vet discovered very high liver enzymes in Carl’s test results. One of the first questions the doctor asked me was, do you think he might have eaten a poisonous mushroom. It never occurred to me that such a dangerous hazard could be in my own backyard. Carl was not a dog that generally … [Read more...]

Flea Season Is Here

Now that autumn has arrived you might think flea season is coming to a close. Think again! This time of year, even here in Pennsylvania, fleas are thriving. In fact, as the days grow cooler fleas are still everywhere. Although fleas and tics are generally found in the woods and high grasses your dog can still pick up fleas no matter where he is. Many years ago when we lived in New Jersey, in a busy suburb of New York, I did not think fleas were a … [Read more...]

Driving With Dogs

Many years ago we adopted a beautiful Pembroke Welsh Corgi name Rae, who was a retired show dog.  When we went to pick her up, the breeder put Rae in a sturdy travel crate and carefully placed her in the back seat of my car for the ride home. She showed me how to fasten the seat belt correctly and emphasized how important this was. I will never forget the story she told me. She said to always drive with your dog secured in a strong crate for safety. … [Read more...]

The Search and Rescue Dogs of 9/11

This week marks the 14th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and the flight that was taken down in Pennsylvania. For most of us, we remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that tragic day. I still cannot get through September 11th without shedding some tears. A strong memory of that day for me was sitting outside with my dog, a sweet Corgi, named Rae. It was completely … [Read more...]

Guilty Dog Face or Just a Good Faker?

We've seen the dog shaming memes where pets are photographed with signs explaining what they did wrong. And boy do they look guilty! They just tore up a box of tissues, grabbed some chicken bones out of the garbage bin, or left a stinky mess in the hallway. Our lovable yet trying fur children act just like human kids when we've caught them drawing with crayons on the wall. But is that apologetic shame they are expressing or are we anthropomorphizing … [Read more...]

National Dog Day shifts to August 31 next year

As so many people observed online with photos of their furry friends, National Dog Day was this past Wednesday. It's been traditionally held on August 26 of each year since its founding in 2004 by Colleen Paige. However, due to a calendar conflict with Women's Equality Day, National Dog Day will be observed next year on August 31. According to their website, "National Dog Day serves to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need … [Read more...]

Popcorn Paws and Frito Feet

Do your dog's paws smell like popcorn or corn chips? No it's not your imagination. Some people do think they detect the scent of a late night snack when they whiff their furry friend's feet. I wrote about this in my first book, Dog Show Confidential - Sneaking in the Back Door of Westminster. My dogs' paws remind me of popcorn - AND I LOVE IT! For the most part, a case of the popcorn paws or frito feet is nothing to worry about. According to The Daily … [Read more...]

What I Learned About Parvo (Canine Parvovirus)

A few weeks ago a pit bull mix puppy named Topaz was brought into the shelter where I volunteer. She was in bad shape, covered in mange and very thin. But in spite of her condition, she had plenty of energy, love and personality to share with everyone around her. She was put into isolation and given medication for her mange. "Mange is a skin disease of mammals caused by parasitic mites and occasionally communicable to humans. It typically causes severe … [Read more...]

Tips For Including A Dog In Your Wedding

I have attended two doggie weddings. Each was complete with a bridal party, flowers and cakes for dog and human guests. Both involved Chihuahuas. One was quite formal, the pretty Chihuahua bride was dressed in a lovely, long white gown and the groom looked quite smart in his tuxedo. The other wedding was a bit more casual. That wedding was for my oldest Chihuahua, Carl’s parents, BamBam and Baja. My dear friend, Barb, the owner of the happy couple … [Read more...]

Chester’s Final Journey – a rescue dog’s story

Several heart-warming stories about loving dog owners treating their terminal pets to a grand farewell have made the news recently. One was Neil Rodriguez from New York City who took his 16-year-old dog Poh on a seven-week, 12,000 mile bucket list trek across the country. But another story hit especially close to home because this one involved a shelter dog. His name is Chester, a mixed breed with maybe a little miniature schnauzer in him. In April, he … [Read more...]

Are Small Dogs Harder To Train Than Big Dogs?

A question I am often asked is, are small dogs hard to train? The simple answer is yes! The first small dog I had was a Pomeranian. He was only two pounds when I got him and completely adorable, that is until he started biting everyone in the house. He also decided that his favorite place to urinate was under the dining room table. Clearly, I had a problem. Charlie, as we called him was one bad little dog! But I was determined to train him … [Read more...]

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe During the Summer Heat

With temperatures approaching triple digits in many places across the country, it is now more important than ever to take extra precaution in keeping your dog cool and safe during the the extreme heat. I have always subscribed to the guiding rule that if it was too hot for me outside, it was too hot for my pet. Many many pet owners forget that hot surfaces like asphalt and cement can be especially problematic. Animals walking so close to the ground … [Read more...]

Why Do Dogs Roll in Smelly Stuff?

Last weekend I gave a bath to Kate, my Long Coat Chihuahua. She looked so pretty, her cream colored coat was fluffy and soft. Kate smelled of French vanilla and white tea. All combed and dry she was allowed to go play outside. When she came back in wagging her lovely tail, I noticed a strong stench in the house. It was enough to gag the strongest of stomachs. It smelled like a very long dead ground hog. I went to investigate and found the unfortunate … [Read more...]

Are You Making Your Dog Fat?

When you go to the grocery store do you check out the calories on the food you buy? I do and would like to think I try to purchase healthy food items and snacks for me and my family. But what about your pet? But do you also check the calorie content of the snacks you buy your pet? Do you look for healthy food and treats for your best friend? If your dog is overweight, maybe you need to take a good look at what they are eating. When I had my two … [Read more...]

H3N2 Canine Flu – What You Need to Know

H3N2 Canine Influenza, the contagious respiratory virus, has continued to make headlines ever since reports surfaced in April of more than 1,000 dogs sickened in the Chicago area. Now positive tests for H3N2 have been reported in the past few days in Ohio, Michigan, and Georgia in addition to previous reports from Alabama, California, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Iowa and Indiana. You can check out the Emerging Disease … [Read more...]

Heart Disease in Dogs

When my first Chihuahua, Carl was three years old, my vet gave him about six months to live. Little Carl was diagnosed with a heart murmur and a possible liver shunt. Needless to say I was devastated. However Carl seemed just fine and had no symptoms at all. His heart murmur was significant but it turned out he did not have a liver shunt. Carl’s liver enzymes were high but with some natural vitamins, (milk thistle is known to aid in liver support) his … [Read more...]

Reiki For Animals

Many people have asked me about my experience with Reiki for shelter animals and how I got started. About a year ago I began to feel the need to do more for animals less fortunate than mine. I looked at my pack of well-fed and pampered pooches and thought about the dogs that did not have homes and laps to sit in. I knew I had to do something. I began to work more closely with one of the local shelters called Peaceable Kingdom Animal Shelter. We … [Read more...]

Rosco and Brutus Get New Lease on Life

Here's a couple of heart-warming stories in the news this month about dogs who were given fresh starts thanks to medical advances and some caring owners. The first is a four-month old pitbull rescue named Rosco who was born with a rare deformity that left his front legs partially bent backwards like "flippers." But Asheville, NC veterinarian Dr. David Crouch performed surgery on Rosco to fix his limbs thanks in part to the Asheville Humane Society which … [Read more...]

The Truth About Pit Bulls

The first pit bull I met was at a dog show. He was called Petey, named after the dog from the The Little Rascals. Petey was extremely sweet and wanted to sit in everyone’s lap. He was not much of a fighting dog to say the least. Sadly many people think of these dogs as dangerous, vicious animals bred only for fighting. Unfortunately there are still people who associate themselves with this horrific sport. One famous case was that of football player, … [Read more...]

How Much Money Did You Spend On Your Dog Last Year?

Do you feed your dog the best and most expensive dog food money can buy? Do you dress them in cute costumes? Do you feel as though you are helping to put your Vet’s son through medical school? If you answered yes, you are not alone. The American Pet Products Association’s annual report on pet industry spending says Americans spent a record 58 billion dollars on their pets last year. The report goes on to say that most of the money is spent on food, … [Read more...]

Puppy Love and the Role of Oxytocin

Does your dog love you? I mean does it really feel the affection and emotional connection you feel for it? Some people would say that our pets only truly appear to care for us in a reciprocal manner because we feed them and take care of their other basic creature comforts. But even though I am no scientist, I do believe there is more to it than that. In my heart and mind, I love all my dogs unconditionally and sense they share that feeling. According … [Read more...]

Smiley, the Blind Therapy Dog

This week there was a lot of unsettling news from the dog show world.  But stay tuned and I'll bring you the uplifting story of one golden retriever called 'Smiley' who was born without eyes yet still manages to work as a therapy dog. First,  there was the death of champion three-year-old Irish setter named Jagger at Crufts, the world's biggest dog show hosted by the Kennel Club in the UK since 1891. The official autopsy showed that Thendara … [Read more...]

Are You Allergic to Dogs?

When I was a child, everyone in my neighborhood had a dog. However, I don't remember anyone claiming to suffer from pet allergies.  In my home, we always had pets like dogs, cats, and assorted rodents. You name it, we had at least one or two or six. As a teenager I began to develop symptoms of pet allergies, especially to our cats. I was always sneezing and rubbing my itchy eyes. I asked my father (the doctor) if he thought I was allergic to cats. He … [Read more...]

In Dog World, A.I. Does Not Mean Artificial Intelligence

Many years ago, when I first entered the dog show world, my friend asked me to join her at an owner-handler meeting. The club honored and promoted those involved with the industry. Since I was brand new to the show world, I had no idea what to expect. As I sat and listened, they talked in great depth about the subject of A.I. To me, that term referred to artificial intelligence - like something in relation to computer software. There was even a Steven … [Read more...]

Beagle Miss P Scores Upset and Wins Best in Show at Westminister

For just the second time in history, a beagle has won top prize at the Westminister Kennel Club and Dog Show. Miss P, handled by William Alexander, is also the grandniece of Uno, who became the first beagle to win Best In Show back in 2008. Miss P pulled the upset Tuesday evening at the 139th edition of the famous event held in Madison Square Garden. David Merriam judged the final round, which also included Matisse, a Portuguese water dog that was the … [Read more...]

The 139th Westminster Dog Show Begins This Weekend

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is billed as the world's most famous and prestigious canine event since 1877. In a couple of days, thousands of people will converge on Madison Square Garden in New York City to root for their favorite breed. Millions more will watch the event on television. Some people may ask themselves what is really going on - what is the judge looking for and why is that dog better than the other one. A lot of people simply … [Read more...]

A Little History Lesson About The Westminster Dog Show

The Westminster Kennel Club's 139th Annual Dog Show will take place in February at New York's Madison Square Garden. Almost everyone is familiar with its name. But how did this famous show get started? Around the year 1876 a group of gentleman met in their favorite bar in New York City. They shared stories about hunting and shooting, certainly trying hard to out do one and other, I’m sure. But mostly their favorite topic was discussing the qualities and … [Read more...]

DOGS 101: What is a Chihuahua?

I am often asked questions about the Chihuahua, the breed I know and love. Maybe I can answer the most common inquiries, so here goes with Chihuahua 101. Like many dog breeds there are many theories as to where the Chihuahua originated. According to the “The Complete Dog Book” (The official publication of the American Kennel Club), most theories point to ancient Mexico where carvings and remains of small dogs have been discovered by archeologists. These … [Read more...]

Hope for Lost Dogs

Dogs go missing everyday, some escape their yards, others get away from even the most responsible owners, some are stolen and sadly some dogs are simply abandoned. Last week an older dog with poor eyesight wandered away from his home in our area. This dog was very well loved and his owners were heartbroken and desperate to find him. I first learned about the missing dog from our volunteer website for Peaceable Kingdom Animal Shelter. This dog had been … [Read more...]

New Dog Breeds For 2015

As we roll into mid January, The Westminster Dog Show looms around the corner. It is always an exciting time of year for the dog show community. Every year the AKC adds a new breed or two. New breeds that would like to achieve recognition must have a strong backing by their fanciers. Clubs are formed to support the breed and perfect the conformation of their dogs. Three hundred purebred dogs of a new breed are needed to be eligible for AKC … [Read more...]

Most Popular Dog Names of 2014 – Bella & Max Are Tops

So what are the most popular dog names of 2014?  It depends on who you ask. So I peaked around the internet and found some interesting surveys and polls. Traditionally, people have named their puppies after descriptive traits. Hence names like Spot, Patches, Blackie, Whitey, Brownie, Midnight, Pepper, Ginger, Goldie, Fluffy, Freckles, Scruffy, and Tiny. Or they've used names that show personality like Lady, King, Prince, Princess, Cuddles, Nibbles, … [Read more...]

A Rescue Dog’s Christmas Poem

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND BEST WISHES FOR 2015! Hope you all have a furry friend to snuggle with and lots of sloppy puppy kisses during this special holiday season. And thank you dear readers for all your wonderful support this past year. Here is one of my favorite poems. Please remember to support your local shelter. They need help throughout the year.   A Rescue Dog's Christmas Poem ‘Tis the night before Christmas and all through the … [Read more...]

Derby the Dog With 3D Paws

Derby was born with deformed forearms and front paws. However, a South Carolina-based 3D printing and manufacturing company has been able to give Derby a new lease on life by fitting him with 3D-printed prosthetics. Previously he had only been able to roam with limited mobility with the aid of a modified cart. And without that, he could barely get around on hard surfaces. Tara Anderson, a CJP Project Manager with Rock Hill, SC-based 3D Systems, was … [Read more...]

What NOT To Gift For Christmas

I was recently on a TV show called “All About Dogs.” The theme of this episode was toys for Christmas featuring toy dogs such as Chihuahuas. The producer and host, Pat Mock, an experienced dog person, affiliated with the Berks County Kennel Club was the interviewer. I brought Rocky, my smooth coat Chihuahua and puppy, Jacques, a long coat along with me. Pat and I discussed the various aspects of the breed, temperament, health, history, etc. It was a … [Read more...]

Dog Stories For This Thanksgiving

On this wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, I'm highlighting a heartwarming story about the heartiness of the canine spirit. My own dogs' companionship and loyalty is something I am thankful for every day of the year. In Ecuador, a scruffy, miserable stray dog befriended a group of Swedish adventurers participating in the 430-mile Adventure Racing World Championship through the Amazon Rain Forest. Mikael Lindnord, of Team Peak Performance, who fed the … [Read more...]

The Challenges of Adopting a Puppy Mill Dog

According to the Human Society "it is estimated that there are at least 10,000 puppy mills in the U.S. Fewer than 3,000 of these are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture." Approximately 2.5 million canines are born in puppy mills annually according to The Puppy Mill Project. So what is a puppy mill? That depends on who you ask. The ASPCA considers it a "large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the … [Read more...]

How to Raise the Perfect Puppy

Puppies bring joy and unconditional love into a home. There is nothing sweeter than a soft happy puppy. But all that cuteness needs serious training to grow into a good dog. Many a “cute” pup ends up in a shelter because their human did not dedicate enough time to training. Puppies demand a lot of care and structure in their routine to learn good manners. I have raised and trained many puppies and have learned that a crucial element - and one that is … [Read more...]

November Is Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month

Did you know that November is National Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month? Of course there is never a bad time to consider taking in an older animal. In fact, according to a PetFinder.com survey, "less-adoptable" pets wait for a home nearly four times longer than the average adoptable pet does - and sometimes more than two years! The ASPCA published their Top Ten Reasons to adopt a an older dog. They include the fact that they are easier to train, they settle … [Read more...]

A Day at the Peaceable Kingdom Animal Shelter

Last Sunday, in the middle of the night, a young, purebred Pitt Bull Terrier was abandoned in the parking lot of Peaceable Kingdom Animal Shelter, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The temperature was hovering just above freezing. The dog was left in a crate wedged between two dumpsters on the side of the building. At around 2AM the driver of the trash pick up truck spotted the dog as he was making his rounds. The dog was scared and cold but otherwise unharmed. … [Read more...]

Good News for Bentley the Ebola Dog

Last week I wrote about two dogs which had been effected by the Ebola virus. Excalibur was euthanized by Madrid authorities despite protests across Spain. However, there is great news for Bentley, the 1-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel belonging to Texas Health Presbyterian nurse Nina Pham. According to health officials with the city of Dallas, he has tested free of the virus and will remain in isolation for the remainder of his 21-day monitoring … [Read more...]

Ebola and the Life & Death of Two Dogs

As a dog lover, two recent stories involving the Ebola virus tugged at my emotions most dearly.  First, we heard of the story from Spain where a mixed-breed dog named Excalibur was euthanized as a preventative measure. Its owner, Teresa Romero Ramosa, was a nurse's aid who had become infected with the deadly virus after taking care of a priest who died of Ebola in September. Then most recently in Dallas, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Bentley was … [Read more...]

Dog Intelligence and the Science Behind their Affection

In case you missed Sunday's fascinating 60 Minutes segment entitled The Smartest Dog in the World about the scientific research on dog intelligence. Anderson Cooper interviewed eighty-six-year-old retired psychology professor Dr. John W. Pilley Jr. Ph.D and his border collie Chaser, a dog who could identify over a thousand toys. It turns out that most two-year-old toddlers know about 300 words, and Chaser's vocabulary is three times that. In fact in a … [Read more...]

The Healing Practice of Reiki for Dogs

For the past few months I have been working on my certification to become a Reiki practitioner for both humans and animals. I have always had an interest in this practice and have received treatments myself in the past. But a few months ago I had what you could say was a a calling to learn Reiki. My ultimate goal was to use its healing power on shelter dogs as well as my own pets. I found a wonderful master teacher, Dr. Anthony Wojnar. He was a student … [Read more...]

Is My Mutt Smarter Than Your Show Dog?

Did you know that purebred dogs are becoming dumber with each generation? Well, according to animal behaviorist, Kenth Svartberg, modern breeding techniques have led to this problem. [Source: My mutt's smarter than your pedigree] He says that modern breeders only want “pretty dogs.” They are no longer concerned with what the animal was originally meant for, such as herding or hunting. He calls toy dogs, such as Chihuahuas, “handbag dogs” made popular by … [Read more...]

Causes and Treatments of Ear infections in Dogs

Our Japanese Chin, Yoshi is the only dog in the house who has had several episodes of ear infections. She started having problems a few years ago. I first noticed her scratching her ear, and shaking her head. Her ear was quite irritated and had an unpleasant smell. Off to the vet we went. Yoshi had an infection in both ears. Our vet put her on a regiment of ear cleaner and antibiotics. This helped and the infection cleared up nicely. But then it … [Read more...]

Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

Will Rogers once said "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they go." I believe dogs go to heaven, how could there be a true heaven without dogs? Last week my beloved dog, Jack passed away suddenly. I am completely devastated. Words cannot express my sorrow. I first met Jack when he was five months old. I remember seeing him for the first time at a friend’s house. He came over to me and begged to be picked up. He had … [Read more...]

Did You Know About National Dog Day?

Tuesday, August 26th was National Dog Day. I am ashamed to admit I did not know there was such a thing. Of course everyday should be National Dog Day as far as I’m concerned. This special day, now celebrating its 10 anniversary, was put aside to appreciate our beloved dogs and also to raise awareness and help shelters and rescues find homes for the overwhelming number of unwanted dogs. We should always appreciate our best friends, but if this day can … [Read more...]