Monday, February 29, 2016

7 Dog Books For Children

I've written a couple times on good literature about our canine friends: 5 Must Reads and 5 Must Reads- Part II. I have yet to list Children's books that theme around dogs. So, here 'ya go. All of these are classics and may bring a smile to your face when you see the images on the covers (I know I smiled):

For the beginning reader. It's fun and silly while teaching opposites and sight words.

A very clever story for younger children about a mischievous dog's adventures while avoiding a bath.

Wonderful, classical illustrations and feeds into the child's imagination.

I love, love, LOVED this book as a kid.

For the older child. A really heart-warming and heart-wrenching story.

Another heart-wrenching-tearjerker for the older kids.

Not so much about dogs, but it has a main character that is a dog-- The Watch Dog. This book has a lot of word play and wit to challenge older children.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Cranberries For UTI Health in Canines

The secret of cranberries and maintaining a healthy urinary tract has been passed down from generation to generation. It is now not so much a secret and could be said to be general knowledge. I bet the majority of you have been told to drink cranberry juice when suffering from a bladder infection. But, are cranberries really all that effective for treating urinary tract infections (UTI) and can they be used for canines?

Little research has been done on the effectiveness of cranberries on canine urinary tract health, BUT a lot of research has been done on humans. Of all the reading I have done for canines on cranberries, it seems that most veterinarians are using the human research to shed light on canine health. In addition, it seems that a lot of canine owners are praising the benefits of cranberries for helping their furry family members.

There does seem to be some confusion on how cranberries help with UT health.  It is often told that cranberries help by lowering the PH in urine, thus making it more acidic and killing off the bacteria. However, this seems to be just a wives tale passed on from generation to generation. In fact, it looks like cranberries help by making it difficult for bacteria to attach to the bladder wall tissue. If the bacteria can't attach, they can't multiply and just float around until they are flushed out with urine. It should also be noted that cranberries are not very effective in curing an already blazing urinary tract infection. You need antibiotics for that. Cranberries are helpful for maintaining a healthy urinary tract. This, in turn, reduces the chances of an infection. If your dog has chronic bladder infections, it is wise to work with your veterinarian to find out why. It could be a diet issue or an anatomical issue. As always, if you are supplementing your dog, you should always let your veterinarian know. Some medication and supplements don't work well together.

Aside from helping with UT health, cranberries are...well, like most berries... super healthy. They are rich in vitamins A, B1, B2 and C. In addition, they have abundant minerals and antioxidants. A daily dosage would be as follows:
  • Cats and small dogs: 100mg/ 3 times a day
  • Medium dogs: 200 mg/ 3 times a day
  • Large dogs: 300 mg/ 3 times a day
  • Giant dogs: 400 mg/ 3 times a day
If you would like to read more on cranberries for UTI health, here are some helpful links:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

George Washington's Dogs

This past Monday was President's Day, so I thought I would pay tribute by writing a post on our first President, George Washington and his dogs. In fact, it would not be a long stretch to say that George Washington may not have ever been our first President if it wasn't for his dogs.

George Washington was an avid dog breeder and fox hunter. During his years living in Virginia (before he ever became President), Washington would spend two or three times a week fox hunting. He loved his hunting dogs and bred them specifically for the sport. His knowledge of animal breeding and husbandry came from being a devoted farmer. He would keep dairy upon dairy accounting the process of dog breeding specifically for hunting. Eventually, this passion of his created a unique breed of Foxhounds that he called "Virginia Hounds".

Fast forwarding a little bit in time--- The British rule over the American Colonies was becoming a bit awkward. Discontent was arising and the Continental Congress was formed to discuss the relationship between the colonies and King George III. Their first meeting was in Philadelphia and George Washington attended as the Representative of the Colony of Virginia.  During his time in Philadelphia, George Washington started to get a bit antsy with the fact that he could not just whisk his dogs away for a bi-weekly fox hunt and had to resort to walking his favorite dog, Sweet Lips, down the sidewalks of the city for exercise. It was during one of these walks that he and Sweet Lips caught the eye of Elizabeth Willing Powel, wife of the very wealthy Mayor of Philadelphia, Samuel Powel. Elizabeth stopped Washington to question him about the gorgeous dog he was walking. This led to an exuberant conversation led by Washington on his dogs and his discontent about not being able to hunt with his dogs while in Philadelphia. Elizabeth thought she might have a solution and invited Washington to dinner to meet her husband. Samuel Powel was a member of the Gloucester Club: a hunting club across the river in New Jersey. It was through the Powels that Washington became a member of the club and it wasn't long before Washington was highly looked upon as an upstanding individual among the members. They thought of him as honest, moral and intelligent. Plus, as an added bonus, he often gave members a Virginia Hound as a gift.

Discontent between Great Britain and the American Colonies continued to escalate and eventually the Revolutionary War broke out. During the war, Washington met a French General, Marquis De La Fayette and the two became friends. The two of them would have frequent conversations about dogs and La Fayette often praised the French King's staghounds for their stamina and focus during a hunt (something Washington felt his dog's lacked).  After the war, Washington retired to Mt. Vernon to breed his dogs once again and to do some agricultural work. He contacted La Fayette and asked him if he could acquire some staghounds. After much diligent work and searching, La Fayette was able to secure 7 large staghounds for Washington's breeding project. Washington was very selective on what attributes were bred between the staghounds and Virginia Hounds. He wanted a dog that was a bit larger than the Virgina Hound, but smaller than a staghound. He also wanted the speed, strength and focus of the staghound. After much work, the American Foxhound was established.

In 1787, Washington's dog breeding and hunting came to a halt once more. He headed to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia as the head of the Virginia Delegation. It was there that he was elected presiding officer unanimously. He also met up with the Powels and started to visit the Goucester Club with his new breed of dogs. Once again, members of the Gloucester club were enamored by Washington's charm and outstanding dogs. They used their power and influence to buy him support from members of the Electorial College, which had been established to elect the first President of the United States of America. Once the constitution had been ratified and legal, Washington was elected our first president unanimously!

If you would like to read more about Washington and his dogs, here are some good links (which are also my references for this story):

Monday, February 8, 2016

5 Dog Valentines

Valentines day is this Saturday and I am about knee deep in glitter, glue and decorative paper for my children's school Valentine's day parties. Therefore, I decided to keep this blog post short and sweet with five darling Valentines I have found on Etsy that are dog themed:

p.s... if you click on the link below each image, it will take you to each Etsy store where it can be purchased. 

Artwork By AK

Doggy Design

Gizzy's Gifts

Modern Printed Matter

Tyler's Workshop

"Dogs, once they love, they love steadily, unchangingly,
 'till their last breath"   
~Elizabeth Von Arnim~

Monday, February 1, 2016

Dog Collar Safety In Daycares

At Bark City, we have a "No Collar Rule" while the dogs are in the daycare. The reason we do this is because when two dogs are playing and have collars on, they can quickly become entangled. Teeth can get caught, jaws can get caught and feet can get caught. This causes a safety issue for both dogs involved. Once the entanglement happens, things can escalate pretty quickly from the dogs panicking to get free. They start to twist, turn and pull. The body part that is caught can get pretty injured--- broken, dislocated... ect. But, what's worse is that the dog wearing the tangled collar can quickly become asphyxiated and die from the twisted collar cutting off their oxygen supply.

I'm bringing up this rule, because I thought it would be a good idea to talk about collar safety. There are three basic types of collars and each collar serves a different purpose and should be used at the appropriate time. I am using examples found on 2 Hounds Design, because...well... they had images of the three types of collars I am going to discuss:

This type of collar is called a Martingale Collar and is often used with dogs that have a smaller head than neck. Owners often use them when walking a dog, because the dog cannot slip out of the collar and run away (which is also a safety risk). It is recommended that these collars only be used when an owner is walking their dog with a leash. Martingale collars have no quick release and cause the biggest threat for entanglement. If you need a martingale collar for walking your dog, you should also purchase a quick release collar for supervised off-leash play.

This is a quick release collar. Notice the buckle has that nifty pinch release? This collar is what should be used when outside with your dog in off-leash scenarios... like a dog park or playing in the backyard with another dog while supervised. The buckle provides a quick way for the owner to release an entangled collar.

And last, but not least, the harness. A harness is a great solution for the dog that is "still learning". There is nothing around the dog's neck that could cause potential suffocation. BUT, another dog could still get entangled which can still cause injury. A harness also needs to fit properly, otherwise the dog could still slip out. When buying a harness for your dog, you should do some research on what kind of harness to buy and how it should fit. You should also "ask an expert" to help you initially fit the harness to your dog.

All in all, the general rules when it comes to collars are:
  • If your dog is going to doggy daycare, make sure they take collars off! If they don't, your dog should not go to that daycare. 
  • Double up on your collars-- use the appropriate collar for the situation.
  • If your dog is unsupervised with another dog, "no collars" is best. If your dog is not trained well enough to handle no collar, they should always be supervised while wearing a quick release collar. 
  • Learn the power of recall training.