ARTICLES & ADVICE
FAMILY HISTORY & GENEALOGY
As dog owners, we can usually tell if
something is wrong with our
by the symptoms we observe. Vomiting and diarrhea are pretty obvious
that the gastro-intestinal system is off. Other signs that something is
are coughing, watery or mucousy (gooey) eyes and nose are signals that
is wrong. Loss of appetite and listlessness or sudden behavioral
are warning signs that something is not right with our companions.
As good dog owners, we need to be aware of normal and not so normal
signs so we can better know what our companions need. The following is
brief list that can help you measure your dog's vital signs. As always,
you have any questions, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Normal temperature in adult dogs is between 101-102.5 degrees. Should
want to take your dog's temperature using a rectal thermometer, it is
simple. Be sure the thermometer starts below 97 degrees and lubricate
tip with vaseline. You want to insert the thermometer into the dog's
to a depth that is appropriate for the size of your dog. For small
an inch is probably sufficient. For larger dogs, you may need to insert
much as half the thermometer. You will want your dog in a standing
hold the end of the thermometer in your free hand and keep it inserted
about two to three minutes to get an accurate reading. For those of you
prefer a simpler method, you can get a thermometer that measures
from contact with the skin. If you use this method, hold the flat
against your dogs abdomen where there is the least amount of hair until
get a steady reading.
A resting dog breathes about 10-30 times per minute. After excitement,
exercise or extreme stress the respiratory rate increases. While at
you can count respiration as the dog breathes through his nose by
the chest move in a smooth, rhythmic motion. You should also count
after your dog exercises so you know what normal looks like. Changes in
or style of respiration of your resting dog may indicate disease.
Normal heart beat rate for dogs ranges from 80-140 beats per minute.
dogs and pups usually have a more rapid heart rate or pulse rate than
dogs. A normal pulse is steady and firm. You can check your dogs pulse
by placing your fingertips or palm against the dog's chest just behind
point of the elbow or you can place your middle and index fingers at
middle of the inside surface of the rear leg near the point where the
meets the body. This is the area the femoral artery passes close to
Your dog's heart rate and pulse rate should be the same. To count the
either count the beats for one minute or if you like math, count for 15
and multiply by four.
Capillaries are the small blood vessels that carry blood to the skin.
Refill Time (CRT) is the measure of capillary circulation. Normal CRT
one second or less. To check this, press one finger firmly against your
gums. When you lift the finger you will see a pale area which should
with blood almost instantly with the gums returning to the normal
Dogs in shock will have poor capillary refill time.
Without Ray vision, you won't be able to see what is going on inside
dog's digestive tract, but you can still monitor appearance to help you
what is normal for your dog. Know how your dog looks and sounds on a
day. How wide is your dog behind the ribcage before and after eating.
abdomen should be soft to the touch and shouldn't have a hollow sound
tapped. It also should not have constant audible gurgling sounds. Dogs
a distended abdomen or with a hollow sound like a drum or with a very
gastric tract may be in distress with enteritis or bloat.
Healthy dogs have urine that is clear yellow in color. The color will
as the amount of water excreted decreases and the color will pale as
amount of water excreted increases. Cloudy or bloody urine is not
and is cause for contacting your veterinarian. Normal urine volume
from 12-20 milliliters per pound per day. The average water consumption
30 milliliters (a little more than one ounce) per pound per day. A
increase in water consumption or urine volume may be an indication of
Puppies usually have 28 baby teeth, also called deciduous teeth.
do not have molars and all baby teeth should be in place by six weeks.
dogs have an average of 42 permanent teeth which usually start to
at 4-5 months and are all in place by 6-7 months. Larger breed dogs
to have teeth erupting more quickly than smaller breed dogs. Gums are
and teeth are white in normal dogs. (Some dogs do have black gums and
is normal. Again, know your own dog.) There should be no swelling or
of the gums once all the teeth are in. Be sure to
brush your dog's teeth to reduce tartar buildup and keep a healthy
This should get you started on what is normal for your companion. For
detailed information, you can always talk to your veterinarian about
Swimming Your Dog
Most dogs can swim, and love it. Dogs entering
the water for the first time should be tested to be certain they are
capable of swimming. Here are some tips for teaching your dog to swim:
- Never throw your dog into the water.
- Start in shallow water, and call your
dog's name. You can also try to lure him in with a treat or toy -- but
always keep your dog within reach.
- Find a dog friend for your dog to swim
with. Let your dog play and follow his friend into the water.
- If your dog starts to dog-paddle with
only his front legs, lift his hindquarters and help him float. He
should quickly catch on and will then keep his rear end up.
- Swimming is a great form of exercise,
but watch that your dog doesn't overdo. He will be using new muscles
and may tire quickly.
- Be careful of strong tides that are
hazardous for even the strongest swimmers.
- Never leave your dog unattended! You
should always be in a position to get your dog out of the water.
Taking your dog to the beach is a great way to spend a beautiful summer
day, just remember to take precautions and be a responsible dog owner.
- Bring plenty of fresh water and shade
for you dog.
- Dogs can get sunburned, especially short
haired dogs and pink skinned dogs with white or light hair. Limit your
dogs exposure to the sun when it is the strongest, and apply a
non-toxic sunscreen to his ears and nose 30 minutes before going
- Check with a lifeguard for daily water
conditions. (In salt water locations dogs are easy targets for sea lice
- If your dog isn't particularly fit,
don't encourage him to run on the sand. Running on sand is strenuous
exercise, and a dog that is out of shape can easily pull a muscle,
tendon or ligament.
- Do not let your dog drink too much water
during his cool dip. There may be substances in the water that will
make your dog sick. (In salt water locations, the salt will definitely
make your dog sick.)
- Chemicals, minerals and salt found in
the water can damage your dog's coat. When you are ready to leave for
the day, rinse your dog off with fresh water.
- Not all beaches permit dogs. Check local
ordinances before you begin your beach combing excursion.
It seems like only yesterday
that your pup literally ran circles around you when you went for walks,
with lots energy to spare. Now your dog has a hard time making it up
the stairs, and the vision and hearing aren't as good as they once were
either. Sometimes she gets confused, yet the veterinarian tells you
there is nothing seriously wrong with her; she's just getting older.
Dogs age, just as humans do -- only more quickly. If your pet seems to
slowing down, here are some things you can do to help.
- Watch your pet carefully, keeping track
of where she is in the house. She may need assistance finding her way
- Watch with particular care as she climbs
up or down the stairs, and help your pet if needed. If she is small and
you are strong enough, you may need to carry her up and down the stairs.
- If you also have a younger dogs(s), walk
the older animal separately from the youngsters so the older dog can go
at a slower pace instead of struggling to keep up with the others.
- Make sure your dog is eating properly. A
good super premium senior food is an excellent choice for the geriatric
dog. Don't give her hard bones to chew on; she may not be able to
- Never let her roam loose outdoors. When
she is outside the confines of your fenced yard she may easily become
lost or become the target of a more aggressive animal.
Avoiding Dog Bites
Before giving tips on
avoiding dog bites, lets consider some basics about dogs. First and
foremost, dogs are animals. If we like they are anything other than
that, it is unfair to them and puts undue pressure on them to act like
something other than dogs. The number one question I get from people
considering euthanasia or putting a dog up for adoption relates to
Dog nips, bites and attacks in the United States are on the rise. The
CDC estimates that over 5 million people are bitten by dogs every year.
That is about 2% of the population in the United States. Of those, only
about 16% seek medical attention. The majority of people bitten by dogs
are children, but service people and the elderly are also high on the
frequently bitten list.
American Family Insurance all ready has a policy in place that
prohibits coverage to households with a wolf, wolf hybrid or pit bull.
The ineligible dog list is ever expanding and will likely continue to
do so. It is up to dog owners to train their dogs and help them become
good canine citizens.
Here are some basic tips to reduce your risk of dog bites:
For more information on dog bites, visit the AVMA
web site, State
Farm Insurance web site, the Insurance
Information Institute web site or the CDC
web site. (These links will take you away from www.OutlawChinooks.com.)
- Don't leave babies or children
unattended with dogs or puppies.
- Don't play aggressive games with dogs.
- Don't disturb sleeping or eating dogs.
- Don't bother a bitch caring for her
- Don't tease dogs or make loud noises
- Don't stick your face into a dog's face.
- Don't put your hand between two dogs.
- Don't stare into a dog's eyes.
- Don't make fast, jerky movements around
a dog's head.
- Don't approach a dog you don't know,
especially if it is chained or tied up.
- Don't chase dogs.
- Don't move suddenly or make any direct
contact with an unfamiliar dog. If a dog approaches you, don't run or
scream but remain still. If the dog does knock you down, roll into a
ball, protect your head and face, and don't move.
- DO ask the owner's permission to pet a
strange dog. Approach the dog slowly with your hand out flat and let
him sniff you. Instead of petting the top of the dog's head, pet him
underneath his chin. If he growls, back away.
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