Question: Three weeks after my 3-year-old mini-dachshund’s medication for a ruptured disk seemed to ‘cure’ her, she had a relapse. I took her to vet (orthopedic surgeon), who put her back on steroids on a tapering-off prescription. She said if there is another recurrence, it will be time for surgery. My dog started to feel better with medication, but not all the way back to normal. So what I am wondering is should we just have surgery now and not wait for what seems to be the inevitable to happen again? Is there anything else I can do to help her back to heal and stay strong?
Answer: You are very wise to try to taper your dog off steroids. While steroids and aspirin are excellent for reducing swelling, inflammation and pain, unfortunately, they also destroy the joint tissue. One of the best things you can do for your dog is to put her on a daily regimen of Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate along with Yucca and Ester C (Scorbate).
I am writing this advice from personal experience and I am not affiliated with any pharmaceutical manufacturer or retail establishment. That said, here is what I learned.
Glucosamine Sulfate & Chondroitin Sulfate
I used to wonder what I could do to ease the pain of arthritis and the other maladies of old age for my dogs. I have found something that has reduced their discomfort significantly. I now give my senior citizens Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate (GS/CS).
These two chemicals are found naturally in the body, but as time goes by, the body makes less and less of it. GS/CS helps the body repair and replace joint tissue and has been found to reduce the pain and discomfort of arthritic joints significantly. (The spine is also a series of joints.) GS/CS is not an anti-inflammatory medication like aspirin. It does not upset the stomach and has virtually no side effects.
GS/CS is given once a day for six weeks. Then the dosage can be cut back to three times a week. It comes in capsule form, which may be opened and the contents sprinkled into your pet’s food. Results are not seen immediately, but rather gradually over a period of weeks as the joints heal and new joint tissue forms.
GS/CS comes in a combination capsule for which is available at most health and vitamin specialty stores. The dosage for a small dog (up to 25 lbs.) is 300 mg GS and 200 mg CS. The dosage for dogs over 25 lbs. is 750 mg GS and 400 mg CS. You can buy GS and CS separately or in combination form. Just be sure the label says Glucosamine Sulfate, not Glucosamine HCL (Hydrochloride). They are similar, but HCL is not as effective. I like the"Joint Support" brand sold at Trader Joe's Markets. This product also contains MSM, which is also very beneficial to joints and connective tissue.
Ester C (Scorbate) and Yucca
Ester C, a.k.a. Scorbate, and Yucca have been shown to be excellent supplements for our pet's health. These two supplements help the body to repair damaged cells work as anti-oxidants to fight cancer, and boost the immune system to help fight illness. It is believed they also aid in preventing disk disease (common in dachshunds). They are non-acidic, so they do not upset the stomach.
Give dogs under 50 lbs. 250 mg. or 1/4 teaspoon of Ester C, and 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Yucca daily, mixed in their food. The best place to buy these supplements is from the Hearts United For Animals website, at <www.ihelppets.com>. Just scroll down to the Vitamins and Supplements link.
Question: I am looking for confirmation about dachsies having difficulties with reactions to shots. My dog almost died from his shots and I want to know why along with my options for future shots. Answer: The most common adverse reaction to immunization vaccinations is hives. The body secretes histamine, which causes bumps that itch and swell. The more severe reactions also include swelling of the face and throat, which can result in difficulty breathing and suffocation.
Answer: Many dachshunds, mine included, are allergic to the Leptospirosis portion of the DHLPP vaccination commonly given to all dogs annually. So in defense against this, I have instructed my veterinarian not to include Lepto in their shots, but to give my dogs the DHPPC instead. This avoids the problem completely.
Leptospiros is a parasite that thrives in standing, stagnant water, i.e. lakes, ponds, swampy areas. If your dachsie frequently swims or plays in wet areas like these, then continue to include Lepto in their annual vaccinations. The best course of action to follow to avoid allergic reaction is to give your dog one 25-mg Benedryl capsule 30 minutes before the shot, and then one every 6 hours for the next 24 hours. Benedryl capsules are very small and are easily hidden in a small piece of cheese. Most dogs just gobble it down without a problem. The only side effect I have noticed from this treatment is that it may make your dog a little drowsy.
One of my dachsies always gets an allergic reaction from the Rabies vaccine. There is no way to avoid this vaccination. So, I follow the above Benedryl instructions to make his Rabies vaccination as uneventful as possible.
Question: My dog is dragging his rear end on the floor and licking under his tail and whining. I took a stool sample to my vet for testing and it came back negative for worms. What is bothering him?
Answer: When a dog does the "butt scooting boogie", I always suspect he needs to have his anal glands expressed (emptied). Gland expression is very easy, although a little messy.
Basically, all you have to do, when you are bathing the dog, is hold his tail up so that the anal opening is exposed as much as it can be without causing the dog any pain. Then, while holding the tail nearly straight up, use your other hand to find the gland by "pinching gently" the exterior of the anal opening. Pull forward while gently pinching to express the gland. I recommend you do this in the bathtub when bathing your dog. The reason for this is you don't have to use a paper towel to express and catch the fluid, you can see what you are doing, and you have a better feel (no wad of towel between your hand and the gland). Also, you can just rinse the fluid down the drain, and it doesn't smell so bad.
I highly recommend that you do this the first time under supervision of your vet. . Your vet can demonstrate how to do this correctly and let you try it, so you can be sure you are doing it right.
Question: We just adopted a rescue dog, and he is behaving aggressively toward our cat. Is there anyway we can help him to overcome the urge to "get the kitty"?
Answer: Yes, there is. The following instructions were given to me by Lynne of Chow Rescue, and they work well.
Put the dog on a long line (16 ft. leash). Every time the dog goes for the cat pull him/her back and say "LEAVE IT!" Give him a treat when he gets back to you. If you can't watch your dog, crate him. Keep him on the long line for a week or so.
When he sees the cat and you can say "leave it", and he comes to you, then you can try letting him loose. If he goes for the cat, you say, "leave it", and he doesn't - then he goes back on the long line for a few days.
It takes about 30 days of training to make a dog cat-safe. We did this with our chow-cross and it worked out fine.
Answer: Yes it is contagious, so wash your hands after handling your dog. And it can also spread from one dog to another, so it is very important to get medical treatment for your pet as soon as possible. In the event you discover your pet has Conjunctivitis and it is a weekend or after your vet’s hours, you can prepare the following eyewash to treat your pet. Be sure to follow up with an appointment with your vet should the infection last more than two or three days.
Remedy for Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Boric Acid Eyewash
The following recipe has been handed down through four generations in my family from mother to daughter. Boric Acid Eyewash is very beneficial in fighting eye infections, irritation from foreign particles in the eye or contact lenses, air pollution (smog). It is very soothing. Basically, boric acid creates an inhospitable environment in eye for germs and bacteria. At the same time, it cleanses and sooths the eye.
Purchase boric acid powder at your local pharmacy. Ask the pharmacist for "medicinal" boric acid powder. (There is another type, which is used as a bug-killer.) This is very important.
1 level teaspoon of Boric Acid Powder (medicinal quality)
1 cup boiling water in a Pyrex measuring cup
Small clean bowl or teacup
1. Boil one cup water either on the stove or in the microwave oven.
(I use a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave.)
2. Add one level teaspoon of Boric Acid Powder (medicinal quality). Use a measuring spoon, not silverware. Stir until dissolved. Let cool to a luke warm temperature.
3. Pour ¼ cup of the cooled solution into a small clean bowl or teacup. Soak a cotton ball in the solution in the bowl and apply to affected eye, cleaning away discharge from the eye.
4.Throw used cotton ball away after one use. Repeat using new cotton ball until all the solution in the bowl is used up. Try to flood the eye with the solution and wipe face with a clean towel.
5. Cleanse both eyes with the solution to prevent the infection from spreading to the unaffected eye.
6. Repeat procedure at least twice a day, in the morning and before bed at night. Eye infections usually take two or three days to resolve themselves using this treatment.
Store unused portions of eyewash in the Pyrex measuring cup. Just cover with plastic wrap to keep it sanitary.
Note: This remedy works for humans as well as dogs and cats.
Question: How can I teach my dog to go potty on command? As it gets very cold here in the winter, it would nice if I didn’t have to stand out in the cold waiting forever for my dog to find the perfect spot.
The answer to this question comes from an old issue of the "DogGone" newsletter in an article written by Shirley Chong. The author claims this method takes about two weeks.
Eliminating on Cue
By Shirley Chong
"The first week, go out with your dog and stand in one place. As soon as your dog starts to eliminate say the cue word(s)* and start to praise. While he/she is eliminating, praise should be subdued so as not to distract. As soon as your dog has finished, step up the praise to exuberant and bring out a toy or a treat to further reward. Actively observe your dog to become familiar with his/her pre-elimination ritual (some dogs pace, some circle, some sniff, etc.)
The second week, take your dog out, and as soon as you stop, say the cue words once or twice (no more than once or twice). Then be quiet and watch. When the dog starts to eliminate, repeat the cue words, then praise. Within a few days you'll see your dog start his pre-elimination ritual when he hears the cue words."
*Suggested cue words: Go potty, Go tinkle, Hurry up, or Get busy.
And for those macho guys who find it hard to say any of the above, you can tell your dog to: "Hit a home run" or "Make a touch down".
Note: Be sure all family members use the same words to cue elimination. Take your dog outside often to give him many opportunities to learn the cue words and receive praise and a treat. Clean up any inside mistakes quickly and quietly. No scolding or punishing for mistakes. A dog that is taken outside to potty often and is rewarded for this good behavior, soon stops doing it indoors where there is no reward and he receives diminished attention.
Question: How can I get rid of these fleas in my house and my yard? I have flea dipped the dogs and done the Advantage thing. I've used Borax in my carpets and carpet spray for these terrible little creatures. They are in the grass outside so my husband sprayed our yard with an insecticide that was recommended by a neighbor. We washed bedding and shampooed our couch and chairs. We still have fleas. I am at a loss here.
Answer: What you need to do first is understand the lifecycle of the flea. Fleas jump on your dog or cat primarily to feed on blood. They bite two or three places and then jump off to lay their eggs in the grass, carpeting, furniture cushions, or bedding. The eggs take approximately two weeks to hatch, then the cycle starts all over again. So in order to interrupt the cycle, you have to repeat your anti-flea routine at least every two weeks for about a month or two. Advantage lasts a month, but you must do your part to clean up the environment on a weekly basis to help it in the beginning.
Every week, wash all bare floors, vacuum carpets, wash scatter rugs and all bedding (yours and dogs/cats). Vacuum under the sofa and chair cushions or cover them with throw blankets that can be washed in the machine. Sprinkle 20 Mule Team Borax or ordinary table salt on all carpets and leave it for at least 24 hours before vacuuming again.
Every two weeks - bathe your pets (Advantage/Frontline does not wash off); spray your yard either with insecticide or beneficial nematodes. If you use insecticide, allow it to dry thoroughly before letting the dogs or cats outside. Keep your grass clipped short (fleas and ticks like tall grass and weeds).
Follow this regimen at the beginning of flea-season and you will have more success fighting flea infestation.
Question: I need some advice on how to get my dogs to stop barking so much. They bark at everything!! Any noise they hear they will take off barking at it. If someone rings the doorbell or knocks on the door, they take off for the door barking real loud!
Answer: There are several things you can do to curtail over-zealous barking.Firmly grasp your dog's muzzle and command in a loud, deep voice, "NO! NO BARK!" Repeat if dog continues to bark or growl. Then praise lavishly when the dog quiets. Do not try to sooth your dog by saying, "It's OK, be quiet." Soothing tones tell your dog that you approve of what he is doing and sends the wrong message. Strong, loud tones convey your meaning.
• Keep penny cans (a clean, empty soda can with 10 pennies sealed inside) in strategic spots in the house. When the dogs bark, shake the can and command "NO! NO BARK!" Repeat until they quiet down, then praise lavishly.
In rare instances, I have thrown the penny can in the barking dog's direction, being careful not to hit the dog. The idea is to startle the dog and get his attention when all else has failed. After a couple of experiences, the dog usually quiets as soon as you touch the penny can. You won't even need to shake it.
Note: For dogs that like to raid the kitchen trash, balance a penny can on the trash can lid. If the dog bothers the trash, the penny can falls making a loud noise. This alerts the humans who come to the source of the noise quickly, and also trains the dog not to touch the trash. Another variation of this method is to lean a broomstick against the trash can. When the container is touched, the broomstick falls noisily to the floor. Training only takes a couple of days.
• Another method to quiet a barking dog is to keep a spray bottle with water or water with a little vinegar at the ready to use to get your dog's attention when you command them to be quiet. After a few squirts, he will quiet as soon as he sees you lift the bottle.
A word of caution: Do not use methods 2 or 3 on rescue dogs. Many rescues have been traumatized by loud noises and have been sprayed mercilessly with a water hose. Method 1 is the best in most circumstances.
Question: We have recently adopted a rescue dachshund. He is terrified of my husband, and usually pees on himself when my husband tries to pick him up or pet him. He always tries to hide behind me if I'm around. A couple of times, he has been so scared by my husband that he has pooped on himself. On the up side, when he's not peeing in the floor or running away from us, he is a perfectly normal pupper. He loves to play with the other dogs and runs around the house like a madman. He's very affectionate, if only he would get it through his head that we aren't going to hurt him! My husband has been torn up over this dog’s reaction to him. It just breaks his heart that this dog is so afraid of him, when he wants to cuddle him so much. What can we do to help our little rescue?
Rule No. 1: Never scold or punish a rescue animal. (It doesn't work and just makes things worse.)This is how to solve the problem of submissive urination/defecation with regard to your husband and his relationship to your new rescue dog:
Have your husband sit on the floor and call the dogs to him for some loving and attention. The rescue dog will very likely not come, but will watch from a safe distance. Have your husband do this at least twice a day. After a few times, the rescue dog will usually come a little closer. Over a week's time, things will improve. It just takes patience and love. Don't try to force attention on the dog. Let him go to your husband at his own pace. I promise this will work. My husband has rehabilitated several dogs this way. He doesn't try to touch or pet the dog until it actually gets right next to him. If the dog runs away at his touch, he ignores the behavior and continues to pet and play with the other dogs. The newcomer sees that everyone is having a great time and really wants to be included, but is suspicious that he will be hurt again. It takes time, but it is worth the effort. Before you know it, he'll be jostling for attention along with the other dogs.
Also put your husband in charge of giving out the treats. This forces the newcomer to at least attempt to come closer if he wants a biscuit like all the other dogs. At first, your husband should place the treat on the floor near the dog. After a couple of days have him try to get the dog to take it off his open palm. When this is accomplished, then he can start offering the treat from his fingers.
Try to remember that this is an abused or traumatized animal. It is going to take time to undo the damage that was done to him in his previous home. It takes about a year for most of them to be rehabilitated and to learn to trust again. It is worth the effort, I promise.
Question: How often should I bathe my dachshund? Some folks say I can give her a bath every month, others tell me that twice a year is sufficient.
Answer: There seems to be two schools of thought on this subject. One side is that dogs don't need to be bathed but once or twice a year. The other side believes frequent bathing is not harmful.
I belong to the frequent bathing group. My dachsies get a bath every other week on Saturday mornings. I use a good quality dog shampoo followed by thorough rinsing and my smooth coated dachshunds get a final rinse with warm water mixed with a capful of Avon's Skin-So-Soft (SSS) bath oil. My pups have the most silky, soft fur I've ever seen. They get lots of compliments. Don't use Avon's SSS on longhairs or wirehairs. It makes their fur oily not soft.
If your dog gets dandruff from bathing, try using a shampoo with conditioners, or one specifically for dry skin. Today’s quality dog shampoos are pH balanced specifically for dogs allowing more frequent bathing without harming your pet's skin or coat. Also, by following up with a little Avon's SSS bath oil mixed in warm water (about a gallon), it replaces much of the body oils washed off and leaves the fur silky. It also has the added benefit of repelling fleas for a couple of days as well.
Do not use shampoo that is formulated for humans. Even baby-shampoo is too harsh for a dog’s skin and coat.
If your dachsie seems to be getting smelly even after recent bathing, you need to look for other sources of odor. Check ears for wax build-up, possible yeast infection, or ear mites. See your vet to get medication to clear up yeast infection or ear mites. Wax build-up can be corrected with using a gauze pad soaked with witch hazel or hydrogen peroxide wrapped around your finger to clean them. You can use a cotton swab (Q-tip) to clean the more difficult to get areas, being very careful and gentle as ear tissue is quite delicate. Having a little wax in the ears is OK as it actually protects the ear tissues.
If your dog smells like Fritos corn chips, especially the feet, the food you are feeding your dog has too much corn meal. Change to a premium brand such as Flint River Ranch. (Supermarket brands tend to use corn as their major ingredient.) It takes a few days, but the difference is amazing.
If your dog has excessive dandruff, you should consult your vet. A medicated shampoo is called for. Brushing does not solve the problem, just loosens the flakes. Also adding some fatty acids to the diet can be very helpful in this case. "Body Guard" or flaxseed oil are two supplements I've used to solve this problem. Bathing the dog that has flaky skin is actually beneficial as it relieves the itching. An oatmeal or tea tree oil based shampoo would be excellent in this case.
Sometimes flakes come from not rinsing thoroughly enough. Please be sure to rinse, rinse, rinse, after shampooing.
Oh, one last tip, brushing your dog's teeth at least 3 times a week helps to reduce plaque build-up and doggy bad breath. It will also save you a bunch of monies at the vet’s office too.
Question: My dachshund is 1 1/2 years old, and up until last winter she was the happiest, lovable thing you ever saw. However, we became house bound last winter, and when Spring sprung she became very unpredictable. I never know who she will like and who she won't. She growls, barks and snaps at people she doesn't know. She also has bitten someone once. I have three kids 8, 5 and 4 and she is pretty good with them. Have you seen this is any of your dogs or your rescues? The only advice I get from professional trainers is to have her put down. That is really not an option for me, I couldn't live with myself. What can I do to get my little girl to behave properly?
Answer: There are a couple of things you can do to train your girl to control her temper. In a squirt bottle, mix two ounces of white vinegar with 6 ounces of water. Whenever she makes threatening noises or lunges to bite, squirt her in the face (not a mist or spray, but a stream) and command in your most fierce voice "NO!", "NO GROWL/BITE!". Then command her to sit or lay down until you give her the release command. (I say "O.K.") The vinegar is unpleasant, but not harmful. Have your squirt bottle at the ready at all times. I put my bottle in my apron pocket or hook it on my belt. After a couple of squirts, the dog only needs to see the bottle to stop the inappropriate behavior. Carry the bottle everywhere you go with the dog including outside and on walks. You didn't mention if she is spayed or not. But the bad behavior seems to have kicked in around adolescence, and in dogs that have not been spayed or neutered (male) prior to adolescence, the hormones secreted by the reproductive organs can have a very negative effect on behavior. If she is not spayed, DO IT NOW!
Another variation of the squirt bottle is to put a citronella collar on her. At the first sign of a growl, a small amount of citronella sprays up in the dog's face. It is unpleasant to the dog, but not harmful. There are also "shock collars" available for larger and more seriously aggressive dogs. I don't recommend "shock collars" unless absolutely nothing else has worked.
Until you get this behavior under control, I would put her in her crate when you have company or if the situation warrants a "time out". Better safe than sorry.