Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pannus in Dogs


Rocky was out this weekend and he is even more handsome in person than in these photos!   Rocky is sweet as can be and has a noble soul.   He also has Pannus, so his eyes appear cloudy, and his eyesight is affected.   We think that he can see shadows, but we are still getting to know him.   He does reach forward for kisses, that is for sure.  

Because Pannus is more prevalent in Shepherds then most other breeds, we thought we would put some information out.   

After you read this, go check out Rocky on our site-


Pannus, also known as chronic superficial keratitis, is a condition affecting the cornea and third eyelid of a dog’s eye(s). Pannus appears as a grayish-pink film on the eye, and as the disease progresses, the cornea becomes opaque. It most often affects both eyes.
While the exact causes that lead to pannus are not fully understood, there are some factors that can contribute to disease:
  • Exposure to airborne irritants
  • Eyelashes that turn inward (entropion)
  • High altitudes
  • Being exposed to large amounts of direct sunlight
  • Immune-mediated inflammation
  • Underlying eye conditions
German shepherds and Belgian Tervurens have the highest rate of prevalence for pannus, but it may occur in any breed or mix of breeds.
If your pooch develops pannus, you may see the following symptoms:
  • A grayish-pink film on the eye(s)
  • Redness and tearing
  • Cornea pigmentation (dark brown)
  • Opacity of cornea
In order to diagnose your dog’s eye condition, your veterinarian will perform a complete history, physical exam, and eye exam. Additionally, he or she may recommend the following, depending on your dog’s specific needs:
  • A separate visit to a veterinary ophthalmologist, who specializes in eye diseases
  • A Schirmer Tear Test to measure tear production
  • Fluorescent staining of the eye to rule out an ulceration of the eye
  • Cytology (microscopic evaluation of cells) on samples obtained by “scraping” the cornea and/or lining of the eye (coniunctiva).
Blood tests may be recommended to determine the underlying cause. These may include:
  • Chemistry tests to evaluate kidney, liver, and pancreatic disease and function, as well as sugar levels
  • A complete blood count to rule out infection, inflammation, anemia, and other conditions
  • Sceening tests to rule out infectious disease, such as Lyme disease
  • Specialty tests: cultures and PCR testing
Pannus typically requires lifelong treatment, but most cases respond reasonably well with good owner compliance and regular monitoring by a veterinarian. Treatment often includes the use of topical corticosteroids and other eye medications. In extreme cases, surgery or radiation therapy may be used.
Dogs with pannus require ongoing medication to prevent the eye lesions from returning. They also need to receive regular eye exams to identify if any flare-ups occur, once the pannus is under control.
While the cause of pannus can vary, two environmental factors are known to contribute to its taking root:
  • Altitude
  • Exposure to bright sunlight
While you may not be able to move to a lower altitude, you can manage the amount of sunlight your best friend is exposed to, if your veterinarian thinks your pet is at risk. If you are worried about your dog developing pannus, talk to your veterinarian—your key resource for information about the health and well-being of your pet

If you are outside in the sunlight a lot, you may want to consider some doggie googles.   Pannus can be treated, so if you suspect you have a dog with Pannus, please see your vet. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!  
GSROC salutes all who have served and protected our freedoms. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

What does your dog eat?


In a desperate attempt to get some crosstalk and comments on this blog, I was going to start off this post saying that I feed my dogs Old Roy dog food from Walmart and I think it is the best dog food around...however, I don't want anyone to read just that line and go buy that food and feed it to their dogs.  I do not, have not and will not feed that food to my dogs.  
I do love talking to people about what they do feed their dogs.  I love how passionate some people are, and how knowledgeable the public in general is getting about dog food.  It can be a real journey...deciding what to feed your dogs.   My journey has taken me from feeding my first shepherd (who I had while I was in my early 20's and admittedly ignorant) dry dog food and pretty much whatever I was eating that day (shame), to a raw diet, to now cooking meat and veggies for my babies and supplementing their dry kibble.  At one point in time I had 4 different kinds of kibble to cater to each of my dogs needs... no grain, no chicken, small kibble, big kibble... it gets exhausting.   I realized it was exhausting for them as well when I would put down these bowls with meat, actual meat in it and they would sniff and walk away.  UGH.   We have now worked out a menu plan that works for everyone, and my husband doesn't constantly grumble that I spend more time on the dogs meals than his. 
I did spend some time talking to someone who makes a very high end dog food and is a nutritionist and chemist.   He taught me about a couple easy foods that you can feed to a healthy dog on a regular basis that can be very good for them-

  • pumpkin- it is very good for their digestive system, and their eyes, and their coats.   You can buy the canned pumpkin seasonally at the grocery store.  Make sure you get the plain pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie filler.  You can also get or grow fresh pumpkins and roast it and freeze it. 

  • carrots-depending on the size of your dog, you can just give them whole carrots to munch on.   It is great for their teeth and eyes. 

  •  peas-throw a handful in their food.  It adds flavor and is good for them. 


The type of dry dog food you choose for your dog is so important.   I know that many dogs across the country eat dog food from the grocery store and do just fine.   Personally, I want all dogs to thrive.  At GSROC we have learned that feeding a higher quality food that is more in keeping with what dogs have evolved from helps to reduce any proclivity the dog has to allergies, ear infections, digestive problems and a plethora of other health issues.   We have also found that higher end foods have much less "filler food" in them so you actually feed less... and clean up less messes.  

You all know the saying..."you are what you eat".  

Here is a link to a great website that rates different dry foods-

We would love to hear what you think about dog food.   Do you feed your dogs a raw diet?   Do you give your dog "people" food?    Have you ever had a dog with allergies and how did you work out it out? 


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Come back here NOW!

While we at GSROC do not condone or advise walking a dog off leash at all, most pet owners have had the experience of your dog slipping past you, your partner or your kids at the door to get out to a family member in front of the house.   Most shepherds, NOT ALL, but most, by the time they hit 2 years old will just hang out until you decide to go in...but before they hit two years old, no matter how many obedience classes you have done, will run-and stay JUST out of your reach.  I know I have been that crazy lady running down the street exactly 3 feet behind my dog screaming her name and she just keeps running, suddenly completely deaf to my voice.   Then, all of a sudden,  5 or 6 houses down her hearing comes back and she stops and waits for me and the impending scolding and walk of shame back home.  


I bring this up because the other day I was standing out on my street, and one of my lovely (I mean it, I like her) neighbors comes driving up the street on her way out...and right behind her...loping and easily keeping up with her car is her 10 month old LAB.   Big grin and happy as can be to be going out on a run with mom.   We all waved her down, and she stopped immediately.   She was terribly embarrassed, mad and also amused... you know the feeling.   So she finally gets Max (names have been changed to protect the innocent) in the car and heads home. 
Everyone who had a dog just offered her words of encouragement and smiles...I am sure many of us were secretly thankful it wasn't us.  
What I did find interesting was that although we probably all had advice, or a good trainer we could recommend, or whatever...we all just gave her support and sent out some quiet love.   That is the part of the dog world that I love.  
Having a dog, or two, or three, or uhhmmm, four can be a lot of work, but in additon to the joy the dogs bring-the love, the smiles, the camaraderie from fellow dog lovers you get when you are out and about... totally worth it.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Another reason to spay your dogs

Whenever you talk to someone who does rescue work, the topic of spaying and neutering will inevitably come up.   The most talked about reason for spaying and neutering in the rescue world is so that we can stop the needless deaths of the millions of animals who die in shelters every year across America...but if that isn't reason enough for you, let me tell you a story. 
This week, I received a call from a friend who works with a vet as an assistant.  They got a call about a dog in distress.  Because they were a mobile vet, they headed over.  
The dog was very, very sick.   She was laying under a chair in the backyard-unresponsive.  After several tries, she lifted up her head for a second as if to say "Help me".   It was discovered that the dog had never been spayed, had stopped eating, and was bleeding from her vulva.   She had Pyometra.  Her uterine lining had become infected, and the toxins were shutting down her organs.   And now she was dying slowly as her body was taken over by the toxins in her body.   This little girl was given the relief she needed and went to the Rainbow Bridge.  The tragedy is that had this little girl been spayed, she would have not suffered like this. 
This is an example of the health risks that come with not Spaying a dog early in her life. 


Pyometra is a result of hormonal and structural changes in the uterus lining. This can happen at any age, whether she has bred or not, and whether it is her 1st or 10th heat (although it becomes more common as the dog gets older).
After a heat, bacteria (especially E. coli) that have migrated from the vagina into the uterus find the environment favorable to growth, especially since progesterone also causes mucus secretion, closes the cervix (preventing uterine drainage), and decreases uterine contractility. The condition of the cervix is a major factor in the severity of the condition.
  • If the cervix is open, the infected material can leave the body, and this is far easier and safer to treat. This is known as open pyometra.
  • If the cervix is fully closed, there is no discharge from the vulva, and like in appendicitis, the uterus may rupture and pus escapes into the abdomen, causing peritonitis and possible rapid death. This is known as closed pyometra.
Surgical treatment
Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) completely and promptly removes the infection, prevents uterine rupture and peritonitis, and of course prevents recurrence, in most cases. Spayed animals do very rarely develop pyometra in the uterine stump. Even so, ovariohysterectomy is currently considered the most effective and safest treatment.


Spay your dog.   Spay your dog by 6 months of age.    Don't BREED your dog. 

RIP Scarlett.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Some common misconceptions about German Shepherds

Breed Misconceptions | The German Shepherd  

Here are a few myths about German Shepherd dogs-

Myth #1. Puppies are better than adult dogs – especially if I have small children.

Truth #1. Everyone loves a puppy, and while small children may coo and awww over the sight of a newborn puppy, putting two separate creatures with reduced impulse-control together is more likely to result in chaos than it is in adorable photographs. Getting a puppy for your child is putting a dog  – with no impulse control and no sense of what the world is like – with a scary, undisciplined figure who might very well hurt it. That is not to say that puppies and babies are incompatible, but potential dog owners should monitor the situation carefully and consider either waiting until the child is older to adopt a dog or adopting an older, more experienced dog who is less likely to snap if, for example, a child pulls his tail or prods him repeatedly. German Shepherd puppies are not necessarily aggressive, but most puppies do have a proclivity to harmless nipping and chewing that might not bother an adult, but might damage the sensitive skin of a toddler, or destroy the lining on her favorite stuffed toy.   Bottom line, if you have young kids, don't pass over that older dog who may actually make your life easier... 


Truth #2. Another untrue myth that leads to much disappointment and disillusionment among dog owners. Female dogs, like female humans, are no more likely to be meek or docile than their masculine counterparts. In fact,  female dogs are commonly more alpha than their male counterparts. They are certainly not to be underestimated.  (Just like human females, eh?) Male dogs can be just as laid-back and mellow as female dogs – perhaps more so, if they have been properly neutered – and female dogs can be very alpha.


Truth #3.No, what's actually inhumane is subjecting a dog to the perils of breeding, and all the health risks that go with not altering your dog.  In addition,  bringing a litter of puppies you are unable to healthily cope with into the world is not fair.  Millions of "purebred" dogs die in shelters every year.  Not only does spaying and neutering drastically reduce the risk of violence and aggression in your German Shepherd dogs, but it also protects both you and your pets from the risks of more homeless puppies and dogs in this world. Furthermore, dogs that are neutered are more pleasant companions, happier dogs. Spaying or neutering your dog puts them at diminished risk for many related illnesses.  Spay your dogs, and be a part of the solution, not the problem.   Before you breed your dog, go walk an animal shelter or check out our website www.gsroc.org.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Bloat is a life-threatening emergency that affects dogs in the prime of life.

Anatomy of Bloat

Bloat can occur in any dog at any age, but typically occurs in middle-aged to older dogs. Large-breed dogs with deep chests are anatomically predisposed. These breeds include the Great Dane, German Shepherd Dog, St. Bernard, Labrador retriever, Irish wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Boxer, Weimaraner, Old English sheepdog, Irish setter, Collie, Bloodhound, and Standard Poodle. Chinese Shar-Pei and Basset Hounds have the highest incidence among midsize dogs. Small dogs are rarely affected, with the exception of Dachshunds, who are also deep-chested.

Bloat develops suddenly, usually in a healthy, active dog. The dog may have just eaten a large meal, exercised vigorously before or after eating, or drank a large amount of water immediately after eating.

Signs of Bloat

The classic signs of bloat are restlessness and pacing, salivation, retching, unproductive attempts to vomit, and enlargement of the abdomen. The dog may whine or groan when you press on his belly. Thumping the abdomen produces a hollow sound.

Unfortunately, not all cases of bloat present with typical signs. In early bloat the dog may not appear distended, but the abdomen usually feels slightly tight. The dog appears lethargic, obviously uncomfortable, walks in a stiff-legged fashion, hangs his head, but may not look extremely anxious or distressed. Early on it is not possible to distinguish dilatation from volvulus.

Late signs (those of impending shock) include pale

gums and tongue, delayed capillary refill time, rapidheart rate, weak pulse, rapid and labored breathing, weakness, and collapse.

If the dog is able to belch or vomit, quite likely the problem is not due to a volvulus, but this can only be determined by veterinary examination.

Treating Bloat

In all cases where there is the slightest suspicion of bloat, take your dog to a veterinary hospital immediately. Time is of the essence.

Preventing Bloat

Dogs who respond to nonsurgical treatment have a 70 percent chance of having another episode of bloat. Some of these episodes can be prevented by following these practices:

  • Divide the day's ration into two equal meals, spaced well apart.

  • Do not feed your dog from a raised food bowl.

  • Avoid feeding dry

Monday, May 14, 2012

A sweet poem about Rescue-

Once I was a lonely dog,
Just looking for a home.
I had no place to go,
No one to call my own.
I wandered up and down the streets,
in rain in heat and snow.
I ate what ever I could find,
I was always on the go.
My skin would itch, my feet were sore,
My body ached with pain.
And no one stopped to give a pat
Or to gently say my name.
I never saw a loving glance,
I was always on the run.
For people thought that hurting me
was really lots of fun.
And then one day I heard a voice
So gentle, kind and sweet,
And arms so soft reached down to me
And took me off my feet.
"No one again will hurt you"
Was whispered in my ear.
"You'll have a home to call your own
where you will know no fear."
"You will be dry, you will be warm,
you'll have enough to eat
And rest assured that when you sleep,
your dreams will all be sweet."
I was afraid I must admit,
I've lived so long in fear.
I can't remember when I let
A human come so near.
And as she tended to my wounds
And bathed and brushed my fur
She told me 'bout the rescue group
And what it meant to her.
She said, "We are a circle,
A line that never ends.
And in the center there is you
protected by new friends."
"And all around you are
the ones that check the pounds,
And those that share their home
after you've been found."
"And all the other folk
are searching near and far.
To find the perfect home for you,
where you can be a star."
She said, "There is a family,
that's waiting patiently,
and pretty soon we'll find them,
just you wait and see."
"And then they'll join our circle
they'll help to make it grow,
so there'll be room for more like you,
who have no place to go."
I waited very patiently,
The days they came and went.
Today's the day I thought,
my family will be sent.
Then just when I began to think
It wasn't meant to be,
there were people standing there
just gazing down at me.
I knew them in a heart beat,
I could tell they felt it too.
They said, "We have been waiting
for a special dog like you."
Now every night I say a prayer
to all the gods that be.
"Thank you for the life I live
and all you've given me.
But most of all protect the dogs
in the pound and on the street.
And send a Rescue Person
to lift them off their feet."

~ Author: Arlene Pace
See More

Friday, May 11, 2012

                                               Happy Mother's Day!
German Shepherd Rescue OC would like to wish all mothers out there a wonderful Mother's Day!   Whether you have 4 footed furry babies, 2 footed human babes or both-we know all you do and we honor and appreciate you this weekend. 

German Shepherds and shedding

It never fails that at any German Shepherd Rescue OC event, someone comes up and asks about German Shepherds and shedding.  Several people suggested this as a blog topic... so here it is-
Yes, German Shepherds shed like crazy...and they are worth every single hair that falls on your floor, sticks to your clean black pants as you head out to dinner or goes down your throat one second after you realize you have a big ole German Shepherd hair in your mouth. 

There are, however some things you can do to reduce the shedding and/or the impact of it on your life;

  • Feed a high quality dog food and if you have this available to you, supplement with salmon oil.  (please dose according to each type of oil)

  • Brush your dog frequently.  (suggestion, do this outside when there is NO wind)

  • Get your dog professionally groomed or invest in a high powered pet blower that will help blow out the coat.  

  • Learn to love vacuuming and all the cardio you get when you vacuum daily.  (I have heard volunteers say they want to marry their Dyson vacuums)
We do not EVER recommend shaving a German Shepherd to reduce shedding.  These dogs need their coats and it is not healthy (or becoming) to shave them.   You wouldn't shave your head instead of brushing your hair, right? 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Has your dog ever gone missing and you were lost, too?

Here is #1 in a series on Lost Pets from our affliate Pet Search and Rescue-

Frequently Asked Questions About Lost Pets by Pet Search and Rescue    www.PetSearchAndRescue.com - 800-925-2410

Question: It is cold, there are coyotes and my dog has no food. How long can my dog survive?

Answer: Dogs are incredibly sturdy. They are survivors, and have strong instincts – even “couch potato” dogs! We know of dogs that have survived in heavy traffic areas and scavenged for food for years without major injury. It is pretty common for dogs to survive for weeks. Water is the most important factor, and once they find a water source (which is pretty easy in most areas with water sprinklers, creeks, etc.) they can usually find food and safe hiding places.

Question: Are dogs really stolen?

Answer: Yes, pet theft does happen. In the past it was not as common, but as small breed dogs become more popular it is happening more often.

Case Example: A dog was stolen from a hospice center in Santa Barbara! Sarah, the house dog, was stolen from the property. Several house residents witnessed the abduction. After getting media attention, the dog was recovered.

Question: Does my dog remember his name? Will my pet come when I call?

Answer: When a dog goes missing it can be a fearful experience for the pet. Do not count on your pet coming when called. Even the best trained pet will not always come when called. The interesting thing is that once they are back home they often act as if nothing ever happened!

Case Example: One pet owner reported online, “George remembered his name, without a doubt. But, the morning I had my first sighting of him I do believe that hearing his name (and the panic in my voice) scared him away. My advice is to call calmly, especially if your pet is sighted close to home. However, it’s likely that your pet will not answer or come to you, but it may be good for them to hear your voice.”

Case Example: Another pet owner reported, “The first night he ran away from me and it broke my heart. But, trust me, it’s an instinct and it’s why they survive. So, don’t think that he doesn’t love you or want to come home because he didn’t answer. I know it is hard, I always thought that MY pet was different, that they would surely come if they heard me. And never in a million years would I have thought I’d need a trap. But I did. So don’t despair… your pet loves you. But you might have to HELP him come home.”

Question: My pet has a microchip. How come my pet has not been found? Isn’t the microchip like GPS?

Answer: A microchip is not GPS. In other words, just because your pet has a microchip it does not mean that your pet can be located with satellites. A microchip is for identification purposes, but someone must use a compatible “wand” (usually available at veterinary clinics and shelters) to scan the pet and read the chip information. Then, they have to take that information and contact the microchip company and get your information. That is why it is so important to update your information with the microchip company!

Question: My pet has ID tags on – why am I not receiving a call that someone found my pet?

Answer: The sad truth is that a person may want to keep your dog for themselves or possibly they are waiting for a reward to be posted. This is particularly true for cute small breed dogs. Another possibility is that some dogs are hard to catch. I know from personal experience, after trying to catch a roaming Chihuahua for 2 hours! Don’t count on a dog that is usually friendly coming up to people – they can act very differently away from home. This is where witness development can play a critical role in finding your pet. A collar can be removed or pulled off. Sometimes the pet will lose weight and a collar could come off this way. Another possibility is that the phone number or information on the tag was not legible. This happens many times. Even if only one or two numbers are hard to read, it could be impossible to contact you.

Question: Will I find my pet?

Answer: That is the most heart wrenching question we get asked. The prognosis for finding a lost pet is highly variable, and depends on many factors, including: Early response, effective planning and implementation of the plan, pet’s temperament, pet’s health, pet’s breed, appearance of the pet, if the pet was wearing identification, if the pet is microchipped, weather, terrain, population density, circumstances surrounding the pet’s escape or disappearance, how quickly the search is abandoned, how bonded the pet owner is with the pet, false assumptions or misinformation, owner behavior, and rescuer behavior. To increase your chances of finding a lost pet, use all resources available to you and get professional help, including consulting with a Pet Detective.

Question: How long should I look for my pet?

Answer: The answer to this question is very personal. Some people search forever, some have to call off the search after only a few days. At Pet Search and Rescue we encourage you to continue aggressively searching for your lost dog for at least 6 weeks. There are many news reports of dogs being found months and even years after they went missing. Here are a few to give you inspiration! Don’t give up!

- Missing North Carolina Dog Found 18 Months Later In Ohio: A mixed breed dog named Chrissy was found because her owners were determined not to give up on finding their beloved pet. Apparently Chrissy went missing in 2007 and the owners followed tips, finding her over a year later with a woman who had no idea that the dog belonged to someone else. 
- We worked a lost dog case in Los Angeles, CA. The owner was convinced that the dog was attacked by coyotes, despite the fact that the Search Dogs found that the dog went out toward a busy street. Nine months later the dog was found healthy in a shelter over 90 miles away, because of the dog’s microchip. 
- A lab names Lula was missing for 2 months before being located by her loving owners. A homeless man ended up with Lula. The man had been hit and killed by a car, and Lula ended up changing hands multiple times. Persistence was key in getting Lula back home!
- Walker, a Sheltie, was found about 6 months after going missing. Humane trapping and witness development was key!

So never stop looking, and if you adopted your dog from GSROC, CALL US!!   We will also come out and help you. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Coping with the loss of a pet

Ten Tips on Coping with Pet Loss
by Moira Anderson Allen, M.Ed.
Anyone who considers a pet a beloved friend, companion, or family member knows the intense pain that accompanies the loss of that friend. Following are some tips on coping with that grief, and with the difficult decisions one faces upon the loss of a pet.
1. Am I crazy to hurt so much?
Intense grief over the loss of a pet is normal and natural. Don't let anyone tell you that it's silly, crazy, or overly sentimental to grieve!
During the years you spent with your pet (even if they were few), it became a significant and constant part of your life. It was a source of comfort and companionship, of unconditional love and acceptance, of fun and joy. So don't be surprised if you feel devastated by the loss of such a relationship.
People who don't understand the pet/owner bond may not understand your pain. All that matters, however, is how you feel. Don't let others dictate your feelings: They are valid, and may be extremely painful. But remember, you are not alone: Thousands of pet owners have gone through the same feelings.
2. What Can I Expect to Feel?
Different people experience grief in different ways. Besides your sorrow and loss, you may also experience the following emotions:
  • Guilt may occur if you feel responsible for your pet's death-the "if only I had been more careful" syndrome. It is pointless and often erroneous to burden yourself with guilt for the accident or illness that claimed your pet's life, and only makes it more difficult to resolve your grief.
  • Denial makes it difficult to accept that your pet is really gone. It's hard to imagine that your pet won't greet you when you come home, or that it doesn't need its evening meal. Some pet owners carry this to extremes, and fear their pet is still alive and suffering somewhere. Others find it hard to get a new pet for fear of being "disloyal" to the old.
  • Anger may be directed at the illness that killed your pet, the driver of the speeding car, the veterinarian who "failed" to save its life. Sometimes it is justified, but when carried to extremes, it distracts you from the important task of resolving your grief.
  • Depression is a natural consequence of grief, but can leave you powerless to cope with your feelings. Extreme depression robs you of motivation and energy, causing you to dwell upon your sorrow.
3. What can I do about my feelings?
The most important step you can take is to be honest about your feelings. Don't deny your pain, or your feelings of anger and guilt. Only by examining and coming to terms with your feelings can you begin to work through them.
You have a right to feel pain and grief! Someone you loved has died, and you feel alone and bereaved. You have a right to feel anger and guilt, as well. Acknowledge your feelings first, then ask yourself whether the circumstances actually justify them.
Locking away grief doesn't make it go away. Express it. Cry, scream, pound the floor, talk it out. Do what helps you the most. Don't try to avoid grief by not thinking about your pet; instead, reminisce about the good times. This will help you understand what your pet's loss actually means to you.
Some find it helpful to express their feelings and memories in poems, stories, or letters to the pet. Other strategies including rearranging your schedule to fill in the times you would have spent with your pet; preparing a memorial such as a photo collage; and talking to others about your loss.
4. Who can I talk to?
If your family or friends love pets, they'll understand what you're going through. Don't hide your feelings in a misguided effort to appear strong and calm! Working through your feelings with another person is one of the best ways to put them in perspective and find ways to handle them. Find someone you can talk to about how much the pet meant to you and how much you miss it-someone you feel comfortable crying and grieving with.
If you don't have family or friends who understand, or if you need more help, ask your veterinarian or humane association to recommend a pet loss counselor or support group. Check with your church or hospital for grief counseling. Remember, your grief is genuine and deserving of support.
5. When is the right time to euthanize a pet?
Your veterinarian is the best judge of your pet's physical condition; however, you are the best judge of the quality of your pet's daily life. If a pet has a good appetite, responds to attention, seeks its owner's company, and participates in play or family life, many owners feel that this is not the time. However, if a pet is in constant pain, undergoing difficult and stressful treatments that aren't helping greatly, unresponsive to affection, unaware of its surroundings, and uninterested in life, a caring pet owner will probably choose to end the beloved companion's suffering.
Evaluate your pet's health honestly and unselfishly with your veterinarian. Prolonging a pet's suffering in order to prevent your own ultimately helps neither of you. Nothing can make this decision an easy or painless one, but it is truly the final act of love that you can make for your pet.
6. Should I stay during euthanasia?
Many feel this is the ultimate gesture of love and comfort you can offer your pet. Some feel relief and comfort themselves by staying: They were able to see that their pet passed peacefully and without pain, and that it was truly gone. For many, not witnessing the death (and not seeing the body) makes it more difficult to accept that the pet is really gone. However, this can be traumatic, and you must ask yourself honestly whether you will be able to handle it. Uncontrolled emotions and tears-though natural-are likely to upset your pet.
Some clinics are more open than others to allowing the owner to stay during euthanasia. Some veterinarians are also willing to euthanize a pet at home. Others have come to an owner's car to administer the injection. Again, consider what will be least traumatic for you and your pet, and discuss your desires and concerns with your veterinarian. If your clinic is not able to accommodate your wishes, request a referral.
7. What do I do next?
When a pet dies, you must choose how to handle its remains. Sometimes, in the midst of grief, it may seem easiest to leave the pet at the clinic for disposal. Check with your clinic to find out whether there is a fee for such disposal. Some shelters also accept such remains, though many charge a fee for disposal.
If you prefer a more formal option, several are available. Home burial is a popular choice, if you have sufficient property for it. It is economical and enables you to design your own funeral ceremony at little cost. However, city regulations usually prohibit pet burials, and this is not a good choice for renters or people who move frequently.
To many, a pet cemetery provides a sense of dignity, security, and permanence. Owners appreciate the serene surroundings and care of the gravesite. Cemetery costs vary depending on the services you select, as well as upon the type of pet you have. Cremation is a less expensive option that allows you to handle your pet's remains in a variety of ways: bury them (even in the city), scatter them in a favorite location, place them in a columbarium, or even keep them with you in a decorative urn (of which a wide variety are available).
Check with your veterinarian, pet shop, or phone directory for options available in your area. Consider your living situation, personal and religious values, finances, and future plans when making your decision. It's also wise to make such plans in advance, rather than hurriedly in the midst of grief.
8. What should I tell my children?
You are the best judge of how much information your children can handle about death and the loss of their pet. Don't underestimate them, however. You may find that, by being honest with them about your pet's loss, you may be able to address some fears and misperceptions they have about death.
Honesty is important. If you say the pet was "put to sleep," make sure your children understand the difference between death and ordinary sleep. Never say the pet "went away," or your child may wonder what he or she did to make it leave, and wait in anguish for its return. That also makes it harder for a child to accept a new pet. Make it clear that the pet will not come back, but that it is happy and free of pain.
Never assume a child is too young or too old to grieve. Never criticize a child for tears, or tell them to "be strong" or not to feel sad. Be honest about your own sorrow; don't try to hide it, or children may feel required to hide their grief as well. Discuss the issue with the entire family, and give everyone a chance to work through their grief at their own pace.
9. Will my other pets grieve?
Pets observe every change in a household, and are bound to notice the absence of a companion. Pets often form strong attachments to one another, and the survivor of such a pair may seem to grieve for its companion. Cats grieve for dogs, and dogs for cats.
You may need to give your surviving pets a lot of extra attention and love to help them through this period. Remember that, if you are going to introduce a new pet, your surviving pets may not accept the newcomer right away, but new bonds will grow in time. Meanwhile, the love of your surviving pets can be wonderfully healing for your own grief.
10. Should I get a new pet right away?
Generally, the answer is no. One needs time to work through grief and loss before attempting to build a relationship with a new pet. If your emotions are still in turmoil, you may resent a new pet for trying to "take the place" of the old-for what you really want is your old pet back. Children in particular may feel that loving a new pet is "disloyal" to the previous pet.
When you do get a new pet, avoid getting a "lookalike" pet, which makes comparisons all the more likely. Don't expect your new pet to be "just like" the one you lost, but allow it to develop its own personality. Never give a new pet the same name or nickname as the old. Avoid the temptation to compare the new pet to the old one: It can be hard to remember that your beloved companion also caused a few problems when it was young!
A new pet should be acquired because you are ready to move forward and build a new relationship-rather than looking backward and mourning your loss. When you are ready, select an animal with whom you can build another long, loving relationship-because this is what having a pet is all about!
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Snail bait kills dogs!

In certain areas of the world snail bait is one of the most common causes of accidental poisonings in dogs. The toxic active ingredient found in most slug and snail baits is metaldehyde.
Snail bait or slug bait usually come in pellet form which your pet can find very attractive because it resembles dog kibble. The snail pellets are sometimes combined with molasses, apples and bran which is added to attract the slugs and snails. Unfortunately this also attracts your dog to them.
Snail bait is also available in liquid and granule form, however, if you use it in this form dogs may walk on it and later lick their paws. They may even eat the dirt containing granules or liquid. It is in your dog's best interest not to use snail bait around your yard. Don't make a snail bait meal your dog's last meal.
How much Snail Bait is Dangerous to my dog?

A very small amount of snail bait is fatal for dogs. Approximately 1 teaspoon per 4.5kg/10lb of bodyweight will cause death in fifty percent of ingestions.
What are the symptoms of snail bait poisoning?

Symptoms of snail bait poisoning occur quickly after ingestion. Initial symptoms may include:

  • Twitching. This is a common symptom
  • apprehension and an increased excited mood
  • excessive drooling
  • muscle tremors
  • panting
  • fever
  • seizures
  • fast heart rate
  • respiratory failure
  • rigidity
  • vomiting
It is critical to get veterinary attention immediately if you suspect snail bait poisoning. Your dog could die within four hours of ingestion. Get to a vet as soon as possible. Every minute counts.

Try to stay calm and before heading off to the emergency room remember to grab the packet containing the snail bait so your vet can check the active ingredients.
If your dog has vomited at home it may also be useful to take the dog's vomit with you to the vet for testing.

Treatment for Snail Bait Poisoning by your Vet

Your vet may induce vomiting and may use a stomach pump. Activated charcoal is often given to absorb toxic substances. It reduces absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. If the bait has already reached the intestine, enemas may be given to wash the poison out. Your vet will monitor your dog's temperature and he may put him on IV fluids to flush out the poison. The muscle twitching will usually be treated with a muscle relaxant such as diazepam. Your vet may have to anaesthetize your dog until seizures are controlled.
High fever is common and is associated with the muscle twitching. Once the muscle tremors subside the temperature usually lowers.
Your dog will be hospitalized for monitoring and supportive care of further symptoms.
There is no antidote for metaldehyde poisoning. Your vet will give supportive treatment by treating the symptoms.
Prognosis of Snail Bait Poisoning

Prognosis of metaldehyde poisoning depends mainly on the amount of snail bait ingested and the time elapsed in getting treatment from your vet. The quicker you get to the vet the better chance of survival for your dog.
If your dog is not successfully treated death usually occurs within 4-12 hours. Dogs that initially survive the poisoning may develop liver disease in 2-3 days. Recovered dogs may suffer from memory loss, temporary blindness or diarrhea.
Prevention is better than cure. Don't take risks

Remember... it's not only where you spread snail bait on the ground, you also have to be careful where you store it. Dogs like children are notorious for getting into things they shouldn't. Always store all chemicals in a safe child and pet proof place.
Is there a Pet Safe Snail Bait?

Speak to the people at your garden centre regarding pet safe snail killers and repellents. There is a product called Sluggo, a snail and slug killer which is said to be non toxic to pets. READ THE LABEL YOURSELF, thoroughly!

You can also purchase various snail traps.

Are there any other alternatives to kill snails?

Another alternative available are predatory snails called the Decollate Snail. Decollate snails attack the common brown garden snail and the snail's eggs. They will also eat decaying plant material, which keeps them fed when they can't find snails but they will always prefer pest snails if they are present.

Copper barrier tape forms an effective barrier to protect plants from slugs and snails. The tape is self adhesive and is wrapped around the rim of plant pots or containers. Slugs and snails are deterred from crossing this barrier due to a tiny positive electric charge that is given off by the tape.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Separation Anxiety

What is separation anxiety?

It is a behavior that manifests itself as visible stress upon departure of a dog's person. The anxiety can vary from mild to severe. Separation anxiety is preventable and responds well when treated.

What causes separation anxiety?

By nature, dogs are social animals – they don't like being alone. Many dogs who are in stable, structured homes will never suffer from separation anxiety, even if their people go off to work every day. In some dogs, however, being alone for many hours a day causes undue stress, boredom, and… anxiety. In turn, they look for things to do.

Are there triggers for Separation Anxiety?

Here are some circumstances that may result in separation anxiety:
• A new home (a move for the dog to a new family)
• A change in the amount of time you are absent
• A move to a different house (with the same family)
• The death of a family member (human or companion dog)
• Time spent away from you
What are the signs of separation anxiety?

If you are making preparations to leave, the dog may follow you from room to room. Other signs are pacing, excessive salivating, vomiting, barking, howling or whining. During your absence, your dog may engage in destructive behavior, often directed at the exits (windows and doors) or clothing or other items that have your scent. An otherwise house-trained dog may eliminate inappropriately. In severe cases, the dog may have a panic attack and hurt herself by breaking through windows or attempting to get out of her crate.
As always, any change in your dogs behavior warrants a visit to the veterinarian to check your dog's health.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pet Psychic Radio - Listen To The Worlds Animals

So, with the recession, there are reports that show there are two areas where people did NOT stop spending money-alcohol and PETS!   Funny, right?    People do a lot to keep their pets happy.    We cook for them, take them to daycare, set up playdates, take them to the chiropractor, get acupuncture... and talk to Pet Psychic to hopefully better understand our babies.  
Today, our founder, Maria Dales was on the Pet Psychic radio talk show spreading the word about GSROC!  

Pet Psychic Radio - Listen To The Worlds Animals 05/03 by ThePetPsychic | Blog Talk Radio