Category Archives: General Health

Cropping and docking are going away. Which side of history will your breed be on? | Ruffly Speaking

The veterinary community had a general feeling in the 70s, but science had progressed enough by the 1990s to make researchers certain that dogs did feel pain from both procedures. Again, if you’re taking a breath to say that baby puppies don’t feel pain when they’re docked, you are completely and totally wrong. 6 It’s also false that it’s less painful to dock during puppyhood than amputate in adulthood.7 And if you insist on either one of these things, you are not only perpetuating a falsehood,8 you just make us look even more stupid.9

By 2008, not only was it certain that the procedures caused pain, it was certain that they did not provide anything close to a compensatory benefit. Undocked dogs have very few tail injuries. 10 Cropping does not prevent ear infections.11 The implementation of cropping/docking on “working breeds” is so inconsistent as to be laughable.12 The jig is up; nobody believes you when you say it’s for a working purpose.13

Source: Cropping and docking are going away. Which side of history will your breed be on? | Ruffly Speaking

Yes, yes, and yes!  Thank-you, Joanna, for speaking out on this subject.  Dogs should keep all the parts they are born with!

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Mid-winter update

You may have heard that Boston has gotten a little snow this year.

Nathan, with the five feet of snow accumulation in our front yard.
Nathan, with the five feet of snow accumulation in our front yard.

The dogs are chronically under-exercised — although they’ve made some cool trails in the backyard, it’s been so cold that the Ridgebacks can’t safely spend any extended amount of time outdoors.  Clover, poor girl, has been getting snow packed between her toes and limping if she stays outside for too long.  I’m very grateful now our fence installer went with six foot fencing, because I’ve watched Clover stretch up with her front paws on the fence to measure whether or not she thought she’d be able to jump over it.

I swear there's a gazebo under all that snow.  Somewhere.
I swear there’s a gazebo under all that snow. Somewhere.

At the beginning of February, we bought an electric blanket for the dogs, and put it on the sofa.  Jackson and Loki have spent the past month like this:

Jackson and Loki


And that brings us to today, the first “warm” day we’ve had in several weeks — and warm has me thinking about just where all that melted snow is going to go.

Last winter we had a horrible time with water intrusion in the basement, but this winter it’s been dryer than Pharaoh’s tomb down there.  Where the sump pump was running more or less constantly last winter, this winter the sump itself has been nearly dry, and the water level hasn’t even approached being high enough to trigger the pump to run.  I’m not foolish enough to think that can’t change with the spring thaw, however.

Nate and I spent some time in the basement today, re-stacking what few things we store down there.  We’ve got a mix of Rubbermaid storage containers and cardboard boxes, so we got all the cardboard boxes up off the floor.  We also tested the de-humidifier and the sump pump to make sure they’re still in working order, just in case things do get damp down there again.

We also spent time this morning processing some raw dog food.  I’ve been swapping back and forth with giving the dogs whole raw meaty bones vs ground raw meaty bones since Jackson had his carnassial removed.  He has no issues with whole RMBs at all — but surprisingly, Loki does.  Loki would prefer all his food ground, thank-you very much.  He will eat whole RMBs, but not with the same gusto that he eats ground food.  So … we’ve made good use of the grinder I bought from Caryl-Rose after Jackson’s surgery.  This morning, with Nathan’s help, we managed to grind and pack up 50 pounds of pork heart and 40 pounds of chicken backs.  I’ve got another 35 pounds of turkey hearts thawing in the sink right now.  I have plans to buy a larger, more capable grinder later this year — my Facebook friend Nancy says hers can do a 40 pound case of chicken leg quarters in 10 minutes.

We’ve more or less standardized on putting all the ground food in the largest size of reusable food tub available from our local grocery stores.  It holds 4 pounds of food and stacks pretty efficiently in the freezer, and in our fridge on the “dog food shelf.”  I took an inventory since I just put in my March orders from the new beef supplier and from Blue Ridge Beef, but you’ll see that in the normal monthly raw food order post.



Pike continues to grow like a weed.  After his start at the Hartford shows, I’m really looking forward to Spring Fling in Springfield.  He’ll just be eligible for the 6-month puppy class, and Loki will be showing in Open for the first time.

Speaking of the Loki litter — Loki’s brother Dante finished his championship this weekend with a 4 point major in Suffern!  Super happy for Marsa, and hoping Raylan and Loki will be hard on Dante’s heels.

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What Your Natural Health Magazine Doesn’t Want You To Know

Concerns about vaccinations, sarcomas, immune system function, and nutrition are all perfectly valid. This should be able to be part of a discussion with a good veterinarian without bloodshed or Yelp. You are all smart people. A nice, polite, rational approach to collaboration may not sell magazines, but it does create better outcomes. I will talk to you about anything, even coconut oil, delayed neutering, titers, and raw food.

I understand the difference between your pet and the community as a whole, and if you ask why we have the recommendations we do, I’d be happy to go into all the boring public health theory and discussion of cell mediated immunity and why titers don’t prove definitive immunity and all those other things a drug rep with a burrito did not teach me in a one week course. This is communication, and it’s what two people who don’t want to kill each other do.

via What Your Natural Health Magazine Doesn’t Want You To Know | Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V..

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A Note on Puppies – Bobbie Lyons, Cert CF      503-329-1235

My preference is to teach the puppy body awareness and coordination on the flat first. Once the dog can obtain the correct position on the flat, then I add unstable FitPAWS equipment such as rocker boards, peanuts, Fitbones, and paw pods that improve proper weight distribution while keeping the body in alignment. I suggest putting the donut holder under the wobble board which allows it to jiggle but not to rock.  When the dog has well developed muscles and bones (at about age 12 months) then add sustained exercises on wobble boards and balance discs.

via A Note on Puppies – Bobbie Lyons, Cert CF

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Listen up, guys: there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed. | Team Unruly

Listen up, guys: there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed. | Team Unruly.

Many reputable organizations and news outlets have been reporting on these findings and trying to debunk the ‘hypoallergenic dog’ idea: if you don’t believe me and don’t want to read a bunch of studies, here’s The New York Times, here’s our old pals at WebMD, and here’s the Mayo Clinic (though, Mayo Clinic, “just keep your dog outside!” is not actually a good solution to dealing with allergies). Unfortunately, a lot of times, popular or casual journalists–your Dog Daily, your AKC blogs, your Dog Channel, your random piece on Yahoo! that your aunt forwards you–will start an article out by saying, “Some scientists say that there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog” and then immediately pivot to “but here’s a list of breeds that may be a good call for allergy sufferers!”. This is obnoxious and confuses the issue, because, repeat after me: there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic breed of dog. There are no breeds that are ‘better’ for allergy sufferers, period, and to say otherwise is at best, misinformed and at worst, disingenuous. To understand why this is, we have to start by looking at the science behind what dog allergies actually are.

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4 Ways to Keep Dogs Warm in the Winter – wikiHow

Does your dog shiver when you go outside? During the winter season, many dogs feel the cold as much as their owners do, especially when they are not habituated to the cold, or that have specific cold weather traits. Keeping your dog warm through the winter months is important to maintaining top health, and it wont take you much extra effort to ensure winter coziness for your canine pal.

via 4 Ways to Keep Dogs Warm in the Winter – wikiHow.

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Do You Know a Fat Dog When You See One?

Canine obesity is not a joking matter, and it is often considered both a welfare and a quality-of-life issue. Obesity can predispose dogs to serious health problems like diabetes, cardiovascular problems, joint and bone disorders as well as shortened lifespan (typically by about two years). Canine obesity “is increasingly considered a significant animal welfare issue, such that overfeeding can be characterised as being as cruel as underfeeding (RSPCA 2008).”

via Do You Know a Fat Dog When You See One? | Dog Spies, Scientific American Blog Network.

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