Holiday Safety for Greyhounds

It’s that time of year again.  Christmas, and the New Year are fast approaching and it means a busy time of year for everyone.  Please do not allow your hustling and bustling to take its toll on your greyhound.  With some common sense planning, you should be able to spend the holidays with your pets without having to make a trip to the emergency animal hospital or to go out in the cold to search for a missing dog.

Here are some helpful hints:

First, realize that your hound(s) may not like all the activities and noise that comes with the holiday season even if you do.  What you may enjoy may drive them into negative behaviors that you will have to deal with.  Remember that extra lights (especially blinking and rotating) may make some dogs nervous.  Lots of company and young children (when they are not used to being around people daily) may stress out a normal dog.   If they need to go outside to relieve themselves, and you are too busy with company to notice the signals, you may have accidents to clean up.

Think ahead.  What are your plans over the next couple of months?  Think of the change in routine.  Set aside a quiet spot for your hound(s) to escape from the noise and confusion.  Perhaps it would be time to bring out the crate or make a place in a bedroom that would provide your dog with a chance to rest when things get busy and noisy.  Don’t force a dog to wear a costume, hat, garlands, etc. if it hasn’t had to wear anything in the past.  It may be funny to you and your guests, but your dog may not like it at all!

If your hound is not used to being around small children, you should make sure that your guests know to keep their children away from your dog.  As the old saying goes, “Let sleeping dogs lie.”  You don’t want to have to apologize if your hound snaps or bites if it is awakened suddenly or pounced upon by a small child.

Check your hound’s collar for wear and tear and replace old worn out collars so they don’t break unexpectedly.  Check to make sure your dog is wearing some form of identification.  If you don’t use collars indoors, please use a tag collar.  Make sure that your dog is not at the door when company arrives so that it doesn’t accidentally get loose.  In fact, it’s a good idea to put a sign on your outside gates and doors warning guests that you have a pet inside!  There are great, reasonably-priced signs available on line that you can buy.

Keep harmful items out of the reach of your hound.  If you get busy while decorating your house, make sure that anything you don’t want your hound to get hold of should be put up out of reach.  Keep food out of reach as well.  Make sure that all food is picked up from the tables after meals and hot pots are removed from stove burners.  The rule should be:  no food and/or decorations within chewing, nibbling, pulling-over distance!

Did you know that a lot of plants that people decorate with at Christmas time are harmful to hounds?  Keep poinsettias, mistletoe, amaryllis, and narcissus high and out of reach.  Put avocados, chocolate, almonds and apricots away.  Keep cooked turkey and chicken bones away from your hound.  They can puncture the intestines.  At a minimum, all of these items can make your hound sick.  Alcohol should not be a part of your pet’s celebration of the holidays.

Keep a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide on hand.  Make sure it is a fresh bottle and that it still bubbles.  This is one of the most important items you can have in your emergency first aid kit.  If you suspect that your hound has eaten something harmful, a dose of HP will cause vomiting.  Before you start dosing, though, make sure you have the dose right and that vomiting is the appropriate treatment.  Keep the number on your refrigerator for the SPCA’s poison control center and for your vet (and an emergency veterinary clinic if you are lucky enough to have one within driving distance).  This may save valuable time if you need to reach someone in a hurry.

Walk around your house and think of all the possible ways your hound could get hurt or ingest something harmful.  Something as simple as your hound swallowing a long piece of thread can cause great harm if the thread wraps around the intestines.  Fiberfill from a squeaky toy can get caught in the stomach or block the colon.  And watch those rawhides and other treats!  More dogs suffer diarrhea, stomach upsets, and blockages over the holidays by eating lots of treats that have been manufactured out of the US and have been processed with harmful chemicals.  Large pieces of rawhides swallowed can also block up the digestive system.  If you are uncertain about the treats your hound receives, throw them away!

If you put up a live Christmas tree, watch that your hound does not drink the water in the stand, especially if you add something to the water to help preserve the tree.  If your hound exhibits behavior that is not usual, please take the time to find out what may be causing the problem.  For instance, a laid back dog that suddenly starts acting like a Velcro dog may indicate that he/she is not feeling well.  Learn your dog’s signals and take the time to think about what may be wrong.

If you plan to be very busy and do not want to worry about your hound, please use a pet sitter or make reservations at a kennel for your hound when you’ll be busiest.

Unfortunately, most animal adoption groups have to prepare for returns around this time of year as that is when most of the returns happen.  The holidays should not be a time when frustration leads people to return their pet rather than to make the few adjustments it takes ahead of time to deal with the potential problems.  We want your holidays to be happy and healthy for your dog and you!

 

 

Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge

 

We are sad to report the loss of special greyhounds.  It is never easy to say good bye.  But all of our bridge angels had wonderful homes for a long time and were greatly loved.

Mimicute

 

 

WV’s My Smile (Mimi), adopted and loved by Kurt and Jackie

 

 

 

Max in Jammies

 

 

TKM Slamback (Max), adopted and loved by Melissa and Jim

 

 

 

 

CC in Leaves1

 

 

WJS Cool Change (CC), adopted and loved by the Arnold family

 

 

 

Deep Canyon Face Best

 

 

 

Deep Canyon (Canyon), adopted and loved by Hettie and Bill

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Adoption Thoughts

Emme GazingMy life is likely to last 10 to 15 years.  Any separation from you will be quite painful.

 Give me time to understand what you want from me.

 Allow me to place my trust in you – it is crucial for my well-being.

 Don’t be angry with me for long, and don’t lock me up as punishment.  You have work, your friends, family, and your entertainment.  I have only you.

 Talk to me.  Even if I don’t understand your words, I understand your voice when it’s speaking to me.

 Don’t hit me.  Remember that I have teeth but I choose not to bite you.

 Be aware that however you treat me I will not forget it.

 Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me.  Perhaps I’m not getting the right food, I’ve been in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak.

 Take care of me when I get old.  You, too, will grow old.

 Stay with me on difficult journeys.  Never say, “I can’t bear to watch it,” or “Let it happen in my absence.”  Everything is easier for me if you are there.

 

 

Rainbow Bridge – Emma Warner

Emma WarnerEmma Warner

 April 15, 1989-October 11, 2015

 It is with great sadness that we have lost a wonderful, sweet, kind, loving and generous young lady, Emma Warner, in our Greyhound Community. There is nothing more special when a young woman donates her time and resources to caring for, advocating for and educating others on how wonderful and special Greyhounds are to enhancing our lives.

Unknown to Emma and her family, Emma was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Vascular which is rare, and an incurable disease. Prior to Emma’s diagnoses, Emma had her ups and downs, but this disease, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Vascular, is what lead to her stroke in January 2011 and her eventual death on October 11, 2015. She was a trooper and tolerated constant pain. The damage from the stroke was something she could not beat.

Emma and her parents (Gary & Pat Warner) have spent many years volunteering to help the Greyhounds from fundraising events, educating people on Greyhounds, transporting fosters, assisting with hauls, and even fostering Greyhounds. They had to stop fostering because of all their foster failures became a growing Greyhound family, one of which included Emma’sown adopted Greyhound, Odie, who stuck to his Mom like glue. Emma’s family will continue in their efforts to do everything they can for Greyhounds including being Santa helpers for the Santo Photo events.

Even though Emma is no longer with us, she continues to assist Greyhounds with another special gift of love. She has asked that donations be made “In Honor of Emma Warner” to

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome – Vascular (Tribute Gift)

In honor of Emma Warner

http://www.ednf.org

Or

Fast Friends Greyhounds Rescue

WWW.Greytdogs.org

Add Emma Warner under special instructions
Or Mail Check with note “In Honor of Emma Warner”
Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue
PO Box 58
Walkersville, MD 21793

 

Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow BridgeWe are sorry to add to the list of greyhounds that have passed on to the Rainbow Bridge.  We are sad for their loss but so grateful that they had such wonderful homes where they were loved very much……

 

PJ Terri

 

 

 

PJ Terri, adopted and loved by the Magers family

 

 

SE's Fuzzy Man

 

 

 

SE’s Fuzzy Man (Murphy), adopted and loved by the Stitely family

 

 

 

Boc's Fire Ball Best

 

 

 

Boc’s Fireball (Rita) adopted and loved by the Anderson Family

 

 

 

RaiderJimbest

 

 

Raider Jim (Raider), adopted and loved by the O’Connell family

 

 

 

Bluegoosebest2

 

 

Pals Blue Goose (Goose), adopted and loved by the Williams family

Do You Have A Disaster Plan?

Do you have a disaster plan in place in case of an emergency?  The following is borrowed from the Humane Society of the United States.  We hope that you will consider putting together a plan in the event of a disaster.  Although we think it won’t happen to us, it will eventually and we should be prepared:

Start getting ready now

ID your pet

Make sure that cats and dogs are wearing collars and identification tags that are up to date. You’ll increase your chances of being reunited with pets who get lost by having them microchipped; make sure the microchip registration is in your name. But remember: The average citizen who finds your pet won’t be able to scan for a chip, but they will probably be able to read a basic tag!

Put your cell phone number on your pet’s tag. It may also be a good idea to include the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area—in case you have had to evacuate.

Put together your disaster kit

Assemble an emergency kit for yourself and your pet.

Find a safe place to stay ahead of time

Never assume that you will be allowed to bring your pet to an emergency shelter. Before a disaster hits, call your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to evacuate with your pets and verify that there will be shelters in your area that take people and their pets.

Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to find out if they accept pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size and species. Inquire if a “no pet” policy would be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of animal-friendly places handy, and call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home.

Make arrangements with friends or relatives. Ask people outside your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets—or just your pets—if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you may need to arrange to house them at separate locations.

Consider a kennel or veterinarian’s office. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in disaster emergencies (make sure to include their 24-hour telephone numbers).

Check with your local animal shelter. Some shelters may be able to provide foster care or shelter for pets in an emergency. But keep in mind that shelters have limited resources and are likely to be stretched during a local emergency.

Plan for your pet in case you’re not home

In case you’re away during a disaster or evacuation order, make arrangements well in advance for someone you trust to take your pets and meet you at a specified location. Be sure the person is comfortable with your pets and your pets are familiar with them. Give your emergency caretaker a key to your home and show them where your pets are likely to be (especially if they hide when they’re nervous) and where your disaster supplies are kept.

If you have a pet-sitter, they may be able to help. Discuss the possibility well in advance.

If you evacuate, take your pet

Rule number one: If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. You have no way of knowing how long you’ll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able—or allowed—to go back for your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed.
Pledge to take your pet with you when disaster strikes.

Rule number two: Evacuate early. Don’t wait for a mandatory evacuation order. Some people who have waited to be evacuated by emergency officials have been told to leave their pets behind. The smell of smoke or the sound of high winds or thunder may make your pet more fearful and difficult to load into a crate or carrier. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process less stressful.

If you stay home, do it safely

If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together.

  • Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide.
  • Move dangerous items such as tools or toxic products that have been stored in the area.
  • Bring your pets indoors as soon as local authorities say trouble is on the way. Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, and make sure they are wearing identification.
  • If you have a room you can designate as a “safe room,” put your emergency supplies in that room in advance, including your pet’s crate and supplies. Have any medications and a supply of pet food and water inside watertight containers, along with your other emergency supplies. If there is an open fireplace, vent, pet door or similar opening in the house, close it off with plastic sheeting and strong tape.
  • Listen to the radio periodically, and don’t come out until you know it’s safe.

After the disaster

Your home may be a very different place after the emergency is over, and it may be hard for your pets to adjust.

  • Don’t allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations.
  • While you assess the damage, keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers inside the house. If your house is damaged, your pets could escape.
  • Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible. Be ready for behavioral problems caused by the stress of the situation. If these problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.
  • If your community has been flooded, check your home and yard for wild animals who may have sought refuge there.Wildlife can pose a threat to you and your pet.

Be ready for everyday emergencies

You can’t get home to your pet

There may be times that you can’t get home to take care of your pets. Icy roads may trap you at the office overnight, an accident may send you to the hospital—things happen. But you can make sure your pets get the care they need by making arrangements now:

  • Find a trusted neighbor, friend or family member and give him or her a key. Make sure this backup caretaker is comfortable and familiar with your pets (and vice versa).
  • Make sure your backup caretaker knows your pets’ feeding and medication schedule, whereabouts and habits.
  • If you use a pet-sitting service, find out in advance if they will be able to help in case of an emergency.

The electricity goes out

If you’re forced to leave your home because you’ve lost electricity, take your pets with you to a pet-friendly hotel. If it’s summer, even just an hour or two in the sweltering heat can be dangerous. If you stay at home during a summer power outage, ask your local emergency management office if there are pet-friendly cooling centers in the area.

If it’s winter, don’t be fooled by your pets’ fur coats; it isn’t safe to leave them in an unheated house.

Plans aren’t just for pets

Disaster plans aren’t only essential for the safety of pets. If you’re responsible for other kinds of animals during natural disasters, disaster plans for feral or outdoor cats, horses and animals on farms can be lifesavers.

 

The Dangers of Obesity

Is your pet at risk for the #1 health threat?

There is a 53% chance your dog is affected. And a 58% risk your cat is implicated.

It’s a medical concern of epidemic proportions.

And it is slowly killing our pets – every day.

 What is it?

U.S. pet obesity rates continued to increase in 2012.

The number of overweight cats reached an all-time high.

Such are some of the sobering conclusions of the National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey. This is the 6th annual survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) (full disclosure: I sit on the Board of this prestigious organization).

The 2012 survey revealed that 53% of dogs and 58% of cats are overweight or obese as evaluated by their family veterinarian. That equals approximately 80 million U.S. dogs and cats at increased risk for weight-related disorders such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, hypertension and many cancers.

“Pet obesity remains the Number 1 health threat to our nation’s pets,” states APOP’s founder, Dr. Ernie Ward. “We continue to see an increase in the number of overweight cats and an explosion in the number of type 2 diabetes cases.”

New York-based veterinary endocrinologist and APOP board member Dr. Mark Peterson agrees. “The soaring rate of feline and canine obesity is taking a terrible toll on our animals’ health. There is a vast population of overweight cats and dogs facing an epidemic of diabetes. The best preventive measure a pet owner can make is to keep their dog or cat at a healthy weight. Diabetes is far easier to prevent than treat, especially when twice daily insulin injections are needed.”

The fat gap:

The difficulty vets encounter is that many pet owners don’t recognize when their pet is overweight. In this survey, approximately 45% of cat and dog owners assessed their pet as having a normal body weight, when their vet assessed the pet to be overweight.

Dr. Ward calls the phenomenon of incorrectly evaluating an overweight pet as normal “the fat gap.” “The disconnect between reality and what a pet owner thinks is obese makes having a conversation with their veterinarian more challenging. Many pet owners are shocked when their veterinarian informs them their pet needs to lose weight. They just don’t see it.”

Certain breeds showed greater risk for excess weight. Vets classified 59% of Labs and 63% of golden retrievers as overweight or obese. Interestingly, German shepherds had the lowest reported pure breed obesity rate (2 %).

One consequence of chubbiness is the development of weight-related orthopedic conditions, starting with joint problems.  Many readers probably know more about ACLs (Anterior Cruciate Ligaments) than they wanted to, because their pet needed ACL surgery.  This is just one example of overweight as one possible cause of ACL tears.

Pets and kids:

Dr. Ward also sees a clear connection between pet and childhood obesity rates. The causes of pet and childhood obesity are largely the same: too many high-calorie foods and snacks combined with too little physical activity. It would be very beneficial to teach kids, early in life, to put down their video games and pick up the dog leash to go for a walk.

“This is a battle vets and pet owners must win. Obesity is the number 1 preventable medical condition seen in veterinary hospitals today. Our goal is to help pets and people live longer, healthier, and pain-free lives by maintaining a healthy weight, proper nutrition and physical activity. The most important decision a pet owner makes each day is what they choose to feed. Choose wisely. Your pet’s life depends on it.”

For fans of numbers out there:

. The 2012 survey analyzed data from 121 veterinary clinics in 36 States.

. 1,485 dogs and 450 cats were assessed

. Median age of surveyed cats and dogs: 6 years of age

. Based on 2012 survey results and 2012 American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) data, 80 million U.S. dogs and cats are overweight or obese.

. Based on 2012 survey results and 2012 AVMA data:

– An estimated 43 million cats or 58% are overweight or obese. Over 29 million cats are overweight, and almost 14 million cats are obese.

– An estimated 37 million dogs or 53% are overweight or obese.  Almost 26 million dogs are overweight, and 11 million dogs are obese.

The worst part:

. Almost 46% of dog owners incorrectly identified their overweight or obese dogs as having a “normal weight.”

. Over 45% of cat owners incorrectly identified their overweight or obese cats as having a “normal weight.”

The best advice a vet can give you, the Holy Grail of pet happiness is this: “Feed your pet less, exercise them more and see your vet at least once a year.”

The REALITIES of Greyhound Adoption

We want all of our adoptions to be happy and we want to have good placements.  Please consider the following REALITIES you will have to face so that before you adopt you will be prepared for them.  You can decide if you are really ready – we respect anyone who will admit perhaps that this may be too much.  It’s better to not move forward with adoption than to get the dog and then be sorry.  It’s not good for anyone – our volunteers, you and especially the dog:

PLEASE THROW OUT ALL ROMANTICIZED AND IDEALISTIC EXPECTATIONS YOU HAVE RIGHT NOW.  THOSE WILL ALL COME EVENTUALLY.  YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON THE REALITIES FIRST.

Even though you are getting an adult dog that has been fostered, you MUST do additional training to have that dog fit into your home.  Your greyhound will not know what to do unless you train it.  All of the wonderful adopted greyhounds you see at our meet and greet events were “new” to their adopters at one time; what you see came about through patience, caring and commitment on the part of their adopters.  What you see is what you will also have if you understand and make the commitment.

Many greyhounds seem to be aloof in a new home or seem to be “unhappy” to first time nervous adopters.  Greyhounds often are very low key and reserved; therefore, many people take this to mean that the dog doesn’t like his/her new home.  This is wrong.  Greyhounds’ personalities take weeks and sometimes months to unfold.  You will see a different dog if you give that dog enough time to adjust.

Some greyhounds prefer one person over another.  Many people take this personally.  Greyhounds are like people; they have preferences too.  It’s wrong to be hurt if a greyhound doesn’t accept everyone in the family the same way.  Most are very loving but won’t act outgoing towards everyone as expected.  This may change and it might not.  You need to put ego aside and work past this issue by allowing the dog enough time to trust the people around him/her.

You WILL have to clean up accidents in the house if you do not have a fenced in yard and need to leash walk.  Some greyhounds take to leash walking easily while others do not.  You have to be willing to be patient and understanding and work with your dog until you have him/her leash trained.  This usually does not take long but the process can be prolonged or never work if you are not patient.  Fenced in yard or not, you WILL have to get up in the middle of the night and in bad weather at some point to let your dog outside.  Your dog might get sick and throw up, have diarrhea and/or have to be taken to the emergency vet.  You must be prepared for all of these possibilities.

Greyhounds are extremely sensitive dogs.  If you are stressed out over everything the greyhound will pick up on your feelings and be stressed also.  Calm assertive behavior will help your greyhound adjust faster.

It is wrong to hug, grab, move, touch, stand over top of, and/or wake a resting or sleeping greyhound.  They are not used to this and some may bark, growl and/or bite.  Greyhounds are not used to being handled when they are lying down.  The phrase “let sleeping dogs lie” especially applies to greyhounds.  You must be willing to understand and accept your greyhound’s past to succeed in helping him/her adjust in your home.

Greyhounds will tear up your yard in winter and spring.  Their long nails and running will throw up dirt and grass and even create mud in your yard that will then be dragged into the house.  You must be willing to accept this as part of living with a greyhound.

Do not be surprised if your greyhound growls at you or snaps.  This usually means that YOU did something.  Greyhounds are not aggressive dogs but will growl and/or snap if they are afraid or feel threatened or if they are manhandled.  You must make an effort to understand your dog and learn the signals he/she is trying to give you.

Don’t allow a behavior unless you are willing to live with that behavior the rest of the greyhound’s life.

Some (not all) greyhounds may steal food, counter surf, “collect” your personal belongings, etc. if they are left unchecked.  Most do not chew things up but there are always exceptions to the rule.  You must expect to lose food and/or personal possessions if you are not willing to dog proof your house.

You CANNOT expect the greyhound you adopt to fit the image you have in your head when you decide to adopt.  Unless you are willing to accept the realities and face your limitations, you should not adopt a greyhound.  To be successful, you will have to accept your greyhound and enjoy it for what it is.  You will be richly rewarded.

Nail Trimming……It’s Important!!!

Midkiffnails2Do your hound’s nails look like this???  What is wrong with these pictures?   Did you know that overgrown nails can be hazardous to your hound’s health?  MidkiffonbedOvergrown nails may cause your hound’s toes to splay (see below).  This can adversely affect his gait, and can actually cause many other serious medical problems.  The nails force the dog to rock back on his foot and carry his rear legs much farther forward under his body.  Many times dogs get injured while running in their yards and some of those injuries can be attributed to the dog over-compensating because of overgrown nails.  Neglecting regular nail trimming and maintenance may even lead to early arthritis, crippling, and broken bones. (Remember, greyhounds have more delicate bones than other breeds of dogs.)

The main reason people do not keep up with regular nail trimming is because they are afraid that they might hurt their dog.  People shy away from trimming with hand clippers because they can remove too much nail (causing pain and bleeding), not enough nail, or cause the nail to splinter and have rough edges. These sharp edges can scratch your skin and snag your carpeting and clothing.  But neglecting nails is even more hurtful in the long run.  Long sharp nails are more likely to get caught on things which can rip the nail from the dog’s foot.  This will result in a lot of needless pain for the dog and pain in your wallet.  Having to take a dog to a groomer often enough to keep the nails trimmed can be expensive and time consuming.  The best option would be to learn how to do the trimming and keep practicing until you feel comfortable.

Some people cannot get their hound to be quiet and still long enough to do any nail trimming.  Here’s where patience and persistence pays off.  When we try to calm our hounds by crooning and petting, we inadvertently send the message that it’s OK to panic and be difficult.  The best way to handle squirmy and whining dog is to take charge and clip one or two nails at a time (as quickly and safely as possible) and then praise the dog for being good.  Keep this up until you can do all of the nails on one paw, then move on to the next.  You might even want to start by doing one or two nails a day and only remove the very tip of the nail.  That way you are working too quickly for the dog to react.  You can always perfect your clipping once your dog gets comfortable with being touched. Remember, if you allow your hound to control the situation, your dog will never be willing to cooperate and nail trimming time will be a job that will always be dreaded (by dog and person).

If your dog’s nails have been neglected over a long period of time, they may seem very long even after they have been cut.  That might be because the quicks have been allowed to become overgrown too.  The quicks are the vein inside the toenails and the part that bleeds if you cut the nail too short.  You can solve this problem.  The quicks can be made to recede over time by cutting the nails frequently over the course of a month.   Then, once you have gotten the quicks to recede, it will be easy to keep the nails short all the time.  If you noticed when you adopted your greyhound, they most likely had very short nails!  That’s because they are kept very short at the track for racing.  The quicks have receded way back in the nail from frequent trimming.  This is actually the way your dog’s nails should look all the time for optimum health.

WellclippednailHow short should your hound’s nails be? A good rule of thumb is that the nails should not touch the floor when the dog is standing (see photo left). If you hear clicking when the dog walks you need to get the nails shorter.  Although it sounds like a daunting job, if you clip often over the course of a month, you can get your dog’s nails short enough that you can do regular trimming without much effort after that.

If all else fails and you just do not want to use the nail clippers, you might want to try a grinder.  These small battery motorized tools can be bought at most pet stores or hardware stores (a dremel tool).  The tool has an attachment that looks like sandpaper that is actually a stone.  It will grind the nail down much like the way we file our own nails.  This is relatively painless and many dogs don’t seem to mind the sound because the tools operate quietly.

If you choose to try one of these tools, just remember to use short strokes on each nail, work slowly, and keep the nails from heating up.  You do not want to set the grinder down on one nail for too long.  It will burn!  Also, most dogs won’t react as badly if you hit the quick doing the light short strokes as you can monitor your progress better.  This is a great option for dogs that have black nails.  There are a lot of sources on line that provide good instructions for grinding.

NailclippingdayIf all else fails and you have a “screamer” that will not allow you to touch his/her paws (some greyhounds actually HATE having their feet touched), then a groomer might be your best bet.  Pet stores like Petsmart and Petco are inexpensive and the groomers there work very efficiently.  If you take your hound for a nail trim, remember to take a copy of his/her rabies certificate which is required in most grooming establishments.  They will keep it on file for you.  The cost is between $10-17.  Considering the cost of vet bills stemming from poor nail care, this may be the best money you spend on your dog!

Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow BridgeWe have lost some wonderful greyhounds recently.  The following dogs will always be in our hearts and memories:

Kopperstongood

 

 

 

Kopper (WVs Kopperston) adopted and loved by Dan

 

 

 

 

Mallorygood

 

 

 

Mallory (WVs Mallory) adopted and loved by Chris and Anna

 

 

 

 

Solitary Roost 2010 Bestofall

 

 

 

Mister (Solitary Roost) adopted and loved by Dee

 

 

 

Sunset1

 

 

 

Keeley (Freeride Sunset) adopted and loved by the Jocham family

 

Seizures

We sometimes have greyhounds listed on Craiger’s List that have had a history of seizures.  We think that this article may be helpful to those who do not understand seizures and who might consider adopting a dog that has had seizures.  It was written by Connie Brown who at the time was experiencing seizures in her dog Marley.  Since this article was written, Marley crossed the bridge from cancer.

The following is recount of my own personal experience with greyhounds and seizures and the prevailing medical advice on seizures.  Unfortunately, I have experience with cancer in two of my greyhounds but never with seizures.  Seizures are extremely frightening to witness, and can be life threatening for your dog.

I adopted Marley November 21, 2005.  Marley just turned nine years old on April 1, 2012.  Marley has had no medical issues at all, well minus the tail caught in the door – the roommate did that – Marley has never even needed a dental!

Marley’s first seizure happened on October 21, 2011 at 4:20 a.m.  Marley was sleeping with me when he suddenly jumped up and headed towards the top of the bed, stumbling and staggering until he fell off the bed landing on the floor onto his side.  His legs were rigid and thrashing, eyes glazed, he was drooling, and I kept yelling at him to please stop, I was so scared.  I later learned you need to be calm for the dog’s sake.  The seizure seemed like it lasted forever but was between one to two minutes.  When Marley finally came to, he was very disoriented and unsteady on his feet, I finally got him downstairs but he just could not settle, he paced and paced for about an hour before finally settling down.

I called the emergency clinic; they said if the seizure did not last longer than five minutes and/or he does not have another seizure within the next couple of hours that I could wait until his vet’s office opened.  Marley did not have another seizure and I was able to have Marley seen that day by his vet.  Due to his fall and the injuries he suffered, minor but sustained, it took Marley almost two full days to recover from this seizure.  Marley’s initial blood work came back negative for anything attributable to a seizure but his antibody test for tick borne disease was positive for Rocky Mountain Fever and Ehrlichiosis with a very low titer.  He was treated with a thirty-day supply of Doxycycline.

On December 18, 2011 almost two months to the date of his first seizure, Marley had his second seizure at 6:40 a.m.  As before, Marley was sleeping with me but this time he jumped off the end of the bed and ran straight for the stairs, luckily Marley went into the seizure prior to falling down the stairs.  This seizure also lasted between one to two minutes but this time I did remain calm.  It was another hour before Marley was able to finally settle down.

I crate Marley while at work.  After witnessing his first seizure, I was afraid to put him back into his wire crate for fear he would break his legs so I set up his soft sided crate used for travel until I could find something safer.  I found a round soft sided crate online they call a playpen.

On January 30, 2012, Marley had his third seizure at 4:30 a.m. except this time he was in his playpen downstairs.  I did not hear it although Otis, my other greyhound; certainly wanted me to know something was wrong by barking.  I did not actually witness Marley’s seizure; however, the aftereffects were the same.  Fifteen hours later at 7:30 p.m., Marley had his fourth seizure.  Marley was in his playpen with the door open.  Marley fortunately bounced off the side of the playpen knocking it onto its side (not collapsing) keeping him safe from injury.  With Marley’s first two seizures, when the seizure started, he jumped up and ran.  The main reason I purchased the playpen was to provide Marley with a crate that had a soft side for him to bounce off as opposed to possibly hitting a wall or falling down the stairs.  I cannot say enough about this playpen, it kept Marley safe twice on this January day.

I was able to get Marley seen by a neurologist the following day.  There is a long list of why dogs have seizures; a neurologist can narrow it down to a short list after examination.  Marley passed all the neurological tests, his blood work was “fantastic” but the antibody test revealed he was positive for Rocky Mountain Fever and Ehrlichiosis with a low titer count so an additional test was needed.  Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosis can cause seizures so I had an additional tick panel run at the North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine.  Marley was negative.

At Marley’s age, a brain tumor was one of the most likely causes of seizures.  I had so many questions for the neurologist, but without Marley having an MRI, a lot of my questions could not be answered.  What would I do if he had a brain tumor?  I was not sure, but I wanted to know to get the answers to my many questions, so I opted to have the MRI done and am happy to report that Marley does not have a brain tumor.

Finding the exact cause of why a dog is having seizures requires a lot of testing, some invasive, and can be very expensive.  I will probably never know why Marley is having seizures (because current medical science does not know what causes epilepsy) although having the MRI and full tick panel eliminated a lot of my questions as to why.  Marley is currently on medication and doing extremely well.  Did I ever think I would be writing an article about seizures?  Never, however, Marley and I wanted to share our experience and what we have learned about seizures.

Dog Parks

In recent years, public dog parks have increased significantly in popularity.  The parks are popular because they provide a way for dogs to get exercise and spend time with other dogs.  Nothing makes us happier when we see all of the dogs running around together and having a great time playing.  However, we never think about the tragedies that can happen (and have happened) when we are not educated about pack mentality and dog behavior in general.  There are very important issues that new greyhound adopters should think about before taking a greyhound to a dog park.

– Greyhounds are “sight” hounds, bred for thousands of years to hunt, chase, and capture prey.  This is a deeply-rooted instinct that humans cannot change.

– Adopted retired racing greyhounds have been further trained to race at high speeds to chase down prey, or moving, prey-like objects.

– When racing, all greyhounds wear muzzles specifically to avoid injuries. (many greyhounds become competitive when running with other dogs.)

Why wouldn’t a greyhound think a dog park (or the like) was meant for this activity too? Taking a greyhound into a public environment (dog park, etc.) with other dog breeds is a huge risk for everyone involved. Humans cannot run faster than a greyhound in an attempt to prevent a dog “prey” capture, or to break up a dog fight – not to mention humans being harmed in the process.

For new adopters who aren’t aware:

– A single greyhound should not be muzzled when all other dogs are not muzzled.
Reason: If another dog attacks the greyhound, or if a dog pack fight begins, the muzzled greyhound cannot defend him/herself.

– It is wrong (and foolhardy) to surmise that your hound won’t get involved in a dog fight or attack another dog.

– If a muzzle is worn on any dog, all dogs should be muzzled.

Many greyhound owners avoid taking greyhounds to public dog parks/other mixed breed enclosures for all reasons above. Others may try going very early in morning and enter only if no other dogs are present, then leave as soon as another dog arrives.

It is very important to understand pack mentality.  Once one dog is hurt and makes a sound, the others will attack it.  This instinct is hardwired into dogs.  The survival of the pack depends on all animals being healthy.  Once perceived as being weak, that dog must be eliminated from the pack.

One example of pack mentality:  There are about 15-20 large dogs in dog park. There are two gates into the dog park. A lady entered through furthermost gate with one small/medium sized dog that yelped when it was approached by an unfamiliar dog. It took roughly three seconds for every dog in the park to be in a horrific fighting pile on top of the new dog. The first yelp was all it took to alert every dog to join the pack.  Please do not make the mistake of thinking that your dog would not join such a fight!

It behooves all of us to remember our own breed’s history and instinct. Regardless of dog size differences and their owners’ decisions, we can’t expect any other dog breed owner to know our dogs. They may assume greyhounds would not be off leash in a public enclosure if they were not safe around other dogs.

Your hound might be okay around smaller dogs (strangers) in a dog park environment (some are, many aren’t); however, some people have misperceived seemingly smaller dog friendship with potential small dog prey interest. Just because a hound didn’t make it to a professional race track doesn’t mean that hound was never race trained. There are many reasons a hound doesn’t make it to professional tracks (i.e.; may run too slowly, may try to bump/nip other dogs too much when racing, etc.). It doesn’t necessarily mean they have zero prey drive in their genetics with a100% guarantee to never become triggered. No dog breed is ever100% guaranteed.

Other considerations before taking greyhounds (or other dogs) to a dog park while other dogs are present:

– Are you financially able to accept full liability (and emotional/stress liability) IF your hound is unexpectedly triggered and harms or kills another dog?

– Exorbitant fees can run into many, many thousands of dollars, and can affect other areas when someone’s dog becomes labeled as a serious aggressor (even if the dog simply did what comes naturally): i.e., homeowner’s or renter’s insurance rates may increase, etc.

– The first thing many cities do is quarantine the aggressor dog in a shelter (for rabies check)… and, the aggressor may be euthanized depending on ordinances. If a pack dog fight takes place, this treatment could also include others involved in the pack fight.

– Best case scenario, (with much legal help) the dog may have to live his/her lifetime under strict home shelter rules; the dog might not be able to be taken out in public; or, if very lucky, the dog may be able to go out in public (like to vet’s office) only when muzzled.

– Consider the distress of the other dog’s family/children.

– In contrast, how would we feel if our (thin-skinned) greyhound is mauled by another dog in a dog park? If our hound survives, the hound (and owner, if injured) may endure long, intensive recovery; veterinary visits; time off work, etc.

Is it worth the risks? Some people are willing to take their chances, others aren’t. Those that do take their chances (especially around smaller dogs) coupled with a tragic experience can negatively affect greyhound adoption as a whole.

This is a reality check for adopters to consider before taking hounds into a crowded mixed breed dog park for a daily romp.

Some people may be surprised that there are adoption groups that require their adopted hounds never be allowed in public dog parks while other non-muzzled dogs are present. (muzzled-greyhound-only play dates are fine.).  While we do not place these kinds of  restrictions on the dogs we place (we have no way of enforcing this rule), we do hope that all new adopters understand the potential issues involved with taking greyhounds to a public dog park

A safer alternative for those living near other greyhound owners is to arrange “all-muzzled greyhounds only” play dates.