Category Archives: Health

Downward Dog

Good bye November – Hello December!

So I’m starting my resolutions early this year. One item on my list is to get back into doing yoga on a regular basis. I love how it relaxes me, helps keep me focused, and my arms need some toning up as well! 

I have practiced yoga on and off for many years.  The last year or so the only yoga I have done is at home using DVD’s, the Wii (I know that doesn’t really count), or by watching free On Demand videos.  I like it, but I much prefer to be in a class setting with other like-minded people to push me along. 

There really is not anything better than the feeling after an awesome yoga session.  Jeff even has gotten into it by doing the P90X “Yoga-X” DVD. 

When I do yoga at home, I do have some other participants that like to join in.  The pups always seem to gather around and help bring some calmness to the room! Penny, especially, likes to join me.  She will lie next to or under me during certain poses. She is very Zen!

The quality is not good but here are some photos of Penny and I doing some “om’s” with Toni and Otis chillin’ out as well.  Penny is such a good dogi! (doggie + yogi = dogi) 🙂

scanned Picture 457  scanned Picture 456

There are several Doga classes being offered around the country (Yoga with Dogs = Doga). I wish there was a class near us, Penny would be a natural.

Each morning I try to get a picture of her doing her morning stretches – she of course does a perfect Downward-Facing Dog and Upward-Facing Dog pose.  So far I haven’t been able to get the camera fast enough.

Apparently dogs don’t like to get their poses on camera, because I could not find many images online.  But I did find photographer Dan Borris’s super cute website where he sells his Yoga Dog (and cat) books and calendars. Too funny!

Yoga Dogs Book

A new yoga studio has recently opened in our town that has classes by donation only, no membership!  I’m off to give it a try this evening.



Making Friends with Fur

If the dog hair industry were a large as the mink industry I would be a billionaire!

As pet parents across the globe know, dog hair is a constant battle.  We are constantly vacuuming and sweeping the floors to try and keep the mess to a minimum. 

There is nothing more embarrassing then having a guest come over and sit on your couch then leave with their once black pants now a lovely shade of beige. 

Here is a warning to all our future guests: DO NOT WEAR BLACK PANTS TO OUR HOUSE!!!

Over the years we have tried many tools to help combat this never ending fur-war.  Here are our top tools:

Vacuum: we use the Shark Navigator with the pet hair removal accessories.  I love my vacuum! It does a great job a getting the hair up from carpets, hard floors and furniture.  (see this post about how this is not the dogs favorite item)

Shop-Vac: In addition to our Shark Navigator, we also use a Shop-Vac for removing the dog hair from our cars after taking the pooches on a car ride. The shop-vac also works great on area rugs and awkward corners that the vacuum can’t reach.

Furminator: Without this tool we would be swimming in dog hair. The Furminator is THE BEST “brush” for dogs in our opinion. It does a fantastic job on de-shedding the dogs and works best when used daily or at least weekly. The huge pile of fur that comes off the dogs is mind boggling! Here is our Furminator at work –

Otis_brushing Penny_brushingToni_brushing

Look at all the hair that comes off after just a few minutes . . .

hair_furminator furminator

I know it pretty gross to look at. 

One way some people are embracing the dog hair that takes over their abode, is to use it in creative ways. I file this next item under “I cannot freakin’ believe that this is a thing” category . . .


If you would like more information on this lovely book, you can buy it on Amazon. I love the subtitle to this book, “better a sweater from a dog you know and love then from a sheep you’ll never meet”! 

This book has received some great reviews on Amazon, here is my favorite: “I love this book. I made an afghan from my afghan. The only problem was he started getting mad when I curled up with it at night instead of him.” 🙂


On a serious note, click the image below for information on the
Humane Society’s Fur-Free campaign.

Animals need their fur more than we do. The HSUS is committed to ending cruelty and killing for fur–in favor of compassion in fashion.

Don’t Pass the Gravy!

Happy Thanksgiving Day Eve! We are excited to celebrate 2 Thanksgivings this year, one at Jeff’s Mother’s house on Thursday and then off to my Sister’s house on Friday!

Last year we hosted Thanksgiving at our home and had a fabulous time! Toni, however, did not have a fabulous Turkey Day 😦

Toni and the other 2 dogs were enjoying a special treat that evening. Someone (no names will be mentioned to protect the innocent and the guilty) 😉 put some of the leftover gravy on top of their normal dog food that evening and they of course gobbled (pun intended) it right up!

Later that night and into the next morning Toni was not herself she was very sluggish and began vomiting and not able to keep anything down, not even water. The next morning we called the vet and brought her in where she was given a blood test. Diagnosis = pancreatitis 😦

(Here she is at the vet’s office, she looked so pathetic)scanned Picture 232 scanned Picture 056

The vet said we could take her home and give her the meds ourselves, but that she was not to be around any food or water at all.

The other option was to keep her at the vet in their Animal Hospital so they could give her an IV and keep her calm and quiet while she recovered. After talking to Jeff we decided to keep her there. With the other 2 dogs we thought it may be more difficult to keep her away from food/water and she would probably recover faster at the vets.

That Friday I left her at the animal hospital and we didn’t get to pick her up until Monday. It was a very long weekend for us. We missed her so much and were very worried. When Jeff picked her up she was doing very well but was quite tired.

(Here she is at that Monday afternoon at home sleeping on her couch)scanned Picture 243

She made a full recovery and has not had any problems. We of course know that giving “people food” to our dogs is not the right thing to do. Unfortunately, we had to learn the hard way just how bad it can be.

Here are some resources on food hazards and pancreatitis in dogs …

From WebMD/pets: Information on Symptoms and Treatment of Pancreatitis in Dogs

From Best Friends Animal Society: Holiday Hazards for pets (all year round)

From Pedigree: Thanksgiving Hazards and Your Dog

Scaredy-Cat Dogs

Like many dogs, two of ours get anxious/scared during thunderstorms, fireworks, and high wind and all three get anxious around the vacuum cleaner.
 Penny_scaredToni_scared Otis_scared

When they see the vacuum cleaner they instantly start to run around the house with their tail between their legs trying to get as far away from it as possible – and that is before we even turn it on! 
Most times we put them outside when the evil vacuum is needed.  But with storms its not so easy. Penny and Toni will certainly not go outside even if their bladder has other ideas. 

Penny tends to shake and run around the house until she finds a “safe place” which usually is under a bed, in a closet, or under Jeff’s computer desk. She pants and shakes continuously until the thunder goes away.  Toni has tried to get under the bed (perhaps a learned behavior from watching Penny) but mostly she will pace around the house and pant until things calm down. (Otis could not care less about storms and doesn’t see why the other 2 get so worked up about it!)

I have heard of many “treatments” for doggie fear/anxiety over the years, here are a few of them . . .

I have heard of this product from acquaintances and on TV, all the reviews have been positive. The
Thundershirt uses gentle pressure to help calm a dogs anxiety. The website recommends using their product to help with various types of doggie anxiety and fearfulness, even problem barking and leash pulling can be helped with this product. 

It makes sense to me, our dog Penny goes under a blanket or finds a small confined area (like under our bed) when she gets scared. The small, enclosed environment seems to help her work thru her fear, this product seems to do the same thing. And, with three color choices and embroidered name available, its stylish as well!

Check out the Thundershirt website for more details and testimonials.

Dryer Sheets
We had been told by a family member that if you rub a dryer sheet on your dogs back to helps to calm them. I assume this has something to do with the static/electricity that builds up when a dog senses a storm.  I don’t love this idea. Don’t those sheets have a bunch of chemicals on them? I think we did end up trying this one time but quickly gave up on it. Click
here for an article about this method from Pet Connection.

Treats and Distractions
Some pet owners and experts claim that giving your dog a treat will help them associate the storm with a yummy treat. I image this would work best when taught to the dog as a puppy.  The other option is to distract the dog during a storm by playing music or the TV loud enough so the thunder can’t be heard, and/or playing a fun game right as the storm is approaching.

Medicine and Natural Remedies
There are over the counter remedies available as well. We have used a product called “
Kalm and Gentle” to give to the pups if a storm is approaching and to help Otis with his fear of going the the Vet (I’ll post about that adventure another day). There are many supplements on the market that claim to help ease a dogs fear. With any medicines and for severe sufferers your veterinarian should of course be consulted.

In the end, the only thing that works in our home is time and comfort. Giving our dogs a safe, comfortable place and being calm ourselves while we wait out the moment seems to be the best medicine.


Bike Run!

The dogs LOVE to go on a bike ride with Jeff when the weather isn’t too hot. Today was a prefect day to get the helmet out and go for a spin. Each dog rides for about 20 minutes.

Toni of course went first (as always). Toni is able to keep a steady pace for about 90% of the run.

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Otis was second in line. His ride is about the same amount of time as the others, but he doesn’t cover as much ground as Toni or Penny.

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And then there’s Penny. She goes full speed for the entire ride!

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While Jeff is out on the ride I get to try and keep the other 2 from busting out of the house while they are waiting for their turn.

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After a great bike ride, Toni loves to relax by watching a little TV and hanging out with her Mom . .
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Picked up a hitchhiker

(warning semi-gross pictures ahead)

Remember our walk in the woods from Sunday? Well I discovered today we took home more than great memories!

While giving Penny a well deserved belly scratch I saw a ring of red and a black spot in the middle on her lower belly. After further investigation I saw a tick! ick!

Penny tick  Penny tick

Ticks are pretty prominent in our area especially this time of year.  So, after my grossed-out-ness subsided I made a call to … no not the vet… my husband. For some reason whenever anything odd happens I assume he will have all the answers (and he usually does).

I couldn’t remember the proper way to remove a tick. Do you yank it out with tweezers?  Freeze it with an ice-cube?  something about the head of the tick?

So after speaking with Jeff my plan of action was to get our sharpest, most pointy tweezers, a washcloth, and peroxide, and then I went in for the “kill”. Penny of course was a trooper.  The tick was moving its legs a bit – super gross, and seemed pretty big to me. Per Jeff’s instructions I grabbed the head and tried to pull it out in one piece with the hopes of removing the head entirely, but of course that didn’t happen.

That sucker wasn’t going anywhere! After several pulls the body came off with the head still embedded in her. Great.  I cleaned the area and tried several times to get the head out. After about 3 to 5 minutes I determined that it wasn’t coming out and/or I’m an idiot who is incapable of saving my dogs life – yes I tend to overreact to these things.

So now I make another phone call, this time to our vet. The receptionist/tech at our vet’s office is great. I have called several times over the years and she is always knowledgeable and reassuring. She verified the type of flea meds Penny is on and made sure we had been giving them regularly. She determined that due to the meds (which include tick protection) that Penny should be ok and that sometimes the head can get embedded in and will work its way out in a day or 2. She said to keep an eye on it and call back if any concerns arose. So I call Jeff with an update and put him on tick inspection for the other dogs this evening.

Poor Penny, she is getting quite annoyed with me flipping her over to check her belly – she would much prefer I just give her that belly rub that started this whole thing.


update: Jeff was able to remove the tick head and he found another one!!! The other dogs are clean and we are spraying our yard just to be sure. Penny is doing great.

Click here for info on ticks and dogs