It’s gettin’ cold……pull out the wool!

I can remember as a little girl I would love to take pretty scarves or pieces of scrap material and dress up my animals.  They didn’t seem to mind….much……I would spend hours upon hours designing different clothes, sometimes even using toilet paper or Kleenex.  Well I guess I haven’t grown out of that stage as I still get excited about a little sweater or dress I find in stores for my little chihuahua’s and big white lab.  They have so much clothing for dogs and cat’s now.  I bought my chihuahua’s the cutest little cowboy boots and I finally have the weather to use them!  They have rain coats that will look adorable with them too!

What I really like to do most though is make clothing for them….There are so many knitting sites now that give free patterns……..It’s a great past time too.  (Unless you are watching hockey and keep making mistakes…then it’s a little stressful!)  I thought I would pass on a pattern that is kind of easy.  I have been knitting for years but have never really passed the EASY level yet so I am sure anyone can do it.

Let me know how it goes…….I am  going to start mine Sunday evening    ( I hope! )  Have a great day!

Side Button Down Dog Sweater
A very simple doggy knit! It’s pretty much a rectangle all knit! Yes, no purling in this sweater! It’s easily altered for different sized dogs.

Yarn and Notions: Any worsted weight yarn that is soft and cozy enough to put on your pup, and some cute buttons (I used 6).
Needles: Size 8 straight or circ (sweater is not knit in the round, but it may be easier to hold all the work on circ needles compared to long straight needles)
Pattern: Cast on 60 stitches and knit all rows for 4″. Next row, knit 20, bind off 10, knit 30. Next row, knit 30, cast on 10 more stitches, knit 20. This creates the arm hole! Knit all rows for another 4″. Do the k20, bo10, k30 again and then k30, co10, k20 to create another arm hole. Knit another 8-9″ and then to create button holes, depending on how many you want, yarn over then k2tog to create a button hole. I did 6 evenly spaced. (Only 5 can be seen in the picture, but there really is one at the very bottom being hidden.) Afterward, knit another couple rows and then bind off. You can choose to knit the buttons into your work as you go in the beginning (about half an inch from the cast on edge), but you need to use shank buttons and have a very small (size A or B) crochet hook to do so. For this sweater, I just sewed the buttons on the end (right at the cast on edge).
Size: This sweater fit my 8 month old chihuahua mix and she was probably 10 pounds and 12-13″ from collar/shoulders to the base of her tail. Since this sweater is really just a rectangle with arm holes, it’s very easy to tailor this sweater to your own dog. All you need to do is measure your dog’s length from the collar/shoulders to the base of the tail. Then using your gauge, probably 4-5 stitches per inch, cast on as many stitches needed to reach that length. Also, measure the length of the front of the dog’s “chest” from where the collar is (where the tags usually hang) to the front of their arms. This is the number you knit before you start to bind off for the arm hole. Also, depending on how big your dog’s legs are, you might need to make a bigger or smaller arm hole, so you’ll bind off and cast on a different amount for the arm hole. Also, if the space between your dogs’ arms is bigger or smaller than the 4″ given in the pattern, alter it to fit your dog!

Fleas! Fur! Frustration!

If you’ve ever had a pet you have likely had all three …..FLEA’S!   FUR!   &   FRUSTRATION!

To start with the most annoying to me is FLEA’S!  They are horrible and when your pet get’s them you know it instantly.  When I got married and moved out of my parents house I took my beautiful mixed Lab Brandy.  She was a lovely dog, and very well taken care of.  She would wait out front for me to come home from school, followed me around all the time, slept by my bed, all the good stuff a dog does just to please you.  I knew I had to have her with me when I started out life an Mrs. Janess!  We were married February 26th so it was pretty darn cold then.  Since fleas don’t flourish in cool weather, I had no idea what I was about to be infested with in the warmer weather ahead.

As the months went by and I was getting accustomed to the married life; Brandy, Bill, and I were getting along quite well.  I as a daughter didn’t realize the cost in owning a dog and had to fall back on my parents to supply Brandy’s high end dog food quite a few times.  She had the very best of everything at home (my parents house), and I insisted on it; After all it was at my parent’s expense.  The days were getting warmer and all of a sudden like a bomb, Brandy had FLEA’S!  Right away I called my dad and asked him “what do I do and why is she getting fleas when she has never had them living at home?”  Obviously, I as the daughter didn’t get involved in any of the real work entailed with owning a pet other than to love them.  Well the problem was that I had not started her on flea control prior to the warmer weather.  I had no idea apparently on how to care for my pet properly.  I felt so bad for her.  If I was going crazy scratching and not being able to sleep because of the itchy bites, how did she feel?

We thankfully got in to see the vet that very day and he gave her an injection to calm her itch. ( I could have used one of those injections too but I guess I deserved to itch, made me remember never to forget flea control again!)  He gave us some medication in a tube and explained that it was an oily substance that will penetrate the skin and control the production of flea eggs.  As for the Adult flea’s, he suggested a flea spray for the home to rid the house of existing flea’s and larva.  He suggested we do this immediately and to get Brandy in for a flea bath and put the medication on after.  That’s exactly what we did!

We all stayed at mom and dad’s that night as we didn’t want to stay at the house after we sprayed not once but twice to be sure.  It was nice staying over there, and Brandy was extremely happy to be rid of her itchy friends.  I however was still suffering from the flea bites I had!  That was the price to pay for not paying attention to how to properly take care of my dog while I was at home.

So from my mistakes I hope you learn.  If your pet get’s fleas, go to your veterinarian and get medication.  No that’s wrong….go before the warm weather and start your pet on flea control.  If however you get flea’s, don’t waste your money taking your dog to the groomer for a flea bath.  You will only be flushing the flea’s on the dog at that time and your money down the drain.  As soon as the dog goes back into the environment it came from, the flea’s will jump on her and you will be where you started 3 hours before.  What you need to do is get the medication and house spray first.  Spray the house and any area that the dog has been in contact with.  Take her to the groomer and explain that you have been to the vet and now need to book a flea bath for her.  While she is having her flea bath don’t forget to spray the vehicle you transported her in.  Once she is ready to go home from the groomers, this is the time you will want to put the medication on.  Do not put it on before the bath as you will be washing it away if you do.  There is a sticker on the back of the package to write the date down so you will know when to put the next treatment on.  Write it down!  Remember it!  As for the price, you are further ahead to buy the good stuff and never get the fleas.  By the time you go through the hassle of the bites and the house sprays and groomer cost, you can just bypass it all with one little tube of oil once a month.

So now onto FUR!  Not nearly as bad.  IF you keep up with it.  The best thing you can  do is brush brush brush and then brush again.  Not only will you keep up with the fur flying around your house but you will also be keeping your pets skin healthy.  When you brush your pet you are actually stimulating the blood flow and removing loose coat to give air flow throughout the animals fur.  Like us your pet’s skin has oils and these oils will actually help keep your pets skin healthy and it also coats the shaft of the fur sealing in moisture, and keeping the elements out.  I have a big white Lab and she is bathed 4 times a year.  She is always sparkly white, never stinks and I keep up with her fur loss with a roomba…….one of those robot vacuums.  They don’t have a big holding compartment on them so that tells you how effective brushing really is.  Don’t be afraid to do a bit every day.  If you don’t have the time daily then at least do it once a week.  Remember, you cut down on the hair getting stuck in your furniture, clothing, and vehicles. Speaking of furniture go with the ultra suede and wipe it with a damp cloth to remove fur.

So, brushing at least once a week is saved in the long run.  Not only does it save you time, but if you have a pet that get’s mat’s in their fur, it is better to get a mat out that is only a week old.  And once your pet get’s a mat it grow’s very quickly if not caught right away.  Ever get gum stuck in your hair when you were a child?  Remember your mom trying to get it out and how badly it hurt?  Well your pet feels pain also.  I feel it is much more important to brush you pet’s coat than to give it a bath.  If you bath you pet with mat’s in it’s fur you will only worsen the problem.  Those mat’s need to be removed first or all you are doing is adding more gum to hold it in place!  When you pet get’s matted fur, the skin beneath looses blood flow.  Pinch your arm and then let go.  You will see that your skin initially is white and flushes with blood making it red.  This is exactly what a mat is doing to your pet.  Restricting blood flow to the skin.  If the mat is suddenly removed after it has been there for a long time, the blood rushes back into this area just like the redness (blood) when you pinch yourself and can cause major swelling and bruising.  Ever wonder why your pet comes back from the groomer and keeps shaking it’s head.  It has probably had mats in it’s ear leather  restricting blood flow and is now irritated because all of a sudden it is getting blood.  Brush and then comb at least once a week, PLEASE!  Even when you take your pet to the groomer to be shaved, that blade has to somehow get down through the fur.  It doesn’t just glide over the top.  I am sorry but this is a big pet peeve for me….try it some time on your own and you will know what I mean.

Almost all department stores and even dollar stores carry brushes that are good enough for you to use in between grooms.  Buy a slicker brush.  It is usually a rectangular wire brush about 2″x3″ pad with a handle.  When you hold the brush make sure your knuckles and brush are parallel to the coat and start at the bottom working your way up in small portions.  Always start the same place and work over the pet in portions not just jumping from the head to the ear to the tail.  Go in the same sequence and you will do a great job.  When you feel you have cleared a section, take a FINE TOOTH COMB over that area to make sure it goes through like butter!  Then move on to the next section.  If your dog opposed to this, just keep at it.  eventually you will get through it.  You need to be the alpha dog!  Don’t forget to get in between the did- gets too.  That is all you need to conquer the fur in your home! (And possibly save a bit more money, not needing to have the groomer doing it quite as often.)  Once you get into a routine, it will be no problem.  Instead of you doing dishes after dinner, have your children or husband/wife do them while you brush the dog.  I bet your job will be done first and your pet will feel great!

OK, now for FRUSTRATION!  If you follow what I have outlined here, you will have to think of something else to frustrate you.  Or better yet, now that you have saved all this time and frustration maybe it would be a good idea to get your pet involved in an obedience class or go to the dog park and show off!  Pass the lesson on to someone else so they will have a happy pet too.

DO I OR DON’T I FEED MY PET’S TABLE SCRAPS?


Do I or Don’t I feed my pets table scraps?

Hello World:

When I was a young child, maybe 3 yrs old, I had a dog called Abergail.  She was my best buddy back then.  She was an Irish Setter and so beautiful!  I can remember laying under the dinning room table with her sharing anything and everything I ate with her.  It didn’t matter if it was a hunk of meat, candy, I think she even ate my veggies for me!  I don’t ever recall her sharing her bowl of dog food with me though…..That maybe is a good thing!
On through the years I had many many pets.  Mostly cats and dogs.  I never gave much thought to what I fed my pets from the table, other than chicken bones and chocolate.   Even that they got when they broke into the garbage bag before it was set outside to the curb.  After my one dog Rodchester, who was a Peek a Poo, ate chocolate by stealing it from under the Christmas tree and never died so I thought it was just a myth.  So I would give them a little treat of it once in a while.  My cat’s loved table scraps just as much.  I guess it was just something our family did and were lucky enough that it didn’t hurt them; That is up until now!
Last month I went to a three day concert up in London, and by the way it was fabulous!  Anyhow I had my sister in law come stay at my house with my five furry friends.  My girls adore her so they were quite happy!  The night before we set out for our trip, the girls were running around playing and fighting and they were in great health.  Just in case though that something might pop up, I made sure that I wrote out all emergency numbers and the Vet was one of them.  I assured my sister in law that there was no worries with the girls,  they were just at the Vet’s last week and she said they are healthy and fine, but I feel better making sure I cover all the basis.
On the second day of the concert, sure enough I get a call from her.  Bambie, a four pound Chihuahua, was vomiting blood, had blood in her stool, and was assuming the prayer position when she laid because she was in so much pain.  She called me from the Vet’s office and the Vet told me that she had done all tests to rule out anything like Parvovirus, Worms, etc, and that she was dehydrated also.  The Vet then told me that she thought that it could be a build up of fats and that her pancreas couldn’t handle it.  If she wasn’t transferred to Windsor Vet clinic, she would not make it through the night!  I was slowly killing my precious little baby and didn’t even know it!  Our other Chihuahua and my White Lab were fine, but the Vet said that some dogs can handle more than others.  Not to say that they should continue eating in the same habit though because even though they aren’t showing signs of sickness, their tummies still may be reacting to the “poisons” I was feeding them.
My wonderful brother and my sister in law ran Bambie to Windsor and with the right medications and an IV in her tiny little arm she has recovered fully.  Thank God for brothers, sister in laws and VETERINARIANS!
So since then, I have been reading up on all kinds of things about table scraps and dogs.  I keep a strict eye that the garbage is way out of their reach now and never ever give them scraps from the table.  It was hard to say no all the time to them but I just kept thinking of how fast I could have lost Bambie and thank God I had the money to take her to the Vet’s because it was very very costly.  Please DO NOT FEED YOUR DOG TABLE SCRAPS!  Even when we go to family reunions, or if we have someone over for dinner I tell them all right away what happened to Bambie and that they are not to feed any of the animals scraps of any sort.  Actually everyone I see now that owns a dog, I tell them Bambie’s story and suggest that they too stop giving table scraps to their pets.
So like I said, I have been doing a lot of reading on the subject.  There is a wonderful web site called About.com: Veterinary Medicine.  Please take the time to click on the link below and do some research on your own.  It has so much to read about: Not just about what happened with Bambie, but the link does take you to the page that has Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE) in Dogs.  I am sure there are others out there that love their pets just as much as I do that could benefit from this article.  So click on the link and pass the word around.

http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/dogdiseasesh/a/HGEindogs.htm

I should also mention that the Windsor vet mentioned that I should quit feeding Bambie the store bought dog food that I was feeding her and to replace it with dog food that the Vet’s sell.  I won’t mention what kind of food I fed my cat’s and dog’s but I will tell you it is one of the best, I thought, and I was never one to buy anything cheap.  If I did however choose to buy from stores that I should consider Iams.  I will just leave it at that and hope that these other dog and cat food companies will start recreating foods similar to the ones that Veterinarian’s suggest.
I hope you enjoy reading my blog and I look forward to hearing from you.  If there are any questions you would like me to look into for you; Feel free to ask………I love to do the research as it not only helps me but may help another reader.
In my next blog I am going to write about how to manage your pets ear problems and why your dog’s should get their nails trimmed even between grooming periods.  I think you will find it quite informative and interesting.  Have a wonderful day tomorrow and take in this nice weather because I have a feeling it will be coming to an end pretty soon…..Sad Day!

Hello world!

Are you prepared?

Are you prepared? Well for the most part many people are more likely to be prepared for many more things than just a snow storm or a flood. With world events being quite extreme anymore we are far more educated than we may have been 10 years ago. Most know what to do when we have a water scare, power outages, food recalls, etc.
But are you prepared when it comes to your pets?
We all love our pets and would not intentionally hurt or deny them their basic needs; But, when you are packing that first aid kit do you pack extra water for your pets, or just what the family needs? Do you remember to pack a bit of food in you vehicle in case you get snowed in? Do you include them in the fire drill? Or will you just run back in at the last minute and risk your life looking through the smoke when you could have had a cage ready for her for that moment.
Public Safety Canada has a website for emergency preparedness that include your animals! When I seen this I was so happy! The web address:

http://www.getprepared.ca/tip/tips/tp200808_e.asp

You can subscribe to this site for free and it is very informative on all things we need to be prepared for.

CPR / Heimlich maneuver for pets.

How about CPR for animals, is anyone interested?
This is one I think everyone in your family should learn. Not only for your pets but for humans. There were so many drowning deaths this summer, and more and more people are putting ponds in. Just a good idea all around. Anyhow here is a good site called Pet Education.com and they tell you all about CPR and the Heimlich maneuver for pets.

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=2&cat=1677&articleid=1604

Well there’s a lot of reading packed into these two web sites, so cuddle up with your furry little pet and take in all these sites have to offer. Tell me what you think of them. I feel a lot better being educated on the subject even if I never have to use it! Never know, I might have to use it on a pet at the park…………glad I know it!

In my next blog I am going to write on a subject close to home. Feeding my dog scraps from the table and why I no longer do.