Guest Post: Demodectic Mange: Beasley’s Story

Demodectic Mange: Beasley’s Story

Maintaining your dog’s immune system is vital to prevent Red Mange

Mange in dogs and cats refers to any type of skin irritation caused by parasitic mites. There are three varieties of canine mange:

  1. Demodectic Mange – or Red Mange
  2. Sarcoptic Mange – or Scabies
  3. Cheyletiella Mange – or Walking Dandruff

Each type of mange differs by the type of mite, which burrow under the animal’s skin and even penetrate the hair follicles, causing painful sores and hair loss. While Sarcoptic and Cheyletiella mange are highly contagious to other pets and humans, Demodectic is not; however, it spreads the fastest and can be treated by antibiotic shampoos, dips and ointments, which I found in bulk via a pharmacy selling Canadian drugs online.

My Beasley’s story…

I was lucky, well my beagle, Beasley, was lucky when he was afflicted with Red Mange last summer after I boarded him in a kennel during my vacation overseas. When I picked Beasley up after my vacation, he seemed unlike his usual, hyper self. I didn’t think he was sick, but expected it was separation anxiety (and that perhaps he was punishing me for being away). However, as time wore on, Beasley started to show some really scary symptoms, including:

  • Obsessive itching that caused painful sores on his front paws and under his left eye
  • The sores turned red and scaly
  • Then he suffered patches of hair loss
  • That was it! My baby was going to the vet!

Treating Beasley…

Lucky for me, and for Beasley, I got him to the vet before the Red Mange took serious affect. If left untreated, our vet says that dogs with Red Mange lose patches of hair all over their bodies, and the sore turn even more painful, crusty and oozing.

I was shocked to find out that my dog contracted Mange just by staying in a kennel. The vet went over Beasley’s treatment options with me, which included:

  1. A skin scraping from one area of hair loss—Beasley was not fond of this at all—which was taken to the lab for inspection under the microscope. Our vet said that animals will often need to be tested a few times as mites are difficult to detect.
  2. Following the skin test, our vet prescribed Beasley with a topical medication, called Mitaban, as well as a shampoo.
  3. Beasley was also given a series of Ivermectin injections over the next few months, and the doctor monitored him for allergic reactions (he didn’t have any).

What causes a dog like Beasley to contract Demodectic Mange?

I found out that there are several factors that can make a dog prone to contracting Red Mange, including:

  1. A weak immune system—in Beasley’s case
  2. Genetic predisposition
  3. Underlying conditions such as cancer, liver disease or kidney disease
  4. Prolonged steroid
  5. Breeds disposition in Afghans, Alaskan Malamute, Airedale Terrier, Boxer, Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Great Dane, Old English Sheep Dog, Shar-pei, Scottish and West Highland Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier and Weimaraners can be genetically prone

How to protect your pet from Red Mange

As I said Beasley was fortunate. His sores healed and his hair started to grow back within weeks. However, I’m writing this article in the hope that other pet parents will take Beasley’s story as a cautionary tale and do everything they can to protect their dog from this horrible condition. Our vet said that Beasley’s weak immune system was the cause of his tragedy. You can protect your pet from Mange, and strengthen their immune systems with these preventative actions:

  1. Select a breed appropriate diet: Read up on species and breed, talk to your vet, and feed your pet a nutritionally, balanced diet.
  2. Keep your dog clean and well-groomed—for example, ear and eye infections can spur parasites and can be prevented or reduced with consistent ear cleanings.
  3. Use parasite preventatives—such as flea and tick collars, spot on treatments, essential oil blends, etc.

Stay safe!

Bernice Spradlin is an avid hiker and runner. She works at a gym in Brooklyn, where she gets great inspiration for her freelance health-related articles & blogs. In her off time, you can often find Bernice jogging the East River path along the waterfront and enjoying the cool breeze. Bernice is currently looking for freelance writing work, and can be contacted here.

Guest Post: Reasons to Think Twice Before Gifting a Puppy for Christmas

Reasons to Think Twice Before Gifting a Puppy for Christmas

You’ve imagined the scenario for months: Your children wake up on Christmas morning, tear down the stairs as fast as they can, sprint around the corner to see the Christmas tree, and scream in delight when their eyes land on a furry little puppy adorned with a big red bow. It’s the ultimate present, and your kids are beside themselves with excitement. The moment is perfect and your heart’s full knowing you’re responsible for their sheer joy.

Then a couple weeks go by… the initial exhilaration has passed, and the puppy has proven to be a lot more work than anyone anticipated. You’re beginning to question whether your decision was realistic or if you were overcome by the romantic notion. Your worry is warranted – there are many reasons Christmas is not the ideal time to purchase a new dog. For those that have been toying with the idea of gifting a loved one with a cute little canine, consider these reasons why the holidays may not be the best time of year.

A Few Good Reasons

  • People often become so caught up in the surprise of giving a puppy that they neglect to look into the logistics. Although puppies are adorable and extremely lovable, they come with high demands. They need to be fed daily, given adequate attention and exercise, and be taken to the vet frequently for checkups and vaccinations. Similar to a child, a puppy is a life-changing decision that should not be taken lightly.
  • With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the animal won’t get the welcome it deserves. Chances are the calendar is full of things to do and people to see – which can leave the puppy lost by the wayside. Evaluate the schedule of the person you will be gifting the puppy to. Do they attend school all day? Travel often? Work long hours? If so, they are not a great candidate to own a dog. Though the gift might score you a lot of points on Christmas day, it’s unfair to the animal to live a life of isolation and boarding kennels.
  • Finances tend to be particularly tight after the Holidays. Consider your loved one’s financial situation. Animals make a big dent on the bank account, and perhaps the recipient is not equipped for their lifelong bills. As most people have just maxed out their budget for holiday expenditures, a puppy may not fit into the equation.
  • The chilly temperatures of winter may make potty training an unbearable experience. Training a new animal is no fun, and requires trips outside every few hours. In order to prevent accidents from occurring on your carpet or furniture, you’ll want to hang around with the puppy outdoors until you’ve seen its business is taken care of. This will be a miserable, grueling process if it’s going to take place in the snow. Additionally, keep in mind their bodies aren’t going to shut down just because you’re asleep – the owner will have to take the puppy out a couple times over the course of the night as well.

If you’ve done all the homework, worked out the math, and have your heart set on giving on puppy, look into all available options. Shelters are constantly full of animals looking for homes. An adopted dog may already be potty trained, house broken, and familiar with children and/or other pets. In addition, most have already had their vaccinations. Giving one of these animals a loving home for Christmas is a big decision that should be considered before you rush into it.

Tim is a dog lover and marketer for Cabledeals.org. He has two black labs that he walks twice a day. He is very passionate about training dogs to be good companion while being the pack leader. He can be found on Twitter @TimLCooley or walking around town training his pups!.

Guest Post: Homeless Pets And How You Can Help Them

Homeless Pets And How You Can Help Them

Approximately 3.5 million people in the United States are homeless. This includes both those who are chronically homeless, and those who are temporarily homeless due to events like losing a job or a home foreclosure. Somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of those 3.5 million people aren’t on the streets alone, but with their pets.

How does this happen? Someone may already own a pet when they’re evicted from their home, and they don’t want to give the animal up, so they keep it, even as they sleep in tents or doorways. Or, someone who is homeless may come upon a stray animal, and decide to take care of it. That a person without a home or money to buy food would take on the care of a pet is a testament to the bond people have with their pets, and to how having a pet can have a positive effect on a person’s emotional and mental state. But homeless pets are still in danger.

From MNN

Why This is a Problem

In some ways, this can be seen as a good thing. Better for someone—even someone without a home—to be looking after an animal than that animal running free where it can possibly be run over, or starve to death. The thing is, because a homeless person lacks the financial ability to properly care for a pet, there is still a danger of disease. Someone living on the street can’t afford pet meds, even common ones like flea and tick treatments or heartworm preventatives.

All it takes for a dog to get heartworm is being bitten by a mosquito carrying them. Without the proper medication, any dog living outside is vulnerable. In addition, a homeless person cannot pay to have an animal spayed or neutered, so there’s an additional risk of the homeless pet contributing to the already staggering dog and cat overpopulation problem.

How You Can Help

Because pets are seen as property, it’s not possible to simply seize an animal from a homeless person if there’s no indication of actual abuse. The truth is, most homeless people try very hard to care for their pets, sometimes using their last bit of money not to buy food for themselves, but for their pets.

Instead, you can help by donating food and supplies to help these people care for their pets until they are in a position to do so on their own. Organizations like Pets of the Homeless have set up collection points across the country to accept donations of food, treats, flea and tick treatments, leashes, and collars. Some homeless shelters and soup kitchens will sometimes also accept donations of pet food, but be sure to call and ask before simply dropping something off that may not be distributed.

By donating through a recognized and participating organization, you can be sure that your contribution will go to help the animals—and their owners—who so desperately need it. And you’ll have improved not just one life, but two.

Note from the Editor: If you’re in Austin, Texas and looking for help for either you or someone you know, Animal Trustees of Austin offers free services to homeless people and their pets. They are located on IH35 and 51st Street. Check their website or grab a card from their office!

About the Author: Caroline Ruddy is a freelance writer finally pursuing her dream of being published. She loves books and movies, especially when they include a furry friend napping on her lap. Want to write for ILRA? We’d love to here from you – find out what you can do to help!

Guest Post: How Do I Find a ‘Good’ Rescue Dog?

Today’s Guest Post is brought to you by the awesome Karen Wild, Professional Dog Trainer and Behaviourist in the U.K. Enjoy!

How Do I Find a ‘Good’ Rescue Dog?

As a dog trainer and behaviourist I am often called about dogs that have just come to a new family from an animal shelter. In this article I want you to consider some of the factors in what would make the best kind of rescue dog for you.

Whilst cruelty cases are what most people think they are going to see when they get a rescue dog, more often than not in my experience this isn’t the case. Often it’s a dog that hasn’t had the right start due to poor or ill-informed choice. Often the dog hasn’t had decent social experience. Or, they just got as big as the owners knew they would get, but couldn’t handle. It’s very sad but sometimes I have to support the rehoming decision.

So it is something I am particularly passionate about – trying to make sure that any dog, no matter what breed, gets a home that is appropriate.

If you are looking, be prepared to wait for the right dog. And wait. And wait. When you visit a shelter, all the dogs are extremely appealing but a good shelter won’t let you take a dog straightaway.

A shelter operator may tell you that a certain dog is not really suitable for you,. This may make you all the more determined to prove them wrong, but do listen to them. No doubt they have experience of dogs being returned – yes, it does happen. Try to see beyond looks. I am a mongrel fan, I don’t really care what the dog looks like as long as I can see its temperament.

Look for the dogs that appear relaxed, not frantic. Don’t mistake ‘relaxed’ with ‘shut down’ body language. Some dogs find a kennel environment stressful and you will not be seeing the true dog. If you can look for a dog that is happy to approach, tail not under but also not stuck up like a waving flag. Panting can be a sign of stress, as can lowered head, licking and yawning. Many dogs in shelters bark simply because they are joining in, so don’t let this put you off. You should bear in mind that this may of course be caused by you standing there looking at them! Something to bear in mind – could be fear – but not always. So take your time, ask if you can see the dog away from the kennel and maybe take it for a walk and a play. Try to do this more than once!

If possible, aim to foster the dog for a while. In this way you can learn about each other and it gives you the chance to see if your choice was appropriate.

A sensitive dog can be a great, and very loving companion. At the same time, sensitivity means the slightest thing can affect the dog and sometimes they hate to be left alone. A busy, lively dog will be a fantastic training opportunity and will work, and work. They will also work, and work when you are crying out for a rest. Look for balance and remember, if you are looking at an adult dog, you have a pretty reliable idea of how they will be. This can be very useful!

Be prepared with any rescue dog that you will need a great deal of patience and understanding. Give them a chance to learn that at times, you will go out and leave them. Give them a chance to learn the house rules before being too ready to correct what they are doing. Remember that some rescue dogs have been badly undersocialised and they will need you to take over that process and help them make the unusual, usual.

If you make the wrong choice? My advice is, do NOT feel guilty about going back to the shelter. Most good shelters and trainers will help with settling in and will support you no matter what you decide. One of my most successful cases was a client that was on the point of giving up and returning her newly rescued dog, only to have a major breakthrough after a weekend of mutual learning! Two years on and the dog (and owner) are doing wonderfully.

You should be prepared to invest in a good local trainer and maybe even a behaviourist (your Vet will refer you to an APBC member). Find someone that has a proper accreditation and a qualification from a recognized national education provider. Avoid anyone that calls themselves a bizarre title. I am happy to be plainly known as a dog trainer, and a behaviorist. Ask to see their code of practice, and check their credentials. Avoid any franchises and of course, anyone that talks about packs, dominance or uses harsh handing haven’t kept their skills up to date. Your new dog deserves the very best, and decent trainers usually don’t cost the most, so take heart!

Of the dogs I see, the rescue dogs are the most rewarding challenges for the owners. I have seen some amazing successes where owners are clear, kind, but most of all, prepared.

Karen Wild BA (Hons) Dip App Psy, is a full-time U.K. dog trainer and behaviour consultant with 17 years in the field. She has a degree and diploma in Psychology from the University of Nottingham, is a full member of the APBC and is an ABIPDT. Karen’s work has ranged from class teaching, obedience, flyball, agility and working trials competition to running a popular dog display team. When she started her own family Karen realised there was a genuine need for one-to-one help in the family environment. She formed her company Pawprint for behavioural consultations and training, and Intellidogs which specialises in online advice in this area. Her passion is to create and rebuild the ‘enjoyment factor’ that can come from family dog ownership. Karen strongly believes that there is ‘always a way’ and prides herself on her commitment to uniting families with their dogs in the gentlest way possible. Karen’s work with dogs and young people includes her current programme to bring more dogs into schools in the UK. Her writing has been published in Dogs Today Magazine and she is a regular blogger for Dr Ian Dunbar’s revolutionary website, Dog Star Daily. Karen’s family focused approach to dog training can be accessed via her site or why not link up on Twitter?

Guest Post: Can an Old Dog Learn New Tricks?

Today’s Guest Post is brought to you by the awesome Karen Wild, Professional Dog Trainer and Behaviourist in the U.K. Enjoy!

How A New Family Can Give Rescue Dogs a New Life

It was nearly seventeen years ago that I spotted a little grey bundle in a rescue kennels. He was an odd looking thing, with a grizzled coat that stuck out all over the place, and a Jack Russell head with eyes that didn’t look terribly interested in me peering at him. He was only 2, but he looked ancient!

At the time I simply wanted a dog. Any dog. A dog of my own. I wanted a rescue dog. I took him for a walk and not much happened. That weekend I took him home. He was a very withdrawn little mutt.

As it turned out, he became the start of my career. After many struggles and a lot of work, he became Pepper, ‘The Flying Flea’ or his official working register Kennel Club name ‘Red Hot Chilli Pepper’. He did Agility, Obedience, Working Trials training and was the ‘small dog’ in the ‘Superdogs’ Display team.

Can every rescue dog be given a new lease of life? The success stories are many, and they are out there for everyone to see. It’s not easy, it’s not always cheap, but nothing worth having in life is a simple walk in the park.

Often in my work I get calls from owners asking if an older dog can be trained. The answer is, yes. Pepper learned to “wave” when he was 15 years old, and in the year before he died, he learned to bark to call me when he couldn’t manage to reach something.

It may be your rescue dog didn’t get the chance to learn about life and ‘normality’. It will take them a long time to adjust to what you take for granted as familiar. Often these are the dogs that need careful, long-term social experience. They need to go at their own pace – and you need to help them. You will learn about fear and stress signals and you will become your dog’s guardian.

Taking on an adult dog from a shelter is sometimes complex when that dog arrives in your home. It’s not always straightforward. Neither is getting a new puppy, so it’s not always the better choice! An adult rescue dog has probably learned an awful lot already, so part of the fun is finding out what they know – and what they never learned, and also teaching new habits that suit you.

I have seen several cases where the families called me the day they brought their rescue dog home. Perfect! This meant that any worries they had, they could ask me to assess what to do next. As months pass, they mould these dogs into good citizens. Sometimes, the dogs are just relieved to be somewhere where they can adapt and learn without fear.

Get yourself a good trainer – someone qualified, with proper credentials, with a code of practice, and no harsh methods or talk of old-fashioned dominance theory. Give your new dog the best chance you can. Keep notes of the early days so you can look back at how far you have come. You will be amazed!

With Pepper I learned a huge amount about training a terrier. About their determination, and about my own patience. About the benefit of silence and observation.

And the love, oh the fun and the feeling that I gave him a chance. I will never forget the day a lady came over after a dog display we had just completed, pulled a roast beef joint from her bicycle basket, and stuffed a wodge of it into Pepper’s mouth. He was extremely happy about that part of his career!

So folks, if you want to blame anyone for my presence on this site today (and on my own site www.karenwild.co.uk) then the fault lies with rescue dogs!

Karen Wild BA (Hons) Dip App Psy, is a full-time U.K. dog trainer and behaviour consultant with 17 years in the field. She has a degree and diploma in Psychology from the University of Nottingham, is a full member of the APBC and is an ABIPDT. Karen’s work has ranged from class teaching, obedience, flyball, agility and working trials competition to running a popular dog display team. When she started her own family Karen realised there was a genuine need for one-to-one help in the family environment. She formed her company Pawprint for behavioural consultations and training, and Intellidogs which specialises in online advice in this area. Her passion is to create and rebuild the ‘enjoyment factor’ that can come from family dog ownership. Karen strongly believes that there is ‘always a way’ and prides herself on her commitment to uniting families with their dogs in the gentlest way possible. Karen’s work with dogs and young people includes her current programme to bring more dogs into schools in the UK. Her writing has been published in Dogs Today Magazine and she is a regular blogger for Dr Ian Dunbar’s revolutionary website, Dog Star Daily. Karen’s family focused approach to dog training can be accessed via her site or why not link up on Twitter?