Friday, March 27, 2015

Animal Quotes

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals... In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.
Henry Beston

An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language.
Martin Buber

Everyone's pet is the most outstanding. This begets mutual blindness.
Jean Cocteau

Animals generally return the love you lavish on them by a swift bite in passing—not unlike friends and wives.
Gerald Durrell

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
Albert Einstein

Shall we, because we walk on our hind feet, assume to ourselves only the privilege of imperishability?
George Eliot

You enter into a certain amount of madness when you marry a person with pets.
Nora Ephron

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.
Anatole France

The scientific name for an animal that doesn't either run from or fight its enemies is lunch.
Michael Friedman

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
Mohandas Gandhi

Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be.
William Hazlitt

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.
His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Lots of people talk to animals.... Not very many listen, though.... That's the problem.
Benjamin Hoff,
The Tao of Pooh

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.
Milan Kundera,
The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I don't believe in the concept of hell, but if I did I would think of it as filled with people who were cruel to animals.
Gary Larson

I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.
Abraham Lincoln

The indifference, callousness and contempt that so many people exhibit toward animals is evil first because it results in great suffering in animals, and second because it results in an incalculably great impoverishment of the human spirit.
Ashley Montagu

Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.
Alfred A. Montapert

Monday, March 23, 2015


One of the most ancient of the toy breeds, Maltese dogs were bred to be sweet and adoring of their owners. The Greeks even erected tombs for their Maltese dogs, and in Elizabethan times, they were called “The Comforter” because it was believed they could relieve pain and cure illness. 
Maltese dogs are also extremely hypoallergenic, with silky coats that don’t shed. And because of their size, these dogs are good for apartment living, too.
The Maltese is a small, hardy dog with silky hair. The body is compact, fine-boned, but sturdy and slightly longer than it is tall with a level topline. The chest is deep. The skull is slightly rounded on the top with a moderate stop. The medium length muzzle tapers, but not to a point. The pendant, low-set ears are set close to the head and heavily feathered. The black eyes are large, round and set moderately apart with dark rims. The nose is black with open nostrils. The dog has a silky, single layer coat that is white or light ivory. When kept long and groomed like a show dog, it hangs flat, long over the sides of the body almost to the ground (about 8½ inches (22 cm)), hanging on each side of a center part line and is not wavy, curly or kinky. A lot of owners choose to cut the coat into a short, easy-care puppy cut.

The Maltese is spirited, lively and playful. Gentle, loving, trusting and devoted to its master. Highly intelligent. Good at learning tricks. Bold and quick to sound the alarm in case of suspicious noises. It is a classic companion dog: graceful and lovable. It does well with other non-canine animals and other dogs. Maltese love to play outdoors. Some like to jump in puddles. May be difficult to housebreak. If you feed them table scraps, they can become picky eaters. Do not allow these dogs to develop Small Dog Syndrome, human induced behaviors where the dog believes he is pack leader to humans. This causes a varying degree of behavior problems. If the dog believes he is boss, he can be snappish with children and even adults. Do not over-pamper or overprotect these little dogs, for they will become unstable, and some may become jealous of visitors. Maltese that are allowed to take over the house, being boss of the humans, can also develop separation anxiety, guarding and obsessive barking. These are not Maltese traits, but rather behaviors brought on by the way the dog is treated by the people around it. These behaviors will go away when the dog is surrounded by stable pack leaders.
Prone to sunburn along the hair parting, skin, eye issues, respiratory, and slipped stifle. Some may be difficult to feed with weak, upset digestion. They may get the chills, and they experience discomfort in hot weather. Maltese should be kept out of damp areas. Also prone to teeth problems. Feeding dry dog biscuits in addition to their normal food can help the teeth stay clean and healthy.
Maltese need a daily walk. Play will take care of a lot of their exercise needs, however, as with all breeds, play will not fulfill their primal instinct to walk. Dogs that do not get to go on daily walks are more likely to display behavior problems. They will also enjoy a good romp in a safe, open area off lead, such as a large, fenced-in yard. They remain playful well into old age. They are very active indoors.

Daily combing and brushing of the long coat is important but be gentle, as the coat is very soft. Clean the eyes daily to prevent staining, and clean the beard after meals for the same reason. Bathe or dry shampoo regularly, making sure the animal is thoroughly dry and warm afterward. Clean the ears, and pull out hair growing inside the ear canal. The eyes should be checked regularly and cleaned if necessary. The hair on the top of the head is often tied up in a topknot to keep it away from the eyes. Some pet owners opt to clip the hair short for easier and less time-consuming grooming. The Maltese sheds little to no hair and is good for allergy sufferers.
The Maltese was developed in Italy. It is said to have miniature spaniel and Poodle blood. The Maltese was first recognized as a breed in Malta, where it received its name. It was once known as "Ye ancient dogge of Malta." The breed was owned by royalty all over the world. Women carried them around in their sleeves and slept with them in their beds. They were first brought to England by Crusaders returning home from the Mediterranean. The Maltese was first recognized by the AKC in 1888.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Golden Retriever

It's no surprise that the Golden Retriever is one of the top ten most popular dogs in the U.S. It's all good with the Golden: he's highly intelligent, sociable, beautiful, and loyal. He's also lively. The Golden is slow to mature and retains the silly, playful personality of a puppy until three to four years of age, which can be both delightful and annoying. Many keep their puppyish traits into old age. Originally bred for the physically demanding job of retrieving ducks and other fowl for hunters, the Golden needs daily exercise: a walk or jog, free time in the yard, a run at the beach or lake (Goldens love water), or a game of fetch. And like other intelligent breeds who were bred to work, they need to have a job to do, such as retrieving the paper, waking up family members, or competing in dog sports. A tired Golden is a well-behaved Golden. As well as giving your Golden Retriever physical and mental exercise, you should also be prepared to include him in your family activities. The Golden Retriever is a family dog, and he needs to be with his "pack." Don't consider getting a Golden unless you're willing to have him in the house with you, underfoot, every day. There's one other potential drawback to the breed: He's definitely not a watchdog. He might bark when strangers come around, but don't count on it. Most likely, he'll wag his tail and flash that characteristic Golden smile.


For many years, there was a legend that Golden Retrievers were descended from Russian sheepdogs bought from a circus. In fact, the breed was developed in Scotland, at the highland estate of Sir Dudley Majoribanks, later known as Lord Tweedmouth.
Tweedmouth, like many gentry of his day, bred animals of all kinds, trying to perfect different breeds. Tweedmouth's breeding records from 1835 to 1890 show what he was aiming for with the Golden: A talented retriever — Tweedmouth was an ardent waterfowl hunter — with a superb nose, who would be more attentive to his human hunting companion than the setters and spaniels used at the time for retrieving. He also wanted the dog to be loyal and even-tempered in the home.
He began with a yellow dog named Nous, who Tweedmouth bought from a cobbler near Brighton in 1865. Tweedmouth favored yellow dogs, and Nous — whose name means wisdom — was the only yellow puppy in a litter of black Wavy-Coated Retrievers.
Tweedmouth took Nous home to Scotland, and in 1868 and 1871, bred him to Belle, a Tweed Water Spaniel. Tweed Water Spaniels (now extinct) were known for being eager retrievers in the hunting field, and exceptionally calm and loyal in the home — characteristics you'll find in today's Golden Retrievers.

Nous and Belle's descendants were bred with Wavy- and Flat-coated retrievers, another Tweed Water Spaniel, and a red setter. Tweedmouth kept mostly the yellow puppies to continue his breeding program, and gave others away to friends and relatives.

Not surprisingly, Tweedmouth's breed first attracted attention for their skills in the hunting field. One of the most well-known was Don of Gerwyn, a liver-coated descendent of one of Tweedmouth's dogs, who won the International Gundog League trial in 1904.

The Kennel Club in England officially recognized the Golden Retriever as a distinct breed in 1911. At that time, they were classified as "Retriever — Yellow or Golden." In 1920, the breed name was officially changed to Golden Retriever.

The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1932. Today, the Golden Retriever is the second most popular breed in the U.S.

A sweet, calm nature is the hallmark of the breed. The Golden was bred to work with people, and is eager to please his owner. Though hard-wired with a good disposition, like all dogs the Golden must be well-raised and well-trained to make the most of his heritage.
Like every dog, the Golden needs early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they're young. Socialization helps ensure that your Golden puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.
Golden Retrievers are built for action and love outdoor romps. If you like to hike or jog, your Golden will be happy to join you. And if you feel like tossing a ball in the backyard, they'd be more than happy to join you; true to their name, Goldens love to retrieve.
Tiring them out with 20-30 minutes of vigorous exercise twice a day will keep your dog mellow when he's back inside. Slacking on the activity, however, could lead to behavior problems.
Like other retriever breeds, Goldens are naturally "mouthy," and they're happiest when they have something to carry in their mouths: a ball, soft toy, newspaper, or best of all, a smelly sock.
You'll need to take special care if you're raising a Golden puppy. These dogs grow very rapidly between the age of four and seven months, making them susceptible to bone disorders. Don't let your Golden puppy run and play on very hard surfaces such as pavement until he's at least two years old and his joints are fully formed. Normal play on grass is fine, and so are puppy agility classes.

How To Take Care

Recommended daily amount: 2 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.

NOTE: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.

Keep your Golden in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. If you're unsure whether he's overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test.

First, look down at him. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can't, he needs less food and more exercise.

You'll need to take special care if you're raising a Golden puppy. These dogs grow very rapidly between the age of four and seven months, making them susceptible to bone disorders. They do well on a high-quality, low-calorie diet that keeps them from growing too fast.

For more on feeding your Golden, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Malinois or Belgian Shepherd Dog

The Malinois or Belgian Shepherd Dog is a medium breed of dog, sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd Dog classification, rather than as a separate breed. The Malinois is recognized in the United States under the name Belgian Malinois. Its name is the French word for Mechlinian, which in Dutch is either Mechelse herder or Mechelaar (one from Mechelen). The breed is used as a working dog for tasks including detection of odors such as explosives, accelerants (for arson investigation), and narcotics; tracking of humans for suspect apprehension in police work; and search and rescue missions. The U.S. Secret Service uses the Malinois Dogs to guard the grounds of the White House.Like all Belgian Shepherds, the Malinois is a medium-sized and square-proportioned dog in the sheepdog family. The Malinois has a short mahogany coat with black markings. It has black erect ears and a black muzzle. It has a square build in comparison to the German Shepherd.
The Belgian Malinois (pronounced MAL-in-wah) is a medium-size Belgian shepherd dog that at first glance resembles a German Shepherd Dog. Malinois are shorthaired, fawn-colored dogs with a black mask. They are one of four types of Belgian herding dogs, and have been shown in the U.S. as a separate breed since 1959. 
Originally developed in Malines, Belgium, Malinois have a great deal of stamina and truly enjoy working. They are intelligent and very active dogs that excel at many tasks. In addition to herding, they also do well with police work, search and rescue, and in performance events, such as agility.
People who are not familiar with the Malinois often confuse him with the German Shepherd Dog (GSD), but there are significant differences in the body structure and temperament of the two breeds. Malinois are smaller dogs with lighter bones. They stand with their weight well on their toes, which gives them a square body profile, while today's GSD has a long, sloping back and carries his weight flatter on his feet.
Malinois are fawn-colored, red, or brown, and the tips of their hair are black, while the GSD is usually tan with a black saddle. Additionally, the Malinois has a more refined, chiseled head that the GSD and smaller, more triangular ears. 

Many think that the Malinois is more alert and quicker to respond than the GSD. They're also very sensitive dogs that don't respond well to harsh training methods. Some Malinois are friendly and assertive, but others are reserved and aloof with strangers. They should never have a fearful or aggressive temperament. Because of their energy level and sensitivity, Malinois are recommended only for people who have previously owned dogs and have experience with dog training. Malinois are very intense dogs who like to be included in all of the family activities. They aren't well suited for people who work long hours or must travel often, leaving their dog at home.
If you have decided that the Malinois is the breed for you, you should expose yours to many different people, dogs, other animals and situations as early as possible. Puppy kindergarten classes are recommended for your Malinois puppy, followed by obedience training class.
Malinois are quick learners and eager to do whatever their people ask of them. They excel are obedience, tracking, agility, flyball, herding, showing, Schutzhund and other protection sports, search and rescue, and police work. Trainers describe them as having a high "play drive," which means that they love to play, and about anything you ask them to do is play to them.
But the Malinois' owner should never forget that this is a breed that was developed to protect and herd. Poorly bred Malinois or ones that have been poorly socialized may be aggressive out of fear or shyness. Additionally, although well-socialized Malinois are good with children, especially if they are raised with them, they may have a tendency to nip at their heels and try to herd them when playing.


Belgian Malinois have a great deal of energy and need a lot of exercise. Make sure you have the room and time to provide it.
Malinois are very intelligent and alert. They also have strong herding and protection instincts. Early, consistent training is critical!
Although they are good-size dogs, they are very people-oriented and want to be included in family activities.
Malinois are constant shedders. They shed heavily twice a year.
Belgian Malinois are intense dogs that are play-oriented and sensitive. Training should be fun, consistent, and positive.

Because of their intelligence, high energy, and other characteristics, Malinois are not recommended for inexperienced dog owners.
To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.


The Belgian Malinois is one of four varieties of Belgian Sheepdogs, which were developed in Belgium in the late 1800s. The four varieties are the Malinois (fawn-mahogany, short coat with black mask), Tervuren (fawn-mahogany, long coat with black mask) the Laekenois (fawn, rough coat), and the Groenendael (black, long coat). The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes all but the Laekenois as separate breeds in the U.S., while the United Kennel Club recognizes all four types as one. 

The Club du Chien de Berger Belge (Belgian Shepherd Dog Club) was formed in September 1891 to determine which of the many different types of dogs was representative only of the shepherd dogs developed in Belgium. In November of that same year, breeders and fanciers met on the outskirts of Brussels to examine shepherd dogs from that area. After much deliberation, veterinary professor Adolphe Reul and a panel of judges concluded that the native shepherd dog of that province were square, medium-size dogs with well-set triangular ears and very dark brown eyes and differed only in the texture, color, and length of hair. Subsequent examinations of dogs in other Belgian provinces resulted in similar findings.

In 1892, Professor Reul wrote the first Belgian Shepherd Dog standard, which recognized three varieties: dogs with long coats, dogs with short coats, and dogs with rough coats. The Club du Chien de Berger Belge asked the Societe Royale Saint-Hubert (Belgium's equivalent to the AKC) for breed status, but was denied. By 1901, however, the Belgian Shepherd Dog was finally recognized as a breed.Today's Malinois can be traced to a breeding pair owned by a shepherd from Laeken named Adrien Janssens. In 1885, he purchased a pale, fawn rough-haired dog called Vos I, or Vos de Laeken from a cattle dealer in northern Belgium. Janssens used Vos I (which means fox in Flemish) to herd his flock and also bred him to a short-haired, brindle-brown dog named Lise (also known as Lise de Laeken or Liske de Laeken). After that mating, Vos I was bred to his daughters, establishing a line of very homogeneous dogs with grey rough-hairs and short-hairs, and fawn rough-hairs and short-hairs. Today, Vos I and Lise de Laeken are recognized as ancestors not only of the modern Belgian Shepherd Dogs as well as the Bouvier des Flandres and Dutch Shepherd Dogs.
Breeders decided to give each of the different varieties of Belgian Shepherd Dogs their own names. The city of Malines had formed a club for the promotion of fawn shorthairs Belgian Shepherd dog in 1898. Louis Huyghebaert, an early breeder under the "ter Heide" kennel name, as well as a judge, author and the "godfather of the Malinois" (and the Bouvier), along with the Malines club had done much to help popularize these short-hairs, so the name "Malinois" came to be associated with the fawn shorthairs.

In 1897, a year before the formation of the Malines club, Huyghebaert, suggested that since there weren't very many sheep left in Belgium, that the shepherd dogs should have field trials that showcased their intelligence, obedience and loyalty. From this recommendation, dressage trials for the shepherd dogs were developed that tested a dog's ability to jump and perform other exercises. The first dressage trial, held on July 12, 1903 in Malines, was won by M. van Opdebeek and his Malinois, Cora van't Optewel.
Belgian Shepherds were also used as guard dogs and draught dogs. They were the first dogs to be used by the Belgian police. Before World War II, international police dog trials became very popular in Europe, and Belgian dogs earned a number of prizes at the trials.
When World War I broke out, many Belgian Shepherd Dogs were used by the military for a number of jobs including messenger dogs, Red Cross dogs, ambulance cart dogs and, according to some, light machine-gun cart dogs.

During the 1920s and 1930s, several outstanding Malinois kennels were started in Belgium. During the first decades of the 20th century, Malinois and Groenendael were the most popular varieties of the Belgian Shepherd dogs to be exported to other countries. At that time, many were exported to the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Canada, United States, Argentina and Brazil.

In 1911, two Groenendaels and two Malinois were registered by the AKC as "German Sheepdogs." In 1913, the AKC changed the name to "Belgian Sheepdogs." The first dogs were imported by Josse Hanssens of Norwalk, Connecticut. He sold the two Malinois to L.I. De Winter of Guttenberg, New Jersey. De Winter produced several litters from the Malinois under his Winterview kennel name.

After World War I, many American servicemen brought back Malinois and other Belgian Shepherd Dogs from Europe, and AKC registrations increased rapidly. The first Belgian Sheepdog Club of America was formed in 1924 and became a member club of the AKC soon after that. In 1924 and 1925, Walter Mucklow, a lawyer in Jacksonville, Florida, popularized the Malinois through AKC Gazette articles that he wrote. He also bred Malinois for a short time under the name of Castlehead Kennel.

By the end of the 1920s, the Groenendael and Malinois Belgian Sheepdogs had risen in popularity to rank among the top five breeds. During the Great Depression, dog breeding was a luxury that most couldn't afford, and the first Belgian Sheepdog Club of America ceased to exist. During the 1930s, a few Malinois were registered with the AKC as imports trickled into the country. Even after the Great Depression, there were so few Malinois and interest in the breed had dropped so much that the AKC put them in the Miscellaneous Class at AKC shows in the 1930s and '40s.
In 1949, a second Belgian Sheepdog Club of America was formed in Indiana. In that same year, John Cowley imported two Malinois and began his Netherlair kennel. He showed several of his dogs and several people became interested in them. By the 1960s, more people were breeding and showing Malinois. In March 1992, the American Belgian Malinois Club received AKC parent club status.
In the last decade, Belgian Malinois dogs have received a lot of attention for their work in the military, drug detection agencies, search and rescue operations, and police forces around the country. As a result, many Malinois have been imported to the U.S. in the last several years. They rank 90th among the 155 breeds and varieties recognized by the American Kennel Club.



This is an outstanding working dog who is confident and protective in any situation. He's affectionate with family members but reserved toward strangers until he takes their measure. The watchdog abilities of the Malinois are excellent. He protects his people and property with only as much force as is required. Shyness and aggression are never appropriate in this breed.
That said, temperament doesn't just happen. It's affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the one who's beating up his littermates or the one who's hiding in the corner. Always meet at least one of the parents — usually the mother is the one who's available--to ensure that they have nice temperaments that you're comfortable with. Meeting siblings or other relatives of the parents is also helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when he grows up.
Like every dog, Malinois need early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they're young. Socialization helps ensure that your Malinois puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. Enrolling him in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.


Belgian Malinois are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Malinois will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.
If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition. In Malinois, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site.

Hip Dysplasia: This is a heritable condition in which the thighbone doesn't fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia. As the dog ages, arthritis can develop. X-ray screening for hip dysplasia is done by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHIP). Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred. If you're buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems. Hip dysplasia is hereditary, but it can also be triggered by environmental factors, such as rapid growth from a high-calorie diet or injuries incurred from jumping or falling on slick floors.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). This is a degenerative eye disorder that eventually causes blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. PRA is detectable years before the dog shows any signs of blindness. Fortunately, dogs can use their other senses to compensate for blindness, and a blind dog can live a full and happy life. Just don't make it a habit to move the furniture around. Reputable breeders have their dogs' eyes certified annually by a veterinary ophthalmologist and do not breed dogs with this disease.

Elbow Dysplasia. This is a heritable condition common to large-breed dogs. It's thought to be caused by different growth rates of the three bones that make up the dog's elbow, causing joint laxity. This can lead to painful lameness. Your vet may recommend surgery to correct the problem, or medication to control the pain.

Anesthesia Sensitivity. Belgian Malinois are very sensitive to anesthesia. They have a higher than average rate of death when put under anesthesia because of their muscle to fat ratio. Be sure your vet understands this sensitivity before allowing your Malinois to have surgery or even have its teeth cleaned.


Belgian Malinois can do well in small quarters if they receive enough exercise. They prefer cool climates but adapt well to warmer environments. They do best when they are allowed to be a part of the family and are able to live indoors at least part of the time.
If possible, provide your Malinois with some off-leash exercise in a fenced area in addition to long walks or jogging. Malinois need about 20 minutes of activity three or four times a day, and a leisurely walk won't satisfy them. They're built for action. If you like to hike or jog, your Belgian Malinois will be happy to be by your side. Consider training him to compete in obedience or agility. It doesn't really matter what you do as long as you keep him active. Don't be surprised if he runs in large circles in your yard; it's a remnant of his herding heritage.
Puppies have different exercise needs. From 9 weeks to 4 months of age, puppy kindergarten once or twice a week is a great way for them to get exercise, training, and socialization, plus 15 to 20 minutes of playtime in the yard, morning and evening. Throw a ball for them to fetch. From 4 to 6 months of age, weekly obedience classes, daily half-mile walks, and playtime in the yard will meet their needs. From 6 months to a year of age, play fetch with a ball or Frisbee for up to 40 minutes during cool mornings or evenings, not in the heat of the day. Continue to limit walks to a half mile. After he's a year old, your Malinois pup can begin to jog with you, but keep the distance to less than a mile and give him frequent breaks along the way. Avoid hard surfaces such as asphalt and concrete. As he continues to mature, you can increase the distance and time you run. These graduated levels of exercise will protect his developing bones and joints.
Malinois are sensitive and highly trainable. Be firm, calm, and consistent with them. Anger and physical force are counterproductive. 

Children and other pets

Well-socialized Malinois are good with children, especially if they are raised with them, but because of their herding heritage they may have a tendency to nip at their heels and try to herd them when playing. You must teach your Malinois that this behavior is unacceptable. An adult Malinois who's unfamiliar with children may do best in a home with children who are mature enough to interact with him properly.
Always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
Malinois can be aggressive toward other dogs and cats unless they're brought up with them from puppyhood. If you want your Malinois to get along with other animals you must start early and reward them for appropriate behavior. If your Malinois hasn't been socialized to other animals, it's your responsibility to keep him under control in their presence.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Dental Trouble in Pets: What to Watch For and How to Prevent It

“Dogs and cats do not have self-cleaning teeth,” Dr. Bernadine Cruz of Laguna Hills Animal Hospital in Laguna Woods, California, says. “If their teeth are not taken care of properly, a large percentage of pets will have some type of dental disease by 4 years of age.”
Dental woes are more than just a toothache; they can also pose a serious threat to your pet’s well-being. That is because the condition of your pet’s teeth and gums can directly affect her overall health. Read on to learn about the top four signs of poor dental hygiene and the best ways to combat them. 

1. Bad Breath

How often have you gotten eye to eye with a furry friend only to be put off by her breath? We usually explain away a pet’s bad breath as simply being “dog breath” or “cat breath,” as if it is a normal part of her being. However, unless your pet has just eaten something stinky such as tuna, it is important to recognize that bad breath is not normal and can indicate a problem with her dental health.
2. Discolored Teeth

Healthy canine and feline teeth are white. Any discolorations or stains should be examined by your veterinary team. In addition, buildup or darker areas on your pet’s teeth, particularly around the gumline, is another sign that something isn’t right with her dental health.
3. Red, Swollen or Bleeding Gums

Healthy gums are pink (although some breeds have pigmented gums). Gums that are red and swollen or are bleeding need attention.
4. Loose Teeth

Unless your pet’s jaw has been injured, loose teeth can be an indication of bone loss. You can determine if teeth are loose by gently pressing on them. But do so carefully, as this can be painful and even the most docile pet may bite.

What's the Problem?
All of the above problems can be signs of periodontal disease, a disease that attacks the gums and teeth and can cause potentially life-threatening infections. Here is how it happens: Plaque builds up on your pet’s teeth. If it is not brushed away within 24 to 36 hours, it hardens into a yellow or brown substance called tartar, which can be removed only by a veterinarian (ideally, while the pet is under anesthesia). Over time, tartar that remains on your pet’s teeth also builds up under the gums. Tartar and bacteria eventually separate the gums from the teeth, forming gaps or pockets that encourage even more bacterial growth. At later stages of the disease, surgery may be needed to repair the damage, and affected teeth may need to be pulled.
Periodontal disease is painful for your pet and can lead to abscesses and loss of bone and teeth. It also presents other health risks. “If left untreated, dental disease can spread infection throughout the body,” Dr. Cruz explains. "When the health of the gums is compromised, the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause infection in your pet’s liver, lungs, kidneys and heart.”

Prevention Is the Key
The good news is that you can combat periodontal disease in your pet. Caring for her dental health really comes down to three simple steps:
Have your pet’s teeth cleaned professionally by your veterinarian on a regular basis.
Brush your pet’s teeth daily to help reduce the buildup of plaque.
Pay attention to your pet’s dental health. Check on her teeth and her gums regularly.

Visit Your Veterinarian
The first step in ensuring that your pet’s teeth are taken care of is to take her for professional dental cleanings.

For pets with healthy teeth and gums, cleanings are usually done about once a year. Pets that have severe periodontal disease may require more frequent visits. Your veterinarian will recommend a cleaning schedule based on your pet’s needs. Every pet is unique when it comes to dental disease. “Genetics, breed and luck all play a part in how often you will need to have your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned,” Dr. Cruz says.

One method of cleaning is to use an ultrasonic scaler. Its metal tip moves quickly and vibrates, using a stream of water to remove debris and plaque off teeth. Similar to what happens during a trip to your own dentist, your pet’s teeth will be cleaned both above and below the gumline and then polished.

Administering anesthesia is necessary for the procedure, because most pets will not sit still for their teeth to be cleaned under the gumline. Your veterinary staff will take plenty of precautions to make undergoing anesthesia as risk free as possible for your pet.

Your veterinarian may perform a preanesthetic exam and will most likely recommend a blood profile screening, which can help rule out preexisting problems that could affect the safety of anesthesia. In addition, today's anesthesia is safer for dogs and cats. Recent clinical advances in anesthesia help ensure that your pet will be alert and virtually back to normal shortly after the cleaning.

Cleaning at Home
Home care is an essential part of keeping your pet’s teeth in tip-top shape. “The best time to start a dental routine is when you first bring home a puppy or kitten,” Dr. Cruz explains. “Your first goal is just to get her used to having her teeth and gums touched.”

Start by simply wiping your pet’s teeth with a damp washcloth wrapped around your finger. Offer your pet lots of praise for being cooperative. After she has gotten used to the washcloth, she can graduate to a pet-safe toothbrush. This method can also work on an older pet that has not previously received home dental care.

Once you are ready to start brushing your pet’s teeth, you will need two essentials:

Toothpaste specially formulated for pets. Pet toothpaste comes in all kinds of interesting flavors, including vanilla, beef, chicken and seafood. Avoid using human toothpaste, which can irritate your pet’s stomach if she swallows it.
A toothbrush. One that has been specially developed for pets (e.g., a little rubber finger brush for cats, a smaller brush for small dogs) is your best bet. You can always ask your veterinarian for advice on making the brushing experience a positive one for you and your four-legged friend.

You will find that regular professional cleanings, as well as the simple act of daily brushing, will help keep your pet's teeth and gums healthier throughout her life. A little extra care in the short run will lead to important health benefits for years to come.

Toothbrushing Tips

Dampen the toothbrush first.
Press the toothpaste down to the bottom of the brush. This will help keep your pet from licking the toothpaste off the brush.
Take your time introducing this new routine into your pet’s life.

Fighting Dental Disease With Food
Diet can play a role in maintaining your pet’s dental health. Specially formulated dental diets are effective in fighting plaque and tartar buildup. For added assurance, look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance. You can also ask your veterinary staff which diet they recommend.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dogs are high energy dogs with a lot of enthusiasm. They are outgoing, curious, friendly, and highly intelligent. There’s a lot of dog inside that moderately sized, curl-covered body. Porties love to play in water and will take all the exercise you can give them.

When the First Family welcomed Bo, the Portuguese Water Dog, to the White House, they put the spotlight on this rare breed of water-loving canine. Fortunately, the Portie likes attention almost as much as he likes playing with children and swimming. An important consideration before diving in to ownership of a Portuguese Water Dog: If you don’t want a dog who prefers to be wet, this isn’t the dog for you. Caveats aside, this curly mop of good natured canine could be just the ticket for your family.
The breed was developed in Portugal, where the breed served as the fisherman’s equivalent of a farmer’s right-hand man. They retrieved nets, delivered messages, and pretty much did anything that was asked of them with enthusiasm and style. Few people need that kind of water-logged helper anymore, so the Portie’s smarts and enthusiasm have been put to other uses. One of the most notable: When San Francisco opened its new bayside ballpark for the Giants, a team of Porties went to work retrieving home run balls out of the water. The dogs, known as the Baseball Aquatic Retrieval Korps, or BARK, quickly became an attraction on their own.
But the Portie doesn’t need paid work; he’ll happily do most anything you want. The dogs do very well at obedience, agility, and other canine sports, as well as more people-based activities such as boating, hiking, and helping the kids chase a soccer ball. The problem won’t be finding things for your dog to do, but rather finding time and energy to keep your dog busy. Don’t bring a Portie into your family unless you have plenty of both to spare.

What about allergies? The jury’s still out. The Portie, like many dogs with coats like the Poodle, may be better tolerated by people with allergies, especially mild ones. Do understand, though, that there’s truly no such thing as a dog that will not cause any allergies. Expect to brush the dog thoroughly at least weekly and have him professionally clipped every other month.
The Portie is a wonderful family dog and typically great with children, although all child-pet interaction should be supervised by adults. Also, because the dog can be rambunctious and some fall under the “big dog” category, they may be too much for toddlers.
Give your Portie plenty of exercise and he’ll be happy in an apartment, a small suburban home, or a vast country estate. Just don’t expect him to handle being alone in the backyard. If you get a Portuguese Water Dog, make him a member of your family, not an outdoor dog. 

Other Quick Facts

  • Portuguese Water Dogs have a wavy to curly coat that comes in a number of colors with or without white markings. Black and brown dogs are the most common; white is the least common.
  • The Portuguese Water Dog can sport a “lion” clip with a bare rear end or remain fully coated. The profuse coat can be curly or wavy.
  • A Portie’s curly coat, somewhat more loosely coiled than a Poodle’s, doesn’t shed much, but left untrimmed, will continue to grow indefinitely.

The History of the Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog has been a coastal retriever in fishing-mad Portugal for centuries. Portuguese fishermen ranged far out from their homeland, all the way to the Grand Banks cod fishery off the coast of Newfoundland, and their water-loving dogs went with them. They were important members of the crew, helping to pull in nets and deliver items between boats. The Poodle and the PWD may have a common ancestor, and the PWD may have played a role in the development of the Irish Water Spaniel.

The breed’s importance in the fishing industry declined over the years, and the dogs became quite rare. The first members of the breed were brought to the United States in 1958, but it wasn’t until 1972 that the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America was formed. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1984. Today the PWD ranks 55th among the breeds registered by the AKC, up from 60th in 2009. No doubt the breed’s popularity received a boost from the presence of Bo Obama in the White House.

Portuguese Water Dog Temperament and Personality

There are two outstanding characteristics of the Portuguese Water Dog: energy and intelligence. The Portie is an agile breed that thrives on any activity that challenges him physically and mentally. In addition, the Portie is a friendly family dog that enjoys looking after his human pack. In fact, the Portie needs to be with a family. He doesn’t do well if left in a kennel or left alone at home for long periods of time. He thrives in the midst of an active family.

The Portie is a good companion for children, but don’t be surprised if he outplays the kids. His natural exuberance may cause him to play a little too rough, so he must be taught early on to play nicely and keep his mouth to himself.
Training should begin right away for the Portie puppy. Even at 8 weeks old, he is capable of learning good manners. Never wait until he is 6 months old to begin training. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.These experiences as a young dog will help him grow into a sensible adult dog.
Talk with a reputable, experienced Portuguese Water Dog breeder. Describe exactly what you’re looking for in a canine companion, and ask for assistance in selecting a puppy. Breeders see the puppies daily and can make uncannily accurate recommendations once they know something about your lifestyle and personality. Choose a puppy whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized by the breeder from birth.

Vigorous exercise is a must for the Portie, such as daily romps, canine sports (agility and obedience), and swimming. The Portie has a special affinity for swimming due to his heritage as a working water dog, and swimming is a great way for him to burn off some energy.

What You Need To Know About Portuguese Water Dog Health

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines. Portuguese Water Dogs are at risk of hip dysplasia, a crippling disorder of the hip socket that can require costly surgery to treat and often leaves the dog stricken with arthritis later in life.
All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines. Portuguese Water Dogs are at risk of hip dysplasia, a crippling disorder of the hip socket that can require costly surgery to treat and often leaves the dog stricken with arthritis later in life. 
Additionally, the breed can be affected by a number of genetic eye abnormalities. One eye problem, microphthalmia, can be diagnosed with an eye exam, so have your puppy examined for this condition if his breeder hasn’t already done so. These results should also be reported to the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF). Another eye disease that can affect PWDs, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), has a genetic screening test available through Optigen, and the puppy’s parents should have been tested. Testing forms and additional information are found on the Portugese Water Dog Club of America (PWDCA) website.

A rare condition known as GM1 gangliosidosis, which causes a fatal buildup of toxins in the nerve cells of puppies, can occur in the Portuguese Water Dog. Through the determined efforts of the breed club, a DNA test was developed, and no affected puppies have been born for several years. Under no circumstances should you obtain a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation of his parents’ GM1 gangliosidosis status.

Other diseases that can affect the breed and for which the PWDCA recommends genetic screening include heart and thyroid problems, as well as a condition known as sebaceous adenitis, an inflammation of the sebaceous glands that leads to hair loss and skin disease. Your puppy’s breeder should be willing — in fact eager — to go over the health histories of his parents and their close relatives and discuss how prevalent health concerns are in his lines.

The Portuguese Water Dog Club of America is a member of the Canine Health Information Center, a health database. For a Portie to become CHIC-certified, a breeder must submit a hip evaluation from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), an eye clearance from CERF, with annual eye exams recommended until the dog is 10 years old, a DNA test result for PRA from an approved laboratory, and OFA registry of a DNA test for GM1 gangliosidosis. Optional tests include OFA cardiac, thyroid, and sebaceous adenitis evaluations, and a University of Pennsylvania evaluation for juvenile dilated cardiomyopathy.

Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. A dog need not receive good or even passing scores on the evaluations to obtain a CHIC number, so CHIC registration alone is not proof of soundness or absence of disease, but all test results are posted on the CHIC website and can be accessed by anyone who wants to check the health of a puppy’s parents.

Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Portie from getting portly is one of the easiest ways to extend his life. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier dog for life.

The Basics of Portuguese Water Dog Grooming

With his handsome and abundant coat, the grooming requirements of the Portuguese Water Dog are above average. Regular grooming is essential to keep his coat in good condition, including brushing, bathing, haircut, nail trim, and ear cleaning. You can let the coat grow long or clip it short. Expect to groom (do it yourself or better yet, hire a professional groomer) your dog every six to eight weeks, especially if you wish to keep the coat trimmed short. Regular brushing several times a week with a pin or slicker brush is necessary if you let the coat grow out. Regular tooth brushing with a soft toothbrush and doggie toothpaste keep the teeth and gums healthy.

The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Understanding Nutrition Basics for Senior Cats

Your cat may be a kitten at heart, but from a nutritional standpoint, some experts consider him a senior by 8 years old and geriatric by 10 to 12 years old. Some older cats experience a decreased immune response, altered glucose tolerance, decreased kidney function and several other changes that can be affected by diet. Cats entering old age may benefit from eating food that is modified to meet some of their changing nutritional needs. 

Although some cats entering old age may need to watch their waistlines, cats who are even older may have a hard time keeping weight on. Some older cats, mostly those over the age of 12, stop gaining weight and start losing weight, actually requiring more calories. Studies show that most cats over the age of 12 have a decreased ability to digest fat, and about 20 percent of cats over age 12 have a decreased ability to digest protein. Older cats, especially if underweight, can benefit from a diet with increased levels of high-quality protein and fat. Although some age-related problems respond favorably to increased fiber intake, feeding high-fiber foods is not recommended across the board for all senior cats, in part because fiber may decrease the absorption of some essential nutrients. 

Older cats often don't drink enough water. Especially if the cat has impaired kidney function, as some older cats do, this can lead to dehydration. Offering wet food and placing additional bowls of fresh water throughout the house may help increase your cat's water intake.
Cats are very sensitive to oral pain, and  dental problems can make chewing painful, causing a cat to swallow food whole or avoid eating altogether. If your cat seems interested in food but does not eat, he could have oral pain. Be sure to schedule regular wellness visits for your aging feline. Wellness visits include a physical examination and a brief examination of your cat’s teeth and gums (a full dental examination requires sedation). Depending on the findings, your veterinarian may recommend a professional dental cleaning to address your cat’s dental issues. Dry foods designed for tartar removal may improve oral health if the situation is not advanced, but for some older cats, wet food or softer kibble is needed. 

Some older cats have decreased senses of taste and smell. If that's the case with your cat, you will need to feed him particularly aromatic foods. Warming food slightly will cause its aroma to increase, which will often appeal to older cats. Just be sure to avoid overheating the food, and always check to be sure it isn’t too hot before offering it to your cat. Some cats eat better if they are petted while eating. Some also do better with several small meals a day.

The nutritional needs of older cats are influenced by any health problems they may have, many of which — such as kidney failure, diabetes mellitus and heart disease — are more common in older cats and often benefit from special dietary modifications. It's essential to monitor your cat's eating, since lack of appetite is one of the more common signs of disease. However, a good appetite does not rule out disease, because certain conditions (such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, malnutrition from malabsorption or maldigestion, parasites, and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, among others) may result in normal or increased appetite.
Your veterinarian is the best person to talk to about your older cat's individual diet needs. But for most healthy older cats, a commercial senior diet, or sometimes even a diet formulated for adult cats, will be fine. Diets developed especially for senior cats often have increased digestibility to offset weight loss and decreased absorption of nutrients; increased antioxidants to help boost a weakening immune system; and increased palatability and softer kibble.
It's sometimes a challenge to keep your older cat eating what you want him to, and you may have to make compromises. Talk to your veterinarian if your cat has changes in appetite or weight. Every cat, and every situation, is different.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

How About PitBulls

Pit bulls are a lovable and gentle breed that are often misunderstood and vilified by the press. These little known facts may help you to see these dogs in a different light and may have you adopting one of your very own.

K-9 Workaholics
This muscular breed loves to have a task or job, particularly if it’s a physical one. Pulling and tugging are one of their favorite activities, so consider having them pull you on roller-blades for exercise, or setting up a hanging tug rope in your backyard.

A Pit Bull’s Intuition

Many pit owners will tell you about the time their animal companion warned them of danger long before they were even aware that anything was wrong. Pit bull owners also constantly comment on how emotive and sensitive their dog can be. Far from the monsters that the media makes them out to be, well-trained and well-loved pit bulls are loyal, affectionate, and intuitive companions.

Tough Lovers

Because pit bulls are such an intelligent and strong-willed breed, they require an owner who can and will give them tough love. This should NEVER come in the form of spankings, hitting, or yelling. Rather, a firm tone, consistent correction, and tons of praise when the dog does what you’ve asked are the most effective methods.

An Adventurer’s Best Friend

This powerful animal loves to run, hike, play fetch and, if exposed to water early on, will even swim. Remember to ALWAYS keep your pit on a leash in public places and on public trails until he has been properly trained off-leash and will come when you call.

The Best Little Spoons

Pit bulls absolutely love to cuddle and be close to their owners. However, cuddling, petting, and praise should be reserved for times when your pit bull has earned these types of interaction. Too much affection can make for a “spoiled” animal that may become defiant. However, if you give your pit an appropriate amount of exercise daily, along with training, cuddling and praise should be their reward. Along with treats, of course.

Well-Behaved Children Are Welcome

Despite what the media would have you believe, pit bulls are actually wonderful with well-behaved children who know how to approach and play with dogs. Never allow your child to pull a dog’s ears, hit or kick a dog, or yell at a dog. Also, teach your children to ask before approaching or petting a stranger’s dog.

Be sure to expose your pit bull to children at a young age. They will often be playful with children and gentle, as long as they are given the right guidance. If you have children, make sure they are a part of your pit bull’s training program.

Aggression is Learned and Allowed, Not Inherent

Like any other breed of animal, pit bulls can learn to be aggressive. The key word here is “learn.” There is no scientific evidence to support the misconception that pits are inherently more aggressive than any other breed. However, because they have been taught, by humans, to fight throughout the centuries, this trait can come more naturally under the right circumstances.
That being said, if a pit bull is socialized from puppyhood, disciplined, given strict boundaries and tough love, there is very little chance of your pit becoming aggressive with other dogs or humans.

A few training tips that will help teach your dog to be submissive, calm, and loving include:

– Teaching them to sit, stay, come, and lay down on command (these commands should be reinforced all of their life, not just when they are puppies).

– Making sure they do not become food aggressive by feeding them with other dogs and cats when they are puppies, feeding them from your hand and allowing other humans to feed them, and periodically taking their food away from them and then returning it.

– Taking your pit to the dog park, on hiking trails, and to public events as a puppy is one of the most effective ways to socialize them. If you notice them playing too rough, correct them early on.

– Never allow your pit bull to jump up on another human

These gentle and smart dogs are the perfect companion for the owner willing to take the time and energy to train them properly and love them well.

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