Skin Health

For those of us who experience the cold winters every year, we know how our skin can get dry and itchy. Your dog's skin struggles with cold weather, overheated houses, and low humidity, too. Here's how to help keep your pooch itch-free:

*Brush your dog often. Even shorthaired dogs need help sloughing off dead skin cells. Brushing stimulates circulation and kicks up production of natural moisturizers from oil glands.

*Shampoo less often. Experts warn that weekly baths remove much-needed lubricating oils.

* Use a pet shampoo. Keep your own shampoo, even the gentle one, on the shelf, and use a moisturizing doggie-formulated one.

*If dry skin persists, take dog to the vet. Itching can be a sign of something more serious, such as parasites, hot spots, allergies and more.

For the woman who has everything

Yup, they're squirrel feet earrings.

Give these to someone & you'll never see them again.

(via Scribal Terror)

Ear Health

The most common cause of infection cats and dogs is ear mites, which create a large amount of very dark brown itchy debris. Most ear mite treatments require multiple doses. Veterinarians carry options that are effective in just one – although the ears will need to be cleaned several times. Although cats are the natural host and carriers of ear mites, dogs can be affected too, so all contact pets should be treated.

Dogs, particularly floppy-eared ones, commonly get yeast and bacterial infections in their ears. This is generally an overgrowth of microorganisms that are normally present in low numbers in the ear canal; these are not directly contagious to other animals.

Some other causes of infections in dogs and cats are excess moisture in the ears (swimming, bathing, excessive grooming from another pet), and skin allergies.

Common signs to watch for:

Scratching or rubbing of ears and head
Discharge in the ears
Ear odor
Redness or swelling of the ear canal
Pain and tenderness around the ears
Shaking of the head or tilting the head to one side
Changes in behavior such as irritability and depression

Key points for ear health:

Have your veterinarian show you how to safely clean ears
1 – 2 times per month and after swimming/baths clean your pets’ ears to help prevent infections
Check floppy ears at least once per week for any of the common signs listed above and contact your vet if any of those occur
Only use pet ear cleaners or others as directed by your veterinarian, you may damage the ears with at-home remedies
Check with your veterinarian about medications for ear infections

(Info from the Wellness Food Brand e-newsletter)

Best in Show is a Matter of Opinion

(photo courtesy of

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Reporting on our diet, I did have too much to eat (yum!) but the good news: I had only one small slice of pumpkin pie. Given my sweet tooth that's an accomplishment. And I do plan to double up on the exercise. Kelly received a treat in her doggy bowl, but it was only turkey gravy! yay!

Speaking of dogs, after the parade we often watch parts of the National Dog Show in Philadelphia. I love seeing the different beautifully groomed breeds strut around the ring. This year, I couldn't help smile at what wins my vote for a "best in show moment." An adorable 7 month old Shih Tzu was being shown for the first time. Handlers are supposed to walk their dog away from the judge, take a little spin around the ring, and return to the judge so that he can observe the dog's structure and carriage in motion. Well, this cutie didn't want any part of it. Instead of walking along, she just plopped down with her head between her little paws and refused to budge. Dog shows are very formal, but everyone burst out laughing. I was happy to see that even the judge smiled, seemingly charmed by the pup. He finally instructed the poor handler, who was tempting the dog with liver and every trick she had up her sleeve, to pick up the dog and carry her out of the ring. The handler smiled and gave the puppy a kiss. Here is the video clip from NBC sports.

Tail's End: Don't take life too seriously. It's okay if you're always not Top Dog.

Speaking of Christmas

This really is the best way to shop!

Relax, in your pajamas, with a cup of tea or coffee. No driving around looking for a parking space, no fighting crowds, no searching through disorganized shelves and racks, no long check-out lines.

You'll be done in plenty of time to have a turkey sandwich from yesterday's leftovers. has a wonderful selection of Christmas gifts for dogs and cats. Christmas stockings for dogs and cats, rawhide treats in holiday shapes, holiday buckets and holiday baskets filled with treats, holiday theme toys.

At, find perfect gifts for everyone on your list with pets: friends, neighbors, teachers, and family members. Find a perfect "thank you" gift for your clients if you're in a pet related business: dog walkers, pet groomers, dog breeders. Christmas gifts - no crowds, no lines, great merchandise, great prices and a flat $6.00 shipping charge on all orders to the continental US, regardless of weight or size!

If you'd like to send a holiday gift to your favorite local animal welfare agency or pet rescue group, will deliver your package for free.

Today's awwww

Let's eat!

Got the turkey?

Let's eat!

"Olive And Penny Tackle A Turkey" by Kim The Star Princess

"Ryker Eating a Turkey" by astrid66us

"sophie eats the turkey's heart" by theogeo

"OMG! she's eating the turkey?!" by Laura

"Turkey Neck gore 2" by Kamala Dolphin-Kingsley

"Judah dragging away her dinner" by This Year's Love

"Patsy eating turkey carcass" by tenelson

"chevy eating turkey nov 24th '06 RIP" by jkjb98

"how do i eat this thing?" by romeo'smom

"Voyage of the Meatflower" by joshbousel

"Mysti eating the turkey leg that Lance stole" by LindsayRitter

"Turkey Time!" by Ben+Sam

"tiki eating turkey" by Gabe_Katz

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

"Dad advises" by Julie Corsi

Give Thanks

Let's take a little break today, enjoying our families and friends and food.

Let's also be thankful for the internet which brings us such wonderful things as


Happy Thanksgiving!

Pies, pies, pies, pies! Every year I get myself practically sick on seconds and thirds of ooey gooey syrupy pecan pie. So, as a measure of preventative action, I asked my mother-in-law not to make pecan pie this year. Perhaps she could whip up a nice rhubarb pie, or mincemeat--two options that wouldn't tempt me in the least.

In keeping with her diet, I'll also have to remember not to pour gravy over Kelly's dry dog food. (C'mon, tell me you haven't done this too!)

Things I'm thankful for:

My family

Good health and compassionate medical professionals to take care of us

Praying friends

Cell phones--I'm serious. I feel so thankful that I can keep in touch with my daughter and still feel like a part of her life, even though she's far away. And to know that Andy, in college, can get in touch with me any time he needs. It's such a comfort and yes, a blessing.

Books and a fleece blanket to curl up with

If you're wondering, Kelly was included up in "family"

Warmth--both physical and emotional

Green--my favorite color. Green grass, trees, mountains, Vermont, and Granny Smith apples

Baseball. I know it's a football day, but mine is a baseball family. The only hitch is that Mike is a Red Sox fan and Andy is a Yankees fan, and they're both very passionate about their teams. I refuse to play favorites.

Pecan pie. Maybe my mother-in-law will ignore my request and make it anyway.

p.s. The picture is not of Thanksgiving, but one of the tables at Kate's wedding reception. We had an elegant English tea theme. I think it came out rather pretty.

Upside down

What could be cuter than a puppy?

An upside down puppy!

There are many more at upside down dogs

Here's one from my collection:

"max and layla 092907-1" by Julie Corsi



(via The Poodle (and Dog) Blog)

More Pet Holiday Tips

As families all around the country start pulling out their favorite holiday recipes, and shopping lists, and decorations, it’s easy to overlook one hairy detail: the family pets. Between vacationing out-of-town and readying the house for a veritable invasion of friends and family members, it is really no surprise that pets feel left out, but more than that, the general upheaval of the holidays can be a dangerous time for cats and dogs.

Nationally recognized veterinarian Dr. Bernadine Cruz, DVM, and one of the resident veterinarian advisors on, encourages pet owners everywhere to add “pet safety” to their holiday list and check it twice.

Year-round every room in a house can pose a potential threat to pet health when human foods, cleaning products, insecticides and rodenticides, and medicines meant for people are left out where pets can get into them. During the holidays inattention to things left unattended can double. Everyone is busy, caught up in the celebration of good food and good company: house guests may unwittingly allow the dog into a room he is usually forbidden to go, or feed the cat a “treat” to which he is allergic. The holidays bring out so many more potential hazards to pets than we may think. Pets may ingest tinsel, ribbons, and string, harming their digestion and intestinal tract. Especially harmful is fertilizer used in the water of Christmas tree stands which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

To pass the holidays in celebration, companionship, and good health, Dr. Bernadine Cruz and offer these tips to add to every pet owner’s list:

· Remind houseguests not to feed the pets human food, especially fatty foods and candy.

· Restrict pets to “safe areas” or outdoors during dinner parties when you are too occupied to watch them.

· If you have not already, install child safety locks on cabinets that contain cleaning supplies, paints, and medicines. Even hand soap and toothpaste can harm dogs and cats.

· Try to give your pet some focused attention each day to keep her or him calm, relaxed, and less likely to misbehave.

· Be sure pets wear identification tags at all times. That includes indoor pets, because with the hustle and bustle of having visitors, pets can wander outside without their owners being aware of their escape.

· To protect curious pets, be sure to keep candles safely out of the reach of paws, whiskers, and tails.

· Pets, especially dogs, tend to eat first and think later. A dangling, shinny tree ornament or holiday table decorations may be more than your pet can ignore. A nibble of a plant can lead to an upset stomach or worse. Decorations can lead to an obstruction in the digestive tract and require a visit to the veterinary emergency room.

Many people include their pets in holiday travel. Dr. Cruz suggests to keep the following tips in mind when traveling with the family pet:

• Pets should always wear identification when traveling indicating their permanent home and where they are visiting. Owners should also have a copy of their pet’s medical records, vaccine history, and a picture of the pet in case they are separated.

• If you are traveling by car with your pet, plan ahead to insure that you can find hotels that accept pets. AAA can usually direct you to these establishments. Be sure to bring your pet’s usual diet and water. You don’t want “traveler’s diarrhea” to put a damper on your road trip.

• If traveling by air, try to get a direct flight. Losing your luggage is one thing, but it could be a disaster if it is your pet. Check the expected temperature of your destination airport. If you need to have your pet travel in the cargo hold, bitterly cold temperatures may not be tolerated by your pet. We have all seen luggage carts stranded on the tarmac or sat in a plane for hours while it is delayed. Your pet could become fatally hypothermic.

• Though you may be welcomed with open arms when you go visit, your pet may not be. If you are staying with friends, make sure your pet is welcome.

• If you are staying at a pet-friendly hotel and you need to leave your pet unattended in your hotel room, place a “do not disturb” sign on the door. You do not want housekeeping to accidentally let your pet out. Be sure your pet is a good neighbor and does not bark excessively. Bring along an extra sheet for your pet to lounge on.

A meeting in the woods

Photography by Tanja Askani

Thanksgiving Day Pet Tips

Reduce your dog’s regular food portions during the holidays through the less-active winter months. Consult with your veterinarian before downsizing to determine the right portion.

* As a rule, don’t feed pets holiday treats or leftovers. Some foods such as chocolates, uncooked bread dough and macadamia nuts can actually be life threatening.

* Instead of human foods, give your dog treats specifically for canines. Training reward-type treats are especially good, because they’re typically bite-sized and individually very low in calories.

* Be sure to tell your guests not to feed the pet. If everyone at a holiday party sneaks even a little food to the dog, it can quickly add up.

* Even though things get hectic during the holidays, try to stick with your dog’s normal routine of outdoor play and walks.

Our tribute to the ugly Christmas sweater

This is Gabby, in a woolen ski sweater, with a band of stranded Norwegian Stars, at Flickr by abrelosojos.

This is Ginger, in another traditional Norwegian pattern, at Flickr, by bunnyprincebilly.

This is Lincoln, found at Side Salad, in dismay over having to wear the Christmas Sweater of Shame.

This is Sammy modeling his Christmas sweater, at Flickr, by mbtrama.

Found at Seagull's Nest, this is Sahara in her Christmas outfit.

This is the "Sequin Studded Holiday Argyle Dog Christmas Sweater," available at Wiggle-n-Waggle. And what says "Christmas" better than argyle and sequins?

This is Duncan, found at Parade, dressed up for his first Christmas, obviously wearing "Sequin Studded Holiday Argyle Dog Christmas Sweater."

Kimchi, found at Pet Minder, must have received this fine new sweater for Christmas.

This is Jeffrey in his Christmas sweater, at Flickr by gopal1035.

This is the "Christmas Sweater With Twinkling Star" available at Pet Bliss.

Hey look, here's the "Christmas Sweater With Twinkling Star" modeled by Roy, at Flickr by Casey T.

This is KC the Christmas pup, in her sweater, at Flickr by chokeonthatcausality.

Doesn't this pooch look thrilled? You can give your dog this same excellent outfit for Christmas, from DianaDesignsNY.

This is Miss Burundi, who was kind enough to model the sweater Katie knitted for her.

Jen thinks guinea pigs should have sweaters, too. So she knitted one for Nicholas.

This is Hilde in her Christmas sweater, at Flickr by randyhi.

This is the "Pointsettia Holiday Dog Sweater" available at Calling All Dogs.

This is Tono in his Christmas sweater, at Flickr by Memnot.

This "Reindeer Sweater" available at Haute Dog Boutique, is a mix of knits, embroidery and appliques on the back show four of our favorite reindeer: Comet, Dancer, Vixen and Rudolph. The entire collection of reindeer is surrounded by hand-applied iridescent beads; these same beads are echoed in each of the four "windows" when used to make a pair of snowflakes. (via pampered puppy)

This kitty, found on the internet, doesn't seem too thrilled with the Christmas themed attire.

This is Perl, practicing his Christmas card pose. Found at Flickr, used with permission from chunks.

Chunks must really be into dressing the dogs. Here, he's done it again. And why not? They're cute and they look like they're having fun.

Ok, ok, Chunks, enough already.

This is the "Sequin Ornaments Dog Sweater" available at Calling All Dogs.

This is Otis, found at Parade, dressed up in his holiday attire complete with a Christmas sweater and antlers, .

This is Kato in a sweater, at Flickr, by Average Jane.

This is Ethel in her Christmas sweater, at Flickr by andrew d miller.

This is the "Blingle All the Way Dog Holiday Sweater" available at Bulldog Costumes and Clothes.

This is Sophie, found at Parade, in her new winter sweater and matching hat.

This poor doggy, found on the internet, is modeling the hooded Rudolph Christmas sweater.

This is the "Skiing Snowman Dog Sweater," available at Calling All Dogs.

No excuses!

Petfinder knows that the only thing better than a not-so-fashionable holiday sweater is an ugly pet sweater. Whether it belongs to you or your pet, send your sweater photo and you may end up on a e-card!