February 3rd, 2015

7 best moments from the Puppy Bowl referee’s interview

(I was all prepared to write my blog this week, but in my browsing of the recent veterinary journals I came across this interesting article regarding Puppy Bowl.  The Super Bowl has its merits but my family also gathers around the TV every year to enjoy puppy bowl.  I’m guessing many of my readers do the same so I thought I’d share this bit of whimsy with you.  Enjoy!)

Ref reveals his favorite dog breed, how long the game takes to film.
Jan 31, 2015
By staff

The official Puppy Bowl referee, Dan Schachner, answered users’ submitted questions on The interview’s highlights are below:

1. On accusations of deflated ball toys following the Patriots’ “Deflategate” news: I can say that those allegations are 100 percent false, and the reason I know this is that as the only human involved in Puppy Bowl, it is up to me to personally inspect every single ball on the field. Unless, of course, they are neutered, in which case, I do not.

2. The Halftime Show: We approached Katy Perry’s cat—Kitty Purry—and that’s true (for those that don’t know, that is actually her cat’s name) who were not available, so we have our own cat performer, named “Catty Furry.” Some say she’s better that Kitty Purry, but that’s not for me to decide. The haters call her a copycat. I disagree.

3. On allowing cats to play: I think … that there’s always room for cats to move up the ladder, as long as they’re not riding someone else’s coattails to get there.  Sorry, I couldn’t resist! Will we ever see cats on the field? I think there’s room for any animal species in sports. Whether that sport is football, baseball, soccer, whatever, I would like to see more animals participating. I think some people might say cats are as athletic, if not MORE so, than dogs. If so, I would welcome the chance to have kittens as part of our next Puppy Bowl draft.

4. Filming the game: Bottom of FormTop of Form The Puppy Bowl is shot about three months in advance. A lot of people don’t know this. The reason why it takes so much time is the Puppy Bowl broadcast is a 2-hour event, but it is not a 2-hour event to film. It takes 2 full days to film. Reason being, we are trying to showcase as many different puppies as possible, and we want to rotate them in and out, and give them as many chances to have action on the field as possible!

Additionally, there are 17 cameras shooting the action on the field at the same time. You can imagine, 2 days of shooting, 17 cameras, that is hundreds if not thousands of hours of footage that needs to be watched, logged, and edited.

We also have our integrations—like we talked about our movie partnerships. This year’s the integration’s with Spongebob. We also have special appearances, this year Drew Carey will be appearing with A Price is Right integration, and we also have a Puppy Bowl Fantasy team that you can create – for that you have to go to and create your puppy fantasy team and track them and their progress during the game … so all of that is a long-winded way of saying it takes months to put all this together so that way people can enjoy it as a 2-hour event.

5. Regretting calls: Early on, I started penalizing dogs every time they went to the bathroom. I quickly realized that was a losing battle. And I could do it all day long. So I had to start ignoring that. So my first ten “fouling the field” calls or “premature watering the lawn” calls … those are the ones I wish I could take back, because I realize I was just wasting my time.

6. Getting the job: Well, the guy before me had the job for seven years, he moved on to work for the Food Network, therefore there was an opening for a Puppy Bowl ref! So I created a crazy audition tape, where I ran around NYC trying to officiate dogs in dog parks, doing little scrimmages with any dogs I could get my hands on, it got me a lot of weird looks from strangers but it got the job so I’m happy in the end.

7. Favorite dog breed: I love beagle mixes because I had one as a child. I just… happened to really love beagles. I also love dachshunds. I’m more a fan of small to medium breeds, and that’s probably because I live in Manhattan in a very small apartment—therefore I won’t have a Great Dane, or a husky, it would be too much! So smaller, more transportable dogs are better for me and my lifestyle. As a ref, I can’t show favoritism, but on the personal side, I’m a sucker for beagles and

(Well, both bowls are already over so it’s no secret how they turned out, but I hope you all enjoyed them.  Until next time, keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze!)


January 16th, 2015


Well, it’s that time again, a new year and a new set of Top Ten lists.  I am always excited to see what was popular in the past year, what’s new and what sustained.  However, I was a little disappointed this year to see that not much has changed in the past twelve months.  Human names continue to be popular for pets, as do movie character names.  Below are the lists of the top names for dogs and cats in 2014.  Look and see how your pets’ names measure up.

Top Ten Male Cat Names:                                                             Top Ten Female Cat Names:

Oliver                                                                                                        Bella

Milo                                                                                                           Luna

Leo                                                                                                            Lucy

Charlie                                                                                                      Kitty

Max                                                                                                           Elsa

Simba                                                                                                       Daisy

Tiger                                                                                                         Lily

Smokey                                                                                                    Callie

Jack                                                                                                          Lilly

Kitty                                                                                                         Gracie


Top Ten Male Dog Names:                                                       Top Ten Female Dog Names:

Max                                                                                                          Bella

Charlie                                                                                                     Daisy

Rocky                                                                                                       Lucy

Buddy                                                                                                      Sadie

Cooper                                                                                                    Molly

Duke                                                                                                        Lola

Bear                                                                                                         Sophie

Zeus                                                                                                         Zoey

Bentley                                                                                                    Luna

Toby                                                                                                        Chloe

So there you have it for 2014!  Again, the only name from our family that made the list is Molly, although it dropped a couple slots.  Just remember the best pet name is the name of the pet sitting next to you.  Until next time keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze.  And Happy New Year!



Beware of Christmastime Toxins

December 23rd, 2014

The holidays are a joyous occasion, and often people include pets in festivities. The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) has seen too many cases of pet poisoning related to the holidays.

To keep your pet safe, TVMDL Toxicology Section Head Tam Garland, DVM, PhD, suggests keeping an eye on the following:

Lethal food combinations

Maintaining a pet on their normal food is always a good idea. Some foods, such as chocolate, may be poisonous to the pet. Feeding scraps may encourage inappropriate behavior such as begging. Changes in diet, such as table scraps can cause diarrhea or vomiting and thus make a holiday celebration less pleasant for all concerned.


  1. CHOCOLATE contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which can be toxic to pets; vomiting, diarrhea, heart problems and death can occur if ingested. If your pet should get into chocolates, please call your veterinarian or a veterinary emergency hospital as soon as possible. Be prepared to tell them what your pet weighs, and how much of what type of chocolate the pet ingested.

Baking chocolates and dark chocolates are more dangerous than white chocolate. Some pets can ingest a small amount of chocolate and be fine, other pets may develop vomiting, diarrhea, nervousness, hyperactivity, bloat and possibly death. Chocolates of any kind should not be given to pets. This includes things like chocolate chip cookies, chocolate covered peppermint patties, and other holiday foods and treats.


  1. CAFFEINE is found in many soft drinks and special holiday drinks, such as sweetened chocolate or coffee. These should not be given to pets.


  1. FRUIT CAKES may contain rum or other alcohol. Alcohol poisoning is very dangerous to pets, causing a drop in body temperature, blood sugar and blood pressure. Rising bread dough can cause obstruction if ingested. The yeast can also result in alcohol poisoning in pets. Please keep bread dough, fruit cakes, rum raisin cookies and holiday treats of this sort well out of reach of pets. Reminding guests to refrain from sharing human food with your pets is always acceptable.


  1. XYLITOL is a common ingredient in candy and gum, and  other sugarless treats may contain xylitol. Xylitol is extremely toxic to pets, causing liver failure and frequently death.


Food products used in ornaments: Homemade ornaments, especially those made of play dough-type material or other salt-based products or food, can be extremely toxic to pets. The salt or play dough ornaments appeal to pets as a tasty treat because of the salt. However, an ingestion of a salt-based ornament can cause an animal’s death. Animals ingesting these types of ornaments need to be treated by a veterinarian for salt poisoning.

Pets do not often take a bite out of glass ornaments but it has been known to occur. Pets can step on and break glass ornaments as well. Cuts to the mouth or pads of the foot may be painful and need a veterinarian’s attention to remove the glass and close the wound depending upon the severity of the cut.

Holiday Hazards:  

Candles should not be placed where a pet could knock them over. Remember, cats often jump up and knock items off of a shelf or mantle, especially if it is in a location they are accustomed to occupying. A dancing flame can be interesting to felines who have been known to swipe at the flame. Burns may occur but fires may be a bigger danger in the home.


Poinsettia plants and Christmas cactus are often considered the must-have Christmas plants of the season and can cause adverse reactions in pets. Animals that ingest these plants may experience gastric distress, such as vomiting and diarrhea. Generally this is self-limiting. The pet will often overcome this irritation within 24-48 hours. Provide small amounts of water but offer no food until the vomiting has stopped; this may help settle the stomach. It is always wise to consult your veterinarian anytime your pet has an upset stomach.

Tinsel decorating a Christmas tree or wreath is shiny, lightweight and moves very easily, enticing playful cats. Ingested tinsel can lodge or anchor in the stomach, inhibiting passage through the intestines. It can also wrap around the base of the tongue and cause serious injury and impede the ability to eat or drink. Tinsel can actually cut tissue as the intestines contract. Yarn can behave in a similar fashion. Both tinsel and yarn represent special hazards to felines.

Holiday Perfumes:

Holidays are often filled with guests and the desire to perfume the home. Liquid potpourris may be the choice for the perfume but can contain essential oils and cationic detergents which if consumed can cause chemical burns to the mouth, difficulty breathing, tremors and fever. Dogs may be affected but are not quite as sensitive to these chemicals as cats. Potpourris, whether liquid or dry, should be kept well out of the reach of pets.

Watch for any signs of distress or changes in your pet’s behavior during this holiday season. An owner’s awareness of possibly harmful decorations and foods is the most effective way to reduce pet toxicity over the holiday.

Thanks to TVMDL for submitting this information for us to share.

Happy Howl-idays to all and remember to keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze!



Ebola and your Pets

November 18th, 2014

Concern is high regarding the outbreak of Ebola virus and its entry into the United States.  The recent patient in Spain whose dog was subsequently euthanized because of the ignorance and fear of the public and authorities is a sad reminder of how little we really know about this disease.  Fortunately the authorities in the great state of Texas are wiser and more informed so that the dog owned by the suspected Ebola patient in Dallas was spared and simply put under surveillance.  In fact, that dog has been of great benefit to the medical community as a test subject for pets owned by persons exposed to Ebola.  So far all tests performed on that dog have been negative, reinforcing the theory that Ebola is not transmitted from people to animals.  Further, the American Veterinary Medical Association has released guidelines for pets owned by Ebola-exposed owners.   I am glad to share with you some facts regarding Ebola and pets brought to you by the Centers for Disease Control and, one of the foremost journals in keeping veterinarians up to date on current issues.  Just click on the image to enlarge or print the two-page handout.  Stay healthy and keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze!


October 17th, 2014

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.” – Robert Heinlein

In thumbing through (and I use the term “thumbing” loosely as I have no thumbs) one of my pet parent’s journals the other day I came across this interesting and helpful article. I thought it would be a good idea to share it with my readers.  I hear people at the clinic all the time asking how to housebreak their new puppy or how to deal with housetraining issues in their older dogs.  Here is some advice from a board certified animal behaviorist and veterinarian.

  1. Every one to two hours, take the puppy outside. Puppies have high metabolisms, meaning they make a lot of urine quickly, and they have small bladders, which means they can’t store all of that urine for long.
  2. When the puppy is out, let if sniff a bit. Don’t just pull it away from what it’s sniffing and keep walking. Sniffing is an important part of the elimination sequence for dogs.
  3. If the puppy is just rampantly plowing ahead sniffing, consider stopping and walking quickly back and forth. This movement simulates normal dog elimination precursor behavior.
  4. Use a fixed length short lead so you can quickly encourage your puppy and respond to its cues. You can give the dog a small treat as it squats on a substrate you both like, e.g. grass. A reward may help encourage the association between squatting on that substrate and good experiences.
  5. Regardless of the frequency of your other walks, take the dog out 15 to 45 minutes after each time it eats. This is the time range for eating to stimulate intestines to move feces. Do this after all meals, as well as biscuits and rawhides, both of which will stimulate elimination.
  6. Watch for behaviors, e.g. pacing, whining, circling, sudden stopping of another behavior, that tell you the dog may be ready to eliminate, and intercept the dog. If you pick up the puppy and it starts to leak, get a cloth and clamp it gently to the puppy’s genitals with your hand. This will help to stimulate the dog to associate inhibition of elimination with those muscle groups.
  7. Take the puppy out immediately after any play and naps or if it awakens at night.
  8. Prepare for the first walk of the day by having your street clothes on before you approach a crated puppy. Puppies that have waited through the night cannot wait long once you’re awake.
  9. Watch the puppy in between walks. Any puppy that’s moving around and suddenly stops need to eliminate. You can make monitoring easier by putting a bell on the dog’s collar. Any time the puppy’s bell stops, take the dog outside immediately.
  10. If you have an older dog that’s housetrained, take it with you when you take the puppy out. Dogs learn extremely well by observing, and this may speed the process.
  11. Dogs are generally faster to housetrain for defecation that urination. This may be due, in part, to the fact that puppies urinate more frequently than they defecate. For some clueless dogs, it can help to either take a urine-soaked sponge or a piece of feces to the area you’d prefer the puppy to use.
  12. Don’t’ forget to clean up feces. This allows dogs to be recognized as socially acceptable members of the community and may reduce the transmission of parasites.

By Karen Overall, MA, VMD, PhD, DACVB, CAAB


September 17th, 2014

“The bond with a true dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth can ever be.” -Konrad Lorenz

So my pet parents just got back from vacation.  They were gone for two weeks!!  Seemed like an eternity to me.  But they have never taken a lengthy vacation during my lifetime so I guess they deserved it.

My person, Dr. Mel., wanted me to give a shout-out to her clients for being patient and understanding while she was gone.  Most of you wished her well and hoped she had a good, relaxing time.  She sympathizes with those who had pet issues and needed her help during her absence.  People tend to be very loyal to their doctors, dentists, and veterinarians, and don’t want to see anyone else, and Dr. Mel. understands this.  Nevertheless, we did have the relief vet, Dr. Staples, here while Dr. Mel. was gone.  It made my pet parent feel better to have a doctor on premises in case of emergency and so clients wouldn’t think she completely ignored their needs.  She realizes it’s not the same as seeing your regular veterinarian, but Dr. Staples was here just in case.  Dr. Mel. also knows that things don’t always run as smoothly when she’s not here “crackingthe whip” on the staff and that mistakes will be made.  However, we have a very good staff here and they did their best in her absence.  So thanks again for your understanding.

So this made me think, “Why can’t I go on vacation?”  and led me to write this blog about traveling with your pet.  This is the information you should know if you plan to take your pet on vacation with you.

First off, make certain the place you choose to stay allows pets.  More and more places these days are pet-friendly but you sure don’t want to wait until you arrive to find that out!  If you are traveling by car and staying within the continental United States, most of the time all you need is a copy of a current rabies certificate.  However, it is always a good idea to keep a record of other vaccinations, your pets’ health records (especially if it has had any serious issues in the past), and plenty of medication if your pet is on any.  This way, in case you have to board your pet or if there is an emergency that requires a veterinary visit, you have all your pet’s health information that a new doctor might require.

If traveling out of the country or flying, first check with the airline to see what documentation they require for your pet to fly.  Documentation usually does not differ for pets traveling cargo vs carry-on.  However, pets traveling on airplanes do require certain types of kennels and some airlines request that you provide food and water for  pets in cargo.  This information can usually be found on the airline’s website.  Next, if traveling out of the country, you should check with the country of destination to see what paperwork and vaccinations or testing is mandatory.  Countries vary greatly in these requirements.  Some are much more strict than others.  Usually a quick google search for “importing pets into (fill in the country)”  will produce the links to the information you need.  If you still are confused, contact your veterinarian who can sort this out for you.  Oftentimes, paperwork needs to be filled out and sent to the country’s export office for a stamp in advance of the trip.  Some countries also require testing that may take several weeks.  Therefore, be sure to start your preparations well in advance of you trip or your pet may end up staying home.

If you travel out of the country frequently with your pet, you may be interested in obtaining a Pet Passport.  It contains your pet’s basic information as well as it’s vaccination information.  You can get these through the USDA and your veterinarian.  They are specific for countries that participate in the program, so the passport is not valid for every country.  You should check with the country you will be traveling to for specific requirements.  However, once your pet has this, just like your own passport, it makes traveling between countries and through customs much quicker and easier.

And lastly, be sure the country you are visiting does not have a quarantine requirement.  It would be terrible to go through all the preparation, fly your pet to your destination only to find out he has to spend his vacation in quarantine, or worse yet, be returned to his home country.

So pack your bags, and Fido’s too.  And Bon voyage!

Until next time, keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze!

Made in the USA

June 24th, 2014

Happy Independence Day!  In honor of the 4th of July holiday I thought I’d do something different, yet very American.  Although I am a German Shepherd, I was bred, born and raised in the good ol’ USA so I consider myself an all-American dog.  However, there are several breeds of dog that are truly American.  So I present to you the Ten Truly American Dog Breeds, conceived and developed right here at home.

  1. Red Bone Coon Hound. This is the official dog of the state of Georgia. It has been a member of the United Kennel Club (UKC) since 1904 and was finally admitted to the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2009. They were commonly used to hunt bear, cougar and raccoons. The most famous “Reds” are probably “Old Dan” and “Little Ann” in the Wilson Rawls novel Where the Red Fern Grows.
  2. Boston Terrier. This “American Gentleman” has been a member of the AKC since 1893. Despite the name, it is not a terrier at all but rather a member of the non-sporting group. The state dog of Massachusetts, the Boston Terrier, “Rhett,” is the mascot for Boston University.
  3. Alaskan Malamute. Originally bred for their strength and endurance in hauling heavy freight, this breed became popular during the Klondike gold rush of 1896, and soon found its niche as a sled dog. Recognized by the AKC since 1936, the Malamute is the official state dog of Alaska. Malamutes are perhaps most famous for aiding Admiral Byrd on his trek to the South Pole.
  4. American Water Spaniel. Developed primarily in the Great Lakes region of the United States, the American Water Spaniel is the state dog of Wisconsin. It was recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1940. Technically this breed is not classified as either a spaniel or a retriever which prevents them from competing in AKC hunt tests or field trials. The American Water Spaniel is a rare breed with less than 3,000 thought to be in existence in the United States.
  5. Rat Terrier. This is a very popular breed where we live and work. Rat Terriers were admitted to the AKC in 2009. Some famous Rat Terrier owners are Shirley MacLaine and authors William Faulkner and John Sandford. Perhaps the most famous Rat Terrier was “Skip,” owned by President Theodore Roosevelt.
  6. Chesapeake Bay Retriever. The CBR, or “Chessy”, is a good all-around hunting dog and companion. The breed history can be traced to two dogs found in 1807 on a floundering ship in Maryland. Today the breed is the official dog of the state where they were first discovered and the mascot of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Famous Chessy owners are General Custer, Teddy Roosevelt, and actor Paul Walker.
  7. Plott Hound. The Plott Hound is a large scent hound originally bred to hunt bear, raccoons and wild boar. While the ancestors of these dogs came from Germany with the Plot brothers in 1750, the offspring were developed in North Carolina, where the surviving brother settled, into the breed known today. Although rare, the Plott Hound is the official dog of the state of North Carolina. It was recognized by the AKC in 2006.
  8. Chinook. This breed is descended from a single stud dog named “Chinook ,” a word that means “warm winter winds” in Inuit. It was developed in New Hampshire where it is the state dog. In 1965 the Guinness Book of World Records recorded the Chinook as the rarest dog in the world. Fortunately the breed has gained popularity since then and in 2013 it became the 176th AKC breed recognized.
  9. Toy Fox Terrier. Recognized by the UKC since 1936, this breed was only recently added to the AKC in 2003. They have been called a big dog in a small package due to their courage and take-charge attitude.
  10. American Staffordshire Terrier. Originally called the Bull-and-Terrier dog or the Pit Dog, the “AmStaff” was accepted into the AKC in 1936 as simply the Staffordshire Terrier. In 1969 the name was changed to American Staffordshire Terrier to differentiate it from its English relative, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Sadly, this breed has gained popularity with people who use them for fighting, giving them a reputation for being aggressive. Nothing could be further from the truth. These are loyal, loving, and athletic dogs who make wonderful family pets and companions. Unfortunately they have been the focus of much breed-specific legislation to ban these dogs in many municipalities. Some notable AmStaffs include “Petey” from Our Gang, Buster Brown’s dog, “Tige,” and “Sergeant Stubby,” the most decorated dog in military history.

So light your sparklers and celebrate the country that gave us these wonderful companions.  And just as when you’re shopping for other goods, when picking out your next dog you may want to consider…Made In the USA.

Until next time keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze!

(Information from this article taken from, Wikipedia, and the American Kennel Club)


It’s Pet Appreciation Week!

June 12th, 2014

“You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, ‘My Gosh, you’re right! I NEVER would’ve thought of that!’” – Dave Berry

“I have studied many philosophers and many cats.  The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.”   -Hippolyte Taine

It’s Pet Appreciation Week and in honor of that I’ve lifted some entertaining information from Firstline, a veterinary journal my pet parent reads, to share with my audience.

So without further delay I present the Five Fun Facts About the Benefit of Pets…

  1. Pets have a positive effect on your physical health. Studies from Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta show children who grow up with pets from their first year of life are less likely to suffer from allergies, while another study from the Journal of Pediatrics in 2011 shows kids living with dogs had a lower rate of eczema.
  2. Pets can warn you of potential health risks before you notice symptoms. Dogs have been trained to provide support and companionship for people during seizures, and some studies even claim dogs can predict oncoming attacks. Dogs may also be trained to detect drops in blood pressure and blood sugar or even sniff out certain types of cancer.
  3. Pets help you make kinetic connections. Pets serve as introductions to new people, whether our clients make friends through their furry family members at the dog park or as they’re trucking around the block. They also keep pet owners on the go. In a 2006 study from researchers at the University of Victoria, dog owners walked about 300 minutes a week, compared to 168 minutes for non-dog owners.
  4. Pets reflect your personality. Our clients can become fast friends with other pet owners through breed appreciation groups or fan clubs. And certain breeds may even attract like personalities, according to a study from Bath Spa University in England. The study suggested toy breed owners, like Chihuahuas and Yorkies, may be smart and creative, while those who own working dogs, such as boxers and Great Danes, are likely agreeable and intelligent.
  5. Pets brighten your day.they’re so much more than fuzzy lap warmers and door greeters!

And don’t forget to keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze!


June 4th, 2014

As many of you may have noticed, it has been especially hot lately.  The hot and humid summers in southeast Texas are hard on everybody, but perhaps moreso on my animal friends.  Unlike people, most animals cannot sweat and thus must use other methods to cool themselves.  The most obvious of these is the pig that lies in a puddle to take advantage of the evaporative cooling effect of the water on its skin.  Dogs and cats pant to cool their bodies; they can sweat but only through their noses and the pads of their feet.  On the other hand, horses sweat, but they do not pant.

Animals that live outdoors all the time tend to tolerate the heat better than an animal that is normally indoors and suddenly cast into the sweltering heat.  It stands to reason that an outdoor animal can adjust to the weather as it changes.  Contrary to popular belief, animals with long hair may be more heat tolerant than those with short hair.  An animal’s hair coat is its insulation and, just like the insulation in your house, it protects from the heat as well as the cold.  However, if the hair coat becomes matted, it should be cut because the mats do not allow air to get to the skin and can lead to hot spots and other skin problems.

Another important factor to animals during the summer is coat color.  Again, in this respect, animals are not so different from people.  Fair-skinned, light-colored animals are predisposed to sunburn as well as a similar condition called photosensitization.  This is especially true of horses and cattle, which spend most of their day grazing in the sun.  The white-haired areas of the body are most affected.

One of the most common emergencies that occurs during the summer is heat stroke.  It can occur in any animal but is most common in those that are confined in areas with inadequate ventilation such as animals at shows, livestock being transported, or pets left in vehicles.  Factors that put an animal at risk of heat stroke are obesity, stress, physical exertion, old age, pre-existing disease, and again, confinement without adequate ventilation.  Some signs of heat stroke are shallow, rapid breathing, rapid pulse, bright red gums that are tacky and dry to the touch, muscle rigidity or spasms, collapse, fixed and dilated pupils, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased urination, and a body temperature of 105F or greater.  Not all of these signs need be present to make a diagnosis of heat stroke.  If an animal is suspected of suffering from heat stroke, it should be treated immediately.  Some home treatments can be given until veterinary care can be obtained.  These treatments include soaking with cool water, applying rubbing alcohol to the foot pads (in the case of small animals), and administering cold water enemas.  Only if the animal is alert and responsive may you offer it water to drink.

Some animals recover from heat stroke without incidence.  Many, however, suffer such consequences as brain damage, kidney failure, blood disorders, coma, and death.

The good news is that many summer heat problems can be avoided.  All animals should always have access to shade and fresh water.  Long-haired animals should be kept well-groomed.  Working animals may benefit from the addition of electrolyte powder in their drinking water.  This is especially helpful for ranch and trail horses and show animals.  The powder is available through your feed store or veterinarian.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, NEVER leave pets in a car for any length of time.  In the summer, temperatures in a vehicle can reach well above 200F in just minutes even with the windows partially open.

The conclusion is to use common sense when caring for your animals in these hot summer days.  If it’s uncomfortable for you, you can bet it’s uncomfortable for them, too.

Until next time keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze…and keep cool!


February 27th, 2014

“Every boy should have two things:  a dog and a mother willing to let him have one.” – anonymous

As you can see, I’m still on the Westminster kick.  It takes me a while to get off the dog show high after witnessing one of the greatest events in dogdom.

And, as usual, each year my family cheers for the breeds that make up the four-legged portion of our clan.  And, as usual, none of them ever win.  Why, I wonder, do these breeds historically not fare well at the WKC dog show?  One article I read online suggested the presence of “breedism.”  I happen to agree with the author, whose name I do not recall (sorry, fella), that while we know very little about the dog show world or what these judges are seeing that we are not, it is odd that many popular breeds have never won Westminster in its 138 years of existence, while terrier breeds have won 46 times or 33% of the time!  What’s up with that?

Not to take anything away from this year’s champion, Sky, a wire fox terrier.  But, in my opinion, by the time they reach that level of competition, all the dogs are superior representatives of their breed.  So what do the terriers have that, say the Golden Retriever, does not?

With that said, I present to you a list of ten popular breeds that have never won at Westminster, followed by 2013’s ten most popular dog breeds according to the American Kennel Club.


  1.  Labrador Retriever.  The most popular breed for the past 23 years, according to the American Kennel Club, has not only never won Westminster, but has not ever placed first in the Sporting Group, which would put it into the running for Best-In-Show.
  2. Golden Retriever.  This lovable breed is the third most popular AKC dog.  It has been put up for Best-In-Show by winning the Sporting Group only once, in 2006.
  3. Dachshund.  Despite being the 10th most popular breed in the AKC no Dachshund of any variety – smooth, long-haired, or wire-haired has ever taken top honors despite winning the Hound Group ten times.
  4. Rottweiler.  The ninth most popular AKC breed has also never won Westminster.  Unfortunately I do not have data on Group wins for this breed.
  5. Shih Tzu.  This impressive dog is number fifteen (down from number eleven in 2012) on the AKC’s most popular breed list.  Despite all the fluffing, combing, and spraying – and three Group wins – it has never been Best-In-Show.
  6. Miniature Schnauzer.  This variety of Schnauzer, although, number seventeen (down from number thirteen in 2012) in the AKC, has not enjoyed as much success as its larger counterparts.  Only one Group win and no Best-In-Shows.
  7. Chihuahua.  Neither the smooth nor long-haired Chihuahua has ever won at Westminster and has only won the Toy Group once, despite being the 22nd  most popular dog in the AKC (down from number eighteen in 2012).
  8. Great Dane.  The number 16 dog breed (up from number 17 in 2012) in the AKC has won the Working Group five times, yet has never been crowned the winner at Westminster.
  9. Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie).  This 21st most popular breed has also won its group five times, yet the Best-In-Show title has still eluded it.
  10. Boston Terrier. One of the few truly American breeds competing at Westminster is number 23 on the AKC’s list of most popular dogs.  Regrettably I have no statistics on its Group wins, but it also has never won Best-In-Show.

And perhaps most disturbing of all to me is that the German Shepherd, the number 2 most popular breed in the AKC, has won only once at Westminster!

To turn the table, let’s look at the top ten AKC breeds of 2013 and their success in the Westminster show ring.

Ironically, the top ten most popular dog breeds according to the AKC for 2013 is exactly the same as 2012.  So what, you say, of the other dogs appearing on the top ten list that have not been mentioned regarding Westminster?

  1.  Labrador Retriever
  2. German Shepherd Dog – One Best In Show
  3. Golden Retriever
  4. Beagle – Who can forget “Uno” the only Beagle to win in 2008?
  5. Bulldog – Has won Best In Show twice
  6. Yorkshire Terrier – One Best in Show
  7. Boxer – Has won Best In Show four times
  8. Poodle – Standard has four wins, Miniature has three wins, Toy has two wins
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Dachshund

And finally, of the breeds represented in my household, as stated previously, the German Shepherd has won only once, the Cocker Spaniel has won three times, and the Australian Shepherd and Labrador have never won.

Why, you might wonder, have these breeds that are so popular with the general public, not so popular with the WKC judges?  That still remains a mystery to all.  But we will continue to cheer them on each year and hope they will one day take the crown of Best In Show at Westminster.

Until then keep your tail in the air and your nose in the breeze…and enjoy your dog, no matter what breed it is!