Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Our old dog collapsed and then could barely stand up. We really thought that we might lose her.

Olive, our old greyhound, is over 13 years old. She still enjoys life, but is on medication for arthritis and for her heart.
Twice this month we've had an incident of  her collapsing. Fortunately she recovered both times - by the next day she was her usual self.

What happened was this...

She has the use of a couch with a duvet on it. It's comfortable and draught-free.
Normally she jumps on off quite easily and without any problems. (You should see her leap when she's excited - she moves like a much younger dog!)

Both times that she collapsed happened after she fell while getting off her couch. Her legs went front and back and she was unable to stand without support.
Obviously she was frightened (so were we) and she was also in shock. Boris, our younger male greyhound, was very concerned and rushed over to her.
We laid her gently on her side on the floor.
Her heart was thumping, so I gave her some Bach Rescue Remedy. This calmed her and her heart beat became more normal. She rested and dozed for a while.
But she was still unsteady on all of her legs, so I massaged her muscles to increase the blood flow.
(You can do this by making small firm circular movements with your finger tips on the leg muscles. Then put both hands around the lower part of the leg and move them upwards using firm pressure (not too hard!). If your dog doesn't like it try using less pressure.)
This helped her a little. But she was afraid of squatting down to go to the toilet. I put a large towel around her middle and supported her by holding up the free ends. This is a useful trick for dogs with mobility problems.

We were really worried and thought that we might be in danger of losing her. But she seemed to be recovering a bit, so we decided to wait until the next day to see if a trip to the vet was needed. Great news - she was her usual self  by the next morning. She even went for a short walk. Boris was quite happy to walk slowly along side of her - I think that he realised that was what Olive needed.

I put large cushions in front of the couch. This was to create a step to make it easier for her to get on and off, and to make a soft landing if she fell again.
Olive ignored the cushions and leapt over them getting on and off! So I removed them, of course.

I think that Bach Rescue Remedy should be in every dog owner's medicine cabinet. (it works on peopls as well).
Amazon sell it at a reasonable price. You can get it by Clicking Here

Saturday, 21 November 2009

I thought that my garden was escape proof - until my dog tapped on the front door!

Is your garden secure? Can your dog get out of it? Are you sure?

I thought that my garden was secure and that my dogs could not get out until one day ....

What happened was this...
I let my 2 greyhounds out into the garden and closed the back door.
My garden has 6 foot hedges all round with a wire fence hidden in the lower part of the hedges. There is a 6 foot solid garden gate. Escape proof  to a large dog. Well, I thought so!
Olive cried at the back door so I let her back in. Boris was out of sight - you can't see everything from the back door, so I wasn't worried.
I waited a while but he didn't come back, so I took a look around but couldn't see him! He didn't respond to my call or my whistle. Concerned, I went to the front door with the intention of searching for him.
Then I heard a tapping noise. I opened the front door and there he was - knocking with his nose!

How did he get out?
I checked the garden and I think that he had pushed his way through some dense shrubs at the bottom end where I  hadn't put any fencing. He wouldn't normally do this, so there must have been something of high interest next door.
My neighbours garden adjoins mine at the far end, with a pathway which runs alongside the length of my garden. It comes to a courtyard area and to our two houses.
I am thankful he came to the door and waited, because he could have got out on to the road.

Dogs can push through small holes. They can also scrabble over fences. So you really have to think dog when making your garden secure!

Tips on making your garden secure for your dog
  • Think dog and take a good look around your garden. Get down on your hands and knees!
  • Can he climb or jump over the fence or gate - is there a foot hold?
  • Can he squeeze through (it can be a very small gap)?
  • Can he dig under? Slabs placed at the base of the fence can stop this. Attaching chicken wire and burying it into the soil works well.
  • Chicken wire is a cheap way of dealing with problems. Secure it to broken fence panels, to cover holes, attach it to stock fencing or open barred gates.
  • Raise fences by a significant amount (otherwise you just teach your dog to jump!). Trellis is a neat solution.
  • Use tree stakes and chicken wire to fill gaps in hedges. ( I did this cheaply and effectively).
  • Buy a big roll of chicken wire from an agricultural merchant - it is a lot cheaper than a DIY store. Treated tree stakes are cheap as well.
  • Move benches, etc. away from fences. Your dog will use them as a step to get out.
  • You can make a tall garden gate quite cheaply and easily. Use planks of  tongue and groove. Lay them flat on the floor and tap together.  Cut 3 pieces of wood to make a Z-shape. Nail these to one side of the t&g. Use oval headed nails and hammer them right in. Use cheap, traditional hinges and a catch. Hang your gate on solid posts. Paint the whole thing with an oil-based paint. Have a look at some at a DIY store or garden centre to see how they are made. I did this because I couldn't get the size gate that I need at a reasonable price.
This post has been edited to add the info that I missed out before!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Bonfire Night ~ Great fireworks, BUT my greyhound was terrified! Bach Rescue Remedy came to the rescue!

Halloween has gone, and so has Guy Fawkes Night (Bonfire night). There should be a rest from fireworks for a while, at least until Xmas and New Year!
We love firework displays, but we no longer go to the public displays as we feel it is better to stay at home with our dogs.

There are usually some fireworks going off in our village, but on Bonfire night a near neighbour had a big display. It was great to watch from an upper window, but the explosions echoed loudly around our house.
Olive, our female greyhound, was her usual calm self, but poor Boris, our male greyhound, was terrified. He lay curled up tightly in his bed and was licking his lips. His poor heart was racing and thumping loudly. At one point he got up and leaned right against my legs - I could feel his heart pounding right through them.

I turned the TV up loud and gave him some Bach Rescue Remedy. Just a few drops onto his tongue helped to calm him. He was still very frightened, but his heart beat slowed and the frantic pounding ceased.

I've used Bach Rescue Remedy for many years on lots of dogs, and I am always amazed at how effective it can be in treating shock and stress. (We used it regularly at the animal shelter where I worked). A bottle of this lasts for ages and should be part of every dog owner's medicine cabinet. (It also works for humans too!)

The poor dog needed to go to the toilet, but was too afraid to go outside. He held himself until the fireworks ended, and then would only go outside with me. (I would have gone out with him anyway, just in case he panicked). He rushed and didn't empty himself properly. I know this because he got me out of bed at 3a.m!
In fact, during the entire firework period, he got me out of bed every night in the early hours, not that I minded, of course.

Dogs have much more sensitive hearing than us, and are more aware of what is going on around them.
We took him out for a late afternoon walk (it was still daylight) and he was eager to go, but wanted to come back very soon. He even refused to go on one of his favourite routes. Later, we could see fireworks going off in that direction!
I sometimes think that dogs are psychic (see my recent post on this subject of  Fri Nov 6th )

Also see my recent post about firework phobia in dogs and what you can do about it Wed Oct 29th

Dog appeasement pheronome (DAP) can be helpful.
Sound therapy can also be very helpful



Friday, 6 November 2009

Dogs in Folklore & Superstition ~ Are Dogs Psychic? Some personal experiences of psychic dogs.

Following on from my recent post about ghost dogs (of Oct 30th), I've decided to explore the theme of psychic dogs, and of dogs in folklore and superstition.

Dogs feature in folklore and superstitions.
Traditionally they have an 'uncanny' side and it is believed that they are sensitive to the supernatural.
Howling dogs, especially at night, were believed to be omens of death. There are other methods of prediction too, such as dogs scratching holes in the ground.
Dogs are supposed to be able to see ghosts and sense supernatural beings, which humans cannot.
Shakespeare and other early writers viewed howling dogs as an omen of evil (and not necessarily death).
A 17th Century example : 'That dogs ... by their howling portend death and calamities is plain by history and experience' A. Ross, Arcana Microcosmi, 1651

Dog behaviour was watched for signs of good or bad luck. To be followed by a strange dog, or for one to come into your house, was considered lucky. Quote: 'Good fortune was predicted for one of my sisters, because a strange dog followed her when she was a babe in arms' Grantham Journal 1878
There is also a belief that if your own dog will not follow you, then misfortune will follow.

Sometimes the appearance of a dog is not welcome. It is considered to be very unlucky if a dog comes between bride and groom during the wedding ceremony, or it crosses the path of a funeral.

Psychic Dogs : Personal experiences

1) Many years ago, whilst I was still half-living with my parents, we had a male GDS named Prince. I had a strong bond with him.
I would often arrive at my parents house unannounced, but they always knew that I was coming because of Prince's behaviour.
About half an hour before I arrived he would put his paws up at the front window and look out. He would refuse to come away until I arrived.
There was no pattern to my visits, and they were often last minute decisions.
Was he psychic?

2) Boris, my male greyhound, also knows when we are coming home.
Our house is set back from the road behind some other houses.
Just before we turn to approach our house, we will stand still and silent. A moment later we can hear him greeting us!
How does he know it is us? Psychic dog?

3) One of our neighbours has a small terrier. If the telephone rings he will ignore ... unless it is her son phoning, in which case he becomes very excited! Explain that!

 I found these books on Amazon, thought that they would be of interest: