"The Peeing Post"
Newsletter for dog lovers who respect the dog's nature
Chief Editor: Mogens Eliasen
This newsletter is brought to you by
Dear Dog Friend,
It has been a busy summer.... I hope you have enjoyed it, with your dog!
If you missed out on the fun, or you simply want some more, then there are still a couple of spots open on the camp course in Creston September 17-24. The deadline is September 03, though - so please do not "sit on the fence", if you would like to join! Click on it to get more info - and to sign up.
I look forward to seeing you!
"My Dog..." questions
There has been some confusion regarding contacting me. Let me briefly explain the options.
If you have a comment or a suggestion that relates to "The Peeing Post", you can send them to me in my capacity of editor, just as you would send a letter to an editor of a newspaper or magazine. When you do so, you also permit the editor to publish your letter. Same thing here. You reach the editor (me) best by clicking on the peeing dog (at the bottom of each Peeing Post) or the "Contact the editor" link under the peeing post in the upper left corner of every issue and filling out the form you reach. It bypasses your own e-mail account and uses a devoted account on K9joy's server that is free of spam (so far...) so, that way, you have much greater chances of me actually seeing your letter than by simply replying to an issue of "The Peeing Post".
Now, on the form for submitting a letter to the editor, you will see that if your question is about your own dog and getting advice about a problem you experience with your dog, then you have to use the special form for that. The reasons should be fairly obvious when you check that form - and they are rooted in the fact of this kind of advice being free for my subscribers...
Well, "free" means that you do not necessarily pay money for it, but I do want something in return! Basically, what I want is your feedback on what results you get by following my advice, and I want the rights to publish our communications at some point down the road, without referring to your e-mail address or physical address.
If someone thinks that this is too much to ask, then they should instead use the phone consultation service at http://k9joy.com/dogtraining/askthebehaviorist.php. That service is private - and fast. The free service will be subject to my schedule - and I will not promise that you will get a prompt answer. So, if you need the answer now, please use the phone consultation instead. Yes, there is a fee to pay for that. But you also have fees to pay when you see your vet or your dentist. No difference - except that my fees are covered by K9joy's full money-back guarantee: if my advice doesn't work, you get a refund! Try to see if you can get that from your vet....J
In any case, the free advice on your "My dog..." questions is free only for subscribers to "The Peeing Post". If you have a friend that would like to take advantage of it, this friend has to subscribe first to "The Peeing Post" - and read the introduction letters that are sent to everybody! What I mean is: please do not abuse my time.... When people sign up for a subscription and immediately send me a "My dog..." question that is fully answered in one of the introduction issues, then I do feel that it is abuse of my time. If your friend has such an urgent need for help, then please refer this friend to a phone consultation. I will be happy to help your friend then - and that service is available for everybody, whether or not they are subscribers to "The Peeing Post".
Finally, if you are in an emergency-like situation, you can always either use my KEEN service - or simply call!
I hope this clarifies the matters.
"The Dog's Social Behavior" on DVD
The plans have been there for a long time. We have customers in Europe and "down under" who have problems playing this VHS video - not all older VCRs can do that. It's a nuisance.
Also, I have long wanted to do some editing of the video, mainly by adding a few more things to it, and by organizing it in a way that is easier to digest. Just having a video run for over 2 hours is tough even on an ambitious student...
So, DVD is the way to go. We can then split the long session up into smaller lessons and avoid the formatting problems with video. We have started the project and committed the finances for it, so we hope we can have it ready by the end of September - with just a little luck. (Reality might call it October - but I hope not...)
The price for the DVDs (there will be two - it is too much for just one) will be close to $40 for the set, but if anyone wants those DVDs at the old price of the video ($25.54 in North America, $30.17 for the rest of the World), you will get the DVDs at those discounted prices by ordering before they are ready. It is a matter of placing the order through http://k9joy.com/DogsSocialBehavior (the "old" web page for the video) before we get the DVDs available. When you try to order the video, you get an explanation about getting your order converted to DVD.
"My dog is itchy"...
This is probably one of the most common reasons for people contacting me with their "My dog..." questions...
First: I cannot diagnose your dog by e-mail - and I will not attempt to! I am not a vet and am not giving medical advice. Trying to avoid paying vet fees by asking me instead of taking your dog to the vet is simply not reasonable to anyone, and certainly not your dog....
Having said that, I can often help you identify what kind of problems you can deal with yourself, and which ones you need to involve your vet in. And I can also help you with a strategy for how to work with your vet. But I cannot and will not diagnose your dog and prescribe any medical treatments for its specific ailments.
Fair enough? OK, let us then turn to an overview of what my experience tells me are the most common reasons for dogs being itchy. It might enable you to identify some of the problems yourself and then deal with them in an effective way. Or it might give you a solid foundation for asking your vet the right questions.
Fleas are very common - and you do not always see them. They do not rest on the dog. They only eat on the dog. They generally always leave their shit in the dog's coat, though, so you can always find out if you have those buggers or not: they leave their feces like small droppings that look like cigarette ash - but, in contrast to cigarette ash, this stuff gets bloody red when you smear it out between your palm and a wet finger. If you see this, you know your dog has fleas... Fleas are rare on raw-fed dogs, as long as you have neighbors around that still feed kibble.
Lice are far less common - but they stay on the dog at all times, so you can find them on the skin, close to the hairs if you look very carefully. They lay their eggs on the hairs, making the hairs look like miniature feathers or a tiny twig of a fir - and that can often be a way of identifying them, although not easy if you are not trained to do this.
Ringworm is rare, but it occurs. It is actually not a worm but a fungus that typically grows in a ring-like shape on the dog's skin, causing hair loss in a very local spot.
Mites are often a problem in the ears of dogs with drop-ears, but certain types can attack the entire coat ("mange"). Mites live on the dog, and are supposed to, also for a healthy dog, just as E. Coli bacteria in the intestine. But, when the dog's immune system gets compromised, they might grow out of control - and cause a lot of damage. Mange generally causes serious hair loss and skin irritation, although not necessarily always combined with itchiness.
I will mention also ticks, although they rarely cause itchiness. But it is a nasty external parasite that can transfer some unpleasant diseases, so it is not something you want to ignore.
Finally, for short-haired dogs, mosquitoes are just as annoying for dog as they are for people.
There are many dietary reasons for itchiness. Allergies are the first that comes to most people's minds.
There are many possible allergens in common food sources. The bad news is that the reason for those "food allergies" very rarely is food! Instead, they include:
Food preservation chemicals (which are in all kibble and all canned products - no exception! How could they sit on your shelf otherwise, without perishing?)
Vaccines! Standard vaccination programs will inevitably lead to serious protein allergies, sooner or later.
Shampoos! There is no such thing as "healthy shampoo" when we talk about dogs. A natural dog coat is completely incompatible with the detergents in any shampoo.
From my personal experiences, these three cover at least 95% of all so-called "food allergies". The balance is mostly made up by medication, particularly including preventive medication for heartworm and fleas. You might have 1-2% left that truly are food allergies...
Personally, I have never seen a case of food allergy truly related to food alone.
This is, of course, very bad news, because it means that the possible treatment has to be holistic in its entire approach. Any attempt to isolate a "culprit" by traditional methods of food elimination programs is doomed to lead nowhere but into more aggravation, if that is all you do about it...
However, in many cases, you simply have to give the dog some relief. Even though the allergy isn't originally started as a food allergy, certain foods might now trigger the itchiness. If it only is certain types of food that trigger the problem, you might provide some relief by simply avoiding those foods. The price you pay for that, of course, could include added trouble with balancing the diet well at a reasonable expense... But, if the true reason is over-vaccination, for instance, then you should deal with that root and get that problem addressed, instead of just patching the symptoms.... The main reason for this is that not addressing the fundamental reason generally will make the problem worse, no matter how much you try to add new patches all the time! Sooner or later, you will run out of options....
So, as long as the owner continues to vaccinate an itchy dog, there just is no hope in h*** of this dog ever getting rid of its itchiness!
Same thing, if you are feeding kibble.
And shampooing is generally only making things worse...
Some of the food items that typically appear to become allergens for the reasons above include:
This list could be very long, though - but these are the most common ones, in my experience. (Please note that these are all very healthy and beneficial ingredients of a healthy dog's diet!)
So, here are the standard recommendation to anyone who has an itchy dog:
When done, we can discuss what else to do, if this doesn't give your dog the relief you want...
Even if this course of action does not completely solve the problem, I can guarantee you one thing: it will help the dog get over the problem faster and quicker, regardless of what other remedies might turn out to be necessary for "the final push" to success!
Also, until you have done this, there is no point in asking me - because this is what I will tell you to do first!
Next step is to read this: http://k9joy.com/dogarticles/allergies.php
Finally, you should be prepared for having trouble with your vet about this.... Some vets simply refuse to accept the fact that kibble and vaccines can cause these problems. If so, you find another vet... (Yes, vets do make more money if the real root of the problem is never identified, so you come back, time after time, and pay for your visits! If your vet is one of those for whom this is more important than your dog's health and well-being, then it is past the time where you should find another vet...)
Environmental allergens are very rare for dogs - and very often related to over-vaccination. But there are many chemicals in the environment that will cause reactions that appear to be allergic reactions, without truly being that; they are "just" a strong natural reaction to an exposure to unnatural chemicals.
Household chemicals are often on the list of such culprits. Dogs spend more time close to the hazardous vapors of cleaning agents than people do - and thus often suffer more because of the much greater exposure to those poisons. People also do not lick floors - but dogs do when they "clean their plate" after a meal that wasn't exactly kept in the dish all the time.... Dogs also lick their paws, which walk on those same floors that you just nicely cleaned with that harsh cleaner!
An important source of serious allergies you should be aware of is farming chemicals: pesticides and herbicides. Basically, whatever a farmer will use to "spray" his crop is poisonous. For you and your dog, it simply means, stay away from farmers' fields and orchards when it is "season" to spray. Of course, if all farmers around you are "organic", this is not an issue. But it is not the majority of farmers yet...
However, the worst offenders in terms of polluting our environment with poisonous chemicals is the hobby gardener! Followed very closely by the golf course manager!
You will generally recognize these environmental allergies by them hitting the dog worst around the nose and in the head, and sometimes also the paws. Those are the body parts that come the closest to the dangerous chemicals - and those are also the body parts that are least protected by the coat.
What to discuss with your vet
Let me just start saying this: the purpose of your visit to the vet is this, in order of priority:
OK? It makes sense, I hope. But you do hopefully realize that "just giving the dog a shot of cortisone" is not compatible with this...
Yes, cortisone will provide relief from the symptoms. And it will also make it totally impossible for you and your vet to identify the reason behind the itchiness...
In other words: providing relief is not the main objective here! Unless your dog is suffering so severely that you risk secondary infections and further damage if you don't.
As in many other similar cases, eliminating the symptoms also eliminates the only way of observing whether or not your method of attack is actually working.
This should be one very good reason for seeing your vet early on, and not when the problem has taken dimensions you no longer can control...
But it is also a warning against accepting incompetent advice from your vet! Giving the dog a shot of cortisone does nothing to address the two most important objectives. It only deals with the symptoms, in a very effective way, so you get fooled to think that this vet is a genius - until you have the problem back up in your face when the effect of the injection fades off, and you realize that he was sadly mistaken or maybe even an ignorant crook!
Please understand that this does not mean that you should not consider giving your dog relief. And it also does not mean that you should not consider giving it medication, including cortisone. It means that you need to work diligently with your vet about finding a solution that balances the immediate concerns with your long-term health objectives for your dog. The most important thing for you to understand here is that, if you are not prepared for such a dialog, you actually put serious obstacles in the way for your vet, when he/she tries to identify what the problem is! You need to speak for your dog and provide as much meaningful and relevant information to the vet as you possibly can - and you can only do that by having some idea of what is going on and what the possibilities all could include.
I know - this is not always easy, and you might have some trouble finding a vet that is willing to work this way with you. But seriously: You need such a vet. Even if you have to drive several hours to see him/her!
If you know such a vet, please make sure that we get him/her included in our list at http://k9joy.com/education/vets.html.
Cheers and woof,
If you have any suggestions to contributions or contents of The Peeing Post, or some comments or questions pertaining to this issue or in to dogs in general, I will be happy to know about them. If I can find an answer for you, I will!
You can reach me by simply clicking on the peeing dog
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P.S. I have been made aware of an "un-biased" raw food article in "Dogs in Canada", written by Hillary Watson, who appears to want to be regarded an "expert" in the area of dog food.
Unfortunately, it might as well have been a paid advertisement for the pet food manufacturing companies, on whose advertising money "Dogs in Canada" depend on for its life...
The bad news is that you really should expect such a prestigious magazine to provide information that is better than this kind of crap...
If you want some entertainment, you can see the article (with my comments added in red) at here.