Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Food Recall Continued

It is a continuing battle. Now some dry cat food has also been added to the recall list. (Science Diet brand) Please be sure to continue to check out the updates at and This is not an issue that is just going to go away. We may never know the full scope of the contamination. Be sure to check your pets food against the lists regularly. Updates are continuing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Grooming the longcoat and weight issues

One of the things I have to routinely do for Jack, my longcoated akita, is trim his feet. The bottoms get very hairy and if left unchecked he slips around my hardwood floors. The extra fur also brings in tons of extra mud during our lovely mud season here in Maine. We have enough coming in already thank you very much. :-)

Here is a before shot of one front paw:

And the after:

Before of the other paw:

And after:

Before of both back paws:
And the after:

I carefully use sissors to trim the fur away as close as possible making sure not to cut into the pads at all. In summer I also cut the fur from inside the paw to help keep them cooler. (be very careful not to poke them with the sissors) I find Jacks back paws to be much more ticklish than his front. Sometimes I put him up on my picnic table for the trims or other times I just plunk down next to him during a nap session. He usually sleeps right through it. He is very used to all the handling. We do it often so he knows what is coming. After I trim the fur away I trim his toenails. (I trim the fur first so I can better see the nails.)

After we do the feet we do a big brushing session. For this I almost always use the table. To keep it from being drudgery for Jack I let him have free times frequently during the session to run around and burn off steam. I use a simple undercoat rake that works very well to remove all the loose undercoat.

Then I bag the hair to toss so it isn't flying around my yard. In spring I will put some fluff out in the brush for the birds to use in their nests. Sometimes I keep some fur to spin into yarn. (dogfur makes wonderfully warm and georgous yarns - check out FMI if you are interested in your dogs fur as yarn)

He is currently shedding ALOT right now so I tossed this brushing. (there will be more later for the birds, no worries) Then after our grooming session we went for a walk.
I always take my dogs for walks on the main roads around here to avoid the potential for running into loose dogs. On Main St. most dogs are on leash and usually under control because of the heavy traffic. When walking an akita, if anything bad happens, (regardless of whos fault it is or who started it) the akita always gets the blame. (this holds true for any of the so called bad breeds or for whichever dog is bigger) Walking on main street is one way I can avoid real problems. We also walk and don't stop to "meet" or "say hello" to other dogs. I only let my dogs play with other dogs I know well and only after proper introductions to also help avoid problems. It is a system that has worked very well for us in the past. We do group off leash walks on occasion with a core group of people and their dogs that are alot of fun. (It is easier for them to play appropriately off leash)

I usually have him wear a gentle leader head collar in public to have that extra control. Being a trainer myself I get some raised eyebrows on this one. Here is why I do this. You would not believe how many people think it is ok to get right in his face to say hello. (Oh he's so CUTE!) This way I can simply pull him away from them if needed. (Helpful tip - direct eye contact in dog language can be a threat or challenge so don't stick your face in a strange dogs face EVER! Think first, you are a stranger to them. ) Jack is a very friendly akita but I just don't want him to ever feel threatened and decide he needs to defend himself. Why take chances if you don't need to? It's easier for me to have control over him than the many strangers I run into. Besides knowing I have that extra control mentally allows me to relax and have fun on our walks. He walks fine on a regular collar and he wears one to obedience classes around other dogs regularly. Besides, he is a big dog and extra control in public is always a good thing to help make other people feel comfortable around him too.

While on our walk I noticed he seemed to be lagging abit. He also looked kinda big to me. I took him into the vets to use their scale. Yup! He has fallen victim to the "winter weight" syndrome. (just like me!) He needs to trim off about 6 lbs. Then I'll re-weigh him and we'll go from there. I am usually much more on top of the dogs weight. It is one of my pet peeves, fat dogs. It is SO bad for their whole system. So we are now both on a new exercise program.
Wish us luck!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A serious problem

The pet food recall is turning out to be much worse than originally reported. For more info and a lists of affected foods check out and It seems there are MANY problem foods on the list. (including those recommended by vets) It also turns out people at certain companies didn't act very quickly upon initial reports. Pet owners were noticing problems back in DECEMBER! How many pets have died from this lack of action? It is all very sad.

For more in depth information on reading pet food labels check out the book "Food pets die for" by Ann Martin. I can't say I agree with all of her views (she doesn't like raw diets at all) but the information on how food is processed and what ingredients really are is invaluable. It isn't a book for the weak of stomach however. There is a section about some abusive animal testing by food companies and another section on the use of euthanised animals in pet foods. (sadly I am not making this up folks) She does explain where and how she got her information as well.

This recall is going to be a huge wake up call for many people on pet food processing. Foods considered high end and safe have been affected because of the fact that ONE company is doing the processing for MANY brands of food. So much for consumers piece of mind in thinking that all companies/brands are seperate.

Please check your cupboards and throw away all food that is on the list. Call your vet if your own pet seems off and you feed any of those foods. It may even behoove you to find out more about where your pets food actually comes from. This recall may shake up the pet food industry in a big way. Hopefully all for the better.

My thoughts are with all the owners and their affected pets. Let's hope everyone gets the news and can act to save their pets lives. Spread the word please. Not everyone watches the news after all.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Interesting info & cute pics

Here are some great informational links I came across this morning. First for those with dogs that accidently pee there is:

And for those interested in mental illness in dogs try this one:
It is a long read but very informative. This is why knowing where your puppy comes from can be important. (If you are going the breeder route.)

Now for the cute photo portion of my post:

Dash is now listed on the frenchie rescue site as available for adoption. It is a good thing though I am a little sad. He is such a great dog and I have fallen abit for the little bugger. We will all miss him terribly. It is a happy occasion for him though as he will get his very own home and people to love. How great is that!

This is one of the first pics I ever saw of our boy Jack. He was 6 weeks old and still at the breeders home. (as he should be at that age) How could we not fall in love with him?

Here is what he grew into. 115 lbs of fluffy love. Yes he IS stunning isn't he? Before you run out and buy your own akita though, do some research first. They aren't a breed for everyone. (and double check your homeowners insurance)

And P.S. The longcoats require even MORE grooming than the regular coats.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Dogs in art

Isn't this adorable? It is a Boris' O'Klein print. It is one of the Dirty Dogs of Paris pieces. I saw one for the first time in a veterinarians bathroom and had to have it. I searched around and found one for a great deal on E-bay and then had it professionally framed. (which ain't cheap let me tell you) It is one of the only pieces of real art I own. I would love to have more of his work someday but for now I don't have the space. This one is on display appropriatly in our bathroom. Notice that the dog in the fancy collar is indeed a creme frenchie. Here is a link for more info about O'Klein.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dog Food Recall

Pet Deaths Prompt Recall of Pet Food

WASHINGTON (March 17) - A major manufacturer of dog and cat food sold under Wal-Mart, Safeway, Kroger and other store brands recalled 60 million containers of wet pet food Friday after reports of kidney failure and deaths.
An unknown number of cats and dogs suffered kidney failure and about 10 died after eating the affected pet food, Menu Foods said in announcing the North American recall. Product testing has not revealed a link explaining the reported cases of illness and death, the company said.
"At this juncture, we're not 100 percent sure what's happened," said Paul Henderson, the company's president and chief executive officer. However, the recalled products were made using wheat gluten purchased from a new supplier, since dropped for another source, spokeswoman Sarah Tuite said. Wheat gluten is a source of protein.
The recall covers the company's "cuts and gravy" style food, which consists of chunks of meat in gravy, sold in cans and small foil pouches between Dec. 3 and March 6 throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The pet food was sold by stores operated by the Kroger Company, Safeway Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and PetSmart Inc., among others, Henderson said.
Menu Foods said a full list of brand names and lot numbers covered by the recall would be posted on its Web site - - early Saturday.
The company said it manufacturers for 17 of the top 20 North American retailers. It is also a contract manufacturer for the top branded pet food companies, including Procter & Gamble Co.
P&G announced Friday the recall of specific 3 oz., 5.5 oz., 6 oz. and 13.2 oz. canned and 3 oz. and 5.3 oz. foil pouch cat and dog wet food products made by Menu Foods but sold under the Iams and Eukanuba brands.
Menu Foods' three U.S. and one Canadian factory produce more than 1 billion containers of wet pet food a year. The recall covers pet food made at company plants in Emporia, Kansas, and Pennsauken, New Jersey, Henderson said.
Henderson said the company received an undisclosed number of owner complaints of vomiting and kidney failure in dogs and cats after they had been fed its products. It has tested its products but not found a cause for the sickness.
"To date, the tests have not indicated any problems with the product," Henderson said.
The company alerted the Food and Drug Administration, which already has inspectors in one of the two plants, Henderson said. The FDA was working to nail down brand names covered by the recall, agency spokesman Mike Herndon said.
Menu Foods is majority owned by the Menu Foods Income Fund, based in Ontario, Canada.
Henderson said the recall would cost the company the Canadian equivalent of $26 million to $34 million.

(The brands included in the recall according to the national news this morning also included Science Diet among many others. If you feed ANY canned food please check the companys website for YOUR pets food to be sure it isn't involved in the recall. )

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The straight poop

Ahhh poop. The unavoidable downside to dog ownership. Today I cleaned up the yard of all the little (and some large) deposits. It is important to keep the yard clean so the dogs don't track it in the house. Here in Maine that won't happen until it has thawed of course. (Tip-when chipping poop out of ice it is a good idea to keep your mouth closed. Ice and frozen poop tends to fly in all sorts of directions. )

It is also important so you can keep an eye on the quality of the poop. (did she just say quality?) Yup, I did. Keeping track of when your dog "goes" and what it looks like is very important to be able to tell the vet should your dog get sick. Knowing when they went last and if it looked normal or not can tell your vet alot of valuable information. To know if it looked normal, you need to know what it looks like on a regular basis. Daily or weekly poop patrol can be a time to learn this. Get to know what YOUR dogs normal looks like. It can also help you when house training. If your puppy hasn't pooped all day then that night time walk can be the time he needs to make a deposit, so don't rush him! If you know their pooping schedule you can be ready for it. (remember to praise AS they are going-Good Potty!)

Since we're on the topic I have to bring up the big rule of dog poop. (well after the keeping your mouth closed tip) When in public, ALWAYS (and I will repeat, ALWAYS) pick up after your dog. Dogs will be banned from more and more places if we aren't contentious about keeping them clear of poop people may step in. (that stuff can be slippery and therefore also a safety hazzard for the unsuspecting) I even pick up other peoples dog poop to help keep a spot clean. It annoys me but WE are the ones who will suffer when that area is taken away from us as a place to enjoy together. Does that mean if you are in the woods you need a baggie too? No, UNLESS it is on a walking trail that people use. Then yes you will need a baggie there too.

To be safe I always carry two bags per dog. (walking tends to stimulate their bowels quite well) If for any reason I forgot them or ran out of bags I look around for garbage I can use instead. An old paper cup or newspaper blowing around works fine. Leaves can also work depending on their size. If you need to move it off a walking area until you can get back to it (drive back if needed) then do that. Use your foot (hopefully inside a shoe) to push it out of the way. A stick can also work for this maneuver.

Please, be a responsible dog owner and do the right thing on your public walks. We will all benefit from being able to have lots of places to enjoy with our dogs if we keep them clean.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

When it rains.....

Obviously in hind sight I should have known that a week beginning with a root canal might not be a great one. Yesterday Dash managed to break off one of his nails. I don't even have any idea how it happened. In 15 years of dogs I have never had to deal with this particular emergency so I scooped him up and we went straight to the vet. (DS was drafted to hold him for the ride) They had to keep him overnight because treatment included sedating him to deal with the nail so he wouldn't be in pain.

Here he is all bandaged up. Instructions are to keep it on him and dry until tuesday. (What is that saying? We plan, God laughs.) This may be my biggest test yet as a trainer. :-) It doesn't seem to bother him at all though and he still gets around just fine. It does sound abit weird on the floors. Like someone is walking around wearing cellophane.
Part deux

Then last night (after the vet is closed) I notice blood all over one side of Missys face. Whhaaa????? Turns out she has scratched herself bloody and raw.
So first thing this morning I called and got her an appointment to be seen. Now I have two dogs home on meds. To top it off I have a sore throat from hell. Due to everything happening at once and feeling lousy as well I had to re-schedule a client, something I HATE to do. Better that then spreading my germs around I suppose.

It could always be worse. For that I shall be grateful.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A few more pics to share

Beautiful Missy.

Dash playing with a very patient Jack.

Jack pulling the kids on a sled after one of our storms.

Dash before his cherry eye surgery sporting breakfast face.

New blog!

Welcome to the first post on the NEW improved K-9 Solutions blog. AOL wasn't cooperating with me on being able to post pics so I moved to a new blogger site. For those looking for my old archive of posts go to the old site here:

Here are a few cute pics of my dogs Missy and Jack playing and sitting with our current foster frenchie Dash. Enjoy the pics and bear with me as I figure this new blog out.