The Importance Of Microchips

This month’s blog is to inform you about the importance of microchips and how it would be useful for your senior dog to have one. I’m going to break this month’s blog information down into a couple of different points so stick with me because knowledge is power.
I believe this myth was started a long time ago for several different reasons: owners would like to believe the dog was doing them a favor and saving them the pain of saying goodbye. This releases the owner from having to find their missing dog that is probably off suffering somewhere. This was a way of thinking when responsible pet ownership was different and better options were not available so, let’s educate ourselves as responsible pet owners and DO BETTER!
If you read the article, I hope it is an Aha! moment and we can stop spreading this myth so that our older or sick dogs can say goodbye with the dignity and peace they deserve.
Busting the myth only brings us to the point of ok, so what can I do to help prevent my senior dog from becoming lost? If you are noticing a difference in your dog’s behavior, it is always a good idea to get a vet visit scheduled to determine if the behavior is coming from a health issue. Keep a closer eye on your dog. If the dog’s hearing or eyesight has become impaired, they may wander off unintentionally and become lost very quickly. If your pet isn’t already microchipped, consider the benefits of having your dog microchipped. It might seem pointless to consider microchipping a senior dog but it really is an inexpensive, reliable solution to help prevent losing your dog. What is a microchip and what is its purpose? A microchip is about the size of a large grain of rice and is injected under the dog’s loose skin between the shoulder blades. The microchip is a unique identifier that gives off a radio frequency once scanned. Once registered, the information on the microchip is the pet owner’s contact information. A microchip is not a GPS tracking device. As a foster mom of senior dogs, I have had several occasions when my senior dog has wandered off just following their nose but calling them back was not an option due to hearing loss. We would be walking together but when they would realize they had gone too far or lagging they were unable to see me because of their poor eyesight. I even had one lose her balance and roll down a hill and couldn’t get back up the hill to find us.
There are many reasons any dog ends up in an animal Shelter but when senior dogs are found as strays and brought in, when the owner comes and claims the dog they will commonly say, “I just thought they went off to die.”. And unfortunately, some never get claimed just for that same reason. Don’t let that be your beloved companion.
Chastity Crowder, Fospice Mom and Board President

My Dog Is Having A Seizure – What Do I Do?

Seeing your pet having a seizure is one of the scariest things that has happened to me as a pet owner.  I hope that by writing about my experience I can help someone else who may have this happen to them at some point in their pet ownership journey.  Twenty years ago, I had no idea what to do or what my dog having a seizure meant the first time it happened to one of our pets.  Poor little Sadie barked at me to wake me up in the middle of the night and was running around the house as I had never seen her do before.  Then she collapsed and just started shaking uncontrollably; she wouldn’t respond to anything I was saying to her.  The shaking lasted for about 2 minutes, but to me, it seemed like 20.  After the shaking stopped, she laid there for a while and slowly “woke up” and was just very tired the remainder of the night.  This was 20 years ago, our Vet didn’t have emergency hours; I didn’t know if there was a 24-hour emergency Vet anywhere like there is today.  I don’t think I slept at all the rest of the night.  Thankfully though when we did get to the Vet the next day, they didn’t find anything wrong with our girl and she lived another 12 years before having another seizure.

The next seizure was much more severe than the first.  It was at 1 o’clock in the morning.  But this time I knew what to do.  It wasn’t completely unexpected – we knew that Sadie had a nasal tumor and our time with her was growing short.  That didn’t make the seizure any less scary because it was much longer than the first – this one lasted well over five minutes.  And she did not recover from this one.  All I could do was lay beside her and talk softly to her to let her know she wasn’t alone.   Following this seizure, we took our girl to MedVet where we humanely euthanized her because we knew that was the right thing to do for her.  We loved our sweet Sadie for 14 years through her very last breath.

Please take a moment to read this article to learn more about the causes of seizures in pets, what the signs of a seizure are (because it’s not always the flailing, shaking like what we experienced with Sadie) what to do for your pet when one happens, and how to talk to your Vet.  This may one day help when you least expect it.  The more we know, the better pet owners we can be.

Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer

Female Dogs Don’t Get Menopause!

This blog post is dedicated to our sweet princess Jedi:
As most of you know Jedi was with Laber of Love for 1 year. At 14 she came into the rescue with several mammary tumors, one in particular where surgery was inevitable due to size. Once she was settled into her new forever home LOL was able to get her vetted and have the tumor removed. This procedure can be quite risky and invasive for a 14-year-old dog but Jedi was true to her name and bounced back with vigor. It was encouraging to see a senior dog recover so well and we were excited to allow her to finish her life out strong. 
For the next 8 months, Jedi was able to live a healthy life with minimal to no health issues. Then she went into heat. After having her for 9 months she had her first menstrual cycle. Soon after, she acquired a UTI (urinary tract infection) a common side effect for females that have not been spayed. The UTI was treated but unfortunately, Jedi did not seem to be able to recover from this issue as well. She continued to have urinary issues until the end of her life which made her last few weeks even more uncomfortable while trying to love her with the dignity and care she deserved. We were in constant fear of pyometra which is a deadly infection in the uterus that goes into the bloodstream very quickly. In the end, we believe it was cancer that Jedi’s body was attacked by. The article attached states that the 2 common, deadly risks to having a female not spayed are mammary tumors and pyometra. There are several opinions as to when is the right time to have your dog spayed but please realize that having your dog spayed is necessary. 
This was written through tears and love by:
Chastity Crowder, Fospice Mom and Board President

Caring For Your Pet’s Teeth Is Important

More and more pet owners are understanding the need to care for their pets’ teeth. But not enough. Over the last few years, almost every dog that has entered our home through Laber of Love has had dental problems. Rotten teeth, nasal fistulas, broken canines, no teeth at all. These poor babies are in pain and they have health problems caused by horrible dental issues. Heaven has scar tissue growing in and around her mouth due to the fact that her teeth were removed at a young age (she is only 9), and the vet who removed them left the canines broken off in her gums. Nevaeh has no teeth left at the age of 10, her heart damage is probably due to bacteria from her teeth that entered her bloodstream. She also has nasal fistulas which are holes from her mouth up into her nasal cavity – the vet that removed her canines either didn’t properly close the incisions or there wasn’t follow-up care. Unfortunately, we can’t fix that issue due to her other medical conditions. Poor Forrest’s mouth was such a rotten mess that his dental cleaning cost $800, and he was in so much pain afterward due to the Vet having to pull so many teeth. Ray’s dental disease was a factor in his kidney disease. Can you imagine how painful that must be for all of them and for us to watch? Virtually all of this could have been avoided by regular dental cleaning at the Vet and a few simples things that pet owners can do at home. Please take the time to take care of your pets’ dental health. It’s not a minor part of their overall wellness – it is a major factor that can help or hurt their overall health from how well they eat to their heart, kidneys, and liver functions. It also keeps them happy. Imagine how you feel when you have a toothache, and multiply that times 42 because that is how many teeth a dog has. If interested in helping your pet’s dental health, take a look at this article for more information:

Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer

Introducing A New Pet

Introducing a new pet to your already established pack can sometimes feel stressful and overwhelming. Whether it be a pet that you’re keeping long-term or just interacting with another pet while you’re out and about, the key is to remain calm and be observant of the situation.

If you and your dog are out on a walk or in a store and encounter another dog, always make sure the encounter between your pets is mutually acceptable. Some dogs may be working, timid, or not great with close, social interactions. Once the interaction has been agreed upon with the other owner, watch for initial behaviors to gauge the pets’ willingness to interact cordially. If they seem to be tense, are turning their tails down, growling, yawning, and/or their hackles are raised, this is a sign that they are not comfortable with the interaction and should be separated before the situation escalates. Again, it is always important to know your dog’s behavior and watch for signs that do not seem friendly toward the other party.

Another way you may encounter this type of situation is if you are introducing a new pet to your home. While it can be a big task to take on, always remember to first do your research, remain calm, and know when to call in the experts if needed.

Every instance of introducing a new dog to your home can be different. Pets have different personalities just like humans. For example, puppies are developing skills and learning boundaries that adult dogs already have. If you are introducing a puppy to an established pack, keep this in mind and watch for those uncomfortable, tense behaviors. Don’t scold your adult dog for these behaviors. Instead, take a step back and give the adult dog a break or breaks as needed. If you’re introducing an adult dog to your home remember that each dog has had different experiences in life and may not approach an interaction the same way. Take the interaction slowly and if need be, change your approach. Your established dog may feel more comfortable at first with the new addition on a leash outside versus both being loose inside. Pay attention to your intuition and seek experienced help if needed.

Don’t give up on your furry friends if introducing them is not going well and don’t let a bad first impression sway you to make a rash decision. I’ve been there and experienced vastly different meetings within my own pack. You will never regret the time and patience that you give to bringing in a new pet to your home.

If you need help, reach out to your local training community for tips and/or training. I also found some helpful tips in this article from OSU:

If you’re introducing a new dog to your home through adoption or foster, we wish you the best and hope you found this information helpful!

Nicole Bolin, Interim Board Secretary 

Keeping Pets Comfortable, Happy & Healthy As They Age

As our pets age, we have to make some adjustments to keep them comfortable, happy, and healthy.  These adjustments may be as small as adding a supplement (as guided by your Vet).  But they can be bigger things too.  At our house, we have primarily older or sick dogs as I am sure everyone has guessed.  Some of these dogs find it hard to go up and down steps because of aching joints.  Because of this when it came time for us to move we specifically bought a house that is one story.  We also installed a ramp from the back porch down to the yard rather than them having to go up and down even those three steps.  I can definitely say that the ramp not only helps the dogs but it helps my back too – I don’t have to carry anyone up and down!  I’m not saying sell your house to make it easier for your aging pets, that’s just something we did because we knew we would have older pets at our house all the time with what we do.

There are a lot of small ways that you can help.  Pet ramps are amazing – for both indoors and outdoors.  They can help your pets get on and off the couch so that they can still be with you and are comfortable.  They can be used for the bed as well if your pets sleep with you.  A ramp can be a lifesaver for the car too!  You can buy them online or at your local pet store, or if you are handy you can make your own.

As our pets age, their nutritional needs change as well.  At your annual visit be sure to talk to your vet about diet.  There are foods designed especially for senior pets, and there are supplements and vitamins that can be added to get the right balance for your pet.  Your Vet would be happy to advise you on what is best for your situation.

Hopefully the better we take care of our aging pets, the longer they will be with us!  For more ways, you can help your aging pet be comfortable, happy, and healthy check out this article:

Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer 

Toenail Care

As a dog owner keeping my dog’s toenails trimmed was always recommended to be a priority. It wasn’t until I started taking in homeless senior dogs that I realized why toenail care was such an important part of a dog’s healthy life. For whatever reason, these dogs will typically come to us with overgrown toenails that are causing them pain in their feet and even up into their joints. Then once you try to relieve the pain by trimming their toenails they are confused as to why you are touching their feet and causing them more discomfort. 

If you have not thought about the discomfort untrimmed toenails cause your dog please read the attached article. If you are not comfortable trimming your dog’s toenails, check out your local pet store and see if they offer nail trims. Groomers would be happy to assist with this service and so would your Vet’s office. Keeping our pets comfortable and healthy has many different responsibilities so please consider regular nail trims as one of them. 
Chastity Crowder, Fospice Mom and Board President

Vestibular Disease

Question? So suddenly your senior K9 starts to tilt their head and then moments later they are stumbling around and going in circles. The behavior has come out of nowhere and the symptoms continue to add up rapidly right before your eyes. There is a look of confusion on their face as their eyes start to shift. See tell me which direction does your mind go? Seizure? We dealt with that with Daisy. Stroke? I have never experienced that with a dog and it seems frightening!
This is where we were with Jedi in September. I wasn’t ready for her decline although I know that is always a possibility with our Laber of Love fosters. So off to Stonyridge we go. No call just an early morning visit and we got right in. Dr. Young was quick to assure me that she quite possibly has Vestibular Disease which is common in senior dogs and is treatable. After Jedi’s blood work came back looking good, we were sent home with meds.
Jedi started improving almost right away and has no symptoms remaining. So, our girl is back to her ornery self that makes us smile every day!
Thank you all for your continued support. For more info and treatment options, click this link. 
Chastity Crowder, Fospice Mom and Board President

Differently Abled Pets – Blind or Deaf

Have you ever thought about adopting a blind or deaf dog and thought “that would just be too hard” or “I just don’t have it in me to take care of a disabled pet”? Or maybe you thought about it but just didn’t know enough to make an informed decision. Well, I didn’t know much either when I met an old, blind Shih-Tzu at the Shelter. The poor girl was terrified and completely shut down so I couldn’t leave her there (the dog warden knew me well and knew I wouldn’t after hearing about her either so she made sure I knew the little dog was there). All I had experience with was a one-eyed Shih-Tzu. And let me tell you, having only one eye definitely doesn’t slow a dog down!
We learned about blind dogs quickly after bringing Sweetie Pie home (and yes, the name fit her completely). I searched the internet and read as much as I could on how to help a blind dog acclimate to her surroundings. Keeping things all in the same place and not leaving things laying around was key for us. Thankfully we didn’t have stairs in the living space, and we were able to carry her down the steps into the yard. Most of the time she waited at the bottom of the steps for us to come get her when she was done with her business, but occasionally she would find her way up to them all on her own. Blind dogs learn their environment by smell and touch and they do great once they learn. Little Sweetie really didn’t run into very much when she was learning either. And that girl made the couch her throne. She only got up to use the potty or to get a drink. She may have been a little spoiled since I fed her on her throne. Having the pleasure of having Sweetie as a part of our family was a rewarding experience that was well worth the small sacrifices we made to keep her safe and secure.
Deaf dogs are just as resilient. I have met several and they are amazing too. Hand signals are lifesavers, and establishing a bond with the dog so that it keeps looking to you for direction is key.
There are many great articles online that can help you learn about blind or deaf dogs or dogs that are both blind and deaf – I recently met the sweetest little Shih-Tzu who was both deaf and blind; I was in love and would have brought her home if we didn’t already have a house full and foster even more. Here are just a couple that I found that explain things very well. Don’t be afraid or overwhelmed if you are thinking of adopting a differently-abled dog. Or if your beloved pet becomes deaf or blind later in life, don’t give up on them. There are many ways that you can help them make the transition with less stress on both of you!
Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer 

Seasonal Allergies

August in Ohio. What a wonderful time for warm summer days, county fairs, bountiful harvests, and….allergies? Yep, you read that right: allergies. It is ragweed season, my friends! For some, that means runny noses, itchy eyes, and lots of sneezing. Guess what? If you’ve ever experienced seasonal allergies, you’re not alone. It turns out, seasonal allergies can also affect your pets.

When dogs experience these allergic reactions, you may notice them scratching between their legs, biting and licking their paws, and rubbing their face more frequently than normal. If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to bacterial and yeast infections, so it is important to get your pet into the Vet to diagnose the problem and learn how to provide relief for them. After all, we all want our fur babies to be as happy and as comfortable as possible!

For more information on seasonal allergies, check out the articles below.

Cortney Ley, Fospice Mom and Board Secretary