Friendly reminder about keeping pets safe and warm in cold weather

While San Francisco may be chilly and wet, causing many dogs to hide under the blankets rather than face a wet butt and soggy feet outside, much of the country is freezing with heavy snowfall. 

The ASPCA has created an animated infographic highlighting essential tips to help keep animals safe when the temperatures drop. This graphic not only includes ways to protect your pet in chilly weather, but also has vital information on how to help dogs that may be left out in dangerously cold conditions or cats that are living outdoors. 

image from www.aspca.org

Baby it's cold outside! Here are five ways we can keep pups safe in cold weather:

Continue reading "Friendly reminder about keeping pets safe and warm in cold weather" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


My what big ears you have!

My dog never gave me the "head tilt" like Lassie, Benji or even Rin Tin Tin might have on television, but she sure gave me an expression that said she was hip to my words. By the time we'd been together for a few years, her vocabulary was on its way to making our life together an adventure. While she still had her vision, I would use visual prompts to play games with her. Later when she couldn't see with her eyes, I watched as she used her ears to understand what we were saying. 

"Although we cannot say how much or in what way dogs understand information in speech from our study," Ratcliffe said, "we can say that dogs react to both verbal and speaker-related information and that these components appear to be processed in different areas of the dog's brain.”

image from news.discovery.com

Continue reading "My what big ears you have!" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Is your dog showing signs of canine cognitive dysfunction?

My dog was always independent. She loved having the freedom to hang out with us on the couch or get up, and walk to another room. Sometimes she left to go take a nap in a quiet spot or watch the front of the house for the mailman. 

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

When she lost her eyesight from diabetes, we took extra care to guide her around the house hoping to keep her confident in her independence. We didn't move furniture. We kept to a routine hoping to effectively manage her expectations. 

But, because we actively changed our own behavior, it was clear that our sweet dog wasn't getting lost in a room because we left an ottoman in her path or moved her food bowl. Her behavior wasn't related to not being able to see, she was dealing with doggy dementia, also known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.

Continue reading "Is your dog showing signs of canine cognitive dysfunction?" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Five ways we can be more green with our dogs

Whenever I walk our dog around the block, I often get inspired by a neighbor's landscaping, more so lately because California is in a drought situation and I'm finding beautiful flower pots filled with succulents. Who says you can't marry practical with pretty?

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

If we let her, our dog would happily help with the composting. Here in San Francisco it's required to compost your food waste, and if there ever was an upside to having a senior dog, it's that at thirteen, our Cleo is no longer able to counter surf. We can leave a milk carton filled with food scraps in the sink without fear that she'll leap up and sneak it off to the bedroom for an afternoon snack.

Rainy and cool fall weather on the horizon has us thinking about indoor projects, and various ways we can reduce our dog's carbon footprint as well as our own. Are there ways that we can be more green in the winter? I looked around the house and saw quite a few projects, starting with making my own shampoo for Cleo! She has always had sensitive skin.

Continue reading "Five ways we can be more green with our dogs" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


If you missed SPARCS 2014 here are a few highlights for the doglover

Does it make you a dog dork if you want to spend your money attending a conference promoting applied research in canine science, when you are not a behaviorist, dog trainer, or even a Ph.D. student? I'm only an animal lover, and a really huge dog lover. My nightstand typically holds nonfiction books on animal psychology, dog behavior that I enjoy reading for fun and because I'm incredibly curious.

I take advantage of the San Francisco Public Library and its extensive lending system that allows me to get academic textbooks and various white papers from notables like James Serpell, Konrad Lorenz and more. Again, for fun. I mix those tomes with science fiction and spy novels. Maybe it's my love of a good mystery that has this layperson interested in understanding dog behavior and ethology? What about you?

image from www.companionanimalpsychology.com

Continue reading "If you missed SPARCS 2014 here are a few highlights for the doglover" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Evolution in the debate about our treatment of animal companions

A new book "Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs" by author and science journalist David Grimm explores how the roles of pets have evolved from wild animals to family members.

 

image from www.cbsnews.com

 

Here's more from CBS News,

Today, there are animal anti-cruelty laws in all 50 U.S. states, with penalties that include fines or prison time. Custody battles have been waged over family pets, and emotional-distress damages have been awarded for harm to a pet. Dogs and cats can even inherit money, Grimm said. But they're still considered property, "no different from a toaster in the eyes of the law," he said.

Now, a growing effort seeks to grant personhood to animals, including cats and dogs. Driving this movement is an increasing awareness of animal intelligence and their emotional capabilities.

Research on the canine mind has exploded in recent years, Grimm said. Dogs can understand pointing, an ability that chimpanzees lack, and research also suggests dogs are capable of empathy, and perhaps even abstract thought.

What do you think about the notion of personhood for animals? Will this help prevent animal abuse? Will this reduce or eliminate the homeless pet population? 

 

Don't miss out on anything, get the Grouchy Puppy blog delivered by email. Sign up here!

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


In-Home Veterinary Service Expands into San Francisco

If you’ve followed Grouchy Puppy for awhile, you probably know that my dog Cleo stress pants like Thomas the Tank Engine whether we drive across the Bay Bridge or around the block. Now add in a destination that isn’t a romp on the beach but a vet visit, and we have one very unhappy stressed out dog.

image from www.grouchypuppy.com
Cleo's "coping" car ride face and stress pant

Cleo is a diabetic dog. Did you know her level of stress from the car ride can have a negative impact on her blood glucose test once we arrive at the vet's office? It can also be a challenge to get her in to see her regular veterinarian, and since she’s a senior dog it’s more important than ever not to put off check-ups.

Here comes BarkCare, a new in-home concierge veterinary service. I had a chance to ask co-founder and COO, Carly Strife, and Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Rob Proietto, who oversees training of all local vets some questions as they expand this service into San Francisco.

Continue reading "In-Home Veterinary Service Expands into San Francisco" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Guest Post: Our Experience With Holistic Treatments (Part Two)

I believe that it's important for dog lovers to share our personal canine experiences in our own voice, which is why you will find occasional guest posts on Grouchy Puppy doing just that -- do remember Maggie's two-part series on pet adoption or Elisa's series on her experiences dog fostering?

Today, Jana Rade is sharing part two of a two-part guest post discussing her experience with holistic treatments. Jana is a graphic designer by profession and never aspired to learning about dog health issues until she met Jasmine. Unfortunately, she received a crash course in the subject due to Jasmine’s many health issues and has since become an advocate for other pet owners and their four-legged friends.

Our Experience With Holistic Treatments (Part Two)

Here is a little note: any modality is only as good as the vet using it. Truly. It is one thing to decide to go with either conventional modern medicine or alternative holistic medicine and it is another thing all together to find a vet who is good at it. I know people who curse holistic medicine just because they stumbled upon a bad apple and things went wrong. Holistic vets are good or bad just like conventional vets are good or bad. This is important to keep in mind. If you’re not getting the results you want, you might be using a wrong approach OR you might be using a wrong vet.

Jasmine

After our first non-traditional experience, I did change my point of view and always considered using holistic approach before resorting to conventional medicine. 

Continue reading "Guest Post: Our Experience With Holistic Treatments (Part Two)" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Guest Post: Our Experience with Holistic Treatments

I believe that it's important for dog lovers to share our personal canine experiences in our own voice, which is why you will find occasional guest posts on Grouchy Puppy doing just that -- do remember Maggie's two-part series on pet adoption?

Today, Jana Rade is sharing part one of a two-part guest post discussing her experience with holistic treatments. Jana is a graphic designer by profession and never aspired to learning about dog health issues until she met Jasmine. Unfortunately, she received a crash course in the subject due to Jasmine’s many health issues and has since become an advocate for other pet owners and their four-legged friends.

Our Experience with Holistic Treatments

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was an oblivious dog mom. I figured that taking my dog to a vet and then do what they said was all I needed to do. In an ideal world, it should work that way. In this one, it often does not.

There were things they just dismissed instead of digging deeper for a diagnosis. And there were times when the treatment seemed worse than the disease.

And then there was the fact that Jasmine often had bad reactions to various drugs.

Jasmine

Continue reading "Guest Post: Our Experience with Holistic Treatments" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Guess this means I'm more than a napkin to my dog

Throughout the day my dog will either poke her snout or wipe her eyes on some part of my body. When we first adopted her, I thought it was her clumsy way of playing. She's a big girl and was never that coordinated. Years later, as she lost her vision, I imagined she was using me as her guidepost. Tapping her wet nose on my leg as she navigated the hallway. Now according to a new study, it might be something a little more than my pant leg being a substitute for a paper towel or sensory beacon.

image from newswatch.nationalgeographic.com

Continue reading "Guess this means I'm more than a napkin to my dog" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


How many common household items could harm your dog?

National Poison Prevention Week is a week nationally designated to highlight the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them. You probably know about chocolate being toxic to your dog but what about that mulch you're thinking about? How about that pack of sugar-free gum next to the phone or that Jade plant by the front door? You may be surprised by what we've found [...]

PoisonDangersDogs

Continue reading "How many common household items could harm your dog?" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


When you're dog has skin allergies, a dermatologist is part of the team

Our veterinarian specializing in dermatology retired recently. Dr. Reinke was part of Team Cleo for many years. Cleo is a very allergic dog so I was conflicted when the vet's letter arrived announcing her decision. I was happy for her. She was kind enough to suggest a new practice for us to try, but still, I was bummed. It has a taken a long time to curate this team of trusted caregivers.

image from www.grouchypuppy.com/blog
Cleo follows Dr. Reinke for her blood draw

 

Continue reading "When you're dog has skin allergies, a dermatologist is part of the team" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Do you know if your dog has dental disease?

As our dogs get older taking care of their teeth and gums remains important. If you adopt an adult dog like we did, you don't have the opportunity to introduce teeth brushing as a puppy. Your dog may also have had poor nutrition as a puppy and come to you with compromised teeth and gums. After we took Cleo for her first teeth cleaning we quickly discovered this was the case, and shortly afterward had paid for two root canals.

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

How do you tell if your dog has dental disease? 

Continue reading "Do you know if your dog has dental disease?" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


New device could give “voice” to dogs undergoing therapy, drug treatment

We love our dogs and all of us would do most anything to stop them from feeling unnecessary pain. A permanent stumbling block for us though is understanding dog behavior. I'm not an academic but I certainly read a lot about dog behavior in order to better understand my dog Cleo, especially now that she is older and her behavior patterns seem to be changing more frequently.

It never fails that once a week I wish she could talk and tell me why she is not hungry, why she suddenly bumps into a wall that hasn't moved, or isn't interested in a treat she used to drool over. The more serious worries I have are over whether she is showing signs that she is in pain, and I'm not picking up on that.

Now comes Whistle, a new device that could give "a voice" to dogs undergoing therapy or drug treatment. 

image from gigaom.com

Continue reading "New device could give “voice” to dogs undergoing therapy, drug treatment" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!


Like people, did you know dogs can develop diabetes too?

Until my father was diagnosed with diabetes many years, I did not know any of the signs. Almost exactly two years ago today, I saw a change in my dog's behavior that mirrored something my father did before his diagnosis. [Read: Cleo's Diabetes Diagnosis] My dog began drinking copious amounts of water. She also began to pee a lot. When this change in behavior went on for many days, we became worried and called our veterinarian. 

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

My husband managed to capture our dog's first pee of the morning inside a recycled clean jar. We took that straight into the vet for testing. On a side note, I have to thank San Francisco's recyling program. If not for our habit of recyling everything we can, getting this pee sample would have been a lot more complicated.

Continue reading "Like people, did you know dogs can develop diabetes too?" »

Subscribe to the blog here and never miss a post!