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Health of Your Dog Q&A

Health of Your Dog Q&A

ASK CINDY YOUR DOG TRAINING QUESTION
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with nearly 3000 previously answered questions.

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Question:

Cindy,

I placed an order for some Leerburg training videos and other equipment this past Friday and intend to order some more items in the future. When I ordered, I mentioned to the friendly, knowledgeable lady who took my order that my 75-pound, 6-year-old Malamute, Samson needs TPLO to fix his left rear cruciate ligament. (Sam had TPLO on his right leg about three years ago).

We feed Sam a raw food, organic diet from a local organic farm, Trippett Green Tripe, and Nordic Fish Oil. We supplement with Standard Process Ligaplex II, Standard Process Musculoskeletal Support, Standard Process Immune Support, Standard Process Whole Body Support, Glycoflex III, probiotics, COQ10, Alphalipoic Acid/AcetylL-Carnitine and Milk Thistle. Since he started to limp, I've added DGP and Xyflamend. I also occasionally give him an organic multivitamin and had been giving him DogCross Joint Formula T24 until my vet advised against using any products from China (people too). After his first TPLO surgery and when he was recovering from erlychiosis, I added two StandardProcess kidney-support products and intend to do so after his upcoming surgery as well.

Normally, between my wife and myself, Sam gets about four hours per day of exercise, consisting of village walks with my wife and running/hiking mostly off-leash in the local woods with me. Since the vet said he'd need surgery, I've limited him to leash walks, with only a little jogging on flat surfaces and no off-leash play with his dog buddies or contact of any kind with dogs we don't know.

Unfortunately, Sam's T-storm phobic, so I'm not sure exactly when it would be safe to schedule the surgery. Wait too long and he risks additional damage to the ligament; schedule it during T-storm season, and he risks losing his leg if the post-op meds prove ineffective. (We had a T-storm on Nov. 3, two days after his first surgery, and although he was heavily dosed on acepromazine, he started to panic. It took huge efforts on my part to get him to stay in a Down despite the thunder. Thank God he came through it fine, but I don't want to repeat this experience.)

This Spring, on our vet's advice, I began giving him Xanax an hour or so prior to T-storms. It's effective and has had no apparent side effects, but it's short-lasting. To be able to safely schedule the surgery asap, the vet advised starting Sam on Clomicalm now and using it in conjunction with Xanax to keep Sam calm if there's a post-op T-storm. From what I've read, Clomicalm has more potential side-effects than Xanax does. And these two meds would be in addition to the acepromazine, pain killers, and antibiotics. I'm not happy about one more drug (i.e., Clomicalm) sloshing through his system and am inclined to wait 'till mid-November and just continue to limit his activity 'til then.

If you have had any TPLO experience, I would be very grateful for any advice you may have to offer re Nutrition/Supplementation, the best kind of in-house confinement device (kennel?), post-surgery exercises, or anything else that's relevant to this issue.

Three joint-support products, in particular, attracted my attention:
Joint Oats for Dogs (#58); GrandFlex (#s 30-32); and Synflex (#49). Calm and Relax (#39) and Herbal Calm (#48) also attracted my attention, although the herbal anti-anxiety/T-storm remedies I've tried (Bach Flower Remedy and Essence of Peppermint) haven't worked. (I think that

Dog Appeasing Pheremone does have some effect, but it's limited. If you think any of these, or any other items on sale at Leerburg would be good, please let me know.

Sorry to have run on like this, but I would be truly grateful for any information/advice that you have time to offer.

Regards,
Art

Answer:

Hi Arthur

You have asked for my opinion, so I’ll give it and keep in mind that I am not a fan of drugs or lots of extra stuff (supplements, medications or chemicals) in my dogs diet or environment

One thing that jumps out at me is that you are giving an awful lot of supplements. I don’t know if they were prescribed by your vet but I think in some cases less is more. I’m all for fish oil and Vitamin e and a joint supplement if needed but I don’t know that I would be giving any dog of mine so many different things. A balanced and fresh raw diet, Salmon Oil and vitamin E are good medicine and I know that over supplementation isn’t always effective and can be detrimental to health.
I understand that pre and post op your dog may need some additional supplementation but I would only give what’s necessary and effective.
We have a lot of different supplements for sale and while I like to fill our customers orders, I don’t believe in giving dogs things that they don’t need. With all that said, maybe your vet prescribed all those things and that’s fine.

As for drugs during thunderstorms, I’m not a fan of Xanax or Clomicalm. All I have to do is read the contraindications on the internet to know that I would not give those drugs to my dogs. I would try melatonin and see how that works. You can purchase it at just about any health food store. I would most certainly consult with a holistic or homeopathic vet for your dog (if he was mine) Here is a list of vets we have compiled to date, with the help of our customers. If you do not find a vet close by on our list, I would suggest doing a google search on holistic or homeopathic vets in your area. You may also get good advice on supplementation as well.

We use syn flex for our arthritic and senior dogs here with good results. Ed and I have even been known to take it ourselves :-) I haven’t had any experience with TPLO on my own dogs so I can’t give advice on that but a friend of mine had a dog with a spinal injury that made great strides towards recovery with an underwater treadmill made especially for dogs. She had to take her dog to a vet teaching hospital but I guess the recovery was greatly accelerated with the UW Treadmill therapy. I would ask the surgeon about that.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Ed,

I have been a religous reader and user of your website articles and training DVD's. I recommend them to all my friends and family that have dogs. I have been able to train my 2 year old GSD to listen to me and follow my instructions and I have had many people comment on how well behaved, albeit excitable but still well trained puppy she is.

Unfortunately about a month ago, she broke her leg in play. I blame myself since she jumped too high to catch a ball I threw and landed on uneven ground. She has had the surgery that the orthopedic surgeon recommended, and I am required to keep her calm and as much off her feet as possible for 8-10 weeks from surgery. She has been on sedatives to keep her calm. She is crated, which she usually is anyway even before she broke her leg. However, because she has been crated for longer periods since the surgery, I have been noticing she will get bored in her crate in spite of the fact that I will leave a bone or toy for her to play with. I know that you recommend putting away all toys since she doesn't OWN any of her them and I am supposed to take them away after play time. I try to switch it up by giving her an everlasting treat ball or a holee roller or some other such toy she enjoys playing with during play time. How do I know she gets bored? I'm only assuming this, but she'll be sitting calmly in her crate and when I take her out to go outside, she'll get extremely excited. She'll sit and stay when I tell her to, but she's still acting VERY antsy and just about ready to jump if she were allowed to. I'm afraid she may injure herself again if she doesn't calm down since this is happening while she is sedated - she does listen to me when I say sit or down but she's ready to run if given any sign to do so.

While I am not having trouble controlling her at all, I just want to see if there is anything else I can do to make sure she's calm and "busy" while crated so she is not as excitable when she gets out. I don't want her to be on sedatives, but it's what the doctor recommended so she doesn't jump around in her crate when I'm not there.

Normally, before the surgery, I would walk her for about a total of 2.5 miles a day and play with her in my backyard for about 30 minutes until she let me know she was done. Now she is getting NOTHING like that.

Any recommendations? Am I doing something else wrong because I know that training dogs is more about training the people how to act with the dogs.

Thanks again for your help with this!

Nivedita

Answer:

Crate rest after an injury or surgery is a tough one for young high drive dogs. The best thing you can do is to occupy their mind as much as possible. I would read the article about training with markers and teach her some low activity tricks, like shake, hand touch, etc…

I would also use some of our treat toys to give her different stimulation while she is crated. I would rotate them so the boredom is kept at a minimum.

Twist n' Treat
The Waggle
Tug-a-Jug
Buster Food Cube

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

We have corresponded a few times in the past. It is amazing how much of difference a couple of years with your web site has made on me. Went from knowing a little to knowing quite a lot. Thanks!

I have a question about my 13 week old male GSD pup. Last night he was relaxing/sleeping in his crate and all of a sudden he started to wine a little and then it turned in to some screaming. His front left leg was bothering him. I picked him up and massaged his leg and it seemed to get better almost immediately. I then placed him on the ground and he walked around fine. No other problems until about 2pm this afternoon when the same thing occurred. He is here at work with me. He again was laying down when the pain started. This time it seemed to bother him a little more and he seemed to be favoring his leg a bit, but, again he appears to be walking on it okay. Is this normal puppy growing pains? The pain seems to be about two or three inches below the elbow.

The only thing that he could jump down from is exiting my car and I do not let him. He waits for me to place him on the ground. At work we have about five wooden steps that he climbs down. This is done at a slow pace and they are normal steps, not high or steep. At home he does run around and play with my other dogs, but, nothing out of the ordinary. He is presently eating Orijen puppy formula. The breeder had him on Royal Canin. I know that I should take him to the vet if this keeps up or gets worse, but I was wondering if you had any advice with this.

Thanks again for all your help,
--Steve

Answer:

Thanks for the kind words.

It’s possible that it’s growing pains or a muscle spasm of some kind.
Thirteen weeks is pretty young for Pano but it could be a sign of things to come for your pup. He may have also twisted his leg romping around and he just has some soreness. I would keep a close on him and make a note of the circumstances if it happens again.

If this continues I would seek the advice of an orthopedic specialist, not a regular vet.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

A couple of months ago, I sent you an email about my 11 yr. old German Shepherd who has arthritis in her hips. I have switched her, as well as the rest of my dogs, to the raw diet and all are doing very well on it. Their excitement at meal time is unreal. Thank you so much for advising the switch.

I have a few questions that I couldn't find the answers to on your site.
One is a feeding question and the other three are about medications/vaccines.

1. We've been feeding our dogs chicken backs since the switch.
Where we live, they are the least expensive to buy, other than necks.
Most of the backs have a good bit of meat on them, but we've still been feeding some ground venison along with the chicken backs. I'm still trying to figure this whole prey animal thing out. I've been using your calculation for the amount of food to feed, which seems so little compared to the amount of kibble we used to feed. All the dogs seem healthier than ever, and none have really lost weight, but have begun to look more muscular. My question: what should the bone to meat ratio be? I want to make sure I'm giving enough bone, but not over do it. Here's an example of what I feed my beagles: Their ideal weight is about 25 lbs. So I figure I should feed about 8oz. (they are on the heavy side, so I'm using 2%) I give each one a chicken back that's 4 to 6 oz. Then I give them 2 or 3 oz of venison. I also add about a table spoon of veggie "glop" to the venison. Am I anywhere close to getting this right?

2. Do you guys vaccinate against rabies?

3. How do you control fleas/ticks? We've always used Frontline
with good results; is this safe?

4. My GSD is doing a lot better, but still has some pain. Is
there anything I can give her for pain?

Thanks again for all your advice and helpful, informative web-site.

Sincerely,
Kristie

Answer:

I’ll try to answer your questions as best I can.

When feeding a prey model diet, it’s approximately 80% meat, 10-15%
bone, and 5-10% organs. I don’t stress about it too much, and aim for
balance over time.

Rabies vaccinations are required by law in most states, and the laws vary as to age of dog, and how often the dog needs to be revaccinated.
If you can get a waiver from your vet to skip this vaccination I would look into that. I would NOT vaccinate any dog with ANY medical issue, this includes arthritis, ear infection, thyroid imbalance, skin condition, diarrhea, etc…

We do not use chemicals like frontline or any of those topical spot ons.
We use Para Clear and Neem Spray.

You can read more about this in our Health Question & Answer section.

If you are not giving Salmon Oil and Vitamin E to your arthritic dog, I would highly recommend it. Salmon Oil has an anti-inflammatory effect on joints and should be given at a double dose to arthritic dogs. Please introduce this very gradually to prevent digestive upsets.

We also carry several joint supplements; we have had good results with our senior dogs on Syn Flex.

Cindy


Question:

We have an 18 week female GSD purchased from an excellent breeder here in Florida.  Both parents are A stamped and certified. They are European shepherds (Hungary) as we wanted to steer clear of American bloodlines.  I am concerned about her hips as she appears to be a bit weak in the hind quarters and a little "hocky."  I am wondering if, since she is still a puppy, it is too soon to worry about her hips and I also would like to know at what age you would recommend we have her x-rayed.  I have not contacted the breeder yet as I really have nothing substantive to tell him except my 'feeling' and of course I realize that perfect parents can still produce dyplastic pups.  Any guidance or advice you can give me be very much appreciated.

Sincerely,
Cindy

Answer:

Get the puppy x-rayed at 5 or 6 months.  Make sure you use a vet well versed in OFA type x-rays, so they correctly position the puppy.  Without x-rays it’s impossible to tell what’s going on with a pup’s joints.

Here is the article that Ed wrote about correct positioning.

Let us know what you find out.  Good luck.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have two dogs - west highland terrior and pit-bull-coon hound mix (88 pounds). I use the gentle leader and pretty much it works and one time he got loose I think because my husband didn't attach it right, fortunately it had a second mini leash that connected to his collar and I held on to it. Because of that I always have this fear now and it makes walks torture. The little dog Snowflake, gets Bear more excited by her behavior. He does occasionally try to lunge at the cows as we are passing them. Bear is fear-aggressive. I was going to order Cesar Millan's "Illusion" collar but my friend recommended I get your prong collar. I'm not good with reading about how to do this or that and I just need something easy to use. I read a couple of places in one of your articles about some who's dog got out of the prong which scares me.

Also, Bear has seasonal allergies. He is on prednisone every summer but we're well into September and he's still on it with such itchy skin. He cut himself out in the back woods and keeps licking it raw. We took him to the vet and they put him on antibiotics and the collar so he can't lick but the wound looked healed so I let him keep it off last night and he licked it raw again I think because it's very dry looking. Is there an ointment to use? I noticed you have a book on allergies. Is that a real helpful book?

Thankyou.
MaryKay

Answer:

Your dog won’t get loose if you use a back up collar like we recommend.
There’s a free video on this page that gives information on how to fit the collar and use the back up collar.

The allergy book is helpful, but I also recommend you evaluate the diet and vaccine history of your dog. Many times what appear to be seasonal allergies are either a sensitivity to an ingredient in a commercial processed diet or a symptom of Vaccinosis (or a combination of all of those ) Skin conditions are a big signal that the dog’s system is having problems and most vets want to suppress this with antibiotics and steroids. This doesn’t solve the problem and typically makes it worse over time.

Here is some suggested reading. Read this article on feeding a raw diet. It’s a work in progress but there is a lot of good information there.

I would also recommend these books, Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats and Raw Dog Food.

You can also go to our Feeding Dogs Page for a list of articles and books that will be helpful to you.

For information on vaccinations and the problems they cause please read our vaccinosis article. I ask that everyone do their own research and weigh the benefits and the risks of vaccinating their animals. We do not vaccinate our dogs, cats or horses here and will not sell puppies to people who insist on vaccinating and feeding kibble.

I would also recommend these 2 books, Shock to the System and Vaccine Guide for Dogs & Cats.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

I am a novice with german shepherds. I have 2 gsds one is 4 and the other is 18 months. The problem is with the one that is 4 years old. After exercising or just playing with the other dog he shows up lame. This afternoon after a game of chase (in which he was doing fine) a few minutes later he begins to limp on one of his back legs. This has been going on for 3-4 weeks. This is not like him. He loves to run and play. He has also been trained for  protection and obedience, any suggestions.

Ben

Answer:

I would recommend getting this dog to a vet for an exam and x-rays

It could be muscle, ligament or joint problems and without x-rays, there is no way of knowing what the problem is.  Beware of the vet that just wants to prescribe pain medicine without doing x-rays  I would find a veterinarian that is well versed in orthopedics and has experience with taking OFA x-rays   Here is an article about correct position for hip x-rays

Good luck.

Cindy


Question:

I am a fan and a believer of your work. I have a small problem that I would like your advice on. Now, before I ask you I would like to say that I have done all the groundwork on this problem and conducted a great deal of research. I simple would like your own take on the matter since you have quite a number of years experience dealing with dogs.

I currently own a doberman/lab mix he is a bit dominant, but i have managed to solve this using your techniques. The problem is, recently he has been experiencing hair loss along his body due to what I believe are dermodex mites. I have used ivermectin and topical washes but after a couple weeks there has been little improvement. Is there any solutuion that you have found to be effective?

Thanks again
Aeon

Answer:

Has this dog had skin scrapings done? I am not a fan of using drugs and chemicals on a dog unless I have no other options. If this dog does have demodex, then the first thing to look at is the status of his immune system. Typically this is seen in dogs who have been recently stressed by vaccines or surgery and are on a commercial diet.

If you spend some time using the search function (located in the upper left hand corner of the website) you will find many useful articles and posts that address some of the problems you are having. Type in demodectic mange and you will come up with a lot of information.

For information on vaccinations and the problems they cause please read our vaccinosis article. I ask that everyone do their own research and weigh the benefits and the risks of vaccinating their animals. We do not vaccinate our dogs, cats or horses here and will not sell puppies to people who insist on vaccinating and feeding kibble.

I would also recommend these 2 books, Shock to the System and Vaccine Guide for Dogs & Cats.

I would also evaluate the diet you have this dog on. Check out our feeding dogs section of the website.

Conventional veterinary medicine typically prescribes toxic chemicals and dips which further depress an already compromised immune system.

Most vets treat the mange, instead of treating the reasons that the dog showed mange symptoms in the first place. All dogs have demodex mites, and it’s only when the system is compromised that they cause a skin problem.

Here is a list of vets we have compiled to date, with the help of our customers. If you do not find a vet close by on our list, I would suggest doing a google search on holistic or homeopathic vets in your area.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

I have a 71/2 year old Doberman that has been as healthy as a horse until February of this year.  I came home from work and noticed that his belly was quite bloated.  We took him to an emergency vet hospital and they determined that he was leaking Albumin Protein.  As this hospital could not help us and suggested two other vet hospitals.  We took Nico to the Veterinary Specialist Hospital in East Greenwich, RI. They did exploratory surgery and took several tissue samples for testing.  All of the testing came back negative.  His heart is strong, liver, pancreas and all other organs were all functioning to the normal levels.

They have concluded that Nico has IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease) and/ or Leaky Gut Syndrome.  Nico was on all kinds of meds for a couple of months.  He had chronic diarrhea for months.  He went form a strong 100 ponds down to a weak 66 pounds.  We took him off of the meds as they were literally killing him.  We gave up on conventional vets and started seeing a holistic vet.  Nico still has the bloat issue but he has gotten his strength back and now weights 70 pounds.  His energy level is through the roof.  I am still of the opinion that the holistic approach is close to VooDoo.  But contrary to my opinion it seems to be working.

Have you folks had any experience with this condition??

Thank you for taking the time to read this email.

Mario

Answer:

I am a firm believer in taking a holistic approach to my animals care.  Holistic really only means looking at the “whole” animal, not just the symptoms of disease.  It’s not voodoo and I am really glad your dog is improving.

I haven’t had a dog with IBD, but I have done a lot of reading and studying about health issues that plague many dogs. I would be looking into the diet you are feeding (I know with IBD vets try to prescribe special diets, but I feel they are awful for our dogs) Hopefully this holistic vet is advising you on nutrition and not pushing a prescription vet diet.

I would also look at the vaccine history of your dog.  Vaccines wreak havoc with the immune system, especially when they are given year after year. 

Check out our feeding dogs section of the website.

If you spend some time using the search function (located in the upper left hand corner of the website) you will find many useful articles and posts that address the problems you are having.  Type in vaccines and also irritable bowel disease

I hope this helps and I hope your dog continues to recover.

Cindy


Question:

My 8 month old Blud Brindle Pitt is in her 1st heat, is there anything I can do to make her more comfortable? She is very nervous and spooked. How long do the heats last?

Answer:

A normal heat cycle lasts for about 21 days. The best thing you can do for your dog is to keep her exercised WITH supervision. Realize that even very obedient dogs will sometimes not listen to you when they are in season.
Usually from about 7 or 8 days into day 16-18 is the prime time for them to get accidentally bred unless you have them supervised all the time. To be safe, I supervise my females for the full 21 days.

Keeping her in a fence is no guarantee; male dogs can smell a female in season from a long way and will climb or dig to get to her.

The hormonal change in behavior will subside soon and can vary from one heat cycle to the next.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi, Cindy. 

Thanks for all of your great information and hard work.  I just have a question about dosage for the Probiotics Supplements.  I've order the granules and I'm not sure how much to measure for my 95 lb 15 month old black labrador retriever.  The powder instructions give dosage for dogs but the granule instructions only give measurements for livestock.  In comparing the dosages for powder vs. granule, they appear to be similar but there a some differences.  I just want to be sure I'm giving Obi the right dosage.  I'm giving him a 1/2 teaspoon for now, until I hear from you.  Please let me know at your earliest convenience.

Thank you.
Bettina
Louisville, Kentucky

Answer:

½-1 teaspoon is what I give all our dogs here with the bigger dogs or dogs under more stress (growing or breeding) getting the larger dose.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I feel as though I should have you on speed-dial. . . Recently you answered a question we had about x-raying for dysplasia and now we are seeking advice again. Whether or not we find Abby is dysplastic, we plan to have her spayed as we do not want to breed her and feel this should be left to people who know what they're doing anyway. However, in speaking with friends who raise and show goldens we were told it is best not to spay until after the first heat. Our vet said there are health arguments for spaying before that heat as well as arguments to allow the dog to go through the first heat. Having read all the literature she provided, pro and con, I am now looking for recommendations from more experts, namely you and Ed, because of your experience with GSDs. Is it true that spaying before the first heat can adversely affect growth and bone development? What about temperament?

We had spayed previous shepherds (2) and a labrador years ago and didn't notice any problems but since animal health knowledge progresses every year we want to be sure we do the right thing for this great puppy when the time comes.

We live in a semi-rural area with many, many dogs. Although our yard is fenced, from past experience I know that is no deterrent for a determined male. Even though she is never outside without us I really don't want 21 days of fighting off potential suitors during a heat and confining her within the house to washable surfaces as well.

We would appreciate any advice you can give us. You all have such a wonderfully informative site but I didn't find any information on this except in the discussion areas. I will feel more comfortable following your recommendations / information than those given by folks I don't know!

Again, we thank you so much for the service you provide via the net and through these emails.

Cindy

Answer:

This has been discussed a lot on our website and forum. If you spend some time using the search function (located in the upper left hand corner of the website) you will find many useful articles and posts about this.

I don’t spay or neuter any of my dogs until they are physically mature (unless there is a medical emergency like Pyometra).

If you don’t think you can prevent an unwanted pregnancy, I would recommend spaying now. It all depends on how you live with your dog and what works for your situation.

Cindy


Question:

Cindy! I have 5 g/s dogs and every year in the summer the flies attack these dogs' ears. I also see an increase in bees. We tried the fly off paste and spray, It works for about 5 mins and also the other dogs like to lick it off each others ears. My one female that's about 14 years old is missing the tops of her ears from all the years that this is happening. I also have a long hair male pup that is getting his nose attacked. His hair is to long for them to get to his skin. The pen that they are in is 30' by 40' all blacktop. I keep it very clean and put the chemical down called trail every other day for the smell, but the cost is pricey. I had gone on a website about the history about flies, it was quite interesting! The one thing that they said is that they are attracted to the color white. Well, my building is white. I also notice that the cars that around me have flies on them and they leave little dots like droppings. If you wet them it's blood. The cars that aren't white also have the same but not as noticeable. The flies also follow the dogs to a different environments (my home).

In closing, I just want to let you know even though my dogs are outside I keep them very clean, give them bathes and they have a good diet. I have heard several ideas for this problem, but noting to date has worked. Please can you give me an answer as to why this is happening, what to do to relieve the suffering for these dogs. Thank you in advance
for advice you can give me.

Ed

Answer:

If your dogs won’t leave the fly repellant on the ears, then I am not sure what to suggest. I’ve had good results with SWAT, it’s a horse product that you can apply to tips of the ears but I wouldn’t want my dogs ingesting it orally.

We use fly predators on our property, we have horses and poultry as well as dogs and they seem to really help control the fly populations for us.

You can do a google search for those.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

I have looked on your website in case someone has asked this same question, but I don’t see it, so I will ask. I have a 2-yr-old GSD who loves to play with her Kong Frisbee, several times a day, for 10-15 minutes each time. When she goes out for a pass, she gets pretty wild and crazy: spinning around in the air, twisting her body, reaching up and even running on her hind legs. Occasionally she falls. Would this kind of repetitive motion cause damage to her hips or back? Should we stop playing Frisbee?

She eats only a raw diet (since 8 weeks old), and when we go on walks she doesn’t get exhausted, so I think we are doing well in that regard. She has boundless energy, and our vets say that she looks great. We have not had any x-rays performed. Her parents passed their x-rays, but as you’ve stated on your site, genetics are only one factor in the development of hip problems.

What do you think?

Thanks very much for your time,
MD

Answer:

Playing Frisbee can be very dangerous for really high drive dogs, especially dogs with a longer back like GSDs.  A girl that I know had her dog damage his spine playing with a flying disc.  He needed very expensive surgery, it ended his Schutzhund career and he had to learn how to walk all over again.  I would worry less about her hips and more about her spine and elbows.  With that said, unless you have x-rays done you can’t know what the effects of exercise over time is.  I always x-ray my young dogs by about a year old so I have a ‘baseline’ to compare to in the future.

When playing Frisbee it’s the twisting and turning in the air, and the unpredictable landings that are so dangerous. 

I feel that playing tug or retrieving in the water are the safest forms of exercise for most dogs.

If you continue playing Frisbee, do so with caution.

Cindy


Question:

Dear Cindy and Ed -

I am writing to give you an update and ask a health related question concerning Taiko Vom Leerburg, CD, SAR (Ron x Ida; 10/30/99), call name "Grace," who will have her ninth birthday in a couple of weeks. I obtained Grace from Leerburg in January of 2000 for the purpose of training her for search and rescue work with Missouri Search and Rescue
K-9. http://www.missourisearchandrescue.com/

"Taiko" was chosen because she came from a "T" litter and is Japanese meaning "Power" or "Powerful." This has proved to be a very appropriate formal name!

Grace has been a wonderful companion to our family, great with family friends (including my elderly father), appropriately watchful of our home, easy to travel with on cross country trips, a breeze to train in obedience and a great SAR dog. Her drive and work ethic from puppyhood to the present has been outstanding. She is our dear friend.

My health related question is this -

Grace is a hardworking dog high energy dog and has always exercised a great deal throughout her life. She walks daily and loves swimming more than just about anything else in this world. (We joke that she is part Labrador Retriever) She has always weighed about 65 pounds, varying from that only 3 to 5 pounds, since she reached maturity. She currently weighs in the low 60s. As we had no desire to breed her, we had her spayed at about 6 months of age.

In the last year or so, Grace has begun to limp around after working particularly hard. This has increased the past few months and it is difficult to watch. Last month, we had her x-rayed by our vet, who said that she has mild dysplasia in her right hip and is developing arthritis in her spine. He explained that the dysplasia has probably always been present but because of her regular exercise, she has been able to compensate for it to the point where it has never given her trouble.

When Leerburg Kennels switched to a natural diet a few years ago, we did as well. Her regular diet consist of the following:

Morning - Three raw chicken wings, 1 cup of Embark dehydrated food, 2 to 3 fish oil pills (1,000 mgs) Two to three times a week, this is supplemented by 2 oz of raw beef liver. She also gets fresh salmon on a regular basis.

Afternoon - One cup of California Natural kibble mixed with 1 tablespoon of glucosimine condroiton. The reason for the kibble is that I don't trust myself to give her all of the appropriate vitamins and nutrients that she needs. California Natural seems to be about the most basic and natural kibble out there, other than Innova (which she really doesn't
care for, for some odd reason).

So, my question is what should we do? Is 9 years old heading into the "Golden Years"? In general, what should we expect as she heads into her remaining years? What are your thoughts caring for her in her later years and on her life expectancy? Her desire to work is as strong and energetic as ever and it is heartbreaking to see her sore after doing the things that she loves best. Of course, I guess the same could be said about me too! :) She did successfully work a fire scene three weeks ago (see attached newspaper article "Gardner Fire") and she can continue to do this type of close forensic type work for a while, but retirement from SAR is looming quickly.

Thank you for breeding these outstanding dogs! Your contribution to the
lives of many families has been enormous!

Sincerely,
Ray and Theresa
Shawnee, Kansas

Answer:

I think what I would suggest is to get her off of the California Natural kibble. Grains are one of the leading offenders in inflammation, and are really hard on dogs' internal organs and joints. I would ONLY offer her grain free kibble (if you feel the need to feed it at all) Innova EVO, Wellness Core, Solid Gold Barking at the Moon and Orijen are a few good brands.

I don't know what her weight is but I would really increase her salmon oil as well. I would recommend 1,000 mgs of salmon oil per 10 pounds of body weight every day. You need to also make sure she is getting Vitamin E with that, about 200IU.

See if removing the grain and increasing the salmon oil helps. 9 years old is getting into the golden years, but our older dogs do well into their teens with a natural diet and adding supplementation.

You may also want to try a more easily absorbed glucosamine supplement. We have great luck with the liquid Syn Flex.

I hope this helps!

Cindy


Question:

Hello Cindy,
 
I've started my dogs on a raw diet & I'm using the same ingredients that you're using. Are you giving anything for their joints? If so, what are you giving or what do you recommend? I just wanted to insure healthy joint function. Thanks in advance.
 
Mel

Answer:

Hi Mel

First of all I give salmon oil and vitamin E to all our dogs.  For dogs that may have a bit of arthritis, I double the salmon oil dose in their daily meals. Salmon oil is a natural anti-inflammatory.

For our senior citizens, I use Syn Flex daily in their food.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have a 6 mo. old GSD. For training treats, I use beef liver. He LOVES IT and seems so much more willing to work and please me when I use it versus other types of treats!! I cook it slightly so it isn't quite as messy and holds together. After refrigeration, it cuts into small treat size pieces wonderfully. Anyway my question is: Although I am sure the liver is good for him, I also realize that too much of a good thing can become a bad thing at times. Can you let me know about how much of this I can use on a weekly basis? He weighs 70 pounds right now.

Thanks in advance for your advise.

Diane

Answer:

Depending on how small you are cutting the liver, I would try to make the pieces as tiny as possible. 

When we feed organ meat to our dogs, we try not to make it more than 10 or 15% of their total diet.  If you cut this up really small (think the size of a pencil eraser) I would not think it would be a problem unless he has digestive issues with the liver.

Good luck with your training.

Cindy


Question:

I have two Australian Cattle dogs and would like some suggestions on dog toys that are sturdy. Cattle dogs can destruct about any toy there is.

Answer:

Our dogs LOVE the eGGe toy and we have had good luck with the Chewber. The chewber is guaranteed by the company that makes it.  If your dog destroys it, they will replace it. 

With all that said, when you own dogs that are destructive it’s not a good idea to leave ANY toys with them unattended.  I don’t leave anything with my destructive dogs when I can’t watch them because I don’t want them to destroy and possibly ingest a piece of a toy.

It’s always better to be safe when you have a dog like this.

Cindy


Question:

Dear Cindy,

At what age do you suggest that a female be spayed (if at all) when she is going to be used as a personal protection dog. I am getting lots of mixed info on this one.  I have only had males before and have always left them unaltered.  I obviously want her to be the best that she can be.  I do not want to make a mistake and spay her if that might make her less of a protection dog down the road.  If you could get back to me as soon as possible that would be great.

Thanks for your time,
Carina

Answer:

I like to wait until the dog is physically and mentally mature.  This varies from dog to dog depending on breed. 

For a GSD, I’d wait until between 2 and 3 years old if I decided to spay. I typically wait as long as I can if I feel spaying is necessary unless there is a medical reason to do so (like Pyometra). Not everyone can keep their dogs safe while they are in season, so if dealing with male dogs is a problem then it’s better to do it earlier to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

If you spend some time using the search function (located in the upper left hand corner of the web site) you will find useful articles and posts that address this.

Cindy


Question:

Our dog rubs his butt on the rug what is going on here?

Answer:

This can be caused by many things... allergies, rectal irritation from having loose stools, intestinal parasites or anal gland problems.  It’s most often related to the anal glands (they are located on each side of the rectum).  They sometimes fill with fluid and the dog tries to relieve the discomfort by scooting on the ground. 

 A visit to the vet is in order.  I would tell the vet what is going on and just to cover your bases I would suggest taking a stool sample in for analysis also.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi:

I had sent a question asking about rabies vaccine yesterday...but we made it thru the vet visit ok...she was very adamant though that I get the Leptospirosis vaccine.  She said its because we live in a remote area with a lot of wildlife and it can be transmitted to humans.  The lump my dog has ended up being a sebaceous cyst.  My dog is also underweight so they think it may be E.P.I but want me to up her food intake first to see if that helps her gain weight.  She is fed a raw diet at about 4% her ideal body weight right now, so I am not sure that will help.   I feed them raw with some veggies...but a lot of articles I read say they don’t need veggies....its all so confusing...I am trying to do the right thing for my animals and I just need some advise.  I have purchased 4 DVDs and some toys and collars from you and I really trust your judgment and would like any advise you can give on the leptospirosis vaccine and E.P.I and raw feeding.  My dog is a GSD female current weight is 65 lbs.

Thanks!
Carla

Answer:

Carla,

I would go ahead and get the blood test for EPI.  I would caution you about getting a rabies vaccine IF your dog does have EPI.  In our state, a condition like thyroid disease or EPI would warrant a waiver on the vaccine.  In my opinion, many diseases like EPI are only made worse by vaccinations.

As for veggies, we don’t feed them.  You can and I don’t believe they hurt anything.  The 2 best books for learning about the raw diet are Raw Dog Food  and Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats.  We give both these books to our puppy customers and rarely have questions about the diet

We also have a great section on feeding dogs, I think you’ll find a lot of helpful information there.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Ed,

I have 6 shepherds and live in the country. I have an outside allergy/food allergy question for you and am looking for some advice. 3 of my 6 dogs chew on their feet.  I did blood testing for food and environmental testing on one of them twice to see if I could get any information to pinpoint the cause. The results were different for both tests, which leads me to believe its less than accurate (first test showed her positive for duck, second test showed negative). What is your belief on the blood tests for allergies, or have you heard of a common denominator for why a dog would chew their feet? I'm wondering if it isn't a contact allergy vs a food one.  I am considering doing my own home natural diet as I know you recommend it. I have always fed high quality dry food such as taste of the wild and natural balance, but Id rather get rid of this issue completely if you have any advise on what may be causing this? Not sure if its related, but I do use hay outside my kennels that have dirt to keep them from becoming a muddy mess.  Still 3 of them have no issues with their feet, but I wondered if the hay itself might be the irritant.

Shellie

Answer:

Blood tests for allergies in dogs is a waste of time and money, IMO.

One thing you can try is to give an antihistamine, and if the sensitivity is due to environmental allergens you may see an improvement. If it’s diet related you probably won’t see any change. You can give Benadryl, the same dose as you would give a human child. It may be the hay, or it may be something else. It’s one of those things that you will have to use the process of elimination to figure out.

Either way I would recommend a diet change, we also have a great section on feeding dogs, I think you’ll find a lot of helpful information there.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

 I got my dog when she was about a month old and when she was about 4 months old we added a new dog to the family that was about a year old. When we got the older dog we found out that she was eating fresh poop in the backyard. She has now taught our young dog to eat poop as well. This is absolutely disgusting as they will come in the house smelling like poop. I am also concerned for their health. We have picked up the yard everyday and increased their food intake (thinking they may just be getting hungry) but these things have not worked. They do it when we think they know we are gone and no matter how much they eat, they still eat poop. We are getting to the point where we don't want them anywhere near us because of how disgusting this is. It's sad for me because I want to give them affection and they are also affectionate dogs but I cannot play with them for fear of getting poop all over me.

Please, any advice will help.

Thanks,
Aden

Answer:

There are many reasons why a dog eats poop.  Sometimes a simple diet change can make a big difference.  You may want to spend some time reading our feeding dogs section of the website.

we also carry a product called SEP.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A's  and posts on our forum.  There is a lot of info on this topic on our website.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Cindy, love the pics of Rush!

I’m not sure who else to ask about this but in various places on your website you + Ed talk about teeth wearing down from bitework and the textures of various toys/ bite sleeves. We have a 2.5 year malinois who does agility. He always has something in his mouth and tugs like a maniac. Anyway, we stupidly let him have tennis balls, which he chomped on and carried around night and day and by age 2 we realized he had obvious wear to his teeth.  Consulted with vet and threw out all the tennis balls. His favorite toy, which we reserve for his agility training, is the Kong Wubba. I’m not sure if you are familiar with it; kong shape, balls inside fabric, floppy tentacles. I was reading your descriptions of the jute wearing down teeth and suddenly started to wonder if the beloved Wubba was further damaging his teeth. I’ve never had the chance to feel a jute bite sleeve and don’t know what a tooth-damaging texture might feel like. The extent of the tooth-wear is disturbing in such a young dog.  Can you possibly reassure me the Wubba is safe/ throw it out now? Any other advice on preventing tooth wear would be appreciated.

Wendy

Answer:

Hi Wendy,

Thanks for the kind words.  Rush is a lot of fun.

I can’t comment on the Wubba as we don’t sell any of kongs products at all.  I do know that any toy will wear down dogs’ teeth if they carry it enough, some are just more abrasive than others.

I feel pretty good about the Orbee toys we sell, they are extremely soft and don’t seem abrasive.  I use the Orbee on a string for agility with Rush’s mom Raine.

We sell 8 different toys made by Orbee, you can see them on this page.  I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

I have wondered for some time if a joint supplement could be added to my 8 month old GSD (f) food, too maybe help with hip and joint development while she is young, so as to maybe repair any stress if incurred, or to insure proper development for adulthood before, or to help prevent, a problem that may develop that would necessitate the need for supplements such as joint oats or grand flex. I have read the description of these supplements, but seems they are all given to an older dog that exhibit problems or arthritis, or to working (heavily exercised) dogs.
 
Thank you in advance for your consideration of above question.

Answer:

I don’t know if there is any research to show that adding a supplement to a young dog’s diet will prevent a problem from developing down the road, but I don’t feel it will hurt anything.

The most important factor is an appropriate diet and the correct amount of exercise for a growing dog.

We also have a great section on feeding dogs, I think you’ll find a lot of helpful information there.

Cindy


Question:

Cindy,

Ok, so, I have asked you and Ed lots of questions and to my knowledge all have been legit and decent.

I hope this question doesn't end up on your dumb, or questions that make me laugh area.

I was speaking to some people and they told me they clean their dogs anal glands and told me how they do it as a necessary maintainence on there dog, spoke to me about like they would groom there dog on a daily basis. I did some research on this and even found some youtube video's which makes me question if this is something that should be done?

I was aware that dogs have anal glands. However, I have never heard of this, never heard of anyone doing this. I don't trust many people when it comes to advice about my dog. What's your take on this? Is this something you guys do?

Thanks!

Joe

Answer:

Hi Joe,

I was a groomer for many years and expressing the anal glands was part of the “normal” grooming process for most dogs that came in.  With that said, unless your dog seems to have a problem with the glands (usually shows as scooting, excessive licking or bad odor)  it’s something that shouldn’t need to be done on a regular basis. 

Our Corgi needs her glands expressed once or twice a year, she’ll start chasing her rear end and I know she’s feeling uncomfortable.  The rest of the dogs have never had anything done with their anal glands.  

Cindy


Question:

I have a 10 month old male lab. I recently read information on the risk of bone cancer, thyroid issues and other issues that could be related to neutering your puppy too young... 4 to 6 months. The research (studied with medium to large dogs) showed that the dogs that were neutered at one year had a 65 to 75% chance of not having some of these issues as they age. Our lab is very active (teenager). How do I know if I have an aggressive dog? I am watching your video on Pack structure... I listened to your comments on neutering and it needs to be done between 6 to 8 months to calm an aggressive personality down. I would love to wait for a couple of months yet I do want a nice calm boy... would it make a difference if I fixed him now at 10 months... however I am not sure what defines an aggressive personality?

Thanks,
Lisa

Answer:

Being calm is something completely different from being aggressive.

Raising your dog with firm rules and leadership should put you in the power position to avert aggressive behaviors (if done correctly).

I'd recommend you read some of the Q&A's on our web site from people who have aggressive dogs, and you will find there is an underlying common thread of lack of leadership. I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the web site for any additional questions you may have...
If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q&A's and posts on our forum.

We don't neuter our dogs routinely here, but if we were going to we would wait until the dog is mentally and physically mature (usually after 2 years of age).

Vaccinations are a huge problem that may cause even more health problems than neutering as most dogs are vaccinated over and over needlessly.

Cindy


Comment:

I am enjoying your web site so much, and I thought I would return the favor by mentioning something that I have not seen elsewhere. I adopted a twenty pound six month old pomeranian mix from the shelter about a year ago. Great dog, no real issues. There was one issue that did bother us quite a bit.

When we first got him he would throw up and have diarrhea all the time, making it very hard to house break him. We tried different dog foods and finally went with Evo, even then he still would have bowel movements about five times a day. He also from the beginning could go days without eating and had little appetite. I of course talked to the vet about this, and she could give me no advice. I also posted all sorts of questions on dogster.com and there was no help there.

A while back to deal with the days without eating issues (I reasoned that if he did not eat there was no way of housebreaking him to a schedule) I started to add a tablespoon of Blue Buffalo canned food to his 1/3 cup of dry food. He started to eat then on schedule twice a day, though he still had five BM's a day. One day I ran out of that so I added two tablespoons of yogurt. He liked it so I started using for a few more day. To my surprise within two days he went from having five random BM's a day to two on schedule ones.

Well, as you can imagine this is a relief and also a surprise since I have not seen it mentioned before. I know that yogurt can recolonize the intestines of people who have bowel issues, but I never read about it in dogs. I also cannot say for sure that that is what caused the change in my dog, but it was enough of a radical change to make me wonder.

Again, love the website and I am looking forward to reading the rest.

Response:

Thanks for your email and great job figuring out how to help your dog. We always recommend trying SUGAR FREE plain whole milk yogurt, kefir or probiotic supplements when dealing with digestive issues, stress, antibiotic use and change of diet.

It's also sometimes helpful to add a digestive enzyme.

Cindy


Question:

Hello Cindy,

I am a pet sitter in NJ.  One of my clients has two wonderful GSD rescues.  The other day after heavy rains the backyard where they are let out by me was pretty muddy.  They needed to do their business and so they were out having a grand time for about 20 minutes.  I brought them into their kennel room and did my best to get the mud off, but they were quite muddy.  I contacted the client to give her a heads up that the dogs were muddy and might need a bath.  She came home and was completely freaked out.  She claimed that being muddy had traumatized her dogs.  I offered to return and help hose the dogs off and dry them.  She called her mother who was a groomer to find out if the dogs could be hosed off and was told doing so would make the dogs ill.  I thought GSDs were bred to be outside, had a double coat to protect them, and were a very hardy breed.  I cannot imagine that hosing healthy dogs off would harm them in any way, nor would allowing the mud to dry and brushing them out. Needless to say, I offered to pay for any bathing or grooming the dogs needed.  The dogs went to the groomer the next morning.

So my question is - will hosing off a GSD make them sick?  Will allowing mud to dry and later brushing it out make them ill?  These dogs have a heated kennel room.  Could an owner bring a GSD into the shower with them and wash dirt off without hurting the dog's health? 

Please let me know your expert opinion.  I want to provide the very best service to my clients and offer any common sense approaches to issues like this.

Thank you so much for your input!

Patricia

Answer:

Hosing off a dog will not make them ill.  I don’t understand the logic in that at all. I was a groomer for many years and have washed many dogs and have hosed off my own dogs with no problem.  With that said,  I do feel that it’s much easier to wait for the mud to dry (if it’s not super caked on) and just brush it out later.  

Cindy


Question:

After talking with the company that sale the Spectra vaccination the told me they no longer sell the Spectra vaccination with corona. They said it is not that big of a problem. I have Belgian Malinois puppies on their 9 week shots in ATL. George and Southern California. I also talk to a local Vet in California. What are your thoughts? Is this right or should I give the corona vaccination any way?

Thanks,
Tony

Answer:

We don’t vaccinate puppies at all anymore and haven’t for about 5 years now, I would suggest you read http://leerburg.com/vaccinosis.htm

In spite of all that, corona is a disease of really young puppies so giving the corona vaccine is unnecessary.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I enjoy and learn a lot from your Q&A sessions.  I'm a retired math teacher who has worked with dogs for a number of years. I also teach obedience training classes, read an awful lot about dogs, have reviewed many DVDs, including a number of Ed's, and attended seminars, etc. but I have never run across an explanation or answer to the following problem I am having with my now seven month old golden retriever puppy: He is an indiscriminate eater. He has eaten a sock, a rag, some vinyl base board molding, some plaster, and weed suppressor material to name a few. I think he is a Marley wannabe. We had to go to the Vet for some x-rays on one occasion when he got pretty sick. I know this sounds like I have not been very vigilant, but believe me I have tried. He is like a Houdini, now you see it then now you don't. He is very rarely off leash when he is not in a crate or in a gated laundry room. Otherwise, he is a great puppy who is s mart, loves to train, eats and sleeps well, and travels well in a car. He is a very happy, friendly fellow with no inappropiate fears, phobias, etc.and ....very sociable. 

My question is simply: Is he going to outgrow this tendency; and is there some explanation why he does this? And other than keeping him in a crate all the time, feeding him more(which I have tried) are there any other behavior management suggestions. I have never had a dog exhibit this kind of behavior before. I'm afraid he is going to end up in surgery one of these days and I'm going to end up with a big bill.

Thanks for your help,

Ron

Answer:

Some dogs do this for their entire lives, and it is definitely a life threatening problem.  The technical term for this is ‘pica.’

As the years have gone by I have become more involved in learning about alternative medicine and treatments.  I feel that there is some type of medical or psychological issue going on in dogs that do this; they feel some type of compulsion to eat non food items. If this was my dog, I would write down everything I could remember about this dogs behavior, diet and medical history, including vaccines and medicines and I would find a homeopath to work with. We have a list of vets that has been compiled by our customers and you can see it here. We are providing this list as a service; please do your own research into any health care provider you choose for your dogs.

I think many things that we just think are quirky behaviors in our dogs are actually symptoms of some underlying damage to their systems, many times from vaccines.  We do not vaccinate our dogs here.  http://leerburg.com/vaccinosis.htm  most traditional vets only treat illnesses that you can see, but they are not trained to dig down into the real cause of the dog’s problems.

In the meantime, you should monitor this dog all the time and possible even train him to wear a muzzle while you get to the root of the problem. 

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Ed:

I just wanted to run something by you and see if you have any ideas about what may be going on with our male GSD, Samson, who will be 2yrs old in April.  The other day he was walked as usual in the morning w/ our female – walked fine, and then later in the morning we noticed him limping.  He also seemed to be very lethargic, wouldn’t eat much, and was taken to the vet.  The vet took some blood and later a urine sample and everything seemed ok. She said he had a slight fever and gave him some anti-inflammatory medicine. But she could not identify a problem causing the slight limp. A day or so later the limp seemed to go away and he was fine on walks, but still not eating a whole lot.  Tonight he seems very lethargic and now has a 103.7 fever.  He recently got a kennel cough shot and the vet swears that could not have caused any problems, but ever since he got that shot he doesn’t seem to be the same.  He has also lost about 5 lbs in the past month and has not been finishing his food most times…

Any ideas?

Jason

Answer:

What you are experiencing is Vaccinosis and an incompetent Vet.

You can read what I have written about Vaccinosis on my web site. If you want to provide the name of this vet I will post it on my incompetent vet page.

This is a very sad situation. Its an example of why I have little to NO RESPECT for vets. They prostitute themselves to vaccination and then deny responsibility when things like this happen.

Please pass this on to your Vet

Kind Regards,
Ed


Question:

Dear Cindy:

I have a female German shepherd, born March 29th 2004. She has developed a limp in her left rear leg.

I have been a dog owner for at least fifty years. I have had two other shepherds.

We live on a fairly large ranch. She is very active most of the day and evening I might add. Our land adjoins some pretty wild country. Needless to say she stays busy.

She is about 5-10 lbs overweight. She is big dog, weighs in at 88 lbs. I have never been satisfied with her nutrition. It is very basic off the shelf store bought products. I am willing to do some pretty drastic changing in that area. I just don’t know for sure what to do.

I give her a pretty good massage each day, especially on her sore leg. Whatever is the problem is somewhat elusive in that I cannot get any kind of reaction from her in any portion of her foot, leg, hip area, muscle area or bones. When she gets loose, which happens fairly quickly, she can look and act pretty normal. In fact the limp might not be obvious at all. If she has been active, when she rests and goes to get up it is very noticeably.

I am not a big believer in vets, so have been reluctant to go that route. If you any recommendations I would be greatly appreciative.

Thank you in advance,
Roger

Answer:

I think if I had a dog with a persistent limp that improves as she gets up and moves around I would suspect a joint problem.  the only way for a diagnosis it to have hip x-rays taken.  If she has hip dysplasia or an injury to the joint, she may require some supplementation or exercise restrictions and will most definitely want to be kept thinner.

We also have a great section on feeding dogs, I think you’ll find a lot of helpful information there. If she does have some arthritis and joint inflammation, changing her diet to completely grain free can help her tremendously.

If you do take her for x-rays, I would print this out and take it with you. I’m amazed at how many vets have no idea how to take a proper hip radiograph. 

Good luck with her, I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

I have three pugs, one of which is having some problems right now.  I didn't realize it until recently, but his knuckling over (pretty minor) is probably caused by too much protein.  I have tried several lower protein dog foods and have not found one that has solved the problem.  I had him on Eagle Pack (not the holistic) for about 3 weeks and he turned up with blood in his urine.  I immediately switched him to the holistic Solid Gold food and added Apple Cider Vinegar with water to his food to help clear out the bladder problem.  I'm VERY frustrated because now he is eating poop again!  So my question is which Honest Kitchen food would you recommend?  I need to keep his protein down to help eliminate the knuckling over, but want to make sure that he gets all the proper nutrients.

Terri

Answer:

Have you had this dog looked at by a vet who is well versed in nutrition?  I would definitely be concerned about knuckling over and blood in the urine.  Depending on your dog’s age, this could be a metabolic issue or other problem which may be quite serious. 

I would advise finding a GOOD vet and having bloodwork and a thorough exam before proceeding with any more diet changes.

We have a list of vets that has been compiled by our customers and you can see it here. We are providing this list as a service; please do your own research into any health care provider you choose for your dogs.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I came across your site tonight on a Google search re above, fascinating as I have golden retrievers, you are now in 'favorites' I need time to read and absorb so much information on HD. We do not have so much in UK.

My question is, & I seem to have something in the back of my mind, not to x ray nor put a bitch near her season under anesthetic but cannot totally remember the reasons why, some-one called and asked for advice, had been told by receptionist that there was absolutely no risk.

I read in one of your replies that you never x ray when in season but try & swim them for a month. Please can you tell me your reasons for this & results. What are the risks to have them x rayed with a sedative for the hips, which we still have many vets happy to do so, & incidentally they are normally ex-panelists or very experienced responsible vets.

What a fantastic site & thank you all for sharing with us.

Kind Regards,
John & Beryl

Answer:

The reply from me that you are referring to is for x-raying hips.  When females are in season, they produce a hormone that causes the ligaments to become very loose.  This can negatively affect the results of a hip evaluation.

I don’t ever have my dogs sedated for hip x-rays anyway, I have a great vet that can do OFA quality films without the anesthesia.  It’s safer for the dog and cheaper too.

Cindy


Question:

My 8 month old GSD pup was diagnosed with giardia. He is currently on his third dose of panacur and metro. He seems to be maintaining his weight and has a healthy appetite. In doing some reading, there are cases where the dogs die from heart or kidney failure with this parasite condition if not treated. In your experience, will most dogs eventually respond to the meds or build an immunity to the giardia? I am concerned as the previous two treatments were not effective. Thanks so much for any input you could provide on this topic.

Answer:

Are you absolutely sure the dog has giardia? It’s sometimes hard to accurately diagnose, and some vets just treat for it because they aren’t sure what else to do.

I haven’t ever had a dog with giardia, but it’s my understanding that once the dog has it that it can flare up under times of stress. I don’t know that it ever really is “gone.” I do know that if I had a dog with giardia, I would not vaccinate him for anything ever again. 

I’d also do as much as I can to boost his system and make him healthy in the ways I can control, like an all natural raw diet (no processed stuff).

If you dog is on his 3rd round of meds and it’s not helped him, if this was my dog I’d probably find another vet and get a second opinion. We have a list of vets that has been compiled by our customers and you can see it here. We are providing this list as a service; please do your own research into any health care provider you choose for your dogs.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum. I’m sure giardia has been discussed on our forum at some point, the search function will find it on our website if it’s been written about.

Good luck with your dog let me know how he does.

Cindy


Question:

Out of our litter of 10, I noticed one female with what I believe to be an inguinal hernia. She is 4 weeks old, acting just like the others. Our vet said to watch her closely and will examine her at her 8 week checkup.

But I just  wanted your opinion on this matter...

1. Do you agree on waiting to have her examined?

2. Is it ok to wait until she is spayed to fix it?

3. Do you believe this is a hereditary birth defect?

4. Is there anything I can do to help now?

Again thanks so much for your time.

Answer:

Until the vet looks at this, it’s not possible to give an opinion as to whether this should be fixed surgically or if it even warrants surgery at all.

I’d take the pup in for a checkup.  I had a pup that I purchased from another breeder need emergency surgery due to a loop of intestine slipping into the opening from an undetected inguinal hernia.  Better safe than sorry when it comes to something like this.

Whether it’s hereditary or not, I don’t know.  Umbilical hernias do tend to run in families, I’m not sure about inguinal hernias.

Cindy


Question:

I was looking up on-line about possibilities for natural joint pain and arthritis management in dogs and came upon your information. I just had a few questions regarding the alfalfa supplement you carry:

1) Is this formulated through a veterinarian or someone who knows about supplements?

2) Is this product tested and considered safe?

3) Can pain meds be used with this product if a sudden injury took place and the animal needed stronger medication?

4) Is this safe to use with glucosamine/chondroitin products? If yes then, are best results seen with the use of both together?

I would like to find an economical alternative to expensive prescription pain meds, but I don't want to use anything where the safety is questionable. Can you help me with my questions? Thank you in advance for your time!

Becca

Answer:

Alfalfa is a food, and it is considered 'safe' but some dogs are sensitive to it. (i.e. itching) we purchase our alfalfa from an herb company and it is made for human consumption. Alfalfa is not formulated, it's a plant that is dried and ground into powder.

Have you consulted with a holistic/alternative veterinarian? I would also recommend evaluating the overall diet of your dogs if you are concerned about health and natural remedies. If you are feeding a commercially prepared diet of any type, this would be the first thing I would change for an arthritic dog. Grains in any form are a known aggravation to arthritis and inflammation.

We also have a great section on feeding dogs, I think you'll find a lot of helpful information there.

We have a list of vets that has been compiled by our customers. We are providing this list as a service; please do your own research into any health care provider you choose for your dogs.

Cindy


Question:

Cindy,

As always, your website and numerous available resources are extremely helpful.  I have a question regarding the timing of neutering a male puppy. I know the 8 weeks to 8 months DVD recommends 6 months of age, however, on my last vet visit with my 4 month old male, she recommended taking care of it at 5 months. Her rationale was that the dog was large enough for the procedure. I would estimate my male puppy's weight to be approximately 50 lbs. at 4.5 months, which could mean a weight of 55 - 60 lbs. at the time of neutering. My question; is there any reason to wait another month? Will I be limiting any development of the dog by having the procedure done at 5 months? Just wanted to gain some insight on the pros and cons (if any) here. Thanks for your help in advance.

Regards,
Jeff

Answer:

For the average pet dog in a home that the owner may not be able to prevent accidental breeding, we recommend 6 months.  Personally, I’d wait a longer than that.  In my opinion (and I have more of a natural rearing/holistic way of thinking about dogs than most people) dogs need the hormones produced by their sexual organs for a variety of reasons.  I want my dog to be physically and mentally mature, and I don’t believe that they develop to their potential by neutering before they all fully grown.  I don’t neuter any of my dogs until they are 2 years of age (if I do neuter them at all).

Vets will push for early neutering, but unless accidental breeding is a big risk I don’t agree with it.  It does nothing to curb dominance (although many vets will tell you it does).

I believe this topic is discussed at length on our forum, here is the link to the discussion forum http://leerburg.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/ubb/cfrm  There is a search box on the left side, if you type in your key words there you will find the information you are looking for.

Here is an article written by a vet, and even if your dog is not going to be an “athlete” it brings up things to think about. http://www.caninesports.com/SpayNeuter.html

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have heard mixed reviews on giving our dog rawhide chew bones. Anything from they are "ok" to "bad for their teeth" to "they will kill your dog because if a piece is swallowed it will swell and choke them or block their intestines." What are your thoughts? Thanks so much.

Lisa

Answer:

I would never give rawhide bones. I don’t believe they are healthy for dogs, physically or emotionally. I don’t want my dogs to get satisfaction from tearing up and swallowing items and that is what they do with rawhides.

They also can cause blockages as you mentioned or they may be treated with dangerous chemicals that I do not want my dog ingesting.

I give knuckle bones to my dogs, raw and from the butcher shop.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I read the newsletter every week.  I have not seen anything about aging dogs.

I have an 8 yr. female spayed Akita. She is quite healthy, fit, and well trained and socialized. I can honestly say she has no behavior problems...she is a pleasure to own.

I've noticed for the last year or two she seems less responsive, less active and less eager.  No big surprise there, I guess. She seems less interested in traveling and shows  less confidence around other dogs. That is a surprise.

My questions are: What do you think are reasonable expectations and demands from a Senior dog? How do we know what is expecting too much and what we should let slide because he/she is getting old? I mean in terms of obedience and performance such as a simple recall or heeling.  She was once quick and clean, but now sometimes just gives me the blank gaze. I certainly don't like correcting the old girl, but I must expect some level of compliance. What advise would you give to the owners of older dogs to better understand how to treat them.

Thanks,
Troy

Answer:

Whenever a dog of any age has a change like this I think a thorough physical is in order. Older dogs may have some hidden issues that won’t be obvious at first. She may be experiencing some arthritis, some hearing or vision issues.  I wouldn’t give any corrections at all, without knowing the status of your older girl.

I would probably have a blood panel run on her too, including thyroid function and if you don’t have her on a top notch diet, I would consider that as well. If she’s on kibble and you don’t wish to change her to a raw diet, you may want to investigate cutting grains out of her diet completely. Grain causes inflammation and can aggravate arthritis and other issues.

I would guess that your dog is not being disobedient but may merely be aging a bit. I feel that the diet and health care choices we make for our dogs can prematurely age them.  (just like us, eating processed food and being exposed to toxins, vaccines and chemicals we don’t need).

Since I don’t know what you feed your dog or your health care regimen, I’m only throwing ideas out there.  I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Ed/Cindy -

Can you tell me what you may know about this?  I have a 6 -month old male GSD - both of his testicles have not descended - he has to have surgery next week - I did not buy him for breeding purposes - that is not the problem - I just want to make sure that I am doing the right thing and what problems he may have in the future.  Thanks for any help. 

Julie

Answer:

Let me begin by saying I have bred over 350 liters of GSD’s in the past 35 years.

Testicles should be down by 6 months but they can come down as late as 12 months.

If you only want a pet then you should probably neuter the dog now. If you expect some form of personal protection (even if you’re not going to train for it) from the dog then it should not be neutered until its 24 to 30 months old. It needs the hormones to go through puberty.

Kind Regards,
Ed Frawley


Question:

Hi Cindy, took my dog Nika to vet for skin problems. She said she has subcutaneous cyst. Her pores aren't releasing the natural oil so it is plugging leaving a lump on her bum and some are scabbing over. Is there anything different for shampooing or combing that can be done to prevent it. What do you wash your dogs with? Some people use baby shampoo and then conditioner, others use medicated, what is the best at least for you. Thanks so much Cindy.
Michelle

Answer:

I really like this shampoo but I don’t think bathing will prevent sebaceous cysts from forming, I think a lot of it depends on the genetics & age of the dog and may be linked to diet.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Ed,

Our female GSD was diagnosed with pannus about 7 months ago (we live at almost 7000 feet).

The vet said in order to prevent her getting blind we have to put one drop twice a day of "neomycin and polymyxin B Sulfates and Dexamethasone Ophtalmic suspension" in each eye for the rest of her life. We are worried about the steroids. Please let us know what you think, if you have any experience about that disease.

Thanks so much,
Steffi

Answer:

I think you are correct to be concerned about the long term use of steroids. A friend of mine had a dog with pannus and later found out that the eye drops she was using contributed to cancer which ultimately killed her dog at a very young age.

http://www.animal-eye-specialists.com/pannus.htm  here’s a link I found, it appears that cyclosporine can be used in place of the steroids.  I think if I was in your position I would find an eye specialist, not a regular vet and get another opinion and voice your concerns.  I don’t know what state you live in but I would also so about getting vaccination waivers for your female, and NEVER vaccinate her again.  Since this may be an immune system issue, giving vaccines would be detrimental to her health.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Cindy,

I was looking at the biweekly newsletter and saw the herbal and holistic vitamins. I have a 4 year old beagle and she sometimes gets a little over excited and anxious when I bring her out to places. I am a trainer and she is getting much better with the help of training. She has no phobias or extreme anxieties, but I was wondering if maybe one of the calming or anxiety pills or supplements that you have may help out a bit. As long as its 100% natural I have no problem giving it to her. If not, I rather keep moving forward with just the training. But I was wondering if you ever had a situation like this and what your advice is and if you do advise one of the herbal supplements, which one is best?

Thanks,
-Lisa

Answer:

Depending on how often you take her out, would determine which product I recommend.

If you take her out regularly (multiple times a week) I’d use the Calm Anxiety. This product is given daily, and takes several weeks to show results.

If you only take her out occasionally or she only becomes anxious once in a while then I’d recommend Rescue Remedy.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

Big fan of the website. I love it. It has really helped me and my wife. I have a bunch of your DVDs, but I do have a question. My wife and I have a 10 month GSD.  We just had to take him to the vet yesterday for a minor limp he has with his front paw. He was weighed and is currently 85 lbs. He is a great dog, lots of energy and no dominance issues.  The vet checked his leg and didn't see anything wrong with it. She gave us some muscle relaxers to give him until next week and if limp continues they want to bring him in, knock him out and take some X-rays. They said we should think about having him neutered at the same time. Now, when we purchased him from the breeder at 3 months old he had one testicle that did not fall. The vet said this is somewhat normal and we wait & see if it falls in a few months.  Well, when we took him yesterday to the vet, she checked him out and said the testicle did fall and everything was fine. I am a little cautious on getting him neutered right now.  I don't plan on breeding him but we purchased him for a pet and guard dog. He is really great at barking and protecting the house so far. (we live out in the woods in log cabin and its very secluded, my wife loves the idea of a protection dog out here). My question is should we wait to have him neutered? I  want him to grow to his full maturity and potential and not loose any of his fight or aggression. I am concerned with what I have read about his last testicle taking a few months to finally fall. What should I be concerned with here and I am doing the right thing by waiting to get him neutered or not neutered at all.  Thanks in advance I really look for to hearing from you.

Thankfully,
Darren

Answer:

I don’t ever neuter a dog I plan on training in protection until they are over 24 months old.  I want them to be physically and mentally mature before I neuter.

My guess is that your dog may have pano, if you do a search on our web site (upper left corner search function) you’ll find a lot of info. No matter what the vet finds, I’d be reluctant to neuter at this time. I also am not sure why the vet would need to knock him out for x-rays?  I’d do some looking around for a vet who is skilled in taking x-rays without anesthesia. I won’t knock any of my dogs out, even for OFA x-rays I take them to a clinic where all the vets (and there are over ½ a dozen of them) can take OFA x-rays without the need to knock them out. It’s a bit more work on their part, but why anesthetize a dog for a procedure unless it’s absolutely necessary? 

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

My Daughter thinks she's noticed a problem without almost six year old male Aussie's rear leg. Is it too early to start giving him Glucosamine and if so, do you have any recommendations as what to start him on as a preventative for future years. Also is it necessary? Our previous two male dogs really had problems in the end with arthritis. Thank you.

Beverly

Answer:

It’s never too early to give glucosamine; it can be given whenever the dog needs it.  Have you had the dog to a vet to determine what the issue is? If it’s arthritis, I do have some recommendations for your dog. If it’s an injury, glucosamine probably won’t make a noticeable difference.

I’ve started a new regimen with my old dog here, I give the supplement Soothe Arthritis AND our liquid Syn-Flex. Those 2 products together have a made a big difference in my dog’s mobility. Glucosamine wasn’t doing much for her when I tried it alone.

Cindy


Question:

Hello Cindy,

I own two German Shepherds, one a Leistungszucht, the other Hochzucht. my question for you, if you are able to answer it for me, is that both of my GSD's are excellent dogs, well trained, well mannered, but I have noticed that whenever my wife and I get out of the bed, or we get ready to leave the house with them, they both shake their backs (You know something like when dogs leave the water they shake the water off of them), then they yawn (with a funny sound)..is this due to excitement? Or are they telling me something?

I have bought many of your videos in the past on obedience and behavior, but nothing about the above mention.

This is something fairly new to me. I mean my Leistungszucht, she just turn 2 years old this month, my male, the Hochzucht just recently turned 1 years old, and was bought here in Germany from a well known professional breeder.

Mit freundlichen Gruß

Michael

Answer:

When dogs shake like that and yawn, those are called ‘calming signals’. People actually yawn like this too. When dogs become excited or anxious they do this to calm themselves and others around them. 

We have a couple of really interesting books that detail dog body language, I highly recommend them.

Here are the links. 

Canine Body Language
Canine Behavior

If you pay close attention to your dogs, you will see they do this a lot. My own dogs ‘shake’ many times a day when they are playing, usually right after it starts to get too rough. They stop, look away from each other and shake. It’s like a TIME OUT.

If you get our newsletter and you’ve watched any of the training clips of my young dog Rush, you’ll see that he also does this in training quite a bit.  

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

I will be getting a eight week old GSD in a couple weeks and was hoping to get your opinion on when to spay. There is no doubt that I will spay I just seem to keep getting conflicting answers on WHEN to spay. My Vet suggests 6 months (as is standard) and my breeder suggest 18 to 24 months. I know the health benefits (and risks) of spaying at six months, but didn't get a straight answer from my breeder about why I should wait. I read somewhere that spaying a GSD before two years causes them to appear masculine and wasn't sure if there was any truth to it. I was just hoping to get an opinion from you about when to spay and why I'm hearing to wait until two years from GSD breeders and such. (I do not plan to do protection work or bite sports (way too inexperienced to do it properly) but do plan on doing competition obedience if that helps). Ultimately I want to do what's best for my new companion and I know I'll get a straight (and hopefully brutally honest :D ) response from you.

Thanks for your time,
Brittney

Answer:

I agree with your breeder.

Here is an article about early spay and neuter. As the article states it is "one veterinarians opinion," but it does have some good references.
http://www.caninesports.com/SpayNeuter.html

Cindy


Question:

Hello Cindy!
 
My husband and I had quite the scare this week and would like to know if you have heard of this situation before.
 
We brought our 8 month old male GSD to get neutered - We got a call at 1pm from the vet stating they could not complete the surgery as he went into premature ventricular contractions within 5 minutes of being under.  They kept him on the EKG all day and he had 3 or 4 episodes of arrhythmias during this time.
 
He is in great health and comes from a long line of healthy dogs.  I called the breeder and she stated none of her dogs have this congenital defect and she has done many genetic studies as she is breeding panda shepherds. We are worried as the vet stated our dog may just drop dead one day due to this or may need a pacemaker.
 
My question is: Is it possible that this PVC was due to the anesthesia and the acepromazine given to him.  He also had his flea and tick tx given 2 days prior to surgery.  For such a healthy pup and so well behaved we would hate to lose him - also are there alternatives to the conventional surgical neuter
 
Yael

Answer:

I think I might reconsider neutering this dog, or at least postpone it til he is older. I’m not a vet so I can’t speculate on the reasons why this happened.

I would also recommend getting a thorough exam from a cardiologist.  Without getting an expert evaluation from a qualified expert, it’s hard to say what the underlying issue could be.  

I wish you the best with your dog, let me know what you find out.

Cindy


Question:

I'm writing on behalf of one of my Shetland Sheepdog puppies - well, now he's almost a year old - whom I co-own but who lives with his primary owners in another state. This puppy has a chewing/eating problem that I am very concerned about. He chews on everything and anything, to the point that he has landed in the emergency room twice. The family has tried keeping him somewhat confined (x-pen) when they can't directly supervise him; they have muzzled him when out of doors but he has literally eaten through 5 muzzles of different sorts. He can't be left unsupervised at all without having him eating or chewing.

The family has a large yard.  The puppy seems to have plenty of exercise and is taking regular agility lessons; he will also be (if he isn't already) taking herding lessons in addition to learning how to help with the 6 sheep owned by the family. He is one of 4 Shelties in the household, none of whom exhibit this behavior - nor have any of the other puppies that I have ever bred. This puppy is unneutered - we hope that he has the potential for the conformation ring and possibly for breeding - but I do wonder if neutering would have any effect on this very undesirable behavior. Someone said it is a form of displaced aggression and that neutering would help to diminish it.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Cathy

Answer:

I think for something like this I would consult with a homeopath or at the very least a holistic vet.  Pica is something I feel may be linked to vaccinosis or vaccine damage.  It may be linked to other health issues.  A thorough blood work up and exam are in order.

Here are some of the common reasons a dog craves and eats non food items

·Behavioral disorders

·Primary gastrointestinal mal digestive and mal absorptive disorders (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, severe inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal lymphosarcoma)

·Endocrine disorders (hyperadrenocorticism, diabetes mellitus) cause polyphagia (increased appetite)

·Iron deficiency anemia

I would disagree with displaced aggression, it’s more of an obsessive/compulsive disorder and not an aggression issue. Neutering a dog because of pica is a stretch. I certainly wouldn’t neuter him at this point.

We have a list of vets that has been compiled by our customers and you can see it here. We are providing this list as a service; please do your own research into any health care provider you choose for your dogs.

I hope this helps, let me know what you find out.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

Because of your wonderful website and your excellent advice my gsd is thriving on a raw diet, I have also added the vitamins you have suggested. The allergy vitamin is working wonders, thank you. Now for my next question.

Is there anything we can give him to decrease the acidity in his urine? We have a small back yard with dead patches of grass, it looks really bad.

Thanks,
Patti

Answer:

There is nothing that I am aware of you can give your dog for this that won’t affect his health.  There may be something out there, but I am not aware of it.

Many people with this issue, simply water the grass quite heavily on the areas the dog urinate or they make a designated potty area with pea gravel or mulch.

You may want to join our discussion forum too, it's a great resource.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

I am so glad to have found your web site today while searching for information about using muzzles and the proper fit of prong collars.

My ten-month old Westie eats rocks. She has already had two surgeries to remove rocks from her stomach. A small path in my garden is where she gets the rocks and temporarily, I have covered the path with landscape cloth, thinking to remove them (but it will be hard to be sure I get them all). Meanwhile she aggressively digs at the landscape cloth until she can access the rocks.

The vet says she will always have to wear a muzzle when outside anywhere. This, I don't believe, will be a good solution. She is very loving, happy, good-natured dog and I don't want to do anything to change her lovely temperament, and currently a great life-style. She's had some obedience training and is cooperative.

She (Susannah) is right at 12 pounds now and probably will weigh about 14-15 lbs when grown, based on her mother's size.

Sorry to go on so long. My question is would using the "lap dogs" remote collar work to make her hate rocks a good idea? Does the DVD give all the details about its proper use? Would she have to wear it inside the house, too? Would she end up hating the collar, too?

Thank you for the great information on your site!

Many thanks for any advice about my rock-eating puppy.

Kathy
Charlotte, North Carolina

Answer:

Using a remote collar to reinforce a YUCK or LEAVE IT command is an option, and for her safety is recommended. I would also use a muzzle until you figure out whether this is something that can be fixed or if it will be a lifetime of management.

I would probably look into a medical reason for the obsessive rock eating. Many puppies do this for a few weeks but they quickly outgrow it. For your dog to be so obsessed leads me to believe there may be more going on than just a behavioral issue.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum. Type in the words PICA and you will find a lot of information on this.

Here is a link to a Q & A I answered about this last week.

The DVDs I would recommend for you are the following:

Pack Structure for the Family Pet
Basic Dog Obedience
Electric collar Training for the Pet Owner

I don’t have a lot of experience with the lap dog trainer but I think for your needs it would be fine.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy:

Thanks so much for all your wonderful work. I have taken to heart your advice about over vaccination after losing my beloved dog 2 years ago. I had to put her in a kennel (big mistake) for almost two weeks as we were leaving the country and had no one to watch her. At the time I was ignorant of all this and followed their rules about kennel cough, bordatella, parvo, etc. They required that all these be given before they would board her. WIthin a week after we brought her home she fell ill and never recovered - pancreatitis, and ultimately kidney failure. After many trips to the vet and lots of money spent, we finally had to put her to sleep. I am so thankful I stumbled upon your website. I tell all my friends with pets about it.

Long story short, I have another dog almost a year old now and have not given her any vaccinations other than what the breeder gave her. I have a very understanding vet with regard to all this as well as feeding a raw diet. However, she says I should give the dog heartworm meds by mouth and use the flea control oil that is applied to the skin at the nape of the neck. Is this harmful and should I be doing this? Also our state mandates a rabies vaccine. I don't want to break any laws, so what happens if I don't decide to get this? What are the chances of the dog actually getting rabies if I don't vaccinate?

Thanks again.

Susan

Answer:

Depending on where you live I would probably recommend the heartworm meds but I don't like to use that flea medication. It goes against everything I believe in to put poison on my dog and let it absorb through the skin. We don't use any of those topicals and we have never had any fleas on our dogs.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have.. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A's and posts on our forum. There is a ton of info about fleas, ticks and heartworm meds on our website.

We just got a new DVD in yesterday, called In Search of the Truth about Dogs, it's a video you may want to recommend to your friends with dogs. You can read the write up on the webpage.

The only way for a dog to actually get rabies is for a rabid animal to bite them. So, depending on where you live, your dog needs to be out of your control (off leash or loose) and needs to come into contact with a rabid animal AND they need to be bitten. For many dogs the odds of this happening is almost nil. You have to weigh the benefits and risks for your own situation.

As for the legal aspect, I can't comment on that. The laws vary from state to state.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

I have a 4 lb puppy that I took to the vet yesterday evening. I use this particular vet for simple little things because he is quite old. He gave me Amoxi-liquid and told me to give her 1 ml twice per day. 

I wanted to double-check his dosage since he is frequently wrong about things. I have searched the internet and it tells me 5mg/1 lb, BUT, I do not think that mg and ml are equivalent so I'm not sure if 1 ml twice a day is the correct dose and again, she is 4 lbs. 

Any help??

Nancy

Answer:

I think the best advice I can give you would be to find a vet who is qualified to prescribe medication properly. I am not a vet or a health care professional, I don’t know what is wrong with your puppy and I don’t know the strength of the antibiotic that was prescribed. I am not a pharmacist and I am not qualified to prescribe medications, especially over the internet.

I’m not trying to be harsh but I wouldn’t use a vet who is “frequently wrong about things.” It could cost a puppy their life.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

Was wondering if maybe you could shed some light on my situation pertaining to my 2 year old GS? I Have been having some really bad weight issues regarding my GS, as a pup he looked great then about 14 months old I started to notice his hip bones and rear end looking rather skinny. He has had all his shots, had him on raw since a pup but took him off for about 9 months and now I seem to be having a bad weight issue with him gaining weight! I feed raw hamburger, vegetables, salmon oil etc.

Any advice?

Awaiting answer,
Stan

Answer:

If you are worried about the weight loss, then I’d have a stool sample analyzed by a vet and I may have a thorough exam.  If the dog seems hungry all the time but isn’t gaining weight, no matter how much you feed then I would ask your vet to run a test for EPI-exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.

Without knowing the diet you feed specifically, I would mention that hamburger, vegetables and salmon oil is not a suitable diet for a dog. The 2 best books for learning about the raw diet are Raw Dog Food and Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats. We give both these books to our puppy customers and rarely have questions about the diet

We also have a great section on feeding dogs, I think you’ll find a lot of helpful information there.

Cindy


Question:

Cindy,

I have a female Sheppard that is 2 years old. I have decided to have her spayed. My problem is, should I leave the ovaries in or remove them? I realize she will still go into heat, but I am afraid  the loss of estrogen on such young female may lead to a shorter life span and possible change in behavior. What do you think?

Thanks,
Steve

Answer:

Hi Steve,

I don’t have any experience with leaving the ovaries in a spayed bitch. I typically don’t spay until a long time after 2 and right now I have two bitches that are scheduled for a spay. One is almost 5 and the other is almost 8 years old. I’ll do a total ovariohysterectomy for both of them. I’m torn between leaving them intact, because like you I worry about the repercussions of the loss of estrogen.

You may want to search the website using specific search terms AND consult with a repro vet and find out the pros and cons on this. I’d be interested to hear what you find out. I’d also direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website. 

I’m sorry I’m not more help! 

Cindy


Question:

I have a question for you about my dog's diet (I have a 6 month old GSD. Her name is Molly, she is in India).

My parents are strict vegetarian so Molly is a vegetarian too :) But she does get to eat eggs in winter months. Not these days as its scorching hot.

My mum is feeding her three meals a day, comprising of milk (only a glass full), wholemeal bread, white rice, lots of cooked vegetables, corn flakes and soya chunks. It is quite varied and she puts in a lot of effort to ensure Molly gets a healthy diet. Since it is quite hot, and Molly has thick black hair, my mum feeds her homemade buttermilk in between meals at 11 o'clock - Molly loves it!

I have been told milk isn't good for her, is that right ?

Someone suggested a teaspoon of cod liver oil and vegetable oil (uncooked) with her last meal for the day, shall we start that?

I understand if you are busy and unable to respond. I just thought I'll try and get an experts opinion.

Answer:

Feeding a dog a vegetarian diet is not recommended. I understand that humans can choose to be vegetarians, but dogs are carnivores and it’s actually harmful to their internal organs to be fed a vegetarian diet. I can’t stress this enough. Dogs do not have the same enzymes we do and can’t properly digest plant based diets. They may survive on a vegetarian diet but they certainly won’t thrive. I would NEVER raise a puppy on a diet such as your parents are feeding, I would not be surprised for skeletal problems or other health issues to appear.

If they want to do the best for Molly, they need to research what an appropriate diet is for a carnivore. If they do not want to feed her a raw meat diet, then there are commercial foods out there that will be much healthier for her. The 2 best books for learning about the raw diet are Raw Dog Food and Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats.  We give both these books to our puppy customers and rarely have questions about the diet

We also have a great section on feeding dogs, I think you’ll find a lot of helpful information there.  

We don’t recommend milk, but yogurt or kefir is ok.  No cod liver oil or vegetable oil, but fish body oil like Salmon Oil.  When giving Salmon Oil you must also give Vitamin E along with it.

Please consult with your parents about changing Molly to the correct diet.  It’s very important.

Cindy


Question:

Hello Cindy,

Do you have any good referrals for my needing to buy helps for my 12 year old dog who needs a rear harness to help her get up, and other such equipment?

Also, would syn-flex or grand flex be best for her progressed hip dysplasia?

Thank you so much.

Dodie

Answer:

I don’t know where to get the rear harness, I’m sorry.

For a dog with hip issues and pain, I would actually prescribe a combination of supplements. I have an older dog that takes this combination and it’s helped her so much

Syn-Flex
Soothe Arthritis
Acute Trauma

It may take 2-3 weeks before you see major improvement but with my own dog, I saw her attitude improve after about 10 days. I am getting similar reports from others who are using this regimen as well.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Email:

I am sending you this e-mail because we all have one thing in common. We love dogs, especially GSD's. I, personally, have now had to treat two dogs that I have rescued who were diagnosed with EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency or some know it as Pancreatitis). I have found an excellent web site that has a tremendous amount of info concerning this horrible disease. My hope is that you will keep this e-mail to pass along to a dog owner in the event that their dog is unfortunately afflicted with this disease.
http://www.epi4dogs.com/

Thanks,
--Steve


Question:

I have been hearing a lot of unfounded rumor on grapes and avocado and I am wondering why not what is wrong with these? Grapes is one of the fruits that Ian Billinghurst mentions in the barf diet and I believe sold gold health makers of Hunden Flocken and Sea meal to name a few products I am using use Avocado in one of their treats.

Mike

Answer:

I don’t believe these are unfounded rumors. It’s well documented that grapes and avocados CAN cause health challenges in dogs. This doesn’t mean that all dogs will have an issue and it may be that a small amount of these foods won’t cause a perceptible problem but why take the chance? Since no one can agree on how much it takes to cause a toxic reaction I choose not to risk my dogs’ health.

Here’s a list we have compiled of toxic foods http://leerburg.com/toxicfoods.htm

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

I am writing to you because I found your question and answer forum while doing a Google internet search.

Attached please find 3 pictures of our beautiful chow chow mix named Ginger. We adopted her from a rescue/adoption placement agency called Angel's Dogs in Connecticut. They told us that Ginger had come from a "high kill shelter"  in GA. We have only had Ginger since last October, 2008. Ginger just passed away yesterday, Sunday, June 7, 2009. She was playing with our other dog, Chloe, a fox hound mix in our back yard. They were running and chasing each other, when all of the sudden Ginger collapsed and stopped breathing. My husband was home at the time and went to try to revive her. Unfortunately, she never regained consciousness and he took her to the near by animal hospital where they pronounced her dead.

My question to you is, what in your opinion might have caused this? Are chow chow mix dogs prone to dying young or this type of an episode? Ginger was just about a year old and we planned on spending many more years with her. I can't tell you how sad this has made us.

Thank you for reading my email, please feel free to put the pictures of Ginger on your website if you would like to.  If you have any opinions about our dog that you might like to share with me, please feel free to email me back. Thank you so much and god bless.

Janet

dog dog
dog

Answer:

I’m sorry to hear about the loss of Ginger. Without an autopsy, I’m afraid it’s hard to guess at what caused her untimely death.  Maybe a heart defect or embolism ?

I just lost one of my own dogs suddenly a few weeks ago, and I know how painful it is.  I’m very sorry.

Cindy


Comment:

Dear Cindy,

I was reading your Q&A section and noticed the question one person had about Bloat having lost one of their dogs to Bloat.

I have a 9 month old, rough-coated Collie whom I adopted from her Breeder when she was 4 years of age. Not too long after she was living with me, she became upset, restless coming to me as if terrified. This was just after I had exercised her and mistakenly encouraged her to drink too quickly after coming back inside. My dog and I were both blessed in that, although she bloated, she did not have any Torsion. My Vet Tubed her, gave her Mylanta via the tube, and she recovered. But from that time on she remained very susceptible to bloating.

I tried wetting her kibble but what helped the most was changing her diet to a raw, natural diet. Sometimes I use Honest Kitchen Force, other times I give her Aunt Jenney's which comes packaged frozen. The Veterinarian from the Collie Health Foundation also recommended that I give my dog a "Gas-X" tab with meals. After eating, my dog now routinely comes to me to have her sides patted at which time she usually burps!!! And they use the word "Dumb" when talking about animals!!!

For what it's worth, my dog is very sweet and sensitive and most definitely fits the personality profile that some say is common in dogs who suffer from bloat.

Needless to say, I have never again, fed or watered my dog immediately after exercising nor do I encourage her to drink. I find she knows far better than I when and if she needs to drink water.

Thank you and Ed for this great site and newsletter,
Janet


Comment:

Dear Cindy and Ed,

This is some info I think you guys might wish to take on board. It's what we do here when driving or mustering in the Australian Outback & when a working dog, horse or even cattle overheat. With our extremes of hot dry desert to bloody awful dripping wet, non breathable tropical humidity here, overheating usually happens when you are sometimes hundreds of miles away from any sort of veterinary help. Even a smooth enough strip of land for the Flying Doctor plane to use, can be hundreds of miles away! Overheating is something we learn to deal with early on, or we'd never have had any dogs left here.

These are the things we watch out for, then what we do. Even with a dog that is almost blown with overheating, this will save them from complications later on. The dogs mouth changes from a normal panting shape, to the wider (deeper-grinning) shape which is the beginning of what we call a 'gaping' pant. Even the throat deepens with each breath. Their side's deepen inwards with each breath, their ribs seem to barrel out a bit, & they pant differently. Their eye's will change depth of color as their pupils dilate from lack of oxygen - people mistake this for the dog being happy. With that lack of oxygen, a highly driven dog will just keep working, or playing hard. But within moments they stop fully 'listening' to you, or don't seem to hear you as clearly, then they can outright disobey you, because they cannot put into action what's going into the brain via sound & memory.

There's your first signs to stop the dog immediately & to cool it down as fast as possible. Once they get staggery, your verging on blowing them - & organ damage forever, or death. Once a dog goes past the gape stage, your in trouble.

Even throwing them into water & steadying them in a tub often isn't enough to stop the damage being done inside them with their blood clotting agents being buggered so they don't work correctly for the rest of their life & they will always then be prone to overheating at the drop of a hat, & can often suffer from other complications & even kidney failure & other organ damage & never be 'right' again, or die.

Always carry a tube suitable to give an enema with (a normal piece of garden hose in an emergency works just fine). You need to bring the dogs core temperature down FAST, or the damage is done forever. Never use iced water (you can put them into shock), just cool water, or water from a garden hose that's obviously not hot. Gently get the cool water into the dog quickly.

If it's able to stand (depending on how bad a condition it's in), if it wants to shit it out, let it the first time, but only for a moment, because every second counts in saving their life. But immediately start getting the water back inside the rectum. If possible, have someone hold the dog still, & just keep gently adding more water. It comes out as you put more in, but that's what you want.

But remember, gently.

You need the cooling circulation of the water inside the dog. You don't have to do this very long, maybe 5 minutes or a bit longer if the dog has collapsed. It all depends upon how bad the dog is in the first place.

Even if a dog is brought into us at the vet surgery, we do the cool water inside the rectum bit while someone straight away starts sponging them down, or they go into the tub of water (that works better than sponging, it's faster) & have the fan's on them full speed until their temp starts coming down, then slow the fans down once their temp is a few degrees above normal or they can chill. We start them on a drip as well.

I don't know how many countless dogs I've saved & seen saved, over the years, just using the cool water enema method.

The cool water enema is an aggressive action, but if you want your dog not to suffer any long term, or life threatening effects with organ & blood damage from being fully overheated, this is the way to do it.

Maybe this is mainly an Australian method, but I have spoken to another vet who said he'd seen it done with an overheated sedated Rhino in Africa, so we aren't the only country to do this.

I definitely wanted to share this with you both as it can be & is a life saver.

From one passionate working dog lover, to another.


Comment:

I noticed you have collected some data on dogs with mesenteric torsion. Because it is so rare to find a dog who has survived this I want to relate to you our experience.

Our German shepherd, Echo, was purchased from Royal T Kennels. He is 28-months-old. Three weeks ago he started acting unusual. Pacing, staring at the wall, hiding in his kennel, vomiting. I am very aware of the symptoms of bloat and this is what it seemed to me to be. Finally my intuition kicked in and I rushed him to the emergency vet. In an x-ray they discovered an inflated area of intestine and recommended exploratory surgery. About 30 minutes in they told us it was worse - mesenteric torsion - and that even with surgery his chances were less than 50%. They went ahead and continued operating and saved him.

Echo is now home. He is eating, happy, playful. They tacked up his stomach and intestine. He has always been thin with a finicky appetite. He does not have pancreatic insufficiency. His coat is beautiful and his stools normal.

I currently home cook for him and supplement with probiotics, coconut oil, various herbs and brewer's yeast. I have not heard or talked to anyone who has had a dog survive this. I'm told we caught it early enough. I am still afraid even though they did the tacking. He likes to roll in the grass; someone had suggested this was a factor, although I know it's all just speculation.

If you wish to post my information to help others be alert to the signs and know they a dog can survive it, please do.

Linda
Neenah, Wisconsin


Question:

My 3 year old female papillon as been on HK for about 2-1/2 years--mostly Force but she has had other flavors too. Her supplements have included at various times vegetables, apple, banana, slightly cooked eggs (she dislikes raw), cottage cheese (stopped this a few months ago), and raw meaty rib beef bones. I've also used frozen raw in the last few months. She developed her first UTI in July 2008 and went on to get 3 more over the next 15 months. It all culminated this week with the removal of a huge stone along with about 100 smaller ones. Specimens are at the labs now but the vet feels certain it is calcium oxalate. So I went on the internet to research what one should avoid when having this problem. The first site I went to nixed half of the ingredients in Force--sweet potatoes, celery, apples, alfalfa, zucchini and green beans. The next site said to include squash and apples and avoid carrots. The next site said feed them vegetables primarily and the next one high protein raw only. Wow, now I am at a loss as to what to feed her.

I love the HK products and would like to use them in conjunction with frozen raw or even homemade. I just need to know what to avoid!! My vet is unfamiliar with HK, sells only high quality food in his office, and is okay with raw but not knowledgeable about it. The one thing he said to me about diet makes a lot of sense--what works for one may not work for all.

One more comment about Ice Pups--my dog loves them frozen after our walks in the hot FL sun. After her surgery I gave her a warm solution and she lapped it all up. I'm going to introduce my vet to this product during our follow-up visit. It's a great way to get liquids into a recovering animal.

Carolee

Answer:

I really don't think I'm qualified to give dietary advice for this particular medical issue, as I have no experience with it in my own dogs.

The best advice I could give would be to find a vet or nutritionist that is well versed in raw feeding who can help you devise a feeding plan for your girl so you don't have a reoccurrence of stones.

We have a list here of some vets that our customers have used.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

First off, I just wanted to say thanks for the great basic dog obedience video, it’s been a incredible help to me. Also, the spill-proof bowl I just purchased from you guys is an outstanding product, I highly recommend it to any dog owner.

My question though is about allergies. My almost 2 Y.O. working-line shepherd has been itching and scratching like mad for the last few months, and I can’t seem to find a remedy for it. From about 4 months on, I fed him half raw meat, half Innova EVO, and he never seemed to have any allergy issues. Then, after seeing a new product at a local pet food store, I switched him to “SoJos,” 100% grain-free raw mix to supplement his raw meat (typically Beef). Is it possible he’s allergic to the Beef? The Sojos is human grade veggies, so I wouldn’t think that would be the culprit. Could it be an air-born allergen? ...any help at this point would be greatly appreciated, I REALLY don’t want to have the vet give him any more shots. (he hasn’t had any vaccinations since he was a little pup).

Thank you so much,

Brian

Answer:

There are other ingredients in the Sojos that he may be sensitive to and I’m doubtful it would be the beef.  Which product are you using? If there is flax or alfalfa in any form in it, this may be the problem. Some veggies (specifically below ground like carrots or any form of potato) can cause issues also. I had a GSD years ago that would scratch for 3-4 days if she ate anything that contained alfalfa.

I’d probably go back to what was working for him before or put him on a raw diet. 

It is possible that it could be an airborne irritant as well, but it seems more likely to be the food switch.

Let me know if I can help you figure out what to do next.

Cindy


Question:

Hi There,

I thoroughly enjoy your newsletter and read your question and answer section with great interest. 

Something I have never seen before happened while I friend and I were out walking our dogs. She has two greyhounds males (neutered) and a spayed Labrador female. I have two Dobermans a male (entire) and a female (spayed). We have been walking together for a long time and the dogs all get along. One of her Greyhounds has a tendency to eat rubbish if we are not keeping a strict eye on him, but as my female Doberman was manureing he was trying to eat it before it even hit the ground!! We were quite horrified and I wondered if it was a deficiency in his diet. Have you ever seen dogs do this before?

Helen

Answer:

This is not uncommon. It’s call copraphagia. It can have many causes, including diet, medical or enzyme issue or can be a habit.

I’d also direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website.  It will find posts, articles and Q & A’s that deal with your search terms.


Question:

Dear Cindy,

Hi, today I found your website and called a vet listed in NYS, Dr. Alberto Gil.  I checked the NYS Vet Medical Board and he’s not listed. From what sources do you list vets? I would like to know because I made an appointment for tomorrow and though I liked the fact that he’s homeopathic he answered the phone himself, was at a different address than listed and said he will be moving again soon. Would you please reply.  I just adopted a 6 week mix and I want him to be seen.

Thanks for your time,
Carol

Answer:

This is what we have posted on our vets page:  http://leerburg.com/holisticvets.htm

This list was created to assist dog owners who wish to raise their dogs on a raw diet with minimal vaccines and chemicals. This is NOT the list for people who want a regular allopathic vet that pushes kibble and yearly vaccinations.

We have asked our discussion forum members for their input and experiences with holistic vets, practitioners or conventional vets that support raw feeding and a minimal or no vaccine protocol. We have no experience with the vets on this list unless otherwise noted and are not recommending one over another.

We can’t be held responsible or liable for your experiences, good or bad, with any of the veterinarians on this list.

We are providing this list as a service; please do your own research into any health care provider you choose for your dogs.


Question:

Hello,

I have a 4 year GSD. Female spayed. I feed her raw. In fact, I  have fed raw for over 10 years. I have had this girl for 1 ½ years and  have not vaccinated her-I titer-in spite of my vet’s objections.

She came to me with several issues. Most I have cleared up. One I have only partially cleared. The tips of her ears get little bump like things that can be pulled right off hair and all. Its right down to the raw flesh. So she ends up with ragged looking ears. I have tried many remedies-but nothing seems to help. In addition, to her raw food she also gets fish oil, ****mix and ****** Plus daily.

Can you think of something? She no longer tests positive for yeast or fungus. She was full of it when I rescue/bought her.

No mites. She does have allergies and I have relented to allergy shots-but I don’t know if they help her.

Anyway, I am reading like mad and will be ordering a few items next week. I wish I would have found you earlier. The breeder I am working with listed you on her resource site.

(******name brand of supplement removed)

Answer:

I’d cut out the extra supplements, the only supplement I’d give a dog like this is salmon oil and vitamin e.  Make sure you are using salmon body oil and not cod liver oil.

****mix is full of ingredients that are known to cause issues with dogs, alfalfa, flaxseed, brewers yeast…. I’d get her off that right away.  Same story with ******.  I have never been a fan of multi ingredient supplements like these products, they are full of stuff that can cause sensitivities.  Raw food and a few single ingredient supplements usually work best.  If she is still having issues after a month or two being off of those 2 supplements, then I’d look into our Chinese Herbs (formulated by a holistic vet).

Learn to use the search function (located in the left hand corner of every page on our website) Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

You may also want to evaluate the diet you have your dog on, certain protein sources can actually cause her inflammation to be worse. 

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

My name is Leslie, my family and I rescued a Dobie last year he is 7 years old and a pretty good dog. I run him everyday 3-4 miles, so I don’t think he is bored.

The problem is he eats everything, everyday, the minute I turn my back. Socks, panties, small dolls. He just went to the hospital for his second obstruction removal surgery. I’m not sure yet, but I think he ate a t-shirt.

So my question is there a way to train him to not do this, or should we get a muzzle for him? Do you have any idea.

I am kind of at the end of my rope, I really don’t know what to do…

Thank you for your time.

Leslie

Answer:

It’s not unusual for some Dobermans to have pica (eating of non food items). It can be a form of obsessive/compulsive disorder, or a medical issue.

I wouldn’t let this dog have any free time where he has access to things he should not have. I’d keep him on a leash and if I felt that I couldn’t supervise him, then he’d be in a crate.

Article on Groundwork.
Pack Structure for the Family Pet

I would probably use a muzzle when I had him out of his kennel, just for his own safety. A muzzle isn’t going to fix the problem though, and if you forget to put it on or he gets the muzzle off the problem will remain without training.

I’d use a muzzle, a crate and very strict training to keep this dog safe.

Cindy


Question:

Ed:  I came across your site and found it to be very informative. I recently purchased a GSD pup. I had asked for a short haired GSD for Search & Rescue and family pet. I ended up with a long haired GSD with 1 fair and 1 poor hip and cryptorchid to boot. He just had his neuter yesterday and Dr. Parker tried for 48 min to find the non descending testicle. Sounds bad, doesn't it? 

I had started K-9 Kody's training with Urban Search & Rescue of South Carolina last month.  Dan Fuller, the trainer, said Kody was a natural. I was the handler and loved every minute working with Kody as well as with this Search & Rescue Group.  (Wait till you see this guy, he looks just like your dog!)

My question to you is: Because one of his hips is so poor and he's only 7 months old, does this mean the end of the line for Search & Rescue? The Vet seems to think that this level of activity would be too much for him. Kody loves this so much, I hate to see him become just a house dog.

I live in Sun City, Hilton Head, SC. Since I have time on my hands, I would really like to pursue this with my dog. I'm considering hip replacement after he is full grown (2years).  What's your opinion in this case?

Thanks for any input you may have time to give me.  By the way, I love Kody and would never let anything happen to him. (It's no wonder I didn't receive the contract from the breeder till they got my money and I had picked up Kody at the airport.)

Answer:

It’s impossible for us to say whether your dog will be able to work with his hip issues or not.  Having a hip replacement is also no guarantee that he will be able to do SAR. 

This is something best discussed with an orthopedic vet (not a regular general practitioner). Much of it will depend on what the dog tells you as he grows. You need to be very observant and make sure you don’t put your goals in front of the dog’s best interest. I only say that because we humans get focused on goals sometimes and don’t remember that it’s about the dog, not us.

If I were you I’d make sure he’s on a quality grain free diet, preferably raw.  Here is a Q&A section on raw feeding.

We have a great section on feeding dogs too.


Question:

3 year old GSD with an extremely sensitive stomach ...

We feed him Royal Canin GSD. Often, his stools are somewhat pudding like. No diarrhea, No giardia (he did have it bad when he was young). We are doing chicken and rice right now with some flagil (as recommended by our vet who we trust greatly).  

Are there any supplements that you can recommend which can help rebuild and maintain his system? There's so many... What's your best recommendation?

Thanks so much.

Frank

Answer:

I’m not a fan of any of the Royal Canin products.  I’m not surprised he has loose stools on this, it really isn’t an appropriate food for a dog.

Once you get him settled with the bland diet and meds, I’d recommend looking into a higher quality kibble or a raw diet.   We have a great section on feeding dogs. If you decide to switch kibbles, I would only recommend GRAIN FREE for him.  It’s very likely the high grain levels in the RC is what is aggravating his system. 

Even if you don’t want to feed raw, I’d suggest reading this Q & A section on raw feeding. I believe you’ll learn a lot about what is appropriate to feed your dog, and what to avoid.

For supplements, I’d recommend digestive enzymes and probiotics.

This will help his system acclimate to whatever diet you decide to switch to, and help him get the most out of his food.

If he continues with the loose stools, I might recommend having him tested for EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency). Unfortunately it’s common in GSDs. You can tell your vet that you would like a TLI test. 

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Cindy,

I took my wonderful, healthy 4-year-old female German Shepherd to our vet last night for her annual Therapy Dogs International physical.

He told me that she was otherwise healthy, but that every hundred or so heartbeats, her heart skips a beat.  He said that it was nothing to worry about until she is much older, and that I shouldn't change anything.

She is on a strict diet to maintain her weight at 73 lbs, because she had plumped up about a year ago to 86 lbs.  She has always been very active.  I live in the country and I walk her, off leash, for a hour each morning and 1 1/2 to 2 hours each evening.  She has the opportunity to chase an occasional dear, but she never wanders too far from my side.  I toss a stick or ball for her and she is very athletic and agile in the retrieve. 

Do you agree with my vet?  Do you have any idea what might have caused this?  Do you think I should take any precautions?

She is a very special dog, and I'm quite worried.

Thank you,
Janet

Answer:

For something like this, I would seek out a cardiologist.  A general vet is fine for picking up problems, but if this was my dog I would want to see someone who is a specialist.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

You've helped me in the past and I'm hoping you can help me again!

We've found out that Kodi is allergic to cow, chicken, and peanut butter. He's also off all grains (just to be safe), although he doesn't seem to have a problem with brown rice.

Here's what I'm currently feeding him, which seems to keep him from itching. Our vet said that what we're feeding him is 'fine,' as long as we feed him Pet Tabs (which I haven't started yet; have you seen what's in those things?)

He's 40 pounds - and we're feeding the following 2 x's a day:

2/3 cup organic, range-fed bison - raw
1/3 cup cooked, smashed veges
about 1/4 cup sweet potato

I'd like to start some canned salmon in his diet, and the other day, I added a raw egg. No itching so far.

About 3x's a week, I'm giving him a frozen (raw) bison rib bone (with meat on it) to chew at lunch time.

What am I not doing that I need to be doing? I have to be so careful about what's in his diet to keep him from itching.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Susan

PS - NO MORE vaccinations (except for required rabies) for Kodi.

Answer:

I would recommend having these 2 books in your library, Raw Dog Food and Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats

What you are feeding is fine for the short term but it’s far from a nutritionally complete diet. 

Allergy testing for dogs is almost never accurate, and many of the proteins they claim the dog is allergic to will be tolerated raw. I’ve seen this time and time again with dogs that are supposedly allergic to chicken, beef, etc.

I think since your dog has issues with itching I’d recommend finding a vet who is not only well versed in raw feeding, but also with food sensitivities.  It’s possible that your dog has issues from past vaccinations and may need some type of treatment to help him clear that issue.

A lot of our customers have had good luck with this supplement Clear Allerqi.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

I hope this helps.


Question:

Hi Cindy,

My lab (male, 3 years) has green urine. I just noticed it last night and again today. Do you know what might be causing this/what I should do?

I will call the vet first thing in the morning. On the leerburg discussion board, some people thought green pee might be the result of a urinary tract infection. 

Thank you for any advice you can give,

Sharon

Cindy's Response:

I’m hoping by now you have an appointment with the vet.  The only thing I know for sure is that a problem like this is best solved by a vet, it can be dangerous to try to diagnose via email.  Hopefully it’s nothing serious.

Good luck!

More Information:

Thank you Cindy,

Saw our vet this am -- took a sample -- he will test it. Thankfully, by this morning the color was almost back to normal and smell much more normal. Like you, our vet reassured me that I was right to make the appointment, and that something like green urine he would definitely want to know about. 

He also examined my dog in the groin area, and his ears, feet, etc. while we were there. I was nervous when I e-mailed you -- thank you so much for your support. I feel settled now, relieved, I just know everything is ok.

By the way, just today received big box of Embark, new DVD on power of playing tug with your dog (I have your DVDs on training with markers, training with food -- studying those), free tug, salmon oil, red barn meat roll, probio -- thank you, thank you for such great stuff ... My dog (his name is Cooper) and I are having Christmas today!!

Sharon

Cindy's Response:

I’m glad that your dog seems fine.  Did the vet have any ideas for you about why he would have green urine?

I’m also glad you and Cooper are having an early Christmas…..great name, by the way.  I have a small parrot named Cooper, and he says “hi Cooper” all day long. I also drive a Mini Cooper.  I’m a big fan of Coopers of all kinds.

Update:

Hi Cindy,

Happy New Year!!  I pray that this year will be a prosperous and healthy year for you and your family, and that you will all be safe and strong in the midst of everything going on in the earth these days. 

I wanted to let you know about my dog Cooper -- it turned out that the urine sample (green pee) did show a bacterial infection and white cells -- so my vet gave an antibiotic, and he asked me to bring a sample again this week to re-check (has been about a month since the antibiotic).  

Thank you again for your support. I so much look forward to your newsletters -- you are doing a great service for animals and their owners. 

We always had a family dog, but really my mom did all the work. Then for about ten years I took care of her and my dad (mom had congestive heart failure and my dad is blind), and so no time for a dog, (my dad had buried their dog (also a yellow lab) in the garden a few years before -- maybe the only time I really saw him cry so hard.  Mom too).

When mom moved to heaven (4 years ago this Christmas), Cooper came into my life. He is the first pet I have taken care of myself -- he is full of strength and exuberance, and tender compassion.

Finding your website made all the difference -- saved me from stressed-out obedience classes, dangerous dog parks, bad dog food, bad advice from all kinds of well-meaning souls, and from going airborne. Before I found out about prong collars from you, I was walk/running with him, tripped, flew a second I think, and landed with a cut to my forehead and a dislocated shoulder. No kidding. I loved him so much I wouldn't let go of the leash.  

Well, thanks for listening.  I know you understand.  

Best regards,
Sharon 

Cindy's Response:

Hi Sharon,

Thanks for the update, I’m glad Cooper is ok. I appreciate the kind words, I’m glad we’ve been helpful to you and your relationship with Cooper. 

Happy New Year to you too!

Cindy


Question:

Mr Frawley,

I have 3 year old German shepherd that is always scratching his lower back. I tried Vita E and pure code liver oil. Nothing helps. He is on raw diet, mostly on whole chicken daily. Please advise what should I do.

Thanks,
Tom

Answer:

He may be sensitive to chicken (or the solution added to much of the chicken sold in stores). I’d make sure he’s getting a balanced diet, which consists of bones, organs and muscle meat. Turkey and beef are neutral meats to feed dogs that have food sensitivities.

I would recommend having these 2 books in your library, if you don’t already have them. Raw Dog Food and Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats. We give both of these books to our puppy customers and we almost never get questions on raw feeding.

Make sure he doesn’t have any fleas, sometimes scratching at the lower back or base of tail indicates a flea allergy.

I recommend salmon oil and vitamin e  together for dogs with skin problems but for now I’d try just simplifying his diet and cutting out any supplements to see if you can reduce the scratching.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have purchased a packaged training video from your company and would only trust you folks for advice on hair loss. We have a 4 month old blue APBT that is well on her way in training. We follow everything your vids. say to do and its WORKING out great!!! But, we have a problem with her patches of hair loss around the right eye, chest and front legs and sides. We have tried borax and now Nu Stock. It seemed to be working a little with the Nu Stock. The hair looks like it is growing back but no to sure. She just got through with all her vaccines and it seem to us that she didn't get these patches till she started her vaccines so maybe her immune system was compromised?  I would like to know the best way to build her immune system. Or a way to get rid of any d-mites if she has has them. Please Help!!! Oh she's not scratching like she's suffering or does not have any signs of being affected.

Answer:

I’d recommend some supplements to boost her immune system. 

D’toxifier (good for vaccinosis)
Herbsmith Support Immunity
Vitamin E
Salmon oil

What are you feeding her?  I may be able to help you out with dietary changes that could improve her immune system as well.  Let me know!

Cindy

P.S. Do not vaccinate her any more!


Question:

Hello,

I was wondering if you could provide some insight. I purchased a Boston Terrier from a reputable breeder that has all the required testing for the breed. Our plan was to show our puppy in conformation and then move to rally/obedience and breed him once he obtained his CH.

He was playing the other day which led to a fall where he yelped and held his leg up. A few moments later he was running and playing as if nothing happened. We took him about a week later for a check up which the vet discovered a luxating patella (grade 2+).

I understand now our hopes for breeding him are over. Also, we may as well neuter him since he should not be bred ethically. He's such a beautiful dog and the LP's were a shock as the sire and dam are clear and all of his litter mates.

Do you think the trauma from the fall caused this or is this most always hereditary? This was not evident as a puppy or at 14 weeks old. He is now 7 months old and this is just surfacing.

Do you recommend surgery? Supplements?

Any insight would be great.

Thank you,
Scott & Ashley

Answer:

These are all questions for an orthopedic specialist.  I wouldn't bother with a regular vet for a patella issue.  I can't really answer your questions as I don't have any personal experience with luxating patellas in my own dogs.  The specialist would be much more qualified.

I would also discuss this with your breeder.

Ask your regular vet for a referral.  Good luck.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

I have visited your web site several times for information on training, so I know you have vast experience with German Shepherd Dogs. I have a wonderful GSD from German lines and he is very healthy, EXCEPT for his feet. We are a very active family and love going running, hiking, walking, doing agility, etc, and love the companionship of our 5 year old dog. However, his feet constantly get worn. We have tried a number of ointments, salves, boots, etc,; just about everything but Tuf-foot, which I am going to buy today. My question is, with your experience with the breed, have you heard of something called GSD soft-pad syndrome? I found it on the internet yesterday while searching once again for some clue as to why our dog's feet constantly get sore. I wasn't able to find much information about it but if it truly exists and is in some way a genetic problem I thought you might have some information about it. Our breeder is always in total denial if we have any question about our dog's health, but otherwise he is very healthy and full of energy. 

I would really appreciate any information you could provide on this "syndrome."

Thank you,
Elizabeth

Answer:

I've never heard of this before, but I would question a couple of things.
1) What do you feed this dog?
2) What is his vaccination history?

I would suspect a dietary deficiency of some sort or possibly an autoimmune problem caused by vaccinosis.

I may be wrong but those are the only 2 things I could come up with.

Cindy


Question:

Dear Cindy/ED;

I will be getting a 12 week old german shepherd puppy next month. And when I have him, he should be done with his puppy shots and his worming. I'm against vaccines, so after I get him he will not be getting any vaccines other then the rabies shot that is mandatory in NY. The reason for this email is I will be continuing him on all natural raw food die. I will be buying Alfalfa, Kelp, Vita E, Super C 2000, Salmon Oil and using that with his daily food. My concern was:

If I need to use probiotic supplement that you sell, and if you guys use that on your puppies and how much of it? Possibly Daily Maintanance?

And being he just recently got his last puppy shots, if I should Purchase D'toxifier from you website and put him on that permanently. Do you guys use that on your puppies/dogs as a normal dosage once a week for maintenance? If so how much do you recommend?

I have purchased plenty of books on natural nutrition on dogs. And got almost dozen of your DVDs. I got more of leerburg DVDs, then my own personal collection of movies! Next month when I do go, I will be using the puppy test that's on your website from bernard flink. To help me choose the right puppy. Thanks a lot for your time and patience. God bless you and your staff. And I hope you guys will always be around for the millions that strive for your support and expertise in these fields.

Thanks,
Roshan

Answer:

Probiotics can be used daily or under times of stress. I use it with any diet change or stressful occurrence.

I use D’toxifier daily at bedtime for a month and then weekly thereafter.

Good luck with the new pup!

Cindy


Question:

My one year old GSD has scratched all the hair off of his nose, ears, both his sides, bites at his rear ends both sides, bites and licks at his feet. I have taken him  to two different vets now and they both say it is because he is on a raw food diet. He eats chicken, hamburger, beef heart, tripe ox tail, and pork neck bones, raw eggs, yogurt, all feedings he gets salmon oil, vit.(e) super c 2000, and now I have added flax seed oil and more vit. (c) to help boost his immune system. They say I must give up his raw dite and feed him a high quality dry food for dogs with allergies, I don't know what to do and I am just spending a lot of money and time and I don't seem to be getting any where, what I am to do, to keep my dog healthy,and happy, he is such a wonderful dog and so smart, aqnd a great joy to have as my companion, as well as part of my pack. PLEASE HELP IF POSSIBLE!!!

Answer:

I’d find a new vet first of all.  We have a list of holistic vets here. If you don’t find on in your area you can do a google search to find one close by.

I would then back off all the variety you are feeding and go to one protein source and NO supplements to see if you can rule out what is making him scratch. I’d also be aware of vaccinosis. If he has been vaccinated in the past, it could be a symptom of that. I’d try putting him on this D’Toxifier for a month or so too, and see if it helps him.

Flax is a known problem for many dogs, I wouldn’t use that at all.

You need support from a vet who understands canine nutrition, but in the meantime I’d simplify things or you’ll never be able to figure out what the real issue is.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

I just received my shipment of alfalfa and kelp powders.  The dosage is for small, medium and large breeds.  What is considered medium and what is considered large? I have an American Bulldog that weighs approximately 90 lbs. and want to make sure he is getting the correct amount.

He scratches a lot (to the point of making himself bleed) and breaks out in red bumps every now and then. We think he may be allergic to grass, plants, etc. (we live in Arizona). We currently give him benedryl a couple of times a day, but would like to go the more natural route, if possible.  I'm excited to see if the alfalfa powder will help that.

I notice you also sell an allergy supplement, which I may also try if I do not see a difference with the alfalfa.

Thank you for any help/input.
Christine

Answer:

I would consider your dog a large breed and would dose accordingly.

I would mention that if you had contacted me before you ordered I don't think I would have advised kelp and alfalfa for a dog with this type of issue.  At least not as a first try to solve the issue. Alfalfa is known for causing some dogs to scratch, so I would not try it with a dog that is already having skin issues.

I would have asked what you feed the dog first, and tried to manage with diet. I would have also suggested Clear Allergies.

If you send me a list of what you are feeding the dog, including types of treats I may be able to offer some constructive input.

Cindy

Thanks:

Hi Cindy:

Thanks for your reply.  I currently feed my dog Natural Balance Fish and Sweet Potato - treats are the same, along with baby carrots.  I currently add fish oil to his food in the morning and flax seed oil to his food in the afternoon..  I do this hoping to cut down on shedding as well as for joint health. As for the alfalfa, I purchased that because I was under the impression that alfalfa was good for itchy skin (my mother sells Shakley supplements and thought taking alfalfa would help).

I wish that I had further researched your website, as I would have tried the Clear Allergy.

Thank you again.
Christine

More Info from Cindy:

A few things jump out at me. The first thing is the food. I don't like the ingredient list of the food, lots of carbs and stuff the dog doesn't need. For any dog with skin issues I don't give any below ground veggies at all (like carrots and sweet potatoes) the sugar can feed yeast, which can cause skin problems. Sweet potatoes are first on the ingredient list, not a protein source. This is another red flag for me.

For an allergy type dog I would stay away from flax (actually I don't use flax on any dog, dogs do better on salmon oil) Flax oil and flaxseed are known problems for many dogs, and can cause itching. There is flax in the food and you are adding more flax...not a good combo.

I'd recommend a different method of feeding, or at least a different food with no grains and no below ground veggies. Natural Balance was also involved in some of the pet food recalls a couple years ago, so I don't give that company a lot of credit. I used to use their meat rolls for training but after that, I stopped using their products.

You can find a ton of info on our site, we have a great section on feeding dogs.

If this dog was under my care, I'd switch him to a raw diet. After working in a vet's office for close to 15 years and seeing the issues so many kibble fed dogs have I switched my dogs over back in 1994 and I've never gone back to commercially processed foods. It's not good for us and it's not good for our animals. Here is a Q&A section on raw feeding.

I hope this helps. :)  good luck with your dog.

Another Thanks:

Hi Cindy,

Thanks so much for taking the time to provide this info...very informative!
I have heard good things about a raw diet for dogs. I will check out the links you have provided.

Thanks again.


Question:

Good morning, If you don’t mind I have a couple more questions.  We just received our two Giant Schnauzer puppies. We have some of your training DVDs and are also certainly taking your advice about raising two at the same time. My questions are one of them arrived and has some fleas. We are concerned about the commercial flea products as these pups are only 9 1/2 weeks old. Do you have any recommendations of what products are safe for young puppies? My second question is about dog/puppy food. There is not a dealer in our area that carries the Honest Kitchen that you recommend. Trying to do as much research as I can I located a brand "Blue Buffalo." As far as I can tell it looks pretty good and doest appear to have the bad things that we are suppose to avoid. Do you know anything about this product? We are also trying to supplement the foods with some raw diet although not every meal. As always I appreciate your assistance.

Thank you,
Al

Answer:

We recommend Neem spray and Para ClearPure O Flea shampoo is safe to use if you need to bathe the puppies. 

We have a great section on feeding dogs on the website.

There is a list of higher quality kibbles on there. You can also search the website to see if that particular food has been discussed before. our SEARCH function is located in the top left corner of every page of the website.  If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi Cindy,

Thank you for your wonderful website.  It has been and continues to be a wealth of information for us. You have helped us in so many ways.  Whenever I had a question regarding Amigo's training and what he was doing, I would check your question and answer site.

We have been going through a very questionable time. Amigo, who is now 3 years old, was just diagnosed with a rare disease, although when we check the internet we found that GSD's contract it. It is called Onychodystrophy which is a form of Lupus in dogs.  It involves the toenails falling out and quite a bit of pain in the foot area.  We have seen 2 vets so far and are praying for the right direction so that we can help him.

I just wondered if you have heard of this since you deal with german shepherds quite a bit. If so,
I would appreciate any information you could forward us.

Thank you for all you are doing for us pet lovers.....
Karen and Tom

Answer:

I have not experienced this with any dogs before but I would probably look into a holistic/homeopathic vet for another opinion on treatment. I believe this is an autoimmune disease and may likely be triggered by vaccines.  Do NOT vaccinate this dog anymore (if you have done so in the past).

I’d recommend reading these books on vaccines,  Vaccine Guide for Dogs & Cats and Shock to the System

We have a vet list. If you don’t find an alternative therapy veterinarian in your area you can do a google search to find one close by.

Good luck, I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Ed and Cindy,

I have a few questions concerning food and vaccinating my new puppy... I didn't know who to send this to so I sent it to both of you and and hopefully both of you with your plethora of knowledge can help me. My question/problem is that I'm getting a GSD puppy in about a month and was wondering what to feed it.  I have done A LOT of research on feeding raw vs. high end dog food. My big problem that I keep running into is what to feed a puppy so they gets all the vitamins and nutrient so they'll grow into a healthy dog. I heard of PANO and how dog food can make your puppy grow to fast and I don't want that to happen. When you have puppies what do you feed them so they have a balanced diet and receive everything they should. I've also read up on Vaccinating older dog but haven't found much in the way of puppies... Like what, how many, how often... that is healthy for a puppy for the first year of its life. Also I wanted to say I love your website, it's so informational and helpful. It helped me with my K9 at work, my husbands service dog and our soon to be new puppy.

Thanks again for all you do.....

Lisa

Answer:

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for the kind words.  We have a great section on feeding dogs on the website.

We feed raw to all our dogs, from weaning to senior citizen.  Since switching to raw dog food many years ago, we’ve had very little pano in any of our dogs.  If we do run into pano you can read what I’ve used to give the dogs relief.

Here is a Q & A section on raw feeding.

The 2 best books for learning about the raw diet are Raw Dog Food and Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats. We give both these books to our puppy customers and rarely have questions about the diet

I’d recommend these books on vaccines,  Vaccine Guide for Dogs & Cats and Shock to the System.  

We do not vaccinate our dogs or puppies, but I encourage all dog owners to do their research and make the choice best suited for them and their dogs. I’d also recommend reading about vaccinosis.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hello,

I have a question for you.

Can I give my German Shepherds Ivomec once a month by injection to protect against heartworms instead of the heartgard if given the right amount/dosage by weight?

Please advise.

Thank You,
Serafin

Answer:

Ivomec is not labeled for use in dogs, so this is something I would recommend you discuss with your vet. The wrong dosage could kill your dog. We are not health care professionals so we cannot give advice on this, I’m sorry.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Dear Cindy,

I've received Training the Retrieve DVD and Tugs for my dog. Everything is great as usual - my dog took no time learning out with Michael's techniques. Thanks a lot.

Cindy, I know you must be very busy with the e-mails, just I know that I can trust your opinion 100%.

Recently I've noticed that my 22 months GSD has all!!!! of her canine teeth chipped -  little pointy bits are gone!!

I was so shocked and angry with myself as I didn’t even notice how it happened! I can see a little brownish spot in the middle of every tooth (I suppose it's pulp). Last night I was reading your website - discussion of other people with the same problem.

It looks like a very expensive trip to the dogs dentist. My question is: how could it happen and what should I do?

I believe if I leave it as it is, it might get infected and cause all sorts of problem.

Do her teeth need to be filled or capped now?

Thank you very much for your time.

I always try to write to you only if I'm absolutely desperate (looks like I'm at the moment).

Warm regards,
Jane

Answer:

Does she chew on rocks or chain link or other items? Usually dogs that have teeth like this are chewing on abrasive substances that wear the teeth abnormally. Dogs that are obsessive about having things in their mouths all the time wear their teeth faster than others. With that said, some wearing of the canines is normal as the dogs age.

This is something that needs to be seen by a vet or dog dental specialist. I can’t diagnose or guess at what may need to be done, I’m not a health care professional. 

Good luck.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

I know you are probably busy - so I'll make this as short as possible. I am an RN (feel like I should have known what to do...) who just lost a 3 year old AKC beautiful male shepherd to bloat (fast). Fortunately, the vet had administered pain medication. I read posts on your site from similar BROKEN HEARTED people. You mentioned - no experience of it w/ your dogs?

Question #1 - I have a nephew of my dog’s ordered - but am thinking now, I don't want to go thru this again... Is it hereditary? i.e. should I go thru another breeder, instead of same one? #2. What are the things I can do to TRY and ensure not to go through this hell again? Thank You

Answer:

I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of your dog, it’s very sad.

I believe there can be a genetic component to bloat, but it’s impossible to say for sure. There are so many varying opinions about how to prevent bloat, with a lot of factors at work.

I believe the dog’s genetics, overall health, size, temperament, diet and exercise all play a big role. I don’t feed or water my dogs when they are really overheated or have done heavy exercise. I don’t feed or water my dogs right before heavy exercise or training. Some people say to elevate the food bowls, some people say NOT to elevate the bowls. I don’t feed my dogs and then put them in a highly stimulating environment (like in a kennel or fenced yard with lots of activity to get them riled up). I’m not obsessive about it, but I do think about what my plans are for the day before I give my dogs a big meal or let them slurp down a big amount of water.

I am a firm believer in a raw diet and have fed raw for many years. Common sense tells me that a raw diet isn’t going to expand and produce the gas in the stomach that a kibble diet does. 

We do not have a history of bloat in our dogs, and I find it hard to believe it’s merely luck. I think it’s a combination of many things.

A google search on bloat will turn up a lot of info for you to consider as well.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hello Cindy,

I just have a question. Since reading on your website, and doing quite a bit of my own research I have switched my German Shepherd puppy to a raw diet. She is almost 10 months now, and she has been on it for about 4-5 months. I usually give her either organic beef or chicken, a raw egg yolk a day, and supplement with calcium, vitamin c, vitamin e, and the salmon oil from your website. She also off and on gets things like vegetables, pumpkin, etc... She does really well on it, and her coat is nice she just has one problem. She is soooo itchy all the time. I can't figure out what she is missing. She doesn't scratch herself raw or pull out her hair anywhere, she just itches quite frequently all day in various spots. Also she is kept very clean and she doesn't have fleas or any kind of rash either.  Do you have any suggestions for me? I would so appreciate any help I can get.

Thanks,
Daina

Answer:

Sometimes this is a trial and error thing. I‘d eliminate certain things from her diet and see if you notice a change.

If you are giving alfalfa, I would stop that first. Some dogs are sensitive to it.

If that doesn’t do it, try eliminating eggs and chicken.

It may also be a seasonal allergy, something outside that manifests as itching. It could also be a symptom of an imbalance caused by vaccinations.

In that case, I’d try Clear Allergies if modifying her diet doesn’t help.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi,

I have a 2-and-a-half year old German Shepherd female. I just built her an outdoor chain-link kennel (6X9 feet) with a brushed cement pad floor and a metal roof. She is now in the kennel for about 9 hours a day when I'm away at work.

What would you recommend for comfortable bedding/flooring to avoid bone and joint issues?

Thank you,
Brian

Answer:

We use rubber matting in our runs and crates.

I hope this helps!

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi Cindy -- I am writing to you because I have tried the forum and have not gotten any answers to this question -- thinking that with all your experience with dogs and GSD, maybe you can help me. Our 4 1/2 year old has exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. It has always been a struggle to keep him at a decent weight, even with the enzymes. We were using viokase and now use biokase because its half the price and I've seen no difference between the results... but he's just so thin and boney, no matter what we do or how much he eats... can you suggest anything to do to fatten him up? He eats a diet of 50% Honest Kitchen, 50% raw ground beef, plus supplements, beef neck bones almost every day, etc.

Thanks for any ideas -- Best -- Michael

Cindy's Question:

How much (amounts) and how often are you feeding him? Let me know and I'll try to offer some input.

Cindy Rhodes

More Information:

I am feeding him one cup Honest Kitchen and 1-1/2 cups ground beef, twice a day. Plus kelp, alfalfa, vit E, fish oil once a day, and a raw egg two or three times a week. Plus a beef neck bone just about every day... he has lots of energy, etc. but I can see his ribs, his hind quarters look boney, etc. Thanks Cindy...

Best - Michael

Answer:

I might first suggest feeding him 3 or even 4 times a day, divide his meals up. Dogs that have a hard time gaining weight do better with smaller, more frequent meals.

I might feed him the regular AM meal, then feed him 2 to 3 more smaller meals each day... while adding a bit more volume.

I'd increase his overall food consumption by about a third to see if that makes a difference (so I'd add an ADDITIONAL 2/3 of a cup of HK and another cup of meat spread out over his daily feedings).

You might also want to try fattier cuts of meat (if he can tolerate that) or even adding some additional fat chunks to his meals. Our butcher shop will save the fat trimmings for us and let us have them for a very cheap price.

Have you ever tried feeding him pancreas? I know that a lot of dogs that don't do so well on the supplementation sometimes really improve when fed raw pancreas.

http://www.ellsbury.com/cheetahfaqs.htm here is a link I found without doing much searching.

I would also make sure that you are mixing the enzyme powder into the food and letting it sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before feeding.

Whenever dealing with EPI, make any changes gradually! I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

Customer Comment:

Cindy,

I am writing regarding your response to a person who emailed regarding a concern with their EPI dog. Most EPI dogs can not handle fat...the standard recommendation is 12% fat or less, depending on the dog's tolerance level.  (Some dogs retain a small amount of pancreatic function.)  My concern with a dog that is being treated appropriately, ie food and enzymes, and failing to gain weight would be that this dog is B12 deficient...this happens to at least 50% of dogs with EPI due to loss of the Intrinsic Factor that is normally produced by the canine pancreas.  B12 deficiency if not corrected can be life threatening.  Another possibility is unresolved SIBO and/or malabsorption due to the inflammation caused by the pathogenic bacteria (SIBO). 

Here are a couple of terrific links for anyone wishing to learn about EPI...

http://www.epi4dogs.com/

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/k9-EPIGLOBAL/

K9-EPI Global has thousands of members world wide.  This group has helped many "difficult" cases recover from the ravages of this disease.

Here is a link to a site where one of the EPI-Global members provides a co-op-service to people with EPI dogs...buying American Labs enzymes in bulk and distributing at a MUCH cheaper cost than those purchased from the vets.  Generally people find the cost of the generic enzymes to be about 1/3.

http://www.enzymediane.com/

Hare-Today in PA also carries frozen ground beef pancreas.  http://www.hare-today.com/

Please feel free to share this information with your client.

Best Regards,
Deb


Comment:

Hi Cindy; 

I have written you before with training questions but now am writing to pass on a warning. Our German Shepherd came terribly close to strangling to death while we were playing with a racquetball.  His jaws were strong enough to compress the ball which allowed it to shoot down his throat where it promptly returned to it’s round shape and choked him. Very, very luckily my son was home that day from college and had first aid training. The dog was choking to death right in front of us and we felt so helpless. Out of desperation we tried the Heimlich maneuver on him and then my son draped our dog over his forearm so the dog was now dangling in a head-down position. My son pounded on the dogs back moving his hand from the shoulders towards the head (like they teach you in first aid for choking victims). He thought he felt the ball move in the dogs throat so my son kept repeating doing the Heimlich and then holding the dog head down and pounding on his back. After about 2 minutes of repeated work, the ball finally popped out. We took the dog to the vet and were relieved that there was no damage to his esophagus. Please tell all owners of larger breed dogs that racquetballs and tennis balls are a choking hazard. I have heard that Oprah Winfrey’s golden retriever strangled to death on a tennis ball with the trainer standing right there with the dog (and she certainly can afford the best dog expert possible!). Since that day, we have never allowed our dog to play with squeezable balls and he only plays with ones that have really strong material that he can’t compact.  It was a horrible experience to see him suffering and choking and it was such a miracle that my son was able to save him. I would hate to have any other dog go through this experience.

Thanks for all the wonderful information on your website,
Stephanie


Question:

Hi Cindy,

Our male lab has had 8 litters he sired and 10 good ties with several females. He has not been able to tie in over a year, just slip ties. I had the vet check him and though he always had topical protection he got Anaplasmosis. His sperm count is high but the motility was about 2 %, he is being treated with doxacyline for a month. The vet thought a fever from the disease did this and he should recover. Have you ever heard of this before with these affects? After two doses of meds he tied with our female after over a year with no ties but hundreds of attempts with slip ties.

Joe

Answer:

I don’t have experience with anaplasmosis but if it’s like Lyme disease your dog may have been sore and achy, which is why he couldn’t get a tie. Many dogs with joint or back issues can’t tie when breeding, maybe your dog was in a lot of discomfort and now the meds have made him feel better. I don’t know about the motility issue, but it makes sense that if he was ill it would affect semen quality.

I just completed a Lyme treatment on my young male, so watch your dog for digestive upsets with Doxy. My dog was on it for about 10 days and he completely stopped eating and began to vomit. Not all dogs have this issue, but mine did. We had to switch his meds.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Mr. Frawley,

I have inherited a working lines GSD male dog. He has excellent blood lines and is a tank of a dog.

I have no doubt his hips are fine, but have sent them to OFA twice, about five months apart, after having them x-rayed by two different veterinarians, and they have come back with different results both times. The first time he was mild on both hips, the second he was mild on the left right was normal.

Now, I didn't see the first set of films, they were not available, but I saw and examined the second set to assist in determining which to send in, and they actually looked VERY good. Even the vet that took them, who does most of the OFA films in our area, was very pleased. We were both floored by the results.

Do you have any advice? Should I have him shot again and resubmit?

He is coming three and a a very strong dog, showing a very strong gait.

Anything you can tell me would be so greatly appreciated. I am so confused as to this process.

Answer:

If it concerns you, I would wait for a number of months and reshoot the films. If you have no doubt his hips are fine, then I wouldn't put the dog through more x-rays and would save the money. If you are doing this for breeding purposes, then I would recommend getting the dog in top physical condition and re x-raying later.

I always have my dog x-rayed by someone who specializes in OFAs AND does not use anesthesia to take the films. Whether that makes any difference or not, I'm not sure but it's easier on the dog and much less expensive too.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I'll try to make this short.  We live in a small town in Texas. Our family dog, Luke, limps sometimes and really gives in to his right rear leg. Took him to vet several times and finally asked him to X-ray his leg. He said everything looked okay just some slight atrophy in his hip but nothing to worry about. Of course that really worried me.

Luke has been on a raw diet since he was 12 weeks and is not over weight. He is large for breed and weighs 53 lbs. He runs and jumps a lot playing with balls or other toys. We are not a very active family so I'm sure it is not over exercise but he does love to jump and turn flips in the air. Sometime he is fine but almost daily now he limps or holds up his leg. He doesn't show signs of pain when I manipulate his leg. How can I tell if it is a pulled muscle or something worse? Does massage help? 

I've been reading your articles since we got Luke and know that our vet is not the only vet that does not agree with our decision to feed a raw diet and we disagree regularly about medicine and "special" packaged food. I've been okay with that until now but I'm really worried about Luke. I have lost faith in our vet. The nearest vet on your list is about 3 hours away.

He seems much too young and active to have anything atrophied without it being a problem. Any insight would be so appreciated. Thank you for all the information you provide and the hours of fun I've had watching and listening to you both. I expected Ed to be so tough after reading some of his articles but then I watched him on the DVDs!!

Janie

Answer:

Did the vet only x-ray the lame leg or did he do hip x-rays?  If he only x-rayed the affected leg, I’d find a vet to do complete hip films.  Here is an article about this.

Regardless of what the x-rays show, I’d start supplementing him with salmon oil & Vitamin E.

Soothe Joints
Syn-Flex
Comfort aches  

It could be a muscle, tendon, joint, bone or ligament issue.  No matter what the vet says atrophy of muscle in a young healthy dog is something that should be figured out.

If you take the dog to a new vet, just make sure they know how to take proper hip films.  Print the article and take it with you if you need to.  Good luck! 

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hello Cindy!

I have a question about what supplements to give to a young Bernese Mountain Dog with hip dysplasia. (Can't ever remember how to spell that!) This is my mother's dog and she is giving her novox for pain, but I'm thinking that she needs something else besides that. What would be your recommendations?

Thank you!

Jael

Answer:

I’d recommend salmon oil and Vitamin E. Salmon oil is a natural anti-inflammatory.

I’d also recommend one of our glucosamine formulas, I use Syn-Flex with my dogs.

For joint support and pain relief, Soothe Joints and Comfort Aches. These are safe for long term use.

Personally, I would not use any form of carbofen (Novox or Rimadyl) on a dog unless it was a last resort.  It has a lot of dangerous side effects, a google search will turn up a lot of info. Hopefully her vet informed her of the risks before prescribing it.

I would also make sure she’s keeping this dog thin, to ease stress on the joints and I would also recommend a grain free diet. I don’t know what she feeds but any type of grain in a dog’s diet can cause inflammation in joints, skin and ears. We have a great section on feeding dogs on the website.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hello Mr. Frawley,

I was told to look you up because you could give me some solid advice.

On 1/30/2011 I purchased a 5 and half week old GS pup with a very impressive background from West German blood lines and father being a Va champion. The pup has had loose stool [pudding like] since we brought him home. On 1/31/2011 I took him to the vet to have him checked for the health guarantee. The vet said he was a healthy good looking pup and gave him his 1st set of shots. This dog is now 8 weeks old and still has loose stools, he has been to 2 different vets and has been checked for all worms, giardia, coccidia all of the common stuff. He has been on METRONIDAZOLE, ALBON and Probiotics. I have changed his diet to Purina EN Rx food, I also feed him chicken and rice. I have given him Imodium and nothing seems to help. Can you please help me.

Thank You

Answer:

I’m surprised that the breeder let a pup that young leave the litter. Our puppies aren’t even weaned until about 7-8 weeks old. I feel that the stress of going to a new home is least harmful between 8-9 weeks old. Your pup was likely experiencing a lot of stress and then the vet vaccinating him only added to the assault on his little system.  

The first thing I’m going to advise is to get your puppy off that food. The ingredients are horrible.  Even a pup without digestive issues would likely have health problems from eating it.  It’s full of very low quality and questionable ingredients. If your vet suggested that food, I’d also look for a new vet (one that knows something about dog nutrition, preferably). I would also not give my business to a vet who vaccinated a 5.5 week old puppy, that’s MUCH too young. http://leerburg.com/vaccinosis.htm

If the puppy is acting ok and has good energy, appetite and is playful I think you may need to "rest" his gut and then gradually introduce him to a HIGH quality meat based diet (either raw or kibble).

How’s his behavior?

If he’s feeling ok, I would put him on a bland diet of boiled rice and white meat chicken.  You can also add a tablespoon full of plain canned pumpkin to each meal as well (not pie filling) I would feed him multiple small meals each day, and I would keep him on a bland diet until you are getting normal stools for a while. I would also add digestive enzymes and probiotics to each meal for a few weeks

Once he’s got regular stools on the bland food, then SLOWLY add in your new food of choice. We have a great section on feeding dogs on the website.

If you are going to go with a dry food, I’d recommend a grain free kibble. We have a list on the feeding dogs section and you can also check this website.

If this puppy lived with me I’d also give D’toxifier every night at bedtime for a month. You can read about it on the webpage.

I hope this helps.  Good luck with the little one.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

First I want you to know how much I enjoy your website.  Lots of good info and quality products. I have a problem I hope you can help me with. I have been feeding raw for almost a year. I feed chicken quarters, chicken liver, venison, pork, and raw eggs. Recently one of my dogs has started licking excessively after she eats. It looks like she is licking the end of her nose or the roof of her mouth. Sometimes she licks so much her belly swells. You can see her deflate when she burps. This is scaring me. I don't know why she is doing this or what to do about it. I considered taking her to the vet,  but she will say it's the diet I'm feeding and probably prescribe special food. I feel a raw diet is best and don't want to have to put her on kibble. Any suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Suzanne

Cindy's Response:

What breed of dog is this and how old is she? Do you feed whole leg quarters and other animal parts or do you grind her food?  Does she eat very quickly and gulp her food? 

Cindy Rhodes

More Info:

Thank you for your quick response. She is a 3 year old lab/golden mix and a therapy dog. I feed twice a day. Boneless in the am which she eats quickly, but I don't think she's a gulper.  In the pm she gets a whole leg quarter and organ.  She eats this meal slower than my other dog, but they both eat pretty quick. I really appreciate this.

Thanks,
Suzanne

Cindy's Response:

Does she do the licking after every meal, or do you notice a pattern to it (like only when she gets eggs or chicken or beef)?  She may have a sensitivity to a specific protein, which would upset her stomach and cause her to lick, which may cause her to swallow air.  Keep a diary of when she does this and what she eats.

I’d also maybe try giving her completely ground meals to see if that helps.  I think I’d also try a dish like this with ground meals, to see if slowing her eating down somewhat makes a difference.

This is kind of like a guessing game, where you need to rule things out and see if adding or subtracting different variables makes a difference.  I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

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