Most dogs wear down their nails through activities such as daily walks on pavement or sidewalks. However dogs that spend most of their time indoors their nails can become extremely long. They can snag and damage carpets and upholstery. Excessively long nails can interfere with traction by preventing the foot pads from making contact with the ground and can actually interfere with movement resulting in changes to their posture alter the gait which causes pain. Overly long nails are also more susceptible to being torn off. Nails should be inspected regularly (I check weekly) and trimmed when needed (once or twice a month). My rule of thumb is “if I hear it click its time to nip”. Giant breed dogs will require a sharp, heavy duty nipper to clip through the thickness without pinching. They are normally not sold in stores but can be ordered from Amazon or other online pet supply companies. I bought my nippers from Amazon and have had amazingly good luck with them so far.
Another alternative (or in my case in addition) to nippers is a Dremel handheld rotary tool. When using a Dremel, make sure you are using the sanding drum attachment and carefully pull or trim any hair away from the nail you are working on. Carefully hold the tool against the nail with slight pressure, removing just a small amount if you cannot see the quick. Hold it lightly against the surface of the nail in 5-10 second increments to make sure the friction from the Dremel is not getting too warm and heating your dog’s toe, this is extremely painful (ladies that have had acrylic nails put on can attest to the pain when they hold it on your nail for too long. It may take a few sessions to acclimate your dog to the sound of a Dremel and some dogs may never tolerate it. I have had good success with a smaller, battery powered Dremel. It is quieter and does not heat up as quickly as the more powerful ones. The first few times I introduced the Dremel I touched their paws and nails with it NOT turned on. The next few times it was turned on but I touched the nails and pads with the body of the Dremel to acclimate them to the noise.
Here’s a sad little poem that I hope you’ll take to heart.
Dear God, Please send me somebody who’ll care!
I’m tired of running, I’m sick with despair.
My body is aching, it’s so racked with pain,
And Dear God, I pray as I run in the rain,
That someone will love me and give me a home.
A warm cozy bed and a big juicy bone.
My last owner tied me all day in the yard
Sometimes with no water and God that was hard!
So I chewed my leash God, and I ran away
To rummage in garbage and live as a stray.
But now God, I’m tired and hungry and cold.
And I’m so afraid that I’ll never grow old.
They’ve chased me with sticks and hit me with stones
While I run the streets just looking for bones!
I’m not really bad God, Please help if you can,
For I have become just a “Victim of Man!”
I’m wormy Dear God, and I’m ridden with fleas and
All that I want is an owner to please!
If you find one for me God, I’ll try to be good
And I won’t chew their shoes, but I’ll do as I should.
I’ll love them, protect them and try to obey
When they tell me to sit, to lie down or to stay!
I don’t think I’ll make it too long on my own,
Cause I’m getting so weak and I’m so all alone.
Each night as I sleep in the bushes I cry,
Cause I’m so afraid God, that I’m gonna die!
And I’ve got so much love and devotion to give,
That I should be given a new chance to live.
So Dear God PLEASE, Please answer my Prayer and
Send me somebody who WILL really care…
That is, Dear God, If YOU’RE REALLY there!
“Be comforted, little dog. Thou too in the Resurection shall have a tail of gold.” ~ Martin Luther.
Hans Rudi Vollmer
My Passion: Dogs
Last week at my local dog park a sweet little Chihuahua was found in the bath rooms. She was sitting on the counter, where she must have been placed, patiently waiting for the owner who did not return. This little girl had obviously been well cared for and, presumably at one time, loved.
What would prompt someone to do such a seemingly callous thing to a pet who surely doesn’t deserve it?
These days, all too often the problem is that the owners lose their homes and are unable, or unwilling, to include the family pet in their future plans. “Moving” is perhaps the most commonly-used excuse for pet abandonment. Sadly, there will always be heartless folk who leave their critters behind for no good reason. The Chihuahua was lucky, one of the park workers immediately offered to give her a home. (The alternative was a date with the dog catcher). So for those of you who care enough, here are a few things you can do to be prepared for the worst.
Plan ahead. If you know you are in danger of losing your home then start looking for an alternative immediately. You may still be able to buy a home by finding an owner willing to finance you. Ironically, because of the serious market conditions, there are more landlords right now who are willing to rent with pets. And the high pet deposits that landlords used to ask can now often be negotiated. Just don’t wait ’til the last minute; start now to check the classifieds or contact a real estate agent and tell them your exact needs and situation. You can also go to apartments.com to search for pet-friendly rentals.
Be responsible. Landlords are more likely to be willing to rent to you if they feel assured that you are a responsible pet owner. So create a review of your pet’s health and welfare. Include a summary of vaccinations, proof of sterilization and licensing (if required), certificates of achievement for training, personal recommendations of your pet’s good behavior from friends, veterinarians, trainers, etc. You should also be willing to sign a pet policy agreement and then make sure that you keep your four-pawed (or feathered or reptilian) family member under control at all times.
“Sell your pet”. If a landlord is still hesitant, why not offer to bring your pet to meet him at the home? The idea being, of course, that when the landlord meets Fluffy or Snake or whoever, he won’t be able to resist the little darling. (Obviously, this plan is based upon the premise that you indeed are a responsible pet owner and that Fluffy really is a little darling). Point out that a barking dog could be an asset to keeping the home secure. Try and think of other reasons why your pet would be a plus in the neighborhood.
Get it in writing. Assuming you now have a new rental home, be sure you have a written authorization to keep your pet on the property from the landlord, home owners’ association and any other interested parities.
Make contacts. Get in touch with shelters, breeders, veterinarians and any other organizations who may be able to give advice, or even assistance, in relocating with your pet.
Contact family and friends. Ask everyone within your circle of family and friends if they would be willing to “foster” Fido ’til you can get back on your feet. If they can’t help, perhaps they know someone who can. I actually have agreements with friends that if they find themselves in the position of losing their homes, they and their critters can move in with me. Conversely, if I were to find myself homeless, me and my 9 dogs and cat can move in with my friends. Don’t think I don’t know how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life!
Find temporary placement for your pet. Don’t be shy about asking shelters or boarding kennels if they can take in your pet on a temporary basis for a low fee. A woman I know was able to negotiate an inexpensive deal with the doggy camp she had used on an occasional basis to house her two dogs for an extended period of time while she was dealing with a housing crisis. You might also advertise for a temporary home and offer a small fee to care for Fluffy and Snake until you are able to take them back.
Find a permanent home. If the worst does happen and you have to re-home your pet permanently, start by asking all your contacts. Place advertisements in local papers and on local web sites. Make up flyers and post them at vets’ offices and any other places that will allow them. Be very, very careful to screen potential “parents” and never advertise your pet as “Free”. Remember, there are lots of uncaring and unscrupulous people out there, which is another reason why we have so many abandoned and abused animals in need.
Find a shelter. You’ve exhausted every avenue and have been unable to find a home for Snake and Fluffy, temporary or permanent. The last option is a shelter. Be sure you take them to a no-kill shelter. It is not an option to simply leave your pet behind or drop them off in the woods or, as in the chihuahua’s case, in a public restroom. That is absolutely cruel and irresponsible and, in many states, downright illegal. So go to No Paws Left Behind and Petfinder to search for rescue organizations in your area.
Prepare a pet package for your pet in his new home. In anticipation of successfully re-homing Fluffy and Snake, be sure the new parents are well-informed with the same summary you prepared for the prospective landlord but also include the pets’ normal routine. And, very importantly, consider how you can make your pet’s transition to a new home as stress-free as possible. Snake may seem tough but even he is going to be unsettled by change. So put together some familiar things – pet bed, favorites toys, favorite treats and such.
As of this posting there were 1.3 million foreclosures in the last quarter. That’s huge, and likely to get worse. Any one of us may become victims, along with our pets, and lose our homes. Please don’t assume it won’t happen to you. Be prepared!
“A house is not a home without a pet.” ~ Anonymous
Hans Rudi Vollmer
My Passion: Dogs
As the new year begins, keep in mind these commandments from your pet:
A PET’S TEN COMMANDMENTS………
1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.
4. Don’t be angry with me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.
5. Talk to me. Even if I don’t understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.
7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.
8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I’m not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.
9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.
10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can’t bear to watch. Don’t make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.
And remember the words of Emmanuel Kant (18th-century German philosopher): “We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals”.
In the last few months I’ve picked up several stray dogs. In all cases they were wary and traumatized; in one case the dog, understandably, was quite fear aggressive. So, to help you help any lost or abandoned critters you may find, without putting either of you in danger, here are a few guidelines to follow:
1. Keep in mind that fear and pain can cause an otherwise docile animal to bite. So be very patient and take your time.
2. Before moving toward the animal just stand around so he can get used to your presence.
3. Move slowly, staying calm though aware. Make yourself less threatening by approaching side-on to the creature and not looking him directly in the eye.
4. Talk in soft, soothing tones, never use a high-pitched, excitable voice.
5. If the animal is not showing any aggression you can try crouching down to his level when you’re still some distance away and patting the ground or calling him to you, but always be ready to defend yourself or get away quickly in case the animal attacks.
6. Never crowd the pet or back him into a corner. You’ll be seen as an aggressor and may find yourself on the wrong side of a set of teeth or claws.
7. Never put your face in front of the animal’s face.
8. Learn what you can about body language of dogs, cats and other animals. The more you are able to “read” an animal’s temperament, the safer for all concerned.
9. If you are not confident of your ability to handle a stray — then don’t! Most animals are extremely sensitive to human feelings and by projecting nervousness you will likely heighten the pet’s anxiety.
Tools that can help:
Leash: Even if the pet is not wearing a collar, you can create a noose by slipping the end of a leash through the looped handle. Don’t just assume every critter is leash-trained, however. For some strays a leash around the neck may be a completely new experience and cause panic. And never drag an animal with the lead; you risk causing injury. Just wait and give the pet time to relax.
Muzzle: For your own safety with an aggressive or potentially aggressive animal a muzzle is a smart idea. In the likely event that such an item is not handy, a strip of soft cloth or gauze bandage from a first aid kit can be tied around the muzzle. Don’t use anything that might cut into the pet’s flesh.
Food and Treats: Certainly with dogs this can be a very effective way to begin gaining trust. Even if the animal is not particularly hungry, a tasty treat can be a compelling reason to make friends.
Crate: A safe way to confine a pet or transport him, if necessary. Most animals will actually feel more secure in a crate and you won’t be distracted by driving with a frantic dog or cat or ferret in your car. There’s also the added benefit that if the pet throws up or relieves himself, the mess will be confined. And if you don’t have a crate, it’s best to tie the animal in the back of your vehicle.
Towel or blanket: Wrapped around a smaller pet a towel can save you from sharp claws. Covering the animal’s head can be dicey. Some creatures will freeze when they can’t see, others may react ferociously, so use extreme caution before trying this. And never approach an animal head-on holding a towel or blanket in front of you – – you’ll appear menacing. Approach calmly from the side with the towel as much out of sight as possible.
Your hand: Probably the most effective tool you have! You can use your hands to gently stroke and calm an animal, or exert pressure to hold him secure (though not in a death grip!). Just remember, your hands are also very vulnerable, so don’t take chances.
“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principle difference between a dog and a man.” ~ Mark Twain
Hans Rudi Vollmer
My Passion: Dogs