Category Archives: Dogs

Dogs and the Laws of Physics

Physics, especially those laws of nature posited by our friend, Sir Isaac Newton are not particularly compatible with dogs, instead being more akin to water and oil. They hardly ever mix. Personally I never understood that complicated subject in school, instead choosing to be one of those liberal arts majors everyone loathes today. When determining whether to pursue a degree in the sciences, physics would have been a requirement and with its emphasis on math, well, it gave me more than a moment of pause. Physics is about scientific laws of motion and forces…but with math. Shudder! It’s a well documented fact that I’m horrible with math and it seems my dogs aren’t interested in math or the laws of physics.

Moving objects tend to keep moving. Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation. “Newton’s First Law, which says “an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” (Source: Wikipedia) It’s called inertia, Sam which means when we’re walking, we keep walking. It’s not rip-the-shoulder-out-of-its-socket-instant freeze frame. Trust me on that one-even my orthopedic surgeon thinks so and he never agreed on much with me.

Then again maybe you guys subscribe to Raman’s scattering, described in Wikipedia as “the inelastic scattering of a photon by molecules which are excited to higher vibrational or rotational energy levels” and discovered by C. V. Raman and K. S. Krishnan, a student of Raman’s). Huh?? I looked up inelastic scattering because this made no sense to me and think it means something like ‘blah, blah Ginger, blah, blah blah.”

Courtesy, The Far Side

Let’s go parasailing!

In other words, I have no clue about that law, but am fully aware of the concept of ‘higher vibrational energy’ when the Ninja, standing perfectly still, all of a sudden launches herself into full-on Mach 5 speed with me at the end of her leash much like a human kite.

Must stay off the deep side of the pile

Newton’s second law (F = ma) is apparently is used to “make a mathematical prediction as to what path a given system will take following a set of known initial conditions.” Clearly Newton knew nothing about dogs for they generally do not travel in a straight path, instead giving in to noses that pull them along in helter-skelter fashion as they chase down a scent or prepare to answer the latest pee-mail. This law often manifests in winter and deals with leash lengths. Need I remind you sweet fur-kids, the leash is only so long and while your nose may inspire you to travel outside that length limitation, the upright firmly attached to the end is not inclined to step in ankle-deep snow just to satisfy that urge. That my dear knuckleheads is known as Murphy’s Law because that snow is almost always deeper than any boots.

Do your kiddos follow the laws of physics or are they more likely to be fans of Murphy’s Law?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Flowers for Dory ~ A Tribute

Blogville recently lost a dear fur-iend, Dory from Dory’s Backyard and today we will honor her with a tribute and blog hop. While we didn’t know her all that well, we were always inspired by her Flower Friday posts and her smiling face. Sweet little Dory will be missed by everyone in Blogville. We are sending digital hugs and tail wags to her ‘brothers’ Arty (the Mayor of Blogville), Jakey, Bilbo and to her ‘pawrents.’ Dory may be gone, but she will never be forgotten and is no doubt spreading smiles among way too many of the others who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge from Blogville and will definitely be missed.

In honor of sweet Dory, here are a few of Sam’s favorite flowers from around our garden.

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Thanks to Kinley the Westie and the Idaho Pug Ranch for hosting this special Flowers for Dory blog hop. Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Word(y) Wednesday

We’ve been away after a couple of intense visits at hospice and West Pines last week as well as a family emergency (all is well) but hope to have a ‘real’ post in the next day or two. Till then, how ’bout a smile? I’m a big fan of aromatherapy candles. Do you think dogs are fans in their own way? Happy Hump Day.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Toxic Tuesday

Robins have arrived around the Ranch and with their residency, a number of flowering bulbs have likewise heralded the arrival of Spring. Along with those beautiful reminders the days are getting longer and warmer, however lurk some significant potential dangers. Remember the movie Lethal Weapon? Fun movie, but yeah, we’re not talking about Mel Gibson as a potential threat. What we are talking about are those garden plants that can be plenty lethal when you own pets. Sam here. What I’m talking about now are all those plants that we all love in our gardens that can be toxic landmines for us pets.

Just posing, not noshing.

You know how it goes…you been ‘enduring’ a lousy Winter, have a few days of sunshine and start jonesing for some garden time to redesign the perennial beds with some very cool and pretty plants. When you add pets to that formula, it can get complicated having a lush garden with beautiful perennials and keeping us fur-kids safe from potential danger.

Some of us “enjoy” four separate seasons and understand that Winter may likely do a ‘drive-by’ again over the next couple of weeks though I’m not optimistic these days. Here in the Mile High we are lacking on that front. I can’t even remember the last time I had to wear my hideous snow boots. Those of you in milder climes have probably already mowed your lawns, you lucky devils. But think for a minute, how safe is your yard? Have you ever have one of us fur-kids chew on something out in the yard only to come inside and either barf on your antique wool rug or act strangely? Maybe we got into something from this list?

Signs of poisoning are vomiting, lethargy, rapid or irregular breathing, irregular pulse and cold extremities. Remember most, if not all spring flowering bulbs, are toxic to your pets. As you plan (or dream) for your summer garden, keep in mind this pretty cool chart when planning your landscape and keep us 4 legged fur-iends in mind. It could easily save our lives unless you have a mom like mine who won’t let me look twice at anything slightly edible. She watches me like a darn hawk if I even gaze toward any of the lupines! The toxins in these plants can cause anything from mild nausea or diarrhea to all out fatal poisoning for our canine and feline fur-iends (see chart below for loads of info for both cats and dogs). Click on this comprehensive list for a better view.

Has Spring arrived in your neck of the woods? How do you keep your fur-kids safe from those garden pretties that can channel Mel Gibson as a lethal weapon by causing all sorts of problems if we manage to nosh on them?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

It’s baaaack

It’s that time of year again where we arbitrarily move toward insanity spring forward. Yup, time for a Ranch PSA to let you know that Daylight Savings Time arrives this weekend for the majority of the US this Sunday. Regardless of the pending calamity adjustment, we hope your weekend arrives with the promise of fun and some rejuvenation. Enjoy your weekend and for those of you lucky enough to not have to yet start this bi-annual catastrophe, we at the Ranch are quite jealous. Happy weekend!

Any big plans on tap beyond dreading the change?

Live, love, bark!

Dog DIY Care

We all know owning a dog can be expensive but did you know the cost of owning a dog averages approximately $3100 for the first year? Broken down by size the cost for smaller dogs runs around $2675; for medium dogs it averages about $2890; larger dogs average around $3230 and giant breeds have an annual price tag of about $3535. The average first year cost for all sizes comes to $3085 (all figures were rounded off). So what does that cover, you ask?

According to the American Kennel Club’s website, “supplies were estimated at $432 per year, Food was $435 per year, and Preventative Medications were estimated at $389 per year. Veterinary costs were $650 per year and included all lab work plus are for one serious illness per year was added into the figures.” Training costs are not included.

Often proactive veterinary care is the last thing people think of beyond vaccinations especially when we can pretty much do the same kind of treatments for our furry friends that we can for the two-legged members of our families.

“Dogtor” Sam

All of these expenses can make routine veterinary care one of the first things that gets postponed. Many people think, if it ain’t broken, it probably doesn’t need to be fixed. But there are some do-it-yourself tips that require no money, have the potential to build trust, can increase the bond between you and your canine as well as alert you to conditions that require professional help. The first reason for Dog DIY is the more familiar you are with your pup, the better you’ll know when something isn’t right and when to seek professional care. Getting your dog familiar with these health exams at home will make trips to the ‘dogtor’ a more pleasant experience. In order to know when things are off, you need to know what’s normal for your dog. The following checkup list can aid in evaluating your dog’s day-to-day health.

  • Temperature. This critical health indicator should be between 100 and 102.5 degrees F for dogs (whenever Elsa has a seizure, her temperature goes up, by a lot. I cover her with ice packs to minimize potential damage during a seizure and to minimize dehydration. That alone could make all the difference between a costly vet trip or a simple at-home administering of Valium and in our case, has the potential to save a couple Ben Franklin’s). It’s easy to take a dog’s temperature. Lubricate the end (coconut oil works great) and gently insert about 1 inch into the anus of a small dog, 2 inches for a larger dog. Don’t force it. Results take about 60 seconds.
  • Pulse. For the most reliable indicator, locate the femoral artery on the inside of the thigh. Gently feeling for the ‘artery roll,’ you can feel the pulse. As with us uprights, count the beats over 15 seconds and multiply by 4 for a per minute result. Normal heart rates for dogs are between 80-120 beats per minute. Larger, working or athletic dogs will have slower pulses than puppies or smaller dogs. You can also get a pulse by placing your hands low on your dog’s chest near the elbow joint, and feel the heart beats.
  • Check the nose. It should be smooth and soft to touch. It doesn’t necessarily have to be cool or moist, healthy dogs can have dry, warm noses.
  • Eyes. They should be clear, bright, moist with little or no discharge. Pupils should be uniform in size, the whites actually white with just a few visible blood vessels.
  • Ears should be clean, dry and odorless.
  • Gums on a healthy dog are pink and moist without lesions or swelling, and the mouth free of bad breath. Teeth should be without tartar (remember Canine Dental Awareness last month so hopefully you scheduled that teeth cleaning then). Tongue should be clear with no debris in the roof of the mouth.
  • Watch your dog breathe. The chest should move in and out effortlessly and be rhythmic. Unless your dog is panting or is a flat-faced breed, the breath should be inaudible. Normal resting rate is 15-30 breaths per minute. If excited or anxious, it will be toward the upper end while the sleeping rate will be closer to 15. At rest, small dogs breathe faster than larger breeds.
  • Skin. Should be soft, smooth with no lesions. No redness or rough spots and little odor. The coat should be soft, shiny and smooth unless your dog is a wire-haired breed.
  • Hydration. Healthy dogs are well hydrated and that’s easy to check. Lift the skin of the neck or back and ‘tent’ it, then release. It should spring back quickly. If not, more water or moisture in diet is needed. For us, this is a critical component when treating Elsa’s seizures.
  • Move your hands all over the dog’s body to check for lumps or masses. If you notice a bump or wart that doesn’t need immediate attention, take notes, draw a sketch and keep an eye on it. If it changes over the course of a couple of days, it’s time to call the vet for further evaluation and treatment.
  • Assess muscle tone and weight. Does your dog have a ‘waistline’ and can you feel ribs easily? If not, remember the same holds true for dogs as it does for their owners, eat less, move more.
  • Check the range of motion on joints. They should move freely without resistance or difficulty. Note any signs of pain, they can indicate an injury that may need professional care.
  • Toes, nails, pads. Make sure they are free of sores or cuts, keep the nails at a comfortable length trimming just the tip ends to avoid cutting the nail quick. Keep debris out of between toes. Keep hair trimmed as necessary. Some breeds require regular trimming (having owned poodles and OESs I’m all too familiar with the importance of keeping pad hair trimmed up).

Performing these easy to DIY checkups can provide you with a valuable record of your dog’s health, can alert you to potential issues before they become critical and will make you a partner with your vet as you care for your pup. Are you ready to perform a few exams to be a partner with your vet in evaluating your dog’s health?

Live, love, bark!