Monday, October 5, 2015

German Wirehaired Pointers!: The Fall Allergy Woes

German Wirehaired Pointers!: The Fall Allergy Woes: The Itches! This post is for owners with confirmed allergy diagnosis from a licensed vet. There are many causes for extremely itchy skin t...

The Fall Allergy Woes

The Itches!

This post is for owners with confirmed allergy diagnosis from a licensed vet. There are many causes for extremely itchy skin that can be quite serious and should be confirmed and treated by a professional. These are just a few ideas that have helped our dog Gretchen get through her seasonal skin allergies. 

Nothing is more stressful to a dog owner when their pooch is going nuts itching. The thumping of the back leg mimics someone knocking on the front door, the constant discomfort, and the helplessness one feels. Before you run to the vet, try some of these simple remedies. Unless your dog has open sores which can be staph infection and require antibiotics, try these options.

Coconut oil
Coconut oil that is organic and cold pressed can help in healing irritated skin. It is a good supplement when put into food, good topical itch reliever, and many times takes the red out of sensitive skin. I have used it for myself for years, made my spa coffee exfoliate for the shower, added calendula for a healing ointment, added lavender oil for a relaxing hydration treatment, and of course as a bath oil. When my dog Gretchen came down with her worst seasonal allergies ever, I thought why not? Due to mold and high pollen counts, she was absolutely miserable. Some good advice can be found here

Frequent Bathing
It is a myth that bathing your allergy ridden dog will cause dryness. It has been suggested that wiping legs, feet, and belly after being outside can help wash away the allergen that is brought in on the fur. Our dogs can bring them in, and we may have a reaction too. Get advice from your vet on a medicated hydrating pet shampoo that can be used frequently to alleviate that horrible itch. Do not use human products unless recommended by your vet.

Fish oil capsules
Adding coconut oil or a fish oil supplement to a grain free food can help irritated skin and relieve itching. While these treatments may take awhile to see results, the topical application does help almost immediately. Be prepared however to apply at least twice a day. We use the organic cold pressed coconut oil applied under her front legs, chin, and belly. 
Check with your vet for dosages on the fish oil. We use 1000 IU of wild Alaskan salmon oil daily for maintenance. We give a higher dose when fighting her flareups. 

It has been suggested by some professionals that a good probiotic can work wonders. We have just started using one, so nothing to report on this. If you have had luck with probiotics, I would love to hear your experiences. Please post in the comments section.

Benadryl should only be given under the advice of your vet. Dosage is critical to the size of the dog, weight, age, ect. My vet has recommended a specific dosage for our 55 lb. dog. I also read labels making sure the main ingredient is diphenhydramine. Other ingredients can be toxic to your dog. 
We do not use for more than two weeks during her flareups, and only when necessary.

Grain free foods
My dogs have always done better on a fresh grain free diet. When in rescue, we had many dogs come in with various skin problems, stress, allergy, mange, and thyroid issues. I had a rescue that came in with extreme demodex mange....we did a raw diet of 6oz protein, organic vegetables, cranberry and blueberries, and an organic brown rice. In all cases, they did better being grain free. Now that there has been a definitive link to pesticides in grain being used in dog food, it may be best to eliminate grain all together. 
 Read about findings here

Some pet owners simply must have a humidifier. Dry air can also irritate skin in many dogs. We use our wood stove almost exclusively in the winter, so put a pot of water on the top to combat overly dry air from the stove.

I do so hope some of these suggestions may initiate dialogue with your vet, or help those with confirmed allergy diagnosis. While we only have problems in the fall, allergies can be lifelong in many pets. Keep a journal of questions for your vet, observations, food you are feeding, ect. 

Now I am praying for the first hard freeze! 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

German Wirehaired Pointers!: New Digs

German Wirehaired Pointers!: New Digs: Emma Aka Issabel Vom Himmelbogan  It's been awhile since I did a dog blog. For a year, I have been on a mission of renewal. My ol...

New Digs

Emma Aka Issabel Vom Himmelbogan 

It's been awhile since I did a dog blog. For a year, I have been on a mission of renewal. My old life was turned upside down with the loss of a loved one, boys off to college and out on their own. The old house was big and quiet, and needed a new family. Mine had grown up there, and now I was facing quite a decision. 

Transition has been difficult, I left my home of 25 years, neighbors that were family, my close friends, and the familiar surroundings of a town I had grown to love. I looked south, mainly to areas which I had grown up, and almost pulled the trigger on several properties. One of which was on acreage, good for the dogs and complete with darling little red barns. I was thinking having my horses again would be exactly what the doctor ordered. Then my close friends pointed out the obvious...long lane in the country, snowfall, equipment and so on. 

I ended up to the north, and found homes to be much cheaper, taxes about half of what I was used to. Inviting Victorians just needing a face lift. I ended up looking at older homes that were move in ready. I deplore new construction, and their lack of privacy. I also yearned for a lake house, or log cabin...well, that's exactly what I ended up with. A lake house style with 60 acres (not mine), as a back yard. We have a variety of wildlife, which is a gift and a curse at the same time. I am not fond of the howling of coyotes late at night...nor one in particular that has no problem coming directly to the front door. My .22 is loaded by the front door, and as he appears to be diseased I have no problem asking him to leave.

The dogs love it, they have much more to observe and chase. They are in their element, and even though we are technically in town, we can have if I do get a chance to purchase a few acres behind the property, I certainly will.

I have a foster with problems, so we have been working with him. He is about ready to go to a new home so I will keep everyone informed. He is not a gwp....and I have enjoyed working with different breeds for the first time in 20 years. 

So it goes....til next time!  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

When Life Gives you Lemons...

The past four months have been tough. With the loss of my husband due to cancer, working with some very challenging fosters, a broken arm, and dealing with a 17 year old human going through a rough spot. Just when things were at a low point, all started to turn around. The world doesn't stop turning, and one can get through the dark periods with help of dear friends. I am very blessed in this regard....why I am not sure, but love them I do. God has taken care of all, and for that I am very grateful...

I have gotten a lot of email from readers....our blog is published on the website, wondering if i was still alive. So thought it time to update and share some jewels of humor from the Murray home.

Four days before Stan passed on, we got an email from a shelter that Copper must have a place to go. He was heartworm positive, and they had exhausted all avenues of finding him a place to go. It was not a good time for me obviously, but volunteers offered to drive him to my door. He was a tall lanky boy, overly friendly...but quite sick. We had him heartworm treated, and soon found out "why" he was in the shelter. Houdini would have been proud of this boy, in 13 years, have I ever had such a challenge. He can open doorknobs, cabinets, find any hole small enough to fit his head through in the fence, or create a hole. He loves to run, and if he were human would be an A student in math or physics. He gauges height, and problem solves. I have seen it, and it is scary. Copper had a terrible habit of marking on just about everything in the kennel room, including Emma, the performance bred Drahthaar...when he started opening her kennel from the outside is when he was taking life into his own paws. As it turned out, Emma likes this crazy dog. She has never been properly socialized, and spent her life in an outdoor kennel. The odd couple emerged...who knew?

We had the good fortune to place six of our fosters in Oct. and Nov. giving us all a most needed break. Stan passed Thanksgiving evening around midnight.

In walks a time I needed it.

Two weeks ago, I traveled into the Flint Hills to retrieve another long legged lanky pup named Gunther. A Freshly neutered adolescent. He was in good health, and well cared for. His owner, a Military officer had been immediately deployed overseas, and did not contact his breeder thus putting Gunther into a shelter. His breeder, a wonderful man that immediately offered to fly this pup home was quite dismayed and upset that this boy had been put into a shelter. Which I definitely do not blame him....however, angels abound around many of these dogs, and I was able to retrieve him. Gunther being an adolescent, comes with adolescent behaviors....needed to find his place, test the waters so to speak. He is highly intelligent, solid in temperament,and smart.
Is intelligence the same as being "smart"? Not really, as most are highly intelligent, the smart ones listen. What he does possess is a quality I look for in any dog to consider....respect. Eyes on me..."watch me"...and that he does. He is always watching for direction. What a wonderful quality. After two weeks of learning routine, obedience, crate training and potty goes outside...he has made incredible progress. He too has not been properly socialized with other dogs, much like Emma was, so this is our next hurdle. He is 11 months old, so we have the opportunity to mold him, and what potential! Do I like the smart dogs? Why yes, we all do....they make us look good. The difference between Copper and Gunther is cooperation. Copper carves, or tries to carve out his own path. Gunther possesses the intelligence, but looks to me for direction. Copper thinks for himself, which gets him into trouble. He has improved with time, and this is the key to most of our dogs. We just can't rush anything. They go out 10x better than when they came in, and it is due to time. I am most eager to raise this pup Gunther to his potential, and with his cooperation he will be a fine dog in time. We are constantly in working mode, and he enjoys it.

One of our most beloved dogs was SAM. She was our girl that came in from KY with a catastrophic fracture of the radius after being hit by a car. A year and a half of surgeries and rehab, I wasn't sure she would ever find the right home. Well, she found the perfect home with a lovely couple that have training down to a science. She has the life 'O Riley, on 500 acres of woods, and a family that gives her what she needs. Her Mom Zettie Jones is a Hall of Fame wildlife artist, with an incredible camera and knack of getting lovely photos!

If a photo speaks a thousand words, I think this one hits the nail on the head. Zettie has detailed SAM's life, much to our joy in photographs. We all LOVE the SAM photos.

Friends tell me it gets better with time, and although I argued that statement during the dark periods, they were right. As we get back to normal, whatever normal just keeps going. We just have to hang in there.

4/14 the socialization process has begun. We have had two weeks of meeting through the gates. My male Baldwin is very socialized, trained well, and administered two corrections. When Gunther did not listen, he flipped him over and did some trash talking in his face. I called him off, pup Gunther got up, shook, and minded his manners from then on. Good Boy Gunther!