Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Tips for Pet Owners

Every year the ASPCA puts out some very wise guidance for the holidays. Check it out so your Thanksgiving doesn't include a trip to the ER.

I'd also like to remind people to be cautious and mindful of your pets during the holidays. Its a busy time of the year, and you may have guests coming into and going out of your home that may not be mindful of your pet.

  • Make sure your guests know the pet rules
  • Make sure your guests are careful that no pets escape when they are going into or leaving your home
  • Sometimes, if your pet is the nervous type, putting them in a quiet room or crated while your guests are around will help them feel more comfortable
  • Make sure you are aware of all of the holiday decorations and other items that may be harmful or poisonous to your pet are out of their reach (the ASPCA has a great list here)
  • Have your Emergency Vet number in a place where you can reach it quickly if you have to use it.
  • The ASPCA poison control number should also be handy (remember, there may be a charge for using their service, but having used it in the past... its worth it, even if you just need it for peace of mind). The Poison control Web site also has a great list of bad items that may cause your pet distress.
Most of all, have a safe, and Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Gimpy Dogs!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Book About Amputation

The Tripawds gang has been very helpful to the Gimpy Dogs gang and their friends, helping people understand that amputation is NOT a death sentence, actually for most dogs its a new leash on a pain free life.

Tripawds has just introduced their new book: "Three Legs & A Spare – a Canine Amputation Handbook" The new e-book is for anyone facing amputation for their canine companion. The interactive PDF is a comprehensive collection of the best tips and advice for a successful recovery and life on three legs.

I highly encourage anyone who is facing, has faced, or is just interested in reading about how a procedure that seems so radically intrusive can give your dog life!

Thanks Rene and Jim for your tireless efforts to educate the pet community on amputation, and for your good work!

The gimpy dogs gang!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Tips to Keep your pup safe

The ASPCA always provides a great list of what to do over Halloween to keep your pets safe. 

Another good tip is to have your pet's emergency vet phone number handy (like on your fridge) in case of emergencies.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dog Carts - The Answer to Mobility

On Christmas day 2006, my husband and I were driving our 6 year old Siberian Husky, Sam, to the emergency vet. Minutes earlier, Sam was being his usual playful self in our backyard, reared up on his back legs, twisted, then fell to the ground with a scream, having ruptured a disc in his back.

Sam was lucky. After emergency treatment, then spine surgery, he regained the use of his legs, and even though he's not 100%, has full mobility. During his injury and recovery, we blogged our experience, hoping that our lessons learned and experience would help others going through such a traumatic time. We fully expect that as he gets older, we'll most likely see his mobility diminish, and a need for a method to allow him mobility. To us, the solution is easy: we'll get him a cart.

I was actually surprised that a lot more dog owners didn't know about the use of carts for dogs with mobility issues. I often get owners who are very distraught when their dog may be facing amputation, or has suffered from a spinal injury, or has a neurological condition that keeps them from being mobile. Paralysis is not the death sentence it use to be for dogs. The use of carts (doggie wheelchairs) has proven that although a dog may not have the use of their hind (or even front) limbs, their spirit still wants to run and play.

You can teach an old dog new tricks, and typically a dog will just adapt to their situation and do some surprising things. There are so many examples of dogs that have adapted, but Faith, the two-legged dog usually comes to mind. Faith proves that will figure out a way to do what they want if they really want to. Even if Faith's rear legs eventually give out, there are front leg carts that will allow her to continue going where she needs to go.

Dogs facing amputation to save their lives from bone cancer can live full and happy lives in a cart. Even if their remaining rear leg isn't strong enough to support them, carts are made for all types of disability and some manufacturers will work with the dog to ensure the right cart is made to fit that disability.

A recent Wall Street Journal article discusses dog carts, and even highlights carts for cats, and even a chicken. There are different types of carts, depending on who makes them, for different types of disabilities, including a full body cart for dogs who have absolutely no mobility. Some people may think that cruel, but if a dog is of sound mind and spirit, is in no pain, and the only thing missing is a set of legs that allows them fun time with the family, seems only fair to give them a way to be a part of the family outside of the house.

While more expensive than... euthanasia, which use to be the only alternative for pet owners who couldn't or wouldn't assist their handicapped dog, a cart is built to last the rough and tumble new life of the dog, and some are even built so that the owner can modify it while a young dog grows. Some cart manufacturers will either buy back the cart (for less than the purchase price) or accept used donated carts to sell (at a much cheaper price) to other owners in need if no longer needed by the original purchaser.

As you can see here, Popeye gets around just fine on his wheels:

Don't know which cart is right for your dog?  Dogs With Disabilities have created a nice comparison chart.

The following is a list of popular dog cart (wheelchair) makers.

Eddie's Wheels

Walk N Wheels

Dewey's Carts

K9 Carts

Dog Cart Resources

The following is a list of known reputable Dog Cart manufacturers. 

If you know of any other reputable dealers, or are a dealer that would like to be listed, send an e-mail to:

Walkin Wheels

Eddie's Wheels

Dewey's Wheelchairs for dogs

K9 Carts West

K9 Carts East

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hospice Resources

This is a pretty informative and helpful web site, even if you aren't in the Seattle Washington area for those with special needs animals that may be in their last phase of life.

In Home Hospice Care

Another resource that provides seminars and online learning about hospice care for your pets, they also provide e-mail support and some telephonic support.

SPIRITS in Transition

BrightHaven is a sanctuary, Holistic Education Center, and Rescue


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Laryngeal Paralysis

Although we have links to resources to learn about Laryngeal Paralysis, its always better when someone writes about their own personal experiences and questions they've asked their own specialist.

This link may be helpful for those whose own pups are experiencing this inherited disorder, and we reach out and give snooter kisses to sweet Pooka for good luck.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Snow Safety For Your Pets

What with the large amount of snow occurring in the United States and other parts of the world, pet owners may not be aware that there are dangers lurking on sidewalks and driveways that could cause your pet discomfort and severe issues.

A lot of pet owners aren't aware that the types of de-icers used on roads, sidewalks, driveways, and other areas can be dangerous to their pets.

De-icing agents such as salt and salt-based ice melting products can contain harmful chemicals that can cause (among other things): dermatitis, inflammation of the paws, gastrointestinal issues, burning and irritation to the mouth and intestinal tract if licked or swallowed. The salt or product can get on their paws and later, when licked, cause burns and irritation on the paws and in the mouth, eyes, and intestinal tract. Some de-icers warm up to 175 degrees.

If you walk your pet on city streets that have been treated, you can purchase dog booties to keep their feet from touching and coming in contact with the de-icer. Don't let them lick or eat the snow if you think its been treated (and remember, even snow that is in yard could be contaminated from snowplows throwing treated road debris into yards), and in your own household, use "Pet Friendly" products to de-ice.

If you don't have booties or your dogs doesn't like to wear them, when you return from your walk, rinse your pet's feet off thoroughly to make sure there are no residual chemicals on their feet or fur that they can later lick off and become sick.

While this is not an endorsement for a particular product, nor is Gimpydogs paid to endorse this product, the only "pet friendly" non-salt container de-icer currently on the market is a product called "Safe Paws", and is available in most large pet retail stores.

If your pet comes into contact with de-icer agents and is experiencing skin irritation, or vomiting, please consult with your vet on the next step of treatment.