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Showing posts from September, 2007


Everyone loves treats! For us humans, it's salty chips or sweet goodies like chocolate, cookies and ice cream. As for our dogs, they need treat time too!

Although I know it's not vet-approved to feed them ice cream, the truth is...I do it! I buy little cups of vanilla ice cream and give it to each of them in bowl. This is the highlight of their week and I just don't have the heart to cheat them of it.

Fruity yogurt? Yes, I'm guilty of giving them little bits from the bottom of the cup when I'm done. So sue me!

Crispy plain potato chips? They love them and when I get to treat myself on NFL Sunday, they get a little treat too. Is it good for them? Probably not. Is it good for me? Definitey not. But we all share it anyway. So there!

There are a lot of things we should and shouldn't eat and the same goes for your dogs. But in the end, we're all living creatures and yes, I hate to admit it, but somehow the food that isn't good for us tastes so damn good. (and my…

As the cooler weather comes, don't forget this!

As summer slowly seeps into autumn, the nights cool off and our heaters come on. Our dogs' coat starts to get a bit thicker in preparation for the cold months ahead. So what do you need to do?

Have lots of water on hand. Since our heater started coming on intermittently at night, I've noticed the water dish has almost run dry a couple of times. All heaters dry out the house so just a quick tip...make sure your pet has plenty of fresh, cold, clean water at all times.

And don't forget as the air gets dryer, there may be more static in your dog's hair. Make sure you also have a good conditioner to use after a bath. Whether it's a liquid that you wash out or, my favorite, an all-natural spray that you leave on, check your dog's coat and condition it according to the dryness.

A Day in the Life of the Shih-Tzus

The boys wake up at about 6:15 a.m. when the coffee maker goes on and I plod sleepily down the stairs. Sometimes they are waiting for me after the pre-dawn wrestling match. Other days, they are sprawled amongst their beds and cushions and lazily open an eye to see who disturbs them. When they realize it's just me, they curl back up and continue snoozing. I usually try to get them to go outside, but more often than not they hear the word "outside" and go back to sleep. Some days my nagging and cajoling actually inspires them to rise, saunter slowly to the door, stick their nose out, sniff and then decide they don't feel like it and trot back in.

After I'm dressed, I come back down and my husband and I meet for our morning coffee. By this time, the boys are up and they finally will go outside, although very unwillingly some days. Then they come in to get their treat for being good and proceed to wrestle, chase each other around the coffee table and generally cause m…

The Nervous Shih-Tzu

Shih-Tzus, like any dog, particularly a small one, can develop nervous tendencies. One of the things I have noticed that causes nervousness is exposure to sudden, loud noises.
Our oldest started getting very nervous when it came time to go outside after the municipality installed some "crackers" by the lake to scare off the geese. It sounds like a shotgun going off, but it's enough to send the geese flying off. Unfortunately, it set my little guy off to the point he wouldn't even go outside to do his business. It was finally removed and now he's slowly making his way out again, albeit warily.

The second thing that happened was a carpenter started working on our basement and used an air nailer. Well, I thought our oldest was going to go clear out of his skin. He shook, he wouldn't leave my lap, and at one point he got so nervous and disoriented he pooped on the carpet...something he never ever does. We've actually started taking him to my mom's house d…

What Shih-Tzus like...and we wish they didn't!

My last post was the top five things that Shih-Tzus love. However, there are other things they really (really!) like that drive me nuts. Here's the list...

1. Mud. They love to eat it, roll in it, stick their faces in it and dig it up. And what a mess I end up with when my two little white pooches come tearing proudly into the house after a mud wrestling session. Their favorite mud is wet...but dry mud is okay with them too.

2. Poop. They're fascinated with their own and other dogs' droppings. However, we live next to a small, man-made lake that is a favorite gathering place in the spring and fall for Canada geese. Of course, with gaggles of geese come piles of poop, and if I take my dogs walking near the lake, they gobble up the goose poop like it's fine caviar. Not pleasant to watch, and even more unpleasant to wrestle from their mouths.

3. The latest...dead birds. See my previous post for details. Not healthy at all, and disgusting to witness. Where did my sweet lit…

Five Things That Shih-Tzus Love!

Have you ever wondered what makes these adorable little creatures really happy? Here's a quick list of what our dogs (and their brothers and sisters) really enjoy.

1. A big blanket/comforter/afghan draped off the side of a couch or chair. They love sleeping on it, and often like to hide behind it between the blanket and couch and snooze (so watch where you're stepping!).

2. Side scratches. Not unlike the tummy scratch, they will lay on their back and contort themselves slightly sideways so you can scratch the side of their head, ears and body all the way down to their legs.

3. A big cushion. I bought a body cushion for the cottage but ended up bringing it home when we redecorated. It's got a velvet like cover and is approximately 4 feet long. They love to sleep on it - one on either end - at night. But not on top of it...they sleep like we do on their backs with their bodies on their sheepskin rugs and their heads and necks on the pillow. They also love to scratch at it, figh…

Rocki Returns to his Wild Roots

The boys went tearing outside this evening for the ritual barking when the neighborhood collies passed by the yard. So I didn't think it was too unusual when Rocki went from the patio to the grass. We always joke that Rocki must be part Husky because no matter what the temperature, he wants to frolic around outside.

Today was a bit different. He was sitting quietly in the grass chewing. His older brother, Bruiser, wouldn't go near him but seemed quite agitated. Again, not anything too unusual since Bruiser doesn't like Rocki to be too far away, yet he won't join Rocki on the grass because it was a bit damp and Bruiser, being a bit of a primma donna, doesn't like to get his feet wet.

After a few minutes, I see the back of Rocki and he is still sitting quietly chewing. I figure he has dragged out the bone from yesterday evening. And then I see the bone in's in the kitchen. So I go out on the patio and call to him. He sits up, turns around wagging his …

Raw Food Diets - Are They Healthy?

Proponents of the raw food diet basically say that dogs should be fed raw meat, vegetables and bones...basically what they would eat in the wild. In addition, they say that your dogs should never eat grains, rice or other carbohydrates. Why? Apparently, grains are one of the biggest sources of allergies in dogs and, because grains make up the majority of commercial dog food, our pets will be free of allergy-related symptoms once they start the raw food diet (and they won't have flatulence).

When can your dog eat chicken bones? Apparently on the raw food diet. I was taught to never give a dog chicken bones, but it seems you can if they're raw because raw bones are not dangerous - they are soft enough to bend easily and break well for the dog to digest.

Those in favor of the diet claim dogs are healthier, have more energy, require fewer trips to the vet, have fewer weight problems, produce much less stool and stool is firm and disintegrates easily. Apparently raw food also cleans…

Grooming the Shih-Tzu's eye area

The eye area, and the face in general, are the hardest parts of grooming simply because you need your dog to sit perfectly still in order to cut away in these delicate areas.

The most important tool? Sharp, snub-nosed scissors. I picked mine up at a holistic pet shop where the owners regularly show their dogs so they had a lot of expertise in grooming and actually cater to people who groom their dogs for show, so they had all the right supplies. However, many pet stores carry grooming equipment. The owners explained to me that the snub-nose is most important because if your pet does move, there is no pointed tip to harm them.

Now I have trained my boys to sit still by using voice commands...speaking gently to them and raising my voice slowly and adding firmness if they continue to squirm around. Now they will lay in my arms or sit quietly on the floor while I groom their face. This method of training requires an inordinate amount of patience (which, thankfully, I have). However, I know …