Sunday, August 23, 2015

Breed Profile Series 3 of 7: Catahoula Leopard Hound

Breed Profile Series 3 of 7: Catahoula Leopard Hound

For the third part of our seven part series, we are going to focus on the Catahoula Leopard Hound aka the Catahoula Cur.  This dog is an excellent hunter & herder dog!  Fun fact: former president Teddy Roosevelt hunted with a Catahoula Hound! 

Source:  Google Images

Catahoula Leopard Hound
Life Expectancy
12-13 years
General Appearance
WIDELY Variable. Coats of assorted colors & patterns (red, blue, tri-color, etc). Eyes are often multi-color & have a "cracked glass" appearance.. Eye colors can range from:blue, brown, green, gray, or amber. No particular eye color is typical of Catahoulas
20-26 inches
50--95 lbs
Highly intelligent & energetic, even tempered. They're very protective & natural alarm dogs. They are also great family dogs, but do not do well with isolation, they need their play time!
Health Issues
deafness & hip dysplasia 
Exercise Requirements
NOT a low maintenance breed. This dog loves it's playtime and needs at the minimum, daily walks, if not romps in the yard! Since this is a great family dog, this fellow will  love playing with the kiddos.
Grooming Requirements
Coats range from slick/ wash & wear, to coarse, or wooly/ double coated.

Information sourced from: 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Breed Profile Series 2 of 7: Boerboel

For the second part of our seven part series, we are going to focus on the Boerboel.  I was offered a while back an opportunity to do some Boerboel breeding.  I have not taken the offer to this point, but I must say these pups are a hoot!  The following is some general breed information.

The Boerboel (a.k.a. African Boerboel, South African Boerboel, South African Mastiff) is a 2015 addition to the AKC registry.  The Boerboel originated in South Africa as a working farm dog in the 17th century.  Their purpose was to protect against predators as well as tracking wounded game.  They are a strong and courageous dog.

The breed is still rare in The States but has gained some popularity.  They are loving and playful with their owners.  They are still fiercely protective today.  In physical appearance, they are a very balanced and square dog.  According to the AKC breed standards, the origin and purpose of the Boerboel should be understood in order to preserve the unique identity and qualities of the breed as a South African developed mastiff.

Image: Chico, 10 month old Boerboel

Life Expectancy
10 years
General Appearance
The Boerboel is a large dog that is strong, confident and muscular in appearance with powerful, free-flowing movement. When observing a Boerboel at play or work, standing or moving, it should show strength, suppleness, nimbleness and agility.
Males 23 - 28 inches
Weight: 154 - 200 pounds (70 - 90 kg)
The Boerboel is reliable, obedient and intelligent, with strong watch and guard-dog instincts. It is self-assured and fearless. The Boerboel is very playful and affectionate toward its owner. 
Health Issues
The Boerboel is a generally healthy breed.  They can suffer from hip/elbow dysplasia, vaginal hyperplasia, ectropion and entropion.
Exercise Requirements
They require a moderate exercise routine. 
Grooming Requirements
Minimal grooming requirements due to its short coat.

Information Sourced from:


Monday, June 8, 2015

Breed Profile Series 1 of 7: Akita

This summer we are going to run a 7 part breed profile series.  These breed profiles will cover a few of the less common breeds found in the United States.  If there are any breeds you are curious about and would like to learn more, please let me know for future posts.  This first post will be on the Akita.  

You might be interested to know that there are two distinct types/breeds of Akita.  The original Akita is a Japanese line of dog and often referred to as an Akita Inu.  Then there is the American Akita which originated in North America.  This breed is recognized as a single breed in North America but elsewhere they are classified as two different breeds.  

These two breeds do have different looks and temperaments.  The American Akita is larger than the Japanese Akita in both height & weight.  The American Akita, also, comes in any color and always has a black mask where as the Japanese Akita is smaller, and comes only in orange/white, brindle (black/white/orange) and snow white but never with a black mask.  You can expect the cost of a purebred Akita Inu to be more than an American Akita, because most of the breeders had to import their dogs from Japan or Europe, at some point.  

Image:  American Akita (left); Akita Inu (right)

I have found Akitas to be stubborn goofballs.  They do, however, tend to be very aloof and reserved with people outside of their pack.  They are dogs that need a firm and consistent owner or you can encounter behavior issues.  Common behavioral issues can include aggressive behaviors towards small animals and with food.  These behaviors can me mitigated with solid training and socialization as young pups.  This table provides some general information about the Akita breeds.  The breeds are very similar with a few notable differences.  Sources can be found below.

Akita Inu
American Akita
Life Expectancy
11-15 years
10-12 years
General Appearance
This square upright dog is well balanced, with well-developed muscles and tendons. The skin is free of wrinkles and not loose. The male and female are clearly distinguishable from each other. Japanese Akitas are dignified, quick, and agile. Balance is very important in the overall picture of the dog. Because of efforts made to restore the breed to its origins, upon first glance, an oriental look must be evident, as well as an expression of intelligence and air of aloofness.
Large, powerful, alert, with much substance and heavy bone. The broad head, forming a blunt triangle, with deep muzzle, small eyes and erect ears carried forward in line with back of neck, is characteristic of the breed. The large, curled tail, balancing the broad head, is also characteristic of the breed.
22-26 in
75-120 lbs
24-28 in
75-120 lbs
Independent and reserved, especially around strangers, the Japanese Akita can give the impression of being aloof. Confident, smart and docile, it is a loyal and highly protective companion to its family members.
Docile, intelligent, courageous and fearless. Careful and very affectionate with its family. Sometimes spontaneous, it needs a firm, confident, consistent pack leader. Without it the dog will be very willful and may become very aggressive to other dogs and animals.
Health Issues
Prone to hip dysplasia, both hypothyroid and autoimmune thyroiditis, immune diseases like VKH and Pemphigus, skin problems like SA and eyes (PRA, Micro, entropion) patella and other problems with the knee.
Prone to hip dysplasia, both hypothyroid and autoimmune thyroiditis, immune diseases like VKH and Pemphigus, skin problems like SA and eyes (PRA, Micro, entropion) patella and other problems with the knee.
Exercise Requirements
Needs regular exercise/long daily walks
Needs regular exercise/long daily walks
Grooming Requirements
Needs significant grooming
Brush with a firm bristle brush
Bathe only when absolutely necessary as bathing removes the natural waterproofing of the coat. This breed sheds heavily twice a year.
Needs significant grooming
Brush with a firm bristle brush
Bathe only when absolutely necessary as bathing removes the natural waterproofing of the coat. This breed sheds heavily twice a year.

Information Sourced from:

Friday, May 8, 2015

Camping with Your Dog

Our facility is located near several camping sites that bring in many people from out of town.  In the summer months I receive many inquiries for boarding from people who are having issues camping with their dog.  So, as camping season quickly approaches here in Michigan, the following are some tips for camping with your dog.

Canoeing with dogs.

Preparing for your trip

First and foremost ensure that the camping location you are planing to stay at allows dogs and familiarize yourself with their policies on dogs.  You will also want to ensure your dogs health for the trip by confirming they are up to date on vaccines (including a bordetella vaccine) and routine health checks.  They should also be on flea/tick/heartworm prevention.  Also, make sure they are micro-chipped and/or have the appropriate collar with ID tags.  These tags should have a cell phone number on them so you can be contacted ASAP in regards to your dog.

What to pack

Bring enough water for your dog to drink, unless there is a water supply available at the campsite that you plan to use.  DO NOT allow your dog to drink out of standing bodies of water while camping.  Your dog should continue to eat his regular diet during the trip; pack enough food and treats to last for your entire stay.  Pack a food dish and water bowl.  Bring appropriate bedding such as a blanket or a cot-style bed.  I would not suggest large pillow/couch like beds for sanitary reasons.  Also bring some toys to keep your dog occupied. 

Make sure to pack a copy of your dog’s health records and vaccination reports.  This is especially important if you are crossing state lines.  These vet records can also come in handy if for any reason they need to be boarded while you are camping.  Other essential items include a leash or long line and collar or harness, if required a carrier or other means to confine your dog, bags to pick up your dog’s waste, a first aid kit, a brush or comb and any medications your dog takes regularly.

Camping Activities

Once at the camping ground, follow campground policies which frequently include keeping your dog on leash.  Depending on campground policy you can get a longer line as well for this purpose or have your dog properly off leash trained.  This will keep peace with your camping neighbors and your dog will not be at minimal risk for becoming lost or injured.  Keep a close eye on your dog and keep them near you at all time.  Be aware of keeping your dog away from things such as campfires and cooking utensils that can cause injury.  A “leave it” command is also useful in case your dog begins to explore or picks up something that he should not have.
While camping, check your dog’s fur and skin regularly for ticks as well as for plant material like thorns or burrs.  Plant materials should be brushed free of your dog’s hair, if possible. In some situations, cutting or shaving the hair may be necessary to remove these items.  Remove ticks promptly by grasping the tick near the skin and pulling gently and slowly away from the skin. Wear gloves when doing so. Do not handle ticks with bare hands as they can transmit diseases to you as well as to your dog.

Most campground activities you can probably do with your dog as well.  You can take walks on nature trails or go biking.  If your dog is well behaved and you are a good swimmer take him for a canoe ride.  The picture at the beginning of this article is of the last time I went camping.  We had a pleasant afternoon on the lake and we stayed dry the whole time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

De-Skunk Your Dog

The horror! Your dog has been skunked.  What do you do?  The most effective solution is mixed from things you probably already have in your home.  No need for expensive store bought solutions or gallons of tomato sauce that may or may not work.  I can guarantee, from experience, this method is 100% effective.

Duke post de-skunk bath

You will need 1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon liquid dish washing soap and large plastic container and rubber gloves.  The gloves are optional but recommended.  It is important to wash your dog immediately with this solution before the skunk oils dry or your dog will have a residual smell for months.  

While you are preparing your solution, it is best to keep your dog outside or your home will bear that wonderful skunk smell for about 9o days (give or take).  First check to make sure the skunk did not get into the dogs eyes.  If eyes are irritated or red flush with cool water immediately.

When you mix the solution use a large plastic container (at least 1-gallon if not larger is recommended).  Metal containers can encourage auto-decomposition of the peroxide.  Caution: Do NOT save this mixture or make it ahead of time, as the mixture could explode if left in a bottle or container.  DO NOT get the solution in the dog's eyes.

To clean your dog thoroughly massage the mixture into your their fur.  Let it sit for a few minutes.  The longer you leave it in, the more likely it is that your dogs coat will become "bleached" because of the peroxide.  Then rinse solution out completely.

At this point you can lather your dog up with their regular shampoo and bathe as normal.  Make sure to thoroughly towel dry and keep them warm while they dry.  You can also opt to use a blow dryer to speed up and complete the drying process.

Finally, get your clothes into the wash just in case your dog rubbed some of the skunk stink onto you.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring Time & Your Dog

The snow is finally melting, the breeze is warming up, and flowers are starting to bloom! However, its not all sunshine and beautiful butterflies, we need to make sure our four legged companions are protected from the bad insects and parasites!

As the weather turns warmer, the biting insects become more active. This can lead to internal organ issues, lack of nutrition, and sometimes may even lead to death. Spring time is very important to have your pooches on preventative medication as well as a great topical to keep those fleas and pesky insect biters away!

Beware of mosquito’s around your dogs as well! They can do much more damage than just an itchy bump. They can carry diseases like heart worm. This disease is not one to be overlooked, so make sure your dogs are not outside unattended for long lengths of time as well as not tracking through thickly wooded areas or wet areas, as mosquito’s are quite thick among them.

And one more friendly reminder! Cat and dog preventative medication and topical treatments are much different, so please be careful to separate the two if you have feline companions as well.
Enjoy this beautiful weather friends!

(Original Article Sourced from:

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Apple Cider Vinegar & Your Dog

Apple cider vinegar is fermented juice from crushed apples. Like apple juice, it probably contains some pectin; vitamins B1, B2, and B6; biotin; folic acid; niacin; pantothenic acid; and vitamin C. It also contains small amounts of the minerals sodium, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Apple cider vinegar can also contain significant quantities of acetic acid and citric acid.

Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal
Just as you would use bleach or any other household cleaner, you can use ACV to clean and disinfect your home.  It is due to the malic acid found in ACV that it is a great natural alternative to harsh household cleaners.

Ear Cleaner
Whether your dog has a little dirt in their ears or a full-blown infection, cleaning your dogs ears with ACV (diluted equal parts) will help clean and heal their ears.  Use a cotton ball or soft cloth with ACV dilution to apply in the ears.  For routine cleaning once or twice a week would suffice.  If an infection is suspected once or twice a day until infection is gone would be recommended (approximately 10-14 days).  Always consult with a veterinarian to confirm an infection and for a treatment plan.

Flea Repellent & Control
For all external flea repellent and control methods a diluted solution of 1 part ACV to 1 part water would be suggested.

Soak your dogs collar or bandanna for all-natural flea collars.

Put it in your dog's water or food; once teaspoons per 25lbs of dog.  Adjust this according to your dogs weight.

Create a spray to apply to your dog as a bug spray to apply before hikes or any other activities where fleas may be present.

As a Flea bath.  When using this as a flea bath simply applied the diluted solution to the dog and allow the dog to dry to not rinse your dog.  White distilled vinegar can be used in this scenario as well.

You can make a rinse of one part vinegar to sixteen parts water (1 cup per one gallon).  Once the dog has been shampooed and conditioned, apply the vinegar solution and rinse off of your dog.

Other various benefits
Although vinegar itself is acidic it has an alkaline effect in our dog's (and our own) body.

Due to its rich content of minerals, vitamins and enzyme; it helps to improve functions of vital organs such as kidneys, liver, and bladder.

There are several other proposed benefits and uses of ACV that are not mentioned here.  The uses discussed here are several of the ways I have successfully used ACV.

What NOT to do 

Do not use dead vinegar (filtered vinegar such as sushi or wine vinegar).

Never give undiluted ACV for your dog to take internally.

When using as a rinse, be cautious not to get it in your dog's eyes.

Avoid using ACV on open wounds such as cuts or scratches as it will burn.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Keeping Your Dog Safe This Winter

Here in Michigan the winters can be brutal.  Last winter was one for the record books and the past few nights here the temperatures have plummeted below zero degrees.  It is at this point when I am asking myself how I still live here, and subsequently check housing prices in The Keys.  As with people, many dogs love the snow (my Eva girl seen below) and many dogs do not.  It is our job as dog owners to keep them safe in these blustery winter months.  Here are some tips to keep your dog safe this winter.

Keep pets indoors and warm
My Eva would spend all day outside if I let her, but is best to limit yours dog's time outside.  Do not allow your dog to be idle indoors, however, or they can/will act out.  You can still take your dogs for walks, as weather allows, or find fun indoor games to keep their mind sharp.  Teaching your dog a "find" command is great for those winter months.  To do this, hide your dog's favorite toy or treat and have them search for it in the home.

You should also consider your dog's coat type.  A German Shepherd Dog will be able to withstand colder temperatures better than a Pit Bull, as example.  For those dogs with a short coat, a sweater or jacket may be a necessity.

Consider windchill, it can threaten a pet's life.  Dogs are at risk, just as humans are, for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps.  Exposed skin on noses, ears and paws can freeze quickly and suffer permanent damage.

Give your dogs plenty of food and water
Keeping warm takes energy and burns calories.  When your dog has spent a lot of time outside make sure to feed an appropriate amount of food and, as always, keep fresh water available.

Protect paws from salt
Buy pet friendly ice melt.  The salt and other chemicals used in ice melt can irritate the pads of your dog's feet.  Make sure to wipe all paws with a damp towel before your dog licks them and irritates their mouth.

Avoid antifreeze poisoning
Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract dogs. Wipe up spills and keep antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach of your dog. Coolants and antifreeze made with propylene glycol are less toxic to dogs and other pets.

Be careful with cats, wildlife and cars
This one is not relevant to dogs specifically, although a small dog may do this.  The warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. If you park outside, hit your car's hood to scare them away before starting your engine.

Speak out if you see a pet left in the cold
If you see a dog (or any pet for that matter) left in the cold, document what you see.  Important information to gather would be the date, time, exact location and type of animal, plus as many details as possible. I would also suggest video and/or photos.  Contact your local animal control agency, in Muskegon County this happens to be the Sheriff's Department.  Make sure you note with whom you speak and when. Then follow up in a few days if the situation has not been remedied.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Dog Fighting Rings

All over the world on every given day, a dog fight is taking place. Although rescue organizations are doing their very best to stop this cruelty, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dogs from all over the globe are being thrown into fighting rings. The sad thing is most of these dogs do not want to fight. They are thrown in as bait against another opponent, and whether the bait dog fights back or not, the fight continues. These dogs are usually very young, and kept chained outside to a tree, pole, or “shack” of a dog house. These animals have no connection with humans, other dogs, or the outside world. The only humans these dog know are the handlers walking them to the fighting ring. They do not get love or affection, they do not have toys or play mates, they do not go for walks or runs, these dogs are strictly used for human entertainment and money. Why does the public not hear more if these tragic events? Dog fighting rings are “underground” means of entertainment, found both in urban and rural areas. Often times, two dogs fight until the death. If the losing opponent has not died in the ring but suffers very serious injuries, the dog is usually euthanized (sometimes inhumanely by the dogs handler) instead of seeking medical attention that could be quite costly to the handler. Most of these dogs also never see a veterinary doctor, therefore they suffer their entire lives with gaping wounds, gashes to their flesh, holes through the meat of their bodies, and most often, bitten off ears and tails. These animals are put back in their cage or on their chain without medication or wound care. Food and water is a bare minimum, and most of the time when given, is not clean. If these dogs are not suffering from a dog fight, their living conditions, or the lack of water and food, they are simply withering away, frightened and alone. The object of this blunt but true post is to raise awareness of dog fighting rings and their dangers. We invite everyone to do their own research, read the true stories, and look at the real pictures. The words and images will show you the truth, one that we cannot deny, and one that we should all pull together and fight against. Please volunteer your time with rescue organizations to help in any way possible. If you ever suspect animal abuse in any way, please do not hesitate to call for help. Animal abuse is now a felony in most cases here in the U.S. Help us help these poor animals, and bring more of our babies back to loving homes.

*This article originally sourced from*