Australian Terrier International
Meeting The Needs Of Aussie
© 2010 Australian Terrier International
May, 2010- Vol 1, Issue 5
We are now in 22 countries. We welcome Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Guernsey, India, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and the USA.|
Not only am I learning more Dog related information than I ever thought possible, I just researched Guernsey.
Capital Cities... Saint Peter Port
GDP: $2,740,000,000 (USD)
Area: 78 (sq km)
30 (sq mi)
Currency: British pound and there is
also a Guernsey pound.
Facebook has almost 200 members; 75% of the members are from International Countries.
Welcome to all!
Education Night with Sue Holsinger
Part 2 of the Breeder Series
Next month we will be discussing the Stud dog.Our guest speaker will be Dr. Robert Hutchinson.
Dr. Hutchinson's special interests are in:
Infertility and Pediatric Care.Dr. Hutchison is the
director of the International Canine Semen Bank - Ohio, a canine frozen
semen center which he started in 1984. He speaks nationally and
internationally to veterinary and breeder groups. Dr. Hutchison has
published numerous articles, authored textbook chapters on canine
reproduction, and produced a DVD on dog breeding which is available at
Animal Clinic Northview. http://www.northviewvet.com/site/view/84913_Home.pmlATI will own the DVD series and will loan it out to members. Please reserve May 20th for the call-in.It will be at 6pm PCT and 9pm ESTPlease send all your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.orgWe would like to thank Angela Smith for arranging this
Breeding the Female (Bitch)
If you are thinking about breeding a litter, you really need to go to the website and listen to the Podcast On Breeding Part 1-The Female. The questions were from you, our members and the conversation was excellent. We all learned a lot.
Photo Courtesy of Barbara Schmidt "Alice"
The conversation covers everything from artificial insemination with fresh and frozen semen, to brucellosis, herpes, supplements and so much more.
International members it's free to listen.
Next we asked several breeders from different countries:
What do you look for or consider in a bitch that you would add to your breeding program? Can you share your reasons?
Health, soundness and temperament are absolutely most important. Soundness also includes good construction, with good proportions and good angulation etc.
I want her as true to the standard as possible to give me as little problems as possible in the future. With a good construction they also should do well at shows, but I´m not that impressed with an amount of titles (that often depends on the size of the owners ability to pay for shows and their interest in showing their dog).
Aussies have large litters and whelp easy, and believe that larger litters is one of the reasons they whelp easy, (each pup weighs less and she whelps a few days early) so don´t go on breeding from a bitch that only gives 2-3 puppies. Bitches from our kennel have between 5-8 puppies in their litters and have only had 3 Cesarean sections (2 on the same bitch) in a little less than 50 litters.
There must be NO known health problems in the bitches family of course, and am very picky that she has a very nice temperament. No nervousness, she must be able to relax when nothing is going on, fearless like an Aussie, alert when something happens and loves people. A true Aussie temperament! It is something to love and appreciate when they prove themselves catching a mouse or showing herding instinct. She does not have to be perfect, but she has to have "quality", something that tells my instinct she is going to be a good mother (hard to put your finger on, something you can feel after having a lot of litters). SWEDEN
First of all I look for a bitch being healthy: eyes, knees, no allergies etc. I consider for healthiness and mental qualities. I would not like to have puppies that are too nervous or too shy or too aggressive with other Aussies. With different kind of natures dogs can be good, some are more delicate than others, but being cowardly or nervous, makes both the dog and their owner's unhappy. FINLAND
I look for an attractive bitch from a quality line of dogs. She should be able to finish a championship and pass health testing, including hips, eyes, knees and thyroid. I will take a structurally sound bitch that has good reach and drive over one that may have a better head or perhaps better coat color. I come from a horse background, and the old adage was "You cant ride the head" this has stuck with me and I value sound structure. Sue Holsinger USA
I take several things into consideration.
1. Medical concerns that could be hereditary
4. Coat Texture
5. Over All Look
1. Must have as few medical issues as you can possibly determine. Diabetes - is it in the line? Vasculitis (sometimes Leggs Cap Perethes) - what is the history of the pedigree in this bitch? Eyes - blindness (there is a name for the early onset but I cannot recall right now the name) is in the line? Cryptorchidism, was it in the litter of the bitch? Luxating Patellas - etc just to name a few of the concerns.
2. After determining what the line contains medically, then I look at movement. If the dog moves well coming, going and side movement, you know then that the structure is there. A good front tells you how well the shoulder assembly is. A good side movement also tells you freedom of reach and level top line. I like a strong rear moving away.
3. Color - it is real or dyed? What about the sire and dam of the bitch, is their color holding or does it smut out with age - look at the sire and dam.
4. Coat Texture - you really want to keep that harsh coat. Look not only at the bitch but the dam and sire of the bitch.
5. Lastly but very important to me - does the bitch have the overall look that I am looking for. I look at her overall size, head and neck.
Remember that the bitch is only 50% of the gene pool so you need to determine what it is that you are trying to fix. If it is a front, you look for the strongest front that you can find after item 1. Item 1 should override any other concerns.
Darlene Evans USA
I looked for a bitch who was as close to the standard as I could get. Structurally I wanted four good legs set where they should be, good shoulders, and a good topline and tailset. To me, head wasn't as important as soundness. I feel it is easier to fix a head than bad legs, shoulders, top line, and tailset. Temperament is a biggie for me as well. They have to be sound mentally as well. I like a bitch that is outgoing, clever, fun, and can deal with change well. I do not like fearful, shy or overly aggressive bitches. Jeannine Johnson USA
I would want a balanced bitch, good front & topline. If she were a little long I would see that as a plus as I feel the longer bitches are easier whelpers. That is from my experience and that is not to say that a average bitch can't be a good whelper. I have just found my top producers were a little long. I would also want a great personality and temperament. Some things are easy to correct. For instance I would forgive a gay or low tailset as that can easily be corrected. It takes many generations to fix bad fronts and top lines. Janet Maas USA
Photo Courtesy of Mervi Soiletsalo
Canine Herpes by Errol Stone
This is part of a series of articles on Herpes. To read the full article in it's entirety, please go to www.AustralianTerrierInternational.com|
Recently an ATCA breeder had two litters 10 days apart from each other. She lost a litter of two puppies to suspected herpes. There is a possibility she carried the virus on her clothes into another room where she had another litter and then lost two of the puppies in that litter. We did not know you could carry the virus on your clothes. Education is so important. Sharing of information so we don't experience the same heartbreaks, is critical. We hope this info helps you!
Errol Stone has researched and written what we consider to be both an amazing and excellent article. If you have any further questions you may email him directly at
CHV-1 in adult canines
In adult canines, the virus infects the reproductive tract, which allows it to be sexually transmitted or passed to puppies during birth. The disease can cause abortion, stillbirths, and infertility. It is also an infrequent cause of kennel cough.
Like other types of herpesvirus, previously infected canines can from time to time release the virus in vaginal secretions, penile secretions, and discharge from the nose. Raised sores in the vagina or on the penis may be seen during these times. Spread of the disease is controlled by not breeding canines known to have it.
Serology can show what canines have been exposed (although not all of them will be releasing the virus at that time). Serological studies of various canine populations have revealed the overall occurrence of the disease within the canine population at one time of between 40 to 93 percent. Females who have a negative serology for CHV-1 should be isolated from other canines from three weeks before to three weeks after giving birth. Females that have lost puppies to the disease may have future litters that survive due to transfer of antibodies in the milk.
Within the adult population, infection is widespread without overt clinical signs of disease. However, during the acute phase of the initial infection, lymphoid nodules, submucosal hemorrhage, and hyperemia can occur at the site of mucosal viral inoculation.11] Mild upper respiratory tract disease can occur in older puppies and adults. Vesicular lesions have been noted to develop in females with the onset of proestrus and then spontaneously regress during subsequent anestrus. Similar lesions can occur in males at the base of the penis and along the prepuce.
Depending on the stage of gestation, inoculation of first-time pregnant females with CHV-l can result in unapparent fetal loss, mummification, fetal death and expulsion, or premature delivery of live puppies. Previously exposed females having a positive serological test usually produce normal litters. Maternal antibodies or immune lymphocytes acquired from the milk of the mother with high level of antibodies are capable of protecting puppies from the clinical consequences of CHV-1 infection.[2,33] Although the degree of this protection is variable; this is likely the mechanism whereby infected females produce clinically normal litters. CHV-1 attacks the placenta of the mother, starving the fetus of nutrients. This can lead to abortion, stillbirth or re- absorption of the fetus.
Sweden-Breeder Education by Carin Sandahl
Photo Courtesy Of Carin Sandahl
To become a responsible dog breeder in Sweden, you have to be a member of the Swedish Kennel Club (SKC). You also, have to follow the code of ethics that our Kennel Club has decided upon. It states that you can only breed dogs of the same breed, only use healthy dogs with sound temperaments and follow the breeds health programs. If you break these rules you can be penalized by not being allowed to register pups for a period of time or even be removed out of the Kennel Club.
After your third litter you will have to have a registered kennel name, which you apply for through the SKC. Your kennel name has to be a name that is unique and not already existing in Sweden or in the other FCI countries, therefore you have to have at least three names on the application just in case your first choices are already taken. It can be a long process before you find a unique name. Once the name is approved, you pay about $280 US dollars to the Swedish Kennel Club
(SKC and you have your kennel prefix.That means, I have the right to that kennel name, and no other kennel in the countries under the FCI organization can register the same kennel name. Its mine alone.)
To try to increase the quality and skill amongst breeders, the KC gives out seven books, on which the local Kennel Clubs are arranging courses. Our country is divided into 25 different areas and in every area we have a local Kennel Club (that responds to the SKC, which acts like an umbrella organization).
It takes about 5-6 evening meetings for everyone to get through each book and then you get a diploma for every finished course you have done, until you have all the books completed. Then one gets advantages such as, discounts to dog events, interesting lectures/ and other information regarding the breed, if you can show your card that proves you have had this breeder education.
The books are about: Breeding, Behaviour, Anatomy, Whelping, Inheritance and The Law. Its totally voluntary to attend these courses, but many of breeders here in Sweden want to be responsible and learn as much as possible, and as it is fun to gather with others with the same interest, so there are often a large amount of breeder's attending these courses.
We also have breeder meetings about four evenings every year in our KC-area, where all breeders are welcome. We have coffee and a couple of subjects to talk about to get started. It depends on the people attending what we end up talking about and it is always great fun. We learn a lot from each other. Since we all breed different breeds we feel we learn even more and we have formed a contact network within our area with everybody's e-mail address. If you have a problem and for example would quickly need a surrogate mother for puppies or you need an answer to an urgent question or something like that, we can spread the alarm quickly via e-mail to all on the computer. It's great to have so much support.
Finland-Breeder Education By Irma Harden
The Finnish Aussie Club arranges education for its members. Participation in this education is voluntary and it is not as requirement for the breeder. We have had several courses about Australian terrier's anatomy and many grooming courses that the Aussie Club offers. In addition, we have annual breeders' meetings, in which we are taught about a chosen topic and items of interest to our breed.
Photo Courtesy of Irma Harden
In Finland, each Breed Association has prepared the breeding program, which consist guidelines for breeding, including a record of the breed's history, current situation and plans for the future of the breed. This breeding program includes the defined criteria for which breeding dogs (male and female) must meet, so that the litter can be accepted to the Club's puppy list.
You can breed dogs without special kennel name, but registration payment per litter is more expensive. In order for you to get a kennel prefix, breeders should go the basic breeder course and pass the written exam. Courses are either weekend courses ( Saturday - Sunday) or the evening courses (5 evenings). In these course information is taught regarding dog care, heredity, breeding, birth and the puppy care/socialization methods for puppies, also other matters that concern breeders such a: laws/regulations regarding dogs/breeding issues, and the prevention of cruelty to animals act. The Finnish Kennel Club arranges these basic courses and participants pay for the basic courses.
Dog Show Count-Down
Days until these next shows:|
45- Little Fork KC of Waukegan and Great Lakes All Terrier Association-Illinois
53- World Show Denmark
54- Great Western Terrier Association-Long Beach, CA
(Please note that the judge for Australian Sweeps on June 27, 2010 is Miss Willy Baldwin-long time Aussie breeder; from New Mexico).
138- Royal Melbourne-Melbourne, Australia
Email us if you would like me to add your shows.
Happy Mother's Day
Photo Courtesy of Cheryl Mechalke "Zippy", "Enya" and "Aralee" Breakfast in Bed
To All the Mother's that take care of their wonderful Aussies, we wish you a very Happy Mother's Day.
To all the Aussie Mothers who birthed the Aussies we have, we thank you and wish you a wonderful Mother's day too.
feed me when I'm hungry,
You keep water in my
You let me sleep on anything,
Or in any place I wish.
sometimes let me lick your hands
even lick your face,
Despite the fact I've licked myself
In every private place.
taught me how to come when called
taught me how to sit,
You always let me go outside
So I don't have a fit.
You'll always have my loyalty
and my love to you I send,
'cause after all, it's plain to see
are an Aussie's best friend.
Mothers Day Gift Ideas
Is your dog confused about what to get you for Mother's Day. How about a personalized item with your dog's face on it?
Personalize your make-up bag with a photo of your dog.
(If you are an International Member and wish to order with bagettes.com, we can arrange to have them delivered to the US and brought to the World Show for free-order must be placed by June 1, 2010).
For personalized key chains, cuff links, money clips, photo charms, photo belt buckles, photo necklaces and bracelets
For the creative dog and one who enjoys making books try:
Personalize coffee mugs, t-shirts and hats at:
Most of all just feel the love and have a great day!
The Aging Aussie Part 2 By Heather Rife, DVM
Photo Courtesy of Heather Rife
The second in this series of articles discusses some of
the more common diseases that you may encounter as your dogs age. From the age
of seven years, an Aussie is considered a geriatric, or senior citizen. I
recommend a geriatric wellness exam, which includes a complete blood panel (evaluating
hepatic, renal, thyroid and electrolytes) a complete blood count (CBC) and a
urinalysis every 6 months. This schedule allows you a beginning baseline at 7
years and then a way to evaluate subtle changes that may lead to disease in
later years. Changes in our dogs' behavior should not be attributed to "getting
older". The once voracious eater that becomes finicky can be a sign of disease.
The dog that you notice spending more time at the water bowl, or suddenly has
urinary accidents in the house, needs to be evaluated by your veterinarian with the
above tests. Weighing your dog on a monthly basis with an accurate scale is
very helpful in addressing chronic subtle weight loss, a red flag indicating
Hypothyroidism is a disease of the thyroid glands and can
affect dogs of any age, although it is more common in older dogs. It can be
subtle and is characterized by lethargy, weight gain, and a poor hair coat or
hair loss. Occasionally signs can include aggression or a lack of interest in
activities the dog used to enjoy. Performance dogs may act like they have
forgotten the simplest behaviors, or are slow in carrying out commands.
Fortunately, it is relatively easy to diagnose through blood tests. A T4 test may
be normal or slightly low. If you are convinced that your dog is not right,
insist on a complete thyroid panel. I send my panels out to Michigan State
University, who has been doing thyroid studies for decades. In the cases of borderline
thyroid results, they give me the most accurate results. Medication twice a day
is all that is needed to restore your pets' attitude.
mellitus is a common (fortunately less common!) disease of older dogs. Our
breed is known to be more prone to diabetes, so we need to be extra vigilant in
regard to the signs of diabetes. These include a dog that eats well, but is
losing weight, drinking excessive water and urinating frequently. This may be
the dog that wakes you up at night to go out. Diabetes is a dysfunction of
insulin production. It is easily
diagnosed via blood and urine tests, so if you suspect diabetes, bring urine
from home to aid in quicker diagnoses. It can be managed with once or twice
daily insulin administration and a change in diet.
disease, or hyperadrenocorticism is a disease of either the pituitary gland or
the adrenal glands. It is characterized by increased water consumption and
resulting increased urination, panting at inappropriate times, weakness, potbelly
and hair loss. It is more difficult to diagnose than diabetes and may require
many tests before a diagnosis is reached. It can be treated and treatment may
extend the life and quality of life of the dog.
is a word we never want to hear, however, more than half of our senior pets
will be diagnosed with cancer. Occasionally we can diagnose cancer with our
wellness exam and laboratory tests, however these tests can often be normal.
When the blood work is normal, yet you suspect a problem, we need to continue
to look for the answer. Often, our lab results may only indicate a non-regenerative
anemia. There may be a need to perform additional tests, including radiographs,
ultrasound, or endoscopy. Skin masses may be diagnosed via needle aspirates or
excision (removal) and biopsy. With
early intervention and proper care, your pet may have a normal life
expectancy. With a diagnosis of
cancer, I encourage my clients to make an appointment with a veterinary
oncologist to explore all the options that they can offer. Even if you are not
interested in chemotherapy or radiation, there are other options to make your
dogs life comfortable, including dietary changes, supplements, pain
medications, or holistic therapies.
article only covers a very brief discussion of a few common diseases. There are
many more that may affect your aging Aussie. An excellent source of information
from the Internet is veterinarypartners.com. The take home message from this
article is about the subtle changes that you must be aware of in caring for
your friends. Observation on your part as a caretaker in changes of weight,
behavior, habits, and appetite is a must. A good relationship with your health
care partners along with perseverance in searching for the diagnoses is
required to keep your dogs healthy and happy.
next article will deal with when it is time to say good-bye.
Photos, Photos, Photos
Photo Courtesy of Helen Zeugheuser Happy Birthday Misha 10 Years Old
Photo Courtesy of Irma Harden "Basso"
Photo Courtesy of Ulla Britt "Gere"
Photo Courtesy of Cindy Smith Brennan "Marley"
Photo Courtesy of Jeanine Johnson "Nathan Hawke"
The World Show-Denmark
World Show in Denmark 2010
Australian Terriers show on June 25, 2010. The Judge is Wayne Burton, AU
On-line booking of hotels and holiday homes
Although the town of Herning has the
leading fair centre in Denmark and a large hotel capacity, the demand
for overnight accommodation is extensive. Therefore, it may be necessary
to search for overnight accommodation in the surrounding towns, e.g.
Silkeborg, Holstebro, Brande, Viborg, Ringkøbing or Århus.
aware that many hotels in Herning and in the nearest towns are already
booked in the show period. Therefore we recommend that you look within a
wide radius from Herning or look for holiday homes which are very
common in central and western Jutland.
You can book hotels and
holiday homes on-line via the box below. For your information, the
regions nearest to Herning are West Jutland and East Jutland.
can also contact the ConventionBureauet, VisitHerning for booking of
B&Bs, hotel rooms, etc. at the following website www.conventionbureauet.com, e-mail: email@example.com,
tel. +45 9627 2235.
World Wide Terrier Festival
DTK (Danish Terrier Klub) and the breeds invite you to a double show in the World Winner Show weekend 2010. Your dogs are groomed and trimmed so why not use the opportunity to show them 3 times in the same weekend? We are looking forward to seeing you!
Saturday evening there will be unique chance to meet terrier friends from abroad when DTK arranges a special evening with buffet.
Saturday June 26th 2010 Australian Terrier Judge: Dianne Ivey, CA
In case of high number of entries the following judges will be called:
Sue Hewinson, AU, Robert Paust, SE
Evening event: WWS2010 & WWTF2010 must be an unforgettable event and
the opportunity to meet terrier friends from far and near must be taken, therefore
DTK arranges an evening event with dinner Saturday evening in Hedensted
Hallen. All terrier friends are welcome.
Enrollment and payment for the evening event see our web page:
Sunday June 27th 2010 DTK Show in Hedensted.
Australian Terrier Judge: Sue Hewinson, AU
Reserve judges for the breeds will be published soon at: www.dansk-terrier-klub.dk For more information www.hundeweb.dk or www.worlddogshow2010.dk
Tail docked dogs
born after 1 June 1996 cannot be shown regardless of the dog's country
of birth. The prohibition also includes dogs that have been docked
for veterinary reasons irrespective of whether a veterinary certificate
is presented. The following breeds are excepted from the tail docking
prohibition: German Wire-haired Pointing dog, German Short-haired
Pointing dog, Brittany spaniel, Hungarian Pointing dog and Weimaraner.
The dogs must be
vaccinated against distemper and parvovirus. Foreign dogs must also be
vacci-nated against rabies according to Danish legislation. Additional
information can be retrieved at the Danish Veterinary and Food
Administration's website: www.foedevarestyrelsen.dk.
vaccination must be brought to the show. Puppies less than 3 months
cannot be brought to the show. The dogs that are shown must be in good
mental and physical health condition and not show any signs of illness.
Moreover, we refer to the DKK show regulations. If a dog has caught a
defect, which can be certified by a veterinary certificate, the
veterinary certificate must be brought to the show and handed over to
the ring staff before judging begins. The exhibitor pays for any
treatment undertaken by the show veterinarian. The exhibitor must
however, have approved the treatment in advance.
Food, More Information-What Do These Words Mean?
All-Natural...Holistic...Human-Grade...Organic...How can you tell them
may be confused with the terms manufacturers use to describe the
ingredients in pet food,
All-Natural... Holistic...Human-Grade...Organic. These
definitions should help you decide which qualities are most important
for your pet's food.
All Natural Pet Food:
All Natural Pet Food does not use
artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
Most premium pet foods are considered to
be all natural and no longer use chemical preservatives in their foods.
of preservative is needed to
stabilize the fat in dry pet food, preventing it from becoming
rancid. Natural preservatives such as vitamin E and vitamin C
(Mixed Tocopherols) and rosemary are used to preserve dry pet
food. Canned food requires no added preservative as the can itself
acts to stabilize the contents.
Holistic Pet Food:
Holistic, by definition, means: Emphasizing the importance of
the whole and the interdependence of its parts.
Very few pet foods are truly holistic. Manufacturers of holistic pet
foods select each ingredient for its individual benefit to some part of
Many pet food ingredients include additional synthetic nutrients that
provide the necessary levels of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients
required by A.A.F.C.O. to be considered complete and balanced.
Holistic pet food would obtain these essential nutrients solely from the
nutrients that are naturally occurring in the ingredients selected to
make up their foods.
Human-Grade Ingredients in Pet
The term human-grade is not a recognized term by
A.A.F.C.O., therefore this term cannot
be used on pet food labels. Although the term cannot be used on
the package label, manufacturers can use this reference in their online
or printed advertisements for their products.
Even if the ingredient is human-grade by USDA standards, once that
ingredient leaves the licensed facility and travels to the pet food
manufacturer, it is no longer considered fit for human
consumption. Because there is no standardization in place to regulate
the handling and transportation of these human-grade ingredients, the
term itself has no real meaning when applied to pet food.
Organic Pet Food:
For human foods, the
term "organic" has a precise
meaning defined by the USDA's National Organic Program.
"To be certified as
organic, plant ingredients in pet food must be grown without pesticides,
artificial fertilizers, genetic
modification, irradiation or sewage
sludge. Animal ingredients must come from animals raised on
organic feed, given access to the outdoors and not treated with
antibiotics or hormones."
The producers are inspected
to make sure they adhere to these standards.
Unlike human food regulatory
agencies like the FDA, there are no such agencies in place that enforce
the organic designation in pet food.
Because there is no pet food regulation on the brand names of
pet food, any food brand called "organic" may or may not contain all
certified organic ingredients.
Organic foods are always
natural but natural foods may not necessarily be organic. Be aware that
just because a pet food or company name contains the word Organic,
Holistic, that does not guarantee that the product is any of
Valerie Wagner, Pet-Care Advisor
|Thanks to Kathleen McDaniel at Citadel TMs you can find an in-depth heartworm article on her site. Within that article you will find medical information such as when to begin giving heartworm medication or even if it is needed. |
For Canadian owners, the high-risk areas in Canada have been identified as southern Ontario, southern Quebec, Manitoba, and the Okanagan in British Columbia. While it is not absolutely certain, according to the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (AB.VMA), it appears that heartworms are not able to survive at the prevailing temperatures in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. A few cases are diagnosed in these provinces each year, but it seems that they have all been dogs that have visited, lived in and/or been imported from heartworm risk areas.
For Americans owners you can identify your recommendations on the map based on your specific geographical location on Ms. McDaniel's site.
Here are some of the highlights:
Only give when necessary!
Many of us do not live in climates that require heartworm prevention year round. Heartworm is transmitted by the mosquito but it is not only seasonally limited. It is also limited by temperature.
For the mosquito to transmit heartworm disease the temperature must stay above 60 degrees for 30 consecutive days and NIGHTS. That means that if the temperature is 70 during the day but drops down to 55 at night then the cycle is interrupted.
Heartworm medications do have a certain level of toxicity so it makes sense that you would not want to give them during any period when they are not required.
Many people do not realize that the protection duration for Heartgard and Interceptor is actually 45 days not 30. Thirty days is recommended because the manufacturers assume that you will remember once monthly more easily than 45 day intervals. Using the 45 day interval will allow you to give less medication throughout the season.
Most heartworm medications come with "extras" such as dewormers, flea medication etc. It is recommended that you choose Heartgard PLAIN. It is heartworm prevention and nothing else. No adult dog needs to be dewormed monthly for internal parasites. A twice yearly stool check will alert you to any parasites and then can be treated accordingly. Dewormers can be very tough on your dogs digestive system and it not only flushes the digestive tract of potential parasites but also flushes it of beneficial gut bacteria crucial to good digestion and immune system support.
If you find it necessary to use one of these combo-products, please give probiotics during the time they are on these medications to add back the beneficial bacteria that they are losing!
Detox with Milk Thistle
Because of the toxicity levels found in medications like heartworm preventatives, it is recommended that you give Milk Thistle twice a day for 7 days following the heartworm pill or chew to provide cleansing and support for the liver. Milk Thistle has been widely studied around the world as being a highly beneficial antioxidant in general and an efficient, documented detoxifier for the liver.
Look for a product that is 70-80% standardized silymarin which is the active ingredient in Milk Thistle.
Dr. Jean Dodds of Hemopet recommends using milk thistle in the doses listed below:
Dog's size :: Dose as % of adult human dose
* 5 lbs :: 10%
* 5-10 lbs :: 15%
* 11-20 lbs :: 20%
* 21-40 lbs :: 30%
One last Note:
Please DO NOT use injectable 6 month heartworm protection. Many dogs became ill and died the last time this product was on the market. I understand they are reintroducing it and I ask you to avoid such products should they be recommended to you. Their safety record is unsubstantiated and you could pay the ultimate price with the health or even the life of your dog.
More Heartworm Info
Why is Heartworm Prevention Important?
As a veterinarian here in the mid-Atlantic region, I know when springtime has sprung because everyone starts calling for heartworm preventative. Why is having your dog on heartworm preventative so important? Why do dogs need to be tested before starting preventative? What are the differences in the products available for heartworm?
This article should provide you with all of the basic information you need to keep your dog safe and heartworm-free.
Heartworms, Dirofilaria immitis, belong to the same class of worms as roundworms. In fact, they look a bit like roundworms. Heartworms spend their adult life in the right side of the heart and the large blood vessels connecting the heart to the lungs. Heartworms are found most commonly in dogs. There have also been reports of heartworm disease in cats, ferrets, California sea lions, foxes, and wolves. Heartworms have rarely been found in people.
Heartworms are transmitted by a mosquito. When an infected mosquito bites another animal, very tiny larvae (also called microfilariae) enter the animal's skin. The larvae grow for about 3 months and then they migrate to the heart where they mature into adults. Some adult heartworms can be as long as 14 inches. The entire life cycle of a heartworm is about 6-7 months in dogs.
Why is using heartworm preventative so important? In many cases, heartworm treatment is very intensive and can be high risk. If your dog gets heartworm disease, they can become very sick. In severe cases, heartworm disease will cause your dog to get right sided heart failure. Other symptoms of heartworm disease include a cough, loss of appetite, weight loss, fluid accumulation in the abdomen (ascites), and even death. Because heartworm disease can cause severe illness and because diagnosis/treatment can be very expensive, it is much more practical and safe to prevent heartworm.
Why is testing for heartworm so important? Blood tests are available to help identify antigens (small protein and carbohydrate components) of heartworms in the bloodstream. There are different varieties of this test. One of the most common types is called an ELISA test. Some test kits run one sample at a time and can be done right in your veterinarian's office. Others are designed to test multiple samples in large batches. This batch-type of test is generally performed by outside laboratories to which your veterinarian sends your dog's blood. Since heartworm disease may not cause any symptoms at all, having a test done at your veterinarian's can identify the problem before it gets too severe. If your dog has not been on heartworm prevention, or has been off of prevention for more than a month, testing is important. This is because dogs with heartworm disease can actually have a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction if they are given many types of preventatives. The frequency of heartworm testing depends on how prevalent mosquitoes are and how long mosquito season lasts in your area. www.heartwormsociety.org. The American Heartworm Society (AHS) recommends yearly heartworm testing. Your veterinarian can help you to determine how frequently to test your pet.
The best way to keep your pet safe is to have them on a good heartworm preventative. There are many types of preventatives on the market. It is important to understand that preventatives DO NOT kill adult worms. Preventative products should be used year-round, even in areas where mosquitoes only occur seasonally. Even if doses are accidentally skipped, preventative products are still beneficial. If given consistently over a 12-month period, it's possible to actually stop worms from developing into adults. Also, monthly heartworm preventatives have activity against intestinal parasites, which can be transmitted from pets to people and vice versa. (zoonosis). So, these preventatives protect pets and people too!
Heartworm disease can potentially cause life-threatening problems. Having your dog on a good heartworm preventative and protecting them from mosquitoes is the best way to keep them and you safe. Wendy Zimmerman DVM, CVA
Cheryl Mechalke ATI Founders
"Aralee", Cheryl and "Zippy"Cheryl Mechalke started in Aussies in 2003 when Jim purchased Prince as a present, after much research regarding Australian Terriers. Her love for photography dates back to around late 2003 when she first started taking photos of her then elderly Shelties and a short time later a very young Prince dressed up for a friend's wife who was undergoing chemotherapy, who shared the photos with others during her chemo sessions, and she mentioned that the photos were really something that everyone looked forward to seeing . Those early photo sessions have now evolved into what you see today.
Her breeding program involves dogs from Tatong, Nellyson's and Twe-Dle-Dee Kennels. She gratefully acknowledges her mentoring both from abroad Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the US.
Cheryl was an integral part of Founding ATI. She is in charge of International Relations and International articles, as well as the Craft Corner and Cooking with Cheryl.
Cheryl has both imported and exported dogs. Although she (Araluen Kennels) has a small breeding program her lineage can now be found in Finland.
Cheryl married a guy she knew in High School and was reconnected with him " via a blind date" when she was "Student Teaching" at Junior High School they both attended. Jim and she have been married for 25 years.
ATI owes her a debt of gratitude and acknowledges we could not do it without her. Thank you Cheryl and your beautiful, photogenic well behaved Aussies. I think someone put it best when they said, to get Cheryl's photos they need a faster camera or slower Aussies. Thank you also to, Zippy, Prince, Luna, Enya, Vanna, Aralee and her photographer's assistant Jim.
Photos, Photos, Photos
Photo Courtesy Of Lisa Livingston Weaver "Clay Tucker" Photo Courtesy Of Pamela Levy "Rocky"Photo Courtesy of Amber Collick Bybel "Iris"Photo Courtesy of Jan Steinmetz "Scout"
Juniors By Theresa Goiffon
Photo Courtesy of Kathy Huebing.
Pictured above, Logan Huebing with her show dog "Ellie".
I had the pleasure to interview an Australian Terrier Junior Handler for this months' Junior article. I'd like to introduce you to Junior Handler, Logan Huebing.
Logan lives in Sauk City, Wisconsin, USA and is 13 years old. Logan began showing Aussies in conformation when she was 9 years old, with the support of her grandmother, Kathy Huebing.
Logan began showing in Junior Showmanship when she was 10 years old and now competes in the Open Intermediate class.
In general what made you interested in showing dogs?
I always went to dog shows with my Grandmother and watching everyone else have so much fun it made me want to give it a try. I especially enjoyed traveling with my crazy Grandma and I love the Dog Show people.
Do you have a favorite Aussie, if so what makes that dog special to you?
Yes, my favorite dog is Ellie. She is special because I co-own her, she acts just like me and really she's the only dog I show.
Did you find it difficult to get started as a Junior Handler?
In the beginning it was pretty easy, but as I progressed into the intermediate class and the competition was more experienced it became more difficult. I found I really needed more practice in the ring. I went to the Kennel Club with my Grandmother and took handling classes. I learned quite a bit, especially from one of my instructors, who had also once shown in Juniors. She was able to provide me with lots of great advice.
Why did you choose the Australian Terrier breed to show?
I really didn't have a choice since my Grandmother pushed me into the breed ring to help her. But if I had the choice I would have definitely chosen the Australian Terrier anyway. I love a challenge and the Aussies can sometimes be very challenging. The only other breed I would consider showing is a Papillion, they're so cute!
What do you enjoy about showing as a Junior Handler and what is important in competing? Do you have any tips for other Juniors new to showing?
I enjoy meeting other Junior Handlers. For me the most important part about competing is that you always have fun and always no matter what happens, you display good sportsmanship.
A tip for someone new to Junior Showmanship, would be to keep one eye on your dog and one eye on the Judge at all times. Also, watch the other Junior Handlers and get to know them as well as people who show your breed. You can learn a lot from them.
Photo Courtesy of Kathy Huebing Logan and "Ellie"
What is your least favorite part of Junior Showmanship?
Bad sportsmanship shown by a very few competitors and wearing nylons!
Do you foresee yourself becoming a Professional Handler someday, if so will you still show the Australian Terrier breed or another breed?
I do not plan on becoming a Professional Handler because I do not want to show for money. I want to show purely for the joy of showing. I plan to continue to show Australian Terriers for fun after Junior Showmanship.
Do you envision yourself following in your Grandmothers footsteps and becoming a breeder someday or is the show ring of more interest to you?
I would definitely rather be in the show ring. Being a breeder is almost like a full-time job. Showing is just a hobby, one I really enjoy.
Are your family and friends supportive of your interest? What do they think about you showing dogs and would you recommend this sport?
My Grandmother fully supports me, my mother thinks it's a good way to keep me out of trouble, and my Dad, while he supports me, because I only get to see him every two weeks, would like me to spend the time with him.
Most of my friends are not dog people, so I would not recommend it to them. But I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys dogs. It's a good way to enjoy and understand your dog and have a good time doing it.
How many hours a week do you think you spend training your dog and do you groom your dog yourself?
Unfortunately, I can only spend 2 or 3 hours every other week practicing with my dog, (who lives with my Grandma) because I only see my Grandma once every two weeks.
I groom Ellie (my dog) myself and trust me after 2 weeks of not grooming, it's a lot of work!
To date what was your favorite dog show and why?
My favorite dog show would be the Australian Terrier National this past year, because Marge Reignier asked me to show her dog Charlie.
Charlie had won Winners Dog, in the Best of Breed Class, while my Grandma showed Marge's other dog in the same class. I was so shocked when Charlie won Best of Winners that I just stood there with my mouth open for at least 30 seconds. Later I won first place in my Junior Class too! It was an amazing day.
What can our organization, Australian Terrier International do for you and our other Juniors? How can we help our Aussie Juniors?
It would be helpful to have an email list of other Junior Handlers both current and former. It would also be nice to have chat groups specifically for Juniors.
I would like you (ATI) to interview a Junior Show Judge, that would be very interesting.
Kathy Huebing, Logan's Grandmother, has owned, shown and bred Aussies since 1974. She has owner handled her dogs to two Best In Shows and numerous National and Specialty wins. She and her dogs have also done Obedience and Agility. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Australian Terrier Club of America, the Badger Kennel Club and was a 4H Dog Project Leader and Judge for over twenty five years. Recently, Kathy judged the ATI discussion on ears and eyes.
I, really enjoyed learning about Logan and her personal journey in the dog show world. What a delightful young lady.
Thank you so much Logan for sharing your experiences in Junior Showmanship with us!
I'm still looking for Juniors to interview for future articles. Please email me your thoughts and comments or any other Junior related topic to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are putting together a list of both current and past Aussie Junior Handlers. We have a new web page on the ATI site just for Juniors to connect with other Juniors. If you know an Aussie Junior Handler, please have them contact me at email@example.com to be included.
Until next month...
Introduction To Rally Obedience -Basic Equipment
The information presented is this column is
a condensed excerpt from the electronic book Doodle by Design, The Comprehensive Guide to Rally
Obedience by Ruthann McCaulley and available at http://countrydream.wordpress.com/webstore-rally-o-lesson-plans/ as a
download or it can be ordered as a CD.
Before you can start practicing Rally, you
must know the rules and have some basic equipment.
Rally Rules and Equipment
Rules can be ordered from the AKC for a
minimal fee at http://www.akc.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure you ask for the newest edition of the rules. You can also download the Obedience Regulations and Rally
Regulations and AKC Rally Signs, Descriptions and Symbols for Rally Signs at no
cost. (The newest regulations have
a purple cover.)
You'll need a dog who has had some basic
training. Before starting the
Rally class it is assumed that your dog will walk on a loose lead at your side,
sit, down, and will pay attention to you.
A well fitting collar is next. I recommend a
rolled leather buckle collar, but a flat nylon quick release collar will do and
you are welcome to use a properly fitting "choke" or slip collar.
A leash is a must. Your rally leash should be
leather or fabric four to six feet long. No chain leads, even if
they have a leather handle. Your leash should be a thickness that is proper for your dog.
Buy a good leash. You will be using it a lot.
Treats are probably the most important
training aid there is, at least as far as your dog is concerned. Use something
special,something your dog will expend extra
effort to earn. If the treats are soft they are easier to chew or swallow whole
and don't delay the training process while the dog is chewing. Cut treats into
small pieces, you'll be passing out a lot of them.
A bait bag is used to hold your treats. You
can find them at any pet store and they clip onto your belt or pant waist.
You will need a set of cones. I have
inexpensive ones I purchased at Wal-Mart that are used for soccer practice.
These will be used to practice the five-cone exercises and later to stake out
the ring size for yourself.
The Rally signs and holders to prop them up
or hold them are another essential item. You can download and print out the Rally signs for yourself
of purchase them from one of several suppliers. My holders are plate holders and have served well for many
AKC rules state, "Section 4. Signs and Holders; The designated wording and symbols must
be used. Signs must be a minimum of 8-1/2 x 11" and a maximum of 11 x
17". Weather conditions should be considered when securing signs and
The numbers needed for rally can be made
using 3 x 5 index cards, which I glued vertically to clothespins. I wrote the
numbers in heavy marker. These are very easy to use as they clip onto the rally
sign and attach it to the holder at the same time. It's also a very inexpensive
way to number your course. When a number gets bent, it's easy to replace.
I love positive training, but have trouble
holding a clicker and leash, treats, etc. at the same time. When this happens I use the word
"click" as a marker in stead of the click of a clicker. It isn't as satisfactory, but works in
a pinch. You can find clickers at most pet stores. They are inexpensive so buy
In my classes I've discovered that more than
50% of all errors made are Handler Errors, the handler does the exercise
incorrectly or causes the dog to do the exercise incorrectly because they do
not know exactly what is required by
the exercise description. Learning to recognize the signs and perform them
correctly on the fly as you will be doing on the rally course is a vital
element in the success of the team. You expect your dog to do his part; you
must do your part too.
Nothing can replace knowing the
rally signs and exercise descriptions backwards and forwards. The exercises
must be performed exactly as described nothing; added, nothing taken away. It's
amazing how many rally competitors do not know what the exercise description
says, which puts them at an immediate disadvantage, possibly leading to an Incorrect
Performance (IP) or Non-Qualifying (NQ) score.
These signs and exercise descriptions are in the AKC
There are 49 individual Rally exercises plus
Start and Finish. Signs 3 through 31 are used in Novice as well as Advanced and
Excellent. Exercises 32 through 45 are used in Advanced as well as Excellent.
They are not used in Novice. Exercises 46 through 50 are used only in
Don't try to do too much at one time. Work on
one or two exercises at a time, then quit. Several short sessions are better
than one long one. When you have become comfortable with one or two exercises,
add another. Rushing through the exercises not only leads to sloppy
performance, but also many mistakes.
Be sure you know the precise wording of the
exercise description; that tells you exactly how the exercise is to be
performed. Nothing is to be added or left out. No extra movements by you or the
dog or it will be an Incorrect Performance (IP).
Below I have grouped the exercises according
to the skills needed to execute them. This is a good way to learn the exercises
since you follow through with what you are learning in one exercise, applying
the basic skills to other exercises.
Rally Novice Exercises With Sit 3, 25, 30, 27
Exercises With Down 4, 31, 27
Right Turns 5, 9, 11
Left Turns 6, 10, 12
About Turns (Return on same path) 7, 8, 29
Call Front Exercises 13, 14, 15, 16, 26
Change of Pace 17, 18, 19, 28
Cone Exercises 21, 22, 23, 24
Miscellaneous 20 (#1 Start, #2 Finish)
Rally Advanced Halt, about turn 32, 33
90 degree pivot 37, 38
180 degree pivot 43, 44
Cone Exercise 39
Call Front Exercises 41, 42
Dog Changes Position 36, 45
Miscellaneous 35, 40
Rally Excellent Dog Changes Position 46, 47
Different performance requirement
than Rally Advanced 36
Moving Stand Walk Around 48
Moving Down Walk Around 48A
Back up Three Steps 49
Honor - a Stay exercise 50
Earthdog by Deborah Wolbach and Chuck Bessant
Part One: Australian Terriers as Earthdogs
The Screeching Aussie
High-pitched screeching announces the arrival of Australian Terriers...
It's early morning in Colorado. Handlers queue up for coffee. Dogs bark. And then a piercing shriek breaks the relative calm - the Australian Terriers have arrived.
Like many breeds, Aussies wear several hats including earthdog. Developed in Australia in the mid-1800s from several British Isles terriers, the Aussie was created as a multi-tasking breed including: herding sheep; guarding opal mines; protecting children; family companion; and dispatching snakes and underground vermin. We shall focus on this last role, Australian Terriers as earthdogs.
The Aussie conformation was developed to aid in this role. Short legs and long body facilitate going into tunnels and turning around; the coarse, wiry coat both protects and repels dirt; a distinctive ruff protects the neck and head and acts as a distraction from snake strikes; large teeth and powerful jaws quickly dispatch prey; the soft topknot provides protection for the eyes; the short, docked tail is a necessary handle for pulling the dog out of tunnels and out of harms way.
Docking tails has been the subject of global heated discussions. In the opinion of the authors of this article, an undocked tail poses a risk of injury.
Photo Courtesy of Kathy Engle-Stabler (Cairn Terrier Club of Denver [CTCD])
Aussies are known for being clowns, and Jordan, pictured above, is no exception. On two occasions, she decided to run her AKC Senior Earthdog (SE) test her own way.
In her first antic, she pursued the quarry by the numbers. In the tunnel, out the false entrance, then back in and off to the quarry. She decided that she had worked the rats long enough and missed a qualifying leg by quitting 5 seconds too soon. However, she did do a nice recall.
On another occasion, she started her SE test, looked around and realized Deborah was not near-by. Jordan spotted Deb. She locked eyes with her 150 feet away and left the site for Deb. I looked at the judge and just said, "Looks like we're done." This to the background sounds of "LOOSE DOG, LOOSE DOG!" Jordan knew exactly where she was going, and found her. Deb and Jordan are a true team, albeit one leg short of her SE title...
In short, Aussies are wonderful earthdogs.
In subsequent articles we'll cover two types of events that serve to prove that the Aussie has not lost its original purpose:
Go to ground hunt trial - American Working Terrier Association (AWTA)
Simulated hunt test - American Kennel Club (AKC)
This article written by: Deborah Wolbach (Deborah.Wolbach@gmail.com) and Chuck
Bessant (email@example.com) who own four Aussies, and Amanda, who
thinks she is an Aussie
Suggested reading (shameless plugs):"Earthdog Ins and Outs" by Jo Ann Frier-Murza
"Dig In!: Earthdog Training Made Easy" by Mario Migliorini
"American Working Terriers" by Patrick Burns
"Who Wants To Be an Earthdog Judge" by Chuck Bessant, AKC GAZETTE, November 2006
"Go To Ground: Australian Terriers as Earthdogs" by Chuck Bessant, AKC GAZETTE, August 2006
"Earthdog - All In A Day's Work" - The Judges Eye, by Chuck Bessant, AKC GAZETTE, June 2009
"Australian Terrier: An Agile Dog in a Sturdy Package" by Chuck Bessant, Terrier Type, May/June 2009
Craft Corner With Cheryl Mechalke
Photo Courtesy of Cheryl Mechalke "Prince building his food bowl"
This easy-to-build dog feeding station raises your pet's food and water to a more comfortable level and keeps your floor neat.
Tools and MaterialsWooden stoolCompassDrill, with a 3/16-inch bitJigsawPrimerPaint, in two colorsPaintbrushProtective rubberHeavy card stockSpray adhesiveStencil brushDog Dining Station How-To1. Measure your dog's leg from his paw to his withers. Cut the stool down to that size. Draw two 4 1/2-inch circles with the compass on the face of the stool. Drill a small hole near the perimeter of the circle. Using the jigsaw, set the blade into the hole and cut along the line, repeating for the other circle.2. Prime and paint the stool. Allow to dry. Affix protective rubber to the feet of the stool.3. Create a stencil out of heavy card stock by drawing the letters of your pet's name and cutting them out, or use a design of your choice. Spray the back of the card stock with spray adhesive and set the stencil in place. Dip your stencil brush into a different color paint than previously used, and gently pounce the brush all along the stencil. Peel it off right away.© 2010 Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. All rights reservedhttp://www.marthastewart.com/article/dog-dining-station
Winter Nose Follow-Up
A term called snow nose is applied to dogs that lose the pigmentation of their nose during the winter months, but it darkens again in the spring and summer months. Something that has not been proven to work but may help is vitamin E and it is completely safe to try the dog on it. The condition itself is thought to be caused by the lack of sunlight, which is why the color returns in the spring and summer months. One thing to keep in mind is that complete depigmentation does not occur in this condition. So, if your dog does suffer from complete depigmentation, it is not snow nose and you should consult your local veterinarian to get a true diagnosis.
Sent in by Kim Occhiuti
There are some medical disorders that cause the light colored nose, but if the nose darkens up every summer, there's nothing medically wrong with the dog. The cause is a low amount of pigment cells in the nose compared to normal noses.
Sent in by Errol Stone; info given by his Vet
My Female Was Spayed And Came Into Heat...Help!!!
I had my female spayed last November. Guess what, she is now in heat. I talked to my Vet about this and he basically told me he did nothing wrong and I should wait and see if she comes into heat next Fall. I talked to another breeder and she said she had one dog that had to be spayed three times! I am beside myself because I don't think my Vet will ever admit to anything wrong, and I will have to pay to have her respayed by someone else. What do you think? Have you ever encountered anything like this?
This dog was taken to a University Teaching Hospital and here is the info.
The Vet School report was as follows:
"A vaginal cytology was performed and displayed the typical cornified epithelial cells of a bitch in estrus. A progesterone assay was elevated. Imaging via abdominal Ultra Sound was performed and showed cystic structures located caudal to each kidney pole. It is believed that Ellie has multiple ovarian remnants. A laparoscopic ovariectomy was performed using a 3-port technique. Surgery went well and we removed the cystic remnants on both sides, and submitted them for histopathology. "
My EX-Vet was notified of the results, and I will be contacting him soon. The Doctor told me that in the 15years he had been at the School, he had only seen this once before.
call-in goes over this. Please go to the website and listen to the
podcast with Sharie Beattie DVM. For additional reading information please see the links below.
Below article on "Ovarian Remnant syndrome in dogs and cats: 46 cases (1988-1992) by Doris M. Miller
With the question to breeders...when do you like to see testicles come down by, we received a response that we wanted to check into. We spoke with Robert Hutchinson DVM known in the breeding circles as the "Repro God". He will be interviewed exclusively on May 20th answering our questions about the Stud dog.|
...A long time ago, someone told me that if the testicle doesn't come down as a result of a short cord; you need to stretch that cord by putting them in the sac and holding them there.
Dr. Hutchinson feels that stretching the cord does not work and in fact you can damage the testicle. He advises against doing this. Please attend the call in for more great information and education.
Beware Of Cocoa Mulch
Origins: This warning about the potential danger to pets posed by
cocoa mulch began appearing in our inbox in May 2003. Unlike the
majority of scary alerts spread through the Internet, there is at least
some truth to this one, although we know of only one substantiated case
of a pet death caused by ingestion of the substance. (In July 2007,
"Moose," a 3-year-old Labrador belonging to a Minneapolis couple, died
after eating cocoa mulch purchased at a local store. His owners had a
veterinarian at the University of Minnesota perform a necropsy to
determine the likely cause of death of their young and previously
healthy pet. The vet found cocoa shells in Moose's stomach and evidence
of theobromine in the shells.)
Veterinarians have noted that cocoa mulch contains ingredients that
could pose a health risk to dogs (and other pets that might be tempted
to ingest it): "Cocoa mulch is a risk, especially to dogs," said Dr. Larry Family of
Aqueduct Animal Hospital.
Found in most home garden centers, cocoa mulch is known for its fine texture
and the sweet smell the fresh mulch gives off.
But getting past the scent, Family says cocoa mulch can be dangerous if
a dog starts eating it. It contains two key ingredients found in
chocolate: theobromine and caffeine. Similar to eating chocolate, he
says a dog that eats just a few ounces of cocoa mulch could starting
having stomach problems and it could get worse if it eats more.
"As time goes on they might act restless, excited, it can produce
tremors and seriously seizures," Family explained.
"Puppies are very curious animals. So they're going to be attracted to
various things around the yard and [the effect of eating cocoa mulch]
seems to be more severe in the small breeds, and it depends on the
amount they actually ingest," Family said.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
confirms the potential effects of theobromine and caffeine on dogs:
Cocoa beans contain the stimulants caffeine and theobromine. Dogs are
highly sensitive to these chemicals, called methylxanthines. In dogs,
low doses of methylxanthine can cause mild gastrointestinal upset
(vomiting, diarrhea, and/or abdominal pain); higher doses can cause
rapid heart rate, muscle tremors, seizures, and death.
Eaten by a 50-pound dog, about 2 ounces of cocoa bean mulch may cause
gastrointestinal upset; about 4.5 ounces, increased heart rate; about
5.3 ounces, seizures; and over 9 ounces, death. (In contrast, a 50-pound
dog can eat up to about 7.5 ounces of milk chocolate without
gastrointestinal upset and up to about a pound of milk chocolate without
increased heart rate.)
According to tables we've examined, cocoa mulch contains 300-1200 mg. of
theobromine per ounce, making cocoa mulch one of the strongest
concentrations of theobromine a pet is likely to encounter in any
chocolate product. However, the question of the gravity of the risk
presented by this type of gardening mulch remains a matter of debate.
According to Hershey's, for example:
It is true that studies have shown that 50% of the dogs that eat Cocoa
Mulch can suffer physical harm to a variety of degrees (depending on
each individual dog). However, 98% of all dogs won't eat it.
And some of those who vend cocoa mulch note that although they're aware
of the pet warnings, they've never encountered a case of a dog's being
sickened by the product:
"The weird thing is, it smells like a chocolate Pop Tart. That's the
best way I can describe it. It really does have a chocolate scent to
it," explained Shane Compton of Hewitt's Garden Center.
Compton says cocoa mulch is not that popular at his store, but says it
has its regular customers who every now and then wonder about the rumors
they hear and the effect it has on man's best friend.
"There's always stories on the Internet, but in the 30 years we've been
here we've actually never heard of any body's dog getting sick," Compton
Some manufacturers of cocoa mulch (such as the Cocoa Mulch brand) now
proclaim that their products are theobromine-free and pet safe.
Responsible pet owners should take care in their selection of cocoa
mulch brands; some might prefer to choose another form of soil
enhancement for their gardens, such as cedar-based products, rather than
gamble their dogs won't be attracted to or harmed by cocoa mulch.
(Although Home Depot is named as a vendor of cocoa mulch in the example
cited at the head of this page, the company told us in May 2006 that:
"The Home Depot does not and will not sell mulch harmful to pets. The
mulch sold by The Home Depot containing cocoa shells goes through
several cleaning processes, including a high heat system in order to
strip the cocoa fat from the shells without the use of any chemicals.")
The danger of canine theobromine poisoning does not begin and end with
cocoa mulch, however: chocolate in any form poses substantial risks to
some pets. This most beloved of foodstuffs contains theobromine and
small amounts of caffeine, both of which can sicken and even kill cats
Chocolate's toxicity to animals is directly related to three factors:
the type of chocolate, the size of the animal, and the amount of
chocolate ingested. Unsweetened baking chocolate presents the greatest
danger to pets because it contains the highest amount of theobromine,
approximately 390-450 mg. per ounce. White chocolate contains the least.
As a general rule of thumb, one ounce of milk chocolate per pound of
body weight can be lethal for dogs and cats. (Milk chocolate contains
approximately 44-66 mg of theobromine per ounce.)
Theobromine affects the heart, central nervous system, and kidneys,
causing nausea and vomiting, restlessness, diarrhea, muscle tremors, and
increased urination. Cardiac arrhythmia and seizures are symptoms of
more advanced poisoning. Other than induced vomiting, vets have no
treatment or antidote for theobromine poisoning. Death can occur in 12
to 24 hours.
This type of poisoning is uncommon because it is rare that a dog, even a
small dog, will eat enough chocolate to cause anything more than an
upset stomach. Yet it can happen, especially if the animal gets into
baking chocolate or powdered cocoa, two forms of the sweet particularly
loaded with theobromine.
Do not feed chocolate to dogs or cats. If you keep a pet, do not leave
chocolate lying about lest your critter help himself to it and in so
doing poison himself. If your animal begins exhibiting signs of distress
and you believe he might have gotten into some chocolate, call your
veterinarian immediately. (It will help if you can supply information
about the approximate weight of your critter, what sort of chocolate was
ingested - white, milk, dark, cocoa powder, baking - and roughly how
much.) But time is of the essence if such a poisoning has indeed taken
place, so make the call right away.
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Brands include; Blue Buffalo, Canidae, Eukanuba, Halo Spot Stew, Hill's Science Diet,
Iams, Innova EVO, Merrick, Natural Balance, Nutro, Purina, Royal Canin, Sojos, Taste of the Wild, Welness...several Raw Food varieties.