Archive for June, 2008

Happy 4th!!!
June 30, 2008

This week marks yet another anniversary of these United States of America.  Happy Birthday, USA!!!!


And it is with that in mind that I write out this week’s blog.  Although fireworks, parades and cookouts on the grill are things we all love, they can be very dangerous for our pets.


Every year I see owners bringing dogs to parades and to firework events and I wonder WHY they’re doing this!!


Most parades have loud noises.  ALL firework displays have loud noises.  DOGS DON’T LIKE LOUD NOISES!!!  They instinctively run AWAY from loud noises.  It’s a thing they’ve learned keeps them away from harm!  BUT…. Folks bring them anyway and then wonder why Fido is scared to death.  Let’s go over a few points….

Dogs have exceptional hearing – I’m not just talking good, I’m talking about MAJORLY good hearing.  As in they can hear things we’ll never hear, about a mile away.  Take that EXTREMELY sensitive hearing and pop off a firecracker near by and, well, you get the picture.  Sounds like a sonic boom to them.  Loud noises can startle them, causing them to panic and run into traffic or just to run off altogether.  Dogs and traffic don’t go together well, trust me on that…


Dogs don’t like fire.  It smells weird and scares them, too.  Now, put firecrackers (bang!) or sparklers (flying sparks of fire) near a dog and it’s a recipe for a bad situation.  Dogs have hair.  Hair catches fire when sparks from sparklers go into it.  A wrongly aimed firework can cause burns as well – folks know to get out of the way… The commotion can disorient a dog so that it will not be able to get out of the way fast enough.


Cookouts are great – for people.  Dogs, however, smell that good stuff cookin on the grill but they don’t know that the grill is HOT.  Jumping up on the grill to grab a burger might seem cute or funny but it can also mean that your dog gets burned.  Fido can also knock over the grill, spoiling everyone’s fun (except the firemens’ – cause they love to go to fires!!!).  And even if Fido grabs that burger, he doesn’t know it’s too hot to eat and may end up burning his mouth.  They can also get into food or drinks they’re not supposed to be getting into.  Leave them home in the nice air conditioned room….


So hopefully you all will have a GREAT 4th of July – Hopefully it will be a safe one for not only you but also for your pets as well!  Keep them home – away from stuff – and they’ll thank you for it!!!

Summer Blast For Animals


Does Your Dog Bite?
June 19, 2008

 There was an old joke…. “Does your dog bite?”  “Nope” the person replied…. CRUNCH goes the dog.  “I thought you said your dog doesn’t bite!” screamed the victim.  “That’s not my dog”….. 


A few years ago there was a study done.  I love studies…. They’re always so accurate!!  ANYWAY…… The study was done to see what breed of dog has the most bites.  They took the information from reports sent in by animal control officers across the state of dog bites.  These reports list the predominant breed of the dog, etc., and the results were tallied up and statistics were compiled.  I love statistics…..  So… which breed of dog topped the list of the most bites?  Ready for this?  A Labrador retriever.  Yep.  Your lovey-dovey, goofy Lab.  Know what?  It was wrong.  Here’s why…


If 100 people are surveyed as to which breed of dog they own, pure or mixed, and 60 folks say “lab or lab mix”, and maybe 5 say Carolina Dog, and the rest say other breeds, here’s what happens….  Out of the 60 labs, maybe 20 have bites in the survey period.  Out of the 5 Carolina Dogs, each one has bitten twice in that survey period.  So that makes 20 lab bites and 10 Carolina bites.  So it looks like the labs are TWICE as likely to bite than the Carolina Dogs, right?  Nope – EVERY Carolina Dog has bitten. Only a THIRD of the Labs have.  HOWEVER, it will come out that Labs are more aggressive.

So much for studies…. BUT, there WAS something interesting that came out of that study.  They actually DID come up with a dog that is most likely to be aggressive and bite.  Wanna know which one?  Ready?  An unaltered, 2 year old male dog was found to be the most aggressive.  No breed, just an age and sex.

So, the dog most likely to bite is an unaltered, 2 year old male ANY dog.  Why?  It’s simple – hormones.  Dogs this age are sexually mature and are looking to be “Top Dog” of something.  A dog’s life is based on its “pack” and on reaching the “Alpha” position of that pack.  A dog will try to climb up that ladder until it reaches a point of impasse – where the actual “Alpha” dog (male or female owner) can not be challenged. 


So why do towns, apartments and condominiums ban certain breeds?  Why not ban unaltered male dogs?  Seems more logical to me but, then again, I do take a different view on most things!


Anyway – the bottom line is this – If you own an unaltered, male dog, and it’s approaching the age of 2, be aware of this likelihood.  Altering a male dog does NOT, and I repeat, DOES NOT, do anything to that dog other than make him more of a companion dog.  I’ve heard MANY stories about how folks think it ruins a dog to alter it but the cold, hard truth is it will lengthen the dog’s life (cancer risk and roaming risk), make it more of a loyal companion (no thoughts about running off to see the girlie girl down the way), and make it less likely to bite (and hence take a big bite out of your wallet, too!)…  And it’s less to license the dog (Did you forget to license Fido?).

Notice: Lost Dog – If Found, Return to….
June 14, 2008

As an animal control officer I received many, many calls about lost pets over the years.  Always from frantic owners, always with hope that somehow that pet ended up in my pound.  Sometimes they did and it was a happy ending, sometimes they didn’t and it wasn’t so happy.  So this week I have a few tips on what to do if your pet becomes lost.


First things first – identification!!!  No one will know who your pet belongs to unless they are wearing identification.  It is actually State law in CT that your pet must be wearing its Rabies tag at all times.   It’s also a law that your dog must be registered with the town you live in and must wear that tag as well, at all times.  A collar with a cell number or home number written right on it in permanent marker does well.  A tag with a phone number and name works well, too.  Micro-chipping also works very well for those who tend to slip collars (or for cats who don’t wear collars)…  A micro-chip is a very tiny device implanted between the shoulder blades of your dog / cat.  If found and turned into an animal control officer or a veterinary hospital, these folks can use a scanner to check for the chip.  Once located, the company is called and, if your pet is registered, your information will be given to the agency and you will be contacted.  Happy ending!


So what happens if you don’t have a micro-chip and your pet has slipped its collar?  Well, as SOON as you discover your pet is missing, CALL EVERYWHERE!  Call veterinary hospitals, call animal control officers, call the town and State highway crews (they pick up deceased animals found along the roadways).  Start in the immediate area, and then work out from there.  Call often as sometimes the same people aren’t working that you’ve spoken to and the message doesn’t get relayed.  Animal Control officers are required, by law, to post found / impounded animals in a “widely distributed newspaper”.  However, the posting only needs to be for ONE day so keep checking the papers.


Have pictures of your pet – a face shot and a body shot.  Have it in good lighting so you can see it better.  Use these pictures to make “missing pet” posters.  Either print them out on your computer or, if you’re like me and computer illiterate, bring the pictures to a printer and have them printed there.  Then post them EVERYWHERE – Start in the immediate area your pet was last seen in.  Put a phone number on that you can actually be reached at.  Remember, pets can roam a mile in a very short period so the more you put up, the better – And make the writing on the poster BIG ENOUGH TO SEE!


Check with television stations to see if they can air a picture and description of your pet.


WALK the area you pet was last seen in.  Normally, pets don’t like the sound of a car engine so calling the pet out the window of your car will only confuse and scare him / her.  Keep going back to that area.  MOST times when they run, it’s not to a great distance from where they originally were. It’s familiar so most will stay within an area.


Lastly – don’t lose hope.  I’ve seen some found after months of being lost.


Speaking of being lost – We at Bandit’s Place are trying to help find two dogs –


Spencer was last seen in the Pulaski St. area of Torrington, and in an area about a mile south of that.  Spencer is an adult, black lab mix of about 40 pounds.  He’s very shy and has been seen often but is still not comfortable with coming up to people.  He prefers female voices vs male.  He’s got a collar on and probably has half a leash on (chewed through the leash when it got caught up on something)…


Coda is a GORGEOUS blonde Husky – One brown eye, one blue eye.  He was lost in the Middletown area at the end of April and was, for a while, seen with a golden retriever.  Huskies can roam FAR distances so he could be anywhere at this point.  He’s a big boy but you’ll know him by his looks.  He will come when called.


ANY information on either of these dogs would be GREATLY appreciated!  There are two VERY saddened owners (and a doggie buddy) waiting for the return of these two.

Close Encounters of the Wildlife Kind
June 6, 2008

This time of year means warm, wonderful walks with our companion animals.  But it also means they run a higher risk of encountering wildlife they (and you) will never forget!  Here are a few tips on taking care of our pets after one of those “encounters”…


First, meet Pepe Le Pew!  For those not old enough to remember Pepe, he was a skunk!  I can clearly remember when Bandit, my dog, met up with her first skunk.  It was in our back yard.  I let her out to go “do” for the last time that night when I suddenly caught a whiff.  I yelled at her to come back ASAP but, of course, she HAD to see what that thing was calmly sauntering across our yard.  Well, the “something” was a big, fat skunk.  Bandit ran after it, mouth open, only to encounter the worst mouth wash she had EVER tasted!  Well, she backed off and, much to my surprise, ran after that skunk AGAIN.  Guess what happened then! Yepper – another shot to the mouth.  It was only then that she ran back inside – Oh joy, oh joy!


Well it was off to the tub VERY quickly so the “skunk perfume” didn’t get TOO imbedded in the rugs….  First thing was to wash her eyes out with water.  The spray from a skunk will not harm eyes – just irritate them!  Wash with water or natural tear solution.


Next is the de-skunk shampoo.  I’ve used this recipe and it works – although some times you will have to re-shampoo a few times.  Remember to leave it in for about 10-15 minutes before rinsing…


1 quart, 3% hydrogen peroxide

1 cup dish soap or mild detergent

¼ cup baking soda


Mix all the ingredients together and lather your pet well.  Leave it on for 10-15 minutes and then rinse well – Repeat until the smell is gone.  If your pet ingests any of the solution, know that hydrogen peroxide, although harmless, will make a pet vomit if they take in enough.


Do NOT store the mixture – throw away any unused portions.


The second critter to beware of is the porcupine.  Now, I’ve been told “the porcupine attacked my dog” and I had to literally hold back laughing.  Please know that the porcupine is one of, if not THE most, docile, slow moving mammals out there.  There is NO way a porkie will EVER attack a dog – WHY would it?  It’s got a natural defense system that will send ANY predator running!!!


So if bowser bites a porkie (I’ve never seen a cat attack a porkie!), there will be issues.  Namely, LOTS of quills – the ones you can see and the ones you can’t……  Quills have barbs on them and they only go one way – IN.  These quills can puncture eyes, joints, abdomens and chests of the dogs that attack them.  Smaller quills can become imbedded under the skin very quickly which leads to some severe infections.  NEVER, EVER, EVER TRY TO PULL QUILLS OUT YOURSELF!!!  You will end up doing more harm and causing EXTREME pain to your dog.  Never cut them off, either.  If your dog gets quilled, CALL YOUR VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!  Get the poor, suffering pooch to the vet ASAP.  Your dog needs to be anesthetized and the quills removed by a veterinarian.  Again, NEVER try to do this yourself.  There are quills that you won’t be able to see and your dog will need to be put on antibiotics as well.

So prevention is the best method for avoiding this VERY costly, VERY painful issue.  Through all my years dealing with animals, I’ve gotten this question quite often…“My dog keeps getting into fights with porcupines.  I don’t know what to do”….My answer?  “GET A LEASH FOR THE DOG!” Jeeze.