How To Remove Ticks From Your Dog

Every year ticks infect thousands of animals and people with illnesses like Lyme disease. Disease transmission can occur in as little as three hours after a bite occurs. Therefore the sooner you remove the tick the less chance there is that your dog will get sick.

Removing a tick from your dog may not be pleasant, but it’s important to do it quickly and correctly. It seems as though everyone has a favorite method for removing a tick. There are literally hundreds of suggested ways to remove them.

Remove Ticks From a dog

This is the way that the medical industry says you should go about it.

To safely remove a tick, all you really need is a pair of pointy tweezers and a good eye.

Pointy tweezers are a must for ticks. You want pointy tips, not squared-off ones. Ticks can be very small. If you use regular tweezers, you might tear them.

Before you begin, you’ll need to get:

  • Pointy tweezers
  • Rubbing alcohol (If you don’t have it, soap and water will work too)

Now that you have your tools, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Pull the hair or fur back to expose the skin around the tick.
  2. Thoroughly clean the area around the tick bite with rubbing alcohol. (or soap).
  3. Get your tweezers right down on the skin so you can grab as close as possible to the tick’s head.
  4. Pull straight up slowly and firmly. Do not jerk or twist. Steady pressure straight up will do it.
  5. Clean the bite area again. If the bite area bleeds let it. It will help to clean the wound. If it continues to bleed call your veterinarian at once.
  6. Wash your hands, with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  7. Dispose of the tick properly.

And that’s it. If part of the head breaks off when you pull the tick out, that’s OK. You can try to remove it with tweezers, but if you can’t, it’s no problem. As the skin heals it will force the head out to the surface.

What To Do With the Extracted Tick?

There are two options: Get it tested or get rid of it.

Get It Testing:

It can help everyone in the area to get the tick tested. If there are outbreaks in your area you’ll know if it was carrying any diseases. To have it tested place it in a sealed container along with a blade of grass to keep it alive. Then, take it for testing.

Some state agencies do tick testing, but if you’re not sure where to send the tick, ask your veterinarian or call your doctor.

Get Rid of It: 

If you just want it safely out of your life, you can:

  • Drown it in a container with rubbing alcohol or soapy water
  • Flush it down the toilet
  • Wrap it tightly in tape, then throw it out

Whatever you do, avoid the temptation to crush it with your fingers. This is another way you can get disease from it.

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Question and Answer Time.

ImageIn and effort to help make the lives of dogs and humans better we’d like to offer you any help you might need.

Do you have any questions, comments …. or even some good answers about dogs, dog training, healthcare & maintanence of dogs?

Post them here and if we can’t give you an answer, we’ll find some who can!

Walking Your Dog Could Be Hazardous!

Yes, you read it correctly. I said: walking your dog COULD be Hazardous.

No I have not changed my position on taking your dog for regular walks. I just want to make you aware of a few hazards that you may come across while you are out on a walk.

I was recently sitting on my front porch (with Patchs) enjoying a nice quiet evening at home. While relaxing, I noticed that a lady was walking her dog down the other side of my street. She was walking her dog, listening to her MP3 player and appeared to be texting someone on her phone all at the same time. (Distracted  Walking)

The city had recently repaired a water main leak in the yard across from me and the yard had a 6′ x 10′ area of fresh dirt where it had been back-filled after the repair. Needless to say, she found it. With luck, she was not hurt.

I can’t count the amount of time that I have had near misses while walking. The biggest problems are pot holes in the street, cracks in side walks; stray or loose dogs, and even a stray car or two. I’ve even encountered wild critters. But last night I had one of my CLOSEST calls yet.

It was about 10pm. Patchs and I were walking in a quiet neighborhood on a route we walk about 4 times per week. There aren’t very many street lights on this street, but Patchs alerted on sometime crossing the street about 30 yards ahead. I strained to see it, but it looked like a raccoon or a big cat. It crossed right to left in front of us and then stopped at the curb. It then moved back into the street in front of us.

By this time we were about 20 feet away so I could see it’s outline much better. All at once the critter turned its back to us and I saw it raise it’s tail. Without hesitation, I jurked the leash and made a 180 degree course change. I ran as fast I could (dog in tow) and avoided being sprayed by a skunk.

Had I NOT been paying attention we would both be taking tomato juice baths today.  So please … leave all of the “stuff” behind when you walk your dog. Turn off, gear down, unplug and enjoy a nice relaxing walk with your dog. It may even save you a trip to the hospital or doctor’s office.

What You Should Know Before Adopting a Special Needs Dog

We all know what is meant by the term “Special Needs Dog” means, Right?

For those who may think they know, but aren’t really sure; A “special needs” dog is any dog that requires help or assistance doing the things that all other dogs can do without help. Like their human counterparts, “special needs” dogs may have physical or mental disabilities.

Caring for a “special needs” dog can be a daunting task if you are not prepared and knowledgeable about the disability that that particular dog has. “Special Needs” can cover a wide range of issues. It may be something simple like an amputation or something as difficult as mental issues that make the dog afraid of everything including it’s own shadow. 

Dogs with physical disabilities can live perfectly happy lives if they have the right owners. Most of these dogs need no special medications, but do require an owner that can fore see potential barriers and issues before they become a problem.

Many people see physical disabilities in a dog as a sign of a broken and unfixable pet. This isn’t the case. Nor is it true that a dog with a medical or mental issue is any less of a good pet. If anything, these dogs are usually much more affectionate and appreciative of the care they get.

The only thing you must remember is that they will require extra care and supervision to keep them safe and happy. Some “special needs” dogs require medications, a special diet, or a piece of equipment to allow them to get around. This will often equate to spending more money, so people who are thinking about taking on a “special needs” dog need to keep these things in mind.

While “special needs dogs” are usually thought of as dogs that require help because of a physical or mental issue, many dogs that are rescued have been neglected or abused. These dogs can have emotional scars that require special attention.

A few years ago I adopted Neka, a 2 year-old German Shepherd. She was dumped on a gravel road in the country and left for dead at a very young age. After many months on her own she was captured by a local shelter, nursed back to health and was taught the basics. Unfortunately the staff and volunteers were spread much to thin, and Neka still suffered from a lack of socialization and a fear of sudden noises, thunderstorms, strangers and yes, other dogs.

With lots of patience, 24 hour a day positive guidance and only reward based training, it took several months to get her to relax and to fully trust me. It took her about a year to feel at ease around unfamiliar humans. But surprisingly, she made friends with four of the neighbor dogs very quickly. As soon as she learned that they weren’t going to attack her and steal her food, that is.  Before she passed away last year of a sudden illness, she was a happy and well-adjusted dog and was perfectly comfortable in almost every situation she was asked to be a part of.

Adopting a “special needs” dog is similar to adopting a regular dog, but there are a few additional things to consider. Instead of just jumping in to it, you really must think about all of the circumstances surrounding the dog’s needs. The worst thing that you can do is to take on a dog that you are not prepared to care for. It doesn’t help you or the dog if you are forced to return or surrender the dog you’ve just adopted.

If you’re thinking about adopting a “special needs” or older dog, there are a few things you need to ask yourself, including:

1.) What are the additional financial costs? Medications, treatments or a special diet may be required. Dogs with mobility issues may need therapy or more frequent vet visits or surgeries. Older dogs will need to have their teeth cleaned more often and may need more surgeries for health issues.

2.) Can I accommodate the dogs needs? As a caregiver, you’ll need to make sure you are available to meet the needs of a “special needs” dog. Medications may need to be given several time per day or they may need to be let outside. It’s your responsibility to find a way to address them before introducing the dog into your home.

3.) How will the dog fit in with the rest of the family? Animals with emotional issues may feel overwhelmed with young children or other dogs. They may panic and try to attack someone if there is a lot of frantic activity in the house. Additionally, introducing a new dog into your home when you already have pets can be a challenge. Before you adopt, inquire about any conditions the dog may not be able to tolerate. Some shelters and rescues allow you a short-term “fostering” period to make sure the dog would be comfortable living in your home. They vary in length from an overnight stay to a few days.


Special needs dogs and older dogs everywhere need homes. Thousands die every day just because they don’t have a home to go to, so you won’t need to look very far to find one to adopt. You might want to consider these places:

1.) Local humane shelters. Almost every animal shelter from coast to coast is filled to capacity. Sadly those animals that have been there the longest, are the oldest or need special care are never adopted.

2.) Breed-specific rescue groups. If you are interested in adopting a specific breed, the chances are very good that there is a rescue group that would be happy to place a dog in your home.

3.) National Pet databases. There are thousands of groups that take in stray and abandoned pets all over the world. When they are checked by a veterinarian, immunized and spayed or neutered, they are placed for adoption in a searchable online database by breed, age, size, gender and special needs. is by far the largest and is able to match up people with the ideal pet.

4.) Become a Foster. Fostering is a great way to help a dog in need when you can’t afford to do it. Volunteering to foster a dog in need can help take some pressure off of the shelter or rescue group. Your efforts will help the dog adapt, learn and become more socialized before it is suitable for permanent adoption. Have you ever adopted a special needs or older pet? Tell us about your experiences.

Have you ever adopted a special needs or older pet? Tell us about your experiences.

The Warm Weather Is Back … It Can Kill Your DOG!

The weather here in the Midwest has been real nice all winter. Very little snow this season combined with warmer than normal temperatures have helped to deliver spring about 5 weeks early.

Some forecasters have been saying that the early warm-up may be a sign that we are headed for a hotter than normal summer.

The summer sun can raise the  temperatures inside a car very quickly. Without ventilation it only takes 3-5 minutes to turn the inside of you car into an oven. Temperatures can rise 20-50 degrees in just a few minutes. That can Kill Your Dog.

I know that it’s early in the season, but we have already had a few days in the low 80’s, so I want to remind you to keep your pet’s safety in mind when you travel with them this spring and summer. NEVER leave your dog in the car. If you must leave them in the car for a few moments, park your car in the shade and be sure that you open all of the windows to provide proper ventilation. When doing so be sure that they can’t jump out the windows. That’s not safe either.

While it’s important to socialize and expose your dog to the world, it’s always better to leave your dog at home in the air conditioning when temperatures go up this summer.

My thoughts on the Westminster Kennel Club’s Dog Show

As a dog lover, I try to watch everything on TV about dogs. I have a real thirst for knowledge and the view point of others.

But this year the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was not on my list of things to watch. You see, late last week the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show announced that they were dropping Pedigree Brand Dog Food as its sponsor of almost a quarter of a century.

While it’s a free country, and they have every right to do it, I found the reasoning behind the decision a tad bit strange! It seams that they did it because Pedigree’s advertising direction (focusing on stray and abandoned dogs) is “too depressing” for them.

If you’ve been on a different planet, or just haven’t seen one of them, Pedigree’s more recent commercials focus on pet adoption by using emotional stories that tell about the lives of shelter dogs that have been abandoned, neglected or in some cases even abused.

This direction obviously doesn’t align with the kennel club’s showcase animals. They are into the pure-bred dogs with registered and distinguished bloodlines. (ironically this kind of dog is referred to as having a pedigree). WKC is obviously not about lovable mutts. It seams that they are only interested in and only want the top 1% of dogs. (After all, have you ever seen a mutt class at their show?)

The club’s director of communications David Frei, stating in a recent New York Times article that they want  “…people to think of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as a celebration of the dogs in our lives” and went on to say,  “Show me an ad with a dog and a smile; don’t shame me” (, 2012).

David, wouldn’t you say that saving a dog from utter destruction is a pretty good way to have a “celebration of the dogs in our lives?” After all, we can’t all afford a million dollar show dog!

On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with a few “happy” and “upbeat” ads aired WITH the current Pedigree spots? And, I know they have them, because I see them everyday. The one that mentions nutrition and say something like: “From the tip of their nose to their wiggly butt” comes to mind.

While it’s sad that the show has decided to part ways with Pedigree for reasons that seem strange at best, the worst thing about it is that the adoption ads that Pedigree airs have had a tremendous impact on the numbers of pets being adopted. In 2007, Pedigree received $500,000 in pledges after the ads were shown over the course of the two-day show.

In a time when thousands of dogs are put down every day only because they don’t have a home, we are ashamed and saddened that the dog show has ended its partnership with Pedigree without finding some kind of middle ground. As a result, this puts thousands of shelters and rescues all over the county much shorter on the funds they need and the dogs that need these funds are at serious risk and may not live long enough to find a forever home.

What I find really disturbing is that while they (WKC) finds Pedigree’s ads depressing, they don’t have any problem allowing some of their members to “Breed IN” genetic problems and defects into their lines of “show” dogs. One case was recently brought to my attention through a website I visited.

It was about a merle Collie that is a Best of Breed winner at Westminster and currently ranked as the number one Collie in the USA.  The dog is a merle Collie who was sired by A double merle Collie who is BLIND and DEAF. The dog was intentionally bred so that he would ALWAYS produce litters of all merle puppies.

For those who may not know, “merle” is not a coat color. It is actually the definition of an incomplete dominant gene that controls coat color in dogs. Breeding two merle dogs together statistically results in 25% of the resulting litter being double merles. Puppies that result from double merle breeding are often smaller and the litters will frequently have stillborn puppies.

In most countries the breeding of two merles is forbidden due to the probability of the resulting puppies having severe health problems including:

– Deafness – from birth or will happen as the dog ages.
– Iris Coloboma – part of the iris is missing
– Corectopia – off center pupil
– Microphthalmia – Abnormally small eye(s)
– Anophthalmia – absence of eye(s)
– Blindness – blind from birth or may go blind as they age

(Read the full Story about merles) at: )

If you would like to let the club know what you think or if you agree with them, here is the contact info from their website.

Westminster Kennel Club
Director of Communications
David Frei
(212) 213-3212

Walkin’ In a Winter Wonderland – Frostbite and Your Pets

As the temps drop into the single digits and the wind chills drop to -20 F here in the Midwest, I thinks it’s time to talk about the effects of severe winter weather on you and your pets.

Some people think that because dogs and cats have fur, that they are not greatly effected by windchill. WRONG!!!

Frostbite is a very real danger for all living creatures. Frostbite is a condition that can occur in humans, our pets and all other animals on the face of the planet. Frostbite occurs as a result of exposure to freezing or subfreezing temperatures. At 1 degree below zero (Fahrenheit) with a sustained wind of 25 mph it only take 5 minutes to become frostbitten.

In humans it most commonly affects the extremities such as fingers, toes and ears. In dogs and cats, the tips of the ears, the tail, the scrotum, and the feet (especially the toes) are most at risk.

Frostbite occurs when a body part becomes very cold. When this happens, the blood vessels in that area become smaller to help the body conserve heat. But because the tissue then has much less of a blood supply it can eventually become as cold as the surrounding temperatures. If the tissue actually freezes, it will die.

The first signs of frostbite are a pale or gray in color in the skin or tissue. The area in question will be cold and hard to the touch. When the skin or tissue are warmed up the area will most likely become rosie red. In severe cases the exposed area will start to turn black in color. As the tissue warms, the frostbitten area becomes very painful.

In the case that you or your pet becomes frostbitten, you need to warm the area with slightly warm water. NEVER USE HOT WATER. The recommended water temperature is 100 to 105 degrees (F). Use a warm washcloth or hand towel or in the case of a hand or paw, soak the area in warm water. Do NOT use direct dry heat (heating pads or a hair dryer).Do not rub or massage the affected area.

After the area has been warmed to normal temperature dry it gently and thoroughly. Get medical assistance as soon as possible. In the case of pets, contact your veterinarian and have your pet examined immediately. DO NOT WAIT. Keep warm during the travel. A warm dry blanket can be used. Do not give any medication for pain unless you are instructed to do so. Many human pain relievers, including aspirin can be toxic to pets.

Winter weather is nothing to mes with, so be careful out there! Make sure you have a survival kit in your car. And don’t forget a big fluffy blanket for you and your dog to keep warm if your car stalls or get stuck in a show drift!