Friday, October 31, 2008

Free Breath-A-Licious Green Bone Sample

A free Breath-A-Licious Green Bone sample from breathalicious.com.

Information from breathalicious.com : "Dancing Paws® Breath-A-Licious™ bones contain sodium tripolyphosphate to help remove tartar build up; chlorophyll, peppermint, parsley, dill and fennel to help freshen breath. Not only do these herbs help freshen breath but they also aid in digestion, alleviate gas and soothe upset stomachs. What's more, they come in just the right size for small, medium and large dogs."

Visit breathalicious.com to learn more about this product and to request your free Breath-A-Licious Green Bone sample.

For Your Information: Limit one free bone per mailing and/or e-mail address and it looks like it's for US residents only. Samples go quickly, so if your going to request one don't delay.

I tried looking for further information on the Internet for this product but could only find sales information. If anyone uses these please share any information you may have be it good or bad.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Labrador Retriever's Paws Changing Colors - part I

Subject: Labrador Retriever's Paws Changing Colors - part I

From: Doug (England)

Labrador Retriever name: Mollie

Reader's E-mail - Doug Writes :

Hi,

We've noticed that the paw pads of my 3yr old chocolate Labrador bitch, Mollie, have changed colour this summer, pink on the outside and hardly any dark. Is this anything to be concerned about? Her mouth area from below her nose to just around/under her lower front lips has become pink also. Otherwise she seems very healthy, good diet and full of beans. Any suggestions welcomed.

Doug

All About Labradors Response:

Hello Doug,

Thank you for writing and visiting the All About Labradors blog. I know of a couple of reasons this could be happening, but I want to rule out another possibility. Please provide me with the answers to the questions listed below.

What kind of bowls do you use to feed Mollie? ( plastic, stainless steel, etc)

Any problems with color change on the nose itself?

Does Mollie have any patches of white hairs, or white hairs scattered in her hair coat?

Any prior medical problems with Mollie?

With all the email questions I receive, I always ask a favor of the person writing. If you have any photos of your Labrador Retriever, that you could email me, I would love to post them to the Labrador Retriever Pictures blog. You DO NOT have to send a photo to receive an answer to your question.

OK Doug, get the answer to these questions back to me at your earliest convenience and we will continue from there.
Awaiting your reply,

Fay

To read part two of this e-mail question visit: Labrador Retriever's Paws Changing Colors - part II

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All About Labradors E-mail Update

After trying to find out what the problem was with our e-mail and getting nowhere with Feedburner, I have switch to Feedblitz to carry our newsletter.

I have also removed the banner for PetSmart which seemed to cause problems with the e-mail subscription sign up buttons.

If you would like to sign up for the All About Labradors newsletter just enter your e-mail in the subscribe box (top right hand corner of this blog).

Thank you and my apologies to any who have tried to subscribe.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

What is the best dry dog food for my Labrador Retriever

Subject: What is the best dry dog food for my Labrador Retriever

From: John (England)

Labrador Retriever name: Toby

Reader's E-mail - John Writes :

Hello, my name is John, I live in Newcastle and have a 1yr old retriever Toby. What would you say was he best dry food to feed this kind of dog? and also is it best to stay with one brand of food or is it ok to swap around?

I hope you can help me. Thanks

All About Labradors Answer:

Hello John,

Thank you for your question and for visiting All About Labradors. I hope you find it helpful.

My deepest apologies for such a long delay as I am more than two months behind with answering questions. I have so many people writing for help that it is close to impossible for me to answer them all (but I am trying).

Trying to find a healthy nutritious dog food for your Labrador Retriever can be a chore as there are are currently over a hundred dog foods on the market.

Here are some dog foods for your Labrador Retriever that I recommend, which are based on my own experiences and experiences from many other Labrador Retriever owners that have written in to All About Labradors. I am not affiliated with any of these companies. These are listed in no particular order.

Wellness

Eagle Pack (Holistic Select)

Natura Brands - (while your at their site, make sure you click on the Tools and Resources link on the top of their website as there is some very helpful information for you there).

Here is a helpful video on why you should feed your dog Holistic dog foods:

Holistic Dog Foods

As far as switching foods, your Labrador Retriever will have different needs as he grows from a puppy to an older dog and need different requirements which will require you to switch formulas, but I don't recommend switching brands once you find something that works for your Labrador Retriever (as long as requirements are met).

I hope this will be of some help to you and Toby. Please let me know when you find a food that works for him.

Take care of yourself and Toby,
Fay

RELATED ARTICLES:

Food and our Labrador Retrievers

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How to Understand Your Labrador Retriever

To totally understand the true character of the Labrador Retriever, dog owners must have a solid grip on the three most important aspects that make up this animal's temperament and character.

Three Things You Can Always Rely On When Raising A Labrador Retriever

1. Labs Are Like A Box Of Cookies: The most important thing to understand with Labrador Retrievers is that they are peculiar and not every Lab is the same. A Labrador is like a box of cookies, they come in all sorts and you never know just what you will get as they become adults.

Many Labs demonstrate the same interests in the following: hunting, running, retrieving, and swimming, but oftentimes you may get a Labrador puppy that may completely hate water. If you are lucky enough, your Lab may not have an oral fascination, which causes many of these dogs to eat anything they can get a hold of.

One thing you can positively count on is that every Labrador Retriever is special and through proper training, attention, and love, you will have a wonderful dog that will show the utmost in loyalty and affection until its last day on earth with you.

2. Labs Are Natural Born Hunters: Unlike most other hunting dog breeds, Labs do not just wait for its human hunting companion to command them to retrieve fallen birds. These dogs have to be so love that they can mark the fallen foul themselves.

Many people believe that Labrador Retrievers are more aware of their surroundings than other hunting dogs because of their heritage. When hunting, Labs await for the right signal from their hunter in order to find their prey. While at home, they regularly wait by their owner's side for the next task or command, regardless of what it is. It could be to walk, eat, etc. This is what makes Labrador Retriever dogs just a little too needy for some owners.

3. Labs Must Be Well Trained: As hunters, Labs have to be able to follow specific rules in order to find birds. So, even if they do not have a direction to move in, they will keep hunting without giving up. So, basically, a good Lab literally takes matters into its own hands to get the job finished.

These characteristics are great for dog owners to enjoy having a service dog that can take on its own in certain situations. Alternatively, it's bad for dog owners who are not able of providing absolutely no direction whatsoever. This is where most issues lie with new Labrador owners.

Several people see well-trained Labs at the beach or walking with their owners and think to themselves “I should get one of those dogs. They’re so well trained!” Little do they know that these pets are never born trained. It takes regular progressive dedication to exact training protocols, all based on a Labrador's genetic make up. For many people, this can prove too much work for to handle. They will more than likely end up with nothing but issues and annoyance with their dog.

Provided by Kelly Marshall from Oh My Dog Supplies - the largest choice of dog feeders online, visit http://www.ohmydogsupplies.com/dog-supplies/elevated-dog-feeders

Published At: www.Isnare.com

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All About Labradors E-mail

Hello to everyone, I hope everyone is doing well. I received an e-mail informing me that the "subscribe via e-mail" box (top right hand side of this blog)is being transferred to PetSmart.

My apologies to anyone this may have caused problems I am contacting Feedburner (the service that runs my e-mail and feed) in regards to this problem. The "subscribe via Feed Reader" is still working.

I am disabling the e-mail form until I have the problem straightened out. For those of you that are signed up to the e-mail alerts, I don't believe there is any problem. If someone who is subscribed already would let me know that would be appreciated.

The All About Labradors blog has only ONE affiliate banner to PetSmart and that is on the left hand side of this blog.

For those of you that would like to sign up for the All About Labradors subscription, please be a little patient while I get this straightened out. Thanks.

Fay

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Chocolate Labrador Retriever is Biting - part II

This is part two of a two part e-mail, to read part one, visit: My Chocolate Labrador Retriever is Biting - part I

Subject: 4 month old Chocolate Labrador Retriever biting and attacking -part II.

From: Amy (USA)

Labrador Retriever name: Tybee

Reader's E-mail - Amy"s Response:

Hi. Thank you for your response...attached please find a photo of "Tybee".

We got Tybee on our vacation in July in South Carolina. My husband saw an ad, we went to the persons house, and drove home with the dog. We didn't know to ask any questions. I've never had a dog and my husband only had one when he was a little boy.

-Don't know if he was being aggressive, I think he may have been. He has bitten me from behind when I am doing dishes or not paying attention.

-Have taught him to sit and give paw. We make him do that before he eats.

-We just switched from a retracting leash to a 6 foot.

-Yes, we have a crate. He sleeps in it every night and hangs out in it during the day. We have been told to never use it for time out.

-I am a stay at home mom and except for errands, am home all the time with Tybee and my sons when they aren't in school.

We just started training a few days ago and they gave us the pinch collar to use but I am afraid if i keep it on during the day, it'll hurt him? Am I being ridiculous? I use it though when I walk him.

Thank you for your help.
Amy

All About Labradors Answer:

Hello Amy,
Continue Reading...
The information given here is to help you learn more about your Labrador Retriever and not to replace your veterinarian's advice. Disclaimer

Thanks for the great picture of Tybee, he is just so cute!!

Based on your letter, I'm putting Tybee somewhere in the 16 to 19 weeks of age period. What you must understand is Tybee going through a critical period right now.

Labrador Retrievers between the age of 12 -16 weeks go through a phase called Seniority Classification Period. During this period Tybee will challenge you to see who the pack leader is going to be. He will bite you in play and as a challenge to your authority. He will try to dominate, may grab leashes, may growl, and can often become over excited. Basically, what he is trying to do, is to figure out exactly where he stands in the pack order, and see if moving up in the pack will work. What is important here is that you establish yourself as the pack leader or the Alpha.

Obedience training and the Alpha dog - obedience training (basics: sit, heel, stay, recall, down) doesn't solve all behavior problems; however, it becomes a foundation for solving just about any problem. Effective communication is necessary to instruct your Labrador Retriever with what you want him to do. What the Alpha dog basically comes down to is - Who is the leader.

Dogs see all the people and other dogs in the household as a pack. Each person in the pack has a rank, with a top dog. Your Labrador Retriever's rank should be at the bottom of the pack. You and everyone in your family are ahead of him and he must understand this.

Here's an article on Alpha dogs with rules to follow to let your Lab know his place:

Establishing and keeping Alpha Position

Amy, the training has got to be consistent, might be frustrating, and won't happen overnight. You will have to keep on correcting Tybee, possible hundreds of times.

Whenever you want Tybee to do something, you must TELL him, not ask. Remember, you are the boss, the top dog. You (and your family) are the one that makes the rules and give the orders. Stand up nice and straight, and in a firm voice TELL him what to do. Always remember this!

It's great that you taught Tybee to sit and you are using it before he eats. What you have to continue to do is make sure you get him to sit before getting any rewards (his food, playtime, etc).

When it comes time to feed Tybee, walk him, play with him, your going to TELL him to sit. When he does, praise him with the Good dog, or Good boy, give him the permission with an Okay and then give him his reward (his food, playtime, etc...).

What happens if he doesn't want to sit?

If Tybee doesn't sit, you’re going to walk away from him and ignore him. Remember, No Sit, No Reward. Make sure you state your sit command in a good firm voice and if he doesn't obey, walk away and ignore him. You will try again a little later.

What you are teaching him is to respect and obey you. His place is at the bottom of the pack, nowhere else.

Time for your Labrador Retriever to be fed... SIT, OKAY then feed him. Time for him to go out...SIT, OKAY and out you go (you go out door first, not other way around). You’re the boss! Practice, practice, practice. It might take much ignoring for him to get it.

You also want to make sure that you do not play aggressive games during this phase. (Tug of war, wrestling, etc). If Tybee becomes over excited, mouths or growls, make sure all activity stops. I would also advise against leaving small children unattended with him. Make sure all members of your family are consistent with training and any corrections.

The next stage of development for Tybee is called the Flight Instinct Period (4 - 8 Months). During this period, your cute little Labrador puppy will decide he is ready to go off by himself. He will become more independent and will ignore your commands of come and stay. He will try to venture off and be clever in attempts to run around loose.

During this period, teaching Tybee to stay close and to come when he is called is critical. Failure to do so can lead to major problems as Tybee grows into adulthood.

What you want to make sure of during this period is that Tybee is on a leash every time he is in a unconfined area. You also want to train him the "come" command and make sure it is reinforced and that it becomes a positive experience.

For Tybee's problem with nipping / biting:

Your going to have to train him that this nipping / biting is wrong. By ignoring this problem and believing your Labrador will grow out of it, you are risking the chance that a serious injury could occur as your Lab puppy reaches adulthood.

Here is a copy of an article (it's posted on the All About Labradors blog) I have written on this subject.

Labrador Retriever – Training your puppy to stop biting and nipping

You have brought your new Labrador Retriever puppy home and all is well, except for the occasional biting from your pup. Sure the biting hardly ever causes serious harm or injury, but by ignoring this problem and believing your Labrador will grow out of it, you are risking the chance that a serious injury could occur as your Lab puppy reaches adulthood. If your Labrador puppy does have a habit of biting, nipping, or "mouthing" you or your loved ones, try some or all of the following to help correct its behavior.

1. Teach your Labrador Retriever puppy that biting hurts. When he does bite, let out a sharp "no" or "ouch" while maintaining eye contact with him. It will teach him that his play is to rough, and you will not continue to play until he is gentler.

2. Close Your Mouth – gently hold your Labrador Retriever’s mouth shut while stating "no".

3. Time Out – while maintaining eye contact with your pup, state "no", or "ouch", and then get up and move away, stopping interaction with your Labrador. You can also place him in his crate, if you do use one for training. By walking away, or placing him in his crate, you teach him that he will lose his playmate if he continues to nip and bite.

4. Rough Housing – Do you let your Labrador puppy grab your hands in its mouth while playing? Then when he bites your hand to hard, you scold him and state "no". You’re encouraging him one minute and scolding him the next. What your doing is completely confusing your poor little Labrador puppy.

5. Teach your Lab pup the "off" command.

Helpful Tips:

Make sure your Labrador puppy gets plenty of play time and exercise daily. These are great distractions and may help reduce your puppies biting.

Be consistent with whatever methods you use to help break the nipping and biting habit. Make sure family members are consistent also.

Have plenty of chew toys for your Labrador puppy.

Always reinforce your Labs good behavior. Whenever he plays nicely or licks you without biting and nipping, shower him with love and praise.

Watch the tone of your voice with the "no" and "ouch" commands. They should always be sharp and to the point.

A Word of Caution:

If you have small young children, never leave your Labrador Retriever puppy alone with them until he has learned biting and nipping are unacceptable.

Games like tug-of-war and rough housing encourage your Labrador puppy to bite. Waiting until he is fully trained in the "off" command until introducing these games. You must discourage any and all biting because such biting is a sign of dominance!

If for some reason your Lab puppy becomes more aggressive when he bites, or your training methods don’t seem to be working, seek help from your veterinarian or professional trainer.

Apply one or more of the above training procedures, be consistent with your training, and shower your Labrador Retriever puppy with praise for doing good, and you’ll be on your way to nipping your Labradors biting habit in the bud.

As far as chew toys that I mentioned in the article goes, I do highly recommend and love the Kong toys (make sure you get the proper size for your Labrador). The Kong toys that you can stuff with treats can keep him busy (and out of trouble!) for long periods of time by encouraging him to get the food reward inside. They also provide plenty of physical as well as mental exercise for him. You can stuff them with peanut butter or other treats, freeze them overnight, and it will make it that much tougher for Tybee to get the treats out, again keeping him busy.

Nylabone also makes very good toys. Many pet stores are full of garbage toys that your Labrador will quickly chew up and choke on or cause intestinal blockages. Rawhide is especially bad because it swells after being swallowed. You want to make sure you always inspect your Labradors toys, when pieces are starting to break off, it's time to discard them.

As for leashes and controlling Tybee, I recommend the Halti or Gentle Leader collar for him, as opposed to the pinch collar, for I believe they make it very easy for you to control him.

One last thing Amy, as you can see from number three in the nipping / biting article, I do recommend using the crate as a time out as opposed to others that may not.

Hope some of this will be of help to you and Tybee. If you have any questions about anything (training commands, leash training, etc) please don't hesitate to ask. Please keep me informed along the way.

Take care of yourself and Tybee,

Fay

References:

dogbreedinfo.com

PubMed.gov

To see the way to adorable Tybee visit: Tybee 10/18/08

RELATED ARTICLES:

Labrador Retriever – Training your puppy to stop biting and nipping

My six month old Labrador Retriever Bites - part I

My six month old Labrador Retriever Bites - part II

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Free Nature's Recipe Farm Stand Selects Chicken Recipe Canned Dog Food Sample

A free sample of Nature's Recipe Farm Stand Selects Chicken Recipe canned dog food.

"Nature's Recipe® Farm Stand Selects® Chicken Recipe canned dog food is a savory, nutritious meal for every stage of your dog's development. Made with Human Food Grade chicken, you can actually see the pieces that will delight his taste buds while nourishing his body. Ingredients include wholesome grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. We add carefully selected carbohydrates to boost energy and just the right level of dietary fiber to help maintain your dog's healthy digestion. For more information about Nature's Recipe® and Farm Stand Selects® visit www.NaturesRecipe.com."

This free sample is provided by Start Sampling an on-line sampling company. If your not a member you will have to sign up, if you are a member just log in.

Free Nature's Recipe Farm Stand Selects Chicken Recipe Canned Dog Food Sample

I have never used Nature's Recipe Farm Stand Selects Chicken Recipe canned dog food so I can't provide you with any information on it. If anyone has used it and would like to share, please do so.

For Your Information: Available to the USA only. As of this posting the quantity remaining is 22,975

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Chocolate Labrador Retriever is Biting - part I

Subject: 4 month old Chocolate Labrador Retriever biting and attacking -part I.

From: Amy (USA)

Labrador Retriever name: Tybee

Reader's E-mail - Amy Writes:

Hi, your website is fantastic and I have learned a lot. Here is my problem with my almost 4 month old chocolate lab, Tybee.

We got Tybee when on vacation in South Carolina in July. He was almost 9 weeks old. Never had a dog before. My husband thought this would be a good idea so we took him home with us - 19 hours..long car ride..he was great..since he loves cars and has no problem going for a ride to one of the local state parks.

Had a bad nipping problem for the first 4 weeks but seemed to subside for about 2 weeks. Now the past 2 weeks it is back but not so nippy, more really biting hard. He has bit me drawing blood. He has ripped my clothing when on me, attacked my sons 4 year old friend when I was walking him with her and my son (also 4 years - my other son is 7) where he pushed her down and started to bite her - so quick that the leash yanked out of my hand when he went at her.

He also does not listen anymore when his name is called and he is allowed w/o a leash in the yard. We have a big yard and he is hard to catch now. Today he ran out of the house and took me half an hour to get him back inside and my poor 7 year old was late for his first day of school.

My husband says there is no way we are getting rid of Tybee. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt but I am out of clothes (he has ripped my clothes and shoes) and I'm out of patience. He does sit when told (most of the time) and when we are walking I taught him to sit when he sees a car. He does get playtime with other dogs but now he is attacking them - not really playing so much anymore so the neighbors don't want him playing with their dogs anymore. Please help. I am desperate.

Thank you
Amy

All About Labradors Response:

Hello Amy,

Congratulations on owning a new Labrador Retriever. You made an excellent choice!! They are a very high energetic breed and in the beginning will take some work (you might even think you made a mistake at first but believe me, the are incredible dogs. Loyal, loving and extremely playful, they are always there to put a smile on your face.

OK, I can write a book on how great it is to own a Labrador Retriever, but lets get on to trying to help you out. There are a couple of different things I need to know to try to be of further assistance to you. When you get a chance, please answer the listed questions for me.

Where did you get your Labrador Retriever from - breeder, pet store, rescue, etc?

When he bit your son's friend do you feel he was being aggressive and vicious?

What other commands have you taught him?

What kind of leash do you use for him?

Do you own a crate?

Is someone always home with him, or do both of you work?

With all the email questions I receive, I always ask a favor of the person writing. If you have any photos of your Labrador Retriever, that you could email me, I would love to post them to the Labrador Retriever Pictures blog. You DO NOT have to send a photo to receive an answer to your question.

If you do send a photo, and would like any caption to appear under the photo (Ex: Fido eating the garbage, my trip to the beach, dressed up for Christmas, etc.) make sure you let me know.

Awaiting your reply,
Fay

This is part one of a two part e-mail. To read part two visit: My Chocolate Labrador Retriever is Biting - part II

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Halloween Can Be a Scary Holiday ... for Pets

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Acupuncture for Dogs

A New York dog owner turns to acupuncture to help her aging pooch.



FYI: press menu on right side of video and then click full screen.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Labrador Retriever finds his way Home

I wanted to share a wonderful story I received from Josie in regards to her chocolate Labrador Retriever who goes by the name of Jake.

Reader's E-mail - Josie Writes:

Good Morning Fay,

Not sure if you remember me, but I am the one with the chocolate lab named Jake and you posted his photo on your Labradors Blog last year. I wanted to share with you an amazing story about my Jake.

My husband takes Jake to the park every morning where he can run and meet up with his buddies and enjoy a few hours of play time. The part is about a mile away from our home. This past Sunday, my husband called me around 10:00 AM to tell me that Jake had wandered off and he could not find him and that he was looking for him for about an hour. Everyone was on a search for Jake. Animal shelters were notified as well as the police. My heart sank and I was uncontrollable. I told my husband that he could not come home without Jake. I was frantic and felt helpless.

It must of been about 15 minutes later when I heard a bark. I thought to myself that sounds like my Jakie. I looked out my window and I saw a tale wagging. I ran down the stairs as fast as I could and there he was barking and wagging his tail at the front door. This dog had found his way home from the park that is a mile away crossing big streets. I don't know how he did it, as my husband never walked to the park with him. They always drive there. I was so overwhelmed to see him. All I could think of was that god was guiding him back home safely.

I tried to reach my husband on his cellphone, but of course he never heard it. He finally called me and I asked him "Did you find Jake? He said he had not, so I said "Well, he is here at home". He was totally amazed and happy at the same time. I wanted to share this story with you as I think it is amazing. We just don't realize how smart dogs really are. I shower him with so many kisses each morning as I think of how I could of lost him forever.

Take care and have a wonderful day.

Best regards,
Josie

All About Labradors Reply:

Hello Josie,

How are you. It's so wonderful to hear from you. I'm assuming the whole nipping / mouthing problem has long past? How did it work out with his "Alpha" condition?

What a wonderful story. I'm so glad that Jake is back and safe. I'm also amazed that he made it home without ever walking the route. Every once in a blue moon will I hear a story of a dog being lost and then making their way home from a few miles away.

I do remember reading about a British biologist named Rupert Shedake, who compiled a database of story involving cats and dogs returning. They were transported from home to an location they were never at before, and followed a different route home.

Thank you for sharing this story and it is great to hear from you again.

Take care of yourself,
Fay

For those of you that don't know, I had the pleasure of talking to Josie when she first wrote me an e-mail pertaining to Jake occasionally nipping/mouthing and a possible problem with the "Alpha Dog" leader concept (that's why I asked in the above reply.

To read the original e-mail on Jake's problems as a young Labrador Retriever pup visit:

Chocolate Labrador Retriever Nips Occasionally - part I

Chocolate Labrador Retriever Nips Occasionally - part II

You can also see the adorable photo of Jake by visiting: Jake 3/04/07

Once again, a big thank you to Josie for sharing this story and for giving us an update on Jake. Make sure you give Jake hugs and kisses for me!

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Black Labrador Retriever - Losing hair and Dry Skin - part II

Subject: Black Labrador Retriever - Losing hair and Dry Skin - part II

From: Dana (USA)

Labrador Retriever name: Sampson

Reader's E-mail - Dana's Answers to our questions:

My answers are below in Red. (I have posted my questions again with Dana's answers next to them to make it easier for all of the readers of this blog to read)

What is your Labrador Retrievers name? Sampson

How old is he? 4

Any problem with fleas? Fleas can be difficult to find, especially in black labs. I haven’t seen any, and since he doesn’t have much hair on his belly they would be easy to see.

Where does your Labrador scratch? Mostly on his underneath side.

What do you feed your Lab? I need you to be specific - table scrapes, dog food brand and flavor, treat brand and flavor, bones, etc. I give him cheese and feed him “Nature’s Recipe” Lamp & Rice for sensitive skin.

Does he get skin infections? Yes

Any problems with his ears? (dirty, discharges, smell, etc) Yes

Any problems with discharges from his nose? No

Does he has severe dandruff or dry skin? Yes

Does he have greasy, smelly fur? Yes

Any change in skin color? Yes, it looks like elephant skin where he has lost his hair

Any scales or rash? Yes

Any hot spots (open sores)? Some

Any pimples or boils? No

Is the hair loss in a single patch or on various areas? All of his underneath side such as his belly, and a patch on his upper back to one side and a little on his face

Is hair loss on his face, his limbs or his body? Under his tail area too, not so much on his legs.

Are the hair loss areas itchy? Extremely

Is the hair falling out, broken off or chewed out? I believe it has fell out

Are the hairless areas inflamed and raw? In a few spots like his elbows

Any shape to the hair loss areas? No

Does your Labrador Retriever scoot? No

Any problem with his paws? No

Is he a nervous Labrador? No

Have you taken him to the veterinarian while he has had this problem? Yes

Are you writing from the USA or another country? USA

All About Labradors Answer:

Hello Dana,

Continue Reading...
The information given here is to help you learn more about your Labrador Retriever and not to replace your veterinarian's advice. Disclaimer

Lets start with Sampson's ear problems.

Ear infections can be caused by a number of different things, especially in dogs like our Labrador Retrievers with their long, pendulous ears. Because the ear folds over, it covers our Labrador's ear canal and prevents air from entering and drying. This results in a warm/moist ear canal that's just the perfect for organisms to grow in.

A build up of ear wax, ear mites, growths in the ear canal, ears that are not dried after Sampson has been swimming or bathing, and allergies can all lead to ear infections.

Your best preventive measure against ear infections is to performing regular ear inspections. Both your eyes and your nose can help detect a problem. Sampson's ears should have a clean, light pinkish color and should have no foul smell to them. Puss like substance discharges, waxy discharges and foul smell to ears are signs of a problem in your Labs ears.

As far as a successful regimen of treatment, cleaning of Sampson's ears regularly is your best bet. Frequency of cleaning will vary, especially in the warmer months and always after swimming or bathing.

As far as a commercial cleaner goes, I've had many people use and recommend DermaPet Malacetic Otic Ear Cleanser and Malacetic Otic Ear/Skin Cleanser.

One of the very best products I've used with success for gunk in my Labrador ears is called a blue power wash (actually I have seen it called many other things, as it has been on the Internet for ages).

"Blue Power Ear Treatment"

INGREDIENTS:

16 Oz. Isopropyl Alcohol (Witch Hazel)
4 Tablespoons Boric Acid Powder
16 Drops Gentian Violet Solution 1%

Mix together in alcohol bottle and shake well. You will also need to shake solution every time you use it to disperse the Boric Acid Powder. An eye dropper can be used to fill the ear.

TREATMENT: Evaluate condition of ears before treating and if very inflamed and sore do not attempt to pull hair or clean out ear at all. Wait until inflammation has subsided which will be about 2 days.

Shake the bottle each time before using. Flood the ear with solution (gently squirt bottle), massage gently for approximately a minute, then wipe with a cloth or tissue. Flood again a second time, and wipe again without massaging in. The dog will shake out the excess. Be advised, the Gentian Violet does stain.

The SCHEDULE of treatment is as follows:

Treat 2x per day for the first week to two weeks depending upon severity of ears
Treat 1x per day for the next 1-2 weeks
Treat 1x per month (or even less frequently, depending on the dog)

All of these ingredients should be available at your local pharmacy. I like to use witch hazel instead of alcohol, as if any scratches are in the ear, the alcohol can cause burning. The Boric Acid Powder soothes the ear and the Gentian Violet Solution is an ant-infection agent. The solution appears to work well on many ear problems. I also like to warm my solution slightly, under warm water, but you can use it either way.

There is also a commercial version of this solution available:

K9 Ear Solution

If Sampson does get middle ear infections, I was also told about a vitamin E based ear infection tonic used by one of the readers of this blog, who stated this tonic worked wonders for their Labrador Retriever's ears. I had never heard about it before, but they swear by it. To learn more visit:

Ear Infection Tonic

If Sampson displays discomfort or resist having the ears cleaned, stop immediately and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to have the ears flushed.

Remember, keeping the ears clean is a great preventive measure against infections, but what has to be done is finding out what the cause is.

If allergies are the cause, the wax-producing glands of the ear overproduce, causing ear infections. If the ear infections are seasonal the possibility of an inhalant allergy could be the cause. Problems with ear infections year round can also be caused by a food allergy. Allergy testing is available by your veterinarian to determine if and what the pet is allergic to.

There are many different reasons for hair loss with our Labrador Retrievers. Some reasons of hair loss include: fleas, allergies, mange, skin infections, Hypothyroidism, Cushings Disease, flank alopecia, poor nutrition, and pattern baldness. These are just a few of the many reasons associated with hair loss.

You didn't state what your veterinarian has done or told you, so based on what you told me, I will list some possibilities I believe might be causing Sampson's problems.

Yeast infections:

When Sampson's immune system is healthy, his body is able to destroy the yeast. But if his immune system is weak, yeast may produce in large amounts causing toxins. These toxins prevent the immune system from working properly, which causes the immune system to have problems destroying the yeast, leading to may health problems.

Yeast infections can be itchy, crusty, and smelly. A rash or mild itching occurs, and the skin can thicken to an "elephant" skin appearance. The itch and odor can also become extreme. Affected areas can be limited to certain regions or the entire body.

Malassezia pachydermatitis - a common yeast organism that is found on normal and abnormal canine skin and ears, which can cause severe inflammation of the skin or ears. Usually Labradors that are suffering from malasezzia have skin lesions. These lesions are usually red and are accompanied by areas of hair loss, increased pigmentation, and scaliness or greasiness (yellowish tint). Some of the most common sites are the feet, between toes, underside of the neck, and the belly.

Some factors that can lead to Malassezia dermatitis:

Moisture (floppy ears with narrow ear canals, skin folds)

Excessive scale formation and greasiness of the skin and hair coat (Seborrhea) Here is some further help with Seborrhea:

Seborrhea: Introduction

An underactive thyroid gland, or hypothyroidism.

Allergic (food allergy, flea allergy, and allergies to pollen, grasses, etc.) and bacterial skin disease.

This condition is treated with anti-fungal drugs and/or topical therapies consist of shampoos, rinses, and sprays. Topical therapies will usually will have one or more of the following ingredients: ketaconazole, miconazole, or chlorhexidine. Acetic acid wipes can be used to cleanse the affected area, and mixtures of vinegar and water can be used.

Oral therapy (very expensive) will be with Ketoconazole (Nizoral®).

What is important to remember is if the underlying problem is not controlled, yeast infection is likely to periodically recur.

Labrador Retrievers with allergies may show some of the following symptoms:

Chewing on paws, itching of body, rubbing head/ face on the carpet/couch, recurrent ear infections, infected skin, and hair loss.

Atopy (inhalant allergies) are most common in Labrador Retrievers. Just like you and I, your Labrador can develop allergies to something it inhales, such as tree pollens, weeds, grass pollens, with many of these being seasonal. There is also a possibility to allergens such as house dust, molds, mildew, which can be around all the time.

Some things you might want to do around your home:

Wash Sampson's bedding in very hot water.

Keep Sampson out of rooms several hours when you vacuum.

Keep Sampson out of carpeted rooms.

Try to avoid stuffed toys and letting him sleep on stuffed furniture

Use dehumidifiers

Keep Sampson out of basement (if you have one)

Other allergy testing can be done by your veterinarian, such as blood tests or intradermal skin testing. The better allergy test is intradermal skin testing, which is usually done by a veterinary dermatologist. You may want to visit a veterinary dermatologist (you can ask for a referral from your vet) if he/she is not one themselves. Veterinary dermatologist are specialists that tend to see chronic and odd cases, and often recognize unusual syndromes a general practitioner may miss.

Food allergies to something eaten (beef, dairy products, chicken, wheat, chicken eggs, corn, and soy), can occur at any age (majority of cases between 2 and 6 years of age) and may mimic the signs of an inhalant allergy. These Labrador Retrievers tend to have recurrent ear and skin infections unless the allergy is identified and the allergy is addressed. Food allergies can be complicated to recognize and to treat.

The problem is figuring out what the allergen is. As I stated previously, skin and blood test can be done by your veterinarian, as well as setting up a special diet "hypoallergenic diet", for a possible food allergy.

A "hypoallergenic diet" - a changing of his food to something he hasn't eaten before, which is fed for a set period of time (usually it takes at least 12 weeks on the new food) can be done to help to determine if this is the cause.

If you do decide to try changing Sampson's food, remember:

Give the trial at least twelve weeks on the new food

No other treats should be given during the food trial. Only exception is if they are based on the same food sources as the test diet.

You have to be strict with the new food test, offering no other foods (cheese!) and NO table scrapes.

No unnecessary medications are to be given.

No edible chew toys (such as rawhides or bones) should be given.

Recommendations of foods for Sampson:

Wellness

Eagle Pack (Holistic Select)

These companies also offer treats based on the same food sources as their foods.

Many people believe (and recommend) Lamb and Rice for dog food allergies. Our Labrador Retrievers had never eaten lamb and rice before, thus they never had time to develop an allergy to it. There was nothing special about the lamb and rice except as I said, our Labs had never eaten it before.

The problem is that many of the lamb and rice-based foods also contain many other ingredients, and if your Labrador Retriever has a food allergy to any of those ingredients, the lamb and rice food will do nothing to treat the food allergy.

Additional help for allergies:

Supplementation with omega fatty acids are critical to total body health. These fatty acids play a vital role in the structure of cell membranes, help to maintain healthy skin and coat, support the immune system, and promote proper growth and development of the nervous system.

Colloidal Oatmeal Shampoos and cream rinses - these products pull inflammatory toxins out of the skin, along with colloidal oatmeal sprays and lotions, which can be purchased at your local pet stores.

Benadryl has been known to help allergy conditions in many Labrador Retrievers. Be advised that it can also have potential adverse side effect.

*** I BELIEVE THIS NEXT SUPPLEMENTATION IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ADD TO YOUR LABS DIET ***

One thing that I make sure I use with my Labradors is probiotics and digestive enzymes, which I feel should be given to all Labrador Retrievers. Probiotics are live cultures found in yogurt which will help out in maintaining and increasing the good flora (bacteria) of the gut.

You could also supplement Sampson's diet with regular, non-flavored yogurt with live cultures daily. Make sure there are no sugars or sweeteners in it. You could add it to his food, or your can use it in the Kong toys if you use them. One reader of this blog stuffs it into the Kong toys and freezes it.

Some places to get probiotics and digestive enzymes:

Health and pet food stores: Acidophilus for dogs

1-800-PetMeds - NaturVet Enzymes & Probiotics

Only Natural Pet Store

Pet Enzymes

Here's a helpful article on probiotics:

The Benefits of Probiotics for Your Pet

Sarcoptic Mange:

Sarcoptic mange, also known as canine scabies is caused by the parasite mite Sarcoptes scabiei. These mites (microscopic) can invade the skin of healthy Labrador Retrievers and create a whole host of skin problems, with the most common being hair loss and severe itching.

Symptoms can include hair loss and severe itching on the ears, elbows, chest, armpits, hocks, and belly. The mites prefer to live on areas of the skin that have less hair. The infection can spread over the entire body. Red pustules will develop along with yellow crust on the skin.

To help better explain Sarcoptic Mange to you and for treatments, please read:

Sarcoptic mange in dogs

I hope that this will be of help to you and Sampson. If you don't understand something Dana, or have other questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Please keep me informed on Sampson's condition and if you return to your veterinarian, anything they may tell you.

Take care of yourself and Sampson,

Fay

References:

Ackerman. Skin and Haircoat problems in dogs. Published by Alpine Publications; 1994.

http://animalpetdoctor.homestead.com/Ears.html#anchor_13659

The Merck Veterinary Manuel

Pub Med.org

http://www.petenzymes.com

http://www.pets.ca/encyclopedia/sarcoptic_mange_dog.htm

To read part one of this e-mail visit: Black Labrador Retriever - Losing hair and Dry Skin - part I

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Black Labrador Retriever - Losing hair and Dry Skin - part I

Subject: Black Labrador Retriever - Losing hair and Dry Skin - part I

From: Dana (USA)

Labrador Retriever name: Sampson

Reader's E-mail - Dana Writes:

I have a black lab that has had skin problems for a couple years now. I have tried a lot of things, baths, ointments, antibiotics. Yogurt and blueberries. He has lost a lot of hair and scratches constantly.

Dana

All About Labradors Reply:

Hi Dana,

Sorry to hear about your Labrador Retrievers problem. I am going to need you to answer some questions to better understand your Labradors problems.

What is your Labrador Retrievers name?

How old is he?

Any problem with fleas? Fleas can be difficult to find, especially in black labs.

Here is a website that shows you how you can check for fleas:

Does my dog or cat have fleas?

Where does your Labrador scratch?

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What do you feed your Lab? I need you to be specific - table scrapes, dog food brand and flavor, treat brand and flavor, bones, etc.

Does he get skin infections?

Any problems with his ears? (dirty, discharges, smell, etc)

Any problems with discharges from his nose?

Does he has severe dandruff or dry skin?

Does he have greasy, smelly fur?

Any change in skin color?

Any scales or rash?

Any hot spots (open sores)?

Any pimples or boils?

Is the hair loss in a single patch or on various areas?

Is hair loss on his face, his limbs or his body?

Are the hair loss areas itchy?

Is the hair falling out, broken off or chewed out?

Are the hairless areas inflamed and raw?

Any shape to the hair loss areas?

Does your Labrador Retriever scoot?

Any problem with his paws?

Is he a nervous Labrador?

Have you taken him to the veterinarian while he has had this problem?

Are you writing from the USA or another country?

With all the email questions I receive, I always ask a favor of the person writing. If you have any photos of your Labrador Retriever, that you could email me, I would love to post them to the Labrador Retriever Pictures blog. You DO NOT have to send a photo to receive an answer to your question.

If you do send a photo, and would like any caption to appear under the photo (Ex: Fido eating the garbage, my trip to the beach, dressed up for Christmas, etc.) make sure you let me know.

Sorry for so many questions Dana, but there are some many different reasons for skin problems and hair loss with our Labrador Retrievers. With the information you give me it might make it easier for me to be able to help your Labrador.

Please get back to me at your earliest convenience with the answers to these questions.

Fay

To read the second part of Dana's e-mail visit: Black Labrador Retriever - Losing hair and Dry Skin - part II

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