Dog Health Misc.

How to Neutralize a Dog Sprayed by Skunk

Disclaimer:  Lisa Theriault is not a veterinarian or a veterinarian technician.  Always consult with a licensed veterinarian if your dog is sick. Only a licensed veterinarian is qualified to diagnose and treat your pets. 


What Is This Post All About?

  • neutralize a dog sprayed by skunk
  • a bad experience
  • the only home-made cure that worked on my dog
  • other ideas for natural treatments
  • tips to keep skunk off your property

How to Neutralize a Dog Sprayed By a Skunk

Time and time again, I’ve heard people recommend tomato juice to  neutralize a dog sprayed by skunk. But is it true? According to my veterinarian, it’s a myth. It won’t hurt your dog if you try it (watch the eyes, never put anything on a dog with allergies, skin conditions, etc., and ALWAYS check with the veterinarian.

My dog was sprayed by a skunk about a month ago, but the smell is still freshly burned into my memory.  It was early morning when I opened the door to let him out. I noticed him turn on his heels and race back toward the house at warp speed, but didn’t think much of it until he came inside.




What a smell! Well, if you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you have a pretty good idea how bad it is.  The good news is that I was able to get the smell off my dog that day, and I’m going to show you how. Before I do…have a look at the tweet below. I thought it was kind of funny.



The Only NO-FAIL Way to Neutralize A Dog Sprayed by Skunk

Skunk spray is comprised of seven volatile compounds that, when mixed with water, reorganize their chemical composition and become the most vile aroma you’ll likely ever encounter.  It also gets absorbed by your skin, leather items, and your furniture if the dog gets back into the house after being sprayed by a skunk.

The compounds, thiols and acetate derivatives, bind to skin proteins like blood suckers on an ankle.

And The Recipe Is……..


I phoned the veterinarian the morning and asked if they knew how to neutralize a dog sprayed by skunk. I thought they might have a solution or something to sell me.  Instead, I was told to do this:

  • Use an entire bottle of hydrogen peroxide
  • Use a small container of baking soda
  • Add about a quarter cup of vinegar
  • Add a few drops of dishwasher detergent.

I was instructed to put the dog into the tub and soak him (avoiding his eyes) with the concoction. I was skeptical, but what other options did I have?

#1 No Fail Home Recipe to Neutralize a Dog Sprayed by Skunk

Dog Sprayed by Skunk


A couple of weeks later, when it seemed the smell was starting to come back, I gave my dog another bath using the peroxide, baking soda, and dish detergent. This time, I allowed the concoction to settle into his fur and skin before scrubbing him down and rinsing.

It worked again!  My towels, however, were tossed.



NOTE:  It’s now been months since this event and the smell comes back (faintly) on my dog whenever he gets wet.  When he’s dry there is no smell at all.

Now, there are other home remedies that I have heard of and hopefully will never have to try. One incident is enough.  So, here we go:



For this treatment, your dog must be wet first. Work a ratio of 1 part water to two parts apple cider into your dog’s fur, allowing it to sit for at least 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing.



Douche or feminine wash can also be used to de-skunk your dog. Mix a gallon of water and 2 ounces of feminine douche. Soak your pet with the solution and let it sit for about 15 minutes before rinsing. Once rinsed, wash your dog with dog shampoo. Rinse and repeat as needed.

Personally, I can only vouch for the first method using hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, baking soda, and dish detergent. I was blown away by how well it worked.


NOTE: My dog’s black fur now has an auburn sheen to it because of the bleaching effects of the hydrogen peroxide. Frankly, it could have turned him alien green as long as it got the smell out.



A skunk sprays when it feels threatened. This stinky form of self-defense comes with a warning beforehand by stomping their feet, raising their tail, and hissing. If the warnings are not heeded, hit the dirt and cover your eyes.

The spray, a secretion from the anal glands, can reach up to 15 feet and skunks are known for their accuracy.

Aside from the horrific odor, skunk spray can make you (and the dog) sick. I had no idea! My eyes burned, I felt sick to my stomach, and I had a pounding headache all day long. In absolute worst-case scenarios (if you or your dog are directly sprayed in the face), the compound can cause temporary blindness.

Fight or Flight…

Of course, my fight or flight instincts kicked in immediately and all I wanted to do was flee. Once I knew my dog was okay, I grabbed my leather jacket and headed to work.

Bad idea. I thought I was escaping the smell, but was quickly told by my employer that I had brought it with me. People were annoyed. I’ve worked there for 20 years and have never been asked to leave but – on that day – it was gently suggested that I head back home for the day!  Look back, I don’t blame them. Never mind neutralizing a dog sprayed by skunk…I needed to be neutralized.


What are the effects of skunk spray on your dogs?

The severity of the damage a skunk spray can do to your dog will depend on which part of your dog got sprayed and how close the skunk was when it happened. The effects can be ocular, dermal, respiratory, and oral. Here is a list of common symptoms:

Temporary blindness
Swelling and redness



If you live in an area where your dog is likely to encounter wildlife, it’s especially important to keep those vaccines up-to-date!


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If you live in a rural area like I do, it’s almost impossible to totally avoid skunks and other wildlife, like porcupine.  Skunks are nocturnal creatures that typically come out at dusk. Consider having a well-lit yard if your dog stays outdoors or keep them company when you let them out in the evenings to do their business.

  • Make sure that dog food or treats are not lying around in your yard and that your trash cans are sealed. Skunks roam on properties when they are lured by the smell of a possible meal.
  • If skunks are frequently spotted in your area, consider hiring the help of pest-control professionals.
  • If you’re out camping or just happen to spot a skunk nearby, there’s no need to get hysterical. Skunks actually don’t startle all the easily, so just go your separate ways. Trust me, that relationship was never meant to be.



For this treatment, your dog must be wet first. Work a ratio of 1 part water to two parts apple cider into your dog’s fur, allowing it to sit for at least  5 to 10 minutes before rinsing.



Douche or feminine wash can also be used to de-skunk your dog. Mix a gallon of water and 2 ounces of feminine douche. Soak your pet with the solution and let it sit for about 15 minutes before rinsing.  Once rinsed, wash your dog with dog shampoo.  Rinse and repeat as needed. 

Personally, I can only vouch for the first method using hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, baking soda, and dish detergent. I was blown away by how well it worked.



NOTE:  My dog’s black fur now has an auburn sheen to it because of the bleaching effects of the hydrogen peroxide.  Frankly, it could have turned him alien green as long as it got the smell out.

LIVE TRAP:  I have an affiliate link to Amazon below where they sell live traps big enough for skunks and other wildlife. It’s a safe, humane way to get rid of the problem.



If you’re out camping or just happen to spot a skunk nearby, there’s no need to get hysterical.  Skunks actually don’t startle all the easily, so just go your separate ways.  Trust me, that relationship was never meant to be.

Now, it’s time to Discover 11 Easy Ways to Reclaim Your Dog’s Health!

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Plain Language Explanations of Luxating Patella Dog Massage

Before I talk about luxating patella dog massage, it’s important that I let you know I am not a veterinarian. I don’t play one on TV, either. I do, however, carefully research everything that I write about and I always suggest that dog owners consult with their veterinarian for any dog-health concerns. 

In this article, I want to try to provide plain-language information that will help you do 3 things:

  • Understand the dynamics of a luxating patella.
  • Recognize the 4 grades of a luxating patella.
  • How to carefully administer luxating patella dog massage.

What the Heck is Luxating Patella Dog Massage?

Before I get into luxating patella dog massage, I need to help you understand what the condition is.  You have to understand that luxating patella dog massage should only be administered after a veterinarian has diagnosed the condition, shown you some methods, and has given you the okay to practice this at home.

 A luxating patella is also known as a:

  • trick-knee,
  • slipped kneecap,
  • dislocated kneecap
  • floating kneecap

Those are words everybody can understand! To help explain what happens, I’m going to ask you to picture a child’s race track. You remember those? You place the toy car at the top of the track and let it go. In theory, the car is suppose to barrel down the track, do a complete loop, and finish right-side-up at the end of the track.

Luxating Patella Dog Massage

I’ve played with a few race tracks in my life, including one I bought for my son, and it never quite worked the way it was supposed to. It always seemed as if the groove in the race track wasn’t deep enough, and the toy cars were too light.

As a result, the car would end up jumping the track.  What happens to the car is similar to what happens to the dog’s knee when it slips out of joint.

In a dog, the kneecap sits in a groove something like that of a race track. If the groove is deep enough, there’s no problem. If the groove is too flat, the knee is at risk of sliding left or right.

LATERAL LUXATING PATELLA (aka LEFT-SLIDING KNEECAP): Lateral luxation is actually rare and happens when the kneecap slides to the outside of the leg.

MEDIAL LUXATING PATELLA (aka KNEECAP SLIDES INWARD): This is much more common, especially in small breeds. In this case, the kneecap slips out of the groove and slides toward the dog’s body.

When this happens, you might notice your dog jump and skip. It kind of looks like a bunny hop, then quickly fixes itself. It’s possible it’s happened many times before you even noticed it.

I love the way the woman in the video below explains it. She has slo-mo images of her dog running and climbing and makes it super easy to understand! It’s worth taking a few minutes to watch it.



Hello? You Were Going to Talk About Luxating Patella Dog Massage!

Right.  Sorry.  So here’s the thing; luxating patella dog massage should only be done after a veterinarian shows you precisely how to do it. I’m not trying to get out of explaining it to you (in fact, I will try). I just want to make sure you understand that unless the problem is very minor, massage isn’t the answer, and could even make it worse.

Okay, so let’s assume you’ve been to the veterinarian and you’ve been given some tips on luxating patella massage. The first thing you should do is sit with your dog in a relaxed, quiet location. Instead of going straight for the knee, I prefer to calmly pet my dog in long, slow motions from the tip of the head down the back. Here are a few steps to get into it:

1) Make sure you’re in a quiet location without other animals around.

2) Sit quietly with your dog until he/she is fully relaxed.

3) I start with regular patting in long, easy strokes. Once I see my dog is okay with this, I gradually increase the pressure. Not too much!

4) Once my dog’s head is down and I can see she’s fully relaxed, I gently but firmly encircle the top of each leg (the healthy legs first) and rub from the top, down towards each kneecap, but not on the kneecap.

5) Never apply a lot of pressure directly on the kneecap or any joint.

6) Finally, when I get to the tender knee, I ease my way into it with soft rubbing around the knee (not on the knee). When I see my dog isn’t flinching or scared, I start back at the top of that leg. Using just my thumbs, I press firmly and slide my thumbs down to the kneecap and stop. I repeat that several times to bring blood flow to the knee.

7) Again, never place direct pressure on any joint. That said, I carefully move my hand over the knee to get a sense of how it feels. If it feels like it’s in place and my dog still isn’t showing any distress, I will continue massaging the leg, always being extra careful around the knee joint.

I like the following youtube video demonstrating dog massage although I’m not in a position to endorse it. I would massage my dog, but only if he/she had no serious condition.

No massage oil is needed or required.


Hey, it’s not that I don’t trust you. I’m not a veterinarian, and if you’re reading this I’m guessing you’re not a veterinarian either. Here’s the thing, if the luxating patella is graded 2, 3, or especially 4, the dog may require surgery and physiotherapy. Performing at-home massage could aggravate the condition and you don’t want that.

Here is a List of Dogs More Prone to Luxating Patella:

Small, or toy breeds, tend to be more prone to this problem. In many cases it’s simply a genetic defect. Puppies should be exercised in moderation. Excessive exercise while the puppy is still forming his/her skeletal body could inflict damage. However, that’s really not the main cause of the problem.

You’re more likely to see luxating patellas in:

  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Pekingese
  • Chihuahua
  • Boston Terrier
  • Pomeranian
  • Affenpinscher
  • American cocker spaniel
  • Basset hound
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  • English springer spaniel
  • Lhasa Apsa
  • Maltese
  • Papillon
  • Pomeranian
  • Toy Poodle
  • Pug
  • Shar Pei

What Were You Saying About Grading a Luxating Patella?

Like any medical condition, there are usually different grades of a disease or condition. With a dog, slipped knees or trick knees are classified in grades of 1 to 4 as follows:

1. Grade I:  This is a fairly easy grade to manage. The knee might slip out of place but it easily goes back in. It can be massaged and generally doesn’t become a huge problem. The dog isn’t in pain.

2. Grade II: Things get a little trickier here. The knee can be put back into place but it’s likely to come right back out once the dog resumes activity. He might not be in pain, but there’s a possibility of developing arthritis. And THAT will cause pain.

3. Grade III: You can probably guess that we’re getting into some tricky territory at this point. Here, the dog is in pain and there’s a greater likelihood that surgery will be required because the knee remains out of joint most of the time.

4. Grade IV:  At this level, the kneecap simply can’t be manually readjusted, even with the leg fully extended.

Will Luxating Patella Dog Massage Ever Be An Option?

Here’s the answer everyone hates:  yes and no.

Luxating patella dog massage is never advised at grades 2 to 4, which is why you need to have your veterinarian’s approval. He/she is the only person who can tell you what stage the dog is in.

Again, the steps to massage I’ve noted above are not to be performed on a dislocated kneecap and never without your veterinarian’s okay. Your dog might not require surgery, but a knee brace and/or physiotherapy is possible. Another treatment mode could include hydrotherapy.

If your dog must have surgery, the veterinarian will suggest the best post-recovery plan for your dog. During the healing process, the leg and knee should not be massaged at all. The veterinarian MIGHT give you the okay after the knee has had time to heal in position, but ask first.

Types of Surgical Intervention:

Veterinarians generally don’t want to jump straight to surgery. It’s expensive (somewhere in the $2000 range), and there is always a risk when putting a dog under anesthesia. If surgery is recommended, it usually follows three steps:

  • the groove is deepened (remember the analogy of the race track?)
  • malformation of the shin bone is corrected
  • over-stretched ligaments around the kneecap are shortened.

In a long-term situation where the cartilage has completely worn away (the way it does with arthritic patients), the kneecap can be put back in place, but the cartilage cannot be replaced. In this situation, the dog has a better quality of life, but it isn’t perfect.

Luxating Patellas (Slipped Knees) Can Happen at Any Age

If you have a small dog breed, don’t think you’re out of the woods because he/she is still a puppy. In fact, if genetics plays a role (and it usually does), you might see this problem earlier rather than later.

If you ever see your dog suddenly do a “bunny hop” that quickly returns to normal, don’t pass it off as a one-time thing. That’s a clear sign of a sliding kneecap.

If your dog is getting older and has had this problem, there is a risk of the dog tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee (otherwise known as the ACL joint). This is really painful and likely requires surgery.

So…What Am I Looking For Exactly?

In the early stages, it might actually look cute. You know..your dog is running and jumping, hopping and shaking his leg. It’s quick and it returns to normal so you might e inclined to think it was just a “thing”.  In reality, you should be watching for the following signs:

  • Limping.
  • Favoring one leg
  • Knee won’t bend
  • Pain when moving the leg
  • Hesitates to jump or run
  • Won’t exercise at all

Gently inspect your dog’s leg for any swelling and make an appointment to see the veterinarian. While on the phone, ask what you can do to make your dog more comfortable while waiting for the appointment.

Good luck! The best part of having a dog is the joy and exuberance it brings to the family. Nothing takes joy out of your life than a dog who can’t move. It’s sad and painful for everybody. Take good care of your little family member and remember….no massage unless the veterinarian has given instruction.

Hi!  I’m Lisa and this is one of my dog’s Coco. He’s a hoot. In this photo, he obviously doesn’t want to give up the ball. 

Look, I’ve already mentioned that I’m not a veterinarian. I love dogs and I would never knowingly say or do anything to harm them. Please take the information I’ve given you for entertainment purposes. I think it’s mostly on-track, but I would rather you take your dog to a qualified veterinarian.

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7 Antidepressants That Can Cause Serotonin Syndrome in Dogs

Serotonin Syndrome in dogs is most often caused by accidental ingestion of owner’s medication.  This is especially dangerous if the dog is already on medication to begin with. Antidepressants on their own are generally safe. Dangerous interactions can occur if combined with certain medications.  The safety of antidepressants in dogs has to be measured in strict dosing guidelines.  This post will explain some of the more popular antidepressants and dosages considered dangerous.

People opt to treat their dogs with antidepressants for behaviors that might otherwise pose a risk to other people or animals.  If you’ve ever watched The Dog Whisperer, you’ve seen Cesar Milan at work. It’s amazing what he can do to modify and correct a dog’s behaviour.  Nine out of ten times, the owners must claim responsibility for encouraging the bad behaviour. 

Sometimes, however, the dogs that Cesar Milan sees require more intensive training. At that point, he brings the dog to his ranch where he can spend time rehabilitating the dog.  Most people don’t have that luxury.  Antidepressant use in dogs is a valid option for some people.

Serotonin Syndrome in Dog

Rescue dogs, for example, might exhibit potentially dangerous behaviors after being adopted. Rather than bringing the dog back to the shelter where the dog will face a questionable future, the adopter chooses to try antidepressants. 

 In many cases, antidepressants work to alter the dog’s mood in a way that enables the dog to learn better behaviors. Once these new behavioral systems are imprinted onto the dog, antidepressants are slowly weaned.  For information on how to wean your dog off of prozac, visit the post: 5 No-Fail Steps to Wean Your Dog Off of Prozac.

Signs of Serotonin Syndrome in Dogs

Serotonin Syndrome is a risk taken when prescribing antidepressants. Mild signs of Serotonin Syndrome in dogs includes diarrhea. Severe signs include the following:

  • rigidity
  • hyperthermia
  • arrhythmias
  • transient blindness
  • vocalization
  • seizures
  • renal failure

Serotonin Syndrome in dogs can occur when the dog ingests other antidepressants (the owner’s medication) or is given a higher than normal dosage. The antidepressants listed below are a few of the common ones. These include an explanation of the dosages that can cause mild serotonin syndrome up to high doses that can be deadly. 

The following YouTube video explains one reason why dogs are administered antidepressants.


Antidepressant Dosing to Avoid Serotonin Syndrome in Dogs

  • Amitriptyline

This class of antidepressant, known as a tricyclic, was one of the first antidepressants available in the late 1950’s. Although it works well to treat depression, high doses can be lethal in dogs.

Mild to moderate symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome can begin at a dosage greater than 2 to 3 mg/kg.

Potentially deadly symptoms appear in dosages of 15 mg/kg.

  • Citalopram

This antidepressant, known as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), was granted approval for use in 1998. Although veterinarians were treating dogs with antidepressants during that time, the practice wasn’t sanctioned.

This SSRI can induce serotonin syndrome in dogs in relatively small doses. For example, a dog will experience mild symptoms of serotonin syndrome at just 0.5 mg/kg.

At 2 to 3 mg/kg, signs of serotonin syndrome in dogs becomes apparent. Anything over 20 mg/kg can be lethal to a dog.

  • Clomipramine

Clomipramine is a tricyclic (similar to Amitriptyline) that is classified as an antidepressant, but typically used to treat obsessive compulsive disorder in humans.

Serotonin syndrome in dogs becomes evident at 2 to 3 mg/kg, which can turn fatal at doses greater than 10 mg/kg.

The next video from YouTube is a previously aired newscast discussing the risk of serotonin syndrome to humans.



Escitalopram (Brand name: Lexapro)

Lexapro is another SSRI used in the treatment of depression and anxiety. As with people, fast tapering can result in serious side-effects including confusion, electric shock sensations, insomnia, and lethargy. 

If a dog is administered this anti-depressant, serotonin syndrome becomes apparent at only 0.3 mg/kg.  Increase that to 4 or 5 mg/kg and the ravishes of serotonin syndrome become severe.

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac): 

Prozac is another SSRI used to treat depression in people.  Veterinarians began prescribing Prozac in the 1990’s to treat severe behavioral issues in dogs caused by anxiety.  Dosing should remain under 1 mg/kg because anything above that level could initiate mild to moderate symptoms of serotonin syndrome in dogs.

If dosing is set at anything over 10 mg/kg, severe or even fatal effects of serotonin syndrome emerge.

  • Sertraline:

This classification of antidepressant is another SSRI used to treat behavioral disorders in dogs. 

Serotonin Syndrome in dogs begins with mild symptoms at dosages within the 10 to 2- mg/kg range.  Doses within the 30 to 50 mg/kg range are dangerous, and deadly at 80 mg/kg.  

  • Venlafaxine:

This antidepressant is classified differently and is known as an SNRI (selective-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor). This particular drug works by increasing serotonin and norepinephrine in the body and brain.

Veterinarians who chose to prescribe this antidepressant know that a dosage of 1 mg/kg can create signs of serotonin syndrome in dogs. Dosages at the 6 – 7 mg/kg range are simply dangerous.

The Timeline of Serotonin Syndrome in Dogs

Signs of serotonin syndrome in dogs can occur anywhere from 10 minutes to 4 hours post ingestion. This isn’t because the veterinarian failed to treat properly.  In most cases, the dog got into the owner’s medication and, essentially, overdosed.

Not all dogs will experience serotonin syndrome. That depends on the size of the dog and how much he/she has ingested. If you refer to the list of antidepressants above, you will see how varying dosages become dangerous.

Clinical Treatment of Serotonin Syndrome in Dogs

When a dog presents with serotonin syndrome, the first thing the veterinarian will do is stabilize the dog according to his/her clinical signs. Other medications may be used to block the effects of serotonin on the body (seizures, agitation, heart disturbances, etc.). 

If the dog hasn’t vomited, the veterinarian will administer activated charcoal to absorb the excess medication out of the dog’s system. This is especially important to administer if the dog has swallowed extended-release tablets.

Preventing Serotonin Syndrome in Dogs 

The best way to prevent serotonin syndrome in dogs is to keep medications away from your dog. I know, it sounds simple but it’s so easy to forget. I’ve had things on the counter that I didn’t think my dogs could reach only to come home to a big surprise. Luckily, it wasn’t anything serious like medications. 

The worse place to store antidepressants are in the bathroom cabinet. Heat and moisture can affect the medication. I keep my medications in the kitchen, in a designated cabinet above the counter. My dogs would have to learn how to drag a kitchen chair to the counter, climb up, and open the cupboard drawer. They’re smart…but not that smart.

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Lisa Theriault is not a veterinarian, nor does she play one on TV. Please visit a licensed veterinarian for advice on your dog’s healthcare matters. In addition, please read the disclaimer and privacy policy.

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23 Noble Traits of the Humane Society Dogs For Adoption

When I talk about Humane Society dogs for adoption, I’m really talking about dog adoption in general. There was a time when I really wasn’t keen on the idea of adopting a shelter dog.  My reasons were probably similar to most people’s. I wanted a puppy, I was afraid of what kind of behavior I’d get from a rescue dog, and I had a preconceived notion of what I wanted the dog to look like.

 I was much younger then and I didn’t understand the full consequences of not adopting. As I matured and gave thought to what it means to really love dogs, it occurred to me that there are thousands upon thousands of dogs sitting sadly in rescue shelters all over the world.

If you’re on the fence about whether to adopt a dog from a shelter or not, read through the list below. My aim is to give you as many facts to go on when making that important decision.

Here are your 23 Noble Traits of The Humane Society Dogs for Adoption

  1. You Take Profits Away From Puppy Mills. It is estimated that there are 10,000 puppy mills in the United States. Not all commercial dog-breeding facilities are bad. However, when there are shelters all over the world with perfectly good dogs waiting for a home, why go that route?

2. Adopting an adult dog means avoiding the puppy phase altogether.   Sure, puppies are cute!  I love puppies. But I also remember going through hundreds of dollars worth of shoes when my gorgeous lab ate them all.

The happy couple in this tweet below look very happy with their newly adopted dog!

3. Humane Society Dogs for Adoption have a whole team rallying behind them. They want to see those dogs go to homes where they can be happy and free. If you have questions or need help finding resources, the Humane Society is right there with you.

4. Did somebody say Boxer? Yes! Humane Society dogs for adoption include pure-bred dogs as well as mixed-breeds. Your choice is not limited!  Do you really need a piece of paper that certifies your dog is a dog?

Did you know that the top 5 dogs found in shelters include:

  • Beagle
  • Boxer
  • Labrador retriever
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Chihuahua

5. The dog you choose has been in the best possible hands. Dogs from shelters have been treated beautifully. They’re fed well, happy, and eager to go to a good home.

Some people like ’em BIG! Check out this adopted Mastiff ” Ace” in the tweet below:

6. Adopting a dog from a shelter is a pay-it-forward situation. The more people who adopt from shelters, the better word gets around. If everyone would consider adopting before buying, the world would be a better place.

7. Adopting from the Humane Society puts valuable money in their coffers. Globally, the Humane Society is working hard to stop animal testing and animal cruelty.

8. The fewer dogs on the street means a decrease in the cruel efforts to eradicate them. In some parts of the world, governments “solve” the stray dog situation by poisoning, electrocution, and shooting.

9. When considering Humane Society Dogs for Adoption, consider that the adoption fees (ranging from $170 to over $600) includes the following:

  • Physical exam
  • Behavioral evaluation
  • Vaccinations for distemper and bordetella
  • Rabies vaccine
  • Deworming medication
  • Flea Treatment
  • Tick Treatment
  • Spay Neuter
  • A FREE follow-up exam
  • A package of medications for the dog (if needed) to get you by for about 2 weeks.
  • A bag of dog food
  • Free dog ID tags

The benefits of adopting a dog from the Humane Society extend way beyond the list noted above.

10. Adopting a dog from the Human Society lessens the burden of the 3.3 million dogs put in shelters every year (approximate).

11. You literally save a life. Every year, there are approximately 670,000 dogs euthanized because there simply isn’t enough room.

12. You get to show off! Adopting a shelter pet is gaining in popularity and status.

13. You get to see the Humane Society team in action. You will understand just how much these people care about the dogs. You would think they’d want to stand on the street-corner handing dogs out like candy, but they don’t.  Volunteers work very hard to make sure they are NOT handing dogs to people who haven’t prepared themselves.

14. I don’t really want to let this secret out, but you can always bring the dog back if you feel it’s not working out. Most places offer a 60 day return policy. Do your homework ahead of time! 

15. Some Humane Society shelters also offer to microchip your dog. Did you know that only about 14% of lost dogs are reunited with their families?

16. Pet Insurance might not be on your radar, but it should be. Your dog will get a free examination by a licensed veterinarian when you adopt from a shelter. If the dog has no pre-existing conditions, you can get pet insurance.

17. Join a community of 1.6 million people who adopt from shelters every year. Dogs enrich our lives, lower our blood pressure, and make us laugh. Check out the tweet below and you’ll see why it’s important to cater to your dog’s strengths, not his weaknesses.  Hilarious!

18.  Be a dog owner! Approximately 44% of all households in the United States have a dog. You can be one of them.

19. Boost the numbers. As it stands now, 23% of dogs are adopted from the Humane Society or another shelter.  The trend is slowly rising, but you can help tip the scale

20. Become a dog expert like Cesar Milan. Pet problems are the most common reason people re-home their dogs.  You can learn to be a pack leader quickly and easily (I did!), and once you are seen as the pack leader, behavioral problems will disappear.

21.  Pet owners laugh more, love more, and have better overall health.

22. Ensure that at least one more dog goes to a home that respects and values his life. Make sure that you are the one who provides food, water, and a safe home where the dog can finally be safe.

23. Add 1 + 1.  Two dogs are just as easy as one. I did it! 

Now that you are convinced to adopt a dog from a shelter, take some time to do your homework first. It’s an exciting process that shouldn’t be rushed. Visit the shelter, do research on the particular breed that interests you the most, and make sure your house can accommodate the dog’s needs. 

Congratulations! You are on your way to becoming a valued and respected adopter.

I hope you enjoyed the post and I want you to stick around for more great content. To get you started, I suggest visiting 11 Ways to Reclaim Your Dog’s Health in 2018

 I want to get to know my readers, but first it’s only fair if I share some things about me. I’m giving you permission to skip the boring bio and go straight to the juice. MY STORY

11 Surprising Reasons to Introduce A Bland Diet for Dogs

Dogs are a lot like us when they don’t feel well.  Sometimes a bland diet for dogs is the perfect thing to do. It’s hard to eat when you’re sick or recovering from surgery, especially when it affects the digestive system.  When I was a kid, the first thing I wanted to eat after a bout of the flu was a piece of toast and some ginger ale. My mother swore by the ginger ale (and yes, real ginger is very good for upset tummy), and the toast was bland but satisfying.

There are a lot of reasons to go with a bland diet for dogs. Today, I’m going to show you what those reasons are and, at the bottom of the post, you’ll find an invitation to sign up for a free bland food diet guide including instructions and a timetable.

Keep reading! As a Thank-You for being here, I’m offering a free bland diet guide that you can scoop up below.



If your dog has recently been ill or is recovering from surgery, he might not be feeling his best. Your dog might have a sore throat where the intubation tube was placed during surgery, or maybe he’s nauseated because of the anesthesia.


A poor appetite is usually accompanied by something else. Your dog might be tired, stressed, in pain, or suddenly not interested in the food you’ve been giving him all along.

In this case, don’t force your dog to eat. Dogs can actually go a long time without eating, so as long as your dog is staying hydrated, he/she will be fine.  If your dog still isn’t eating after a couple of days, try introducing small amounts of bland food into his diet. For instructions and a timetable, make sure you sign up for the freebie below!

Keep reading this article because I’m going to help you with putting together a good bland diet for dogs that you can start today.


It’s not always easy to understand when or why your dog has an upset tummy. My golden retriever had an uneasy stomach the other night and the only way I could tell was from the loud rumbling coming from her belly.  It sounded like sludge being digested through a meat grinder.  Imagine that noise if you will.

In this case, remove your dog’s regular food and replace it with bland food until you think your dog’s feeling better. Signs of feeling better include more energy, “good” poops, and he/she might start sniffing around for their regular dog food.


There’s nothing worse than a dog with diarrhea. It’s awful to witness, and even worse when you’re out on a walk in public. You can’t clean up diarrhea from a sidewalk!  The minute your dog shows signs of diarrhea, start him or her on a bland diet for dogs. Keep treats and human food out of reach in case he/she is the type of dog to get into the goodies, if you know what I mean.

If the diarrhea continues for more than a day or two, just give your veterinarian a call. There are lots of reasons for diarrhea including stress and parasites.

WARNING: If you see other symptoms along with diarrhea and vomiting including

  • bloody stool
  • blood in the vomit
  • extreme fatigue
  • weakness
  • extreme thirst

Get your dog to a veterinarian. Have a quick look around the house to be sure your dog didn’t accidentally swallow something he shouldn’t have. There are many poisonous plants, household cleaners, and other toxins that dogs should never have. That includes chocolate.


Sometimes, it’s not the cancer itself making your dog feel sick. Chemotherapy and radiation sometimes take a toll on the dog’s energy level and appetite. Your dog might be incredibly nauseated from the chemo side-effects. He/she might vomit and not want to eat anything at all.  If that’s the case, try to keep your dog hydrated with water or (if given the veterinarian’s okay), a drink with electrolytes such as Pedialite.


Gastroparesis forces peristaltic action in the gut. You know that rolling feeling you get just before you are about to throw-up? It’s something like that. Wavelike motions move through the stomach muscles causing cramping pain, excess gas and bloating, and difficulty digesting food.

Dogs with gastroparesis normally vomit shortly after eating. They may feel nauseated or not hungry at all.  In fact, your dog might suddenly starting eating non-food items like socks, nails, magnets, etc.  This condition is called pica.


Food allergies are the #1 reason for a bland diet for dogs. The only way to determine what food your dog is allergic to is to work through the elimination diet. During an elimination diet, you aren’t suppose to introduce any new food. A bland diet given before the actual elimination diet begins is a good way to settle the tummy before introducing the dog’s normal foods into his/her diet.

Speak to your veterinarian about how to do this. Not all clinics perform this the same way.

Keep reading! As a Thank-You for being here, I’m offering a free bland diet guide that you can scoop up below.


Dog depression is a condition affecting countless canine companions. Statistical reports are hard to find on this topic, but an article published in 2013 in the Telegraph suggests that possibly 1 in 4 dogs may suffer with depression (United Kingdom).

Veterinarians have been prescribing antidepressants to dogs since 1998 for a number of reasons. Antidepressants are thought to reduce anxiety and depression, enabling the dog to have a clear mind capable of learning new, better behaviors.

I have been in clinically depressed states before, and I can tell you that I certainly didn’t feel like eating.  If your dog goes through a longer period of not eating, you may need to slowly bring him back by integrating a bland diet.


Does can easily hurt the insides of their mouths, but how many of us would notice? Unless there are visible signs of blood or trauma, there’s a good chance you don’t know what’s happening in there.

Dogs can damage their teeth and gums from chewing on bones that splinter, biting on extremely hard toys, rocks, or other non-food items.  If your dog is suddenly pawing at his mouth, it’s a good sign that there’s something going on.

You should gently pry your dog’s mouth open and check for anything obvious, like an embedded object. If there is nothing, begin a bland diet of soft foods to make it easier for him/her to eat. After a few days, gradually integrate the normal dog food back into the diet.

If you still don’t see improvement, I suggest taking your dog to the veterinarian for further examination.


I brush my dogs’ teeth. Sometimes. When I think of it. They’re both getting older and you know how it goes. Things start to break down and fall apart.  A dog’s teeth are no different. It’s very likely that the reason your dog isn’t feel well is because of tooth pain.

You might notice your dog pawing at one side of his mouth and turning his head away from the food you give him. Try a very soft, bland diet and contact the veterinarian, especially if your dog has unusually bad breath. That type of bad breath might signify tooth rot and infection.


Sometimes I think that if I am comfortable, then my dog must be as well. That’s just not the case, however. The amount of sunshine and heat your dog can tolerate depends a lot on the breed, size, thickness of fur, and ability to breath clearly. Brachycephalic dogs (dogs with flat noses) find it difficult to keep cool. Pugs, boxers, and bull dogs are just a few examples of breeds prone to heatstroke.

Signs of heatstroke include:

  1. Intense panting, barking, or obvious signs of agitation.
  2. Excessive thirst and drooling
  3. Dark-colored (red or purple) gums or tongue
  4. Glassy eyes
  5. Elevated body temperature of 40ºC (104ºF) and up
  6. Watch for weakness and staggering
  7. Seizures
  8. Fainting

A trained veterinarian will replenish your dogs fluids. Once your dog is feeling better, a bland diet for dogs is a good way to ease him back into his normal food routine.

Introducing a bland diet for dogs happens for any number of reasons, but if you are facing that situation, you might need help deciding what and how much to give.

As promised, you can now gain access to a free bland diet guide and timetable. Print it out and stick it on your fridge if you’d like.   For immediate access, please complete the sign-in form below. Don’t forget to check your email for confirmation (don’t let it go to spammy spam spam)


7 Crucial Steps to Importing Dogs to the USA

Importing dogs to the USA requires a lot of preparation. I miss my dogs like crazy when I am on vacation and sometimes which I could bring them with me. However, when I consider the expense, stress and paperwork involved in bringing them outside of the country, I realize it’s not a good idea.
There are different rules and regulations for different circumstances. For example, importing dogs to the USA for commercial reasons has its own set of guidelines, while importing companion pets has a different set of guidelines altogether.
If you are moving or importing dogs to the USA for any reason, it is crucial to follow these 7 steps to importing dogs to the USA
  The United States and Canada have similar canine entry requirements which I am going to explain in this post. Importing dogs from more exotic locations (India, for example) have added requirements including testing and treatment for screwworm and tapeworm.

STEP 1:  Anti-Vaxxers Are Out of Luck When Importing Dogs to the USA!

It’s your business if you decide not to vaccinate your dogs, but if you are going to be importing dogs to the USA, you may find yourself in a predicament. Any dogs being imported to the United States must have current vaccinations, for which you need to provide proof. The most important vaccine you need to show proof of is the rabies vaccine.

Puppies younger than 3 months of age cannot be administered the rabies vaccine.  Importing dogs to the USA requires proof of rabies vaccination that has not expired. It’s also important to note that the USA will accept a 3-year-vaccination. However, if your dog has had a rabies vaccination, and has just had a booster, you’re okay to bring your dog in, provided there are no other health issues.
NOTE: Dogs who have lived in certain countries without rabies for at least 6 months or since birth may not require proof of vaccination. Check ahead!
Bottom line: If you have to import your dog into the USA, you will need to have the dog fully vaccinated and show proof.

NEED CLARIFICATION? Plan ahead and contact the National Import Export Services by phone at (301) 851-3300 or email:

STEP 2: This Dog is For Sale!

If your main reason for importing dogs to the USA is for commercial purposes (resale or adoption), keep in mind that there are distinct requirements. You will need to show proof of the following vaccinations:
  • rabies
  • distemper
  • hepatitis
  • leptospirosis
  • parovirus
  • parainfluenza virus.

If you have had your dog vaccinated (including boosters), this usually isn’t an issue. Just make sure you have the appropriate documentation from your veterinarian. However, if the dog being imported is from any of the countries listed in Step 5 below, inspection is required.

STEP 3:  Excuse me Bella, Your Papers Please!

Don’t head to the airport without a valid health certificate and rabies vaccination certificate. These need to be issued to you by an English speaking veterinarian before importing dogs to the USA.

Importing dogs to the USA for sale require a special permit which can be obtained through the United States Department of Agriculture.

STEP 4: Farm Dogs Need Special Treatment

If you are importing dogs to the USA that will be working with, or in close proximity to livestock, expect the dog to be thoroughly examined and possibly quarantined upon entry. The reason for this is to make sure the dogs are free of tapeworms.  Countries exempt from this include: Canada, Mexico, some parts of Central America, and West Indies.

STEP 5: It’s For YOUR Protection!

Importing dogs into the USA from certain countries where screwworms are common requires inspection prior to entry and proof of negative results.  A few of these countries include:
  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Bangladesh
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Democratic Republic
  • Dominican Republic
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Taiwan
  • Tanzania
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Vietnam
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe.

For a complete list of countries, please visit:

Screwworms infect animals and humans equally. They are most commonly found in imported dogs and horses. This parasite (fly maggots) feed on living flesh and, if untreated, can be fatal.

STEP 6: Leaving on a Jet Plane?

Not all dogs are welcomed on all flights. The first thing you should do is read the policies of the airline you will be using. Make sure to make arrangements with the airline in advance.

Small dog breeds that can fit into a crate capable of being stored under the seat in front of you might be okay. In some cases, the airline may require your dog be stored in cargo. Make sure you know ahead of time and consider the safety and comfort of your dog.

The following YouTube video will give you some perspective on taking your dog on a plane.

Your dog will be examined at the port of entry to make sure he/she is free from disease.

IMPORTANT: If your dog doesn’t appear to be in good health and must be examined again by a licensed veterinarian, you are responsible for paying the bill.

It’s also important to note that any pets traveling alone must be claimed by a legal resident of the United States. That person must also have a valid address.

STEP 7: Companion Dogs Versus Commercial Dogs

There are different requirements for pets entering the United States versus dogs meant for resale.  Any dog meant for resale must be over 6 months old and fully vaccinated.

Importing dogs into the USA as companion pets need to have their rabies vaccine (not before 3 months of age – see Step 1), and must wait 30 days post vaccine before entering the country.

Questions to Ask Yourself before Importing Dogs to the USA.

Before buying from breeders (whether local to your country or elsewhere), consider the number of dogs in shelters. Kill shelters simply euthanize dogs who aren’t adopted within a certain amount of time. 

People who love dogs have the best of intentions, but it’s really important to do some soul-searching before settling on a pure breed. In fact, there are pure breeds waiting for a forever home in shelters right now.

The decision to bring your dog with you on a big move is honorable. Some people leave their dogs behind (either to fend for themselves or worse) or give them up to anyone who will take them. Traveling is stressful for everyone, including your dog. The best thing you can do is make sure all of the travel arrangements and paperwork is completed well before the move.

Don’t forget to check with the airlines before arriving at the gate. Choose an airline that truly cares for animals.

At the end of the day, safety is paramount. Gathering up and providing all of the necessary paperwork might be frustrating, but its designed to protect us all…including our dogs.

We all want our dogs to arrive at the destination free from injury and as unstressed as possible.






9 Clinical Facts You Need to Know About Dog Ear Hematomas

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended.  You won’t be charged anything just for clicking a link, but it does help me put food on the table.  For more information, please read my  disclosure policy.  I appreciate your help.

Dog ear hematomas are surprisingly easy to get and occur because of damage to the cartilage in the ear.

The one thing I’ve learned from taking my dogs swimming at the lake, is to move out of the way fast when they climb out of the water. There’s a millisecond pause and then both dogs shake every ounce of water out of their fur. It sprays everywhere! I usually end up getting wet.

Unfortunately, if you take your dog swimming a lot in the summer, he/she might end up with a dog ear hematoma from all the head-shaking.

Keep reading! I’m going to explain dog ear hematomas, and how the veterinarian deals with them. By the time you’re finished with this post, you’ll have a better understanding of why surgery is the best option for treating dog ear hematomas, and the complications they can cause if left untreated.

A dog ear hematoma is a fluid filled sack that develops in the pinna (ear flap) of your dog. Long-eared dogs are especially prone to this.  Dogs typically shake their heads to disperse water from their fur, or because of an intense itch. Itching is typically caused from allergies or parasites.  Ear infections will cause your dog to shake his head as well. He or she may rub his ears up against objects, or dig at the ear flap with his paw.

From Outpatients to the Operating Room.  Why Your Veterinarian Prefers surgery for Dog-Ear Hematomas.

I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but surgery is usually the treatment option that veterinarians choose. There are good reasons for surgery as opposed to lancing or manually draining the fluid.

  • The Last Thing You Want is Your Living Room to Look Like a Murder Scene.

If you notice your dog has a squishy lump between the skin on his ear flaps (pinna), it’s very likely a hematoma. Your dog’s ear flaps have cartilage in them, and that cartilage is easily damaged. Because of this damage, blood seeps into the tissues which is what causes the swelling.

Once a hematoma develops, it’s likely to get bigger within the next couple of days. Unfortunately, they can grow big enough that they actually begin to block the ear canal. Do not attempt to drain it yourself! If not done properly, fluid will quickly seep back in and you will be right back where you started from.

Consider this:

If you blow up a balloon past its breaking point, it is going to explode. The same thing is true for a dog-ear hematomas. Explode might be a dramatic term to use, but eventually it will break open. This usually happens in the midst of a good head shaking. When it breaks, all of the blood and fluid sprays out and ends up on your walls, furniture, ceiling, and floor.  It’s not a pretty sight.

  • Nix the Needles!

Surgery is a more expensive procedure than a simple needle aspiration, but the benefits far outweigh the cons. When a veterinarian aspirates the ear flap (meaning he/she draws the fluid out with a very fine needle), it leaves an empty space behind. That space usually refills with blood and fluid within 24 hours. In other words, it might bring temporary relief to dog ear hematomas, but it isn’t a cure.

  • Snip It and Stitch It Like a Quilt.

When surgery is performed, the veterinarian drains the fluid completely and then stitches the ear up (straight through one side to the other) in a way that blocks fluids from backing up into the wound again. If you think about what a quilt looks like, with the intricate stitching…it looks something like that.

After surgery, your dog will require a cone (Elizabethan Collar) to avoid harming the ear. The stitches (or sutures) will remain for up to 3 weeks to ensure good healing.

  • The Drawback of Ear Dimpling

There are always risks associated with surgery. In the case of surgical removal of a dog-ear hematomas, the risk is scar tissue. Some scarring will occur, and it will leave some of your dog’s ear with crinkling, like a bit of scrunched up newspaper.

In some cases, the scarring is minimal; in other cases, scarring can cause the entire ear to crinkle and appear disfigured.

  • Revealing The Reasons

Hematomas develop from trauma to the cartilage in the ear pinna (ear flap) of your dog. It usually only happens on one side, although it can happen to both sides simultaneously.

Severe head shaking is usually because of intense itching and irritation. Causes include:

  • Allergies
  • Mites
  • Fleas
  • Dog bite
  • Foreign body
  • Ear infection
  • Yeast buildup
  • Two Problems; One Priority

Dog-ear hematomas are actually a symptom of an underlying problem. It’s fine to treat the hematoma, but unless the underlying problem is addressed, the problem will only get worse.

Unless the problem is obvious to the naked eye, the veterinarian will want to drain the ear canal to view the discharge under a microscope.  This will reveal the presence of bacteria or over-abundance of yeast.  Mites will also be visible beneath the microscope if they are present.

  • Don’t Scratch That Itch!

You know what it’s like to be holding things in both arms only to realize you have an itch that you can’t scratch? It probably feels that way to your dog, especially right after surgery.

It’s really important to make sure your dog keeps an Elizabethan collar on to prevent further injury. Your dog’s ear will be sensitive for a while, but the stitches need time to do their magic.

The stitches will be removed in two to three weeks, but until then, you’re going to have to keep your dog from clawing at the site.

I know from personal experience that keeping a collar on a dog is not an easy thing. My dog always manages to squeeze out of it. There are alternatives to the “cone of shame”, including:

  • Inflatable, veterinarian approved, collars that protect the head and ears but don’t obstruct vision. Results using this type of protective cone are good.
  • Look for bite-resistant fabric and choose the appropriate size.

NOTE: With this type of collar, you may need to order one size smaller for the perfect fit.

  • A cloth wrap that fits around your dog’s ears and secures in the back. Check with your veterinarian to see if this one is a good choice. If your dog wants to scratch his ears, he might pull the fabric right off and expose the stitches.

Some veterinarians will loan you an Elizabethan collar, or might sell them at a discounted price.  Before you buy one, make sure it’s appropriate for the dog’s condition. Some people have used t-shirts (for larger dogs), and that works to protect the dog’s trunk. Unfortunately, that idea isn’t going to work to protect the head and ears.

  • Preventing a Relapse

Once the underlying condition has been treated, you can reduce the chances of another hematoma occurring by:

  • Using a monthly flea preventative medication prescribed by the veterinarian.
  • Keep your dog’s ears dry and clean.
  • Make sure your dog is treated for mites. Some topical flea medications also treat mites.
  • Manage any underlying allergies.
  • If the hematoma was caused by a dog bite, take precautions to make sure that doesn’t happen again by removing your dog from danger.

Dog-ear hematomas are not life-threatening, but they do have to be treated. Left on their own, the hematoma will grow and the larger it becomes, the more likelihood of scar tissue or a recurrence.

If you notice any soft, jelly-like lumps in your dog’s ears, the best thing to do is have the veterinarian take a look. The faster it is repaired, the fewer complications.  Dog allergies and parasites are easy to treat if you know the basics. For more information on treating dog allergies, parasites, worms, and dermatitis, follow the links.

Thanks for reading this post! I hope you were able to find the information you were looking for. If not, please let me know! Go ahead and email me here:

Take a minute to share by clicking on the facebook, twitter, or linkedIn, or pinterest button.

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a veterinarian or a pet-care clinician. My research is carefully conducted using peer-reviewed articles, scholarly reports, studies, statistics, and books. I do my best to provide accurate and timely information and will never knowingly suggest anything that might put your dog in harm’s way. Please do me a favor, check with your veterinarian before trying anything you read on the Internet…including this site. 🙂



Dog Ear Infection Remedy - Infographic



1 Important Caveat to Horner’s Syndrome in Dogs

Horner’s syndrome in dogs is scary to see and is sometimes mistaken for a stroke. I would be shocked if my dog’s face and eyes suddenly went slack!

Half of the dogs diagnosed with Horner’s Syndrome have no underlying cause (idiopathic).  Unfortunately, that leaves the other 50% with deeper issues, which I will be talking about in this article.  Horner’s syndrome on it’s own isn’t a big deal. The number 1 caveat is the diagnosis of any underlying disease.

Scroll down to read about acupuncture to treat Horner’s Syndrome in dogs.

The Experience of Horner’s Syndrome in Dogs

Horner’s syndrome in dogs is similar (but not exactly the same) to Bell ’s palsy in people. In Bell’s palsy, the 7th cranial nerve is damaged. It causes temporary facial paralysis and only affects one side of the face.

In both cases, there is a disruption or injury to the nervous system. In other words, something misfires (or interrupts) the electric pulses that control the eyes and facial muscles.

In the following YouTube video a 17-year-old dog is treated with acupuncture.

Horner’s syndrome happens quickly. It is common to some dog breeds including golden retrievers and cocker spaniels.   Clinical signs include:

  • Head shaking
  • Head tilting
  • Possible pawing at the face
  • Droopy eyelid (clinically called “ptosis”)
  • Constricted pupils (clinically called “miosis”)
  • Third-eye (the membrane/film located in the corner of your dog’s eye) becomes inflamed and red.
  • Eye appears sunken
  • Drooling
  • Trouble eating out of the side affected

No Known Cause in 50% of Dogs

An experienced veterinarian will recognize the signs of Horner’s Syndrome.  Diagnostic tests will determine whether there is an underlying condition causing the syndrome.

If you look hard, you’ll see this dog’s eye appears sunken (his left eye).

50% of cases will be idiopathic, meaning no cause was found.  Other dogs could have any of the following issues:

  • tumor

Tumors of the spine or head.

  • tetanus

Tetanus, also known as Lock Jaw, can cause the symptoms of Horner’s Syndrome.

  • intervertebral disc damage

Disc damage from car accidents, falls from a distance, and animal abuse, to name a few.

  • bite wounds

Bite wounds to the neck or head can damage nerves causing symptoms of Horner Syndrome.

  • head injury

Any type of head injury could trigger Horner’s syndrome in dogs. Car accidents, rough play, and an object falling on the head are some reasons for head injury.

  • middle ear infection

Middle ear infections affect people and dogs. They cause pain and inflammation. The inflammation can be a trigger that interrupts nerve activity.

  • central lesion

A central lesion occurs when a nerve is damaged before leaving the spinal cord.  Causes for central lesions include blood clots, tumor, and trauma.


  • postganglionic

Neurons live outside the central nervous system within the actual cells. If your dog has nerve damage, it is considered postganglionic because of the affected nerve cells.

  • preganglionic

Neurons operate within the brain stem. If you dog’s underlying condition is a tumor, for example, it would be considered preganglionic.

I Didn’t See it Coming

It’s important to remember that injuries and trauma could happen to your dog without you even realizing it.  I often see people driving with their dogs in the back of their pickup. One sudden need to brake and those dogs could be in trouble. A sudden neck jerk, fall, or cranial impact could trigger Horner’s syndrome in dogs.

No Treatment Needed for Horner’s Syndrome in Dogs

Horner’s Syndrome does not require treatment; however, any underlying causes do. The veterinarian will make a fast diagnosis based on the dog’s appearance. To rule out conditions such as hypothyroidism or tumors, the doctor will order clinical tests.

Treatment plans focus on underlying illnesses.

The Time Line from Start to End

If no underlying disease is found, it could take your dog anywhere from 16 weeks to six months or longer to fully recover.

Healthy dogs with no underlying disease fully recover within seven to eight weeks.

Pin Pointing the Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a means of helping the body heal itself faster by correcting imbalances.  Dogs with Horner’s Syndrome benefit from acupuncture applied twice within two days.

Acupuncture in dogs works by improving blood circulation. The stimulation of the nervous system and the release of “feel good” hormones work together to correct imbalances. A qualified veterinarian professional applies small needles where nerve endings and blood vessels meet in the body.

Other Acupuncture Available for Dogs


The certified veterinarian acupuncturist uses pressure on appropriate points. This creates a response similar to acupuncture within the nervous system.


A heated herbal compound is applied to pressure points.


If you’ve ever had a TENS system applied to your back, you’ll have a good understanding of what this feels like. Essentially, a small electric current enters the body and relaxes muscles.


Laser energy is used on specific pathways the same way traditional acupuncture would, but without the needles.

When a dog receives acupuncture to relieve the symptoms of Horner’s Syndrome, the following pathways are used:

ST-4 Meridian (Di Chang).  This pathway travels around the mouth and lower cheek, through the diaphragm.

GB-1 Meridian (Tong Zi Liao).  Known as the gall bladder meridian.

The Results Are In

Anecdotally, through forums and social media, dog owners rave about the good results their dogs have had with acupuncture treatments. 

The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a systematic review that included the culmination of information from studies, reports, articles, abstracts, conferences, and expert interviews.  The topic was whether acupuncture is beneficial to animals.

The results of the study landed on neutral ground citing no real evidence for or against acupuncture in dogs.  

Getting an Accurate Diagnosis – The 1 Caveat

The most important thing is to get an accurate diagnosis. As mentioned above, Horner’s Syndrome in dogs isn’t a big deal, but it could be if there are serious underlying causes.  Your dog might be at higher risk if he/she is diabetic. It’s those causes that need to be discovered so that your dog can be effectively treated.

The infographic below, obtained from the content gallery, explains how acupuncture works.

How acupuncture works Infographic

15 Crucial Tips on Administering Pepto Bismol for Dogs

Pepto Bismol, an over-the-counter medication used for gastrointestinal upset, is safe for your dog, but with a few caveats.  I am sure you’ve witnessed your dog swallow something that was never intended to be food. My step-daughter has a dog that swallows everything…baby socks, face clothes, and small toys.  Pepto Bismol isn’t going to help your dog in that case. The risk of bowel obstruction should prompt a visit to the vet!

In this article, I will show you how to give your dog Pepto Bismol for everyday, minor tummy upsets, the possible side effects, and some of the conditions the medication can mask.

  1. The Correct Dosage of Pepto Bismol for Dogs.

Offering over-the-counter medications to a dog seems like the perfect quick fix in the beginning, but then you’re left with a bottle and a teaspoon wondering how much to give!

There is no standardized dosing for dogs. However, there is anecdotal evidence that suggest a dosage of 1 teaspoon for every 20 pounds of animal weight does the trick.

Watch this YouTube video for tips in treating diarrhea at home.

  1. Consider Talking to the Veterinarian Before Giving Pepto Bismol to Your Dog.

A quick phone call to the veterinarian will help you determine the right thing to do for your dog.  Pepto Bismol for dogs is fine for the short-term, provided there’s nothing else going on that you weren’t aware of.

The veterinarian will likely want to know a few things about your dog’s condition, including:

  • whether your dog has diarrhea
  • how often your dog is throwing up
  • whether there are signs of dehydration
  • what the dog got into to make him/her sick
  • how many days your dog has been under-the-weather.

Your answers to these questions will help the doctor determine if there is a more serious, underlying cause.

Cocker Spaniel enjoying the outdoors and hopefully not eating any toxic plants!

  1. The Number #1 Active Ingredient in Pepto Bismol.

The number 1 active ingredient in Pepto Bismol is bismuth subsalicylate.

Bismuth subsalicylate is an antacid and antidiarrheal. The compound acts as a binging agent within the gut and is also thought to slow down motility in the gut.  Serious side-effects in dogs is rare. The biggest concern with bismuth subsalicylate is that it coats the bowels and turns them black. When that happens, it’s hard to determine if there is blood in the stool.

  1. Why You Should Consider Dog Formulated Antidiarrheal Medication over Pepto Bismol.

Small doses of Pepto bismol over the short-term (1 day or within 24 hours) is fine, but the active compound turns the stool black. When that happens, you can’t be sure your dog doesn’t have blood in the stool, which could indicate a number of things including:

  • parasites
  • poisoning
  • toxicity
  • pancreatitis
  • and more

If you have a dog that gets an upset stomach from time-to-time, you might want to consider buying antacid and antidiarrheal medications specially formulated for dogs. Ask your veterinarian for suggestions or stop by a reputable pet store.

  1. Dealing With a Worst-Case Scenario

The worst-case scenario would be to overlook the real cause of your dog’s stomach upset, particularly if something serious is happening.  Continuing to use any product, including Pepto Bismol, when it is clearly not working, will lead to rapid dehydration in your dog. Your dog could have internal bleeding made worse by the medication. In some cases, your dog could have another underlying condition that’s never been diagnosed before.

Never give your dog Pepto Bismol for more than a day.  Continuing illness requires a workup by a veterinarian to rule-out potentially dangerous causes.

  1. The Right Way to Give Your Dog Pepto Bismol

Pepto Bismol comes in a variety of options including tablets or liquid. The choice is up to you, depending on how easily your dog will take medicine. Once you’ve established the right dosage (1 teaspoon for every 20 pounds), you can then use a syringe to ease liquid suspension into your dog’s mouth, or use a tablet that the dog can chew.

Fussy eaters or dog’s with no appetite might need to be tempted by hiding the tablet or capsule in a treat.

  1. Look for These Signs of Recovery

Stop administering Pepto Bismol to your dog the minute you notice signs of recovery, even if they are subtle.  Watch for:

  • Return of appetite
  • Energy increase
  • Eyes are bright
  • Moist nose
  • Pink, healthy gums
  1. Watch For These Signs of Dehydration

Dogs can become dehydrated quickly. Watch for these signs:

  • excessive panting
  • weakness
  • sunken eyes
  • pale gums
  • dry nose

Do not hesitate to supplement your dog with Pedialyte (the same solution used for infants) or an over-the-counter solution made specifically for dogs. The dosage of Pedialyte for dogs depends on the size.  On average, you could administer about 1/2 cup three times a day as a supplement while the dog is sick.

The following YouTube video offers more solutions and tips to treating dehydration in dogs.

  1. When to Make an Appointment with the Veterinarian

If you’ve been administering Pepto Bismol to your dog for 24 hours and there is no change, or if you stop the treatment and the symptoms quickly return, call the vet.

  1. The Side-Effects Associated with Pepto Bismol in Dogs

Sensitivity to the active ingredient could cause any of the following side-effects to varying degrees. Keep in mind these reactions are from human consumption. However, your dog could also have a reaction to the medication.

  • confusion
  • constipation (severe, after ending the treatment)
  • the return of diarrhea
  • lethargic
  • restlessness or anxiety

Keep in mind that if given at the dosages recommended above, it’s unlikely your dog will have a serious reaction.

  1. You Get One Day to Play the Role of Doctor

If your dog continues to be unwell after 24 hours, phone the veterinarian, tell him or her what has been happening, and book an appointment.  Watch for fever, lethargy, blood in the vomit, swollen belly, and pain.

  1. DIY Medicine for Tummy Troubles

If your pooch is prone to stomach upset, and isn’t vomiting excessively or experiencing severe diarrhea, you could try the following:

  • pumpkin puree
  • white or brown rice
  • broth with no sodium (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
  • boiled ground beef
  • probiotic powder

Cook the rice and add some broth along with the boiled ground beef.  You want to make it thick so don’t add too much broth. Add the probiotic powder and fold the pumpkin puree into the mix.  Depending on the size of your dog, about ½ cup a few times a day should be plenty.  While treating the dog with this recipe, try to avoid letting him/her have added snacks or treats.

  1. Breeds Most Likely to Have Stomach Upsets

Dog breeds known to have tummy issues include:

  • Great Danes
  • German Shepherds
  • Golden retrievers
  • Collies

14. The Reasons Why Most Dogs Get Sick

Not everything is an emergency, and there are some common reasons why your dog has fallen ill.  For example:

  • He ate something nasty out of the garbage can
  • He swallowed something from outside (toxic plant for example)
  • He got into some chocolate (potential danger depending on the amount of cocoa and the size of the dog)
  • An allergic reaction to something
  • A sudden change in food
  • Vaccination side-effect.
  1. Treating Mild Dehydration At Home

Dogs are about 60% water, and they can become easily dehydrated, especially if they are suffering with diarrhea and vomiting.

A dehydrated dog is missing important electrolytes (sodium, chloride, and potassium) which need replacing. Dehydration can go from mild to severe quickly, which is why it’s best not to hesitate on getting your dog to the vet.

If you can’t get in right away, diluted Pedialyte (the same solution used for sick infants) is a good but temporary measure.

You know your dog better than anybody! In most cases of mild stomach upset, it’s going to clear up quickly and on its own. Don’t let it continue without advice from a veterinarian after the first 24 hours.  If you suspect something else is happening, don’t hesitate to get a medical opinion as soon as possible.

Now that you know how to administer Pepto Bismol to dogs and the kinds of conditions to watch for, why not share with other dog lovers? This is information everybody can use.

I hope you enjoyed my post and I look forward to writing for you again. 

How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog?

 “A standard dose is considered to be .2mg/kg of CBD (1 mg/10lbs) once to twice daily.”

-Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM







The problem with this quote is that there are no “standard” recommended doses. Until marijuana and hemp products are entirely legal and uniformly standardized, dosage recommendations are anecdotal.

At this point, dosing CBD for dogs is really a guessing game. The first thing to understand are the differences between CBD oil extracted from marijuana, and CBD oil extracted from hemp plants. Understanding how much CBD oil to give your dog is only a small part of a larger equation.

This article will help you to make an informed, educated choice about where to buy CBD oil for your dog, and how much to give your dog.

How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog?

None of the research I’ve conducted reveals precisely how much CBD oil to give your dog. It’s a bit frustrating to say the least. Ultimately, it boils down to the product not being standardized. Until it is, there are a few things to consider before administering CBD oil to your dog:

  • the size of your dog
  • the ailment that you are trying to treat
  • the quality of the oil
  • whether the CBD oil is from the marijuana plant or the hemp plant
  • whether there is any THC in the oil (if there is, don’t give it to your dog)

Starting with 1 mg per every 10 pounds seems reasonable. If marijuana and CBD oil are legal in your state, you should be able to talk to your veterinarian about a proper starting dose. Again, without standardization, there is no scientifically valid dosage recommendation.  Less is probably more in this case.

I thought you might find the following tweet on reviews of CBD oil interesting.

Is CBD Oil Safe For My Dog?

Anecdotally, CBD oil use in pets appears to be safe. Veterinarians can’t say that with absolute confidence, and neither can I.  However, visit any forum on the topic and you’ll come across a wide-range of dog owners who swear by it. 

Many people give their dogs CBD oil to soften the effects of cancer treatments, or simply as a palliative care drug to help the dog remain comfortable for his remaining days. Other uses include:

  • arthritis
  • dog seizure – epilepsy
  • pain
  • cancer

CBD, a compound extracted from either the marijuana plant or hemp is thought to be safe for people and pets. In order to legally sell CBD oil in the United States, it must contain less than 0.3% THC, the compound known for its psychoactive properties.

Click on the tweet below to get some real-life perspective on the fears and questions on administering CBD oil to dogs.


It’s easy to see from the embedded tweet above that there are other people out there with similar concerns.

Avoid giving dogs THC. The number of dogs being accidentally poisoned by THC is, in part, due to owners simply not being aware.  Dogs love to eat and if there are any “edibles” left out, you can be sure they’re going to gobble them up.

Unfortunately, that happened to my dog and he ended up in the animal hospital overnight. I’m happy to report he is happy and healthy today, but I learned a big, scary lesson.

I Heard CBD Oil is Legal in the United States. Is That True?

Well, it’s sort of true. In March, 2018, the Federal Court remained steadfast in the decision that CBD is considered a Schedule I controlled substance. In Canada and the United States, CBD oil is legal with a physician’s prescription, although there are slight differences in the legality surrounding that.

There are some states in the United States where marijuana has been fully legalized.

In Canada, CBD oil is legal to buy and sell IF the oil comes from the hemp plant with no THC. However, Canadians with a valid prescription are permitted to purchase CBD/THC from the marijuana plant.

In America, CBD oil is only considered legal if extracted from industrial hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC.  That’s a good thing to remember when looking for reputable sellers.

Is CBD Oil Good for Dog’s With Mast Cell Tumors or Other Forms of Cancer?

Many dog owners choose CBD oil for dogs who have cancer, especially if there is a chance that it will reduce or inhibit tumor growth. Unfortunately, there are no reputable studies done to determine whether the effects of CBD oil in dogs with cancer is useful beyond a general feeling of well-being.

Listen to this short YouTube video on research being done to treat dogs with CBD oil.

It’s important to remember that CBD oil isn’t a cure-all, but it can go a long way in helping a dog who is suffering with pain, whether it’s from cancer or another chronic illness.

When trying CBD oil on your dog for the first time, I suggest subscribing to the “less is more” idiom.  Build the dose gradually and remember:  No THC.

How Will I Know if The CBD Oil I buy is Good Quality?

This is a difficult question to answer and it goes back to the issue of it not being legal everywhere, and not being standardized. Right now, just about anybody can sell CBD oil, but how do you know you’re getting the right stuff?

In the early days of the Internet, shoddy websites were the first indicator that something wasn’t right. Now, anybody can have a professional looking website. It doesn’t mean they are legitimate.  Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for CBD oil for pets:

  • Anybody can pay someone to give them a good review. When reading reviews, look for the person’s actual name and photograph. Read several reviews.
  • The professionalism of the website doesn’t imply the product is superior.
  • Look at the ingredients. CBD oil should only contain CBD and either coconut or olive oil as the base. Some products contain essential oils and unless you’re familiar with essential oils and their toxicity to dogs, it’s best to leave it alone.
  • Contact the company and ask to see the Certificate of Analysis.
  • More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better.
  • Look for organic CBD oil.

The reality is, you might not get exactly what you thought you were paying for. The biggest concern is making sure that what you give your dog is safe, which is why you should always ask questions and shop around.

At the end of the day, we will all do whatever we can to ease a dog’s pain and suffering. So far, side-effects seem to be minimal and not harmful.  The best scenario is to purchase CBD oil on the recommendation of a veterinarian.  Keep in mind that if CBD oil is still considered illegal in your state, your veterinarian might not be allowed to discuss or recommend CBD oil as a treatment option for your dog.

I hope you were able to gain useful information from this post. If you did, please share with friends and other dog lovers who could benefit from the information. 

I’m not a veterinarian, but I care deeply for dogs. Find out how I became who I am today!