Pom Care

Unless otherwise specified, the following articles on Pomeranian Care were written by Annette Davis, CN for the “Ask Us Anything” Column in the Pom Review. Please click here for information on subscribing to the Pom Review, the official publication of the APC ( American Pomeranian Club ). The APC is a non profit organization of volunteers who work in behalf of the Pomeranian breed. By subscribing to the Pom Review you will not only gain valuable information, but also help support the future of our breed. Please subscribe today!

If you have questions for future “Ask Us Anything” columns, please click here to E-Mail your question. This site will be updated from time to time as more articles are written for the Pom Review.

Please note: The information/advice offered here is based on the personal experience of Pom Breeders. It is not intended as a substitute for veterinary care. You should always seek the advice of your Veterinarian if your dog has a health problem or concern. Further reading is recommended. Please click here for recommended books: Recommended books

Copyright 2015, all rights reserved. (This information may be reprinted with permission as long as the content is not changed or taken out of context and proper credit is given to the authors.)

INDEX

1) Aromatherapy

2) Bait training

3) Bladder stones

4) Breeding/estrus

5) Brucellosis

6) Buying a Pom puppy

7) Campy

8) Championship Points

9) Car sickness

10) Coat

11) Coccidiosis

12) Collapsing trachea

13) Doggie Breath

14) Doggie Odors

15) Dry Skin

16) Eclampsia

17) Epilepsy

18) Fading puppy syndrome

19) Head Tilt

20) Hand raising puppies/puppy formula

21) Herbs

22) Hypoglycemia

23) Hypothyroidism

24) Increasing the survival rate of Pom puppies

25) Lacation

26) Lead training

27) Male or female for a pet?

28) Neuter/spay

29) Picky eaters

30) Potty training

31) Probiotics

32) Puppy care sheet

33) Pyometra

34) Stool Eating (Coprophagia)

35) Tapeworm

36) Tooth care

37) Vaccinating your dog

38) Vaccinations, allergic reaction

39) Weight Loss

40) Worming your dog

Aromatherapy For Dogs

Bait training

What is the best way to bait train a Pom?

The best way to ensure success with bait training is to start early. I always keep a freezer baggie full of liver or beef heart bits in my freezer. (If you can’t stand to cook organ meats, skinless chicken thigh will work almost as well). Before freezing, prepare the meat by cooking it thoroughly (boiling or baking). After the meat has cooled, cut it into tiny bits. To make the bits easier to separate, freeze the bits on a cookie sheet for a few hours and then transfer to a freezer baggie. As soon as my puppies will take treats from my hand (at around 6 weeks), I start bringing them a piece of bait 2 or more times a day. I do not give it until they are standing on all fours, with their tails up and are looking up at me. They quickly understand what is required to get the bait. Of course, some puppies are more stubborn than others and will consistently try to jump up after the treat, but eventually they “get it” and stand properly for their treat. Some trainers prefer to use a squeaky or clicker instead of food bait. I have not tried this method as food bait works well for me, but some trainers do claim this is a very good method as well.

A word of caution: Never let anyone drop treats or bait on the ground for your puppy! This will get him into the bad habit of searching the floor for a treat instead of looking up at you as is required in the conformation ring.

Bladder Stones

My Pom has been diagnosed with bladder stones? Is there anything that can be done besides surgery to help her?

Bladder stones (urolithiasis or cystic calculi) are fairly common in some breeds such as dalmatians and miniature schnauzers. Although not very common, they can also occur in Pomeranians. Symptoms are frequent urination, straining, and possible blood in the urine.

There are several factors that can make your dog prone to bladder stones:

1) Urine that is saturated with excesses of minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. Your dog’s diet and drinking water can be a factor in this case.

2) Bacteria in the urine. Urine is normally sterile. When an infection causes bacteria in the urine, minerals may be attracted to the bacteria and begin to form stones. Dogs who experience chronic urinary tract infections are much more prone to bladder stones.

3) Medications which increase calcium or alter the pH of the urine (i.e. tetracycline antibiotics, sulfa drugs, and cortisone).

4) Overuse of certain dietary supplements such as vitamin C.

5) Diseases such as liver shunt.

Treatment/Prevention Options

1) Surgery. Stone removal is a major surgery but is the quickest way to relieve the problem.

2) Antibiotics as prescribed by your veterinarian if an infection is present.

3) Offer distilled or reverse osmosis purified water. The addition of a small amount of apple cider vinegar may be helpful in some cases. Be sure your pet has a clean supply of water available at all times and seems to be drinking enough. Change the water and wash the water bowl regularly.

4) Allow your pet to relieve herself often. Holding urine for extended periods may contribute to stone formation.

5) Prescription diet. Your vet can prescribe special food which acidifies the urine. Acidifying the urine will dissolve some, but not all types of stones.

6) Limit stresses (i.e. prolonged exposure to cold weather) which can lower your dog’s resistance and leave him prone to an infection.

7) Support the overall health of your dog with a high quality diet, appropriate dietary supplements (do not exceed the recommended dosages), exercise, moderate amounts of fresh air & sunshine, clean living quarters, and good grooming habits.

Breeding/Estrus

I have a brood bitch that seems to skip heat cycles. Is there anything I can do to help increase her fertility?

Bitches typically have their first estrus (also called “heat” or “season”) between six and nine months of age. Because a bitch is immature at this age, it is not considered a good practice to breed her until her second season. The bitch’s season is divided into four periods. The first period, which typically lasts for 9 days, is called “proestrus.” The start of proestrus is marked by a bloody discharge, followed by swelling of the vulva. In order for a successful breeding to take place, it is very important for the breeder to take note of the first day of proestrus. In some bitches, the swelling and discharge is quite obvious making this easy. On the other hand, some bitches experience very little vulvar swelling and routinely lick away the bloody discharge making the task difficult at best.

Below are some tricks to aid the breeder in recognizing the first day of proestrus:

1) Carefully trim the hair on your bitch’s rear so that the vulva is visible.

2) Each day, lightly dab the vulva with a clean white tissue. When you spot a tinge of pink, you’ll know that is the first day of her cycle. Record the date on a calendar so you don’t forget.

3) If you own the stud you intend to use for breeding, supervise him and your bitch playing together for at least a few minutes each day. A good stud will alert you to the fact that she is about to come into season.

The second period is called “estrus” and also lasts for 9 days. A surge of LH (Lutenizing Hormone) usually triggers ovulation within 48 hours of the onset of estrus. However, the time that ovulation occurs can vary and explains the need for more than one breeding to take place. It is best to attempt the first breeding on day 10, and then repeat the breeding at least every other day until day 14 (or until your bitch refuses to accept the stud).

If a breeding occurs at the right time, pregnancy will result. Regardless of whether or not the bitch is pregnant, the 3rd period “diestrus” follows and lasts for 60-90 days. The 4th period, “anestrus” follows and lasts 3 or more months until the cycle begins again. An average time between heat cycles is 6 months.

If you have bred your bitch at the right time, and she still does not conceive, it is important to have a sperm count run on the stud. Your vet may also test your bitch for bacterial infection such as mycoplasma.

Certain dietary and lifestyle measures can also help with infertility problems:

1) Feed a premium food and do not allow your bitch to become overweight.

2) Feed a fish oil supplement such as salmon oil daily. Salmon oil contains Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These long chain Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids play a vital role in overall health. They are only found in significant quantities in fish oil. Studies have shown that EPA and DHA supplementation helps to increase fertility and support brain development in the growing fetus.

3) Give a capsule of Sarsaparilla herb daily (hide the capsule in a treat, or open it and empty the contents onto food). Sarsaparilla is rich in phytosterols which support the production of hormones necessary for ovulation. You can also give it to your stud to support healthy sperm production. Stop giving Sarsaparilla to your bitch once the final breeding takes place, and switch to Red Raspberry Leaf to help support a healthy pregnancy.

4) Consider a premium top dressing such as “The Missing Link” or “Nupro” to support general health.

5) Allow some play time outdoors each day and don’t turn the lights out too early. A decreased photo period can decrease fertility.

Reputable source for Herbs and Supplements: Time Laboratories

Reputable source for pet supplements: KV Vet

“Premature” Puppies

Sometimes when the puppies are whelped, there will be a puppy that is considerably smaller than the others. For many years it was believed that was because some puppies in the litter are more “premature” than the others. It is now known that this is not the case. The reason that you get small pups in some litters is because they have disadvantageous placenta placement or faulty placentas, not because they are more premature than the rest of the litter. When the surge of LH (lutenizing hormone) stimulates the bitch’s eggs to be released, they are all released within a short period of time. (There is only one surge of LH per heat cycle). The reason that more than one breeding ensures a larger litter is because you are keeping a supply of fresh, viable sperm ready for the time that the eggs are released. If the sperm is too old when the eggs are released, it is not as viable and some or all of the eggs may miss fertilization. (Sperm can live for 2-3 days.) If numerous puppies implant in the same uterine horn, there may not be enough room for good placenta placement for all – thus some will receive more nourishment and be larger than others. Faulty nutrition or hormonal deficiency (mainly lack of progesterone) can also cause poor placentas for the entire litter and result in tiny or weak puppies. The best thing I have found for tinies (that are otherwise nursing fine) is to supplement a few drops of Dyne several times each day to build strength and give extra calories. Tinies often fail to thrive because they are pushed out by their larger littermates. The large littermates empty the teats and when they finally crawl off to sleep and let the small pup nurse, he is nursing on a nearly empty teat and tiring himself out. Another good thing to do is put the larger pups aside several times a day and place the tiny pup on a full teat to nurse. Once he has nursed, then let the others take their fill. Of course a pup may also be tiny due to a health defect (heart, lungs etc.) and in that case there is nothing that can be done to save him. Since it is almost always impossible to tell if a pup is tiny due to lack of nourishment or health defect, I always try to help them until it’s clear that there is no hope for the pup. Please see the “Fading Puppies” and “Hand Raising Puppies” articles for more information.

How often and until what age can Poms be safely bred?

This is a highly controversial issue. The opinions among breeders and even canine reproductive specialists vary greatly.

Nearly everyone agrees that a bitch is too immature to breed on her first heat cycle and should not be bred before her second heat cycle. It is also agreed that the bitch must be in excellent health before breeding.

As far as consecutive pregnancies, many breeders and experts advise skipping every other season. Some advise breeding two seasons and then skipping a season, and some contend that a healthy bitch can be bred every season without harm. In fact, some experts are of the opinion that skipping seasons is unnatural and may actually cause a hormonal imbalance which could have a negative effect on the bitch’s health (a bitch that needs C-sections would certainly need time to recover between litters).

Dr. E. G. Foster of the American Animal Hospital Association is quoted as saying:

“I know of no stance by any organization, AAHA or AVMA on people breeding their dogs during each and every heat cycle. I personally don’t recommend it, but there is no policy by anyone official that I am aware of at this time.

As far as the effect of consecutive pregnancies are concerned, there is probably little if any effect if the bitch is in good physical condition to begin with on each of her pregnancies. You have to remember that this is the way it was designed in nature to keep the population going and it was survival of the fittest. Much of that is true of domesticated pets today too.”

The book Successful Dog Breeding by Chris Walkowicz and Bonnie Wilcox, D.V.M. states the following:

“Successive breedings for a bitch should be very rare. At least a season’s rest is needed between litters. Following back-to-back litters – for example, if the first litter produced only one pup – the bitch should be allowed to rest at least a year before her next breeding.

You might elect to breed a bitch twice in a row if you wish to have her whelp at a more convenient time of year, if she has had infertility problems or if she has whelped an extremely small litter. The bitch should be in tip-top condition. When she is bred on consecutive seasons, litters tend to decrease in numbers, and the size and vigor of the pups tend to diminish, so nothing is gained.

The exception may be the bitch who cycles only once a year. It is permissible to breed her on successive seasons since Nature has spaced her cycle for a year’s sabbatical.”

In the end, I think that each breeder needs to carefully consider the health of the bitch as well as her past breeding history and then make up his or her own mind.

As far as how old to breed, again opinions vary widely. Some breeders and veterinarians feel that brood bitches should be spayed at around age 5 and some feel that they can safely be bred until age 8 (toy dogs do age less quickly than their larger counterparts). And of course there are those stories circulating about bitches who climbed the fence at age 10 or 11 and then free whelped and raised a healthy litter of 4… Once again, I feel that the health and reproductive history of the bitch should be taken into account and then it is up to the breeder to do what she or he feels is responsible.

References:

On Consecutive Canine Pregnancies: http://www.stormpages.com/bravewolf/btbpreg.html retrieved March 20, 2006

Walkowicz, Chris and Bonnie Wilcox, D.V.M. Successful Dog Breeding. 2nd ed. New York: Howell Book House, Inc., 1994.

Brucellosis

What is brucellosis and why should I require this test before I accept bitches for breeding?

By Linda March

Information Specialist, University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine (Re-printed with permission)

Brucellosis is a bacterial disease that is well known by food animal producers. It causes abortions, infertility and decreased milk yield in cattle.

According to Dr. Allan Paul, small animal Extension veterinarian at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine at Urbana, “Brucellosis can infect cattle, sheep, goats, dogs and humans as well as pigs. Cats, however, seem to be somewhat resistant to the bacteria.”

The major route of brucellosis transmission in dogs is through direct contact of an infected, aborted fetus, or uterine discharge. They may also become infected by eating contaminated meat, fetal membranes, aborted fetuses of livestock or drinking contaminated, unpasteurized milk. The bacteria can also be shed in dog feces and be cultured from lymph nodes of an infected animal.

Signs of infection in dogs may include abortion, infertility, infected reproductive organs, arthritis, disc disease, fever, hind limb weakness, lethargy, and/or general lymph node swelling. Since these may be signs of many diseases, take your pet to your veterinarian if it shows any of them. He or she will need to draw a blood sample to determine if the problem is brucellosis.

Brucellosis is difficult to treat. It may take a long period of antibiotic therapy to fully rid the dog of the bacteria. Since blood samples need to be taken to monitor the progress of the drug treatment, it may also become somewhat expensive. It is also possible for humans to become infected with canine brucellosis, although transmission from dogs to people seems to be uncommon.

Since this disease is sexually transmitted, it is important for breeders to make sure all of the dogs in their kennel test negative for the bacteria. If they are not, they should not be bred. The dog may show no clinical signs, but still transmit the bacteria in semen or vaginal fluid. Female dogs should be tested a few weeks before they come into heat and males should be tested twice a year. Any new animal brought into the kennel should be isolated until it tests negative twice. The second test should be done one month after the first one.

“The bacteria is relatively easy to kill with common disinfectants, such as diluted bleach water solution,” notes Dr. Paul.

There is no vaccine available for canine brucellosis at this time. Eliminating the positive animals from breeding stock is one way to help control the disease. Proper disposal of waste and wearing gloves to handle any fetal membranes or aborted fetuses, followed by thorough disinfection of the area will also help. If you have any questions about canine brucellosis, see your veterinarian.

Buying a Pom Puppy

I am looking for a Pom puppy. Is there anything I can do to make sure I buy it from a reputable breeder and not from a puppy mill?

Since there is so much controversy on exactly what constitutes a “puppy mill,” I will not attempt to focus on the puppy mill aspect of this question. Rather, I will try to offer some suggestions to help you select a puppy that has had a good beginning under its breeder’s care and will therefore be more likely to make a good companion for you.

#1) A good place to begin your search is in the Pomeranian Review, on the APC web site: http://www.americanpomeranianclub.org or by calling the APC Breeder Referral Contact: Jane Lehtinen: 218-741-2117. While buying from an APC member is obviously not a 100% guarantee, you can at least have the confidence of knowing that all APC members have gone through a screening process. All APC applicants must be sponsored by 2 APC members who have been APC members for at least 2 years and who have known the applicant for at least 2 years. The applicant’s name is published in the Pom Review for so that members may sent in comments. The APC Board then reviews the comments and votes on the applicant’s name.

#2) Once you have found a breeder with a puppy available that suits your needs, be prepared to answer questions. A breeder invests many hours of love and care into raising his/her puppies and will likely want to know enough about you so that he/she can feel comfortable about placing a puppy with you. You may need to be on a waiting list if you would like a puppy from show lines.

#3) Be prepared to ask questions of the breeder. As long as your questions are polite, the breeder should not mind answering questions about the puppy, its parents, and the conditions in which their dogs are kept and raised. The breeder should be willing to send you a photo of your puppy before shipment and apply your deposit toward another puppy if that particular puppy is not what you were expecting. The breeder should also make a puppy care sheet available to you that describes proper feeding and care instructions.

#4) If you buy an older puppy or adult, be sure that the breeder has given the puppy proper socialization and house training. Older dogs which are raised in a kennel can be very difficult to socialize and house train.

#5) Be sure to buy from a breeder who offers a written contract/guarantee. The contract should allow you a period of time (usually 72 hours) to have the puppy examined by your veterinarian. If a health problem is detected, the contract should guarantee a refund or replacement puppy. If you are buying a pet, the contract should require you to have the puppy neutered or spayed. If you are buying a show puppy, the contact should guarantee that if your puppy has a major fault for show, a refund or replacement will be offered. Most breeders do require that shipping/health certificate costs to return a puppy are at the owner’s expense and the original shipping/health certificate costs are generally not refundable. Some breeders offer a satisfaction guarantee that allows you to return the puppy (in good condition) for any reason, at your expense during a certain length of time for a refund or replacement. This can be an important consideration.

Campy

What is campy and is there a treatment for it?

Campylobacter bacteria are found in the alimentary canal of dogs, cats, poultry, cattle, swine and wild game animals. The first confirmed outbreak of human illness due to milk tainted with Campylobacter was documented in 1940. The word campylobacter comes from the Greek word “campily” meaning curved and “bacter” meaning rod. Symptoms occur within 10 days after ingesting the bacteria. Common symptoms of infection are diarrhea, malaise, fever, and abdominal pain. Fever, headache and malaise sometimes precede the intestinal symptoms. In severe infections, the stools may be foul smelling, profuse, slimy and bloody. The infection resolves itself within 10 days. Complications can include meningitis and urinary tract infections. Dogs and people with impaired immune systems are more likely to suffer serious complications from the disease. In many cases the disease will recur.

Foods which are major sources of infection are raw hamburger, poultry and other undercooked meets, eggs, unpasteurized milk and contaminated water. Fecal matter of infected animals is also a major route of contamination. The incidence of infections is higher in the spring and fall. There is little information available on treatment of the bacteria in a kennel situation. It is noted that erythromycin and ciprofloxacin are helpful in treating campy. The survival of campy in food is poor. Cooking and preserving methods readily destroy it. Therefore it is important that you do not feed your dogs raw or undercooked meat. Clean all fecal matter promptly and disinfect all kennel surfaces daily. Do not use plastic food or water dishes. Bacteria can stay in the crevices. Use stainless steel, crock style, or glass food and water dishes. Change drinking water often and clean the food/water dishes with a mild chlorox solution regularly.

It is imperative that you do not allow the infected animal to become dehydrated. Supportive care and oral electrolyte solutions are a must. Young puppies or severely infected dogs may require intravenous fluids. Supportive nutritional therapy can be of great help in disease situations. Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids (200 mg. per day for a 5 pound dog), B Vitamins, and Zinc will help stimulate the immune system and speed recovery. Ribes nigrum (Black Current) is an excellent herb to stimulate adrenal and immune function. Make a tea with the leaves and then give it in your dog’s water. In all intestinal diseases, beneficial microbial powders are also helpful. I use an excellent product called Pet Top Dress (by Performance Products) which contains highly concentrated microbials such as acidophilus in addition to digestive enzymes.

Car sickness

I’d like to travel with my Pom but she gets care sick. Is there anything I can do?

For severe motion sickness problems, a drug such as Dramamine can be used under the supervision of your veterinarian. I prefer to first try the following natural methods to help:

1) Accustom your dog to your car to avoid anxiety induced vomiting.

a) Several times before your planned road trip, play with and offer treats to your Pom in your running, but not moving car.

b) Go on several short trips (e.g., around the block) before you attempt a longer trip. Make the trip a positive experience with praise and a small treat.

c) If you plan to use a crate, make sure your Pom is accustomed to it in advance. Unless you have an air bag, place the crate in the front seat with adequate ventilation.

2) Except for small treats, avoid feeding your dog a meal within 3 hours of travel.

3) Fifteen minutes before traveling, give your dog a small slice of fresh peeled ginger root wrapped in a piece of canned food, meat, or cheese. Choose a treat that your dog particularly likes to hide the taste of the ginger root. Fresh ginger will stay good in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator for weeks. A ginger capsule or pinch of powdered ginger can be used can be used if you do not have fresh ginger on hand.

4) Give a pet supplement that includes B vitamins each day (on travel days, give the supplement at least one hour in advance).

5) Place 2-3 drops of Peppermint and Lavender essential oils on a paper under your dog’s crate pad. These oils have calming and anti-nausea properties.

5) Take a fecal sample to your vet to make sure your Pom is parasite free. Internal parasites can contribute to nausea.

Reputable Suppliers:

Fresh Ginger Root: All major grocery stores (produce section).

Essential Oils & Herbal Capsules Time Laboratories

Pet Vitamins & Worming Treatments: www.kvvet.com, 800-423-8211

Championship Points

In order to become an AKC Champion of record, a dog or bitch must win a total of 15 points under at least 3 different judges. He must have 2 “major” wins (meaning that he wins points at 2 shows worth 3 or more points). The “majors” must be won under 2 different judges and the balance of points must be won under a different judge or judges. In each show, points are awarded to the Winner’s Dog and Winner’s Bitch of each breed ONLY. In other words, only 1 male and 1 female of each breed can win points at any show.

Dogs and bitches do not compete against each other in the regular classes for points. There are 5 regular classes for dogs: Puppy Dog Class, Novice Dog Class, Bred by Exhibitor Dog Class, American Bred Dog Class and Open Dog Class. Likewise, there are 5 regular classes for bitches: Puppy Bitch Class, Novice Bitch Class, Bred by Exhibitor Bitch Class, American Bred Bitch Class and Open Bitch Class. Depending on the breed, the classes may be further divided by size or color (Pomeranians may be divided by color as follows: Open Red, Orange, Cream, and Sable; Open Black, Brown, and Blue; Open Any Other Color, Pattern, or Variation.)

The winners of each class compete against each other for Winner’s Dog and Winner’s Bitch. The number of points that the Winner’s Dog and Winner’s Bitch earn depends on the number of dogs or bitches they beat that day. In division 8 (which is comprised of: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, & Wyoming), it currently takes 2 Pomeranian dogs or 2 Pomeranian Bitches to earn a point. The maximum points that can be earned at any show is 5. It currently takes 19 dogs or 20 bitches to earn 5 points in division 8. The current points required Pomeranians and all other breeds can be viewed on AKC’s web site: http://www.akc.org/dic/ptschedule.

Once the Winner’s Dog and Winner’s Bitch have been decided, a Reserve Winner will be named. If the Winner is disqualified for any reason, the Reserve Winner will receive the points. Immediately following, the Winner’s Dog and Winner’s Bitch will advance to the Best of Breed Class. Champions of record may also be entered in the Best of Breed competition. The maximum number of points that can be earned is 15. Thus, Champions of record do not compete for points, rather for the opportunity to win Best of Breed and advance to the Group and Best in Show judging. From the Best of Breed Class, the judge will choose Best of Breed and Best of Winners from the Winner’s Dog and Winner’s Bitch if neither of these received Best of Breed. (If the Winner’s Dog or Winner’s Bitch wins Best of Breed, he/she is automatically Best of Winner’s). After selecting the Best of Winner’s, the judge selects Best of Opposite Sex.

The Best of Breed winner will now go on to compete in the appropriate Group. There are six groups: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, and Non-Sporting. Pomeranians compete in the Toy Group. The winner of each group then competes for Best in Show. Although only one dog and one bitch of each breed receive points at each show, he or she will receive the same number of points as any dog or bitch he beats. For example, if the Winner’s Dog received 3 points and the Winner’s Bitch received 2 points, and the Winner’s Bitch then beats the winner’s dog to become the Best of Breed winner, she would receive 3 points instead of 2. If she were to go on and win the toy group beating a poodle who had won 4 points, she should receive 4 points. If she were then to go on to win Best in Show beating a Cocker Spaniel who had won 5 points, she would receive 5 points. (Any points gained along the way are instead of, not in addition to the points earned previously in the show.)

Coat

Is there anything that will help my Pom grow a better coat?

Certainly genetics play a leading role in determining what type of coat your dog will have. If you want a puppy that will have a gorgeous show coat as an adult, it is important to choose a puppy whose ancestors had proper coats. In addition to genetic predisposition, certain disease trends such as underactive thyroid, or allergy can cause poor hair growth and quality. Ecto parasites such as fleas and mites, can cause hair loss and adversely affect the coat quality. Dermal viral, bacterial, and fungal infections can also cause skin and coat problems.

While you cannot overcome genetics, there are a number if things you can do to improve the quality of your dog’s coat:

1) Diet. It is extremely important that you feed your dog a premium quality food. While premium dry foods can be a good staple, they should not be the exclusive source of your dog’s nutrition. Supplementing the diet with healthy food items such as vegetables, cottage cheese, freshly cooked poultry and fish etc. will lead to a better state of health. Avoid “junk food” at all costs.

2) Vitamin/Mineral Supplements. A multi-vitamin/mineral supplement with Zinc, Biotin, Vitamin C, B Vitamins etc. will help your dog to maintain a healthy coat. (Do not overdose.)

3) Essential Fatty Acids. Many canine diets are lacking in essential fatty acids. Adding a fatty acid supplement such as Ultra Omega-Linic (Salmon Oil, Black Currant Oil, Vit. E) will increase the gloss and sheen of the coat.

4) Enzyme/Probiotic Supplements. When food is cooked and processed, important enzymes essential for digestion and assimilation are lost. Adding an enzyme supplement will help coat condition by assisting in the proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients in your dog’s food. Probiotics (beneficial bacteria) also assist with digestion and help keep pathogens such as bacteria and yeast in check.

5) Proper grooming. Use a good quality shampoo such as Aromatic Pest Away from Time Laboratories once a month or as needed. Thoroughly brush the coat with quality grooming tools before bathing or severe matting may occur. In between baths, brush all the way to the skin once a week. Do not yank or pull too hard causing coat damage.

6) Control parasites. Both ecto and endo parasites can create ill health leading to poor coat quality. Worm your dog when needed and control fleas, ticks, mites and other parasites in your dog’s environment. There are good shampoos available such as Aromatic Pest Away from Time Laboratories or Goodwinol that contain natural essential oils to discourage parasites. You veterinarian can help you determine the proper worming schedule for your dog.

2) Maintain proper body weight. You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs when you rub his underside. If you can’t, he is too fat. Give your dog more exercise, increase the healthy lower quality foods, and decrease the high calorie foods in your dog’s diet.

Reputable Suppliers:

Pest Away Natural Shampoo & Mist, Ultra Omega-Linic and other supplements: Time Laboratories

Pet Vitamins & Worming Treatments: www.kvvet.com, 800-423-8211

Coccidiosis

What is the best way to treat coccidiosis?

As long as you feed a premium food, normal Pomeranian stools are small, firm, and without foul odor. A change in normal stools is a red flag that something is amiss. A common intestinal disease among dogs, especially young puppies, is coccidiosis. Coccidia are parasitic protozoans (single celled organisms) found in the intestinal tract of many animals. Coccidiosis causes severe losses of agricultural animals each year. It is highly contagious and extremely difficult to eradicate. Fortunately cocciodiosis is not contagious to humans and it is species-specific, meaning that coccidia from one species will not infect another species.

In dogs, the first symptoms are soft stools that contain yellowish mucous and have a characteristic sweet odor similar to freshly cut alfalfa. The infected animal’s eyes are often watery and the coat becomes dull and rough. As damage to the mucous lining of the intestines progresses, a secondary bacterial infection sets in and the stools begin to smell foul and often contain large amounts of mucous and blood. Symptoms are similar to the protozoan infection giardia, except that in giardia infections, the stools are light colored and have a “greasy” consistency. It is not uncommon for more than one species of parasitic protozoan to occur at the same time. Because cysts are shed intermittently, it can be very difficult to confirm protozoan infections by fecal examination.

Coccidiosis is spread when an animal ingests infective cysts that are passed in the stools. Cysts may be passed by animals with an active infection as well as carriers that show no clinical signs but continue to harbor infection. There is a common misconception that coccidiosis is only a problem in filthy and crowded kennels. This is simply not the case. Certainly filth and overcrowding will accentuate any disease, however coccidiosis can become a problem in even the cleanest of kennels.

Cocciodiosis can be effectively treated with the coccidiostat drug Albon (Sulfadimethoxine). Give Albon Oral Suspension 5% (available by prescription), 1/4 cc per pound per day (double the dose the first day) until your puppy has been asymptomatic for at least 48 hours. Cocciodiostat drugs do not kill coccidia, rather they retard their life cycle allowing the animal to gradually build resistance to the disease. A promising new cocciodiocide (coccidia killing) drug, Baycox (Toltrazuril), has been developed and is being used in Canada, Australia, and Europe. A single dose of the 5% suspension, 0.2 cc per pound, is given and repeated at 1-2 week intervals as needed. Unfortunately, while studies have shown it to be safe and effective for use in puppies, it is not yet available for purchase in the USA (it can, however, be imported here).

When you have puppies with an active coccidiosis infection, it is important to clean all fecal matter promptly and disinfect all kennel surfaces, bedding, and toys daily. Coccidia are not destroyed by chlorine bleach nor many other common disinfectants. They are readily destroyed by Ammonia and ‘old fashioned’ Lysol Concentrate (1 part Ammonia or Lysol to 10 parts water). Do not use plastic food or water dishes as Coccidia can stay in the crevices. Use stainless steel, crock style, or glass food and water dishes. Change drinking water often and clean the food/water dishes with a mild Ammonia solution regularly. Separate all infected dogs as much as possible. It is imperative that you do not allow the infected animal to become dehydrated. Supportive care and oral electrolyte solutions are helpful. Keep the animal warm and away from drafts. While Albon has proven to be quite safe, even with long term treatment, one of the negative side effects is that it destroys beneficial intestinal bacteria leaving the animal more susceptible to pathogens. During and after treatment with Albon, it is important to give a Probiotic (beneficial microbial) supplement or plain yogurt. To avoid future outbreaks, keep your dog in excellent health, free of worms and maintain scrupulous cleanliness. Immediately separate any dog that shows signs of the disease and treat accordingly.

Collapsing trachea

What is collapsing trachea?

The trachea or windpipe is comprised of cartilage rings joined by muscles and ligaments. The cartilage rings make the trachea rigid so that air can freely pass to the lungs. Sometimes the rigid cartilage rings become soft or thin. When your dog inhales air, the rings collapse causing breathing difficulties. In severe cases, death may result.

Symptoms: Chronic sporadic coughing or coughing with a “goose honking” type sound, breathing difficulties.

Causes: No ones knows for sure what causes collapsing trachea although most Veterinarians agree that chronic bronchitis, obesity, and tracheal injury contribute significantly to the disease. When it occurs in very young dogs, it may be the result of a congenital defect.

Treatment: Minor cases of collapsing trachea may respond to appropriate medication. Other cases may respond to surgery where a plastic device is implanted to prevent collapse. Consult your Veterinarian to find out the proper course of action in your dog’s case.

Prevention: Make sure your dog has the proper nutrition to keep his immune system strong and avoid stresses (i.e. severe weather) which lead to chronic bronchitis. Make sure your dog maintains proper body weight. If you can’t feel his ribs, your dog is too fat! Avoid tracheal injury. Do not yank or pull too hard on your dog’s lead. Do not use a string lead unless you are experienced. When possible, use a harness instead of a collar or string lead.

Doggie Breath

What can I do about my Pom’s “doggie breath”?

The main cause of bad “doggie breath” is dental disease.

Following are some suggestions to help:

1) Give puppies toys early. If they get in the habit of chewing on toys, they will keep their teeth much cleaner. Make sure any toys given do not have small pieces that could be chewed off and choked on.

2) Feed a premium dry food as much as possible. Canned food, low quality foods that contain sugar, and many commercially prepared “doggie treats” promote tooth decay. If you want to give treats, you can boil liver or beef heart, cut it into small pieces and keep it in a zip lock baggie in the freezer. Your liver or beef heart will last several months in a freezer baggie. You can also give small bits of cheese as treats.

3) Give marrow bones often (beef femur cut into 1″ slices at the butcher). Be sure there are no sharp edges & boil to eliminate germs before giving. You can also offer things like chew toys, chew hooves, rawhide chews, and pig ears.

4) If your Pom’s teeth have scale that cannot be removed at home, you should have them professionally cleaned by your veterinarian. After a professional cleaning, you can scale them yourself every month or so to keep them clean. Some people like to use a doggie toothbrush and toothpaste to clean their dog’s teeth each day. Other alternatives to a toothbrush are gauze or a “finger brush.” Dental instruments for scaling, and dog toothbrushes/toothpaste are available from most pet supply catalogues.

Poor gut health can also cause bad breath. In a healthy person or animal, beneficial microorganisms outnumber pathogenic microorganisms creating a state of intestinal balance. Disease, medications such as antibiotics, and even chronic stress kills beneficial microorganisms allowing pathogenic microorganisms to multiply unchecked. The multiplying pathogenic microorganisms produce foul smelling waste which results in bad breath. Along with proper dental care, probiotic (beneficial bacteria) supplements, digestive enzymes and green supplements such as spirulina can quickly improve your dog’s breath.

Health problems such as kidney disease and lung disease can also cause bad breath. Your veterinarian should be consulted if the problem persists.

Doggie Odors

How can I safely eliminate doggie odors in my home?

1) The first step in eliminating “doggie odors” is to stop your pet from soiling inappropriate areas. Dogs are naturally attracted to places that have been soiled previously, so it is very important to find old stains and eliminate them. A black light, available at most hardware stores can help identify old stains.

2) Once a stain has been located, do not use normal household cleaners. These are not effective in permanently removing pet odors and they can inactivate enzyme cleaners which actually do work.

3) Do not use a steam cleaner or hot water until an enzyme cleaner has done its job. The heat will set the stain making it more difficult to remove.

4) Good quality enzyme cleaners meant to remove pet odors are a very good way to go. Enzyme cleaners work by literally eating the bacteria that cause odors. Once the cleaner has had time to do its work, the odor will be gone.

5) On tile floors and other bleach safe areas, chlorine bleach mixed with water can

be used to effectively eliminate odors. Nasty fumes can be created when

the bleach solution mixes with urine stains on floors, so use caution when mopping with bleach. Also, be very careful not to splash any bleach solution on clothing or carpets as these are easily ruined by bleach. Allow the area that has been cleaned with bleach solution to dry completely before pets are allowed back into it. Bleach solution is irritating to your dog’s skin and lungs.

6) Essential oils such as lemon, orange, eucalyptus, and peppermint are naturally antimicrobial while discouraging insects at the same time. They can be added to mop water or a few drops placed on a wash cloth. Use caution with essential oils on finished woods as they can dissolve the finish.

Reputable Source for Essential Oils: Time Laboratories

Dry Skin

My Pom has very dry skin. What can I do?

1) Are you feeding a premium food? “Grocery store” dog foods generally do not have enough fatty acids and high quality protein for toy dogs.

2) Is your dog drinking enough? You should have a bowl of fresh water available throughout the day (not necessary at night).

3) How often are you bathing your dog and what products are you using? Dog hair and skin should not be washed with harsh soaps and you don’t need to bath as often as you might think. Use a gentle good quality dog shampoo once a month (or as needed when he is dirty, smelly, or needs treatment for external parasites). Minimize alcohol based sprays and gels. Use a dog hair dryer or set your human dryer on low heat. Dog hair/skin cannot take the high heat of human dryers.

4) External parasites such as mites, fleas , and lice can cause dry skin. Goodwinol shampoo with the natural insecticide rotenone and dips with the natural insecticide permethrin are good to help prevent and treat external parasites. Natural essential oils such as eucalyptus, cedarwood, tea tree, lavender, peppermint and citronella are also good at deterring insects and external parasites.

5) Essential fatty acids supplements such as Ultra Omega-Linic ( Salmon Oil, Black Currant Oil, Vit E) help tremendously with dry skin and improve coat quality at the same time.

6) Intestinal parasites rob your Pom of nutrients which can also lead to dry skin. If you suspect that your Pom has parasites, he should be examined by your veterinarian and treated accordingly.

7) Your Pom may not be digesting his food properly. Failure to digest properly can be caused by an intestinal flora disturbance due to antiobiotics or stress. Additionally, some dogs chronically do not produce enough digestive enzymes. Good quality enzyme and probiotic supplements will help in the case of digestion problems.

Reputable supplier for essential oils and Ultra Omega-Linic: Time Laboratories

Reputable supplier for pet supplies: KV Vet

Eclampsia

What is eclampsia and how can it be prevented?

Eclampsia (puerperal tetany) is the result of low serum calcium (hypocalcemia). It can be caused by a faulty diet, kidney disease, parathyroid malfunction, or excessive milk production. It is a very serious condition that all toy breeders should be familiar with as it can lead to the death of your bitch and her litter.

Symptoms: The nursing bitch may have rapid breathing, restlessness, nervousness and some whining. She may stagger and develop stiff legs and elevated body temperature. She may be unable to rise and lie with extended legs, salivating and sounding congested. If untreated, it can lead to convulsions and death. It is most common during the first few weeks of lactation, but can occur up to six weeks after delivery.

Treatment: Emergency treatment is necessary. Your veterinarian will give an intravenous calcium solution. Caution must be used with intravenous calcium as it has a profound affect on the heart muscle. No more than 10% solution should be used and it must be administered slowly. An overdose can cause heart arrhythmia and death. Pups must be removed and bottle fed or tube fed so the bitch can retain calcium. In some cases, the pups can nurse once in each 24 hour period if recovery has been rapid. Do not leave the pups with her as they will nurse every few hours and deplete her calcium.

Prevention: Feed a premium dog food with the correct canine calcium/phosphorus ratio of 1.2 to 1. Start supplemental calcium with vitamin D at whelping and continue through weaning time (do not start before labor unless advised by your veterinarian). Be sure to choose a pet supplement appropriately dosed for your bitch’s weight (do not overdose).

Epilepsy

My Pom has seizures. Is there anything I can do to help?

A seizure is a temporary electro-physiologic phenomena of the brain. Seizures can, but don’t always cause involuntary muscle contractions (convulsions) and loss of motor control. Epilepsy is a condition characterized by recurrent seizures. In dogs and humans, it is one of the most common neurological diseases. Not all seizures, however, are caused by epilepsy. Injury, hypothermia, hypoglycemia*, poisoning, nutritional deficiencies, brain tumors, distemper, parasites, low blood calcium, thyroid, liver, and kidney disease can all cause seizures. Some dogs experience one seizure in their lifetime and some experience multiple seizures every day. Epilepsy can be genetic so dogs with the disease should not be bred.

While they can be frightening to watch, most seizures last less than 5 minutes. Other than moving your dog to a safe place, no immediate intervention is required. Never restrain your dog or attempt to put something in his mouth. Seizures that last more than 5 minutes are a medical emergency. Call you veterinarian for advice immediately.

Conventional therapies for Epilepsy involve the use of anti-seizure drugs such as phenobarbital. A natural, whole foods diet in combination with herbal therapies (used in cooperation with proper veterinary care) can be a viable compliment or possible alternative in some cases.

Below are several herbs and supplements that can be helpful in the management of seizures:

Melissa (Lemon Balm)

Passionflower

Lavender

Chamomile

Valerian

Hops

Skullcap

Salmon Oil (Essential Fatty Acid Source)

Pet Tabs Plus (Multi Vitamin & Mineral Supplement)

Avoid the following essential oils which may trigger seizures:

Hyssop

Rosemary

Fennel

Sage

Further reading is recommended:

Herbs for Pets by Gregory L. Tilford

Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell

Veterinary Aromatherapy by Nelly Grosjean

The Holistic Dog Book by Denise Flaim

*For young puppies or anorexic pomeranians, always consider hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) as a possibility. Hypoglycemia in toy dogs is fairly common and can be immediately life threatening. For more information on hypoglycemia, reference the Hypoglycemia article below.

Reputable source for herbs and essential oils: Time Laboratories

Reputable source for pet supplements and supplies: KV Vet

Fading Puppy Syndrome

Is there anything that can be done for fading puppy syndrome?

Fading puppies are one of the biggest mysteries and certainly one of the saddest heartbreaks that toy breeders can experience. Some puppies have problems thriving from birth and some begin to decline at several weeks old. For the purposes of this article, I will include suggestions for all puppies that are failing to thrive, whether it be from birth or at several weeks old. When autopsies are performed on fading puppies that have died, more often than not, no apparent cause for death can be found. Occasionally causative factors such as a cleft pallet, congenital heart defect, liver disease, or infection can be pinpointed as the cause for death.

In cases such as congenial heart defect, there is obviously nothing that could have been done to save the puppy. On the other hand, if the puppy was simply lacking nutrition then action could have been taken in an attempt to save the puppy. For some reason, fading puppies often seem to lack the vigor to nurse properly and die of malnutrition. In our own breeding program, I have been successful about half of the time by supplementing nutrition and electrolytes to fading puppies. Yes, these are not great odds, but for the puppies that do make it, I feel that the effort is well worth it. I also keep the puppies on light heat and keep the humidity levels up in the room where they are located.

I have observed that puppies that are failing to thrive do not digest formula well. Every time I’ve tried to supplement formula to a weak or failing puppy, I have lost that puppy. The formula apparently places added strain on the puppy’s already weakened system. I have used formula quite successfully on strong puppies whose mothers simply don’t have enough milk for them. This is a different situation than supplementing a puppy whose system is not working properly. I have been quite successful using a mixture of “Dyne” and unflavored “Pedialyte.” Dyne is available from most veterinary supply catalogues. I would never want to whelp a litter of Poms without having it on hand. Pedialyte can be purchased from any grocery store. I use 1 part Dyne to 2 parts Pedialyte. Mix this together and it will form a milky looking emulsion. (“Resorb” can be substituted for Pedialyte. This is handy to store because it comes in small packets of powder that you can mix with water as you need it.) Warm the portion of the Dyne/Pedialyte mixture that you will be feeding to wrist temperature and then add a tiny pinch of acidophillus powder. Refrigerate the balance. Feed 1 cc every 2 hours for a 3 – 4 oz puppy. I generally tube feed this mixture. When the puppy begins to gain weight and strength, you can skip the middle of the night feeding. After a few days, the puppy will often begin to improve dramatically and begin to nurse once again on its dam. If the dam has no milk, then you can gradually phase back in your selected formula (I prefer fresh, clean goat’s milk to formula when available). Watch the stools closely to be sure that the formula is being digested. If the stool has a lot of curds in it, then you will need to go back to the Dyne mixture until the digestive system is able to cope with the formula.

I do not like to give antibiotics, but sometimes they are the only option in a life threatening situation. If a bacterial infection is suspected, then I also give amoxicillin to the puppy twice a day for seven days. Amoxicillin will damage the beneficial intestinal flora, so it is important to give a Probiotic supplement to the puppy. If you think that your puppy would benefit from antibiotic therapy, consult your veterinarian. Do not overdose the antibiotics. For a tiny puppy, only one drop per dose is required.

If your puppy reaches 4 weeks old and still needs additional nutrition, you may be able to feed it from a dish. By 5 weeks, almost all puppies can eat from a dish. If the puppy is digesting well, I prepare the following mixture and feed it from a dish several times a day:

•1 Tablespoon Powdered Eukanuba Small Breed Puppy (you can powder the kibble in a blender)

• ½ teaspoon liver puree

• 1 Teaspoon Esbilac Powder

• 1 cc Dyne

• a pinch of Probiotic powder

• enough water to make a gruel that your puppy can easily eat.

If the puppy is not digesting well, give the Dyne/Pedialyte mixture only for a day or two and then gradually phase food back in as it is tolerated. As the puppy gets older, cut back this mixture and phase in the puppy food of your choice. If you lose your puppy, try not to be too heartbroken. (I know, easier said than done!) It’s heart wrenching to lose puppies that you have tried to save. Feel some comfort in knowing that you tried your best. Some puppies just seem “not meant to be” or have a serious health problem that could not have been helped no matter what efforts were made to save them.

Head Tilt

Is there anything that can be done to help chronic head tilt syndrome?

Chronic held tilt syndrome can be caused by a number of factors. Some of these have viable treatment options, but unfortunately some do not.

A combination of treatable factors may be responsible for chronic head tilt. One or more of the following may contribute to the condition: Ear mites, ear wax buildup, ear pressure, fungal infection, bacterial infection, or tooth pain. A suggested treatment regimen that will, with patience eliminate all possible treatable factors without harmful side effects follows:

1) Have a veterinarian examine your dog’s teeth and perform any necessary dental procedures.

2) Treat for eat mites with a good ear mite medication.

3) Clean the ears thoroughly to remove all wax buildup. Your veterinarian may need to assist you with this cleaning.

4) Add a probiotic (beneficial bacterial) supplement to the diet to restore beneficial intestinal flora. This will help keep yeast under control.

5) Make the following ear drop solution and instill it into the ears twice a day for 30 days. This solution will help dissolve ear wax and control both yeast and fungal infections.

Ear Drop Solution (Makes 1 fl oz)

2 cc Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) Essential Oil

2 cc Geranium (Pelargonium odoratissimum) Essential Oil

26 cc Extra Virgin Olive Oil

If a neurological disorder is causing head tilt, there is unfortunately nothing that can be done. However, many times the above treatment regimen will assist head tilt suggesting that a neurological disorder was not actually at fault.

Please also note that temporary head tilt can be caused by air travel in some dogs. If you are flying to a show and your dog has head tilt in response to air travel, it is best to arrive at your destination a day or two in advance if possible. You may also wish to consult your veterinarian about prescribing an antihistamine to be used before flights.

Please click here for more information on Aromatherapy For Dogs .

Reputable Supplier for Essential Oils: Time Laboratories, www.timelabs.com

Reputable Supplier for Ear Mite Medications and other Pet Supplies: KV Vet Supply, 800-423-8211. Web site: www.kvvet.com

Hand Raising Puppies/Puppy Formula

Can you recommend a good toy puppy formula and some suggestions for feeding puppies that need supplementation?

I have used many formulas over the years and have decided that goat’s milk has the best result. If you have a supply of fresh, clean goat’s milk available, use that. Fresh goat’s milk can be frozen in ice cube trays and then transferred to freezer baggies so you can thaw small portions as needed. Do not use a microwave to thaw fresh milk. It will kill the beneficial enzymes. If you cannot obtain fresh milk, several goat’s milk based formulas are now commercially available. Most health food stores and some grocery stores also stock packaged goat’s milk.

Julie Moreno suggested the following puppy formula:

1 Can Condensed Milk

1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise (Best Foods brand only, not low fat)

4 oz. Plain Yogurt (not low fat, Mountain High brand is good)

4 egg yolks

Blend well. (Remove white membranes from the yolks so they don’t clog your feeding tube.) Refrigerate (stays good 5 days in refrigerator). Warm to wrist temperature before feeding. For a 3-4 oz. pup, feed 1 cc every 2 hours during the day and every 4 hours at night (If the pup is nursing on its dam but needs supplementation, feed 1 cc every 4 hours until strength improves enough to nurse exclusively.) Diaper pups after each feeding unless dam is doing so. If pups are dehydrated or chilled, give 1 cc pedialyte every 2 hours instead of formula. (1 part corn syrup to 7 parts boiled water can be used in a pinch until pedialyte can be obtained.) When hydration or body temperature improves, phase back in formula. Increase formula amount as weight increases. Important: Do not increase too quickly or overfeed as colic and gastric upset will occur. If a feeding tube needs to be used, use a #5 French. Pups should be able to lap formula from a bowl by 3-4 weeks old.

Suggestions on raising orphans by Lois (Ciliberto) Rinehart

Raising Orphans With an Adoptive Dam

If there is a bitch around who has a great disposition and can adjust to simply loving the pups, curling around them to keep warm and licking them, then I would give that the best try I could. Remember, adoptive dams need not be nursing moms. If you can supply the food, a non-nursing adoptive dam can take care of the rest of the burden for you. I have seen some who insisted taking over, others who warmed to the idea slowly, and yet others who would kill the pups sooner than blink an eye. First, know your adoptive mom, second rub a tiny bit of vanilla into pups to change their scent, then put butter on their rears, vaginal area and under chin. Avoid umbilical area so adoptive mom does not get too anxious and chew on that area.

Slowly, holding a pup in hand, fingers curled around pup, back of hand up toward adoptive dam in case she snaps (better your hand than the pup) – see if the bitch has any sniffing interest. This can take time. It’s all new to her, and patience is the guide. If she expresses curiosity, go one step further and let her really smell the pup’s rear. Let her lick at the butter, but be ready to pull hand back and say no like you really mean it if necessary. If this works, let her lick the butter under the chin, being ready with your free hand every minute to interfere if there is animosity from the bitch.

If the bitch is interested, you will be able to tell. Do not give the pup to her yet. Put all pups in a cardboard box near bitch who I will assume is in some kind of confining pen. My dams always shredded papers for their pups. If your bitch has shredded papers with pups before, use this system now. If she hasn’t, use whatever system she had when she raised pups. (We are assuming you are only trying this with an experienced mom!) Put some bedding in with the hopefully adoptive mom. See if she attempts to make a bed. Give her some time. Fondle pups to make them squeal a bit while this is going on so she can hear the pups, but can’t really get to them. You can see by her head cocking more or less how interested she is. In many cases the bitch will be so encouraged, she will shred paper and dig into bedding trying to make a nest, stopping to listen to the pups every so often. If she establishes interest by this type of nesting behavior, the battle is half won. Don’t get discouraged if the bitch does not nest at first. As long as she has interest and is not growling or squirming to get away, you have a foot hold. If this interest is expressed, keep those pups squealing a bit. It isn’t going to hurt them to squeal a little and crawl about.

Assuming you have a potential adoptive dam who is interested, proceed with some risk, exercising caution too, but the risk must be taken. Try the next pups the same way as the first one and see what the bitch thinks of them. She will know they are different pups. Then put butter on all pups and gingerly lay one down in the pen with the bitch – being ready to spring and cover the pup if the bitch gets upset. Not it is a wait/see/pray/be ready to spring to protect pup/game.

If the bitch seems to want to help the pup, give her a little trust and encouragement, petting her with one hand, being ready to cover the pup with the other hand. If the bitch takes to the puppy and you can see that she has no intention of harming it, then give her a little slack and see what she will do with the puppy. She may go away from it for a bit an return, and may look anxious – after all she has not had proper time to prepare a nest and so on. This sounds atrocious, but I always led with the scrawniest or weakest of the pups. If something was going to happen and the bitch was going to harm it before I could stop her, better to be with nature and go for the one best able to be sacrificed. If all goes well, do not wait too long to introduce the rest of the pups. Hang around as close as possible for half an hour to see what the bitch will do. Once she settles in and is warming and licking the pups, let her be, but also give her some latitude. If she likes her bed at the other end of the pen, let her have it here. I always say that mother knows best.

With an adoptive dam, I always fed the dam away from her pups so there would be no lurking jealousy over the food – at least until I saw what the dam was like in that situation. For the first few days, keep butter on the pup’s rears to assure licking stimulation. After that, it’s home free (except for feedings if your adoptive dam is not in milk). I have seen so many non-nursing substitute moms take pups, that it is well worth the effort to try it. The pups are happier, and you get more rest. But if you try, and they die anyway, don’t feel guilty. In all probability, they would have died anyway as it is difficult to hand rear them successfully.

Hand Raising Orphans With No Adoptive Dam

I used a cardboard box on the kitchen table, with a heating pad under the outside of the box, not in it. Too much heat kills as fast as too little. Place a towel in the bottom of the box and keep adjusting the heat until it is barely warm. I always kept a large paper towel section to toss over the pups as it gave them coverage and allowed air in. Do not tuck it down and it will move about somewhat as they do. Crying does not hurt pups. I always worry more when there is no noise. Dead quiet pups are about to be dead is my motto. Continual crying, of course, means dissatisfaction – usually not enough to eat which you can gauge by looking at the tummy. The pup may also need stimulated to have a bowel movement or urinate or be instinctively searching for the warm comfort of a mom. When she isn’t around, they are going to cry a bit more than normal. When they draw their legs to their tummy, it is colic or worse.

I also placed the old time honored method – a ticking clock under the towel in one corner as it does make the pups gravitate toward it and they will kind of curl up on it slightly elevating their heads as they do when sleeping on their dam. This helps the natural flow of blood and food. I never used a lamp of any sort, and when it came to nighttime, I kept overhead lights to a minimum so I could just see when I fed and pottied them. They need to instinctively know time, just as they would in the wild.

In the daytime I fed 2-3 hours apart depending on how much they took at a sitting. Julie’s formula is the best for feeding. At night, every 4 hours is fine. I sometimes even missed the 4:00 A.M. feeding and never lost a pup because of it. A little sleep doesn’t hurt the surrogate mom every now and then! After every feeding, use a Kleenex – slightly wet with warm tap water to stimulate urination and bowel movements. A bit of butter on the rear and vagina now and then does not hurt. If they are doing well, weighing them is silly. It only keeps you stressed out and accomplishes nothing. You can feel full tummies and normal, undehydrated pups by hand. A once a week weigh in is sufficient. If no gain, and they are otherwise eating and not in agony or cold and dying, everything will be fine. You can’t possibly expect an orphan pup who is not getting dam’s milk and normal dam attention to gain as much as one who is getting that benefit. Be happy they are alive, and weight gain can come later.

Tube feeding is fine, and many practice it. I have used it, but it was never my cup of tea. Bernie patented a method that was great and it enabled one to know if the pup was really wanting to eat and thereby had the strength and will to live. A lot of times by tube feeding, we are going against nature and just keeping something alive that wants to die or that nature has decreed is going to die. If you wish to tube feed, use a #5 French tube and ask your veterinarian to show you how to do it. However, if you can get the hang of this other method, you’ll love it. You need a regular clean syringe with no needle. It must be kept moist so it doesn’t dry up. Bernie kept it in the formula glass in the refrigerator. Warm the formula just to wrist temperature, then suck up the cc amount you have determined. Place the pup on a towel, belly down. Gently lift head between your fingers, put filled syringe into mouth. Tap slightly between roof of mouth and tongue and maybe squeeze very gently on syringe end so that a dab of milk comes out and the pup gets a taste. The pup’s little tongue will wrap around the end of the syringe. You just hold the syringe with your thumb on the end that injects – but not actually pushing down. Syringe plunge end down, not up! If they suck, the end goes down as they nurse with your every so slight pressure helping. I have never chocked one with this method. Once they do it and you do it, you’ll never want to use another method. They suck like little pros, and you can measure exactly what they took in by looking at the cc on the syringe. They have to suck to get the food, but not so hard to tire them. Many pups wither from tube feeding as they do not have the sucking exercise. I have never seen a baby bottle worth its salt. This method is a charm and kept many a Crescendo orphan alive and well. The syringe can be rinsed in warm soapy water, rinsed well, and easily re-used. Forgot all of the sterilization nonsense. As with human babies, a little natural exposure to a few germs in not going to kill them. We did have to change syringes a lot as they wear our when the rubber part gets too stiff to work, but that is nothing. Good luck! You are certainly in for it hand raising a litter of orphans, and deaths can be experienced. You can drive yourself to the point of weariness and insanity, but there is also a great reward in the pups that do make it!

Herbs

What herbs can I safely use on my Pom?

Most herbs that are safe for use on people can also be used to help care for dogs. Of course, it is very important to dose them appropriately and be aware of potential side effects. Herbs are powerful and when used skillfully can be extremely helpful. If used indiscriminately, you can cause toxicities or other side effects.

I will highlight few safe and effective herbs that I use often. There are a number of good books written by veterinarians and animal care professionals that can guide you in choosing and safely using other herbs (see list below).

Ginger

Energizing herb useful for nausea, GI distress, fatigue, and lack of stamina. Cut a small slice of fresh root and then wrap it in a piece of meat or hide the dose in a favorite treat. Other alternatives are a pinch of ginger powder, a small amount of properly diluted essential oil, or dry extract capsules. Give before car rides in dogs prone motion sickness, before meals for GI distress, or morning and evening for dogs struggling with fatigue or lack of stamina.

Garlic

Versatile herb that has been used for thousands of years as a natural antibiotic, to strengthen the immune system, help control parasites and the support the thyroid. Modern research has shown that it also helps to lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce the risk for cancer and stabilize blood sugar levels. A small amount of crushed fresh cloves, a pinch of powder, or capsules intended for pets can be given daily. Caution: avoid large doses which may cause toxicity and/or exacerbate thyroid disease.

Chamomile

Calming herb useful for nervousness, hyperactivity, indigestion and skin problems. The tea can be added to drinking water or used as a topical rinse. A tiny amount of properly diluted essential oil can also be used.

Peppermint

Balancing herb useful for digestive complaints and topically for itching. The tea can be added to drinking water or used as a topical rinse. A tiny amount of properly diluted essential oil can also be used.

Tea Tree Oil

Broad spectrum antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, wound healing oil. A small amount can be applied topically as needed.

Lavender Oil

Calming, soothing oil useful for nervousness, hyperactivity, aggression, and skin problems. One drop can be mixed with pet food morning and evening or a small amount can be applied topically as needed.

Citronella Oil

Natural insect repellant with a pleasant aroma. Many pet products containing citronella are readily available. My favorite is called Aromatic Pest Away from Time Laboratories. Other insect repellant oils include: eucalyptus citriodora, cedarwood, peppermint, lavender, rosemary, geranium, lemongrass. Properly dilute all essential oils before use (generally 10-20 drops essential oil per 1 oz of carrier).

Reputable Source for Herbs and Essential Oils: Time Laboratories

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is a potential problem with all toy breed puppies. Because the symptoms of hypoglycemia mimic other diseases and conditions, veterinarians who don’t have a lot of experience with toy breeds may misdiagnose it as a neurological problem, encephalitis, hepatitis, etc. As a toy breeder or pet owner, it is important to recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia and know how to treat it. Hypoglycemia is easily treatable in the early stages, but fatal if allowed to progress. Far too many toy puppies are lost needlessly to hypoglycemia because of ignorance on the part of their owner or veterinarian.

The first sign of hypoglycemia is the puppy slowing down, and then acting listless or wobbly. The puppy will then begin to tremble or shiver. This is a reaction caused as the brain is starved for glucose. The trembling is followed by a blank stare and the puppy lying on his side. He may also experience convulsions. If untreated, the puppy will become comatose. His body will be limp, lifeless, and the tongue and gums will be a grayish/blue color. The body temperature will be subnormal. The puppy may even appear to be dead.

If caught in the early stages, treatment is simple. Rub Nutri-Cal, Nutri-Stat, Dyne or Karo Syrup on the puppy’s gums, under the tongue, and on the roof of the mouth. Use a heating pad or heating blanket and slowly warm the puppy to proper body temperature. If the puppy responds, all is well. Feed a premium canned food right away and then monitor the puppy to be sure that the condition does not recur. Be sure to eliminate the stress that caused the episode if at all possible.

If caught in the advanced stages, treatment is more complicated. Always assume that the puppy is alive. Rub Nutri-Cal, Nutri-Stat, Dyne or Karo Syrup in the mouth, and carefully insert a small amount in the rectum. Slowly warm the puppy to normal body temperature (101-102 degrees F) and keep him warm continuously with light heat. If the puppy still does not respond, carefully eye dropper dextrose solution, Karo water, diluted Nutri-Cal or Dyne into the mouth, a little at a time. Call your veterinarian and inform him that you have a hypoglycemic puppy. He will prepare a warmed dextrose solution to inject subcutaneously and may put your puppy on an IV drip. Request a fecal exam. Your puppy may have intestinal parasites such as worms, coccidia, or giardia that need to be eliminated immediately. A bacterial infection may also be present and antibiotic treatment necessary. If your puppy has been given glucose injections, it is a good idea to treat him with antibiotics so that infection does not occur. Your vet will likely recommend a prescription canned food such as a/d to give as your puppy recovers. You can finger feed the a/d ‘as is’ from the can and add Pedialyte to the drinking water. You must also keep the puppy warm at all times. Of course use prudence, and do not overheat or dehydration will occur. In severe cases you may need to force feed a/d for a time and give Pedialyte with a dropper. Give B vitamins to stimulate appetite. As your puppy improves, he will begin to eat in his own and then you can gradually phase back in his regular food.

Hypoglycemic incidents are almost always preceded by a stress of some kind. Some examples of common stresses include: weaning,  teething, vaccinations, a change in environment, shipping, over-handling, cold temperatures, intestinal parasites, infections, anorexia, finding and eating inappropriate or rotten food from the ground or garbage, playing too hard and then forgetting to eat, etc. Tiny dogs do not have the fat reserves to supply adequate glucose in times of stress or when they do not eat regularly. Hypoglycemia most often occurs when the puppy has not eaten for several hours. This is not always the case, however. A puppy can have eaten recently and still show signs of hypoglycemia if his system is stressed and the food has not been digested and assimilated. It is important to “free feed” toy puppies a high quality food. Toy puppies simply have too high of an energy level to be restricted to scheduled feedings. Most do fine if switched to scheduled feedings when they reach adulthood, but they must have access to food and water at all times when they are puppies. If you like to give your puppy canned food, you can schedule the feeding of the canned, but allow access to kibble at all times.

A summary of important reminders is as follows:

1) Always keep Nutri-Cal, Nutri-Stat, Dyne or Karo Syrup on hand. This is the quickest way to revive a hypoglycemic puppy. We include a bottle of Nutri-Cal, Nutri-Stat, Dyne or Karo with all young puppies we ship. As a preventive measure, please give a dab or dropperful to your puppy upon arrival and then keep it on hand for emergencies!

2) If you ever see your puppy becoming listless, wobbly, or laying on his side acting unresponsive IMMEDIATELY rub Nutri-Cal, Nutri-Stat, Dyne or Karo Syrup on his gums, under his tongue, and on the roof of the mouth. Slowly warm him to normal body temperature with a heating pad. Feed him as soon as he responds. Call your veterinarian if the puppy does not quickly respond.

3) Keep your puppy from chilling, free of parasites, and minimize stress.

4) See that your puppy eats often and maintains a proper body weight. For young puppies, it’s a good idea to give a serving of premium canned food with dinner (you can mix some yogurt in if you would like). If your puppy is not yet eating his kibble well, or has experienced a hypoglycemic incident, you’ll need to give additional servings of canned food throughout the day.

5) Do not over-handle your puppy. Be sure to allow him rest time and alone time. Like all babies, puppies need to have a regular schedule of rest, meals, play and potty.

Hypothyroidism

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism (under active thyroid gland) occurs when the thyroid does not produce sufficient levels of the hormone thyroxin. Thyroxin is a key hormone involved in nearly every metabolic process that occurs within the body. Hypothyroidism is a fairly common canine disease.

Symptoms:

  • Weight gain
  • Low energy levels/depression
  • Dry, thinning hair/hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Bacterial infections of the skin
  • Hyper-pigmentation (dark color) of the skin
  • Constipation
  • Feeling cold
  • Infertility

Causes:

  • Trauma or severe stress to the system (especially at a young age).
  • Low levels of iodine in the diet. A kelp and vitamin E supplement will often correct the problem in this case (vitamin E helps the body properly utilize iodine).
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis. The immune system attacks the thyroid for unknown reasons. A hypo-allergenic diet (e.g., premium lamb and rice based food), omega fatty acids in the form of black currant oil and salmon oil, spirulina and vitamin E may provide relief. Your veterinarian may also determine that thyroid medication is necessary.
  • Nutritional deficiency (especially Zinc). Feed a premium food and offer an appropriate canine multi vitamin/mineral supplement such as Pet Tabs Plus.
  • Lack of light. Don’t keep your dog in a dark area or turn out the lights too soon in the evening. Allow some exposure to natural sunlight and exercise each day.
  • Idiopathic atrophy. Thyroid degeneration for unknown reasons.
  • Medication used to treat hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) can cause hypothyroidism.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

  • A veterinary exam and blood test are necessary to diagnose hypothyroidism as the symptoms listed may be caused by other diseases as well. If your veterinarian determines that your dog has hypothyroidism, he/she will likely prescribe thyroxin.
  • The mineral Zinc, and the herb ginger root stimulate the thyroid gland. Diet, exercise, and exposure to light are also very important. With your veterinarian’s cooperation, you might try the following treatment before resorting to thyroxin:
  • Premium lamb and rice based dog food.
  • One half of a Pet Tabs Plus supplement daily.
  • One 200 mg. capsule of 4:1 concentrated ginger extract morning and evening. You can “hide” the capsule in a small piece of meat or canned food or sprinkle the contents over some canned food. Most dogs do not object to the taste.
  • A teaspoon of Nupro and/or The Missing Link sprinkled over kibble daily.
  • One Ultra Omega-Linic (Salmon, Black Currant Oil) soft gel morning and evening. Most dogs will eat the soft gel directly. If your dog does not eat the soft gel, you can prick it and squeeze the contents onto food.
  • A minimum of ½ hour exercise daily.
  • Exposure to light (with as much natural daylight as possible) for 12 hours each day.
  • Good Resources:

Concentrated Ginger Extract, Ultra Omega-Linic: Time Laboratories

Pet Tabs Plus, Nupro, The Missing Link: http://www.amazon.com, http://www.kvvet.com, http://www.drsfostersmith.com

What can I do to increase the survival rate of my Pom puppies?

Pom puppies can be very fragile. There are a number of things you can do to help increase their survival odds:

1) Move the dam (Mother) to her intended whelping area at least 10 days before she is due. This allows her time to become comfortable with her surroundings. Additionally, in the event that you have miscalculated her due date or she whelps prematurely, she will be safely in her own area.

2) Before whelping, brush Mom gently but thoroughly to remove loose hair that the pups may get in their mouths causing choking or intestinal impaction. Shave her tummy a few days before she is due so that the pups can easily latch onto her teats. Trimming long hair is a good idea as well since pups can become tangled in long hair.

3) When the dam is within a few days of whelping, take her temperature morning and evening (rectally with a digital thermometer works best). Once her temperature drops below 99 degrees, you will know she is very close to whelping and can keep an especially close eye on her.

4) Make sure each Mom has her own space for whelping (Rover Pen, X-Pen or whatever you like). If the dam is excitable and barks at other dogs from a distance (and neglects or steps on her puppies because of this), her pen needs to be in a separate room from all other dogs.

5) Inside the dam’s enclosure, place a whelping box that she can easily jump into, but the puppies can’t crawl out of (see photos below). A cardboard box with the front cut down to about 6″ works very well for this. Save two of the top flaps from the box top to make a panel for the bottom of the whelping box. Tape the flaps together with duct tape or packing tape, slightly overlapping the pieces so the resulting panel will fit nicely into the bottom of the box. (Alternatively, you can cut a piece of cardboard slightly smaller than the bottom of the box). Wrap a soft towel or baby blanket around the cardboard panel and place it in the bottom of the whelping box. This gives a soft and absorbent surface for the pups without the danger of them becoming wrapped up in their bedding or caught under it. (You may wish to save your panel to place in the box after whelping so it doesn’t become soiled during the whelping process. I like to place 2 large towels inside the whelping box and then trade the soiled towels for my cardboard panel after whelping.) For Moms that aggressively dig at the towel wrapped around the cardboard panel causing it to come loose, it works better to place the cardboard inside a flannel pillowcase (or you can tape the towel to the bottom of the cardboard panel). Place a small wash cloth in the whelping box so Mom feels like she has something to nest with, but small enough so the pups can’t get rolled up in it. Wash the bedding as it becomes soiled. Once the pups are around 3 weeks old, you can cut the front panel of the box down further to allow them to crawl in and out of the whelping box.
Whelping Pen        Whelping Box

6) Longtime breeders have a saying: “a chilled pup is a dead pup.” Keep the puppies on light heat for the first few weeks. A heating pad or heating blanket set on barely warm and then placed under the whelping box works well. Position the cord so it cannot be chewed by Mom or pups. Gradually reduce the heat as the pups get older and can maintain body temperature easily. For wintertime pups or pups kept in an air conditioned room, it doesn’t hurt to leave a light heat source with them until 8 weeks old. Gradually acclimate the pups to cooler temperatures so they don’t catch cold when suddenly exposed to cool weather.

7) If the pups have raspy breathing or trouble with their lungs for any reason, run a humidifier and essential oil diffuser in their room with a respiratory blend such as Breathe Easy or Immu-Boost Extra.

8) Make sure Mom drinks enough. In addition to water, I like to give my Moms 1/2 C of goat’s milk each day while nursing pups. Moms who don’t drink enough do not produce enough milk.

9) Weigh the pups daily to make sure they are gaining weight. A 5 pound digital postage scale that will weigh to the 10th of an ounce is well worth the investment so you can accurately weigh pups. A small weight drop after birth is normal. If you see a weight drop after the first day, something is wrong and the pups may need supplementation.

10) Bitch milk is best to supplement pups, however it is not always possible or practical to milk the dam. I have used many formulas over the years and have found that goat’s milk or a goat’s milk based formula such as Goat-A-Lac works the best (less colic, better weight gain, etc.) If you have access to fresh, clean goat’s milk, you can keep a supply in your freezer for emergencies or purchase the formula and keep it in your refrigerator. Tube feeding works well if your veterinarian or an experienced breeder can show you how. If possible, always hold the pup on a teat to suck after tube feeding as the sucking action stimulates digestion. Unfortunately pups who will not attempt to suck rarely live.

11) Newborn pups cannot eliminate on their own. If the dam is not cleaning the pups regularly, you will need to diaper them yourself after each feeding. Diapering pups means softly wiping the genital area with a moist cloth or cotton ball until they eliminate. Human baby wipes work really well for this purpose.

12) For Moms that have low birth weight or premature puppies, it is helpful to give her Red Raspberry Leaf (tincture or tea) mixed with goat’s milk each day throughout her pregnancy (see also “Lacation” below).

Reputable Supplier for Essential Oils, Diffusors, Herbs & Supplements: Time Laboratories, www.timelabs.com

Goat-A-Lac supplier: KV Vet www.kvvet.com

Lactation

I have a bitch who never has quite enough milk for her litter. Is there anything I can do to help increase her milk production?

Inadequate milk production is a fairly common problem for toy bitches. Most of the time, I have been able to correct this problem through diet and supplementation. Occasionally, however, there is a bitch who seems to have such a severe hormone deficiency that no amount of supplementation will help. In that case, it’s best to spay her and place her in a pet home rather than have future litters suffer.

Ensuring adequate milk production begins before conception ever occurs. Your bitch should be in excellent health before breeding. You should also feed a diet which will adequately supply all of the nutrients necessary to support a healthy pregnancy. For bitches who are known to produce adequate milk, feeding a premium food along with a tablespoon of plain yogurt or cottage cheese is adequate. I also like to add a “green” top dressing such as Spirulina, The Missing Link or Nupro to provide the enzymes and phytonutrients missing in dry kibble.

For a bitch who has been known to have milk supply problems in the past, giving ½ cup goat’s milk daily throughout her pregnancy will often work wonders. After whelping, it helps to offer a mixture of the following morning and evening:

-1 Tablespoon Premium Canned Food

-1 Tablespoon Plain Yogurt

-½ Cup Goat’s Milk (or 1 scoop Goat’s Milk Powder + ½ Cup water)

-2 Tablespoons “Mother’s Milk Tea” containing herbs such as Fennel Seed, Goat’s Rue, Fenugreek, Milk Thistle, Hops Flower, Red Raspberry Leaf

Resources:

-Pet Top Dressing: Your local pet supply or on line at retailers such as www.kvvet.com or www.amazon.com

-Canned/Powdered Goat’s Milk: Fred Meyer, Wal Mart and many other retail grocery stores. (Also sold on line at retailers such as www.amazon.com). For fresh goat’s milk, check the farm section of your local paper.

-“Mother’s Milk Tea”: Your local health food store on line at retailers such as www.amazon.com

Lead Training

What is the best way to lead train a Pom puppy?

I remember some years ago, I was talking to a Pom friend on the phone. She suddenly said, “My goodness, I’ve lost track of time! I have to be at a show in 2 hours. I better run so I can go lead train Rover who is entered in puppy class” (fictitious dog name used to protect the guilty). I thought to myself that I must be doing something terribly wrong or had especially stubborn puppies because I could never dream of lead training a puppy for the ring in such a short time. My friend obviously has some magic she uses with her dogs! Maybe some day she’ll let us in on her secret. Until then, I guess the best I can do is provide a few suggestion on how to do it the “long way.”

The best way I have found to lead train is slowly and with patience. The first step is getting the puppy used to having something around his neck. Some puppies become accustomed to this immediately and without resistance – others are stubborn, fight the idea and need extra work and patience. In the beginning, I like to use a soft cat collar. Once my puppy has worn the cat collar for a few days and doesn’t seem to resist the idea, I allow him to drag a lead under supervision several times a day. (Use caution with both collars and leads as they can lead to strangulation if you do not supervise your puppy). At this point, I have a helper walk ahead of my puppy with a treat to encourage the puppy to walk forward while I hold the lead with gentle pressure. Gradually the puppy understands that if he will follow the gentle pressure, the lead poses no threat and he’ll earn a treat for walking nicely. Once the puppy walks well with a collar and lead, I move to a “string lead” which is the type used for the show ring. Again, some will fight the string lead and others take right to it. You might have to have someone walk ahead with a treat again until your puppy becomes accustomed to the string lead. Be sure to bunch the excess lead in your hand as a trailing lead is one of the first things to scream “novice” in the ring.

If your Pom is a pet, and you don’t need to worry about lead training for show, a harness is a wonderful alternative to a collar. Most puppies take more readily to a harness and it does not pose the choking threat that a collar might.

Does a male or female Pom make a better pet?

As long as you neuter your male by six months of age, it makes little difference if you choose a male or female for a pet. Well-bred Poms of both sexes are generally happy, loving little dogs with wonderful temperaments. Both males and females make excellent pets. There are, however, some points to consider other than temperament when choosing your pet.

Reasons to purchase a male for a pet:

1) A neuter is a less invasive surgery than a spay. It costs less “to fix” your male pet. Make sure your pet is neutered before he starts lifting his leg (around 6 months of age). If you neuter before leg lifting begins, your male will almost always continue to squat like a female to urinate. This makes house training much easier.

2) Females are generally in higher demand to breeders than males so it’s often easier to find an available male pet than a female.

Reasons to purchase a female for a pet:

1) If you plan to purchase or rescue an adult or adolescent Pom who has not been neutered or spayed, a female may be the better choice. An intact adult male can be difficult to break of leg lifting behavior. Of course, any adult, male or female can usually be trained with patience. Belly bands are excellent to use for males who cannot be broken of leg lifting.

2) If you plan to breed your pet (not recommended unless you are willing to devote a lot of time and research into responsible breeding), a female is definitely the better choice. Stud males are next to impossible to house train. They may exhibit less than desirable “studly” behavior in other areas as well (i.e. dominating other pets, running away in search of females, aggression toward other males, etc.)

3) You are plain set on having a “little girl.” Be sure you have a vet who specializes in toy dogs spay her.

Neuter/Spay

Why should I neuter or spay my Pom pet?

There are a number of very good reasons why you should neuter or spay your Pom pet:

1) The health of your pet.

Research has shown that pets who are neutered or spayed have a lower risk of certain types of cancers.

2) Ease in house training.

It is much easier to house train your pet when he does not have the instinct to mark his territory. Contrary to popular belief, it is not just males who are inclined to mark their territory with urine. Females who are in season or who are trying to establish a pecking order may also mark their territory with urine. Males who are neutered by 6 months of age, do not generally develop leg lifting behavior.

3) A pet that is easier to live with.

Neutered dogs are less aggressive and you will not have the embarrassing problem of them mounting everything in sight (your visitor’s leg, other pets, toys, etc.) Males who have “only one thing on their mind” do not make very affectionate pets. Spayed females are generally more affectionate toward people and other pets, and are less likely to aggressively defend their place in the household pecking order.

4) The safety of your pet.

Males who are not neutered often become obsessed with finding females. Obsessed males try to run away at every chance and make irrational choices such as darting into the road, challenging a larger male, jumping from high places, etc.

5) It’s the right thing to do!

Millions of unwanted pets end up in animal shelters each year. 4 to 6 million animals are euthanized (killed) because homes cannot be found for them. Please do your part to help control the numbers of animal shelter causalities.

Picky Eaters

My Pom is very picky and it’s hard to get him to eat enough. I am afraid of hypoglycemia. What can I do?

The first thing to consider is the overall health of your Pom. Intestinal infections or other physical ailments can cause a lack of appetite. A physical exam and fecal exam by your veterinarian is a good place to start.

Other suggestions to stimulate appetite are as follows:

1) Try several different foods to see if there is one your Pom likes better than others.

2) Supplement B Vitamins as they stimulate appetite. Human infant vitamin drops (without iron) work well for this purpose.

3) Disturbances in the intestinal flora can cause a lack of appetite. Add a probiotic supplement or plain yogurt to the diet.

4) Mix some freshly cooked meat into your Pom’s regular food.

5) Add some greens to your Pom’s diet. Spirulina* or Missing Link work well for this purpose. (Spirulina is especially effective to regulate the appetite in cases of anorexia or obesity.)

In serious cases where your Pom is regularly experiencing hypoglycemia:

1) Keep your Pom comfortably warm at all times and avoid stress.

2) Use Nutri-Cal and a heat pad in emergencies. See your vet if you cannot quickly revive your Pom.

3) Treat any parasites or infections that may be present.

4) Add finely chopped freshly cooked meat to goat’s milk and offer it several times a day. Gradually mix in your dog’s regular food. Make sure you see your Pom consume his meal at breakfast and dinner time. If your Pom refuses the meat and goat’s milk, offer a mix of the following A.M. & P.M. (use a syringe to slowly dropper it into your dog’s mouth):

1 teaspoon Dyne or Nutri-Cal

1 teaspoon plain yogurt

2 teaspoons Pedialyte or Gatorade (use the clear kind without artificial color)

½ teaspoon Spirulina* powder

If your Pom is eating nothing except this mixture, you will need to feed it 3 times per day. If he is not drinking or appears to be dehydrated, in addition to the above mixture dropper plain Pedialyte or Gatorade into his mouth every couple of hours. Continue to encourage your Pom to eat regular food and drink water. Once his health and appetite improve, you will want to wean him from the Dyne or Nutri-Cal as soon as possible.

*A note on Spirulina: Use USA Mainland or Hawaiian Spirulina only. Imported Spirulina can contain contaminants which may be harmful. Earthrise is a very good brand of Spirulina.

Potty Training

What is the best way to potty train my Pom?

1) If you are having trouble house training, have a physical exam, fecal, and urine sample checked by your veterinarian. Parasites, urinary tract infections, and other health problems are a leading cause of house training problems.

2) Feed only premium food. Avoid sudden changes in your Pom’s diet.

3) Until he is reliably house trained, never allow your Pom to wander the house unattended. Use a crate or play pen when you cannot personally supervise your dog. Immediately take him for potty when you let him out of his crate. No, this is not cruel unless overused. Your Pom will come to think of his crate as his den and will appreciate having a place of his own.

4) Schedule feedings to 2 or 3 times per day. Remove any leftovers after 30 minutes. (Because toy puppies are prone to hypoglycemia, scheduled feeding are not advisable until your puppy is at least 6 months old.)

5) Take your puppy outside for potty often – especially first thing in the morning, after meals, and after naps.

6) Decide on a verbal cue such as “potty” to use each time you take your dog outside. Say his name first and then “POTTY.” Reward him with lavish praise, a small treat, petting, etc. as soon as he “goes.”

7) If your dog has an accident inside, tell him firmly “NO” and then take him outside. Yelling at or hitting your dog is counter productive and not advised! Clean the accident area with an enzyme cleanser so he will not be attracted to it again.

8) If your dog is a pet, have him neutered (or her spayed). A neutered pet is much easier to housetrain. Male puppies neutered before 6 months of age generally do not lift their legs at all. (Older males often continue to leg lift even after they are neutered.)

9) If you cannot take your dog outside, you can train to puppy pads or newspaper. If you train to newspaper, do not leave your “good” newspaper laying around! Litter box training is not recommended as the litter can be dangerous if ingested.

Probiotics

What are probiotics and can they be of benefit to my dog?

Billions of bacteria and other microorganisms live in the intestinal tract. Some of these microorganisms are beneficial while others are pathogenic (harmful). In a healthy person or animal, the numbers of beneficial microorganisms outnumber the pathogenic ones thus creating a state of intestinal balance. The beneficial bacteria also manufacture B Vitamins, assist with the digestion of food by producing enzymes such as lactase, and produce antibacterial/antifungal substances. A number of things such as stress, disease, poor diets, administration of antibiotics or cortisone, colonic pH levels which are too alkaline etc. can cause the numbers of beneficial microorganisms to decrease. When there are not sufficient numbers of beneficial microorganisms to hold the pathogenic microorganisms in check, they multiply rapidly causing intestinal disease. Intestinal disease is a major problem for animals and people worldwide. A healthy digestive tract is a major factor in maintaining overall health. Digestion breaks food down into useable energy and processes the necessary elements which support all of the body’s systems. The digestive process also eliminates toxins and undesirable elements from the body. An unhealthy digestive system can cause a good number of undesirable things to happen: stomach ache, heartburn, gas, intestinal perforation which allows partially undigested food to enter the blood stream leading to allergic reactions, overgrowth of yeast and fungus, non-production of B Vitamins, poor assimilation of vitamins and minerals leading to nutritional deficiencies, toxin build up, stress on the kidneys and liver, underactive adrenal function which leads to fatigue, arthritis, premature ageing, skin disease, and so on.

The term Probiotics refers to a live microbial feed supplement which beneficially affects the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance. Elie Metchnik, a Russian zoologist who lived from 1845-1916, is believed to be the first person to document the benefits of probiotics. He observed that people who regularly ate yogurt tended to live longer. This discovery lead to further research which has shown that the administration of live beneficial bacteria can help restore the intestinal balance leading to better overall health. Controlled clinical trails particularly including the probiotic strains of acidophilus and bifidobacterium have shown that the regular administration of probiotics helps to keep pathogenic microorganisms in check, limits allergies, helps to control bacterial, yeast, and fungal infections, and leads to a better state of overall health.

There are a number of products on the market which contain probiotics. Just be sure that the product you purchase guarantees the number of cfu (colony forming units) on the label. A Billion or more cfu per serving is desirable. Some of the probiotic supplements do not contain enough cfu to be of much benefit. The more cfu per serving, the more effective the product will be. You should store your product under refrigeration to increase the shelf life. You must keep it out of contact with moisture, oxygen, direct light, and heat as these things cause the beneficial bacteria to die more quickly. Most products should be discarded after one year as few viable cfu will remain after that time. Freeze dried products kept under ideal conditions can remain viable for longer periods of time. Digestive enzymes will further increase the effectiveness of your probiotic supplement. If you can find a product which includes digestive enzymes (amylase, protease, and lipase) you will get more for your money.

Puppy Care Sheet

Pyometra

What is pyometra?

Pyometra is a disease of the endometrial lining of the uterus. It is a potentially life threatening condition that primarily affects bitches over five years old. It is caused by an abnormal response to the hormone progesterone in combination with bacterial infection. During estrus, progesterone is responsible for thickening the endometrium (lining of the uterus) in preparation for the fertilized eggs. It also has other functions such as closing the cervix and maintaining pregnancy. In the case of pyometra, the endometrium thickens more than usual. This in combination with the closed cervix creates the ideal breeding ground for bacteria to grow. It is possible for pyometra to occur with an open cervix as well. Closed cervix pyometra is more serious because drainage of the infection is not possible.

The most common symptoms of pyometra include loss of appetite, depression, vomiting, increased water consumption and urination, and development of a pendulous (downward hanging) abdomen. If the cervix is open, mucusy discharge will be present. A fever may or may not be present. In the case of closed cervix pyometra, the white cell count will be significantly elevated. If pyometra occurs during pregnancy or post whelping, it can cause death of the litter.

The generally accepted treatment for pyometra is supportive care, antibiotic therapy, and ovariohysterectomy (spaying). If the bitch is to be used for breeding, other therapies such as prostaglandins and antibiotics may be prescribed by your veterinarian. There are serious side affects to this type of therapy, so it should be used with caution. If pyometra occurs after whelping, the bitch is generally given supportive care, oxytocin injections to stimulate expulsion of pus, and antibiotic therapy.

In 2007, a study was conducted using the Chinese herbal preparation Yunnan Baiyao (aka Yun-Nan-Pai-Yao) to treat open cervix pyometra. Of the 19 bitches studied, all but one responded to the treatment by the end of five weeks.[1] After researching this study, I personally used 1 capsule of Yunnan Baiyao morning and evening to successfully treat one of my own bitches who experienced open cervix pyometra after whelping. No undesirable side effects were observed.

Reference

1. Salgado B, Paramo R, & Sumano H. (2007). Successful treatment of canine open cervix-pyometra with Yun-Nan-Pai-Yao, a Chinese herbal preparation. Veterinary Research Communications. 31(4), 405-12.

Stool Eating (Coprophagia)

My Pom puppy keeps eating her stools. How can I get her to stop?

Coprophagia or stool eating can be an unhealthy and extremely annoying problem for dog owners. The following suggestions may help:

Certain parasites, infections, or digestive enzyme deficiencies can increase stool eating behavior. Take a stool sample to your veterinarian for testing. If parasites are a problem, your veterinarian can prescribe appropriate treatment. If digestive enzyme deficiencies are the problem, pet supplements that contain digestive enzymes can be used. Probiotic supplements (beneficial bacteria) and canine multi vitamin/mineral supplements are also helpful in many cases. A good source for pet supplements is www.kvvet.com.

Feed only premium food. Low quality foods contain ingredients that are difficult to digest which may contribute to stool eating.

Try pouring a little V8 or tomato juice over food daily. As long as your dog is not allergic to tomatoes, this can work very well. Adding canned pumpkin to food and sprinkling a little garlic over food can also help.

Clean fecal matter promptly so there is less chance of your dog ingesting his stools.

Provide toys and other diversions so that your dog doesn’t play with or eat stools out of boredom.

If none of these suggestions work, a pet product called For-Bid or Monosodium Glutamate can be used to impart a foul taste to the stools. I prefer to try the healthier suggestions above first and would only try MSG if all else fails.

Tapeworm

How is the tapeworm transmitted to the dog from the flea?

Several readers thought that the tapeworms come from ingesting fleas, others maintain that they are passed by flea bites.

The following answer was sent in by Julie Moreno: “The Flea has to be ingested by mouth into the dog to grow and attach its head inside to then pass segments out.”

This answer is correct. Fleas are holometabolous (complete metamorphosis) insects. They have an egg, larval, pupal, and adult stage. Adult fleas feed on the blood of your pet. The adult flea’s feces contain partially digested blood which serves as food for their larvae. As part of the feeding process, the larvae also ingest eggs deposited as tapeworms crawl out of the anus of infected animals. Thus the flea larva becomes the intermediate host for the tapeworm. While grooming himself, your pet may swallow a flea that has ingested tapeworm eggs. He then serves as the primary host for the complete development of the tapeworm.

To prevent tapeworm infestations in your dogs, it is important to control fleas in their environment as well as worm any suspected carrier dogs. A very safe worming medication effective against many types of worms including tapeworms is fenbezdazole (trade name Panacur) 50 mg/kg given for three days in a row.

Tooth Care

How can I help keep my Pom’s teeth clean?

It is extremely important to keep your dog’s teeth clean. Dirty and decaying teeth cause a number of health concerns such as heart and kidney problems, bacterial toxicities, and extremely bad breath. However, with toy dogs like Poms, this is easier said than done. Toys have a propensity for bad teeth, and extreme care must be taken to prevent serious decay and tooth loss.

Following are some suggestions to help:

1) Give puppies toys early. If your Pom gets into the habit of chewing, his teeth will be much cleaner as a result. Make sure any toys given do not have small pieces that could present a choking hazard. Interlocked plastic shower curtain rings make excellent, inexpensive puppy toys. Strips of cotton cloth or old cotton stocks can be tied to the shower rings to make them more interesting to your puppy.

2) Give small, natural raw hide twists often. These are a favorite with toy dogs. Chew hooves, natural rawhide chews, pig ears, “greenies,” and marrow bones (beef femur cut into 1″ slices at the butcher) are also good choices for Poms. Be sure there are no sharp edges & boil or microwave any raw bones to eliminate potential pathogens before offering them to your Pom. Never give chicken, turkey or pork bones! These are too soft and may splinter causing damage to the GI tract.

3) Feed a premium dry food as much as possible. Canned food, low quality foods that contain sugar, and many commercially prepared “doggie treats” promote tooth decay. If you want to give treats, you can boil liver or beef heart, cut it into small pieces and keep it in a zip lock baggie in the freezer. Your liver or beef heart will last several months in a freezer baggie. You can also give small bits of cheese as treats.

4) If your Pom’s teeth have heavy scale, you will need to have them professionally cleaned by your veterinarian. After a professional cleaning, you can scale them yourself once a month to keep them clean. Some people like to use a doggie toothbrush and toothpaste to clean their dog’s teeth each day. Other alternatives to a toothbrush are gauze or a “finger brush.” Dental instruments for scaling, and dog toothbrushes/toothpaste are available from most pet supply catalogues.

Vaccinating Your Dog

What is the best vaccination schedule for Pom puppies?

6 weeks: Parvo

8-10 Weeks (before going to new home): 5 Way Combo: DAPPv (Distemper, Parvo, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza, Parvo)

3-4 Weeks Later: DAPPv

16-17 Weeks: DAPPv

6 Months: DAPPv + Rabies

Or as recommended by your veterinarian.

I monitor all my puppies closely after vaccinations and if they appear to be lethargic or are not eating properly, I give them premium canned food and Nutri-Cal for a few days. Severe reactions to vaccines are rare, but can occur. If an allergic reaction occurs, rush your puppy to your veterinarian for treatment. Mild stress reactions such as diarrhea are fairly common, and if unchecked can lead to hypoglycemia. Following vaccines, keep your puppy warm, out of drafts and make sure he eats normally.

Do I need to give my Pom annual vaccinations?

While vaccinations are necessary to help prevent serious illnesses, research has shown that annual vaccination for most canine diseases is unnecessary and potentially harmful.

Here is a link to a great article summarizing the work of UW Veterinary Immunologist, Ronald Schultz: http://news.wisc.edu/schultz-dog-vaccines-may-not-be-necessary

Vaccinations, Allergic Reaction

Is there anything I can give before vaccinations to limit the possibility of an allergic reaction?

While stress reactions such as diarrhea are fairly common, serious reactions to core vaccines are rare. If a preventive for potential allergic reactions is desired, children’s Benadryl liquid (or generic diphenhydramine liquid, 12.5 mg per 5 cc) can be used. The dose commonly recommended by veterinarians is 1 mg (0.4 cc) per pound. Some allergy formulas contain multiple active ingredients. Be sure that the liquid you choose contains only diphenhydramine as the active ingredient. Note: diphenhydramine should not be not be used in animals with glaucoma, prostate disease, urinary obstruction, or high blood pressure. Do not use in pregnant or nursing animals.

Weight Loss

What can I do to help my Pom lose weight?

For humans and canines alike, a high calorie diet coupled with a lack of physical activity often leads to obesity. Hypothyroidism, insulin disorders, rare genetic diseases, and medications such as steroids may also be causative factors.

Obesity greatly increases the risk of serious preventable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, and respiratory disorders. Increasing physical activity and restricting calorie intake are the best treatment options.

Dogs who are used to being overfed often strongly object to food restrictions. Owners may find it next to impossible to resist the begging and puppy dog eyes. It is important to remind yourself that by giving into the begging, you are feeding your dog to death. Following the plan below will give your dog a longer, healthier life.

1) Choose a premium dog food free of sugars, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. A lower fat (<12% for dry food; <3% for canned food) food will help with calorie content.

2) Rather than “free feeding, ” divide your dog’s rations into 2 daily servings. (Warning: toy puppies under one year of age are prone to hypoglycemia. It is not prudent to restrict feedings until after one year of age. If your puppy seems to be overweight, cut back treats and increase exercise instead.)

3) Cut back the quantity you are feeding by 10% per week for 3 weeks (30% reduction). Weigh your dog weekly using an infant scale or a kitchen scale. Using your bathroom scale may not be sensitive enough for Poms. See the attached chart used with permission from Nestle Purina Pet Care to help you recognize your adult dog’s ideal body weight.

4) Do not feed table scraps or give high calorie treats. You may keep small cubes of frozen lean meats to give as rewards in limited quantities.

5) For a mid-day snack, you can mix string beans and/or cooked carrots with a tablespoon of low fat cottage cheese or plain yogurt. Again, limit the quantities of all snacks.

6) Use a top dressing such as Nupro, The Missing Link, or Spirulina Powder. These supplements contain nutrients which help support health and weight loss.

7) Provide room to run and daily exercise opportunities such as walks with speed bursts. Taking walks with your dog will benefit both of you.

8) See your veterinarian if your dog fails to lose weight after 2 months. Your dog may have an underlying health problem such as hypothyroidism which requires veterinary care.

Worming Your Dog

What types of worms can infect my Pom and how do I treat them?

Worms rob your dog of nutrients and can be life threatening in some cases. It is important to regularly screen for worms and treat when necessary. There are four types of worms that commonly infect dogs: Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Tapeworms

Roundworms

Route of transmission: Passed from mother to puppies during pregnancy or nursing, ingestion of fecal matter or contaminated soil, ingesting an infected rodent

Symptoms: Diarrhea, vomiting, pot belly

Contagious to humans? Canine roundworms can be transmitted to humans, generally young children.

Common Treatments: Pyrantel pamoate (Nemex), Fenbendazole (Panacur, Safeguard), Praziquantel (Droncit), Imidacloprid/Moxidectin (Advantage Multi)

Hookworms

Route of transmission: Mother’s milk, penetration of the skin by larvae in the environment, ingestion of fecal matter, may be transmitted during pregnancy (although this remains controversial).

Symptoms: Bloody stool, anemia, poor nutritional status, dermatitis.

Contagious to humans? Canine Hookworms can penetrate human skin causing irritation, but they don’t generally develop into adults in a human host.

Common Treatments: Pyrantel pamoate (Nemex), Fenbendazole (Panacur, Safeguard), Praziquantel (Droncit), Imidacloprid/Moxidectin (Advantage Multi)

Whipworms

Route of transmission: Ingestion of fecal matter or contaminated soil

Symptoms: Diarrhea, weight loss, anemia

Contagious to humans? Whipworms are host specific, so they rarely infect other species

Common Treatments: Fenbendazole (Panacur, Safeguard), Praziquantel/Pyrantel

pamoate/Fenbendazole (Drontal Plus), Milbemycinoxime (Interceptor), Imidacloprid/Moxidectin ( Advantage Multi)

Tapeworms

Route of transmission: Eating fleas, eating an infected rodent

Symptoms: Diarrhea, weight loss, stunted growth

Contagious to humans? It is rare for canine tapeworms to be transmitted to humans

Common Treatments: Praziquantel (Droncit), Praziquantel/Pyrantelpamoate/Fenbendazole (Drontal Plus), Ivermectin/Pyrantel/Praziquantel (Iverheart Plus), Fenbendazole (Panacur, Safeguard) effective against some types.