Here's a bit of Funny for Friday!
What if your dog made New Year?s Resolutions? Would any of these be on the list?
" But he always wears a medium I don't understand why it doesn't fit him". 95% of the returns to my eBay store are for pet dog clothing that's not the right size for the pup.
I am always willing to work with a customer to find clothing that fits properly and suggest items from inventory that they may not have considered. Every listing in my store has a sizing guide, chart or measurements in the item description. Most measurements I take myself off the actual clothing, but certain brands always run true to size and for those I provide the manufacturer's size chart.
So why aren't pet clothes standardized? Remember the last time you shopped for jeans or pants? The average person (woman) tries on 8 pairs of jeans to find one that fits. What size would you be in a Levi's boot cut? How about St. John's Bay? Liz Claiborne? The pet clothing market is no different. Dog clothing brands are sized completely differently from each other. And that's not counting the Asian sizing of dog clothing (and people clothing) which are several sizes shifted from European or American sizes.
Really important measurements:
To fit your dog or cat properly you need to have several key measurements of your pet. One of these is neck circumference. This is measured around your pets neck with ~ ½" (~ 1 cm) added for comfort. You will also need to know your pets chest measurement. This measurement is taken around the chest at the largest spot which is usually just behind the front legs. Once again add an additional ~ ½" (~ 1 cm) to this measurement for comfort. The last measurement is body length. Measure from the base of the skull to the base of the tail / end of the body. If you do not have a flexible or cloth tape measure you can use string cut to the proper length and compare against a ruler or standard tape measure.
Now you are ready to shop for pet clothing. When comparing and considering an item make sure it will fit your pet best overall. For example, the chest of your pet must fit within the clothing measurements but perhaps the shirt neck would be just a little loose. Or the item is a little short or long. Make the best compromise that will still fit your pet property without being too tight.
But isn't this a lot of work? Yes it is but you will ensure that the garment that you purchase will fit your pet. Who wants disappointment or the hassle of returning the item? Not you and not me. One piece of advice: if you find a brand that fits your particular pet then investigate their other products. I have noticed sizing tends to be better controlled within each brand.
And as I said earlier I will always work with a customer to find the best fitting dog clothes for your pet. I of course want happy customers, but what I love is getting follow-up pictures of your pet looking adorable in great fitting clothes.
If you have been following my posts / tweets this week you will have read about my #poodle mix Duffy and his veterinary situation this week. What originally was a recheck visit for a urinary infection turned into a bladder stone emergency with surgery 2 days later, including X-rays, blood tests and a liver biopsy. In total ~ $1100 in unexpected costs this week.
In an ideal world we would all have an “emergency fund” for these unexpected costs. Pet and dog care can be very expensive depending on where you live, and can vary locally from city to city or county to county. Unfortunately, where I live in upstate NY the veterinary fees are pretty high all across our area, with not many places even giving a “rescue discount” for foster dogs. Spays are ~ $500, dentals ~ $600, and “wellness check” visit fees of ~$60 – $70. And as I have been technically “unemployed” this year while I build my online shopping dog supplies business, my emergency funds were used up months ago. (So purchase some great pet supplies from one of my Michelle's Dog Stuff stores, hint hint.. Our Website Our eBay Store )
Here are some options to consider for routine or emergency pet / dog veterinary care:
1. Set aside money each month into a special account just for pet care. Even routine pet care costs of yearly wellness visits, vaccinations, heartworm tests, and heartworm preventative can add up to ~ $300 per year per dog.
2. Have a credit card with no balance for “emergencies” or unexpected bills (of any kind). Make sure this card has a low interest rate or that you pay it off within 2 – 3 months.
3. Consider Pet Insurance. Pet Insurance Policies vary widely on what they cover so you will have to do some research to see if the premiums v out of pocket costs work for your situation.
4. Try CareCredit If you make minimum monthly payments and pay off your balance within the promotional period (anywhere from 6 months to 24 months), then the loan is interest-free. However, if you don’t pay it off within the specified period, there is a hefty penalty in deferred interest charges that are substantial, so you must read the fine print. CareCredit approval depends on a person’s credit score, so you might not be approved if you have bad credit, or you may not qualify for enough to cover the entire bill.
5. Be wealthy enough so that you can afford anything for you or your pet. Perhaps you can win the lottery or inherit from a wealthy relative? (this is a joke … lol )
Here is a good article from PetMd by Dr. Sarah Wooten on how to cover your dog’s veterinary expenses.
Weather patterns have been changing significantly over the years. While the causes are debatable, it is increasingly hard to predict and plan for when winter will begin each year. This week across the United States the Jet Stream is sitting far to the south creating a ribbon of extremely cold air. Lots of low temperature records have been set, and it is those places that are used to warmer weather that are going to be / have been surprised this week. And so are the dogs that live there.
Winter began 2 days ago here (not officially, that’s Dec 21st) with an area wide amount of snow (6 – 14” depending on the location). The “lake effect” snow that happens in the Great Lakes produced additional localized bands of heavy snow near the southern and eastern end of each Lake.
Getting to my point, my 4 dogs are all less than 20 lbs and short. If the snow is higher than about an inch, then no one will go outside. Well maybe Mack the #Doxie mix, but with a blustery cold wind blowing not even Mack would venture forth. After shoveling a small path on the lawn it was time to inventory the dog coats on hand to outfit my #furbabies for the cold weather.
Mack the #Dachshund mix always has been cold, even in spring and fall. He has short hair and radiates heat all year long. Under a blanket or comforter is his favorite place to sleep. He enjoys wearing pajamas and has 3 pairs we rotate through. Jammies are the only clothing in his closet. (He is not a fan of coats.) His pajamas are the Pet Luv and Frisco brand. (shop pj's on eBay in my store).
BabyGirl the #Poodle has been a fashion plate since I got her, mainly because of her shorn fur condition. She enjoys her wardrobe of shirts, dresses, and coats that line her closet. She is currently wearing a sleeveless sweatshirt coat by Petrageous Designs in the current weather.
Molly Shih Tzu has never really been interested in clothing. I keep her hair long and brush it several times a week. She has never been a cold dog. Perhaps on a sub-zero February day she appreciated a coat. This year, however, Molly began shivering a few weeks ago. So I found a Hoodie from Mirage Pet that fit her nicely. She really appreciates it and seems toasty now.
And then there’s Duffy the #Poodle who does not appreciate clothes at all. Or going outside really. He tiptoes out onto the sidewalk, pees at the edge and runs back in the house on a sunny day. Rain or snow he’d rather stay inside.
So do you put warm clothing on your pet? Leave a comment below.
As dogs age lumps and bumps can appear and cause concern. Skin issues, long nails, etc. can irritate your pup. Become familiar with what is normal for your dog and watch for any changes.
I was petting BabyGirl yesterday (her story is in another blog post) and noticed another lump on her head. She is / was a very lumpy dog. She has small bumps and warts at various locations. I took a closer look at this new bump. It was not a wart, it was a Tick! ( I immediately removed it with a tick remover.) We have some ticks here, but its not a huge problem like some locations. We don't have much of a flea problem either. BUT either parasite can cause issues with your pet's health, especially ticks. Ticks carry many viruses and can also cause tick paralysis, a sudden condition where your dog can not stand or walk.
While you are just relaxing and petting your dog you can do a quick health check. Don't rely on yearly exams by your vet to catch something. Those are spot checks at best.
Below is an article regarding how to do an at home health check for your pet.
Giving Your Dog a Thorough Home Check-up
By Lynn Buzhardt, DVM
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Dogs, like people, need routine medical exams to stay healthy. Since dogs age more rapidly than people, they need well-health check-ups not once, but twice a year. So, they really need “two ounces” of prevention.
To really stay on top of things, you can you can give your dog a quick and easy home exam between scheduled veterinary visits. It’s best to perform the exam when your dog is relaxed, so catching him right before an afternoon nap may be just the ticket. Do your exam in a quiet area of the house free of distractions that might make your dog jittery.
Here’s how to perform an at-home physical exam on your dog from tip to tail:
Gaze into those loving eyes. The whites (sclera) of the eyes should be white, not bloodshot. The cornea should be clear, not cloudy. The pupils should be the same size in both eyes. The eyes should be moist, but there should be no discharge or gunk present. Your dog should blink easily without squinting. There should be no swellings on the eyelids. The lid margins should be straight, not curling in or out.
Be nosy. Look at your dog’s nose and answer these questions. Is it running? Is it dry or cracking? Are the nostrils crusty? Are there sores present? Any ‘Yes’ answers indicate trouble. Is it the normal color? (Hint: Most noses are black).
Get an ear full. Look at the ear flaps and note any abrasions or sores. Then look down the ear canal for redness, waxy debris, or drainage. You won’t be able to see very far, but sometimes problems are readily apparent with a quick glance. Now, take a whiff. If your dog’s ears smell funny, they may be infected by bacteria or yeast, or infested by ear mites.
Make him smile. Retract your dog’s lips into a smile and look at the teeth and gums. The gums should be pink and free of bumps and ulcers. The teeth should be white. Excess tartar will make teeth look yellow or brown. Note any loose or broken teeth. Take a whiff here, too. A smelly mouth may indicate periodontal disease. Make sure there is no food matter, bits of debris, or wads of hair wedged between the teeth, lodged on the roof of the mouth, or caught under the tongue. Examine the lips for ulcers or cracks.
Give him a hug. Feel under your dog’s jaw for lumps and bumps which could indicate enlarged lymph nodes or salivary glands. Run your hands down the neck to the chest feeling for lumps, bumps, or crusty lesions.
Give your dog a massage. Continue running your hands down the dog’s chest, over his back, and under his belly. Note any skin abnormalities. Look for fleas and ticks while you’re at it. Massage each leg from top to bottom with the same thorough approach. Feel under the front legs, the groin area, and behind the knees for smooth swellings that could be enlarged lymph nodes.
Have a heart. Place your hands on both sides of your dog’s chest and feel his heart beat. His heart rate should be 70-120 beats/minute with a regular rhythm. Respirations should be smooth and virtually effortless.
Belly up. Place one hand on either side of your dog’s abdomen and press gently, moving from front to back. You may not be able to identify abdominal abnormalities, but you should note any sign of pain. Roll him over and examine his abdomen for skin lesions. Check the mammary glands of both female and male dogs for lumps or bumps. Check the penis and sheath of male dogs for redness or discharge. Look under the tail at the female’s vulva and note any redness or discharge.
Have a little back bone. Pressing firmly on the spinal column, run your hand from the neck to the tail and note any signs of pain. Check the tail for skin lesions or pain as well.
Tickle those tootsies. Lie your dog on his side and carefully examine the paws. Are the pads cracked or torn? Are the nails too long? Is there swelling or redness between the toes? Is there a musty odor?
Size your dog up. Assess your dog’s overall body condition. Have your dog stand up. Run your hands gently down the sides of the chest. You should be able to feel individual ribs without pressing too hard unless your dog has a thick fat pad. Now look at your dog from above. Girls and boys should have a nice, visible, curvaceous waist line. (Note: Some breeds, like Bulldogs, won’t have a small waist no matter how skinny they are!) Look at your dog from the side. The tummy should tuck or curve upwards. Overweight dogs or elderly dogs with decreased muscle tone may have sagging bellies.
Take in the whole picture. Is your dog happy and alert? Does he hear you when you call him? Does he walk without limping, taking long strides? Can he lie down and rise up again with ease? Or is he droopy and slow to respond? Does he walk with short steps? Does he lie down gingerly and struggle to get up? Does he eat his food quickly or pick at it? Does he have vomiting or diarrhea? Does he strain to urinate or defecate? Is he enjoying life?
Hopefully the answer to the last question is a great, big “YES”! and you can help him enjoy life for a long time by being a conscientious pet owner who performs at-home physical exams monthly.
Picking up on problems quickly makes them easier to remedy. And you know your dog better than anyone, so you will recognize any changes in his physical status right away. If “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, you will make a good investment by examining your dog.