An Adventure in Allergy Testing

Itching, licking and scooting; these are just some of the things we’ve grown accustomed to with Yellow Dog. We’ve known for quite some time Yellow is an allergy sufferer, and we’ve also known it’s not food related. Yellow has atopy, one of the four main kinds of allergies found in dogs; atopy is a reaction to harmless allergens in the environment. We didn’t know exactly what those allergens were, until now.

allergic dog has belly rash

Yellow Dog developed this belly rash while we were visiting a friend’s house. Turns out, he’s allergic to cats.

Yellow’s symptoms were getting worse, so our regular vet recommended we see a specialist. We visited the Pet Emergency & Specialty Center of Marin to see a dermatologist who could properly diagnose and treat his allergies. Dr. Nicole Eckholm is one of about a dozen dermatology veterinarians in the Bay Area. She administered a skin test, testing 58 possible allergens; Yellow had positive reactions to 11 items including three types of grasses, several trees, a type of mites, and cats.

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California Woman Sentenced for Animal Cruelty

rescued dog

This little pup was one of 14 dogs rescued by the Monterey County SPCA.

A woman accused of selling pets under the guise of a rescue organization pled no contest Friday to animal cruelty charges in Salinas. Crystal Kisicki was accused of trying to sell the 17 neglected animals in front of a PetSmart last June. She’ll now spend ten days in jail, three years on probation and pay restitution. She will also be required to follow strict guidelines to keep the three pets she personally owns. Her pets will be microchipped and will be checked by a vet every three months.

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Reminder: GGNRA Comment Period Ending Soon!

The clock is ticking to tell the Golden Gate National Recreation Area what you think about their Dog Management Plan; public comments are due by February 18, 2014!

By now, you’re likely aware of the GGNRA’s plan to drastically reduce dog access at a number of national parks around the Bay Area, including Fort Funston (if not, see our links at the end of this post). To give you a visual idea of the land the GGNRA wants to take away at the Fort, check out this telling image courtesy of Rocky at Ocean Beach DOG:

fortfunstonmap

You can see access will be drastically cut, with cuts represented by the red on the map. The green areas are the only areas dogs will be allowed off-leash, a mere fraction of the current off-leash area.

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7 Dog Breed Stereotypes

We saw a recent article on Yahoo! Shine detailing seven dog breeds that don’t deserve their stereotype and really wanted to share it. We couldn’t agree more! Properly training your dog, regardless of breed, is the single most important thing owners can do to make sure he grows up without any behavioral issues.

We consulted our expert trainer Beverly Ulbrich, founder of The Pooch Coach, to help further debunk these breed stereotypes. She told us any dog can be fearful and aggressive.

pit bull dog

American Pit Bull Terrier by Scott Kinmartin, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“All dogs need to be properly socialized and trained so they are not fearful, which almost always leads into aggression,” Ulbrich says. “Dogs need to learn boundaries and have bite inhibition. They should be taught not to growl or snap when upset.”

She also emphasizes dogs should be treated as individuals and it isn’t fair to make general assumptions about a breed.

“I don’t like spearking in generalities about breed,” Ulbrich says. “Breeds are like nationalities for people; they might look similar, but personalities and disorders vary greatly.”

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Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Pet insurance is quickly becoming popular with numerous companies now popping up on the market. But it takes more than just signing your dog or cat up and paying a premium; most companies require “routine care,” which an owner must comply with to keep their coverage intact. And most companies restrict what’s covered, so you may be stuck footing the bill. Here are four major things you need to consider before deciding on pet insurance.

1. Vaccinations and Preventative Care

You must keep up vaccinations and certain “preventative care” to maintain a policy. A dog must be spayed or neutered within one year of age or within 60 days of adoption. Breeding dogs can be insured for an additional premium with some companies. Regular vaccinations must be kept up-to-date, as well as medications to prevent fleas, lice and parasites. Apart from regular vaccinations and flea/tick medications, owners are also required to administer heartworm medications, if recommended by their vet.

“If it’s not recommended by the vet, it is not a specific requirement of our policy,” Trupanion insurance spokeswoman Heather Kalinowski says. “For vaccinations, again, we operate by the vet’s recommendation. As long as the pet owner is following recommendations set by their vet for appropriate vaccination, we will provide coverage.”

yellow dog getting shots

Yellow Dog puts on a brave face (sort of) for his vet-recommended shots.

Vaccinations are pretty much a given with pet ownership, but keep in mind you must oblige with whatever preventative medications and treatments your vet deems necessary in order to keep an insurance policy, which can be an added expense. Also be wary of over-vaccinating your pet; some vets will call for every shot in the book and others adhere to timelines of what has been clinically proven to be effective. You can read more about the vaccinations your dog really needs here on YDB.

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Happy New Year!

So we’ve been vacationing and enjoying the holidays. But we’re back! And we’ve got lots of good content in store for January.

dog wtih bug bite belly rash

Yellow developed a belly rash over the holidays. We suspect it’s from an allergy to a type of grass, but we’ll see!

We’re going to talk about the pros and cons of pet insurance and compare various companies. We will begin our quest to find out exactly what allergies Yellow suffers from and the extent of testing needed to figure it out. And we’ve got a behavioral video showing how to help your dog get over fear of things like the vacuum. Plus, we’ll stay on top of all the latest dog news.

We would also love to hear from you! What would you like YDB to cover in the coming year?

Happy New Year from Yellow Dog and his blog!