Sunday, October 19, 2014

Why Do Dogs Dig?

As I was standing there for about forty minutes, watching Cookie trying to make her way into a mouse hole, it inspired this post.

Why do dogs dig?

Whether we might object to them doing it or not, the reasons are perfectly logical.

I cannot speak on behalf of ALL dogs but I can tell you our dogs' reasons for digging. All legitimate reasons if you ask them.

1. To bury something

Our guys never tried to bury food items outside. In fact, Jasmine was the only one who would bury things.

Frequently, on our walks, she'd find various treasures. Mostly gloves, sometimes other things depending on the place and season. She took it as her duty to take care of these treasures and put them where they belong - underground.

She was very meticulous about it. Not any spot would do. There were times she'd start burying an item and then change her mind and went looking for a new spot. It would take her on average at least half an hour to find just the perfect location.

She also kept a list of all the items and when there was an opportunity she'd check on them to make sure they are still good and safe. When they weren't, she'd dig them out and find a new place.

It was one of her regular activities during our walks and and the friends' farm. There it was a daily job, because they aren't very careful about their gloves and leave them laying around haphazardly. So many gloves to be taken care of, so little time ...

2. To dig something out

Other than Jasmine's maintenance of her treasures, digging something out—namely mice and other little critters, is Cookie's specialty, though JD is taking a lead from her lately.

Cookie typically has little success with this endeavour, but it is not for lack of trying.

She actually does catch mice quite regularly but when they come out, not by digging down to their hiding spot. That doesn't slow Cookie down, though. Just on our last outing of the day, she saw a mouse dash for cover in its hole. She then spent almost an hour trying to dig her way to it.

Cookie is very determined with this too. She'll keep digging until she gets what she's after or has to go home. So far she's always had to go home; poor girl.

3. To make a cool spot to rest

All of our dogs, with exception of Bruin would do this. There is nothing better on a hot day than to find a nice spot in a shade and dig a cool hole to lay in.

If it doesn't make sense to you, try it. I'm telling you, no air-conditioner will do a better job. The ground is always nice and cool, particularly in the shade, and particularly deeper down.

There are certain spots which are particularly favored for this, and each of them features its own custom-made Grand Canyon.

4. Because it's fun

Some sandy or muddy spots seem to be particularly suited for this purpose. Perhaps it's the way it feels to the paws. All of our guys would get all excited and start digging, just before they go nuts playing and chasing each other.

There is clearly no other purpose to this than fun.

How to stop a dog from digging?

I usually don't try. Why spoil the fun? If they make a hole some place where I don't want one I just bury it later.

The only exception is when Cookie starts digging hard at the roots of a tree (trust me, she'd rip out the roots in the process). In those cases, telling her "let's not hurt the tree" actually seems to work. I know, right? But it does.

For those with fancy flower beds, there are a number of great articles on how to make a designated area for dogs to dig in. I think that's a great idea. Make a doggy "sandbox", have your cake and eat it too. Everybody wins.

Related articles:
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Observation Skills Of Dogs  
If You Want Your Dog To Do Something, Teach It  
Tricks? It's Not Just About The Tricks 
What Constitutes The Perfect Dog?
Are Dog Training Classes Really For The Dogs?  
Look Where You Want To Go: Finding My Reactive Dog Training Zen Zone? 
Dog Training And Emotions 
Dog Training And Emotions: Postscript
Dogs Love Sentences In Question Form?
Not All Dog Trainers Were Created Equal Either 
A Thought On Separation Anxiety
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
About Freedom, Trust And Responsibility: A "Pilot Study"
So, We Have A Bear 
About Happiness: What Makes Your Dog Happy? 
Our Example Of The Use Of "Look At That" (LAT) 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Post-Surgery Seroma In A Dog



Dr. Greg Martinez, DVM is a proponent of home cooked diets for dogs. He believes that feeding dogs differently  may prevent or help with chronic medical conditions like obesity, skin issue, ear issues, digestive problems, diabetes, mild seizures, and bladder crystals and stones.

He is the author of Dog Dish Diet, Sensible Nutrition for Your Dog's Health.
You can connect with Dr. Greg on Facebook or Twitter.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Veterinary Highlights: Skull Shape Risk Factors For Neurological Diseases

Some time back we were following the story of Ella, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who was suffering from syringomyelia.

Syringomyelia is a painful neurological disease which can occur as a complication of trauma, inflammation or a tumor. However, the most common cause is dogs is hereditary skull malformation, Chiari-like Malformation (CM). It is very common in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels but it can affect other toy breeds.

A study, conducted at the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences identified the head shape characteristics associated with these diseases.

The idea is to enable selection away from these condition.

Two significant risk factors were found.

The extent of  the broadness of the top of skull relative to its length, also referred to as brachycephaly, and the distribution of doming of the skull.

The study suggests that brachycephaly, with resulting doming towards the front of the head, is associated with CM/SM.

Will breeders (finally) take a hint?

Source article:
Skull shape risk factors could help in welfare of toy dog breeds

Related articles:
The Dark Cloud Of Syringomyelia: Fight For Ella 
Ella's MRI Results And Update
Fight For Ella Continues
Syringomyelia Awareness: What is Chiari Malformation?
Syringomyelia Awareness: Teddy’s Story

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Primer On Melanomas

Written and reviewed by John A. Bukowski, DVM, MPH, PhD
and Susan E. Aiello, DVM, ELS

Malignant melanomas are common in the mouth and on the skin and digits of the feet.  

Tumors may be found on haired or hairless skin, and they may appear pigmented or non-pigmented. 

The tumors may grow rapidly, ulcerate, or bleed. 

Clinical signs of malignant melanomas in the mouths of dogs include lack of appetite, bad breath, or difficulty eating. 

Malignant melanomas can spread, or metastasize, to almost any area of the dog's body, and other clinical signs depend on the area that is affected. For example, metastatic melanoma in the lungs may cause trouble breathing.

Primary treatment for the melanoma in dogs is surgical removal of the lump. 

Melanomas on a dog's digit usually require amputation of the toe.

A biopsy of the mass is needed to grade the tumor, ie, to determine its aggressiveness.  Your veterinarian may also recommend blood work, x-rays, ultrasound, and examination of lymph nodes to help determine a prognosis.

Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy may be recommended.


Visit WebVet for a wealth of information about the health and well-being of pets. All medical-related content on WebVet has been veterinarian approved to ensure its timeliness and accuracy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Continuing Saga Of Cookie's Leeks: Trying Chiropractic Approach

In spite of the vet's conviction that Cookie's leaks are estrogen-responsive incontinence, the dribbles kept coming back during and after conclusion of the treatment.

I could see it during, as I imagine it takes a while for things to get on track. But at the end of the treatment, they should have been gone.

The leaks got reduced but haven't gone away.

First time Cookie started with the leaks was right after her bout of pancreatitis. That was in February. Then they went away and she didn't have any problems until late August.

The thing on my mind was, what has changed?

What has been different now and what has been different in February? Because it made sense to me that it ought to be something that was different than normally but common for both of the times.

One thing would have been some change in diet. Treating her pancreatitis, Cookie was on prescription food and off her "bone meal" stuff. After we moved to Jasmine's ranch, I didn't have a way of cooking it up for her so she was off it as well.

However, once things got sorted out a bit I started making it again ... and didn't seem to have made any difference.

So the food likely was not it.

Then it occurred to me. Pretty much ever since we got her she was getting regular chiropractic adjustments. The initial reason was that she's been very lame because of the fragment of the porcupine quill in her foot. I felt that the compensation must have taken a toll on her and made her first appointment.

It turned out that her pelvis was a mess and we started doing monthly treatments.

After we moved, we left her chiropractor behind and haven't found a new one yet.

And here is the kicker. When she had the pancreatitis, her chiropractor felt she didn't want to burden the body and we didn't do any chiropractic until Cookie was all well again.

Certainly a common thread.

Sometimes leaking becomes worse if the low back is sore or there are some pelvic issues. When the right nerve gets pinched, such as the nerve that works the neck of the bladder, this could lead to leaks.

It made sense to me so we made an appointment with a local chiropractor and got Cookie adjusted.

She needed adjustments to right sacro-iliac joint (SI), right sacral apex, Left L4, L2 posterior.

Could that have been behind the leaks?

Perhaps ... She's had no leaks since. Coincidence? Perhaps. But the adjustment certainly didn't hurt anything.

Related articles:
Incontinence? Cookie's Mysterious Leaks
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot? 
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
Is Cookie Going To Be Another Medical Challenge Or Are We Looking To Closely? 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie 
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something? Cookie's Mysterious Bumps 
Cookie's Mysterious Bumps Update
One Vomit, No Vomit 
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
Cookie's Leaks Are Back: Garden Variety Incontinence Or Not?
Cookie's Leaks Update 
Don't Panic, Don't Panic: Know What Your Job Is 

Don't Knock It Until You Tried It: Animal Chiropractic
Back At Chiropractic Care
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment

Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!

What were the first signs you noticed? How did you dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me and I'll be happy to publish your story.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Adoption Monday: King, Shepherd & Labrador Retriever Mix, Deerfield, NH

Check out this awesome boy at Mary's Dogs Rescue and Adoption!

King is an active guy looking for a "furever" home where he can play, run, hike ~ whatever you have in store!

King may need a little training with the leash but he's ready, willing and able to LEARN! Are you ready to TEACH him????

King is neutered, house trained and current on routine shots. Want more info on King? Call Mary's Dogs: or send along an email:

Ready to bring King home? Tell us about yourself and your interest in King in the adoption questionnaire. Check out all the wonderful dogs on Mary's Dogs Facebook Fan Page.


Mary’s Dogs rescues and re-homes dogs and puppies from Aiken County Animal Shelter, a high-kill shelter in South Carolina, USA. They also serve as a resource to communities in Southern New Hampshire and pet owners nationwide by providing education and information on responsible pet ownership, including the importance of spay/neuter, positive behavior training, and good nutrition.

Don't forget to check out Mary's Dogs Shop where you can shop dog and support their work!

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