Sunday, February 27, 2011

Scarlet Needs a Family

          It is once again that time of the month when I make my visit to the Delaware County SPCA in search of a dog that needs help in finding a home.  I walked in and was greeted by Justina, and she informed me that she had a dog that was in need of some help finding a home.  They had her in the back office and I was told her name was Scarlet.

          Justina lead me back to the office where I saw Scarlet laying on a makeshift doggie bed they had set up for her.  Scarlet saw me come in and immediately bounced over to where I was standing and very cheerfully and not so subtly made it known she wanted some love.  I stooped down and started to pet her, she was such a happy dog.  I still cannot understand why they were having such a hard time adopting her out.  Scarlet is a pit bull, and that may be part of the reason, but anyone who spends more than five seconds with this dog would know what a great find she was.  It is such a shame pit bulls have a bad reputation. 

          Scarlet was a stray as well as pregnant when she was found.  She was brought to the Delco SPCA on December 12th.   She had her pups not to long after she was brought in.  Of course there was no problem finding homes for her pups.  Everyone loves a puppy.  Scarlet remains, still in need of a happy home.  The folks down at the SPCA let me know that Scarlet loves children.  I was told that she gets very happy and playful whenever a child is near.  She would make a great family dog.  I even considered taking her myself, but my hands are full with the two dogs I have.  I have put an extra effort out in trying to find Scarlet a home.  I have asked friends and family to put the word out.  If you are reading this and you are thinking of adopting a dog, you cannot do much better that to adopt Scarlet. 

          Since Scarlet has been there for a while the adoption fee has been reduced quite a bit in order to help her find a home.  She would be great for any family with children.   Children should be over the age of 8.  She is not so good with cats however.  If you have a dog, you can bring your dog there so they can meet and see if Scarlet would be a good fit.   Her ID number is 38841, if you are interested you can feel free to drop by and see this loveable dog for yourself.  If you have any questions feel free to call them at 610-566-1370.  You can also check out their web site  I really hope one of you out there can find it in your heart to give this truly deserving dog a home, and help to keep her healthy and happy.

Nick C

Monday, February 14, 2011

Home Cooked Food for Your Dog

          I am happy to say that we have been making our own dog food for a few months now.  I have written on this topic before and if you will recall, the last time I wrote about dog food it was because Jasmine (our black lab) got very sick when we transitioned her from the homemade food back to her dry dog food.  Since that time, Jasmine and Frankie (our Siberian husky) have been enjoying a steady diet of homemade food.
          Jasmine has lost a lot of weight.  It’s funny, but we have been trying to get her to lose weight for a few years now, and nothing seemed to be working.  We would exercise her daily, we cut back on the amount of food we would feed her three times until she was eating a cup in the morning and a cup in the evening.  We had no idea her weight loss would be the result of homemade food.  She is now 20lbs lighter.  She lost the weight so fast it gave us pause and we took her to the vet.  The vet was shocked and did a full work up on her, she is in perfect health.  We are now feeding her 2 cups of homemade food in the morning and 2 cups of homemade food in the evening.  She is slim, her coat is so much softer, and she has so much more energy.  She is a completely different dog.  Frankie has lost a few pounds as well, though she was not overweight to begin with.   The big difference with Frankie is her coat.  Huskies have a very thick coat and they tend to shed… a lot.  Since we have been giving her the home made food she has not been shedding nearly as much and her coat feels like incredibly soft.
          You might think making dog food for your dog will be labor intensive.  I won’t lie to you, at first it was.  We now have a routine and we make the food once a week, sometimes we will make a batch that will last 2 weeks.  It is not all that hard to do, it takes about 30 minutes to put together, and a few hours of cooking time, but that is as easy as boiling some chicken.  There is no need to worry about spices or seasonings, dogs don’t need that stuff.  In fact it’s better for the dog if you don’t season the food.  Too much salt is a bad thing for a dog.  The cost is a little more than buying the dry dog food we used to, but honestly the difference is not that much.  The benefits we see from the homemade food outweigh the little extra cost.  I used to think people that feed their dogs homemade food were spoiling their dogs.  It took Jasmine getting sick for me to see how much better homemade food is for my dogs.
          I am giving you the recipe we use for our dogs below.  Try it for a month and see what happens.  It can’t hurt to try; right?

This recipe will feed two medium dogs for about a week.
You will need.
Chicken legs (2 family packs approximately 32 legs)
8 cups of medium or long grain rice
2 big family sized packages of frozen vegetables (carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower)

To cook the rice, put 8 cups of rice into a large stock pot add 16 cups of water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the rice has absorbed all the water
For the Chicken legs you can boil them for a few hours or until the meat is easy to remove from the bone.  You can also put them in a crock pot in the morning, when you come home they will be ready.  Place on a cookie sheet to cool.  Once cool remove the meat from the bone, do not forget to get the small bone, it will come off with the meat, do not let that get into the food, it could harm your dog.  Make sure you save the water you cooked the chicken in.
Boil the vegies until done.
Once the chicken is deboned, the rice and veggies are cooked you can combine it all, mix in a little of the chicken stock you saved from cooking those chicken legs until it is a nice consistency.  Store it in the fridge and use that to feed your dogs. 
You should warm the food to just about room temperature before feeding.  You can do this by putting the food in the microwave for a few minutes.  Make sure you test the food before you give it to your dog.  You don’t want to accidently burn them, and microwaves are famous for creating hot and cold spots. 
          I hope the recipe is clear.  If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at  If you try this for a month I am betting your furry family members will love you for it, and it will make the all the more happy and healthy.

Nick C

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dog Flu H3N8 Update

          After posting this article, our friends at the local SPCA contacted me to inform me there is a vaccine for this strain of flu (H3N8).  The Delaware County SPCA has vaccinated all there dogs as of the new year, and they are offering the shot and boosters to the public for a small fee.  It is good to know there is a vaccine available for this flu.  So get your furry family member vaccinated, it will help to keep them healthy and happy.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dog Flu H3N8

          Last week we took Jasmine to the vet.  She had lost so much weight with the home made dog food we felt a trip to the vet was in order.  We got some very good news.  It turns out that Jasmine is now at her optimal weight all her tests came back negative and the vet is thrilled to see her doing so well.  While I was waiting to pay the bill I came across a pamphlet about the dog flu.  I asked one of the nearby vet techs if the dog flu was a problem in our area.  She told me that it was in fact a very serious problem in Pennsylvania.

          The dog flu is actually a subtype of the type A influenza virus and is known specifically as H3N8.  It is highly contagious, and this virus causes acute respiratory infection.  While this in its self is usually not life threatening, it can cause pneumonia.  If pneumonia develops due to the flu virus, it can be life threatening.  This is not the norm however and most dogs will overcome the illness in 14 to 21 days.
          The dog flu is often times mistaken for kennel cough because the symptoms are very similar.  Some of the things to look out for are a runny nose, low grade fever, listlessness, coughing.  If your dog has these symptoms, a trip to the vet is in order.  If your dog does have the flu, he or she will probably recommend that the dog stay with them so the proper care can be given.  Though this flu is highly contagious, and is not much fun for any dog unlucky enough to catch this flu.  The H3N8 is usually not life threatening.  In fact it is the secondary complications that can become life threatening, and the chances of that are very small.  If taken to the vet and given proper care most dogs will get over this illness in a week or two.
          If your dog spends any time around other dogs, in a dog park for example, do not let your dog near any dog that is coughing or has any one of the symptoms listed above.  If your dog comes into contact with any dog that has this flu, your dog will catch it.  The best thing you can do to avoid this is to be observant, keep on the lookout for other sick dogs in places where your dog socializes with other dogs.  If you do this, and take your dog to the vet at the first sign of any illness your furry family member will continue to live a long and happy life.
          Thank you for reading; I hope the information in this article will help keep your furry family members healthy and happy for years to come.
Nick C