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multiple dog household – Alangus Mini Aussies: A Dog Blog
Jun 082013
 

I have a previous post about doggy diarrhea, but thought I’d pass along my recent experience.  Swagger has been attending doggy daycare a couple of days a week plus training one night a week in agility and to help him get ready to go into the show ring in the near future.  I added that so you’d know he has been out of my home environment a lot lately.  About three weeks ago, he lost his appetite, but I thought it was just because I had a girl in season which isn’t unusual for the little man of the household.  He hasn’t been a hearty eater anyway and was starting to look really thin…not good.

As it always happens, his symptoms of bloody diarrhea and prolific vomiting started to show up on a Saturday afternoon after all the local vets were closed.  I texted one of my contact vets and she didn’t seem concerned and just wanted me to hold food and give Pepcid and Pepto Bismol.  Because I’ve been down this road occasionally, I knew it was more than just an upset stomach but did as she instructed.  Sunday morning and things were much worse overnight.  Poor little buddy was sick…very sick and those sad eyes were asking for help.  Being Sunday….off we go to Blue Pearl, the emergency clinic in our neck of the woods for blood work and to be checked out.  I was seeing $$$ of course.

You guessed it….most likely good ole Giardia!  A quick Google search will give you all the info you need about this stomach bug aka protozoa that is all around and sometimes populates inside our poor doggy’s gut (and ours eeek!) and makes them very sick.  The biggest danger for Swagger was that he was thin at that point and could easily have become dehydrated, which luckily he didn’t.  Giardia is very difficult for a vet to test for because of its life stages, so typically the symptoms tell the story after ruling out something worse like pancreatitis or ingesting a tennis ball!

A diet of boiled chicken and rice along with a 5 day regimen of metronidazole did the trick.  I keep that drug in my stash and could have saved a couple hundred dollars, but you know, it could have been something else and I just didn’t want to risk my little boy.  All’s well that ends well!

Within a few hours, Swagger had his swag back on and was yearning to frisbee and had emptied his food bowl, asking for a second helping.  But metro is an antibiotic, so we all know it’s important to finish the round even if the pup is feeling better.

I put in a call to my breeder friend who is my goto when I have a question and asked her protocol.  She emailed me info that the metronidazole should be followed up with a 3 day round of fenbendazole (Safeguard) in the event the other drug didn’t clear the bad bugs from the system.  I buy Safeguard at Tractor Supply and use for worming my young puppies and also every 3 months with my adult dogs. It had been 3 months so it was time for a round anyway.  Giardia is very contagious, so I dosed everyone as a preventive and also to clear any worms that might be hanging around.  In my case, I had everything I needed for Swagger in my medicine cabinet but given the same symptoms again, I’d most likely make the same call for a vet’s advice.

It’s good to look back and say that was nothing serious and I’ll know next time.  Then the next time, when the symptoms show up, I second guess myself and start to worry that it could be more…and it always could.  I’m pretty confident with my dogs and their glitches and upsets, but never confident enough that I don’t seek a professional when it’s warranted.

 Posted by at 9:38 pm
Oct 092012
 

I now have have five dogs at my house, one neutered male, one in-tact male puppy, one spayed female and two in-tact females.  It is a mix of sizes from 12-28 pounds and personalities.  My dogs have a definite pecking order and as I have written before, it is quite interesting to observe, fun actually.

In my “before Mini Aussie life”, I owned a spayed female German Shepherd and at the same time, a spayed standard Aussie.  Both were beloved pets and lived long lives, past 14 years for my Shepherd and past 16 for my Aussie.  However, 12 of those years, those two dogs could not be in the backyard together, much less the same room or we would have an instant dog fight to the death of most likely the smaller dog.  They started out as good friends, with my Aussie raised from a puppy and the Shepherd added two years later also as a puppy.  All was well until the Shepherd reached maturity and one morning when I was letting the dogs back into the house from their potty time, a voracious fight ensued at my back door. Luckily, I had pepper spray on my counter and let them both have it because I was otherwise defenseless and knew my Aussie was going to die.  My Aussie girl did not have the personality to cry “uncle” and my Shepherd out weighed her by 25 pounds.

I have to admit that perhaps I triggered the scuffle, but body language is so subtle, I don’t know for sure what I did because it was like every other morning as I was leaving for work.  I was in a rush and had the day on my mind.  A few months later, the second fight occurred with totally different circumstances.  This time, I was not in sight but heard their “noise” in the back yard and quickly dumped a bucket of water on them to break up the argument.

From that date on, our house became one of two separate dog apartments.  Both got people time and training.  Both were loved for the next 12 years.  But there was no way I was going to let them together in my presence because it was so traumatic for me that I knew they would sense my insecurity and both were large dogs with the ability to do damage, even to me, if their aggression to each other might be redirected.

I’ve had dogs all my adult life and once again I’m managing a multiple dog household, but it is totally different.  Now, my dogs are small enough that scuffles are easily handled.  Second, I know much more about dog psychology and pack behavior so hopefully, I can forgo the extreme situation from before by better understanding what exacerbates a playful wrestling match into a real fight. I might add that although I dearly loved my German Shepherd and she was better than ADT for keeping intruders away from our home, I would be hesitant to own another female of that breed because of their tendency to be argumentative with other dogs. She was very people friendly, but never saw another dog she didn’t hate.

I personally think that one dog can be lonely, two dogs each have a pal for comfort and exercise and three make for lots of interaction. Those of us that have more than three need to understand dog language and behavior to keep the peace.  I found an excellent source of suggestions for multiple dog management at

http://www.shirleychong.com/keepers/archives/many.txt

Because I do not have contact information for Ms. Chong to ask her permission to post her text, but you can copy the link into your browser to read.  The article is simple and makes perfect sense.

One of my adult females is with another breeder today, my two young ones are at doggy day camp so only two of my five are at home with me.   I miss part of my pack and  will be glad to have them all back home again. Yes, it can be loud when they are all bebopping around, but we have a lot of fun!

 Posted by at 8:21 pm