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Traveling with Dogs – Alangus Mini Aussies: A Dog Blog
Sep 022013
 
Three Aussies

Morning Nylabone Ritual in Motorhome

We just returned from 21 days on the road in our motor home with three of our dogs, Izzy, Rosie and Swagger.   It was both an educational journey along the canals of the northeast and a fitness journey along the bike trails. If you’d like to read where we went and see a few pictures, the blog is posted at PACK EM UP.

Our three smallest travel well and don’t take much space.  We did start out the trip with Swagger not feeling so well.  He has struggled off and on lately with stomach issues and I am doing trial and error to determine the trigger that is playing havoc with his digestion.  I am slowly adding and deleting from his menu to determine the culprit of what seems to be Irritable Bowel Syndrome, either brought on by stress or what he eats or both.  When I had his last bloodwork done, his liver enzymes were a bit elevated and the vet recommended putting him on Denosyl, a supplement which helps the liver to do its work properly.  By the way, we ruled out all the parasitic causes of diarrhea first.

My old standby for dogs with diarrhea is boiled chicken and rice for a few days but in Swagger’s case, that seemed to make him worse so I changed to  lean hamburger (rinsed and drained) and rice.  When I made that change and he improved overnight, a light bulb went off and I started to consider that he might not be tolerating chicken or chicken dog food well.  Surprisingly, many dogs are “allergic” to chicken.  Over the course of a few days, when I would add in a tad bit of chicken or a rich dog treat, he would start to have symptoms again.  As always, I carry a variety of food with me when traveling, so along with the burger/rice mixture, I also gave him some canned lamb dog  food (Solid Gold) which he tolerated well.  I slowly moved on to Solid Gold Bison kibble and he was as good as new.  A couple of weeks into a red meat only diet, he is feeling spunky and eating like a little Trojan, something he hasn’t done for awhile.

I am continuing the Denosyl as recommended by the vet because as a supplement, it is a plus for dogs with or recovering from IBS.  I also read on Dog Aware  that probiotics are best given in the evening to help stomach flora replenish themselves overnight and prevent empty stomach nausea.  I had always given them in the am, so I also made that change.  For several years, I have used Dogzymes Digestive Enzymes from Nature’s Farmacy with my dogs and also with pet sit client dogs that had stress diarrhea when their owners were traveling.

It is certainly too early to make a definitive diagnosis of intolerance of chicken or chicken products and may just be circumstantial, but for now, I’m playing it safe and letting him put on some needed weight with alternative protein sources.  I’ll keep you posted on the long term outcome.

Dec 182012
 

Mini Aussie and litter of puppies

We decided to load up the motorhome and start the trek home to Kentucky from Hilton Head Island on Sunday, December 16 since Fancy seemed to be holding stable.  She had held off, so we had our fingers crossed that perhaps her body was telling her to wait for her own bed and safety zone.

Of course…not to be and as I originally predicted..day 74 from first show, the exact same time interlude as her litter in 2011.  We stopped for the night in Maggie Valley, NC at the base of the Smokey Mountains in the campground we typically use when traveling on I-40, Creekwood Farm RV Park.  It was pouring rain, so luckily we stopped a little early, around 6 pm.  By 8, Fancy was panting and pacing and crying just a little and there was no doubt, it was happening.  I gathered all the supplies and we got ourselves set to help her and for an all-night stint.  Why is it that it always starts just at bedtime?

At 9:15, the first puppy appeared and struggled a bit to finish its  entry into the world.  We cut the cord and helped it along and found the reason it was hanging back was that two puppies were trying to come down the chute at the same time.  Oops, one at a time please!  Things progressed well, with just a few glitches, but nothing serious.  By 2 am, we had 5 puppies and since the ultra sound had shown 5 heartbeats, our sigh of relief could be heard through the valley.  We straightened up the supplies and Paul went to bed and I stayed on the couch so I could monitor.  At about 4 am, the babies were squeaking a bit and I woke from my coma to check on them and found another baby entering the world.  Oh My!!!  The little blue merle boy was the biggest of the lot and ready for milk right now, or yesterday even!  Paul says this one should be named “Tardy” 🙂  We ended the night with 3 girls and 3 boys, 3 black tris and 3 blue merles.

Because I’m one to try to be as prepared as possible, I had already gathered vet info for the area and set my alarm for 730 am.  I wasn’t sure the last placenta delivered and Fancy hadn’t totally settled as mamas usually do after whelping, so I called a local vet office to ask about an Oxytocin clean out shot for her. My local vet felt like I shouldn’t risk waiting just in case because of the possibility of infection or even another puppy.  Dr. Gibson at Animal Hospital of Waynesville was so helpful and worked us into her schedule for the morning, something a lot of veterinarians just won’t do, especially for a traveler that will probably never be back.  X-rays and an exam didn’t indicate problems, but we opted for the clean out shot and a round of antibiotics.  We then loaded up to continue our ride back toward LaGrange Kentucky.

The shot gave Fancy a little discomfort because just like a similar drug for laboring people, it “induced” contractions to push out any residue that might need to be released.  Within the hour, she was obviously feeling better and laid down quietly to snuggle her new family.  The puppies had already nursed non stop for 12 hours and their little flat bellies had  rounded out and little squeaks of content could be heard on occasion.

I can’t help but interject Paul and my discussion here as we drove down the road with mama and 6 sweet little Mini Aussie puppies.  The production of a new living being is a miraculous event whether it be an animal or our more precious skin children.  There is just no way it could be a random freak of nature coming about with so much precision and in such a complicated way.

Fancy is a wonderful mom to her babies and once settled into her x-pen in our sun room, she is just relaxing and making milk to feed six hungry little mouths. We had a very nice vacation with our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren and our “fancy girl” but coming home is always sweet.  We had missed our pooches left behind with the petsitter on this trip.

Stay tuned for updates on these puppies!  Additional info can be found at my website www.alangusaussies.com.

 Posted by at 5:18 pm
Sep 012012
 

Happy Labor Day weekend!  It is difficult to travel and leave your fur friends behind and it’s equally difficult to decide who will care for them.  Since I retired from my teaching job in 2007, I have operated a pet sitting business called Puppy Luv Pet Sitters LLC in my local area to provide loving care to the pets that my clients can’t take on vacation with them.

I am definitely not anti-boarding facility, but you know your dog and I know mine.  My pups would go absolutely crazy and be majorly freaked out in a place where the other dogs were barking non stop and the cats meowing at the top of their lungs.  In fact, many dogs are so stressed, they come home sick from any variety of problems.

This is where hiring a local and qualified pet sitter might be your answer. If you check references, ask about insurance and talk with your prospective pet sitter before hiring them, you are most likely to have a good experience.  You can find professional pet sitters who are serious about their business by searching www.petsit.com or www.petsits.com using your zip code.  Most reputable pet sitters will have websites as well.

There are reasons we don’t ask our neighbors and family or the neighborhood teenager to care for our dogs while we travel.  Firstly, our neighbors, while being super nice people, just don’t want to be up at 6-7 am to let our dogs out and then back during the day and late evening.  They might graciously do the tasks for a day, but over a long period of time, you may find they no longer answer your phone calls.

Family members who know our dogs are also candidates for pet care, but many have jobs and often do not live nearby.  In addition, they may not quite be on the “same page” as you with your animals and it’s a sad story when you have boarded your dog or dogs at a parent or sister’s house and they accidentally let the dog get out to be lost in a neighborhood where they are not familiar.  I personally have witnessed that happening a couple of times when I was walking a client’s dog and saw distressed family members searching for their daughter’s dog who had “run” from fear.  Both times, I had this sinking feeling that they just might not be found 🙁

As an adult that has raised two children to adulthood, I just couldn’t leave my house key with even the most responsible teenager or even college age young person.  The liability of an empty house and teenagers isn’t something listed on my homeowner’s policy!  After all, I was a high school and junior college teacher for 28 years so I do know something about the youth psyche and good judgement isn’t always top of the list.

Taking your dogs along is always the best answer when it’s possible, but if you must leave them home when you go on vacation, consider using a pet sitter.  The dogs will be comfy in their own beds, eating from their own bowls and because they do not have the sense of time of humans, when you come home….they’ll think you’ve just been to work!

 Posted by at 6:15 pm
Oct 072011
 

New River Trail ShoalsRailroad TrestleHiking with the DogsNew River TrailFries New River RV Park

There is just nothing more fun than camping in the mountains and hiking the trail with our three little Aussies.  One of our favorite times away is to take our motorhome and camp at Fries New River RV Park at the trailhead of New River State Park in Virginia.  The trail is just gorgeous the first week of October, so tranquil running along the New River for over 50 miles.

Fries is a small historical mill town and when the cotton mill closed, the railroad spur was turned into a linear state park by the state of Virginia.  It meanders alongside the New River through the little mountain towns with a number of entry points.  This is our fifth time to come here, but the first time we have rented a car so we could ride our bikes on different portions of the trail.  So far, our favorite rides are from Fries to Gambetta and from Ivanhoe to the Shot Tower.  Both trips are about 15 miles there and back, which is my limit to ride in an afternoon.

Fries RV Park is owned and operated by a retired couple originally from Winston Salem and it is impeccably maintained and “just right”.  Private, but not lonely, with full hookups.  The sites are fairly large and easy to access.  Just across the street and down the hill to the river is a flat public grassy area the size of two football fields that is perfect for Frisbee time with the dogs.

It is so nice to have mini and toy Aussies because they are so easy to travel with.  They aren’t finicky and love to hike, but will also hang out well when we leave them behind.  I have bought a Walkie Dog to let them run alongside our bike, but ordered it too late for this trip.  The reviews are really good on Amazon, but I’ll do my own once we try it out.  I’m predicting my girls will absolutely love it.  Ike, our male, might prefer to relax in the camper.

This is the good life, beautiful fall weather, a comfy campsite, and hiking with our furry friends.

 Posted by at 7:02 pm
Jul 262011
 

I just returned from a 400 mile trek down to Atlanta for the IABCA dog show.  My adult son and I took his Border Collie, my black tri mini Aussie, Fancy, and Izzy’s two puppies along on the trip.

The show was held at Jim Miller Park just outside Atlanta and was a very nice event with about 160 dogs registered and a variety of breeds.  Fancy earned her points for International Champion as did Gus, my son’s Border Collie.  Both also got awards for Best of Breed.  It was a nice field of dogs and as always, we enjoyed chatting during the day with other dog owners.  There is always something to learn or to share where there are so many knowledgeable dog owners. Since I am a novice in the conformation ring, I especially like it that the judges write their evaluations of both my showing style and the dog’s conformation.

It is a little unusual to take along 7 week old puppies to a dog show that is that far away, but I am determined to give my puppies a good head start on their socialization and what better place than where there are barks and woofs and loud hairdryers and hundreds of hands to play with them, hands that are dog smart.

Traveling was actually quite easy because of their prior playpen training.  I drive a mini-van and removed all the back seats.  Our two adult dogs were in their kennels, but there was room to lay down a vinyl floor covering and the puppies had lots of room to play and since they were used to their peepee pads on the holder, that wasn’t a problem either.  For rest time, I tucked them into their kennel to help train them for their new homes and for them to learn that is their safe and quiet place.

At the dog show, I sat up their soft sided puppy play pen that has a bottom with their toys and pad.  They haven’t had but one round of shots, so I wasn’t comfortable putting them on the ground to play or to potty with so many possibilities of disease. That worked very nicely and they had room to bop around and a place to rest between their bops.

Their fear stage hasn’t set in, so they were happy to greet anyone that wanted to snuggle them and I was especially appreciative of the junior handlers that came around to spend time with them.  Exposure to children and young people at this age is super important in my opinion.

I might add that we had very nice accommodations at the Hilton Convention Center in Marietta and it was very pet friendly.  I had booked at another place, but it turned out to be a little shady and we were not comfortable in that particular area to be outside after dark to walk the dogs.  If I were traveling back to the same show, I’d definitely be on Priceline to book the same rooms.

It was a very nice trip.  IABCA is a relaxed and enjoyable show venue with experienced AKC judges and a nice crowd of people.

 Posted by at 1:30 pm

Vacation–Pack ’em up and take ’em along!

 Traveling with Dogs, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Vacation–Pack ’em up and take ’em along!
Oct 052010
 

My husband, 3 Aussies and I just returned from a nice vacation in our motorhome to the mountains of Virginia with the plans of riding our bikes on the New River Trail every day.  For anyone that has watched the weather, you know that Virginia was under a rain system so instead of riding our bikes, we ate comfort foods, rested and ate some more comfort food.

Surprisingly, the rain would stop intermittently and the dogs could get a long hike in the misty air or frisbee in the puddles.

The best part about our Toy and Mini Aussies is you can pack ’em up and take ’em along wherever you go!

 Posted by at 12:22 am