June WestieGram
June, 2007

New Potty Approach!

What do you do when it is pouring down rain and your sweet Westie needs to potty?  Get the umbrella and begin the chore!  I always have problems managing the umbrella and leash all at the same time, especially being sure my sweet Westie didn't get wet.  Between the two of us, I always got the "wet" end of the deal.  Drying paws is one thing, but a soaking wet Westie is no fun.  After a bright idea, and about $12,000, I came up with a solution.  

We have a deck out back, but also an outside entrance to the lower level on one end of our home. I had a carpenter build a nice 16 X 20 porch over the entrance.  Half of the floor is concrete and the other half is covered with 3 inches of large gravel. During the rain, we take our Westies to the gravel to potty. 

Beyond that small fenced area, we have a larger area fenced that they use when it is not raining.  Because our dogs enjoy digging, we originally began using pine straw.  It will dry out quickly after a rain, but we would have to replenish several times each year.  We would order about 100 bales of pine straw each time we had it delivered.  Last year, we discovered synthetic pine straw.  It looks like pine straw from a distance, has a crunching sound when you walk on it, but it is a great product for this purpose.  It is expensive, but will last a long time. 

How do you keep the gravel clean?  If it is under cover like ours, we catch poop in a poop scooper and it doesn't even touch the gravel.  You have to be experienced to do that!  Every few weeks we use Trail Instant Odor Control.  It instantly neutralizes urine and feces odor.  If the gravel is uncovered, the rain will clean it.

You can be as creative as you like.  You can use decorative rock to dress things up with larger rocks for the border.


Did You Know...
  • Research shows that animals used in traditional forms of therapy can help teach a variety of skills and lessons, including kindness and trust.
  • Animal companionship raises survival rates for those who have had heart attacks.
  • Making something for the pet you love gives you personal satisfaction.




Boarding - Kennel Basics!


If you're traveling for summer vacation, you're probably wrestling with options for your family dogs. What will you do?  There are three basic options: (1) take your dogs with you (2) board them (3) have a pit sitter care for them.  Linda and I prefer to take our dogs with us.  But remember, if you plan to make stops along the way for sight-seeing or shopping, it is too hot to leave your dogs in the car. If you board your dogs, you want to be sure you choose a boarding kennel that will shower your dogs with so much attention that they feel like they're on vacation too.  Look for the four S's:  security, safety, sanitation, and supervision, says Jim Krack, executive director of the American Boarding Kennels Association (ABKA). Visit the facilities you're considering to make sure you're satisfied with all four essentials. Talk with staff to make sure your dogs will have daily outdoor exercise and room to run in their kennel setting. Most of us who dislike boarding kennels is not because they don't do a good job, but we feel guilty leaving them. They look so pitiful when we walk away!  They don't deserve that! One word of caution for those who choose pet sitters:  boarding kennels are designed to make sure your pet is there when you return.  We have had several people over the years who have told stories of lost or dead pets who were left with other family members or pet sitters. Many owners don't realize that dogs often try to escape to find missing masters. For more help in selecting a kennel for your beloved pal, visit ABKA's web site.  Be sure to include...
             Important and Fun Stuff!
  • current vet records with vet's name and address
  • medications
  • special feeding instructions with food
  • your contact info with cell number
  • leash
  • favorite blanket or bed
  • special toys
  • brush or comb
  • favorite treats


Dogs boost the happy quotient in our lives in more ways than we can count!

How Effective is Microchipping?
The statistics speak for themselves: Of the 3.5 million pets enrolled in AKC Companion Animal Recovery’s global recovery service, over 320,000 have been recovered to date. Each year millions of dogs are lost. And using the new AKC CAR ID System™ microchip can not only lead to a successful reunion between you and your beloved dog, but it is a great way to give back to all dogs.
<<Read more>>  


Dog Bite Awareness!
Every spring the U.S. Postal Service calls attention to what continues to be one of the nation's most commonly reported public health problems: dog bites.  An average of 11 letter carriers suffer dog-related injuries each delivery day. Many of the bites occurred despite pet owners' insistence that their dogs would not bite.

The Dog Owner's Veterinary Handbook  by James M Griffin, MD & Lisa D. Carlson, DVM
Easy-to-follow directions and an alphabetized emergency section explains how and when to treat a dog and when to call a vet. Hardback, 558 pages, photos and illustrations. 3rd ed.


Dog Beds For Your Decor!
From the do-it-yourselfer to those who want the best for their dogs, regardless of the expense, there are numbers of ways your dogs can have beds to fit your decor. Over the years, our dogs slept on toddler beds purchased from Wal-mart.  Linda made sure each dog had a special blanket. Some like decorated baskets, others go to the extreme! Click on the banner below for more Designer Dog Apparel.
 oh my dog supplies
Raw Meat Diets!

A few years ago, I became very interested in raw meat diets for our dogs.  I did the research, bought the freezer to store the meats, and bought a lot of expensive meat and vegetables (that wasn't suppose to be expensive).  At that time the most popular concern was what goes into processed dog food. Some brands of processed dog food are very low in excess additives, preservatives, and colors. Other foods are full of sugars, colors, unnecessary additives and potentially dangerous preservatives. All processed foods need preserving, but not all preservatives are good products for your dog. The issues are broader today as evidenced by the recent dog food recalls.

Linda told me up front she wanted nothing to do with it and if our dogs got a raw meat diet, it would be up to me to prepare, feed, and clean up after each meal.  Have you ever seen what a Westie looks like that has just eaten a raw meat diet?  Have you ever thought about the clean-up involved?  I can tell you, a kiss after a kibble meal is a lot different from a kiss after a raw meat diet meal.  It was a bad experience for me, but some people have the time to put into what can be a good diet.  After admitting that for us, Linda was right, I did a lot of research on kibble and found what I thought was among the best and have used those three brands of kibble for years with good results.  We have alternated use over the years.  They seem to get tired of one diet, then we alternate and their interest in the food increases.

One of the benefits with a raw meat diet is you know exactly what you are feeding your dog.  However, a drawback is you also can end up with a malnourished pet! Good nutrition is far more than feeding your dog enough to keep it from getting too thin. Proper nutrition involves knowing what your pet needs to be healthiest in regards to protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, various vitamins and minerals, etc. Deficiencies in any of these can lead to serious problems down the road. If you can dedicate yourself to study and properly creating a balanced raw diet, it might work for you.  The big question is, can you ensure your dog is getting a balanced diet?

Whether you have a wedding to announce, a new baby in the family or a photogenic pet, PhotoStamps are a fun and easy way to add a personal touch to everything you send in the mail! Yes, it's real postage! <<Click on stamp for more info>>