Wednesday, February 24, 2010


That's One Big Dog

Posted: 23 Feb 2010 02:39 PM PST

Miles-Dr.Larry-chatting-it-up Have you heard about George the really Great Dane? He's been all over the news the last couple of days after being named world's tallest dog by the Guinness Book of World Records.

It's a pretty interesting story. Apparently, a Guinness official had to go to George's home in Tucson for an official measuring attended by George's Veterinarian among others. The title was in dispute as another Dane from California was also in the running.

George measured a whopping 43 inches at the shoulder, beating out the California Dane by a mere 3/4 inch. According to the AKC, a male Dane must be at least 30 inches at the shoulder to meet the breed standard. George beats that by one Beagle.
I went to George's web site and it's full of great pictures. He "sits" in a chair much like his people. There is a series of puppy pictures that I really liked. In one of them he's chewing on a raw hide and his feet look huge. I wish I knew how old he was in these photos. If I had to guess I'd say about six months.
In another photo they show him eating from bowls that are elevated off the ground on a little table. I found this interesting. Danes, like many other large, deep chested breeds are susceptible to Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus, or Bloat, as it is sometimes called. In fact GDV is a very serious problem for Danes in particular. The reason the photo caught my eye has to do with GDV.
In the past, it was recommended that GDV susceptible dogs be fed on elevated platforms like the one in the photo. There is conflicting research on whether this is beneficial or not. Apparently George's vet thinks it is. For more on GDV, check out this post we did a while back.
There is a bag of Purina ONE Dog Food in another picture. I would imagine that is exciting for the folks back in St Louis on the Purina ONE team. George goes through about 100 pounds of food a month. My guess is that it's the Large Breed Adult Formula.
As we've discussed before, large and giant breed dogs need special nutrition. They need puppy diets that help control their rate of growth. That can help with developmental bone and joint abnormalities like hip dysplasia. As adults they need lower caloric density foods to help keep them at ideal weight.
Glucosamine can also help maintain healthy joints.
Giant dogs are an acquired taste, in my opinion. You have to make concessions for them. I remember thinking that every time we visited Cedar, Mike and Ellie. They even had a special van to haul Cedar around. Neither Cedar nor George would fit in the back of our Subaru.Dr.Larry-takes-Miles-to-school
I prefer larger dogs, myself. I like to get down on the ground and wrestle with Miles and he seems to enjoy that, too. Hugging a big dog is like hugging another person. Hugging a dog is much lower risk than hugging another human, though. We live in a real hugggy environment here in Nuevo Mexico. It seems de riguer to hug even casual friends if you haven't seen them in the last 24 hours.
I'm not wild about that. It seems kind of forced at times. Not so with a dog. I hug Miles several times a day.
I'm not sure if I'd like to have a dog as big as George. He seems like quite the celebrity these days. He even went on Oprah. His owners sure seem to be into it in a "big "way. Maybe next time we're over in Tucson I can arrange an interview with George and his people. I wonder if I'll have to go through his PR agency?

Doggie Prozac

Posted: 22 Feb 2010 08:31 AM PST

Yvonne-trans Ok, so is this a good thing, or a bad thing? According to the DailyMail out of the UK, "A dog version of the anti-depressant Prozac has been approved for sale to British pet owners."

Prozac, for dogs. Interestingly, I used to say Carmie needed some doggie Prozac, when she would not allow her lick granuloma to heal. Then, we put a sock on it and I stopped talking about doggie Prozac. When my daughter was having trouble with Twiggy, her Greyhound, dealing with separation anxiety, I started thinking about doggie prozac again...knowing, of course, that there wasn't any such thing.

I know there were and are medications you can give your pet, for separation anxiety, but most of us would choose behavior modification, wouldn't we? Or, would we (should we?) resort to the help of drugs?

According to the UK story, "Trials [of the drug] involving more than 660 mentally-disturbed pets in Europe and the US produced improvements in behaviour within eight weeks." Eili Lilly, maker of the drug, cites research showing "that as many as 8 per cent of dogs suffer from canine compulsive disorder." 

I guess that descriptive phrase: Canine Compulsive Disorder, is as good as any in identifying the issues pet owners deal with when their dogs (especially dogs, I think) suffer from separation anxiety. They note in the article that this involves dogs that chew destructively and urinate or defecate inappropriately around the house, when you're gone. Some might also vomit, pace, drool, or worse. (I don't know what the 'worse' is...they didn't go into detail.)CarmelPinkSock-web

So, I ask again - is Doggie Prozac a good thing or not? Would you consider this for your dog? I admit that, in the early days of Carmie's lick granuloma, I would have considered it. Not so much now. Now, I'd get to the root of the problem (we were home with her all the time, so it wasn't separation anxiety - I'm now wondering if it didn't start as an allergy and just blossom into the problem it became; after we put the sock on it, she never bothered it again)...

I'm in favor of behavior modification, and bringing in experts that can help with that, which the article does say should be part of a pet parent's approach. But, in reality, as the article notes, "Cats and dogs can be very susceptible to their owner's feeling and if they sense that they are unhappy they can become agitated or depressed." I guess, I believe that, and in believing it, would give the idea of doggie Prozac some thought - but only for a limited amount of time.

What are your thoughts? I wonder what Andrea Arden, BlogPaws Saturday morning keynote, thinks of this. Hmm....


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