48 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. OK- great opportunity- has anyone ANY experience with basically was is Prozac for dogs? I am thinking of putting my terrier on it as a last attempt to stop him biting. He is 4? 5? now, a rescue who I took KNOWING he had a bite history and have worked hard with him. He has been obviously severely abused – and the biting is a reaction to that- but I am reaching the end of my rope. I am in the second session with an excellent trainer, but Darcy’s unpredicability is becoming a HUGE issue. 3 of my 4 kids live in terror of him (he’s bitten them, some more than once)- and I am running out of options. It is getting to the point that Doug and I are going to be trapped at home becuase while the kids are more than willing to deal with the two rescue shepherds (one of whom has had his issues too)- they will NOT deal with Darcy and I can’t say I blame them. Last year, I got a prescription from my vet for Prozac but have not given Darcy the drug to this point.

    Does anyone have any experience with Prozac for dogs?

    1. Do not recommend Prozac. Suggest asking your vet re Amitriptyline HCl (Elavil®)or Clomipramine (Clomicalm®). If she/he gives you a script you can purchase Amitryiptyline @ Walmart for low cost, Clomipramine at Costco Pharmacy. You don’t need to be a member of Costco to use the pharmacy.

    2. Not dogs, but cats. I have a cat with serious behavioral issues and we tried *everything* (for years) to help him work it out.

      I was VERY reluctant to do the Prozac with him, but we were out of options. We started with a low dose and let him go for 12 weeks before reevaluating (they say that you’ll “know” in 4-6 weeks, but I wanted to give it more time before looking at dosage increases). It took even a bit longer than that, but you could see “baby steps” in his improvements over that time.

      Now, he’s a fine addition to our household. He’s not “drugged out” (still able to start stuff with other animals if he really wants to), but he’s definitely more relaxed, more in control of himself, and more comfortable with life overall.

      For him, Prozac was the answer. I could not rehome him knowing his problems, I could not make him an “outdoor cat” knowing how close the highway is to the house and that cat fencing isn’t possible on this property, so any other choice was going to seriously impact his quality of life (confinement, etc.). The drugs keep him indoors and happy (he’s actually *happy* these days!). Even if they shorten his lifespan (liver damage over time or whatever), it was still the best choice.

      If Darcy’s blood work is good (not sure about dogs, but with cats, you want to check liver and kidney levels before starting the med and monitor as you go) and drugs are this dog’s last option, I say try it. You may have to try more than one drug to find which one works for him.

    3. I’m see that you are working with a trainer (good for you) – but wanted to know if you have tried keeping a “log” with what is going on around him right before he starts biting. I did that with one dog and was able to pinpoint his “triggers” and then able to start working with him to help him overcome his fear of the thing(s) in question. I also gave him a low dose of Benadryl (works great for anxiety – and no liver problems in the long run)…..I know it makes things seem long and tedious but sometimes it’s right there under our nose and we blink and miss it.

    4. I would definitely recommend something like Clomicalm over Prozac. We recently had to start one of our dogs on it, and in two weeks I am seeing some differences in her without her being a ‘zombie’. It won’t be exactly the same cost for you, but here in PA, our vet supplies our Clomicalm for about $60 a month. Our issue was dog aggression, not people, but she’s already at the point where I can call her off the dog she hates if I catch it right away, and I foresee a future where I don’t have to keep one locked up at all times.

      1. Thank you everyone for your experiences and advice. I will explore the alternate drugs and once I get some idea of what each entails will make some sort of decision. It was my vet who decided prozac might be the best idea – but will bring up these other drugs to her as well. My trainer is against them; but he isn’t living with this guy – some of his ideas are great and he HAS made a huge difference with my two shepherds; BUT, I think sometimes he doesn’t get the whole “live in a real world with 4 kids (older ones), friends in and out etc”. I LOVE this stupid little brat dog and he adores me – as my husband says, he is just so much fun and so full of love until Duke the Murdering Terrier takes over from Darcy Doodlebug. I think the most intriguing thing about this dog is that DESPITE having bitten doug THREE times (and we are talking serious bites here, deep wounds, scarring, swelling, bruising and antiobiotics) he still roots for him~

  2. We really need to place some of our GWP’s in foster care to make room for those needing to come in. German wirehaired pointers are for active homes, and lovely pets. We suggest if you are looking for a running partner, agility, Dock diving or obedience dog they do extremely well in these venues.

    Please see our website
    http://www.Gwprescue.com for all information and requirements on adopting. Martha is lovely and has been with us 7 months…she is fully vetted, microchipped, crate trained and leash trained. She is social, has a lot of energy, and loves everyone!

    1. I’ve seen some folks use GWPs for bikejouring or scootering as well, letting the dog do some of the work. Alexis is ADORABLE! Too bad I’m totally full up here.

      1. Two of our dogs are the first Colorado Professional Skijoring Pointer team in history,…yes, this is a common exercise even if it is just for fun as many of our adopters do skijor, scotter, bikejor. We do dock diving and agility, and field work. They are active fun dogs. Yes, Alexis is a VDD German blood line….she has a tremendous amount of obedience, and could be a wonderful dog for Rally! thanks for taking a look. Martha is soooo ready.

  3. My dog literally trembles when it’s feeding time. She doesn’t do that with my boyfriend only me. It’s like she gets so excited to eat she can’t contain herself. She also doesn’t chew her food. She vacuums it. Swallows whole. I’ve tried hand feeding her, but she swallows that too. How do i get her to slow down?

      1. I tried putting her food in a cupcake sheet and she inhales that food. She still eats it all frantically.

    1. You can also take a 9″ x 11″ baking tray and fill w/tennis balls, scattering kibble in spaces between balls. If he/she literally inhales, you’ll need to stand relatively nearby to make sure he/she does not try to destroy tennis balls and ingest them after finishing the kibble.

      1. I bought the ceramic and metallic balls to put in her bowl. The ceramic balls worked for a short time, but then stopped working. She eats frantically around the balls.

    2. My first thought – and question – is does she keep it down or throw it back up after she inhales it? If she is keeping it down then it isn’t too bad – could be a behavior thing…have you spoken with a dog trainer about it?

      Is she a rescue dog (how long have you had her)? You said she doesn’t do this with your boyfriend – does that mean inhaling her food as well as the shaking? Have you tried taking her for a walk or a good game of ‘tennis ball fetch’ to try to wear her out a bit prior to feeding her? Do you feed her at the same time each day? – I’ve found schedule can help sometimes. Same time, same place, same food – try to keep everything the same every time. If you normally have the TV or radio on then make sure it is on – I know this sounds strange but I had one dog that did the same thing and when I changed things around on her – I fed her separate from the other dogs and turned on classical music that was real slow and dreamy. I started her out with using a treat ball that the dog has to learn to roll around to make the “treats” (in this case plain dog food) out piece by piece and then slowly moved to a few pieces at a time until we were able to put an entire bowl in front of her with no problems – now she eats with the other dog(s) and will leave food in her bowl and come to it periodically to have a bite then go lay down.

      1. She’s been with me since she was 8 weeks old. So she’s never been “traumatized or without food”. She doesn’t shake with my boyfriend, but she does inhale the food and not chew it. She doesn’t throw her food up, she keeps it down.

        I get up and walk her at 5:30 am for 1/2 hour before work, then feed her. Both dogs are used to the routine of wake up, walk and potty, eat, go back to bed until daddy gets up. It’s very consistent.

        I will try the treat ball.

        Thank you!

    3. The suggestions I’d go with are to use some kind of treat/food dispensing toy, or to go with raw food. I’ve noticed that while our dogs do eat fairly quickly, with the raw food, they can’t really bolt it down. I’ve even gone with feeding their food mostly frozen still, which really made them work.

      Other options would be hiding her food all around so she has to search it out, and then she’s only chowing fast on small bits and the meal is slowed down a bit.

  4. We use the Kong Wobbler…dispenses a piece or two of kibble at a time as they roll it. Can also hold a full meal for most dogs.

  5. What are your thoughts about the need for a national database for animal abusers, do not adopt to, do not send to (shelters, rescuers, and rescue groups), do not allow your animal to come into contact with (vets, transport services, groomers, etc that have a bad record?

    Since many southern shelter dogs could be saved by transporting them north to shelters and rescuers, I see a big need for a way to check out who is OK to work with.

    What is your thoughts on this?

    1. I’d draw the line at criminal convictions related to animals. Maybe that could include loss of license by professional governing bodies. But I’d hate to imagine it on a word of mouth basis. Everybody would eventually be banned due to misinformation, personal grudges and the like.

      1. I recently met someone who adopted some cats, decided they weren’t working and drove off with the cats and didn’t come back with them – ie he dumped them on the side of the road somewhere. I wouldn’t mind people like that going on a no adopt list. I am not sure how you would regulate so that people on it deserve to be on it, but I like the idea behind it. Not sure if it can be implemented fairly though.


      2. Yes, I am also considered about how something like this could be kept fair, but I do see a growing need for some type of database like this specially with the move to make more shelters no-kill and save more animals. There needs to be an easier way for these shelters to be able to check out others they are considering sending their pets to.

      3. I, personally, am all for a database that includes those convicted of animal cruelty, vets who lose their license (or practice without one), etc. While I know there are people that fear something like that would be able to be used as a basis to ‘personal attacks’ against these people…but the same was said of the sexual predator list and it seems to be working fine.

        For people that do rescue (especially on their own), shelters, etc that are trying to rehome animals I think something like this would be much easier to use as a baseline for who NOT to adopt to. I think it is increasingly important, especially as I cringe when I go on Craigslist and see all the animals that need rehomed and these people just want the animal gone – we’ve heard stories of people convicted of animal abuse that can not adopt from shelters and such go to Craigslist to get animals to torture – and I think something like that could help people who are trying to locate homes but are unsure of the people.

        I can’t remember where, but I did hear of one that is being started in some area. I wish I could remember where but there was a huge debate about using it or not…but honestly some of the people that were arguing against it most (I googled and discovered that they have somethign related to animal charges on their record, so of course they’d be against it). I think handled the right way – and not by people just saying so-and-so wouldn’t be a good animal person because of x,y,and z….but when we get to people saying yes and no based on a personal experience then we could see personal vendettas being played out using something that could be great for those who are serious about using it properly.

        It would need to be regulated and updated often. I think using the sexual predator list would be a good example to use as to how to set it up – but I definitely think it should also include vets who have lost and/or practice without a license. Plus I think it would be best if it was run by a national animal group – but NOT HSUS , PETA, or ASPCA…maybe NAIA would be the group to spearhead something like this.

    2. You can use the excellent animal abuse database that already exists online–

      It is accurate and up-to-date, unlike some of the national DNA/DNR (Do Not Adopt; Do Not Send to Rescue) lists which are often based on hearsay.

      You can also check with local animal control officials to find out about complaints against a rescue. And you can ask for (and verify) at least 1 vet reference and a rescue reference before working with anyone.

    3. Go to Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) special website called ExposeAnimalAbusers.org to sign their on-going petition calling for a national registry database for animal abusers. Here’s the link = http://www.exposeanimalabusers.org/section.php?id=163

      If you recall back on Oct 8th (2010), Suffolk County in New York enacted the first such formal (and legally authorized) registry in the US.

      All your concerns about doing this the legal way are well founded – that’s why I wholeheartedly support ALDF’s way. Btw, Scott Heiser, ALDF’s lead attorney on criminal stuff, gives some interesting insight into the legal aspects of blocking someone like Vick The Monster from future animal possession. Read it here = http://tinyurl.com/233ea2l

    4. For groups (rescues etc.) that are going to be taking animals regularly I think I’d rather go for a system whereby they were asked to provide confidential referees of some kind. It could be the vet the rescue normally uses or another rescue with personal knowledge of them.

      That would give the best chance of getting early warning of good people whose basic problem is not being able to say no to animals in need and avoiding overloading them.

  6. Oh, WOW! Here is a video from the Winnipeg Humane Society promoting their current “overstock” of cats and kittens. Wish I’d thought of this…


    There are some observations at the NAIA blog comparing this endeavor to the somber approach common to most American shelters.

    If you haven’t been reading YesBiscuit! every day for the past week, check out Who Are We Helping on Jan 28.

    Now I’m gonna watch the Winnipeg HS video again, just because it’s fun!

    1. Thx Elaine – what a gas! That’s the most creative approach I’ve ever seen. The music and that guy are hilarious. I downloaded it so I can watch it later – just like “late nite” tv!

      You guys gotta see this! :-)

  7. I did a post on my blog about why I’m nervous to microchip my youngest dog. All the comments are in favor of chipping because the risks are so minute.
    I guess I’m in the minority, but I just don’t want to chip him. It has nothing to do with cost, I chipped my other dogs before I even thought twice a bout it.

    I think I’d rather tattoo him.
    Does anyone have a tattooed dog? What is the procedure?

    1. I think that tattooing a dog, if they have to sedated to do it, would be more risky than micro chipping the dog. I have had two different dogs tattooed. One in the ear and the other on the belly, but were done when they were being spayed/neutered and sedated. This was many years ago before micro chips were in common use. Have you talked with your vet about both options?

    2. How will someone who picks up your dog translate the tattoo into your information? I know someone who took in a stray and when she went to the vet to get him scanned for a microchip they found a tattoo but couldn’t find a database with that number in it. Seems like there isn’t a central database for tattoos so while you might be registered someone else might not know to look there.


      1. i agree with daniela- even our shelter would be hard pressed to know what to do with a tattoo (or how to locate an owner through it)

  8. I’m feeling a tad frustrated with events in my state of late so I’ll use this open thread for some shameless self-promotion of my site. It really isn’t about me at all, to be honest – and my target audience is folks outside of “our” circles – but this is my attempt to be the change I wish to see in the world.


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