Update from posting of last week…

by Sue on July 27, 2016

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Last week I posted a…for lack of a better term…rant about how some service dog owners depict themselves in public when confronted by people uneducated about Service Dog rules. Honestly, I was expecting some negative feedback from the readers. In fact, and a pleasant surprise to me, the readers actually praised me or agreed with me….except for one foul mouth individual…but…you know the old saying…there is one in every crowd.

Anyway.

We here at Service Dog Tags are not your usual company. We do not advertise “Buy this and take your dog anywhere” We care about the rules and regulations and want to make sure our customers are aware of them so they can present their dog properly. Have we turned away customers we think are questionable?  Yes we have. We will turn away anyone that states to us…in so many words…that they have no disability but just want their dog to go anywhere. Or that they have an ESA and insist that they will be calling it a Service Dog even after we have tried our best to educate them on the differences and what ADA says about ESA’s . We are doing our best to stop people from faking service dogs. The only sad thing about that is the possibility that they will just go to another company that does not care.

We also do not claim to “certify” or “register” any dog as we know that it is not required by law nor recognized by any government agency. While many other websites out there will do that, we refuse to scam the disabled. Think about it…how can an online company “certify” a dog  if they have never seen the dog and watched it perform it’s duties? That is a clear indication that they are only out for your money.

Unfortunately the ADA clearly states that businesses cannot ask for proof that you need your service dog. In other words, they cannot ask for a letter from your Doctor. That puts us in a bind as we are a business. Until that particular section of the ADA is changed, that is an obstacle for us. Yes we can ask the two questions…Is that a service dog?…What does the dog do for you? (or similar). However…and I am sure you feel the same way when you see a fake service dog…allot of people are not honest. This puts us in a bind as well. This means that we have to sell our products on the honor system.

I guess this posting of mine got a little off track but at least you now know what kind of company we are. And if you hear anyone mentioning us as one of those companies that don’t care who they sell to, or allow people to fake a service dog, you can say that is not true and we are really trying to weed the “fakers” out.

I will wrap this up by saying thank you to all who handle themselves well in public and present Service Dog owners as upstanding citizens, not the foul mouthed ones that get posted on YouTube. If any of you ever need advice (not legal advice mind you. I can’t do that…sorry) on how to handle a situation, or need clarification of the ADA laws (which sometimes are about as clear as the Mississippi River) don’t hesitate to contact me.

Sussie and PTSD Service Dog “Gunny” the Dachshund.

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A word of advice from a fellow Service Dog owner

by Sue on July 18, 2016

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Recently I viewed a video of a man with a service dog who was arrested by police. I am not going to go into great detail about it but in short it was not because the man was falsifying a service dog or anything like that, it was because he was swearing at the Cops. They approached him about his service dog, he explained the ADA rules to them and then went on to swear at them because they did not know the laws.

I may upset a few people here by saying this, but I do not feel this was proper behavior for this Service Dog owner. By swearing at the Cops they had every right to immediately deem him as a threat.

This video I watched is not the first video depicting Service Dog owners acting this way. I have seen many many videos depicting Service Dog owners slinging fowl mouthed words at people who confront them about their Service Dogs. Is this a good representation of all Service Dog owners? No it is not.

Service Dog owners are getting more and more of a bad rap due to the fact that there are getting to be more and more fake service dogs out there. We people who have honest to goodness Service Dogs need to represent ourselves as responsible upstanding individuals. I am not saying not to stand up for your rights as a service dog owner. What I am suggesting is that you don’t look like a jackass while doing so.

YouTube is very large and the videos are viral. It’s on YouTube that I see these videos. And people that post them are posting them to make a statement. But it happens to be the wrong statement. For those of us that have had confrontations while out with our service dogs, these videos are of frustrations that we understand. However the rest of the public may very well view it differently. And I am afraid they will view it as that people with Service Dogs are trouble makers and the public should be leery of them.

Please do your best to conduct yourself, the best you can, in a professional manner, when confronted by someone about your Service Dog.  Remember…when you are in the public’s eye, your actions represent every Service Dog owner out there.

 

Thank you,

Sussie and PTSD Service Dog “Gunny”

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Keep those pearlies clean!

by Sue on July 11, 2016

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Brushing your dog’s teeth isn’t just about fresh breath. It’s a part of good oral care is important to your dog’s overall health. Although most people aren’t aware of it, gum disease is a common and serious problem in dogs. Yet brushing your dog’s teeth can prevent it. Veterinarians estimate that 85 percent of dogs over five years of age suffer from gum disease. Gum disease develops when food particles and bacteria collect along the gum line and form soft deposits called plaque. Over time that turns into rock-hard tartar. If tartar isn’t removed from your dog’s teeth, it will eventually inflame the gums. As the inflamed gums begin to separate from the teeth, pockets form. This causes gum disease to worsen. At this point, your dog can experience severe pain, lose teeth, form abscesses in his mouth and develop a bacterial infection. This infection can spread through the bloodstream to the kidneys, liver, heart or brain. Gum disease is irreversible, so now is a great time to get started on a regular oral care regimen for your dog. Remember…prevention is the key.

It’s ideal to brush your dog’s teeth daily, just like you brush your own. However, if you cannot do that, aim to brush your dog’s teeth at least every other day.

Smaller dogs and dogs with flat or short, broad snouts (like pugs and bulldogs) may need more frequent brushing. Their teeth are often crowded together, which allows more plaque to accumulate and increases their risk of developing gum disease.

Things to keep in mind:

If your dog is losing weight, starts eating slower or refusing to eat for no apparent reason, it is time to have their teeth checked.

If your dog develops bad breath, don’t reach for breath fresheners for your dog until you have their teeth checked. Giving breath fresheners to a dog with bad teeth is like sweeping dirt under a rug.

Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly does not totally eliminate a professional dental done by a qualified Veterinarian. It will however greatly reduce the trips to the Vet for this procedure. Since I started brushing my dog’s teeth, my Vet is doing a professional cleaning on my dog’s teeth every three years now instead of every year like before.

 

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Service dog and owner denied service at 2 local restaurants

by Sue on June 23, 2016

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LAMPASAS, Texas (KWTX) Service animals are used by a variety of people, including those with disabilities. Stacy Dickey is one of those people. She is a combat veteran who suffers from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury.

In May, Stacy Dickey was denied service at a Lampasas restaurant. She says the owner told her he was concerned that allowing her service dog inside would violate health code.

The same thing happened again Saturday at a different restaurant in the city.

“The hostess, before I got into the door asked me for certification for my service dog, and I informed her, same situation, that that is not a legal question, and there is no certification that is governed or legitimate,” Dickey said.

According to Texas law and the Americans with Disabilities Act, a person who is blind or has other disabilities has the right to bring a trained service animal to all public places.

If someone’s disability is not visible, like Dickey’s, employees can only ask the person whether the service animal is required, and what kind of task the animal is trained to perform.

After this weekend’s incident, Lampasas police are handing out informational sheets about service dogs to restaurant owners in the area, “So that they’ll know, that they’ll know that the dogs are allowed to be able to come into the restaurants,” Lampasas Assistant Police Chief Sammy Bailey said.

Bailey said most restaurant owners she has spoken with also thought they were not allowed to have animals inside because they are preparing food.

“I’m don’t want to hurt anyone’s business, I don’t want to cause anybody strife, but the lesson does need to be learned here, because this is a federal civil right,” Dickey said.

The owner of the first did not return a call Monday and the owner of the second was out of town.

In a phone interview he said his restaurant will “never have this problem again,” and the he has apologized for the situation to Dickey.

He says he wasn’t versed on the state law.

Dickey said she plans to file a misdemeanor complaint against the restaurant owner.

 

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: The reason I posted this here is that I think that it is wonderful that that the local authorities got involved in educating the local store owners. An individual can do their best to try and convince a store owner of the rules and regulations. But nothing drives it home more than when the Police come knocking on their door.

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Jeepers, Creepers. Make sure to check those Peepers!

by Sue on June 14, 2016

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Giving your dog regular home eye exams will help keep you alert to any tearing, cloudiness or inflammation that may indicate a health problem. The following suggestions will help keep your dog’s vision sharp.

Face your dog in a brightly lit area and look into his eyes. They should be clear, bright and the area around the eyeball should be white. The pupils should be equal in size. There should be no tearing, discharge or any crust in the corners of the eyes.

With your thumb, gently roll down your dog’s lower eyelid and look at the lining. It should be pink, not red or white.

The following could be signs that something may be wrong with one or both of your dog’s eyes:

Discharge & crusty gunk
Tearing
Red or white eyelid linings
Tear-stained fur
Closed eye(s)
Cloudiness or change in eye color
Visible third eyelid
Unequal pupil sizes

Gently wipe with a damp cotton ball to help keep your dog’s eyes gunk-free. Wipe outward from the corner of the eye and be careful not to touch his eyeball as you may scratch the cornea. If your dog constantly suffers from runny eyes and discharge, please see your veterinarian. Your dog may have an infection.

Long-haired breeds can get eye damage if their locks are not trimmed. Using scissors with rounded tips, carefully trim the hair around your dog’s eyes to keep his vision clear and prevent hairs from poking and scratching. In wirehaired breeds you may simply pluck the hairs which are close to the eyes. My wires seem to get hairs growing towards the eyes from the corners of the eyes. These hairs are easy to pluck.

Soaps and topical medications can be major irritants. Make sure to protect your dog’s eyes before bathing him, applying ointments or flea-control formulas.

Dogs love the open road with the wind in their face. But if debris or an insect touches their eyes they can suffer pain and a long-lasting injury. It’s much safer to drive with the windows only partially down so the dog cannot put his head outside the vehicle. The wind can also dry out your dog’s eyes which can possibly cause irritation and infection.

Do a little research and find out if eye conditions are common in your dog’s breed. Of course your dog should have his eyes checked on annual vet visits. But knowing about possible inherited problems will help you take important precautions.

Watch your  dog’s body language. Pawing or rubbing his eye area may alert you to possible problems.

The following eye disorders are commonly seen in dogs:

Conjunctivitis: One or both of your dog’s eyes will look red and swollen and there may be discharge.
Dry Eye: Diminished tear production can cause corneal inflammation, squinting and discharge.
Cherry Eye: An enlarged tear gland forms a cherry-like mass on the dog’s eye.
Epiphora: An overflow of tears creates stains on the dog’s facial fur.
Glaucoma: The cornea becomes cloudy and the eye enlarges due to an increased pressure in the eyeball.
Ectropion: A turning outward of the upper eyelid causes the lower lid to droop.
Entropion: A rolling in of the eyelid causes discharge and tearing.
Cataract: An opacity on the lens of the eye can cause impaired vision and possible blindness .
Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Caused by degeneration of retinal tissue. Night blindness is often it’s first sign.

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Dog Liposuction?

by Sue on June 8, 2016

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It’s easy to hear about liposuction and dogs and think “Wow, people have gone too far”. But it’s not what we first think it is.

While human liposuction focuses on weight loss for cosmetic reasons. When the procedure is performed on a dog it’s actually used to improve the health of the dog. The non-invasive procedure removes the fat from lipomas in senior dogs.

Lipomas are harmless tumors of fat cells that can be large and/or numerous on some dogs. If gone untreated, they can grow quite large and interfere with the dog’s movement if they are in a bad place.

“They can be really big,” stated Rebecca Pentecost, DVM. “I had one that we took almost three and a half liters of fat out of it.”

Dr. Pentecost, a veterinarian at Animal Clinic Northview in North Ridgeville, Ohio, has performed the procedure on patients from several states and countries.

The procedure is a safer alternative to major surgery, which could leave senior dogs with a long recovery time and up to 30 stitches. Liposuction requires only a small incision and up to two days of recovery. The procedure can be done with less anesthesia as well. which is another benefit for older dogs.

The downside? Since the entire lipoma is not removed, there is a 23 % likelihood that the fat will come back. But it is worth the risk as the older a dog gets the less they tolerate lengthy operations.

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Should you be concerned about the Zika virus and your dog?

by Sue on June 2, 2016

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The Zika virus, transmitted through mosquitoes, has been in the news lately as a health concern for humans causing fever and joint pain and, of most concern for pregnant women, serious birth defects in infants.

Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. Currently only humans and primates can contract the Zika virus. There is no evidence that dogs can contract the disease however the research has not been done.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported the following regarding animals and the virus:

  • At this time, animals do not appear to be involved in the spread of Zika virus.
  • There is no evidence that Zika virus is spread to people from contact with animals.
  • There have not been any reports of dogs, or any other pets becoming sick with Zika virus. However, more research is needed to better understand Zika virus in animals.
  • Animals in the United States are not at risk of becoming sick with Zika virus.

The most concerning disease transmitted to dogs by mosquitoes is heartworm disease, which can be prevented by giving monthly preventative medications.

Taking precautions to prevent mosquitoes near your kennel and home is a good idea. Mosquitoes need standing water to produce so look on your property for any place that holds water for long periods and eliminate these sources. Change the water in bird baths, wading pools, etc. at least once a week.

Keep pets indoors during peak mosquito hours, which are dawn and dusk. Reduce light at night since light tends to attract mosquitoes. Bug Zappers help keep the mosquito population down as well.

Have a safe and happy summer.

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Rare human disease found in dogs

by Sue on May 18, 2016

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A rare, severe form of pulmonary hypertension which, up until now, has only been classified as a human disease has also been discovered in dogs.

“Our research is the first to document the existence of pulmonary veno-occlusive disease, or PVOD, in dogs,” said Kurt Williams, the lead author of the study and an expert in respiratory pathology in MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “PVOD is considered one of the most severe forms of pulmonary hypertension.”

The number of pulmonary hypertension (or PH) cases reported in the United States is low, affecting under 50 people per million each year. PVOD is diagnosed in only about 10 percent of PH cases. Unfortunately, there are very few effective treatment options for PVOD and a lung transplant often becomes the best choice.

“PVOD might be more common in dogs than in people, but this has yet to be determined and needs to be looked at further,” Williams said.

Pulmonary hypertension develops because of abnormal blood vessels in the lungs. That makes it harder for the heart to push blood through and provide oxygen to the rest of the bod. In cases of PVOD, the small veins in the lungs become blocked increasing pressure in these blood vessels and ultimately causing heart failure.

“The same process happens in canines,” Williams said. “These dogs also come in with similar symptoms as humans, yet because subtle changes in health may not be recognized as quickly in dogs, death can occur quickly once the animal is seen by a veterinarian.”

Symptoms include coughing, increased rate of breathing, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite and chronic fatigue. Progression of the disease in humans can last up to two years before death finally comes.

“PVOD is a poorly understood disease not just because it’s so rare, but also because there’ve been no other animals known to have the disease,” Williams said. “Our finding changes things.”

Williams said that the discovery could be very important for human medicine because the canine disease may serve as a model for human PVOD.

“Its cases like this that help to remind us how important veterinary medicine is to medicine in general,” he said. “Our colleagues in the human medical community are becoming much more aware of the many diseases shared by our respective patients and how together we can learn from each other.”

 

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Heatstroke in Dog: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

by Sue on May 5, 2016

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Heatstroke or heat stress is a state of hyperthermia (elevated core body temperature above the normal range) resulting in thermal injury to tissues. Heatstroke occurs when heat generation exceeds the body’s ability to lose heat. Heatstroke is a very serious condition: it can lead to multiple organ failure and dogs can die quickly from heatstroke.

 

What are the main predisposing factors?

A warm/hot, humid environment

Lack of adequate ventilation/air flow

Lack of adequate shade

Lack of adequate drinking water

Excessive exercise

What are the signs of heatstroke?

 

Signs may vary between individuals, but commonly include:

Incessant panting (increases as heat stroke progresses)

Drooling, salivating

Agitation, restlessness

Very red or pale gums

Bright red tongue

Increased heart rate

Breathing distress

Vomiting, Diarrhea (possibly with blood)

Signs of mental confusion, delirium

Dizziness, staggering

Lethargy, weakness

Muscle tremors

Seizures

Collapsing and lying down

Little to no urine production

Coma

How do you avoid heatstroke for your dog?

 

You can help to prevent heatstroke by ensuring your dog is kept in appropriate environmental conditions and being aware of the symptoms so action can be taken swiftly.

Provide your dog with a cool, shaded area with good ventilation at all times – adequate ventilation and air flow are important as dogs cool down via evaporative cooling (panting) which requires adequate air flow.

Provide plenty of clean fresh water and extra water sources in case of spillage.

Bring your dog indoors on hot, humid days if the indoor environment is cooler for the animal (e.g. air-conditioning, child-safe fans, open windows where possible and shade).

Do not exercise your dog in hot, humid conditions. On hot days try to walk your dog very early in the morning or very late in the afternoon when it is cool, and avoid the hottest part of the day.

Do not leave your dog in a car or vehicle - even when the windows are down dogs can still overheat and die. One study found that even on mild days the temperature inside the vehicle rises rapidly to dangerous levels.

Avoid hot sand, concrete, asphalt areas or any other areas where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade.

How should you treat a dog with heatstroke?

First step is to instigate Emergency First Aid at home - the aim of first aid is to help normalize body temperature.

  1. Apply or spray tepid/cool water onto the animal’s fur/skin. Followed by fanning of the pet to maximize heat loss.
  2. Wetting down the area around your pet can also help.
  3. 3.     Don’t use ice-cold water or ice as this may exacerbate the problem. NOTE: There are videos online of dogs playing in kiddie pools full of ice. This is perfectly safe providing the dog is not suffering from heatstroke. Dropping the temperature down too quickly on a dog with heat stroke can cause shock.
  4. Then take your dog to the nearest Vet immediately.
  5. Heat stroke is a life threatening emergency - always see a vet. Even if your dog looks like they may be recovering or you just suspect they might have heat stroke they should still always be checked by a vet. Given the seriousness of this condition, it is better to be safe than sorry and have your dog checked out by a vet.

How do vets help dogs with heatstroke?

Vets are trained to assess the severity of the heatstroke and then provide emergency medical treatment as required. They will check your dog’s body temperature and vital signs and then instigate emergency treatment which may include:

Putting your dog on a drip (intravenous fluids)

Cooling treatments e.g. cooling enemas

Supplemental oxygen

Medication as required

Blood tests to check organ function

Ongoing monitoring and treatment as required

More tips for taking care of dogs in hot weather:

Owners need to be aware of sunburn especially in dogs with white, non-pigmented skin and a white-colored coat.

All dogs are susceptible to heat stroke so owners need to make sure that they take active steps to prevent it.

Other exacerbating factors can include:

Obesity

Brachycephalic breeds (short-nosed/flat-faced) e.g. Pugs, English bull dogs, French bulldogs, Pekingese and Persian and Himalayan cats.

Respiratory disease/breathing problems – laryngeal paralysis, collapsing trachea

Thick/long hair coat

Heart problems/Cardiovascular disease

Extremes in age (young/old)

Neurological disease

Excessive exercise

Dehydration

Follow these rules will lead to a safe, and enjoyable, summer.

 

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Marine Is on a Mission to Provide Veterans Suffering From PTSD With Service Dogs

by Sue on April 28, 2016

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As Cole Lyle testified before Congress today, his service dog, Kaya, was at his feet.

Lyle, a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan, suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

After several years taking prescribed sleep aids and antidepressants and even contemplating suicide, he said he decided to try a different kind of therapy: trained service dogs.

Service dogs are not provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, so Lyle tried to get a dog through local nonprofit groups.

But the wait times were over a year, and Lyle said he didn’t feel like he had time to wait.

He purchased Kaya and had her trained for PTSD symptoms by an Assistance Dogs International-accredited trainer. After spending $10,000 of his own money, he had the help he needed.

“The bad days are less frequent than they have ever been,” Lyle told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

 Lyle testified before the committee about the benefits he’s experienced since having Kaya, including how Kaya knows to wake him up when he’s suffering from a nightmare. The dog has reinvigorated his life with purpose, he said.

Now, he’s speaking out in the hopes that the VA will change its policy.

Currently, the VA does not provide benefits for PTSD or mental health dogs because they say the dogs are not known to be effective in overcoming specific functional limitations in veterans with PTSD.

A study commissioned by the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act was meant to assess the way the VA could use service dogs for treatment and rehabilitation for veterans. However, that study has been plagued with challenges that have only allowed 40 dogs to be paired with veterans, according to the House committee.

In 2012, the VA concluded it would not support service animals, citing a lack of evidence supporting the efficacy of mental health service dogs.

Dr. Michael Fallon, Chief Veterinary Medical Officer for the Office of Research and Development at the VA, echoed this sentiment at the hearing, saying “the benefits of service dogs in assisting people with mental health diagnoses have not been established in scientific literature.”

But Rory Diamond, the executive director of K9s for Warriors, told the committee that research already shows veterans with PTSD receive extraordinary benefits from service dogs.

Diamond said benefits for veterans include eliminating their use of medications, handling anxiety better, and reducing suicidal thoughts, nightmares, and night terrors.

“There are thousands of veteran suicides that could have been prevented if they would have had access to a service dog,” Diamond told Congress.

Steven Feldman, executive director of the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation, testified that there is already significant scientific evidence to substantiate the use of service dogs for veterans with PTSD.

He pointed to several studies, include research conducted by Purdue University on animal-assisted intervention for victims of trauma.

“People with PTSD often experience emotional numbing, yet the presence of an animal has been reported to elicit positive emotions and warmth,” that study concluded. “Animals have also been demonstrated as social facilitators that can connect people and reduce loneliness, which may assist individuals with PTSD break out of isolation and connect to the humans around them.”

A new bill, H.R. 4764, will direct the VA to carry out a five-year pilot program in which the agency will provide service dogs and veterinary health insurance to certain veterans who served on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, and were diagnosed with, and continue to suffer from, PTSD.

 For Lyle, this bill is a crucial step for veterans who are running out of options to combat PTSD.

“I believe that allowing veterans to fight PTSD without all options available to them is tantamount to sending our military to fight an enemy without a secondary weapon in their arsenal,” Lyle said.

Dr. Fallon concluded his opening testimony by saying that the VA offers a wide range of treatment options to treat PTSD and its symptoms and is using technologies to increase those offerings.

“VA remains open to new and innovative treatments for PTSD and supports research on these treatments as part of its portfolio on PTSD and related conditions,” he said.

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