Diseases from dogs

Diseases from dogs

Owning a dog is proven to be really good for you… lowering your blood pressure, encouraging exercise and even reducing depression. But there’s a downside too. There are some diseases that we can catch from our pets, and some of them are serious.

Diseases you can get from your Morkie

The Center for Disease Control says that the most common diseases you can get from your Morkie are:

  • Campylobacteriosis
  • Dog Tapeworm
  • Hookworm
  • Rabies
  • Roundworm
  • Brucellosis

These diseases aren’t that common, and you can’t always blame the dog.  You can get Campylobacteriosis for example, by eating contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, or having contact with infected animals.


This one is fairly common, but can be caused by bad food, bad water or an infected pet or another animal.  Cross-contamination of foods, eating raw chicken or not washing your hands well are other causes of Campylobacteriosis – which is a leading cause of diarrhea. 


Read more at the CDC

Campy – what???

Break this word into three parts for easier pronunciation – Campy-lo-bacteriosis

Here’s how from YouTube:

Dog Tapeworm

Again stay away from the raw meats if you don’t want to end up with tapeworms. (We’re looking at you, steak tartare). To get tapeworm from your dog or cat, you’d have to swallow an infected flea.


Read more at the CDC


Keep your shoes on and you’ll be safer from hookworm.

These intestinal parasites are more common in dogs and cats, especially puppies. They’re spread from poop and infected soil, so walking barefoot is a no-no. A child might accidentally eat the worm eggs (we don’t even want to know how!)  Hookworm can cause itchy, painful skin or a queasy stomach.

By the way, puppies not treated properly for tapeworm can die.


Read more at the CDC

More worms you COULD get from your Morkie


This one is more serious: roundworm can cause a disease known as toxocariasis, which takes two forms:

  1. Ocular toxocariasis – which can result in vision loss, eye inflammation or damage to the retina when the creature invades the infected person’s eye. Typically, only one eye is affected.
  2. Visceral toxocariasis: this results when Toxocara larvae migrate to various body organs, such as the liver or central nervous system.

Roundworm larvae are fairly common in puppies. This is another reason to ensure your puppy is wormed at the Vet’s and for doubling up on handwashing.

Read more at the CDC


OK, we have to admit: Ringworm is not a worm, it is a contagious fungal infection.

Ringworm shows up as a ring-shaped rash on the skin or a bald patch on the scalp. It passes easily from pets to people, and from people to people, who can get it from direct contact with an infected animal.

Read more at WebMD

Read more at the CDC


Rabies has been all but eradicated in the western world, but it is still found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. In other countries, however, dogs still carry rabies.

A virus, rabies is spread by saliva from the infected animal so is spread by a bite. The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system, heads to the brain and eventually causes death. By the time the symptoms have appeared it is often too late to treat the victim.

Vaccinations for rabies keeps the disease in check. Unfortunately, we tend to over-vaccinate our pets and this includes annual or bi-annual rabies shots when one vaccination at the beginning of your dog’s life is usually sufficient to prevent rabies.


And two more – Lyme Disease and Leptospirosis

According to the CDC, it is highly unlikely you’d get either of these diseases from your pet.

Although dogs and cats can get Lyme disease, there is no evidence that they spread the disease directly to their owners.

However, pets can bring infected ticks into your home or yard. Consider protecting your pet, and possibly yourself, through the use of natural tick control products for animals. You can read more about this in my book Ticks on Dogs: Small Dog Nightmare.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that your pet COULD get from drinking water contaminated by infected wild animals, mostly rodents. In humans, it may produce no symptoms, or it may come with many, including high fever, headache, chills, aches, vomiting, jaundice, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rash.

To catch Lepto directly from your dog, he would have to be infected, then you would have to have direct contact with urine through broken skin. You CANNOT get the Lepto virus through saliva.

Because there are so many strains of Leptospirosis, and vaccines have proven ineffective, most dog owners are not vaccinating their dogs – and especially not small dogs.

Three sensible ways to control diseases you can get from your dog




1. Hygiene

  • good hand washing goes a long way in deterring these zoonoses
  • keep your dog clean as well – regular bathing and combing helps and it also lets you check on the condition of his skin and coat, often leading indicators of illness in dogs
  • clean up dog poop and urine right away
  • wash your dog’s bedding regularly
  • keep water and food dishes clean, and separate for each pet


2. Common sense

  • get your pets wormed regularly and consider heartworm medication
  • make sure they have veterinarian check-ups at least annually
  • feed your dog a quality diet
  • infants, the elderly or anyone with a compromised immune system, should be extra vigilant about exposing themselves to dangers


3. Watch your dog

  • keep an eye on your dog:  don’t allow him to eat garbage, dead animals or birds or hang out at bird feeders (birds can a number of zoonoses)
  • beware of pet food recalls – especially pet snacks like jerky treats. They are often recalled because of salmonella dangers (visit DogFoodAdvisor.com for regular updates)
  • don’t let your dog eat poop or drink out of the toilet (which would be quite a feat for a Morkie!)


Read more

You can read about all 14 possible diseases and infections you can get from your pets (zoonoses) here at MotherNatureNetwork.com  for more details.

How often should you walk your dog?

How often should you walk your dog?

How often should you walk your dog?

Lots of people get a small dog because they don’t think they need long walks. But small dogs need walks just as much as big ones – so how often should you walk your dog?

There are plenty of benefits for both you and your Morkie, and fall is a perfect time to start a healthy habit like daily walks.

7 Reasons to walk your Morkie every day

  1. Exercise is great for everybody: canine and human. This is a no-brainer reason to walk.
  2. Weight control is easier with regular walking, again, for both you and your Morkie. Small dogs tend to put on weight more easily, since it doesn’t take much and because owners often don’t exercise them enough.
  3. Walking can help relieve constipation.
  4. Gentle, regular walking is a good way to ease arthritis pains.

5. A well-exercised dog is less likely to be destructive at home because he’s had a chance to burn off that excess energy.

6. Walking on a leash is a great way for your Morkie to learn discipline, and to understand that you are the leader of the pack.

7. A walk is a good way to give your dog some mental stimulation too. Dogs love walks because they get to sniff out all sorts of new scents, and maybe socialize with other people and dogs. While you want to keep your Morkie moving, don’t be so extreme that he never gets to “stop and smell the roses.” Those scent trails are VERY important to dogs – they are like their twitter or facebook.

The best leash and collar to use to walk your Morkie

The best collar to use when you walk your Morkie isn’t a collar at all, it’s a harness.

Because both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese can be prone to collapsing trachea (windpipe), it’s important that your dog doesn’t pull on a collar.

A collar is fine for keeping your dog safe via up-to-date i.d. tags, but for walking, look at a harness to minimize the risk of throat and neck injury.

Pulling on your Morkie’s neck can make tracheal collapse – or collapsing windpipe – worse. Morkies are prone to this disease, because both parents are too.

collapsing trachea illustration

say no to retractable leashes

Just say NO! to retractable leashes

Retractable leashes get the thumbs down from most animal experts. Even Consumers Report has warned how dangerous they can be.

Although they will give your Morkie extra freedom to sniff and poke around, they break more easily; they can wrap around your legs easily, and they teach your Morkie to pull because that’s what releases more leash.

A retractable leash lets your dog get too far away from you, too quickly.

Does your Morkie go crazy when you pick up the leash or mention the word “walk”?

My own dogs can make going out very stressful.

The Yorkie, Tinkerbell, SCREAMS she’s so excited. I’ve finally learned how to manage this. When she starts with over-the-top yelping and screaming because she thinks we’re going for a walk, I say (calmly) No, no. Then stop all actions that will lead to a walk. I put down the leash and go into another room and sit calmly.

Then I try it again. Still going crazy? Then I repeat the actions: say No, drop the leash and go into the other room quietly.

It only took two times and now, she’s just fine when we start out on our walk.

How often should you walk your dog?


Finally, to get back to the question of this post: How often should you walk your dog?

Daily is important. Shorter more frequent walks are often better, but longer walks work too, provided your Morkie has built up to them. Like us, dogs need to ramp up to exercise, not jump in all at once.

Experts say that a brisk walk that is 15 to 20 minutes once a day will mean real benefits for your dog… and for you.

Start slowly, keeping your Morkie’s age and health level in mind. Then build to one or two 20-minute walks a day.

How to find a lost dog

How to find a lost dog

What’s worse than realizing your dog’s been lost? Just about nothing. But here are some tips on how to find a lost dog.

Why did my Morkie run away?

You can usually narrow the reasons to just 3:

    • fear – of thunder or fireworks
    • extreme boredom or loneliness
    • sexual urges because your Morkie has not been neutered or spayed

Nearly 20% of dogs run away during fireworks or a thunderstorm. They’re so freaked out by the loud noises, they run away. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), nearly 1 in 5 pets goes missing after being scared by loud noises such as fireworks and thunderstorms.

During fireworks or a thunderstorm, make sure your Morkie is VERY securely contained inside your home, ideally within a kennel cage or a small room. Play music to reduce the overall noises scaring him. Check on him frequently.

The 3 Most Important Things to Do if Your Dog is Lost

 According to the ASPCA, the three most important steps are: 

    1. Start Searching IMMEDIATELY
    2. Put up flyers locally and online
    3. Checking local shelters the first day your Morkie has gone missing

Tip #1

Don’t panic

93% of lost dogs are found, so don’t panic. Act quickly but don’t panic.

Tip #2

Start searching immediately!

Leave someone at home for the phone, or forward your home phone to your cell phone number and head out.

Walk or drive, and take a favourite squeaky toy to make noise. Continually call to your Morkie. Don’t forget your flashlight for when it gets dark.

PETA recommends changing your voice mail in case you miss a call. Try something like this:

If you have information about my missing [cat], I need to speak with you. Please leave your name and number and repeat them. If you don’t have a callback number, this phone should be answered by a live person between [x] and [y] today. You can also reach [someone you absolutely trust] at [another number you are absolutely sure of]. If I don’t call you back, it means that I couldn’t hear your number clearly, so please try me again. Thank you

Tip #3

Make Flyers

PAWBOOST.COM has a template you can easily fill out and print. Basic services are free and there are some upgrades to get your message sent out to a wider audience (mostly via Facebook).

lost dog poster

The Lost and Found Poster

Ideally, say “LOST MORKIE” not just “lost dog.” This gets right to the point.


    • a large, color photo. Don’t have a good one? Get the closest copy from Google images.
    • his gender, size, and name
    • the date he went missing
    • where he was last seen
    • your phone number large – and be sure to say call ANY TIME
    • include REWARD OFFERED but don’t say how much

Print at least 50 copies and put them all over your neighborhood, especially where there are people gathered, such as a bus stop.

When you walk your neighbourhood be sure to take the posters with you to hand out to people you meet, even kids.

Keep Your Poster Simple

Lost Morkie + description + your phone number + REWARD

Tip #4

Visit animal shelters, the humane society and rescue organizations.

You need to actually visit, because you could be fluffed off on the phone; volunteers at shelters are VERY busy.

Tip #5

Search online for lost and found pets.

Also check Pets for Sale, in case someone has taken your pup to sell him

Don’t forget social media.

Don’t be a victim of dog theft

Lost or Stolen?

Up to two million animals are stolen each year. Dog theft is increasing and there are a number of reasons why. Some thieves take your pet to sell. Others take him for a gift for someone, and still others steal a dog to keep for themselves. Whatever the pathetic reason, cut their chances by:

NOT tying your dog outside alone, ever

NEVER leaving your dog in a fenced yard, even in the backyard.

DON’T leave your dog in the car with the windows down. Don’t leave him in the car period, since on a moderately warm day, the interior of a car can heat up to more than 100 degrees in a short time.

LEAVE OFF your Morkie’s name on his tag. Instead, use the valuable real estate on a tag to say REWARD and your current phone number. Don’t give a thief the chance to call your dog by name to avoid suspicion.

TAKE up-to-date photos of your Morkie, clearly showing him from all sides, with a clutter-free background. Keep them stored somewhere secure.

Tip #6

Put ads everywhere

Put notices for your lost dog in Craigslist, Missing Pet Network, FindFido.com, center for Lost Pets and your local paper.

Post your flyer on your facebook page.

More online help to find your Morkie

These sites have tips and often feature lost pets. 

  • Missing Pet Network
  • Petfinder – tips
  • Pet FBI has a database of lost pets, including their own and that of Helping Lost Pets; its’ good although not yet comprehensive. They also have templates for Lost pet posters.
  • Find Toto or Lost My Doggie will call or email thousands of your nearby neighbours to let them know your pet is missing. Both offer free and paid services.

Tip #7

Got a microchip? Keep it up to date.

Check with the registry office as soon as your Morkie has been chipped, to make sure they have the right contact information. You’ll see who to contact on the paperwork itself.

ALWAYS give the registry your updated phone numbers, address and email information. Otherwise, microchipping is useless.

Six Bad Things Good Dog Owners Do

Six Bad Things Good Dog Owners Do

There are millions of pages online about bad dog behavior, but what about bad dog OWNER behavior? Here are six things that bad owners do and they probably don’t even know it.

If you spot yourself in any of these, it might be time for a change.

1. You treat your dog like a baby.

We all love our Morkies a ton, but sometimes it gets a little weird. You know the type of owner I mean: her Morkie’s name is embroidered on her pillows, and there are dog toys of every kind, scattered from kitchen to bedroom to bath. The dog is so spoiled that she would do well on ‘Toddlers and Tiaras.’

If you want to act silly like that, it’s ok. But what about the effect you have on your Morkie? She is a dog, and she wants you to treat her like a dog. It’s in her DNA. Despite how different they seem, your Morkie and a wolf in the wild are closely related and have the same interests: running, sniffing, chasing, barking, rolling in bad smells, and more.

Like the wolf, your Morkie is a pack animal and needs structure and discipline to feel fulfilled, and not frustrated. Your dog wants and deserves your affection, but he also deserves training and exercise. And to be treated like a dog.

your dog and a wolf are the same

2. Your dog is under-exercised and bored.

If your Morkie has bad habits like chewing or barking too much, it could be a cover for something else: he’s bored. Animals have pent up energy, and it needs to be burned off with activity.

That activity includes plenty of exercise even for toy dogs.

It also includes mental stimulation in the form of training and games.

Dogs have had jobs for centuries, from rounding up cattle to hunting or hauling. Even the little Yorkshire Terrier started out earning his way as a ratter in the mines and factories of Victorian England.

Dogs get frustrated if they can’t meet their instincts, and that’s when they start to show signs of aggressive or bad behavior.

So give your dog a job. Two good long walks a day, sniffing out the neighborhood, is a good start; or tossing a toy to fetch, or learning a trick. These are all ways to use up his excess energy and engage his brain.

3. You're acting like your dog's playmate, not pack leader.

If you’ve watched the Dog Whisperer or read any of Cesar Millan’s books, you know how adamant he is that:

• Dogs are pack animals.
• Someone will be the leader of the pack (the alpha dog).
• It better be you.

You’ve just abdicated being the pack leader, and now you’re the follower. Your dog is calling the shots, not you. Instead of following your dog’s lead, make it clear that play begins when she is calm and responsive, and you are ready.

As Cesar Millan reminds us, “Being a pack leader is not a part-time occupation; it’s all the time.”

Being a pack leader does not mean using aggressive, dominant behavior. It simply means you’re in (calm, controlled) charge.

Follow the example of the mother dog. Mother dogs eat before feeding the puppies. They don’t allow puppies to jump on them, and they make it clear when they need some alone time. Take some leadership lessons from the mother dog.

4. You're inconsistent with your dog.

Sometimes you let him jump up on the couch, then you don’t. You have no established daily routine.

You don’t use the same commands, and instead, try to talk to your dog in full sentences. Then you’re surprised when the dog doesn’t follow instructions.

Dogs love routine, and they respond best when they can anticipate what’s coming.

5. Instead of teaching your dog, you punish bad behavior.

When you don’t have the patience to teach your dog proper behavior, chances are you end up frustrated and punishing your dog. Physical punishment is ALWAYS wrong, and it will always result in the loss of trust between you and your dog.


a trained dog is a safe dog

6. You're tense and nervous around your dog.

Because they can sense so much about us, dogs know if we are tense, angry, tired, nervous often better and before we know it ourselves.

Dogs communicate with you and other dogs through hundreds of non-verbal signs, including reading your body language, tone, facial expressions, scent, and much more.

When they’re upset, dogs have two primary responses: fight or flight. If they’re thrown off by your jangled nerves, then chances are the answer will be “fight.” Your Morkie may become aggressive, whiny, bark too much or even nip and bite.

Glucosamine for your Morkie?

Glucosamine for your Morkie?

If you’re worried about your dog’s joints you might want to add glucosamine for dogs to your shopping list.

Glucosamine is an amino-sugar that young healthy dogs produce continually. It helps joints to build and maintain cartilage. Cartilage is vital because it is the tough spongy layer that shields the bones in joints from each other.

As dogs age, they produce less and less glucosamine, which can lead to a painful condition called osteoarthritis, where bones start to rub painfully at the joint. This generates the pain and inflammation of arthritis.

If your dog responds well to glucosamine supplements, he will have healthier cartridge, better mobility, and less pain. Like humans, not all dogs respond to glucosamine, so you need to try it to find out.


normal joint versus arthritis



The AKC agrees

The American Kennel Club (AKC) agrees that no one knows exactly how glucosamine works, but it appears to help build better cartilage to protect against joint degeneration.

Since it has very few side effects it is worth trying because many studies have shown it does provide relief.

What is arthritis?

Inflammation of a joint or joints causing pain and/or disability, swelling and stiffness, and due to various causes such as infection, trauma, degenerative changes or metabolic disorders.

While there is no cure for arthritis, some treatments can lessen pain and improve mobility.

Signs of arthritis in dogs

  • difficulty standing or sitting
  • stiffness getting up or after resting
  • slow, steady weight gain
  • less interest in playing
  • licking certain joints
  • behavior changes like decreased appetite and snappiness or forgetting potty training
  • difficulty getting comfortable at night
  • sudden whining or crying we your Morkie moves or when you’re petting him

Dogs can’t tell us about their arthritis pain

How big will my morkie get? Picture of a morkie puppy

Is glucosamine safe for dogs?

Glucosamine or glucosamine chondroitin for dogs is safe, say Vets, as long as you follow the recommended dosages and directions. Your Morkie’s weight is an important factor in just how much glucosamine is right.

Fortunately, if your dog does get too much, the excess is flushed out in the urine.

Watch your Morkie for any signs of glucosamine allergy

made from lobster shellsGlucosamine supplements are usually made from something called chitin. Chitin is extracted from the crushed shells of crustaceans, which include lobsters, crabs, shrimp, and barnacles. So if your dog has an unusual allergy to shellfish, this could be a problem.

Symptoms of an allergy can include

  • itching
  • cramps
  • vomiting and diarrhea

Glucosamine plus Chondroitin sulfate

Another nutrient called chondroitin sulfate is often combined with glucosamine for dogs.

It combats enzymes that might damage the cartilage and fluid in the joints. Together with glucosamine, it’s like a double whammy for pain and stiffness.

A vet and tech support person, demonstrating good Veterinary careGet the correct diagnosis

If your Morkie seems to have stiff, sore joints it’s important that your Vet diagnose what’s happening before you start treatment. Osteoarthritis is just one possibly with these symptoms. Others could be Lyme Disease, Tetanus or parasites.

6 More Ways You Can Help Relieve Joint Pain for Your Morkie

If your Morkie is showing signs of joint pain and/or osteoarthritis, here are 6 more things you can do to help reduce her struggle:

  1. use area rugs for traction on slippery floors
  2. keep nails cut short
  3. provide a warm, padded bed
  4. never let your Morkie jump down from a bed, chair or sofa
  5. keep food and water within close reach
  6. try skid proof socks

It may take at least 3 months to see an improvement in your dog who is taking glucosamine supplements.

Picking a Brand of Glucosamine

Nutraceuticals – dietary supplements – aren’t regulated by the FDA like regular pharmaceuticals, so it’s important to read labels and take extra care in picking a brand.

Some kibbles include glucosamine, but the quantities available in food like this are far too small.

Some foods like Bone Broth (see my latest post on this wonder food) contain good amounts of glucosamine for dogs.

Or you might choose a specific supplement so you’re sure your Morkie is getting enough of the good stuff.  Check out bestglucosaminefordogs.org for more information.

For a rundown of the best glucosamine for dogs, see bestglucosaminefordogs.org here.

Keep your Morkie calm this July 4th

Keep your Morkie calm this July 4th

Dogs and fireworks just don’t mix… for most dogs, celebrations like the 4th of July are the worst day of the year. How can you keep your Morkie calm and safe this year? Here are 4 strategies for a happier, safer Morkie this July 4th.

FEAR OF FIREWORKS is completely normal for dogs. Flashing lights, tremendous noise, and crowds all work to keep your Morkie on edge and nervous. Some dogs are extremely fearful and will do anything to escape the anxiety of fireworks. That’s when a dog will try to run away.

In fact, July 4th is the busiest day for shelters and humane societies because of runaway dogs. One year, a runaway Morkie even made the evening news.

Strategy #1: Keep your Morkie away from fireworks

The best place for dogs during big celebrations like the Fourth of July is away.

Put your Morkie in a quiet place, close the curtains, and run the TV or radio to mask sounds.

Include his crate or bed, plenty of toys, food, and water nearby. Check on him from time to time, but don’t baby him or pay too much attention to his fears – it can make him more fearful and needy.

dog cozy in bed safe and sound

Strategy #2: Keep your Morkie safe

Make sure your Morkie is wearing a collar with up-to-date identification, including your phone number.

If people are coming and going, put your Morkie an extra door away from the action so he can’t suddenly slip out.

Make sure windows are secure. Dogs will jump right through a screen in their panic to escape.

Designate one family member to be in charge of the dog. Sometimes everyone thinks the other person is keeping an eye out, and nobody is.

Never leave your Morkie outside in the yard during a get-together. It’s too easy for him to slip away.

safety first on the 4th of july

Strategy #3: Keep your Morkie calm

Try a pressure vest like a ThunderShirt

Experts say they can really help calm an anxious dog.  You can read all about them in my blog post here.

No time to get a ThunderShirt? Try a homemade version with Ace Wraps, thanks to Kathy Coffman and Gracie Girl on Pinterest.

See my other blog post on ThunderShirts here.thundershirt for dog anxiety

Try a calming scent

Dogs sense of smell is many thousands of times stronger than ours, so aromatherapy makes sense. Four scents, in particular, are found to be effective in calming dogs:

  • lavender
  • vanilla
  • coconut
  • ginger

Other scents reported to calm dogs include cedar, orange, and lemongrass.

lavender oil to calm dogs

An old standby: Rescue Remedy


rescue remedy


Rescue Remedy for Pets is available at Amazon and in health food stores and many drugstores.


And two more remedies – Benadryl and D.A.P.

Benadryl liquid is great for your dog’s allergies, and it’s calming. Generally accepted as safe for dogs, children’s liquid Benadryl in a small quantity may work for your Morkie. Don’t give it to him, however, if he’s taking other medications and be sure to get the regular kind, NOT sugar-free. The Xylitol in sugar-free formulas is highly dangerous for dogs.  (Download a free info sheet about Benadryl for dogs here.)

D.A.P. or dog appeasing pheromones are used to keep your dog calm under stressful situations. A popular brand is Adaptil, which comes with an electric diffuser. Other formats are also available, like a wearable collar scent. Read more here.

Strategy #4: Help your Morkie get used to loud sounds

Well-known dog trainer and therapist Victoria Stilwell offers four individual CDs which you play to your dog to help him get used to loud noises. Different types of loud sounds progressively increase over the course of the CDs. You can read more about this canine noise phobia treatment here.

July 4th for people

july 4th is fun for people

July 4th for dogs

July 4th for dogs is a nightmare


3 things to avoid if your Morkie is afraid of fireworks

PetMD.com offers these sensible tips:

Don’t baby your dog. If you fuss over her too much, she may get confused and become more afraid. Or she could learn that she gets extra attention or yummy treats when she’s stressed. Act normally. You can play with her, feed or do other fun activities.

Don’t punish her. Do not lock her in a crate or tie her up. She could injure herself trying to get away from the scary sound. She may also believe she’s in trouble for being afraid. Fear is a behavior, not an obedience issue. Your dog isn’t doing anything wrong by being afraid — even if the noise seems harmless to you.

Don’t force her to gut it out. Making your dog endure the sounds — especially without trained supervision — could make things worse.

And one more way to help your Morkie to stay calm

A brisk walk before the festivities begin is always a good idea – “a tired dog is a good (and calm) dog.”

10 Reasons to Neuter/Spay Your Morkie

10 Reasons to Neuter/Spay Your Morkie

10.  Neutering reduces health risks for male dogs.

Neutering your male Morkie eliminates any chance of him getting testicular cancer. It also removes the risk of benign hyperplasia of the prostate gland, prostatitis and perineal hernias in dogs.


9. Spaying reduces Mammary Gland Tumors in female dogs.

The more often a female goes through the hormonal spikes of a heat, the higher the chances of tumors. Once females had several heats, intact female dogs have a one out of four chance of developing mammary tumors.

What is spaying?

In female animals, spaying involves abdominal surgery to remove the ovaries and uterus.

This can be done by traditional open surgery or sometimes through laparoscopic surgery where a very small incision is needed.

What is neutering?

Neutering a male involves making a small incision to remove the dog’s testicles.

Complications or  dangers

Risks are very low in these operations. Many of us don’t want to put our dogs under anesthetic, but deaths related to anesthetic during spaying or neutering or less than 0.05%.

There is some concern that spaying could cause a  little incontinence later for a female, and that neutering could cause less control for a male, leading to ‘dribbling.’

Neutered dogs of both sexes have a 27% to 38% increased risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations, another reason to be selective in how many vaccinations your Morkie gets and how often.

Always review risks with your Vet before any procedure.


When to neuter or spay?

Puppies can be neutered or spayed any time after 8 weeks according to some experts but the trend now is to wait a little longer,  until at least 6 to 8 months. Dogs can also be spayed or neutered as adults, but expect a female who has already been in heat, to cost a little more for spaying.


Recovery period

The ASPCA advises the following – along with following all your Vet’s instructions of course —

  • Provide your pet with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals.
  • Prevent your pet from running and jumping for up to two weeks following surgery, or as long as your veterinarian recommends.
  • Prevent your pet from licking the incision site, which may cause infection, by distracting your pet with treats or by using an Elizabethan collar.
  • Avoid bathing your pet for at least ten days after surgery.
  • Check the incision site daily to confirm proper healing.

8.  Eliminate the danger of Pyometra in females.

Pyometra is a nasty infection of the uterus that strikes up to 15% of female dogs. Surgery is needed FAST to save a dog with this condition but a female whose uterus has been removed doesn’t face this danger.

Symptoms of Pyometra include:

  • Swollen tummy
  • Vaginal discharge.
  • Lethargy.
  • Depression.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Vomiting.
  • Frequent urination. 


7. Males will mark and spray less.

Male dogs who haven’t been neutered are very territorial and will mark their territory with small amounts of urine – all over! And they’ll also spray urine as a sign of dominance. Very messy in your home.


6. Reduce humping!

Or as the Humane Society calls it, “inappropriate mounting.” Both males and females who haven’t been spayed/neutered will often hump your leg… or anyone else’s including your mother-in-law and your boss. That’s just awkward.

5.  Cut down on runaways.

All dogs should be safely fenced or contained; there’s no reason to let your dog have the run of the neighborhood, risking getting hit by a car.  Neutering/spaying reduces your dog’s urge to escape to find a date.

4. Keep your male Morkie from roaming and fighting.

male dogs fighting over a mate


The ASPCA reminds us:

An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate, including finding creative ways escape from the house. Once he’s free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other male animals.

3.  Avoid messiness and the nuisance of your female dog in heat.

Estrus, the proper name for the female’s heat, is the time when your female Morkie is receptive to mating.

It occurs about every 6 months and lasts 2 to 3 weeks.  Signs of estrus include blood-tinged discharge, which isn’t a huge problem with small dogs like Morkies.  But there are other  annoying behavior changes like:

  • nervous, unsettled more alert – possibly barking more
  • pacing, trouble sleeping
  • urinating much more frequently
  • humping other dogs, toys, your leg
  • howling, whining
  • attempts to get out of your home (to find a mate)

female dog in heat

Females in heat have to wear a kind of doggy diaper that makes going potty difficult. They’re never too happy with it either.

2.  Your Morkie will probably live longer spayed or neutered.

Longer life? Neutered pets live longer than intact pets – that’s a proven fact. However, it’s not clear if that’s because owners who neuter their pets generally take better care of them, or if the actual neutering extends a dog’s life.

Whatever the reason, we all want our Morkies around as long as possible.


neutered and spayed pets live longer

The #1 reason to spay or neuter your Morkie

10.  There are too many dogs in the world already

Those who can’t find homes are euthanized – put down – killed – however you want to express it, in the U.S. alone, more than 4,000,000 cats and dogs—about one every eight seconds—are put down in shelters each year. Do we need more litters? No, and none by accident.

there are too many dogs in the world



Thundershirt for Dogs

Thundershirt for Dogs

Amelia’s Maltese Button suddenly started biting and chewing on himself. He started nuisance barking and had started hiding and growling. Button was normally a very calm and loving dog (except if she saw a squirrel) so Amelia was concerned.

A visit to the Vet didn’t uncover any physical problems and more walks didn’t help either. Amelia gave her pup a little more attention, more snuggles and petting to try and calm her, but nothing worked. Finally, Amelia realized that the problem was major noise from next door. The neighbors were renovating and contractors had been in every day with heavy equipment, tearing down walls and pulling up concrete. 

Noise anxiety

Noise anxiety is a very common problem for dogs, especially small dogs.

Typically, it is triggered by thunder or fireworks, but any sudden and loud noise can trigger an anxiety that’s hard to see in your pet.

A dog with noise anxiety can have symptoms including trembling, biting, excessive barking, hiding, growling, submissive urination and more.

Petmd.com outlines 3 levels of dog anxiety and fear:

Mild fears: signs may include trembling, tail tucked, withdrawal, hiding, reduced activity, and passive escape behaviors
Panic: signs may include active escape behavior, and increased out-of-context, potentially injurious motor activity. Classic signs of sympathetic autonomic nervous system activity, including diarrhea
Anxieties: lesions secondary to anxious behavior (such as licking and biting at the self)

Treating Noise Anxiety

Changing the environment is the obvious treatment for a dog with noise anxiety; don’t take him to fireworks displays, keep him close during the thunder, and so on.

You can also talk to your Vet about a variety of prescription medications. Some are given regularly for the life of the dog, and some are used only during the anxiety event.

If you go this route, be sure to talk about side effects and long term risk any drug might pose.

Another option is behavior training therapy, which CAN work but takes time. 

Pressure Wraps for dog anxiety

Pressure Wraps for dog anxiety also called a dog anxiety jacket, a pressure wrap works Much like swaddling an upset baby. Gentle pressure wraps for dogs work surprisingly well.

You can buy the popular ThunderShirt, or make your own by modifying an old t-shirt. The principal is the same: light and constant pressure is applied to the dog’s torso and chest.


a pressure shirt for dogs is like swaddling a baby

ThunderShirt is the leading pressure vest for dogs, and is available in all sizes and colors

Here’s what a pressure wrap like the ThunderShirt can help:


  • canine separation anxiety
  • noise anxiety
  • social anxiety

Questions and answers about pressure vests for dogs.

How long can you keep a ThunderShirt on a dog?

The makers of ThunderShirt advise:

When properly sized and properly put on with a comfortably snug fit, your dog should be very comfortable. If your dog will be wearing a Thunder- Shirt for more than one hour at a time, we recommend removing ThunderShirt every one to two hours during the initial periods to check for any signs of irritation points.

Once your Morkie is used to the ThunderShirt, he can wear it comfortably for extended periods, but it should be removed TWICE A DAY.


Does the ThunderShirt really work?

Although we don’t know precisely how they work, pressure wraps like the ThunderShirt do work. The wrap creates pressure points which may help release calming hormones.

A properly fitted pressure wrap is calming for your dog and can help reduce anxiety and fear, without the use of any drugs or medication.


Is ThunderShirt washable?

Yes, the manufacturer advises that the ThunderShirt can be washed in a regular cycle using regular laundry detergent and cold water. Hang to dry. 


How long does it take for the ThunderShirt to work?

Put ThunderShirt onto your dog or cat, and you will likely see results with the very first usage – no training necessary. However, for some, it may take two to three usages to see maximum results. For some more serious anxiety cases, such as severe separation anxiety, you should consult a good trainer for how to integrate ThunderShirt into a training program.

How much is a ThunderShirt?

You can order one online at Amazon for about $45 or visit your local pet supply store. 

A happy ending for Amelia and Button

At her wit’s end because of Button’s anxiety, Amelia heard about the ThunderShirt and decided to give it a try.

After wearing it just twice, Button was free of his sudden anxiety symptoms and life returned to normal.

Summer Dangers: water intoxication

Summer Dangers: water intoxication

It was a tragic accident that didn’t need to happen.

Ben Carthy and his wife Lucy were devastated after their dog Max died after playing in a lake. Their beloved springer spaniel, Max, died from swallowing too much water.

Ben shared:

“We are so unbelievably devastated that a simple game of fetch in the water, something we had done a hundred times before, resulted in such a perfect day turning into our worst nightmare.

“Water intoxication was something we knew nothing about. At this time of year, so much awareness is spread about not leaving dogs in hot cars but no one ever mentions the hazardous effects of your dog ingesting too much water while playing.”

iNews UK

Water intoxication results in deadly LOW levels of sodium.

What happens when a dog takes in too much water?

When your dog takes in more water than his body can process, the excess water dilutes bodily fluids, creating a potentially dangerous shift in electrolyte balance.

When sodium levels fall, cells start filling with water as the body attempts to balance the sodium levels inside the cells with falling levels outside the cells. This inflow of water causes the cells — including those in the brain — to swell.

The ultimate results can be lethal.

Symptoms of Water Intoxication

Lethargy might be the first sign a pet parent sees. After a good play session, dogs are usually tired but happy.

A dog with water intoxication will be tired to the point of collapse. Neurologic signs are probably already occurring, so look for a “spacey” appearance to the eyes.

Vomiting water and excess drooling are also key first signs. Seizures can occur if neurologic signs continue to progress.

Look for:

  • Bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Coordination loss
  • Excessive salivation
  • Restlessness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Glazed eyes
  • Pale gums

Although it’s not common for Morkies to play in the water for long periods of time, it is worth knowing about Water Intoxication and its potential effects.

RECAP – Water intoxication

  • Water intoxication is a rare but often fatal condition in dogs. Dogs that love being in the water and playing with sprinklers or hoses are at the highest risk.
  • Water intoxication causes hyponatremia, a condition in which sodium levels drops to dangerously low levels.
  • Symptoms of water intoxication include staggering, vomiting, pale gums, and dilated pupils; severe cases can cause loss of consciousness and death.
  • Water intoxication is a medical emergency, and even with aggressive veterinary care, many dogs do not survive.

It’s actually possible for your Morkie to ingest too much water, and each year a small percentage of water-loving dogs get dangerously drunk on their favorite beverage.

Water intoxication can result in a potentially fatal condition called hyponatremia, which is an excessively low blood sodium level. Dogs that play in the water for long periods of time are at highest risk, as are dogs that ingest water from a lawn sprinkler or hose.

Reduce the risk of your dog taking in too much water

  • Reduce the time your dog spends in the swimming pool.  He is probably drinking all the water that comes into his mouth.
  • Make sure your dog does not play with water sprinkles or a running hose.
  • Always provide a sufficient amount of water on your pet´s bowl.

Best dog shampoo for your Morkie

Best dog shampoo for your Morkie

There are more than 3,600 products on Amazon under “pet shampoo.” They all work pretty well, but are they all made with safe ingredients? And why should you care? In one word:


  • More dogs than ever die of cancer.
  • 1 in 4 dogs will be diagnosed with cancer.
  • Cancer now is the leading cause of death in dogs over 10; 1 in 2 will die from it.

Hereditary factors play a role, but by far, toxins in the environment (including what they eat) are responsible for the vast majority of cases.

Skin is the biggest organ mammals have. A dog’s skin is especially sensitive. So why take chances on products that are absorbed into the pet’s skin, and even licked off.

Here’s what worries me about pet shampoo:

  1. Manufacturing is unregulated. Some pet shampoos use cheap, nasty ingredients, even though they’re known to be harmful, even causing cancer.
  2. Labels lie. The stuff written on the shampoo bottle is often false and misleading; manufacturers can claim just about anything.
  3. Confusion around the basics. Shampoo can be a soap or a detergent. Which is better, and why?
  4. Ethics. Many shampoos are tested ON animals. Wait, what? It’s hard to believe, but true. That’s just wrong.

more dogs die of cancer

How to pick the best dog shampoo for your Morkie

A good and safe shampoo should be free of sulfates, alcohols, harsh chemicals and detergents.

It has these characteristics:


  • is safe and non-toxic
  • non-irritating, natural solution
  • doesn’t say proprietary blend or proprietary fragrance
  • free of sulfates such as SLS, ALS, SLES, etc.
  • has no formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, like butylparaben, methylparaben or propylparaben
  • no MEA, TEA, DEA or phosphates

OR, pick a dog shampoo that’s “Certified Organic”

Just organic, or natural, or all-pure, etc. won’t work.

Those terms don’t have any legal meaning in the pet world. A manufacturer can add a tiny drop of something good, and then call the product Natural or Organic.

Certified Organic goes through testing and certification. The USDA Organic seal on grooming products means the products are free from artificial colors, preservatives and fragrances, and GMO ingredients.

But it's complicated

Of course, it’s not that simple because there’s a disagreement about “soap” and Certified Organic dog shampoo contains soap. 

Plenty of great, natural and safe shampoos that do not have the USDA Organic Seal, because the manufacturer doesn’t want to use soap.

Other companies are so small or new, that they can’t afford to go through the process yet to get the Certified Organic label.

So we’re back to reading the details on the label.

The good guys: here are some brands you can trust

Certified Organic

4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoos
Bodhi Dog Shampoo Made with Organic Oils
BotaniVet Certified Organic Manuka Honey Pet Shampoo
Dr. Mercola Healthy Pets
Fieldwork’s Moosh Natural Dog Shampoo
Fluppets Certified Organic Pet Shampoo
H&P’s Certified Organic Pet Shampoo With Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera
H&P’s Fresh Collection
Lola & Max
Max & Neo
Organic Oscar Oatmeal Shampoo
Paws & Pals Natural Dog-Shampoo and Conditioner
Paws & Pals Natural Dog-Shampoo and Conditioner
Pura Naturals Pet

Products nearly as good as Certified Organic

Eco-Pet Shower Pet Shampoo
Fifi & Fido Natural Pet Shampoo
Odie and Cody Natural Dog Shampoo, Organic Pet Shampoo for Dogs, Cats, Puppies, Kittens, Guinea Pigs & More

picking the best dog shampoo

earthbath offers an excellent All Natural Shampoo line with plenty of choices:

Oatmeal and Aloe Shampoo, Fragrance Free
Oatmeal and Aloe Shampoo
Mango Tango 2-in-1 Conditioning Shampoo

Shed Control Shampoo
Hypo-Allergenic Grooming Foam for Dogs
Deodorizing Shampoo
Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo
Coat Brightening Shampoo
Ultra-Mild Puppy Shampoo
Dirty Dog Shampoo
Eucalyptus & Peppermint Shampoo
Tea Tree & Aloe Vera

red flag warning about dog shampoos

Red flagged products

These are just a few popular dog shampoo brands that contain 4 or more dangerous products.

  • Arm & Hammer shampoos
  • Hartz products
  • Isle of Dogs Everyday Elements
  • Wahl Dog/Puppy Shampoo

Can dogs eat grapes?

Can dogs eat grapes?

Can dogs eat grapes? No, and scientists don’t even know why. We just know that grapes – and raisins – can be highly toxic for all dogs, especially small dogs.

We know chocolate is really bad for dogs but did you know that grapes can be a killer? I knew they could be a choking hazard or that the pesticides used on grapes could be bad but it’s more than that. Grapes contain something that can be very toxic to dogs.


Sun Maid raisins are a hazard for dogs

Tiny boxes of raisins can be tempting – and dangerous – for dogs.

For a small dog like a Morkie, eating as few as six grapes can be deadly!  That goes for raisins too.

The AKC (American Kennel Club warns:

Grapes and raisins are known to be highly toxic to dogs, though research has yet to pinpoint exactly which substance in the fruit causes this reaction. Because of that, peeled or seedless grapes should also be avoided.

Symptoms of Grape Poisoning

Watch for these signs that your Morkie may have eaten grapes or raisins:

  • the dog becomes extremely hyper and jittery
  • vomiting, diarrhea, shaking and stomach pains
  • the dog who’s eaten grapes soon stops urinating
  • very lethargic.

Coma and even death can follow.

If you think your dog has eaten grapes or raisins, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Make the dog vomit. You can do this by giving him a solution of equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide.  About 1 tablespoon of each is enough for a Morkie-size dog.  Administer up to three times.
  2.  If that doesn’t work you can also give your dog activated charcoal if you happen to have it.
  3. Get your dog to the vet immediately. Take someone with you to call while you’re on your way.

Keep a poisoning kit on hand for your Morkie

Other types of poisoning – and the symptoms

Watch for long-term signs of kidney failure

“In both small and large dogs of all breeds, the ill effects include kidney disease and even kidney failure. Common symptoms of this include irregular eating and drinking habits: Affected dogs often lose their appetites and begin to drink excessively.”

– aspengrovevet.com

Dry shampoo for dogs: is it any good?

Dry shampoo for dogs: is it any good?

Dry shampoo or waterless shampoo can be a good way to keep your dog fresh smell between baths. But does it work, and it is safe?

Dry shampoos are much more convenient, but just like ‘regular’ dog shampoo, dry products can be overused and can contain a toxic mix of chemicals and additives that are harmful to your Morkie and to you.

Dry — or waterless– shampoo comes in a wide range of formats, including Sprays, Aerosol, Powder, Foam, and Mousse.


All work with alcohol or starch-based formulas to absorb grease and oil from the hair.

They work cosmetically to make hair or fur look cleaner, but the scalp isn’t cleaned by these products. And whatever is absorbed, sits on the hair, along with the shampoo product. That residue can build up over time, making hair brittle and easy to break. Too much residue on the scalp can lead to inflammation, itching, scaling and reduced hair growth.

Does waterless shampoo work on dogs?

The main reason we pick this convenient way to clean our dogs is to reduce the smell.

All the products do that to varying degrees but they’re a temporary fix. 

Manufacturers are enthusiastic about the miraculous results their products deliver, but in reality, dry shampoo doesn’t really clean an animal; it can’t repel dirt and oil. It simply absorbs the oils on the coat.

Dry shampoo just sits on the coat until the next bath

Since it doesn’t get rinsed off, that oil and product just sit there on the coat.

That’s ok for the occasional cleanup or emergency but should be alternated with ‘real’ water-based shampooing to actually remove the dirt, oil, and debris.

Dry shampoo can be more convenient, but does it really work?

upset, wet dog

As expert Julie Anne Lee DCH RCSHom reminds us in DogsNaturallyMagazine.com,

the skin is the largest organ in the body, protecting your dog from everything in the world.

It’s a barrier and a defense against germs, bacteria, cuts, scrapes, bruises, sunburn and much more.

Washing it too often, or covering it up with toxic ingredients, is harmful to your dog’s overall health and wellbeing.  We’re encouraged to do both thanks to –the Fear Factor perpetuated by marketers, that says everything must be perfectly clean and sterile! 

Like the hand sanitizer rebound

This Fear Factor tactic was used to sell more hand sanitizer products, and that has failed us because we’re making germs and bacteria more resistant than ever. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that overexposure to antibiotics can lead to bacterial resistance, making it more difficult or even impossible to treat. Using hand sanitizers may actually lower your resistance to diseases by killing good bacteria, which helps protect against bad bacteria. 

This is the same principle for bathing your dog: don’t do it too often, otherwise, you’re removing good bacteria and beneficial oils.

How safe is waterless shampoo?

Dry shampoos can be a toxic, soupy mess!

Pet products like shampoos don’t fall under any regulatory rules or laws about contents. Manufacturers can use just about anything. And they’re not obliged to tell the truth on the label, so it’s hard to find safe products.

Some of the dangerous ingredients in dry shampoos include:

  • Preservatives, FD&C Blue #1 (artificial colors) and Fragrance (artificial fragrance). These are all directly linked to cancer.
  • Ammonium Lauryl Ether Sulfate, which is often contaminated with known cancer-causing compounds.
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine which can trigger immune system failure, and allergies. 
  • The ingredients that make the product absorbent, including Ethanol, can help other toxins get absorbed into your dog’s system 


A better way for a fast cleanup

If your Morkie needs a quick clean up, thoroughly brushing his hair will go a long way in freshening him up. You can also dip his feet in water and dog shampoo for a rinse; a dog’s feet can be a significant source of stink since that’s where they sweat.

If you’re using a waterless shampoo or wipes, be sure to look for products like Burt’s Bees, below.  They’re free of Phthalates, artificial color and fragrance, and petroleum by-products. 

Look for products like Burt’s Bees, free from artificial colors, fragrances, preservatives and other toxins.

cups to rinse dogs paws

These cups are handy for rinsing dog’s paws.

But relaxing Morkie in a pink robe, pretending to be at a spa

A thorough combing can freshen your Morkie.

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