Sunday, December 28, 2014

Winter Horse Care and Other Articles

Noble Outfitters - Life Section of website - has some great articles for horse owners and riders, including mine on winter horse care and others with links below. Besides barn management, there are ones on training, tack and vet care. See

Here are links to some of my articles:

Winter Horse Care:

Herd Management:

Clipping 101:

Manure Management:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Educational, Funny & Interesting Pet Sites

Here are some helpful or funny links to pet sites:

Pedigree has tons of great info for dog lovers:

Funny dogs on YouTube -Funny Videos Of Dogs Compilation 2014

For cat lovers!

Own a horse?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Breed Clips, Shave Downs and Furminating Shampoos

Certain breeds have special styles for their grooming including haircuts and trims. Other dog owners don't want to follow the book on the breed they own; rather, they want the dog shaved down or styled to their choosing. Oreo with the puppy cut above (this one is 3/4") with a round face is a popular one for Shih Tzus that are family pets and not show dogs. The puppy cut means the body is all the same length and can be done for a dog of any age, and any breed that grows hair rather than shedding it.

As a mobile groomer, when I meet a new customer and their pet, I always ask how THEY want to dog to look. If the say, "Just make her cute." - then I use my creativity. But it is the owner that has to look at the dog every day, so they should choose the style. The owner of Cookie below likes a modified skirt on him so she doesn't have to see his private parts. He's not fat - that's two inches of skirt hanging from his belly!

Some dogs like the Cavalier below just need a de-shedding bath with furminating shampoo and conditioner. Then a good brushing when dry. Other Cavis I shave down because they play outside often and get very dirty.

I shave a dog or cat with a #5 for a little fluff, a #7 for a typical shave or even a #10 for pets with skin issues such as fleas, allergy scabs or if there are family members allergic to the pet. The black Pomeranian below had a #5 shave down due to skin issues.

Groomers and owners should discuss the final result desired before grooming begins. Pictures and photos of the pet will help clarify the idea of the perfect groom.

Monday, June 30, 2014

How Much Water for Your Horse?

How Much Drinking Water Does Your Horse Need?

Posted: June 23, 2014  Reposted from Penn State Extension

The average horse will intake 5 to 10 gallons of fresh water per day. Water consumption is extremely important in the digestive process to avoid colic impaction, dehydration and other life threatening ailments. 

Why Worry About Consumption of Water?

  • Have you ever been frustrated by a horse that refuses to drink water?  A metaphoric idiom that dates from the 12 century and was in the proverb collection of John Heywood in the year 1546 states: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.”  The idiom can be interpreted to mean you can provide someone an opportunity to do something, but you cannot force them to actually do it; or people, like horses, will only do what they have a mind to do. 
  • Horse owners may think of this saying when experiencing a horse that refuses to drink. The comparison could be more than a message, for the lack of intake by a horse is an immense concern. Water consumption is extremely important in the digestive process to avoid colic impaction, dehydration and other life threatening ailments. 

How much water does a horse consume in a day? 

  • The average horse will intake 5 to 10 gallons of fresh water per day. Just like humans different horses crave or need different water amount intakes.
  • A horse deprived of feed, but supplied drinking water, is capable of surviving 20 to 25 days.
  • A horse deprived of water may only live up to 3 or 6 days.
  • After lacking water intake for two days a horse may refuse to eat and exhibit signs of colic and other life-threatening ailments. 
  • Just like humans, in the heat of summer, a horse will enjoy cool, fresh water, but in cold winter situations, difficulties arise in providing water that is too cold or in a semi-frozen state. Humans enjoy a cup of hot tea, coffee or chocolate to warm their internal system and needs in the winter.  Horse owners have discovered that warming the drinking water for their horse during the winter will lead to the horse consuming more water.
  • Domestic horses depend on the consumption of forage consisting of a variety of grasses and grass type feeds.  In the summer if the horse has the advantage of daily grazing on fresh pasture grasses they will be able to consume water through the intake of grasses, which contain large amounts of water. This could reduce the desire of the horse of obtaining water through drinking. In the winter the horse depends upon the forage of dried grasses or hay, which has a lower amount of concentration of water. Therefore, a horse may need an increase of offered water in the winter months, more so than in the grazing periods.

Seasonal Weather Conditions Concerns

  • Just like the availability of water during the different temperatures of the seasons, the usage of a horse by humans is reflected by the seasonal weather conditions.
  • Horse owners do not tend to ride or use their horses often during cold winter months. When spring arrives and progresses into the summer months, the horse has more activity by the use of pleasure riding, trail riding, showing, farm and ranch work. Lack of water consumption by the horse during this time of usage could lead to dehydration. 
  • Dehydration in horses is an extremely serious situation and can occur during strenuous exercise, stressful situations, or in cases of bouts of diarrhea. The lack of water can include the lack of electrolytes. Electrolytes include the minerals sodium, chloride and potassium and the lack of electrolytes can lead to kidney failure in the horse, if the horse is not rehydrated quickly. 
  • Horse owners can suspect dehydration in their horse by recognizing the signs: sunken eye or dullness, lethargy, dry skin and mouth, drawn up flanks, depression or excessive thick saliva. Another sign of dehydration is a high level of protein in the blood, which can be determined by a blood sample. The horse many exhibit one or a combination of these signs.
  • A simple, but not always accurate way to judge dehydration in horses is to conduct a simple skin pinching test. Pinch up a fold of the horse’s skin and then release it. Skin should immediately return back into its natural position. If the skin remains in a ridge from two to five seconds this could be a sign of mild dehydration. The longer the skin remains in a ridge can determine the severity of the lack of water in the horse’s system. Skin that remains in a ridge appearance for ten to fifteen seconds is the alert for immediate veterinary assistance, for the skin is demonstrating severe dehydration signs.

Water Availability

  • Offer the horse cool fresh water often during strenuous activities. 
  • If the horse is at a location where the drinking water does not have the same taste as the home water the horse may refuse to drink. Before going to an event try flavoring the home drinking water for a few days prior to the journey with Gatorade or apple juice to accustom the horse to the flavor. For the convenience of the horse owner prepared powdered electrolyte packets, flavored or unflavored, can be adding to drinking water to replenish necessary items. 

Simple Management Practices

  • Horse owners can enact simple management practices during stressful events preventing the horse from dehydration effects. 
  • Know you horse and look for the signs of dehydration and conduct the “pinch test” frequently. 
  • Provide adequate fresh, clean water often and if there is any doubt of the possibility of the severity of the situation contact a veterinarian immediately. 
  • The rule of thumb is, if at the event you are consuming and desiring water intake, then the chances are the horse is also having the same desires. 
  • Riding horses is great exercise for the rider and also an additional strain on the horse’s metabolism.  Be safe and smart....keep the horse hydrated!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tips for Swollen Legs on Horses

I broke my right wrist two months ago and the cast was recently removed. I still can't use my hand due to its swelling. I was told by my doc to move my fingers and try to make a fist as well as attempt to bend my wrist. This should bring down the swelling.

It got me thinking about how we treated swollen legs on horses. I wonder if the treatments would work for me?

Horses' legs swell for a number of reasons: wounds such as punctures, especially near a joint; stocking up from lack of activity such as a horse stalled when usually turned out; becoming cast in a stall or another way of banging a leg; disease or infection.

We once had a horse that was pastured overnight and hobbled in to eat using only three legs. The fourth was swollen and he dangled it - we thought for sure it was broken. The vet came and cut into the sole of the hoof which confirmed his suspicion of a hoof abscess! A pebble had traveled through the sole, up the hoof wall and popped out at the coronet band. An infection formed in the pebble's route.We soaked the hoof twice a day in a rubber feed tub filled with warm water and Epsom salt. He received antibiotics and bute. In a few days, the swelling was gone and the horse showed no sign of lameness!

If a horse is just stocked up ( usually both back or front legs) due to unaccustomed confinement, often a hosing and walking bring the swelling down. But if the horse has a temperature or there is only one leg swollen, then it's best to call the vet. Often, a poultice or sweat wrap will be advised.

Here are some online articles about the subject:

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Anxiety in Dogs

Our Irish Terrier, Woogie, often has nights of anxiety that keeps us awake as well. In the middle of the night he will jump up on the bed and then down, over and over. Or scratch at the door. Or sit on my husband's arm or head. Lately, he's been itchy and his scratching wakes me up. We end up getting dressed and take him for a walk.

Some dogs (Woogie as well) become anxious during thunderstorms or fireworks. Some have trouble accepting a change of surroundings from a move, or a new member in the family.

What are we to do?

There are Thundershirts that are helpful to some dogs by providing a comforting wrap. (Didn't work for Woogie).

There are soft chewy pills, Pet-EZE, that provide natural herbs such as Chamomile, Dried Hops and Ginger Root Extract. (They sometimes work for Woogie)

If fleas are the problem, see a vet. (Woogie had to be double dosed this month for fleas) Give them a bath with medicated oatmeal shampoo and an aloe conditioner, or have your groomer do that.

Some pets sleep better in a crate. (Not Woogie; he's never been crated)

When more help is needed, see you vet for an Alprazolam 0.25 mg pill (Xanax) for anxiety and panic disorders. There are side effects and your dog may become addicted, so be careful of overuse.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Rain Rot in Horses

It's that time of year...the cold, wet weather can wreck havoc on your horses body and legs.  Even in Florida!

Here is an informative article from Noble Outfitters:

And read their other articles too! (Some were written by me!)