On each trip to France, our family devotes the first few days to getting over jet lag, and that includes Chula, our 11-year-old Sheltie. Though scientists say that dogs are not as subject to jet lag as humans, we wonder why Chula, an experienced traveling dog, sleeps so much the first couple of days and why she is always there staring at us when we awake at 4 am!
At some point, thankfully, the whole family is rested and ready to venture beyond our village, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. That’s when we head to the Luberon Valley where some of the prettiest villages in Provence grace the hilltops.
First Stop: Quiet Saignon
Heading up the south side of the valley, we pass through Maubec, Ménerbes, La Coste, Bonnieux, and end up in Saignon, a secret jewel at the east end of the Luberon. Continue reading →
Aging pets’ physical changes may at first escape our notice — the years pass and while we are busy being busy, one day we look up and see our best friend having a little trouble getting up after a nap. We wonder exactly when this began, realize it’s painful and make an appointment with the vet. Excessive panting, sleeping, changes in appetite — none should be ignored. Talk to your vet about the changes your senior pet is going through and when you should bring the dog in to be seen.
At my last visit to the vet with my dog Tashi a newly developed cataract was checked. I knew changes could occur, and asked what to be aware of. He told me to gently — Shih Tzus have shallow eye sockets — apply pressure to the top of the eyelid and check for any hardening of the eyeball. If I found any, I was to bring him in. He showed me how to do a check and let me feel what is normal so I would have something to measure it by. I have found I can do a bilateral check which will make changes easier to feel if they occur.
If you’re like me, your dog or cat sleeps on your bed. This gives you a good idea of any breathing or sleep difficulties, if s/he is waking up in the night, is restless or wanders around the house. Behavior changes can happen so gradually they’re easy to miss if you’re not paying attention. Does your dog suddenly go into the wrong room to go to bed? This may signal cognitive dysfunction. Is your cat uncharacteristically talkative? Yowling around the house could be a sign of hearing loss.
Sheron Long has generously provided Animal Cafe readers with a four-part series on her gypsy-at-heart traveling dog Chula’s escapades and explorations during trips through France. Over the next few cold, wintry weeks we’ll get to enjoy a little of the sunny climes of the South of France, imagining the scent of lavender in the air!
Four Paws in Provence
Chula, a traveling dog and the author of Dog Trots Globe – To Paris & Provence, packed light with only a fur coat and four white socks (no shoes). Then she set off with Bob and me for a 2-month adventure through the south of France, in the area known as Provence. After a 3-hour trip on the bullet train, Chula settled into Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, her hometown.
The trips to France with Chula began three years ago when Bob and I were first able to spend two months at a time there. The thought of being without Chula, our 9-year-old Sheltie, for so long was unthinkable, and that’s when she made her first trip to France and turned right into a traveling dog.
Canine influenza presents much like the flu in humans, sometimes with a fever but always coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose, and is communicated by touch and in the air by coughing and sneezing. This virus is designated as influenza and not simply “flu” — it’s from a special strain known as H3N8, and acute respiratory infection results. H3N8 is also part of the cocktail of viruses and bacteria that cause “kennel cough.”
Even if your dog has not been on play-dates or at the dog park, they can still get canine influenza. You can transmit the virus to your dog simply by petting another dog — your hand as the carrier. This is not something you can diagnose from visiting internet sites. It could be a general flu or it could be this highly contagious strain and it takes some particular testing to diagnose. Continue reading →
Did you know that there’s a cat diabetes epidemic in the US? Dr. Ruth McPete, the Pet Vet, explains in this video with Steve Dale what diabetes means for cats and preventive measures to practice. Obesity of course is a major cause of this disease in both cats and humans and with the reported decline in pet visits to the vet, the condition goes undiagnosed. Dr. Ruth states we want to avoid complications from diabetes so early diagnosis is key. Continue reading →