Sunday, August 29, 2010

Buena Vista Park

One of the best things about San Francisco iz all the hills! We Shibas are good climbers and all, you know, and SF gives me plenty of opportunity to keep those skills sharp.

This weekend my people took me over to Buena Vista Park. Mom sayz it is a fake hill - people built it up and made it - but I don't really care. Look at the stairs!

Yeah! Let's climb!

And there are squirrels in those hills and stuff - I chased two of them but 'cause mom had a me on a leash they got away from me. :-( But she did get a picture of me looking awesome:

After I take care of bizness, I tend to get a little over-emphatic with my scratching and my people laugh at me. They captured me on video going a bit crazy in the weeds. What can I say? Everyone needs to know ZUKO WUZ HERE.

Later we were at the top of the hill and there was this sand pit - I LOVE sand and I got the zoomies!

Super fun day for me - we got back home and I crashed out on my people's bed.

-- Posted by Zuko the Squirrel Chaser!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Working hard today

Today, I have a big job: Sleep on all the couches.

In this job, which I have self-assigned, I am awesome. Mom documented my superior couch-napping skillz with her terrible camera that made me fuzzy. I will be Shiba Mind Controlling her to buy a better camera so the Internets can see my true awesomeness.

The TV remote is also mine.
This couch is comfy too!

-- Posted by Prince Zzzzzzzzuko

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Itchy-itchy, Scratchy-scratchy

The Twitterverse seems to be full of Zuko's Shiba friends really struggling with allergies. Reports come in from everywhere and for some Shibas, there seems to be no relief in sight.

Wide open spaces are awesome - for allegies!
I decided to log all the remedies I've been seeing, in order of "extreme" nature of the treatment.
  • Raw food diet: Taro the Shiba reported scratchy ears that had no cause that could be found. Switching to a raw diet cleared up the issues and landed him a spot as a customer testimonial. For Zuko, we have had him on a raw diet almost since we first had him. He was a super-scratchy puppy and switching to the raw diet seemed to alleviate most of the itchiness. 
  • Supplements: Omega-3 supplements have been widely suggested by many Shiba owners and other dog (and cat!) owners as beneficial. Our breeder also recommended Vitamin E and kelp. The kelp isn't easy to find and can be pricey - but a small bag goes a long way. We use Pet Kelp. Zuko gets a small sprinkle of it with his breakfast, along with some Vitamin E drops I found in the humans' drugstore.
  • Cleaning Shiba feet / legs and paws after going outside: This is probably a really extreme measure even though it sounds simple (Insert sound bite of a Shiba screaming: don't touch my feet!!!!!).  There are packaged wipes for this or just a damp cloth can make a difference. Zuko has a melt-down if I even think of touching his feet so we don't usually bother with this. I have heard a few owners say it makes a huge difference, especially when there is visible pollen on the ground. 
  • Hot spot / anti-itch sprays: Again - queue the Shiba Scream for most of us on this one. My favorite product is Earthbath Hot Spot Spritz. It seems to help the itching but also tastes nasty enough that Zuko is less inclined to lick obsessively at times.
  • Flea / tick allergies: According to the National Shiba Inu Club of America, flea allergies are one of the number one health complaints for Shibas. This is complicated by some dogs have an allergic reaction to Frontline or Advantage. Our friend Princess in Orlando switched to Comfortis to help with an allergic reaction to the topical flea and tick prevention methods. Staying up to date on flea and tick control can make a huge difference for your Shiba.
  • Benedryl: I blogged about the dosage of Benedryl here, and also recommended finding the dye-free pills. Hot pink dye just can't really be good for anyone suffering allergies (human or canine). This isn't a sure-fire fix for many dogs and has a the soporific side effect. 
  • Atopica: The Misanthropic Shiba has been having success with this medication, but it appears to only be available in Canada. More info can be found on their website.
  • Colloidal Oatmeal bath: Again, this should not be "extreme" but how many Shibas can be bathed without drama? Also - too many baths will reduce their natural oils and possibly complicate the situation. You don't always need suds in a bath, just something to soothe the problem. I cheat on this one. A good Shiba mommy would probably cook oatmeal and make this from scratch. I buy the Aveeno packets. Always good to have on hand for people and puppies.
  • The last resort - Prednisone and corticosteroids: The can have wide-ranging side effects and most vets will discourage their use unless there is just no other way. This is actually true for human allergy sufferers also - an emergency shot of this stuff is avoided in all but extreme cases. Last summer Zuko went off the deep-end suddenly with his allergies and scratched his muzzle raw. The vet gave him an injection and he was on pills for several days after. He peed more often and was grouchy as heck the whole time. Not something I want to go through again.
Over at the House of Two Bows, they have made some interesting discoveries about hypothyroidism and the symptoms. It appears to have similar characteristics to those of allergies and they have started Bowdu on thyroid supplements. We are all watching to see how it goes for the little guy. The lesson from this is just don't assume it is allergies! 

What have I missed? Please comment and share your success stories with allergies and what you've learned to avoid.

-- Posted by Zuko's mom

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Trust Expanded

We took the little monster... er... I mean Zuko to Ft. Funston today. For those of you not in the Bay Area, this is pretty much Dog Heaven. Lots of rolling hills and sand dunes at the top of the cliffs. Down on the beach area it just goes on and on - cliffs on one side, water on the other and lots of room to run! For dog owners with recall concerns, the beach is a great area to practice since two directions are closed off by cliffs and water, leaving only two possible escape routes.

In the past I've had Zuko drag a leash so when it is time to catch him, I can step on the leash and stop him in his tracks. The leash also tangles up on his legs and slows the little guy down. All part of my evil plan to control my Shiba. Today, the leash kept really tangling on his back leg and he'd have to stop and wait for us to untangle it. My husband and I made the decision to just take the leash off. And what did Zuko do?? He was GONE up the beach in flash - it was as if he knew he had full freedom. He was still in visual range so we started trudging up that way. He found some dogs to play with for a bit and then suddenly he was coming back our way! Yeah!

I had the ultimate motivator in my pocket: turkey pepperoni. We had skipped breakfast this morning so little dog was very, very hungry and turkey pepperoni is his favorite. It seems he would occasionally remember I had this amazing treat in my pocket and he'd come back to me - sometimes without me even calling him.

We didn't have our Flip video camera with us, but I wish we did - the sheer joy of watching Zuko run with full abandon was great to see. He'd stop, frantically dig in the sand, stick his nose in there and flip out sand and water and then just take off again. By the end he was covered in sand with his tongue hanging out and a belly full of turkey pepperoni. GOOD DOG!

-- Posted by Zuko's mom

Friday, August 6, 2010


Shibas are hunting dogs, so I guess it would figure they have ginormous teeth. We've never really compared Zuko's teeth to other dogs, but folks comment on them often.

Last weekend we went out to Carmel Valley and Zuko met his new BFF Riley. Riley is a 60 pound white lab 7 month old puppy - so she had a bit of a size advantage on him. But his TEETH! Bigger than hers and he flashes them often during playtime. He's also very, very vocal when he plays. We don't call him "demon dog" for nothing!

Want proof? Check 'em out:

Love bite
Monster teeth
I'm Fierce!
To get all the action, here is the full video. I had to put cheesy music over it because we were all yapping about pointless stuff as I recorded this and we sounded like dorks.

And for further demon-dog-in-action video, here is another clip on Zuko and Riley:

-- Posted by Zuko's Teeth-Brusher