Down South Westies
                                         ...Home of beautiful, loving, West Highland White Terriers!


Down South Westies Monthly Newsletter

What's New This December

December 30, 2003





If you havenít checked out our website lately, we have new pictures of our dogs as well as info about Westie books for you and the kids!







Some of this information was taken from ASCPA The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals





This is no passive pup!



Heís not shy, just sneaky!




This pup is leader of the Pack!

In This Issue:

1.    Introducing A Brand New Baby!

2.    Kennel Cough!

3.    Exercise!

4.    Westie Books On Website!

1.    Introducing A Brand New Baby! 

Linda and I are going to be new grandparents in the next few days.  Our son, Tom and wife Lisa, are expecting on October 21.  We got word from Tom today that the baby may be a few days early so we are expecting a quick trip to Birmingham, AL, any day now.  They are excited, along with their other child, a Yellow Lab, Molly.  As I contemplated this monthís WestieGram, I thought this might apply to others, so I wanted to pass along the following info.

Not only must you prepare your home for the new arrival, it's essential that you prepare your dog for the many changes that a new baby will bring.

You should begin with an honest evaluation of your dog. Is she well-behaved? A dog can unintentionally do serious harm if she jumps on you while you're holding the baby, or rolls over on the baby. Does your dog growl when anyone comes near her food or toys? A bite could result should your baby try to touch your pet's possessions.  Before your bring your newborn home, let your dog sniff a blanket the baby used. This helps familiarize her with the baby's scent. When it's time for them to meet, it's best if the new mother greets the dog by herself. Bring in the baby while the dog is on her leash, close enough to see, but not touch, the newborn. Make sure the dog is held on leash by the person to whom she best responds. Do this frequently throughout the day, but keep sessions short. If your dog remains well-behaved, try it without the leash and allow your dog to sniff the newborn. Gradually let her wander loose while someone holds the baby.  Once you've successfully introduced these two special family members, it's a good idea to set aside some daily play time with your dog without baby present. You should also take time each day to have fun with your dog while your newborn is in the room. Never leave your child with your dog unsupervised. Dogs often don't know their own strength, and can injure a baby. With careful planning and training, however, your dog can help teach your child some of the most important life lessons as he or she grows-sharing, caring and responsibility, to name just a few!

2.    Kennel Cough!

You may have heard your dog cough before, but it's never been so dry and raspy, and continuous. Your dog may be suffering from kennel cough, a viral and bacterial disease complex that causes inflammation of the voice box and windpipe. It's also highly contagious to other dogs. Dogs often contract this bug after a stay in a kennel-hence, the name-where they come into close contact with other dogs who may be carrying the virus. Nowadays, most kennels won't let your dog board without proof of a bordatella vaccination, but your dog can get it if he comes into contact with any other infected animal. This might happen at a dog run, for example, or even while greeting another dog on the street.  Your Westie needs to be vaccinated for kennel cough (Bordatella).  I give our dogs two shots, in a two week interval.

Dogs who suffer from kennel cough usually show no other symptoms than a dry, raspy cough. Their appetite and activity level don't change, but it is characteristic for them to gag and cough up a white, foamy-looking phlegm. If your dog has been diagnosed with kennel cough, your veterinarian may prescribe medication and, in severe cases, an anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics. Your doctor may also recommend a cough suppressant to alleviate the unpleasant symptoms. You can use a product made for humans that contains a simple cough suppressant without other additives. However, never use a formula that contains acetaminophen. Experts suggest 2 teaspoons for a 40-pound dog and 1 teaspoonful for a 20-pound dog. If your pet weighs less than that, give him 1/2 teaspoon. But no matter what your dog's size, check with your vet first.  Kennel cough usually clears up in about 7 to 10 days, but dogs may continue to cough for up to several weeks. In the meantime you can make your dog as comfortable as possible by keeping the humidity high in your home. Try a humidifier or vaporizer, or let your pet in the bathroom when you take a shower or a bath. The warm steam will help soothe his irritated breathing passages. Try not to expose him to cigarette smoke or other noxious fumes.

A slow, short walk outdoors may help clear your dog's airways and help him breathe better. Be sure to monitor your pet's progress. A severe case of kennel cough can result in pneumonia. If your dog shows a nasal discharge, lethargy or loss of appetite, take him to the veterinarian immediately.    

3.    Exercise!

Itís 5:30 AM and Chloeís alarm goes off!  Itís time to goÖfor a two-mile walk!  Almost every day, Linda and I take Chloe and Darby for a brisk two- mile walk.  When it comes to Westies, it's always the right time for playtime or a walk.  All Westies need daily exercise to keep physically fit and mentally healthy.  Regular activity also burns up calories and increases muscle mass and cardiovascular strength.

On-leash jogging, race walking, playing Frisbee, and intense games of fetch can be satisfying, and tiring, for the both of you, so be sure to start slow-this way you'll gradually build up your dogís stamina, toughen her paw pads, and strengthen her muscles. And remember, even animals with bad hips and arthritis can benefit from regular, gentle exercise - just ask your veterinarian! If your dog is obese, gets easily winded or is relatively sedentary, check with your veterinarian before starting on an exercise program.

Adequate exercise has an important side benefit, too. Boredom coupled with insufficient activity can lead to destructive behavior-this means chewing and digging and excessive barking and howling. Increasing your dogís time on the move can help clear up a lot of these behavioral problems-especially during adolescence.

Some Favorite Links: 

   Just For Kids!