Canine Diarrhea Primer

There Are Four Kinds of Stool:
1.Normal Logs
2.Pudding Diarrhea – soft stools that will mound up
3.Brown Water Diarrhea
4.Brown Water Diarrhea with blood
Parasites and Diarrhea
If a dog gets diarrhea as a result of parasites, the most common causes are Coccidia  or Giardia. Both will cause diarrhea, but each requires different medication. All dogs have some level of Coccidia in their gut. When a dog is stressed (i.e. being shipped, moving into a new environment etc ) the stress can cause the Coccidia to bloom and flair up causing diarrhea. Humans get Giardia when they drink water that has fecal matter in it. Both Coccidia and Giardia need to be diagnosed by a Vet .
Pudding Diarrhea
Pudding diarrhea can be caused from:

  • changing food.
  • over feeding.
  • eating garbage
  • stress
  • exercise and excitement

Adding a little canned pumpkin to the food not only helps firm up stools in dogs but it also helps relieve constipation.  The  homeopathic remedy DiaBac  works for bacterial diarrhea symptoms and  can be used against e-coil, salmonella, diet, water changes, environment change, stress or food allergies.
Brown Water Diarrhea
Brown water diarrhea is a serious situation and is a sign of a sick dog. When a puppy has water diarrhea it can easily become dehydrated, and if the diarrhea does not stop within 24 hours the puppy must see   a vet.
Brown Water Diarrhea with Blood
If you see brown water diarrhea with blood in it, you have a medical emergency. It is beyond the scope of pet owners to deal with blood in diarrhea.

Ireigold Golden Retrievers

I love getting notes and photos like these. Hannah  has been writing to me via her Mom since she was a puppy. Hannah is from a 2007 litter of Irei and Champ, and Moet is a sister of a later breeding of the same goldens.
The photo is of Hannah and 2 1/2 year old Stalzcup grandchild, Dylan.  They had spent the day together with Hannah right up close to one of her favorite children.
This letter “from” Hannah  and written by Nancy    poignantly illustrates  the extraordinary bond between  human and golden  during a time when Nancy had just come home from hip surgery.
Dear Grandma,
I wanted to let you know that mommy is feeling much better. Her hip is healing and she doesn’t use a cane or walker anymore. When she first came home from the hospital she was pushing a metal frame in front of her and trying to walk behind it. I didn’t like it at first, but then I realized it was helping her to walk and that was good. I guess that’s why they call it a “walker.”
For the first 3 weeks she couldn’t climb the stairs so daddy put a hospital bed in his office on the first floor. That way mommy had a bathroom right across the hall and everything she needed was on one floor. It was a little confusing the first few days but we all got used to it after awhile.
The first night, when it was time for bed, I realized that daddy was going upstairs to his bed, but mommy was going to sleep downstairs in this funny hospital bed. I call it funny because when she pushed a button on the side of the bed it went up and down. Yes, the bed moved up and down, and from the look on her face, this made her feel more comfortable. I’m glad because I love her a lot.
I thought to myself, where am I going to sleep? My comfy bed is upstairs, but I can’t leave her alone downstairs. I looked at the bed; I looked at her and lay down under daddy’s desk nearby. She told me I could go upstairs, but I couldn’t leave her. She seemed sad and that walker was hard for her to use. Mommy turned off the lights and said goodnight to me and “you’re such a good girl; mommy loves you.” That’s all I needed to hear.
In the middle of the night I heard a strange sound and realized it was mommy’s bed moving. The light went on and I looked up from under the desk. Mommy was trying to get out of bed. I watched her as she slowly got her legs to the edge of the bed and tried to sit up. She finally made it and again slowly shuffled with the walker across the hall to the bathroom. I followed her to make sure she was okay. I waited in the hallway until she came out and went back to bed. I followed her and waited until she was safely in bed, then she said “goodnight, Hannah, I love you.” I sighed and went back under the desk.
Mommy and I continued to do this every day and every night for over three weeks. Soon she was using a cane and no more walker! It felt so good to help her and now she tells everyone that I took good care of her. Well, of course I did. After all, she is my mommy.
With love to you too,

AKC Open Jumpers

Lucy earned her agility AKC Open Jumpers with Weaves Title this weekend!!! That’s with 16  twenty  inch jumps and 12 weave poles in a row. Check out  the Ireigold website (Lucy’s page) if you’d like to see her blast through the weave poles!

This has been an extraordinary summer for the Ireigold dogs so far with Lucy jumping into  an Open JWW, Tess completing  her Rally Novice title and Irei earning  a  Canine Good Citizen title   that enables her to join me in my counseling internship in the Fall. Goldens are certainly versatile – there are so many ways you can enjoy  your dog in activities that are meaningful, healthful, and fun!

Dogs Can Have Heat Stroke Too!

Dogs Can Have Heat Stroke Too!

Hot weather can cause heat stroke in animals as well as humans. Here are some behaviors to watch for and things you can do immediately if you think your dog may have heat stroke.


*Heavy panting

*Dark red or purple coloration to tongue


*Loss of balance

*Pupils non responsive


Try to slowly bring down body temperature (don’t put dog into an ice bath).

*Wrap dog in cool, wet towel or blanket or put them in cool tub of water.

*Apply cool damp cloths or an ice pack wrapped in a cloth to rectum, scrotum or vulva– these are areas of major blood supply and cooling the skin surface will help to lower body temperature more effectively.

*Spray small amounts of cool water with electrolyte solution mixed in (Gatorade, Pedialyte, etc) into dogs mouth. Never pour into the mouth as the dog may aspirate the fluid into his/her lungs.

*Take dog to Vet asap!

Be safe and enjoy this hot weather!!

The Truth About Flea & Tick Treatments & The Natural Alternative

The following is an article by Maine Golden Retriever Assoc. president, Amy Herbert. She discusses the safety issues inherent in using  some of the tick and flea products currently on the market and offers viable alternatives. 

The Truth About Flea & Tick Treatments & The Natural Alternative

How many times have you gone to the vet or pet store to purchase spot on flea/tick treatments and had someone tell you that there are side effects and it is not 100% safe?  Most likely, NEVER.  Most veterinarians and pet supply stores tell everyone that these products are safe to use on puppies, pregnant, nursing, and geriatric dogs, but the precautionary statements on the products themselves tell otherwise. 

Now I’m not saying that you should never use these products on your animals, but you need to know all the facts prior to using them so that you can make a conscious decision regarding your animals and families health.  I can’t tell you how many friends of mine use these products and when asked if they had read the precautions on the package, they said no.  Below are the ingredients common in spot on treatments, their side effects and classifications set forth by the FDA, EPA, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, US Dept. of Labor, Extension Toxicology Network, Journal of Pesticide Reform and Pesticide Action Network. 

Now let me explain what Active and Inert ingredients are so that you understand the classification.  Active ingredients only make up a small % of the product and are tested and approved by the EPA prior to being marketed.  Testing consists of high doses given to lab mice, rats, dogs and cats for a short period of time and then the animal is euthanized and its body is examined to determine side effects.  Inert ingredients make up between 85-99% of products and undergo very little testing by the EPA because they are not considered the main ingredient and companies are not required to disclose what these ingredients are because they are trade secrets.  Yet these inert ingredients are also dangerous.  Interesting to say the least.

Chemical                                    Type of Ingredient                  Side Effects                                                                                         

Fipronil                                                      Active                                                         thyroid cancer, human carcinogen, organ damage, neurotoxin causing nervous system damage, reduced fertility, decreased litter size and weights, fetus mortality, skin problems including ulcers, itching, hair loss and burns.                 

Imidacloprid                                    Active                                                      carcinogen in dogs, organ damage, incoordination, labored breathing, muscle weakness, increased miscarriages

Methoprene                                    Active                                                      liver enlargement, headaches, eye and throat irritation, difficulty breathing, confusion, dizziness and nausea in humans

Permethrin                                    Active                                                      liver and lung tumors, possible human carcinogen, kidney enlargement, lung changes, tremors, elevated body temp, increased aggressive behavior, fertility affected, bone marrow changes in laboratory animals

Pyriproxyfen                                    Active                                                      reduced weight gain, toxicity to pups

Ethanol                                                      Inert                                                      adverse effects on fetus

Butylhydroxanisole                  Inert                                                      animal carcinogen and possible human carcinogen

Butyldydroxytoluene                  Inert                                                      animal carcinogen and possible human carcinogen                 

Carbitol                                    Inert                                                      headache, depression, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pathological lesions in brain, lungs, liver menni, pulmonary edema, intravascular hemolysis and bone marrow depression

Polyvinlpyrrolidone                  Inert                                                      not evaluated by EPA for carcinogenic

So to sum it up the EPA considers these side effects safe for use on our pets and around our children.  Now I don’t know about you but I’m not ok with this so I have chosen to take a more natural approach to protect my pets and children from fleas, ticks and all biting insects. 

Orally I give my dogs garlic powder on every meal year round and during the summer months I give them Black or Green Walnut Hull liquid on their food once per day.  The garlic permeates through the skin to deter insects from coming close while the black walnut hull causes the animal’s blood to taste very bitter to insects so they stop biting.

Topically I put Sentry Natural Flea & Tick Spot on treatment once per month (contains only natural ingredients); I spray each dog down once per day with one of the following sprays, cedar oil, neem oil, flee flea, or sentry natural flea spray (I rotate between all of these to prevent resistance); I also rotate the sprays with Diatomaceous Earth (DE) which is a powder that I rub into the dogs coat.  Each evening I firmly brush each dog to disrupt any ticks or fleas that may have gotten on them.

Around my home I spread DE under crates, baseboards, beds, couches and any corners that insects may hide.  DE ruins an insect’s outer oily shell so that it dehydrates and dies after coming in contact with DE powder.  DE is very dusty when you are spreading it, so make sure rooms are well venalated while you are putting it down and unsure that no kids or animals are around until the dust settles.  I also spread DE in my play yards and kennel runs.  Cedar oil can be sprayed around your home on carpets, furniture and outside in the yard.  I also use cedar oil on my children and myself as a bug repellant.  Gardens Alive makes a product that is mixed with water and then sprayed around your home inside and out to kill and prevent flea infestations.  It is safe for dogs and children after it dries so spray it and wait an hour before letting anyone or thing go on that area.

I stopped using regular spot on treatments and sprays containing pesticides and dangerous chemicals over 5 years ago and I will never turn back because I truly believe that these products used long term are killing our animals and causing harm to our children that happen to come in contact with the product.  My advice to everyone is to read labels and warnings (if a product says keep away from children and don’t allow contact with skin, should we really be using it on our pets?), understand pros and cons of using the product and make informed decisions. 

Photos from Ireigold Families

  Fashionable head wear – Happy 1st Birthday Bailey!

Ava is “Smilin’ on the Cape”- really – that’s her registered name and her owner shares that this “don’t worry – be happy” look is her every day   state!  


                                              Cody sports the infamous  holiday doggie antlers.

Moby the Nautical dog has the ocean in his backyard – what golden retriever wouldn’t be deliriously happy about that!


Cody is a bringer – bring the toy, the bone, the shoes, the underwear – whatever he can get his mouth on. Good dog, Cody.                                      


Ellie is headed out in the camper – what a superb traveling companion!


Koda and Mark – a dog and his man. Nothing more needs to be said.

Thank you, Ireigold Families, for sharing precious moments with your beloved four legged family members.

The power of human/animal bond

This is a recent New York Times Article about how a golden retriever named Devon is helping a returning veteran deal with post traumatic stress disorder. The power of human/animal bond in providing secure attachment and healing is rapidly becoming a hot topic that will hopefully generate more research.  Part of my internship for a Masters in Counseling will involve study in attachment theory. To my total delight, my internship sites value the healing presence of a dog in the counseling venue and I’ve been encouraged to  bring one of my therapy dogs – either Irei or Tess –  with me.

I’ll also be able to use my equine facilitated psychotherapy work toward  internship credit. If you are unfamiliar with the healing power of the Horse as co-facilitator in the counseling and growth/learning process, I invite you to check out the website for  my 501c3 non-profit:   Work of Heart: Horse as Mentor that I share with psychiatrist, Nancy Coyne (

I’m having some difficulty getting this article to automatically open for you, so please cut the URL and paste into your browser.

Happy Birthday!

Happy 6th Birthday to Ophelia,  Isaac, Dakota, Zorba,      

Tess, Finnegan, Heidi, and Cooper!

Ireigold World’s A Stage – Isaac

The Perfect Pet

Isaac is the perfect pet!!! He LOVES his family soooooo much and it’s clear that his only goal in life is to be with and please us. He has no other agenda. Isaac loves his people and wants them to feel like they’re the best, and that makes him the best!!! He loves to sleep in bed with us. . mostly alongside dad, Dan or sister, Meri. He loves to eat with us. . .he lies under the table, keeping everyone’s feet cozy warm and is always on patrol for a small tidbit that may hit the floor. He loves to watch TV. . . sports, news, Disney teeny bopper shows, the TODAY show, he loves them all!! He loves riding in the car. . .it doesn’t matter where he’s going as long as he gets to go!!! He loves playing outdoors with the kids of his family. . .he’s always up for playing with a ball or frisbee, on the playground set, sledding, ski jouring or swimming in the pond or, playing inside. . . he LOVES playing with stuffed animals. He loves to carry stuffed animals everywhere, two, three, four, he can always fit another in his mouth. Which brings up the point that Isaac also loves to be helpful. . . constantly cleaning up around house. He’s a very good housekeeper as he vacuums crumbs continuously and is constantly picking up discarded shoes, socks, underwear and toys.

Isaac loves other animals, too, and is such a nice citizen as he interacts with ALL the creatures great and small within the community we call our farm. The kittens in the barn love him without question and rub their little bodies against “Uncle Ikey Poo” as he lies down and makes himself comfortable in the aisle as someone is feeding or brushing a horse. Now this is in contrast to our Aussie, Sweep, who is Isaac’s BEST friend and farm dog partner, who the kittens are forced to keep a wary eye on as she may choose to chase them at any minute forcing them to literally run for their lives. Isaac is always up for a game with Sweep and the best is when she chases him around the yard, pretending he is a white tailed deer, grabbing his collar and taking him down(he dramatically flops). The game ends as he permanently flops down pretending to be dead as she tugs him by his invisible collar(we’ve gone through 3) like a carcass across the lawn. He always has a BIG smile on his face when they play this game. Finally, the chicks in the downstairs bathtub even love Isaac. Since we brought them in the house at 3 days old, he has taken to parking himself outside the bathroom door and when he come into the bathroom, they stretch their necks over the edge and when they see him greet him with enthusiastic peeps calling up to him because instinctively they know that he would NEVER hurt them in a million years.

Isaac is the perfect pet. . .a golden boy.

Heidi & Finn, Ophelia, Tess, Skidder (from a later litter) & Zorba


Daisy, The Four Legged Heroine

James Crane worked on the 101st floor of Tower 1 of the World Trade Center.  He is blind so he has a golden retriever named Daisy.  After the plane hit 20 stories below, James knew that he was doomed, so he let Daisy go, out of an act of love.  She darted away into the darkened hallway.

Choking on the fumes of the jet fuel and the smoke James was just waiting to die. About 30 minutes later, Daisy comes back along with James’ boss, who Daisy just happened to pick up on floor 112.

On her first run of the building, she leads James, James’ boss, and about 300 more people out of the doomed building.  But she wasn’t through yet, she knew there were others who were trapped.  So, highly against James’ wishes she ran back in the building.
On her second run, she saved 392 lives.  Again she went back in.  During this run, the building collapses.  James hears about this and falls on his knees into tears.  Against all known odds, Daisy makes it out alive, but this time she is carried by a firefighter.  “She led us right to the people, before she got injured” the fireman explained.
Her final run saved another 273 lives.  She suffered acute smoke inhalation, severe burns on all four paws, and a broken leg, but she saved 967 lives.  Daisy is the first civilian Canine to win the Medal of Honor of New York City.