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Tick woods

Don’t let disease-carrying ticks bug you this Summer.

This is the time of year when dog owners start asking lots of questions about flea and tick control.

Having lived in the Midwest for awhile with two active lacy dogs I can attest that ticks are an epidemic up here. Every morning after we’ve been outside, I pick all of the ticks I see off the dogs. After our evening walk I, once again, thoroughly pick ticks off the dogs and then the couch and no matter how many I get there is always at least one more.

Spot treatments, sprays, baths…these products are toxic and they don’t seem to reduce the amount of ticks I see every day. Spot treatments like Frontline claim to kill ticks that crawl on your dog within 12-24 hours but by the time the pesticides have done their job, the tick has already had a chance to bite and begin feeding on your dog. So while it seems these products prevent ticks from reproducing in the house or kennel, they do little to prevent the transfer of tick borne diseases.
As far as repellents for dogs, natural methods include external application of food grade-diatomaceous earth, cedarcide, and powdered sulfur. DE works mechanically by scratching away the insect’s exoskeleton but it is reportedly more useful as a yard or kennel treatment since it isn’t necessarily fast acting and the sulfur method has a really unpleasant scent to humans.

The use of Cedarcide, derived from cedar tree oil, seems to be growing in popularity among pet owners and families with young children.  Cedarcide is available is many forms to make treatment easy and effective. Visit The Cedarcide Store at for a list of products.

I read where Consumer Reports recently tested insect repellents for humans and in their test, two Deet-free products worked as well as Deet-based products.

And the top 5 were:

Off Deep Woods Sportsmen II
Cutter Backwoods Unscented
Off FamilyCare Smooth & Dry
3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent 8
Repel Plant Based Lemon Eucalyptus

The Repel product is simply Lemon Eucalyptus oil which, though it has a slightly greasy feel, smells delightfully like citronella. After a little research I found that, for years, people have been using lemon eucalyptus essential oil mixed with olive oil or some other inert base as mosquito and tick repellent. I sprayed some of the Repel brand on the dogs and, after a romp in the grassy field behind the house, I searched and found….no ticks! Surly it can’t work that well! There’s always at least one tick!

The only problem I have encountered with the spray is the dogs apparently hate the smell and will try like mad to rub it off, often rubbing it right into the carpet or couch cushions. At least it seems the oil-based product is sticky enough to stay on their coat.

With the dry conditions back in Texas I hope most of you enjoy a mostly tick and flea free summer but remember, dog owners do have alternative choices when it comes to pest prevention.


minimal vaccine lacysA vaccine can be a great thing. But vaccination can also do a lot of damage. So how do you decide how and when to vaccinate your Lacy Dog? By reading and educating yourself. There is a ton of info on the internet which supports vaccinations as well as going vaccine free. Hopefully my info will help readers make their own decision.

“After more than twenty years of practicing veterinary medicine, I am observing chronic diseases that begin much earlier than before,” writes Charles Loops, DVM. “A normal dog or cat living to twelve years of age will receive at least twenty and possibly thirty vaccinations during their lifetime. Fifteen or so of these shots will have four to seven disease fractions present in each vaccination. In all of this, balance in nature has been lost to the pharmaceutical-medical complex’s philosophy, propelled in great part by monetary factors, leading us to believe that all vaccinations are beneficial.”

Vaccines have become much more than they were ever intended to be. They were originally developed to help people or animals have a better chance at living through a disease that is usually fatal. Now vaccines are being given for things that are rarely lethal. Read the rest of this entry »

blue lacy hair lossEver seen a balding blue Lacy? Sometimes it is just a couple patches here and there, other times it affects their entire coat. It is rare, but it does happen due to a genetic disorder called Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA).

Dogs with Color Dilution Alopecia are born with normal coats. Symptoms develop as early as six months or as late as three years. It often starts on the flanks or along the back, but bald spots can occur anywhere and may eventually spread to cover the entire body. Sometimes stiff guard hairs remain over dry skin. Even though dogs with Color Dilution Alopecia can be healthy, they are susceptible to sunburn, windburn and scaly skin. Because the hair follicles are damaged, they are also prone to bacterial skin diseases. But, for the most part, Color Dilution Alopecia is an aesthetic disorder.

This disorder is related to the double dilute gene, dd, that causes the blue coloration in Lacys. Not all blue dogs have Color Dilution Alopecia, and most blue Lacys will never have problems with their coats or skin. (Note: For the sake of this article, blue dogs refer to both traditional blue and tricolor Lacys.) But all dilute dogs, regardless of breed, can develop issues. All Lacys carry the dilution gene. The blues and tris express it more intensely and thus they are at greater risk for alopecia. Read the rest of this entry »

Cleft palate pup Abraham grew more slowly than his siblings.

Cleft palate pup Abraham was much smaller and grew more slowly than his liter mates

Lucy had her first litter of puppies in June 2007. This was also my first experience with newborn pups. On Saturday night, she gave birth to seven puppies. On Monday morning, I discovered that one puppy was dead. Even though I was told to expect to loose some, this was very distressing to me. By Monday afternoon I saw that another puppy was in really bad shape and rushed him to the veterinarian. The vet informed me that the pup was dehydrated and gave the him some dextrose under the skin. He did OK for a day or two, then slipped back to where he started.

In my concern for the pup, I got on the internet and looked for anything that would tell me what was wrong with the puppy. Finally, I came upon a website that talked about puppies born with cleft palate. Sure enough, when I looked in the pups mouth, it was obvious that he had the cleft palate. These puppies cannot form the suction that is required to nurse from their mother. I had noticed that my puppy could get milk that was in the nipple, but when he had to suck hard enough to pull the milk down, he just couldn’t do it. So cleft palate pups will get some milk, but not much.

I found a wonderful website where a breeder of Labrador Retrievers gave a lot of tips about how to take care of a cleft palate puppy. This website,, is very helpful and has all the information anyone would need. I would highly recommend that anyone who is trying to save a cleft palate puppy read it. I tried what I read, but my pup died at three weeks. It was pretty hard to take, but I knew that if I ever had another cleft palate pup that I had more experience, better information and the pup would have a better chance of living. Read the rest of this entry »

larry-deerDeer meat is a great food for your dog. Now that we are officially into the 2008 deer hunting season in Texas, it’s the perfect time to start feeding raw venison.

Dogs are classified as carnivores. There is a mere .2% difference between dog and wolf DNA. If we realize that our dogs are so closely related to wolves, then it is a short step to understanding our dogs should eat like the wolf rather than eating junk out of a bag.

An ideal meal for our domestic wolves, also know as Lacy dogs, is raw on-the-hoof deer meat. Many hunters have deer meat left over from previous year, and that is fine to feed to your dogs, but today I am writing about feeding the deer that is freshly shot and ready for the dog to eat. Read the rest of this entry »

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