My Surprising Discovery About Dog Collars and Chiweenies

When I first met Anya, one of the first things the employee at Noah’s warned me about was leading the Anya by a collar. She said I needed to make sure I used a harness.

I was startled. I’d always used a collar when leading dogs and never had a problem. I managed to swallow my instinctive sarcasm and not point out that at that very moment, the only thing Anya was wearing was a bright green collar.

Luckily, The Noah Project is run by wonderful people who not only want to find homes for the dog and cats they take in, but who are also interested in making sure all adopters are properly educated. She said that toy breeds, such as chiweenies, are prone to a medical condition called collapsing trachea, and that when a small dog yanks against a collar as some are prone to doing, it can cause the trachea to collapse, leading to problems.

Since I’m not the type of person who takes anyone’s word for anything, I went home, booted up the computer, and did some research. It turns out that pulling on the collar isn’t the only thing that can cause a chiweenie’s trachea to collapse. Coughing and over-exertion is also a problem. The condition is most common in toy breeds who have passed their 5th birthday.

Anya
“No collar on me!”-Anya, the Farm Chiweenie

The good news is that most dogs who have a collapsing trachea are able to live long and full lives, provided their monitored and otherwise remain in good health. However, it’s also important to acknowledge that not all dogs are so lucky. Some struggle to enjoy a high quality of life after their trachea has collapsed and require a great deal of medical care and attention. In some extreme cases, surgery is required to correct the problem.

Rather than deal with a serious and potentially life threatening problem, I suggest you fit your chiweenie for a really nice harness. If you have a little one who likes to pull, look for an anti-pulling harness. There are some really nice front leading ones that are a great choice for a Chiweenie who is just learning how to walk on a leash.

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“Okay,  full disclosure. Mom does make me wear a collar sometimes when we go on walks, but the leash is attached to my harness, not the collar.”-Anya, The Farm Chiweenie

Oh yeah, before I forget. The friend who was with me at the time asked about using a dog head halter on Anya, which was also discouraged because they have a tendency to slide into the little dog’s eyes. Chiweenie noses just aren’t long enough to manage the halter.

Good luck and don’t forget to give your chiweenie an extra cuddle from me.

Written by Jess Schira

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The Fireworks are Coming! Three Tips to Keep Your Chiweenie Safe this Fourth of July

The Fourth of July.

As an American with a deep love of history, I adore the Fourth of July, and feel it’s important to honor those who risked all so we can enjoy honest to goodness freedom.  As 14661393760_ac9f7b03c2_bsomeone with critters, I’m less thrilled with the holiday, particularly since Michigan legalized the use of the huge fireworks a few years back.

Oddly enough, the dogs in my life don’t seem to mind fireworks, but my internship at a stable puts me into contact with a few horses who do. The barn dogs, Toby and Cougar also don’t seem to mind the thunder, especially if they’re in the stable office. I don’t know how Anya will react. This is our first Fourth together and I really don’t know 12108709_1074562232554426_6525124316903981695_nhow she’s going to react. I’m hoping, that since she’s hasn’t exhibited any thunder anxiety or noise phobia, that she’ll be good about fireworks. Of course, I’ll also be thrilled if the neighbors decide to skip the firework party they’ve thrown the past few years.

Meanwhile, here are a few tips you can use to keep your Chiweenie, and other types of dogs, safe and comfortable during the upcoming fireworks displays.

Keep Your Dog Inside

Even if your dog is normally outdoors, when there’s a threat of fireworks, it’s best to bring them in. The fireworks can trigger a strong enough fear reaction that a dog who never Anyashows any inclination to leave home will jump a fence. Besides, they’ll be more relaxed when surrounded by the humans they love. Some dogs are most comfortable when they’re crated during the fireworks shows., especially if three sides of the crate are covered. Turning on the television or radio will help disguise the sound of the exploding fireworks.

Get a Thunder shirt

I meant to get a thunder shirt for Anya before now, but it hasn’t happened. I’m hoping I don’t regret my dawdling. The thunder shirt to a chiweenie is what a swaddle is to a baby, it fits snuggly and eases their stress. You should put your dog into the shirt prior to the 10806045045_41c294f8e7_nstart of the fireworks show.

Get your Walk in Early

Don’t wait until it’s almost dark before walking your chiweenie. You’ll want to take them out as soon as the ground is cool enough for them to walk without burning their feet. The early walk decreases the odds of you not returning home before the first firework is set off. Before going on your walk, take a magic marker and clearly print your phone number of your dog’s harness and collar. This increases the odds of your chiweenie being returned to you if they’re startled and get away while on the walk.

When walking on Fourth of July weekend, don’t get casual with you chiweenie. You never know when someone is going to set off a cannon (it happens in a few towns near me), or pop cherry bombs as your walking past, spooking your pet. When this happens, you’ll be walking Anyaglad you had a tight grip on your leash.

The most important thing to remember is that if your chiweenie is upset about the fireworks, it’s your responsibility to talk quietly to them and remind them that they’re loved and in a safe place.

Anya and I wish everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Photo Credits: Blog title photo: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/49195807@N00/14661393760″>Fireworks on Brisbanes Story Bridge. Riverfire 2012</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Interior Photo of Anya the Farm Chiweenie: Personal collection of Jess Schira

Interior Photo of Dalmation in Thunder shirt: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/47439717@N05/10806045045″>Thundershirt 2/3</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Interior Photo of Anya the Farm Chiweenie: Personal collection of Jess Schira