Brushing your Shiba’s Teeth

I don’t brush Tierce’s teeth. I am a bad, evil dog owner. I give my dogs bones and lots of chew toys. It’s not because I think that teeth cleaning is a waste of time – it’s not! But I don’t do it. However, if you’ve come here looking for teeth cleaning advice, I’ve compiled some Youtube videos that can help you out.

Here are some useful videos:

Here are some videos of Shibas having their teeth cleaned.

Body by Shiba?

There are a number of things that I do or want to do with Tierce, activity-wise.  I’m compiling a bunch of things I can do with him that will encourage me to exercise more effectively more often.


This is generally what we do – or what my boyfriend and Tierce do – most often.  Walking burns a decent amount of calories if you do it for an hour or more.  There are a lot of places in Nanaimo to walk a Shiba, which is why I started my blog Places to Take a Shiba in Nanaimo (currently derailed due to family issues that are largely being resolved, fortunately).


This is a variant of walking where you’re following a GPS unit to find caches hidden by other geocachers.  Depending on the terrain, this can be anything from a stroll to a hiking expedition.


Hardier form of walking that Shibas take to very well.  They are little mountain dogs and like nothing better than scrambling up and down mountains, stopping to cock a leg along the way.


I am an avid long-distance cyclist, but a bicycle going at full speed – or even a speed suitable for long distance touring – is too fast for Tierce to keep up with.  I therefore have set up my trailer to accommodate him.  Drawbacks include slower speed and a harder time securing everything if we want to hop off and explore without dragging the bike/trailer around.  I have been looking into getting an adult tricycle with a back basket large enough to accommodate a Shiba or that would support modification so that Tierce’s crate could fit on it.


I have been running with Tierce regularly this summer, but shin splints have laid me low.  I’m starting out again, but it’s slow going and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to run without pain.  Which brings me to:


Not something I have tried with Tierce.  I’m on the lookout for a modestly priced pair of inline skates and protective gear.  I also keep having nightmares about Tierce dragging me off balance while I’m going full-tilt.  But I’m going to try it anyway; maybe I’ll learn how to skate first and then try taking Tierce out.

Cross-country skiing:

Tierce has his own little sled dog harness and, if he put his mind to it, could actually pull me down a gentle slope.  But no, he wants to jump into the nearest snow drift.  In Nanaimo, snow falls about once a year, so every year I grease up the skis and go out to enjoy the winter weather and yelling at Tierce for pulling me off balance.


Tierce’s harness is better for him pulling my plastic sled up hills (yes, I’m 32 and yes I still sled, dammit).  He’s happy: he can pull it and bounce uphill.  I’m happy; I don’t have to pull the sled.  Sliding down the hill with Tierce running beside me is fun, too.


I have a couple of photos of Tierce actually letting water touch his shoulders and back as he swam after a stick for about 7 seconds.  He’s repeated the experience only under protest.

And that’s all I can think of that Tierce does with me.  I need to make this more of an inclusion in my daily routine to get a lot of cardio benefits from it – leisurely walks or letting Tierce run around in the yard don’t count!

Rabies Vaccine Issues

What You Must Learn About the Rabies Vaccine for Dogs

A year ago, Tierce got the rabies shot that immediately preceded his first allergic reaction.  Now he is still in his cone (much better now, thanks to the Atopica) and recovering much more slowly than the last attack.  We’re not taking him off medication again.

The above link has some interesting information about the rabies vaccine.  I’m generally not a fan of red/black/white websites with a lot of exclamation marks, but I think that this one has a lot of useful information.  As always, consult with your vet before taking any steps for or against vaccination.

I am not planning to ever go beyond the puppy shots and maybe a booster shot for my next dogs.  I’m not planning on blindly giving my dog medication I don’t know about either.

How Long do Shibas Live?

shassWatching Shassi spiral down to the end of her life, this question is of more import to me than would otherwise be the case!  According to Norma Hornung’s initial research, it’s around 13-14 years.  You can help Norma gather more information about Shiba lifespan by going to this link, as she is asking for data related to Shibas who have died in order to gain a better understanding of how long our breed tends to live.


I have not signed Tierce up for pet insurance. One of the reasons is that I’m cheap and think that I can beat the game of Dog Health Roulette. However, I am seriously considering this move. I fully intend to research the best policy for my money before throwing my credit card at some lucky company. After all, nothing’s too good for my Shiba, but it would be better if the things that are not too good are not too expensive.

When you look at one Canadian pet insurance estimate for Tierce, an 11 month old Shiba inu, the prices seem to be disturbingly reasonable; between 11.95 and 87.57 a month. Depending on which policy I choose, this can be a relatively cheap way of ensuring that a good chunk of Tierce’s vet bills will be paid should he ever be in the position to play chicken on the highway.

The thing is, for people who take the time and money to get and maintain insurance for their pets often don’t need it as much because they are already investing time and money in their pets’ health. Tierce comes from a long line of dogs that have outstanding health and temperaments. I also don’t walk him without a lead, meaning that he doesn’t get a lot of chances to see if he can outrun Ferraris on Highway 19A. I am already beating the odds.

There is something to be said, however, for the comforting voice in one’s head that reminds you that you don’t have to worry about the cost of veterinary care simply because you gave up a latte or two a week. If I were to save 87.57 every month, the aggregate would only amount to 1050.84 every year. This would pay for one moderately expensive surgery. With the insurance, I can get coverage for all accidents and illnesses. When you consider that some surgeries can cost anywhere from 2500 to 5000 dollars, this suddenly becomes very appealing.

So it looks like I am going to seriously consider insuring Tierce for a moderate amount of money. Dog knows that he is planning to find a way for me to involuntarily spend money to keep him healthy – why not this?

Van Insurance
This link has nothing to do with pet insurance at all, but the company (UK) does insure dogs and cats. Go here to find out more about their pet plans.

It’s that time again…

Well, so far, we have not seen any lethargy, tarry stools, coughing, aching, stuffy head, so I am pretty sure that the chicken that Tierce got into came out in record time.

Speaking of time, it’s shedding season again. I’ve taken a good-sized Pomeranian out of Tierce today, while my boyfriend and other guy friend watched “Balls of Fury”. I started out watching it, but it quickly paled for me. The grooming rake quickly paled for Tierce. He wriggled around until I got a firm grip on his scruff or his tail and held it to keep him still. However, he is not protesting with his teeth, which is a Good Thing.

I don’t know how this much fur hides inside this little dog. It reminds me when I moved from my apartment in Victoria up to Nanaimo. The whole apartment was supposed to take up half of the large U-Haul truck that I rented. Instead, we wearily lifted the bikes up against the huge pile and barely got the door shut. I had a lot of stuff. Tierce has a lot of undercoat. Maybe I should have collected it to have a picture to show, but I’m just not that dedicated.

Speaking of grooming, the second show handling class came and went. We have to work on stacking. One paw goes down, he moves another one. Damn dog.

Tierce and the bones

Fool that I am, I left some chicken wings alone long enough for Tierce to snag a couple. Agggh! So I phoned the vet and was somewhat reassured to know that most dogs weather accidents like this with no problems. Supervise him and bring him in if he seems lethargic or weird or if his stools are tarry. I fed the chicken hound a stomach full of the new potatoes that we had baked up and am crossing my fingers. Might feed him a can of dog food to further cushion any splinters working their way through his little body. Results will probably come out (har-de-har) in a couple of days.

Now: worst case scenario. The worst is if the bones actually pierce the intestine and cause peritonitis. From what my boyfriend experienced when Tierce chowed down on his dialysis line, this is not a comfy way to go. An operation can cost upwards of eight hundred dollars. I am not worried about the expense, as I have ensured that I have enough to take care of Tierce in the event of an emergency. But I am kicking myself for letting him anywhere near bones like that.

So, it looks like we’re in for a couple of days of eagerly waiting for my dog to take the magic shit.

Laser pointers

During the quest to put up my new bookshelf, I found the laser pointer that I had bought to play with Tierce. I figured that I might as well see if it still worked, so I turned it on. As luck would have it, Tierce saw it and immediately pounced at it. This was not the problem. The problem was, after less than 30 seconds of exposure to this little red light, he was running around the living room looking for it – for an hour. I definitely urge anyone who has one of these things to rethink playing with their Shibas with them.

I’m not alone. A Google search for “laser pointers dogs OCD” nets thousands of pages. This page particularly warns against using laser pointers as play or training aids because of the behaviour that they encourage.

I notice that Tierce also chases shadows when we walk at night. It’s not appearing to be a manifestation of OCD. Apparently he can understand that shadows come and go, but the light from the laser pointer appeared to have a weird effect on his mind. He even spent 10 minutes staring at my boyfriend’s computer tower, at the blue light that indicated its functioning status. A blinking cycling light from MEC elicited only an initial period of excitement, followed by boredom. Kind of like a crack junkie being given a big chocolate bar. Nice, but nothing special and he doesn’t really want to eat anyway.

Sorry Tierce, no more little red lights for you.