Susieshar-pei newsemail a question

January 16, 2008
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All animals make their own Vitamin C except man, the rest of the primates, Guinea pigs and some birds. So why give a dog vitamin C?
We always think back to wolves. This gives us a snap shot of the history of dogs. What part of their prey do wolves eat first? The contents of the stomach. Their prey are herbivores, so the belly is full of partially digested plant material. Very high in Vitamin C. Another part of the prey first eaten is the liver, also high in Vitamin C.
But now our dogs eat mostly dog food. The manufacturers know that the process of making dog food includes high heat, which destroys most vitamins, and all vitamin C. So what the manufacturers do, is spray the drying kibble with a liquid combination of vitamins.
Even then, we have no idea how much of the vitamins survives the storage process.
Vitamin C is water soluble, as are vitamins B, and K. If more is taken into the body than is needed, it is passed into the urine and excreted.
What are the benefits of Vitamin C? A severe deprivation causes scurvy, which was discovered in sailors who were on the sea for long periods of time. This was solved by sending citrus fruit on the boats, this is why British Sailors are called Limeys. The first symptom noted with them was bruising, bleeding under the skin, and from the gums.
What does Vitamin C do? It builds collagen. Collagen is the protein that “holds the body together.” It is absolutely necessary in all body areas. Think of the joints, the ligaments, tendons, lubricating areas, all are full of collagen.

One easy way to think of what Vitamin C does is to think of the body as made up of billions of cells, and some liquid. Each cell has of course, a cell wall. Vitamin C strengthens the cell walls and keeps them intact.
There are other factors in modern life that make dogs need more Vitamin C than they can make. Everything from being around cigarette smoke, to car emissions, to all the chemicals used on/in dogs such as vaccinations, flea and tick products, pesticides, and numerous others.
The Monks of New Skete found hip dysplasia very common in German Shepherds. They took pairs of males and females who were grade 4 dysplastic, and this is the worst score possible. Hip certification is rated like this: Excellent, Good, Fair, Borderline, Dysplastic 1, Dysplastic 2, Dysplastic 3, Dysplastic 4. They gave the sets of future parents Vitamin C, and the puppies up through 2 years old. The hips are certified at 2 years old. NO PUPPY rated less than a Good.

I bought a male about 5 years ago. At one year old you can do a preliminary hip certification. He came back “Fair.” He had been on one gram, 1000 mg, of Vitamin C a day, which is our adult dose. But he had not been on any before I got him at age 8 weeks, nor had his parents been on it. So I increased his dose to 4 grams, 4000 mg, a day and had his final hip certification at 2 years old, he got a “Good.”
Our puppies start on 100 mg a day at birth. We make this into a liquid by grinding up the tablets, mixing it so that one CC equals 100 mg, and add a little sugar since it is so sour. We increase this systematically until at 8 weeks they are getting 500 mg, and we switch them to a pill at 8 weeks. At 6 months old they go to 1 gram, 1000 mg, a day, and we do NOT miss a day. If we go to a show, I take along or send with Mike exactly what is needed by each dog.
Can you give too much Vitamin C? It is said that if you start it too fast, you can cause diarrhea. We have never had this. Of course we start the puppies slowly, and the dog I increased from l gram to 4 grams a day, I did increase it one gram a week.
I am a good example of high doses myself. I have been on 12 grams a day, 12,000 mg, since 1966. That is a VERY long time. I have had no problems with this. I have very little hip sockets, was born like this, and the Orthopedic Surgeons have suggested hip replacements numerous times, but let me put it off until I want it. You cannot notice any problems in my walk or run. I am almost impossible to bruise. I can sit in the floor in a “W” position indefinitely.
The doses of Vitamin C we use on the dogs here is in my “Puppy Sheet” and must be given to all dogs who leave here to fulfill my guarantee. A blood level of Vitamin C can easily be drawn to see if the dog has had the supplementation.

The cost is negligible. Right now at Puritan’s Pride, 1000 mg, l gram, costs 2 cents. If we are near to running out, it is about the same price at Walmart, Costco, Target. These are not dog vitamins, these are people vitamins.
Some interesting excerpts and 2 fascinating web sites to visit:
“The Nobel prize winners: Albert Szent Georgi and Linus Pauling, both of whom spent many years researching this vitamin, recommend a daily intake of at least 2 grams, and have seen no toxic side effects at much higher doses, with many benefits. Any writings on the subject by either man is very much worth reading and consideration.”
“Psychiatric symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include depression, hysteria, and hypochondriacal symptoms.”
“Smoking acts as an antagonist to vitamin C. Less vitamin C is available in smokers for utilization and storage, and smokers need twice the amount of vitamin C as the nonsmoker to show a comparable blood level.”
“Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of collagen by catalyzing chemical changes that allow lysine and proline to bind together as collagen subunits, adding structural stability to the "complete" collagen fibers.”
“Vitamin C is important and necessary for the synthesis of the neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and serotonin. It catalyzes the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine and the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.”
“Vitamin C helps to facilitate the absorption of iron and calcium, and it is essential for the utilization of folacin.” [Folic Acid]
“Production of collagen, a protein substance in fibrous tissue, depends on ascorbic acid. Vitamin C maintains capillary integrity through the production of an intercellular cement substance. This function promotes the healing of wounds, fractures, bruises, some hemorrhages, and bleeding gums. Additionally, it reduces susceptibility to infections.”
“Vitamin C has many functions: it can function as a coenzyme or as a cofactor in the body. It appears to be necessary for the normal function of cellular units and subcellular structures. In metabolism, vitamin C functions to accept and donate hydrogen. Vitamin C also plays an important role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, compounds which allow nerve impulse transmission between nerve axons.”

Until tomorrow-Susie


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January 13, 2008
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There are many opinions about the best age to get a dog, especially, of course, in the cases I hear most about, a Chinese Shar-Pei. I am not going to go into health here at all, just the best age for the bonding process.

If a puppy is going to fly, that puppy will have to get a health certificate from a Veterinarian, and they will not write one for a dog under 8 weeks. Also any airline I have used, will not fly a puppy under 8 weeks. And our National Club, the Chinese Shar-Pei Club of America, discourages breeders from letting puppies go before this age.

There was a philosophy years ago, I have only heard of it from older people, and I am NOT young, that dogs adjust best if they go to the new home at exactly, and I mean exactly, 7 weeks. 49 days. I don’t know where this came from or the history of it, but I have heard it referred to many times.

My puppies are usually still nursing at 7 weeks. Very few of my mothers wean their puppies. At about 8 weeks, they do seem to start to enjoy more time away from the puppies, where as with new puppies, you can put the mother outside and before you get the rugs changed in the puppy pen, the mother is digging at the door and whining if not howling! I have only a couple of mothers who by the time the puppies are 6 weeks old, they have had enough and are ready for their freedom from motherhood.

This may be a good place to interject that puppies do not bite the mothers while they nurse. Puppies get their baby teeth between 12 and 16 days old. Try it with your finger, it is impossible to suck and bite at the same time! If a mother dog looks like her breasts have been bitten, it is nail scratches, from the puppies “pumping” the milk out, and not having had their nails cut.

I do have a lot of people tell me that they have lost an old Shar-Pei, maybe 10 or 12 years old, and gotten that one at as early as 5 weeks old, frequently 6 or 7 weeks old. This is an age that puppies are being taught “doggy manners” by their mothers, rough housing with their siblings, and need to be with the mother.

If you get a puppy this young, you will find it hard to get enough food in the puppy. The puppy will have very little idea of what she is supposed to do outside. And you probably will have some serious whining at night!

They are adorable, but they just aren’t ready to bond to people.

At 8 weeks old, a Shar-Pei, the breed known for being the easiest to potty train, will have a good idea of why you are taking her outside, will know how to eat dry food, and will be adventurous, quite entertaining, and will love all the attention.

But is later worse? Many times due to weather, or the new owners’ schedule, or any number of things, a puppy leaves later. There is an enormous difference between a 2 month old and a 3 month old puppy. The 3 month old is downright bold compared to a 2 month old, and is much closer to being able to let you know when she has to go outside, rather than hoping you take her outside often enough. A 3 month old is ready for leash training, and can learn to “sit” in 15 minutes.

So let’s go older. If someone wants a show puppy, particularly if the buyer is in a foreign country, the new owner is likely to want the puppy when the adult teeth are in, which is 6 months. Older puppies also do perfectly well at adjusting at this age. New owners in these cases will or may feel that they have missed the cutest age, the smallest puppy stages. This may be true, but it has no effect on the permanent relationship between the owner and the dog. The only thing here I would stress is that the new owner not assume the half-grown dog knows the rules of that new household as if she had been there for months, or the commands used. They may even speak a different language!

It is not uncommon for us to have a dog who we kept to show, who doesn’t turn out to be show quality for some reason. Sometimes, not often, we have a female who isn’t a good mother and I would not want to breed her again. In cases like this, if someone particularly wants that dog, is it better for that dog to go to a new, unfamiliar home, where she will be the only dog and get all the attention, or to remain here where our attention is naturally split between a number of dogs, but she knows all of us? We have had dogs that we felt each of these choices was the best for that dog, it is decided on an individual basis.

My younger daughter had a very old dog, 17, who she had found back in her dating years, under a car. That dog had been with her for half of her life. She had gotten dysplasia to such a severe extent that she often was unable to stand up, and my daughter knew her happy days were past. My daughter had a friend who was moving to Hawaii, which has a 4 month quarantine, and it is extremely expensive, and that friend asked my daughter if she would like the dog. This dog is 6, also female, mid-sized, and used to children. Within a week, that dog had adopted my daughter’s children and my daughter, knew the house rules, and is very happy. It really worked out well, since when the older dog died, the kids had another dog right there to soften the blow.

The oldest dog I ever placed was 8. I had a lady in Denver contact me that she wanted a female, brushcoat, very soft temperamented Shar-Pei. I happened to have exactly what she wanted. She sent me the money to have her spayed, and flown to Denver, and from all reports, this has worked out well.

So I feel that as long as the dog is at least 8 weeks old, and there is plenty of patience on everyone’s part, there is no bad age to get a dog. My experience of course is mostly with Chinese Shar-Pei, but I would bet it applies to all dogs.
Until tomorrow! Susie


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January 11, 2008
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Don’t let anyone tell you that there are always successful ways to keep dogs from chewing furniture, corners of kitchen cabinets, and about anything they decide to.
If someone writes me that their puppy, usually about 4-5 months old when the adult teeth are coming in, is chewing furniture or other valuable items, I give them the standard advise:
Offer the dog a toy.
Watch the dog closely.
Keep him in a crate or an area with nothing chew-able when the owners are not home.

But this doesn’t apply to us! Obviously, we have quite a few dogs. We rotate them from area to area. Right now we have 6 in the kitchen and dining room area. Over the years we have had all the banisters dividing the dining room from the hall chewed through, so Mike put up metal ones. We got a metal Baker’s Rack. But there is a dresser in the dining room, antique I am sure, since it came from my mother who was born in 1904. Boy is it chewed up! No knobs remain, you have to open the drawers with a screwdriver, I mean it is BAD.

It dawned on me to try to repair it with wood putty mixed with something that tastes horrible. The worst thing that tastes bad but is not dangerous that I could think of is Texas Pete. I got a small container of wood putty, the one about 4 inches tall, probably holds a cup. It was about half gone and a little dried out. I put Texas Pete in it, guessing about l/3 as much Texas Pete as wood putty. I stirred it with a fork and it mixed in perfectly. Whenever I have repaired wood or plaster, I always wet the area first, so I put some Texas Pete in a measuring cup and painted the areas I was going to work on with straight Texas Pete.
I did some areas on the dresser and a corner of the kitchen cabinets that had wood missing.

No, 2 days later, those areas are untouched!! So maybe this will work. I will keep you posted as I sand it and add further layers. I feel like an inventor!
I have used Clorox in paint that is to be used in a moist area, and it does prevent mold and mildew. I have mentioned before that we are in a very high humidity area.

We had our first litter of the year last night, 2 blacks and 3 redfawns out of Striker. The mother did not quite figure out what the first puppy was, she kept covering him with a towel! But after the second was born, she had it down pat and was pulling them to her to nurse. We kept them in the bedroom and I left the TV on to a political channel to keep me half awake and Mike and I switched sides of the bed so I could watch her with one eye open through the night, and she did very well. All 5 are nursing happily in a row.

I sold a puppy last fall to a man who sends me a picture every day with writing that is a combination of religious and philosophical. His email address if you would like to get these, and see his website is He is a fabulous artist and author. Until tomorrow! Susie


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