{First Aid Essentials} Specific to the Pacific North West

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I dunno about you, but Bear and Scooter are pretty interested in our meat-related leftovers, and that includes fish (and some cooked veggies too)


When we moved to Portland, we were excited about the opportunity to relish in the fresh seafood, in fact, a dinner at a nice seafood dinner was how we spent our first night in town! One thing I didn’t realize until taking the pet first aid course though, is that there’s actually a salmon-related disease that we need to be aware of in our dogs here.

Two fresh salmon steaks

Called Salmon Poisoning, this is a disease that is specific to those of us who live in the Pacific North West (apparently one of the few downsides though!) Raw fish in the PNW can carry an infectious organism that causes illness in pets.


Signs of salmon poisoning include:



*bloody stool

 One thing to be aware of is the fact that this disease is slow to develop, symptoms often showing 5-7 days after ingestion. Your previous weeks’ hike or adventure may be long out of your mind by the time your dog could show symptoms of the bad fish he’s ingested.

To ensure this isn’t an issue if you live in or visit the Pacific North West, simply avoiding feeding your pets raw salmon and don’t allow dogs in the PNW to forage along the creek, river, or lakeside when you’re out adventuring together.


If you believe your dog has ingested raw fish-seek veterinary advice immediately.

Disclaimer: None of this advice is intended to be anything other than helpful guidance. I am not a vet, and you should not be using any information found online in place of taking your pet into a vets office to be seen if they are sick or injured.

This post is part of a series called ‘First Aid Essentials’ that I started after becoming certified in pet first aid and CPR last year.


So far I’ve posted on: Approaching an Injured animalFirst Aid Kits & Emergency Phone #’s, Normal Vital Signs, and Symptoms of Poisoning if you’d like to catch up.

{First Aid Essentials} Normal Vital Signs

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Another installment in my First Aid Essentials series today! You can still read up on parts one, and two if you missed them.Sometimes it’s good to know what the ‘norm’ is for your dog, to help determine if something is wrong with them. Of course, none of this knowledge is a replacement for simply knowing your dog, their routine, and what is typically normal for them. If you’ve noticed some behaviors are off, that’s a clue to look deeper.


Here, as much for your reference as mine, are the normal vital signs of our canine companions:


100.5-102.5 degrees

Resting Pulse:

80-120 beats per minute (can be higher in puppies and small dogs)

Respiratory Rate:

18-24 breaths per minute

Gum Color:



Skin at the nape of neck should snap back into place in 1 second

Have any of you ever taken an animal first aid/CPR course? Did you get as much out of it as I did? I’ve recently been invited to another, thinking of going back again if my schedule allows, just ’cause. We’ll see ;)

Disclaimer: Again, none of this advice is intended to be anything other than helpful guidance. I am not a vet, and you should not be using any information found online in place of taking your pet into a vets office to be seen if they are sick or injured.

{First Aid Essentials} Approaching an injured animal

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Back in August, I attended a free conference on Pet First Aid through my dog walking/pet sitting job. We listened to presentations, watched a video, and had several hands on labs before receiving our certifications at the end.


I was recently looking back on that weekend, and decided that it would be a great thing if I could share some of that useful knowledge with all of you here. Of course, please know that I am not a vet, and you should never use any of these tips or advice in place of seeking medical treatment or care for an animal.

Today, for the first installment of the First Aid Essentials series on SheSpeaksBark, I’d like to touch lightly on the topic of dealing with an approaching injured animals.

1. Ensure you are physically protected. Don long sleeves, and gloves if possible. Injured animals are often defensive and may act out aggressively while trying to protect themselves. If you get inured yourself, you are much less able to help out the injured animal.

2. Approach the animal slowly. Don’t make any quick movements, and use a low, gentle voice.

3. Always muzzle an injured animal (unless it’s having trouble breathing!) even if it’s your own pet. A spare leash, long sock, piece of gauze, or pair of nylons can stand in for lack of a true muzzle. Cats can often be safely wrapped in towel or blanket before being transported to a veterinarian for care.

Have any of you had to aid an injured animal before? 

Disclaimer: Again, none of this advice is intended to be anything other than helpful guidance. I am not a vet, and you should not be using any information found online in place of taking your pet into a vets office to be seen if they are sick or injured.

{Product Review} SleepyPod Mini

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As far as we’re concerned, the Sleepypod is a ‘must have’ for any small dog or cat owner. Scooter included a sleepypod on his Christmas Gift Guide for the little dogs this year-boy does he have good taste ;) As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of multi-use products. Space is always an issue in our apartment, and if I can get one thing that covers multiple tasks & works well- I’m a fan. The sleepypod is just that: a dog bed, a carrier, and a car seat! We have the original sleepypod which is, you guessed it, pod shaped. There are two other models though: the atom and the air. Our friend Mr. N the tenacious terrier has the sleepypod air so we can vouch that it’s also very nice and somewhat easier to carry than our ‘pod’ due to its slimmer profile. We still <3 our pod- though it was a very tough choice!


The Sleepypod equates to some serious animal luxury. It is so well made, with fine quality materials and zippers that appear to be around for the long haul. Our sleepypod is still very new, and being ‘broken in’ if you will, but you can just tell this thing is durable! We used the sleepypod for a car seat and carrier a month back, when we took a trip to the coast. It worked so well for us on all accounts, and Scooter liked having something familiar, a homebase, in our rental house.


We followed the instructions and let Scooter use his sleepypod with the top off, just as a bed for several weeks before moving forward. He is quite picky about beds, but actually took to it immediately, really loving the lined interior. I’ve since donated two of his other small beds that were left quite unused around our house.


Now that he’s got his sleepypod, Scooter’s always ready to go! :D


It can be really hard to say ‘no’ to that face too, I assure you!


We’ve connected with Sleepypod on facebooktwitter, and pinterest to ensure we stay tuned with their latest news. I hope you’ve enjoyed our sleepypod mini review- we highly suggest other small dog owners look into the sleepypod line of carriers!

Do your dogs have a car seat, or seat belts that they use to travel safely? 

Disclosure: We were provided our Sleepypod free of charge in exchange for a review on our blog. All opinions are our own- and this is truly a product we use daily and love! I can attest that the customer service through Sleepypod has been nothing short of astounding as well.

So fresh and so clean

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I gave both our boys a bath yesterday which got me thinking about how dogs sure have a wide range of reactions to their bathing and grooming sessions.

photo (1)

Take Bear for instance. He’s always been mostly happy to have a bath, and LOVES rolling on his towel and the carpets afterward. Now that we’ve adjusted our routine to keep things easy on him in his old age, we’re continuing to do well.


He loves getting his teeth brushed, and adored our beef flavored toothpaste. I do a gentle brushing with that, and follow up with a softer brush like this one and a spritz of doggie breath spray.


Bear also doesn’t mind me clipping his nails, and likes having his ears cleaned. He’s a very patient boy!

And then there’s Scooter.


The opposite of his big brother in every way.

Scooter hates baths (although swimming is fine!), but he likes being towel dried and rubbing on and biting his towel afterwards. He’s tough you know.


He HATES being brushed, having his nails clipped, hair trimmed, teeth brushed, or ears cleaned. Fun stuff for me ;)


Considering he’s only 5lbs, there is only so much he can do to resist me. BUT he’s also tiny (brushing little dog teeth is about the hardest thing ever! If you don’t agree with me- tell me your solution in the comments please!) which presents it’s own set of complications. For instance, I cannot straddle him or restrain him with my legs in any manner as I would with a larger dog giving me problems.

How do your dogs feel about bathtime or any particular parts of their grooming routine?