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Fostering a Yorkie - I Have Questions - Double Post


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I have never had a dog before. DH has allergies to dogs, and that was the biggest reason we never had one.

We are at home A LOT now, and youngest DD is home from college. So, there are 3 adults in the house with lots of time. I signed up with a fostering agency and told them I had the time to help, but I would need a hypoallergenic breed. 

A yorker came available, and we picked him up on Tuesday. He was given up by a woman who adopted him from a shelter two months ago. His age is unknown, but they estimated he is 5 or 6 years old. This woman also gave up a 6 month old cat who had kittens, so she was just a terrible animal owner. 😞  The poor little dog was covered in fleas and given flea treatments the night we took him.

He is a delight. He is totally house trained, hardly barks, and only needs attention. He likes to sit near us all day long. His teeth are terrible, and he will only eat wet food, which the agency provided. He does not appear to drink much.  Fleas were gone the first night, but he does scratch a lot. He looks like a mess--long hair in places, very little hair in other places. Scabs. Two cuts on his head that are healing. I was told I could give him 1/2 Benadryl, but he won't take the pill wrapped in bread/coated with peanut butter. We've given him a couple baths to try and alleviate some of the itching. The agency has scheduled a vet visit for Wednesday.

He would be the perfect dog for a retired couple. He doesn't demand anything; he just wants company..  If I walk around the house he follows me right on my heels. He stays downstairs and does not even try to go up the stairs. He can jump right up on the couch, so I'm not sure why he doesn't even attempt the stairs. 

Questions: 

I am giving him 2/3 can of wet food. I was told to sprinkle some dry food in, too, but he will not eat that. I feed him 2x/day--1/3 can each time. He hardly drinks at all. He gobbles up the food instantly. Is this ok?

He LOVES us. When we pet him and pause, he will put his paw on our arm so we keep petting him. He lays in front of us so we can rub his belly. However, when one of us comes downstairs at first, he growls. Then he is so happy to see us--lots of tail wagging. Why does he growl? He has such a gentle nature. 

I thought Yorkies barked a lot. I'm wondering if he would bark is he was left alone. Since it is quarantine, someone is always at home. I'm wondering how he would do if he was left alone in the house. 

He is not playful at all. He just loves to sit with us. I'm wondering if his age is older than we were told.

Even with baths, he doesn't smell great. Is this because he keeps licking his fur--to help itching or his bad teeth?

Should we be doing anything else?

Since my dh doesn't seem to have any allergic reaction, I'm tempted to keep him. But I work 3 days/week, and I'm not sure how he would do alone. 

I know there are lots of dog lovers and dog experts here. Any feedback or help is appreciated.

Edited by Lisa R.
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Aww, what a great thing to do. He sounds like a sweetheart!

The vet should be able to help with the skin problems and itchiness. Also with the teeth - he probably needs some dental work. If his teeth are painful, that may be why he won't eat dry food. And if his teeth are bad, he probably has bad breath, which could be why he smells bad. A dental cleaning will help with that.

For giving pills, I have the best luck putting the pill in a blob of cream cheese.

About the reluctance to go up stairs, he probably lived in a house without stairs. With a little encouragement, it shouldn't take him long to figure it out.

My guess about the growling is that it's because he's had a major upheaval in his life and is in a new place with new people and hasn't had time to settle in and feel truly safe and comfortable yet. So he is probably still on guard a little bit, and a bit anxious when he sees someone coming, but then he realizes that he knows you and gets happy. I would bet that the growling stops once he has been with you long enough to feel at home.

Good luck - he sounds like a good fit for your family! 

 

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He may smell bad from his teeth/saliva, or he could have a skin infection secondary to the fleas. Those are pretty stinky. And itchy. I've had great success with this shampoo, and Petco and Tractor supply usually have it (and both have curbside pick up now). 

As for how much to feed, does the can or the brand website have any feeding guidelines? Dogs on wet food don't drink a lot usually, so that's less of an issue. 

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39 minutes ago, Lisa R. said:

I have never had a dog before. DH has allergies to dogs, and that was the biggest reason we never had one.

We are at home A LOT now, and youngest DD is home from college. So, there are 3 adults in the house with lots of time. I signed up with a fostering agency and told them I had the time to help, but I would need a hypoallergenic breed. 

A yorker came available, and we picked him up on Tuesday. He was given up by a woman who adopted him from a shelter two months ago. His age is unknown, but they estimated he is 5 or 6 years old. This woman also gave up a 6 month old cat who had kittens, so she was just a terrible animal owner. 😞  The poor little dog was covered in fleas and given flea treatments the night we took him.

He is a delight. He is totally house trained, hardly barks, and only needs attention. He likes to sit near us all day long. His teeth are terrible, and he will only eat wet food, which the agency provided. He does not appear to drink much.  Fleas were gone the first night, but he does scratch a lot. He looks like a mess--long hair in places, very little hair in other places. Scabs. Two cuts on his head that are healing. I was told I could give him 1/2 Benadryl, but he won't take the pill wrapped in bread/coated with peanut butter. We've given him a couple baths to try and alleviate some of the itching. The agency has scheduled a vet visit for Wednesday.

He would be the perfect dog for a retired couple. He doesn't demand anything; he just wants company..  If I walk around the house he follows me right on my heels. He stays downstairs and does not even try to go up the stairs. He can jump right up on the couch, so I'm not sure why he doesn't even attempt the stairs. 

Questions: 

I am giving him 2/3 can of wet food. I was told to sprinkle some dry food in, too, but he will not eat that. I feed him 2x/day--1/3 can each time. He hardly drinks at all. He gobbles up the food instantly. Is this ok?

He LOVES us. When we pet him and pause, he will put his paw on our arm so we keep petting him. He lays in front of us so we can rub his belly. However, when one of us comes downstairs at first, he growls. Then he is so happy to see us--lots of tail wagging. Why does he growl? He has such a gentle nature. 

I thought Yorkies barked a lot. I'm wondering if he would bark is he was left alone. Since it is quarantine, someone is always at home. I'm wondering how he would do if he was left alone in the house. 

He is not playful at all. He just loves to sit with us. I'm wondering if his age is older than we were told.

Even with baths, he doesn't smell great. Is this because he keeps licking his fur--to help itching or his bad teeth?

Should we be doing anything else?

Since my dh doesn't seem to have any allergic reaction, I'm tempted to keep him. But I work 3 days/week, and I'm not sure how he would do alone. 

I know there are lots of dog lovers and dog experts here. Any feedback or help is appreciated.

Well, bless his heart. And yours. 🙂

He is probably recovering from his bad experience. There are behaviors that may take to assert themselves, because of his bad experience.

Gobbling food: that's probably a self-preservation thing. 😞 It isn't good for him to gobble; I would probably give him little bits at a time, in his bowl, so that he has to eat more gently. Also, I would make sure he's waiting calmly before you feed him. If he won't eat the dry food, he won't eat it. Maybe try it again after awhile.

It would be good for you to walk him daily. Keep the leash short, so that he's walking by your side, and walk as if you have a purpose. 🙂 That kind of walk engages his mind as well as his body, and is better for him than a walk where he pulls you all over (which you didn't say he did, but that's often how people walk their dogs).

He might bark more once he feels like this is really his home.

I'm thinking that yes, it's his teeth that are causing him to smell so bad. You'll know more after you see the vet.

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Oh, how wonderful for you and for him! ❤️He sounds like a very good little dog.

My husband and I are both a little allergic to dogs, and weekly baths totally take care of it. You may need to keep that up.

The itching could be from a lot of things, and, yes, itchy dogs do lick themselves. He could have flea bite dermatitis--an actual allergy to flea bites. So, even though the fleas are gone, his skin could be still reacting. He could also be allergic to dust, pollen, or certain kinds of foods. He may have a skin infection (fungal and/or bacterial) and that would account for the smell and the scabby skin. Dogs with allergies tend to get skin infections more easily. The vet may do a "skin scraping"--take some skin cells and look at them under a microscope. They may prescribe special shampoo and/or antibiotics.

Antihistamines work for some dogs and not for others but they are worth a try. Definitely try hiding it in some kind of soft cheese. Feed a couple pieces of cheese with no meds and then pop the one with the meds in his mouth. 🙂 

Most dogs eat quickly. 🙂 He won't drink much if he eats only wet food. I owned my Chihuahua mix for about 15 years and never could get him to eat dry food. That's okay. Thankfully wet food is not too expensive when you have such a little dog. Sometimes little dogs tend to be picky eaters. Wet food is perfectly healthy, but after he has work done on his teeth, you may want to learn to brush any remaining ones. 

He is still very new to your house. He's growling because he's nervous, probably. I wouldn't be too concerned if he is otherwise gentle-natured.

It's hard to tell if he'll bark when you're gone, but you can get him used to you leaving for short periods at first, then longer periods. My dog was *not* supposed to be barky and she is. Just depends on the individual dog.

Some dogs are playful their entire lives and some are never very playful at all. It's just a personality thing. Also, he may get more playful the more comfortable he gets. And he might bark more later. 🙂 

It would be lovely for you and for him if you decide to keep him. There are so many dogs who need homes.

Edited by MercyA
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Growling isn't always bad! IMO it's never really bad. Think of it simply as one of a dog's limited choices for communication.

I have a foster dog here. The rescue says Lhasa Apso, but I wouldn't be surprised if she's a Schnauzer x Poodle mix. Anyway, she growls and "talks" with all sorts of vocalizations. As far as I can tell (she's been here four weeks today) she's as gentle as they come with people. I've bathed her multiple times, groomed her, been working on getting her overgrown nails cut back, etc. and she's done nothing more than her growly rumble. It's just her way. No biggie, and in fact it's kind of cute.

Mostly I'm echoing the others here, but --

The itchiness could be from lots of things. He could have a flea bite allegy. That's THE most common type of allergy in dogs by far. The reaction is to flea saliva, and it can take a long time to subside even after the fleas are gone (a couple of weeks or even longer isn't unusual). He could also have allergies to other things (inhalants like pollens or molds, or to foods). The vet and time will help figure it out. It's also possible he has a secondary bacterial or fungal infection going on. Allergies make them itchy, the scratching and licking damages the skin, and bacteria or fungus that are normally present on the skin explode. That makes them even itchier. The good news is there are lots of good medicines available for allergies nowadays. Don't worry about his hair--IMO getting skin issues figured out, some grooming, good food and just a little bit of time make a huge difference. With most of these little long haired dogs their hair grows so fast it doesn't take long for them to go from naked rat to gorgeous.

Take a look and have a sniff at his ears (the inside part). They, along with the mouth, are a common source of stink. Allergies often affect the ears, too. Some dogs with floppy ears are prone to ear infections, and they can stink.

He won't drink a lot eating canned food. My little foster had quite the day on Wednesday--spay, multiple lumps removed and a dental--and I've only seen her drink two times since then. But she's eating her canned food and urinating a few times a day, so I know she's not dehydrated. As long as he's not gagging or regurgitating there's no harm in eating quickly. It's much more common and normal for a dog to gobble food than to eat leisurely. There's also no reason that he needs to eat dry food. My Shih Tzu doesn't, and the fostser doesn't want to. I've been mixing a little in her food, though. We may keep her, we haven't made up our minds yet. But if we don't we know some people prefer to feed their dogs dry food, so . . . I work on it with her. If she stays with us I'll just keep her on canned food. I'm no help with amounts. Generally I just start eyeballing a portion. If the dog still seems hungry I'll increase the portion. If he starts putting on weight I cut back, if after a week or two he seems to need to gain I add more. If you're overfeeding his poops may be a bit mushy, and that would of course be a sign you need to cut back. If you really want to figure out a set amount there are dog calorie calculators online. You can figure out approximately have many calories per day he needs, then look at the can (or the manufacturer's website) for the calorie info for what you're feeding and figure out an appropriate portion size. But keep in mind even that is just a general guideline. Dogs are like people--individuals of the same size, age and sex can vary a lot in the amount of calories they need to maintain a healthy weight.

Some dogs just don't play. I'm still trying to figure out if my current foster is one of those, or if she's a dog who never had the chance to learn. She doesn't play with toys and she doesn't play with our dog, despite his best (gentle) efforts. But again--we've only had her for four weeks, so it's early to tell (see a few paragraphs below regarding time frames).

As far as wanting attention and to be with the humans--remember that his ancestors have been bred for a long time to be lap dogs. Sure Yorkies were originally bred for hunting rats, but it didn't take long for them to become primarily companion dogs. Since Victorian times they've mainly been bred to be lap dogs. He wants to be around people like a hound dog wants to sniff or a herding dog wants to herd. It's his job, what he was bred to do.

Our foster dog won't attempt our stairs, either. I'm assuming she's never experienced them. One of the things on my list is to start working with her on that. Usually luring them up with a yummy treat works for food motivated dogs. Most dogs seem to have more trouble learning to come down than to go up.

You're in the very early days as far as seeing his true personality. There's a general guidelines in rescue called the Rule of 3s or the Magic 3s. Basically it means for the first three days the pet may be in a bit of shock at the change in circumstances. This is especially true if he's gone from a home to a shelter to a foster or adoptive home quicly. Some will hide, some will act out and be wild, some will be on their very best behavior. Almost none will be truly relaxed any of the time. The next three is weeks. In those weeks you start to begin to see the pet's true personality as he settles in, begins to relax a little and starts getting used to the new people and new routine. You'll probably start to see true personality and behaviors emerge. For the pet who has been practically perfect you may start to see some not-so-perfect stuff. And three months is the next step. By that time the pet is really feeling at home and more secure and their true self emerges.

Hopefully you're the one who is going to take him to the vet appointment. Things here are fairly clunky for that -- You drive up, call inside to let them know you're there, someone comes and gets the pet. The vet calls and talks with you on the phone and then someone brings the pet back out. Clunky but at least it works. Anyway, be prepared in advance with any and all questions. We can help with that if you need it.

Good luck, and keep us posted! Pictures would be great, too. 😉 

 

Edited by Pawz4me
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We have an itty bitty dog who has refused to “properly” drink water or eat dry kibble his whole life. He gets some extra water mixed in with his wet food. If he’s had extra exercise or it’s especially hot out (unusual for us,) my dd gives him some additional water with an eye dropper @@. It seems ridiculous but, hey, he’s been alive and pretty healthy for 5 years!

Teeth have been a definite issue, and the stink that comes with that. He does put up with brushing with a baby toothbrush, which helps, but he needs some professional attention. Our previous vet refused to anything cleaning wise unless he was put under. I haven’t actually checked with our other vet, but I should do that as soon as virus related stuff lets up. He doesn’t get all crazy and nippy with her the way he did with the other.

”Playing” is hit or miss here, with more misses than hits. He’s only recently been getting more into toys, and mostly the cat’s, lol.  Some days, we can play a bit of tag around the couch, but he mostly just wants to lay on or near people.  He’s been that way his whole life.

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Our previous vet refused to anything cleaning wise unless he was put under. I haven’t actually checked with our other vet, but I should do that as soon as virus related stuff lets up.

 

I've never heard of a vet cleaning teeth without putting them under. Anything more than brushing is a major event. That's why doggie dental costs so much!

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2 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

 

I've never heard of a vet cleaning teeth without putting them under. Anything more than brushing is a major event. That's why doggie dental costs so much!

There are a few places that try to do it..but it's not as thorough and pretty sure the dogs hate it. It would be pretty traumatic unless just quickly chipping off some tartar buildup on a few teeth. I mean, I know what it feels like when the dental hygienist has to scrape down under the gum...it hurts! Now imagine doing it in a teeny yorkie mouth, with likely severe gum disease, possible root infections, etc. Ouch! 

They really have to go under for a real cleaning, taking xrays of teeth that look suspicious, etc. The good news is, unlike surgery, if anything looks at all wonky they just stop the procedure immediately, switch the pet from gas anesthesia to oxygen, and wake them up. You dont have to try to suture them up, finish the procedure, stop bleeding, whatever first like in surgery. A good clinic will check bloodwork first to make sure the pet doesn't have liver or kidney issues that will effect how they process the anesthesia (you can overdose if liver issues), listen to the heart to make sure that sounds good, and use warming blankets/pads to keep the pet's temperature up while they are out. 

That said, I've seen cases where the dog was NOT safe for anesthesia. (ancient yorkie with a liver issue). What we did was have the owner use antibacterial gel in the mouth daily, and we did what was called "pulse therapy" with antibiotics. So I think that dog got antibiotics every weekend. Just the weekend, but every weekend. it wasn't enough to fix the problem, but it was enough to knock down the bacterial levels to a point where the dog was more comfortable. Wouldn't have worked forever, but it was an elderly dog, we were just doing what we could to ease the pain...the dog wasn't going to need "long term" solutions. I've heard of other dogs getting one week a month of antibiotics. 

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17 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

There are a few places that try to do it..but it's not as thorough and pretty sure the dogs hate it. It would be pretty traumatic unless just quickly chipping off some tartar buildup on a few teeth. I mean, I know what it feels like when the dental hygienist has to scrape down under the gum...it hurts! Now imagine doing it in a teeny yorkie mouth, with likely severe gum disease, possible root infections, etc. Ouch! 

They really have to go under for a real cleaning, taking xrays of teeth that look suspicious, etc. The good news is, unlike surgery, if anything looks at all wonky they just stop the procedure immediately, switch the pet from gas anesthesia to oxygen, and wake them up. You dont have to try to suture them up, finish the procedure, stop bleeding, whatever first like in surgery. A good clinic will check bloodwork first to make sure the pet doesn't have liver or kidney issues that will effect how they process the anesthesia (you can overdose if liver issues), listen to the heart to make sure that sounds good, and use warming blankets/pads to keep the pet's temperature up while they are out. 

That said, I've seen cases where the dog was NOT safe for anesthesia. (ancient yorkie with a liver issue). What we did was have the owner use antibacterial gel in the mouth daily, and we did what was called "pulse therapy" with antibiotics. So I think that dog got antibiotics every weekend. Just the weekend, but every weekend. it wasn't enough to fix the problem, but it was enough to knock down the bacterial levels to a point where the dog was more comfortable. Wouldn't have worked forever, but it was an elderly dog, we were just doing what we could to ease the pain...the dog wasn't going to need "long term" solutions. I've heard of other dogs getting one week a month of antibiotics. 

Yes, during wellness exams when she looks in their mouths, our vet will occasionally chip off a piece of tartar with her fingernail. But I can't imagine trying to do a thorough cleaning without anesthesia.

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7 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

Growling isn't always bad! IMO it's never really bad. Think of it simply as one of a dog's limited choices for communication.

Yes. Our Cavalier growls fiercely when she plays and sometimes when she is just excited. At first it scared us, because our last dog was aggressive. But now we know she literally does not have a mean bone in her body. ❤️

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We had a Yorkie. He was the best, bossiest, and smelliest little guy. Our vet said they’re prone to bad teeth, and he’d already lost several when we got him. He had great fur, no allergies, but if he went outside for 10 minutes he’d get that doggy odor. His favorite place to sleep was the dirty clothes hamper so that didn’t help.

Alex used to wake us up barking like crazy, and we’d know the kids’ hamster had escaped. He disliked seeing cats out the winow and would bark if we yelled “Shoo, cat!” It got to the point that he’d run in a circle barking whenever he heard us say the word shoe.

In the morning when he woke up, he’d stretch back and forth,rubbing his belly( actually below the belly) on the carpet. Walt was just a toddler; he thought it was the funniest thing, called it his happy dance. We’d start every single day that way, singing the good morning song and him doing the happy dance.

Whenever he’d get an upset stomach, he’d run directly to the bathroom to poop on the floor, so fast that we couldn’t catch him. Really, yorkies are the best. I know why old ladies dress them up and carry them around in their purses, they’re just a hoot to be around.

Edited by Dotwithaperiod
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17 hours ago, MercyA said:

Oh, how wonderful for you and for him! ❤️He sounds like a very good little dog.

My husband and I are both a little allergic to dogs, and weekly baths totally take care of it. You may need to keep that up.

The itching could be from a lot of things, and, yes, itchy dogs do lick themselves. He could have flea bite dermatitis--an actual allergy to flea bites. So, even though the fleas are gone, his skin could be still reacting. He could also be allergic to dust, pollen, or certain kinds of foods. He may have a skin infection (fungal and/or bacterial) and that would account for the smell and the scabby skin. Dogs with allergies tend to get skin infections more easily. The vet may do a "skin scraping"--take some skin cells and look at them under a microscope. They may prescribe special shampoo and/or antibiotics.

Antihistamines work for some dogs and not for others but they are worth a try. Definitely try hiding it in some kind of soft cheese. Feed a couple pieces of cheese with no meds and then pop the one with the meds in his mouth. 🙂 

Most dogs eat quickly. 🙂 He won't drink much if he eats only wet food. I owned my Chihuahua mix for about 15 years and never could get him to eat dry food. That's okay. Thankfully wet food is not too expensive when you have such a little dog. Sometimes little dogs tend to be picky eaters. Wet food is perfectly healthy, but after he has work done on his teeth, you may want to learn to brush any remaining ones. 

He is still very new to your house. He's growling because he's nervous, probably. I wouldn't be too concerned if he is otherwise gentle-natured.

It's hard to tell if he'll bark when you're gone, but you can get him used to you leaving for short periods at first, then longer periods. My dog was *not* supposed to be barky and she is. Just depends on the individual dog.

Some dogs are playful their entire lives and some are never very playful at all. It's just a personality thing. Also, he may get more playful the more comfortable he gets. And he might bark more later. 🙂 

It would be lovely for you and for him if you decide to keep him. There are so many dogs who need homes.

I hid the 1/2 Benadryl tablet in cheese and it worked! Thanks for the tip. 

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18 hours ago, Ellie said:

Well, bless his heart. And yours. 🙂

He is probably recovering from his bad experience. There are behaviors that may take to assert themselves, because of his bad experience.

Gobbling food: that's probably a self-preservation thing. 😞 It isn't good for him to gobble; I would probably give him little bits at a time, in his bowl, so that he has to eat more gently. Also, I would make sure he's waiting calmly before you feed him. If he won't eat the dry food, he won't eat it. Maybe try it again after awhile.

It would be good for you to walk him daily. Keep the leash short, so that he's walking by your side, and walk as if you have a purpose. 🙂 That kind of walk engages his mind as well as his body, and is better for him than a walk where he pulls you all over (which you didn't say he did, but that's often how people walk their dogs).

He might bark more once he feels like this is really his home.

I'm thinking that yes, it's his teeth that are causing him to smell so bad. You'll know more after you see the vet.

Thank you for that dog-walking tip. Yes, I made the leash shorter and encouraged a faster walk with less sniffing. This worked quite well. He did get quite a bit more exercise this way. 

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