February 2011 

Alright, lack of dental care will not make your Rat Terrier look just like this! However, the tongue hanging out all the time is common for a dog without teeth.

Preventing periodontal disease can result in longer, healthier lives for pets. Sadly, dental care is often ignored by owners, only about 10% of whom regularly attend to their pet’s teeth. Catching tooth problems early helps avoid severe dental disease. The easiest way to detect problems with your dog’s teeth is to look at them on a regular basis and be aware of signs of trouble, such as bad breath, reluctance to chew/crying out when chewing, increased salivation, red and/or puffy gums, bleeding gums, tartar, missing and/or loose teeth and anything else about the mouth that appears unusual.

Plaque on teeth turns into tartar, a hard, brown or yellow coating, a rich breeding ground for bacteria which eats away at the teeth and gums. This can cause many oral problems but bacteria not only causes disease in the mouth, it can also affect other parts of the body, like the heart and kidneys. The best prevention is to address dental disease as soon as it is detected, no matter how minor. Better yet, work hard to prevent it!

There are several things you can do to help keep your dog’s teeth in good shape. Start a dental care routine as early as possible in your dog’s life so he gets used to the feeling of having his teeth brushed and inspected. If you are not able to brush your dog’s teeth, there are other options. Consider using oral rinses made especially for dogs. You can also purchase special dental treats. Avoid real bones, not only can they lead to gastrointestinal upset, they may also cause tooth fractures.

Most of all, make sure you keep up with vet exams. From time to time, a professional dental cleaning may be recommended. This requires general anesthesia. During the procedure, your dog’s teeth and gums will be examined closely for problems. The teeth will then be scaled and polished. If dental problems are noted, tooth extractions could become necessary. Be certain to follow your vet’s recommendations. And remember, what you do at home can really make all the difference, so smile!

Ratbone Rescue’s policy is to not turn away dogs because they are old or have health issues; if we feel we can help them, we will try. We regularly get older Rat Terriers who need to have their teeth cleaned and sometimes teeth pulled. This takes a big bite out of the Ratbone budget so any donations for dental work are very appreciated by our senior Ratties and their foster moms.

If you would like to help provide dental care for a Ratbone dog, make a donation, noting in comments that it is for the dental fund. ***Please be sure to include an e-mail address, so that we can send you an acknowledgement***


Send check or money order to:
Ratbone Rescues
P.O. Box 3237
Seminole, FL 33775-3237


Dinky Do

Howlie Ratdell



Sue Carello is an animal lover with a passion for saving and rehabilitating them. She adopted her first Rat Terrier, Bandit, in 1999, from a local shelter. When he died from cancer in 2002 she knew she wanted another Rattie because Bandit was such an awesome dog. Sue also knew she wanted another rescue so she turned to the internet where she found Ratbone Rescues. Finding just the right dog was a long process but she enjoyed “window shopping” on the RBR web site. It was there she found a special needs dog that looked like her Bandit. Sue not only adopted Sandy the Rat Terrier, she also "adopted" a new community who shared her love of animals and passion for saving them.

As a new Ratbone volunteer, one of her first assignments was to evaluate a 13 year old dog at a shelter, considered unadoptable by shelter staff. The dog was so mean in the cage that there was a warning on her paperwork. Sue told the RBR fostermom it was the worst dog she’d ever met but the fostermom convinced Sue that if she would pull the dog, it had a place to go. Shelter workers used a catch pole to get the dog out of it's cage and it was quite a fight. The workers wished Sue “good luck” and waived all fees.

Sue was heartbroken that someone would abandon a senior dog and recognized the dog was actually terrified. Sue talked to her in the car until she calmed down and eventually the vicious little dog licked her fingers. Sue shared an Egg McMuffin with the poor girl and drove to her new fosterhome in Connecticut but by the time she got there, she couldn’t give her up and she ended up adopting her beloved Sasha.

Sue knew she wanted more Ratties, to own and to foster, so she bought a house just for the love of Rat Terriers. She started fostering in March of 2003 and has fostered about 25 dogs since then. She’s been active as State Coordinator, fostering, helping with transports, assisting in applications, doing home visits, fundraising, and maintaining the Ratbone FaceBook page. She says she fosters in the memory of her Bandit, who was terribly abused, in hopes that other little dogs don’t have to suffer what he did. She is thankful she found Ratbone to work with because “we have a awesome group of people and I believe in what we are doing. I can’t imagine not doing this”.

Staying at the Ritz
A couple months ago I was invited to accompany my human to the wedding of two Ratbone volunteers which meant that I had another first experience – staying in a hotel. As I mentioned last month, more humans are looking for places and experiences that they can share with us. Since this includes traveling together it means shared accommodations.

Gone are the old days of sneaking us into a hotel room. We are now welcome with open paws at many establishments. Some even cater to our needs while others just tolerate our presence. If you are going to be traveling with your humans, here are some important tips to remember.

  • There are plenty of dog-friendly accommodations available so shop around for the right price and amenities
  • Many hotels charge a minimal or no extra fee for dogs so you don’t have to accept a $200 deposit requirement
  • Some hotels have doggie packages which include a plush doggie bed, a dog bowl & bottled water, as well as food selections on the room-service menu
  • There may be services available that are tailored to busy humans such as dog walkers, day care, or sitters. Perfect for the business traveler who doesn’t want to leave us behind.
  • Hotels like the Don Cesar here in St. Petersburg extend their human spa services to doggies that are staying at the hotel. While I will pass on the bath, what Rat Terrier wouldn’t want a body massage?
If you are lucky enough to get to travel with your humans like I did, remember to mind your manners – no barking, do your business in the appropriate space, and always, always look sweet and adorable in the lobby. We want to continue to be welcomed with open paws!


Not just Puppy Love!







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Who knew it would get even colder?

Submitted by Terry Nickerson, Bark Buster Behavior Therapist and Trainer

For some of us, it is so cold that little dog paws can't stand more than a minute or two outside at one time. This means our little friends are probably getting stir crazy so we wanted to bring you a few more fun activities to keep them active and busy, both physically and mentally. This kind of playtime will also help prevent destructive behavior as it will not only tire your pup out but prevent boredom. Try these out on cold, winter days, you may find yourself still playing them next summer.

If your dog likes to jump, you can burn off a lot of his energy by teaching him to jump over and through things. Start with your dog on a leash. Place a pole or stick just barely off the ground, and have your dog walk over it. As you raise it each time, you will need to move him back and let him get a running start. Give him lots of praise every time he jumps over. Once he masters the pole, try a Hula-Hoop!

Settle in at the bottom of the staircase, putting your dog in a SIT/STAY next to you. Throw your dog’s favorite toy to the top of the stairs. Say FETCH or GET IT. After he dashes up the stairs and grabs the toy, call him to COME, ask him to DROP or RELEASE, and repeat as above until your dog slumps to the floor in giddy exhaustion. (Note that this is not a good game for dogs prone to injury or puppies, as their joints are still developing.)

Enlist a significant other or child to help with this game. Each person grabs a handful of treats or kibble. Stand a couple of feet apart. One person calls the dog to COME. When he does, he receives praise and a treat. Then the other person calls. Praise and treat. Both people take two steps backwards. Repeat. Every fourth or fifth time, use praise only. See how far apart (Different rooms? Different floors?) you can venture. For even more fun, have three or more people in different rooms calling the dog.

Games are fun and stimulating for your dog, provide them with some training and helps build a better bond between you and your dog! So, have fun and remember, these are games so if your dog gets tired of playing, don't get frustrated, take a break! Better yet, take a nap!

April 30th is a date to put on your calendar. That is the date of Ratbone Rescues 1st Annual South East Reunion. It will be held at Dogwood Dog Park in Jacksonville Florida. Festivities will begin at 9:00 AM and will wind down at 6:00 PM. It will be a great day of fun, food and fellowship with other rattie lovers like yourself. We will have games and prizes. A hearty lunch will be served at $10.00 a person. The menu will include pulled pork BBQ and chicken as well as various side dishes and drinks.

Admission to the event will be a new dog related item which will be raffled off at the end of the day. There will be some really nice dog collars and other unique, dog related items for sale to benefit Ratbone Rescues.

Please plan on coming! Many Ratbone adopters and Ratbone members will be in attendance, with their dogs, who will also have a great time. We will have games for them to compete in and the dog park offers a safe, controlled environment for them to play in. If you have lawn chairs and are able to bring them, please do. Pop up awnings or umbrellas for shade are also good.

Please help us make this a day to remember! Bring yourself, your friends, your family and your dogs and enjoy the day with us. Follow this link to more info on location, schedule and accommodations: http://www.ratbonerescues.com/SE_reunion.php. We look forward to seeing you and your dogs there.

Toy Review by Eddie & Daisey
The New Nylabone

If you think that Nylabone, the company that has made popular chew toys for forty years, only makes chews, you are in for a pleasant surprise. Nylabone also has play toys!

We grew up with the Dura Chew and the Double Action Chew but some of us “mature” terriers are less interested in chewing now and prefer to play fetch, tug, or to rip up toys to desqueak and destuff. Nylabone makes two toys that we recommend as fun, fun, fun!

Both toys are from the same colorful line - the Dura Toy. The Happy Moppy came to our house first. Daisey immediately played with it because she likes the “legs” which are similar to, but more abundant than, her Kong Wubba. Plus, the legs come in a variety of fabrics and some are particularly appealing to try to chew off. I like it as a tug toy.

We recently received Floppy Fred and so far I have claimed it as my own. It’s a great toy to play fetch with my mama, who has an impressive throwing arm, and its fun to lightly chew on the body although the squeaker is disappointingly quiet. It has so many stuffed legs that I’m sure to win at tug. So far we’ve been unable to destruct this toy but give me time, I'm tenacious! I believe the “hair” is going to succumb to this persistent Rat Terrier, soon.

Now, can someone talk our mama into getting us the Snuggle Juggle please?


Katie and her mother had been in a north Georgia shelter for 4 months. They where on the verge of being euthanized for lack of space in the shelter. They where brought into the Ratbone Rescues foster system, and Katie was adopted late in October of 2010. She is currently living in Pennsylvania with a wonderful woman named Terry who loves and adored her. Here is what Terry has to say about her Ratbone Baby.

"Hi Patty My Birthday is on October 28th. Katie was my birthday present. I had a very nice birthday. The flowers came from my niece who lives in California. Katie is doing well. She is a very Good dog. She is housebroken. She hasn't gone in my apartment at all. And she has not destroyed anything, so she does not need to be crated. We are great buddies together, and she always sleeps with me - under the cover sometimes - and she does act silly sometimes. I think Katie was meant to come into my life - we need each other. She is also a very alert dog. I feel protected with her".

Her name now has been Changed to Kady, and Terry keeps up regular correspondence with the fostermom. This was truly a match made in Heaven for both of them!

Jakey Boy came to Ratbone Rescues with terribly inflamed sinuses due to bad teeth. He rode in a crate in the backseat on the 90 minute trip to his foster home. His foster mom, who picked him up from the shelter, had to make the drive with the windows down because his breath was so bad it gagged her!

Poor Jake kept his mouth open to breath and his nose ran constantly. The first night in rescue, he slept with his foster mom because she was so worried about his breathing. She didn’t get much sleep because she was worried he would quit breathing and because he snored so loudly. When he snored, it was like a train coming through the house.

Dentals for dogs are costly, $100-300 per dog for a basic cleaning, more if extras like tooth removal are required. Despite the cost, Ratbone does approve dentals on dogs that need them. In Jake’s case however the initial estimate was $600-$900, a huge expenditure for a rescue but Jake absolutely needed this procedure. Fortunately for Jake and Ratbone, another member’s wonderful, rescue friendly vet was willing to do it for a third of the estimated cost so Jake’s dental was approved and off he went to the doggy dentist.

His procedure required extensive work, including having several teeth removed and stitches put in. You’d think he would have been miserable when he came home from the vet but that wasn’t the case. From the time he got home, he was a more active Rattie, he ran and played and soon was eating like it was a new experience. That was evidence of how much pain Jake had to be in before the dental. His foster mom has never seen such a change in a dog just from having a dental. Jakey, now feeling (and smelling) like a new dog, has gone on to be adopted.


Ratbone Rescues is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Ratbone Rescues, Inc.
P.O. Box 3237
Seminole, FL 33775
© 2002-2010 Ratbone Rescues, Inc.