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Joint Issues

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Osteochondritis (OCD)
  • Stiffness/Inflammation
  • Ligament Tears
  • Growing Pains
  • Mobility Problems
  • Joint Pain
  • Back/Spinal Problems
  • Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD)

Symptoms

Is your pet becoming less active, less playful, or desiring shorter walks? The following symptoms could be early signs of OCD, Arthritis or Hip Dysplasia.

  • Moving more slowly
  • Difficulty getting up
  • Weight shift to another leg
  • Personality change
  • Reluctant to walk, jump or play
  • Refuses using stairs or the car
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in behavior
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Lagging behind
  • Yelping when touched
  • Limping
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Archive for the ‘Dog Safety’ Category

Dog Food Allergies

Monday, July 27th, 2015


Dog food allergies are common in dogs. These allergies are often due to a dog being allergic to certain ingredients in its food. If you can identify what ingredient in the dog’s food is causing the allergy, you can then remove that allergen from your dog’s diet. This should effectively reduce or eliminate any allergic reaction.

Dogs with allergies to their food may develop respiratory problems soon after eating. This often results in excessive coughing and sneezing. If the dog is having a hard time eating and swallowing food, or if it coughs the food up shortly after ingesting it, you’ll need to keep a close watch on your pet to see if this condition continues for any length of time or if it becomes worse.

You’ll need to see your veterinarian immediately if your dog can’t stop choking or is to unable to breathe as a result of an allergic reaction.

Another very common food allergy in dogs is itchiness of the skin. This can affect every part of its body, but is most common anywhere the allergic ingredient makes direct contact with the dog’s skin, including the face, nose, eyes and mouth, as well as the rectal area.

If your pet continually scratches its itchy skin, the skin will become inflamed and tender. In extreme cases, the dog’s constant scratching may cause open sores and lesions on its body.

Dog food allergies can also lead to serious problems because the dog’s body is not able to fight off any bacterial infections. These include ear infections and skin infections as well.

If you notice any symptoms of dog food allergies in your dog, you should consult with your vet who can help you determine exactly which ingredients in your dog’s food is causing the allergic reaction.

Choosing a Pet Sitter

Monday, June 29th, 2015


Pet sitters do a lot more than just provide your dog with food and water while you’re away from home. A good pet sitter will spend time with your dog, exercise it, and know when it needs veterinary attention.

Some pet sitters will offer to do additional things for you like bring in your mail and newspaper, water your plants, and turn lights on and off so your house looks occupied.

But just because someone says they are a pet sitter doesn’t mean they are qualified to do the job

When you have to be away from home for travel, or if an unexpected emergency arises and you don’t want to board your dog in a kennel, who can you depend on to take care of your dog?

Many pet owners will ask a friend or neighbor to stop in every day to feed their dog and give it fresh water. But will this limited amount of attention be enough?

Unfortunately, unless your friends and neighbors are dedicated dog lovers, they may not understand proper pet care and could leave your dog susceptible to injury or stress from separation anxiety. Many friends and family members won’t tell you, but they often resent having to look after your pet and make frequent visits to your house – especially if they are young or have busy schedules in their lives.

To satisfy your own fears, you may want to consider hiring a professional pet sitter to care for your dog while you’re away.

A pet sitter can offer both you and your pet many benefits. Your pet will be able to stay in the environment it is most familiar with; will have its same diet and routine; and won’t have to stay in a boarding kennel with other unfamiliar dogs.

The benefits for you are numerous also. Keeping your family, friends and neighbors happy because they won’t be burdened with caring for your dog; the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your pet is being cared for by a professional; having someone to bring in your newspaper and mail so burglars don’t know that no one is home; plus other errands or chores a sitter can do for you while you’re away.

The best way to choose a pet sitter is to ask for a recommendation from your family and friends, or you can check your Yellow Pages under “Pet Sitting Services.”

It is very important that you learn all you can about any potential pet sitters. Interviewing prospects on the phone or at your home can reveal a lot about a the qualifications of a pet sitter.

Whether on the phone or in person, you should ask the prospective pet sitter if he or she has any medical conditions that might interfere with taking care of your dog; whether he or she has a backup person to care for your dog in the event of a personal or family emergency; will your dog be taken on regular walks to get its exercise, and are there other services that can be handled like picking up your mail and newspaper.

If you find a pet sitter that provides live-in services in your home, find out the specific times that person will be home with your pet; for example, do they work, or do they have appointments scheduled with a doctor or dentist during your absence? Will the pet sitter provide you phone numbers of other clients as references?

It is of vital importance to have any prospective pet sitter come to your home to meet your dog before deciding on who to hire as a pet-sitter. During this in-person interview, observe how the person interacts with your dog and whether your dog is comfortable with that person.

You have responsibilities to the pet sitter also. You should make reservations with your pet sitter early enough for them to plan their life around your departure and return. Be sure your dog has current identification tags and is up-to-date with its vaccinations. Leave clear instructions for the pet sitter detailing specific pet-care responsibilities and emergency contact information, including how to reach you and your veterinarian.

Be sure your dog has sufficient pet food and any necessary medications. Leave an extra key with a neighbor as a backup.

A pet sitter will be spending a lot of time alone in your home, so you want to choose a pet sitter who is the most reliable and trustworthy person. Ask them about their past work history and be sure to check references with their former clients.

Healthy Dog Food Ingredients

Monday, June 15th, 2015


It is an axiom (a generally accepted idea or proposition assumed to be true) that using healthy dog food ingredients will result in healthy dog foods. It is also true that feeding dogs healthy food enhances their quality of life by reducing illnesses, improving the coat and teeth, and providing healthy energy for their bodies.

But no matter how healthy the ingredients are in a specific dog food, if a dog’s health doesn’t improve with a particular type of food, then it is not the right diet for that dog. Many dogs are allergic to certain types of protein or other ingredients used in the manufacture of dog food, and if your dog seems to have more health issues after changing to what you believe to be a healthier dog food, you’ll need to experiment with a few other dog food brands or recipes.

Luckily, most quality dog foods also come in smaller packages, negating the need to buy large bags and waste money if your dog can’t or won’t eat the new food.

Some signs that your dog needs to change its diet are excessive flatulence, frequent ear infections, licking the top of its paws too much, and frequent vomiting or diarrhea. If this is happening to your dog, try changing the type of protein used in its food and see if the symptoms disappear or at least improve.

A dog’s stomach will often attack unfamiliar ingredients, so a new food may not be accepted right away and often can cause diarrhea. Don’t buy a new brand or type of dog food at the first sign of these problems. Continue feeding your dog the same food for a least a week or two before deciding to try something new.

Dogs can also develop allergies to foods they eat too often, so it’s a good idea to feed your pet several foods that contain different protein sources to help it maintain a balanced diet.

Dogs are omnivores, and like humans their bodies were designed to obtain nutrients from both meat and vegetables. The reality is that pet dogs receive most of their nutrients from protein sources, so when choosing a dog food, the quality of the protein is the most important ingredient. As a general rule. three of the first five ingredients listed on the label should be protein sources.

Don’t choose dog foods containing “meat byproducts” or any with labels listing “animal protein” as a principal ingredient. These two ingredients usually don’t include muscle meat from which dogs receive most of their protein. Look for dog foods with labels listing specific ingredients like chicken and turkey. If your dog has food allergies you can choose a food containing proteins like duck, venison or rabbit.

Dogs are not able to efficiently digest corn, wheat, white rice or soy. Instead choose dog foods with whole vegetable ingredients like carrots, green beans and sweet potatoes. There are some dog foods that also include fruits like apples, and grains like oats and barley. Grain-free foods are also available that substitute potatoes in place of the grains.

Other healthy dog food ingredients include pumpkin (which helps soothe a dog’s upset stomach), cottage cheese which provides healthy bacteria, and eggs which are a healthy protein source.

There is no one dog food that’s right for every single dog, but some foods are definitely higher in quality than others. Compare labels on the dog food you now feed your pet with other brands available wherever you shop for dog food.

Depending on where you live and where you shop, you may need to visit Petco or PetSmart, or your local pet store to find a healthy dog food.

Thunderstorms and Dogs

Monday, May 18th, 2015


Thunderstorms and dogs make a bad combination. It’s common for dogs to suffer from thunderstorm phobia or anxiety if they live in a part of the country subject to summer storms with thunder and lightning.

Dogs with thunderstorm phobia become extremely panicky and overwhelmed with fear during loud thunderstorms. The technical term for this is Astraphobia: the fear of thunder and lightning. Owners who see their dogs experiencing this fear usually feel helpless and frustrated.

Causes of a dog’s phobia of Thunderstorms
There is no way to be certain what causes a dog to be afraid of thunderstorms. There are probably multiple reasons for thunderstorm phobia, and the reasons may even vary from dog to dog. The most obvious reason is the loud noise of the thunder and the bright flashes of lightning. Many dogs suffer from noise phobia, and the thunder is just one of several frightening noises besides fireworks and gunshots that can cause panic in dogs.

It’s also possible that the cause of a dog’s fear may not be limited to noise. Changes in barometric pressure and humidity can affect your dog’s senses and even cause discomfort in its ears. Arthritic dogs or those with other degenerative joint diseases like hip dysplasia, may experience more pain during thunderstorms than they normally do at other times.

Another possible reason for thunderstorm phobia is that the dog associates the thunder and lightning with a traumatic experience it has had. It is possible that something very stressful or frightening occurred in your dog’s past during a thunderstorm.

Signs of Thunderstorm Phobia
If your dog seems anxious, hyperactive, destructive or withdrawn during thunderstorms, it’s probably suffering from thunderstorm phobia. The signs of Astraphobia are fairly obvious and easy to spot in a dog with this phobia. Many dogs will pace, pant or begin whining. Some will stay right by your side seeking your attention. Other dogs may hide and become frozen with fear. Your dog’s fearful behavior may be subtle at first but can become worse with time, eventually becoming full-blown panic attacks that are very dangerous for your dog.

Thunderstorm phobia can cause a dog to urinate and sometimes defecate inside the house out of fear during a storm. Telltale signs of anxiety and fear may begin long before the storm arrives, so take note of any of these signs you may see in your dog during normal weather when the forecast is for stormy weather ahead. Your dog is probably a better weather forecaster than the meteorologist on TV.

Preventing and Treating Dogs With Thunderstorm Phobias
If your dog has a thunderstorm phobia, there are some things you can do to protect it during thunderstorms, or at least minimize its responses to the thunder and lightning.

The most important of course is never leave your dog outside during storms.

Be aware of your own behavior and that of other people in your home. Your dog will react to human anxiety, fear and stress, even if it is not related to the storm. Do your best to remain relaxed. Go about your usual duties. Don’t pay special attention to your dog when it is exhibiting signs of fear or anxiety. Even though your natural instinct is to want to comfort your dog, coddling and praising it only reinforces and rewards the unwanted behavior.

There are ways you can indirectly comfort your dog during thunderstorms. Find a comfortable hiding place for your dog in the quietest part of the house. If you have a dog crate, place the dog’s bed inside and cover the crate with a blanket or sheet to make your dog feel safer.
If your dog does calm down and stops reacting to the storm, respond with calm praise and rewards.

Dogs with severe thunderstorm phobia may benefit from prescription medication used in conjunction with desensitization or conditioning training. Your vet may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication like Xanax (alprazolam) or Valium (diazepam) that can be given at the first sign of a storm.

Because thunderstorm phobia is likely to become worse over time, it’s important to take action when you first notice the signs. Don’t wait to address your dog’s phobia until it is very severe. That simply makes it that much harder to reverse the phobia.

Just as stress is a health risk for humans, the same applies for thunderstorms and dogs. Thunderstorm phobia can become a very serious problem that will adversely affect your dog’s health and quality of life.

Dog Vaccines

Monday, February 23rd, 2015


The list of vaccines to prevent common dog viruses contains only seven vaccines. Each of these vaccines can be used to protect against one or more viruses that can affect a dog.

Vaccines contain a viral or bacterial agent that is added to a liquid and then given to a dog through ingestion, inhalation or injection. This causes a dog’s immune system to create antibodies to a specific illness and will protect the dog from infection if exposed to that virus.

Each of the vaccines listed below refers to the level and type of the virus or bacteria in the vaccine, and the level and type of protection a dog will acquire after receiving the vaccine.

1. Monovalent Vaccines
Monovalent vaccines provide protection for one disease at a time. An example of this is the Rabies vaccine. This vaccine contains only the rabies viral agent added to the liquid.

2. Multivalent Vaccines
Multivalent vaccines contain several bacterial or viral agents that have been added to the liquid the dog will ingest. As many as 8 or 9 disease agents can be combined into one Multivalent vaccine. A common vaccine called Duramune is known as a “core vaccine” and protects against four of the most common dog viruses.

3. Recombinant Vaccines
Certain antigens on infectious organisms stimulate a greater antibody response in a dog. In a Recombinant vaccine the genes of the virus are fragmented into separate parts and the parts that will produce the best immune response are isolated and used in the vaccine.

4. Injectable Vaccines
Injectable vaccines are injected into a dog’s muscle or under the skin. When injected in the dog’s muscle it is referred to as an intramuscular vaccine and if injected under the skin it is called a subcutaneous vaccine. Some vaccines can be injected using either method but some such as the rabies vaccine must be injected intramuscularly.

5. Modified Live Vaccines (MLV)
In Modified Live Vaccines, live virus particles are altered in a laboratory to keep the virus alive but kill its ability to produce the disease. When introduced to the dog’s body, the viral agents reproduce and trigger an immune response without causing an outbreak of the infection. MLV vaccines stimulate a dog’s antibodies more quickly and in larger amounts.

6. Killed Vaccines
In a Killed vaccine, the actual viruses or bacteria are killed and then placed in a liquid solution. The viruses or bacteria are then not able to multiply within a dog’s body. More of the virus or bacteria particles are introduced in an attempt to trigger an immune response. There is one disadvantage to this type of vaccine and that is it can put a dog at an increased risk of developing an allergic response.

7. Intranasal Vaccines
Intranasal vaccines are designed to protect against diseases of a dog’s respiratory system. They are processed into a liquid to squirt or drop into a dog’s nose. The vaccine is transmitted directly into the dog’s bloodstream and provides protection more quickly than an injectable vaccine can.

It is important that you consult your veterinarian to determine which vaccines are appropriate for your pet and when they should be administered.

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