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  • Moving more slowly
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  • 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 ‘Euthanasia’ Category

Help With Vet Bills

Monday, September 15th, 2014


In these difficult economic times many dog owners are finding that they sometimes need help paying vet bills. Fortunately, there are programs and organizations willing to help with vet bills when money is tight.

If you need spay and neuter services for your dog, most ASPCA branches often sponsor low cost spay and neuter clinics.

Many vaccination clinics set up special events during the year and offer free or inexpensive vaccines for your dog. Vaccines usually dispensed at these events include Rabies, Corona, Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, and Leptospirosis. Heartworm and parasite testing is sometimes offered free of charge also.

If your dog needs medical treatment or emergency care and you’re unable to afford such care, there are charitable organizations across the country who work with caring veterinarians to provide medical care for dogs who would otherwise go untreated.

These organizations include the following:
The American Animal Hospital Association is a companion animal veterinary association. They have a foundation called Helping Pets Fund that gives aid to sick and injured pets.

United Animal Nations which provides assistance to animal rescue organizations and helps victims of disasters, domestic violence and foreclosures to care for their pets.

Help-A-Pet assists physically and mentally challenged individuals, senior citizens and children of the working poor to provide their pets with lifesaving veterinary care.

Labrador Life Line helps individuals and rescuers care for Labrador Retrievers by providing medical assistance, supplies and transportation to foster homes and permanent homes.

The Pet Fund provides financial assistance to pet owners to help pay for medical and preventive care of a dog. The Fund also works to decrease the number of animals that end up being euthanized or surrendered to animal shelters due to preventable or treatable illnesses.

Another source of help is one of the many community food banks that accept and distribute pet food to help owners feed their pets. Local humane societies sometimes are able to provide a list of sources for low-cost or no-cost pet food.

Getting help with vet bills when you truly need it should never, and I mean never, cause you to be embarrassed. Think first of your loving companion and not your pride. Your dog needs you. You are its reason for living.

Animal Shelters: The Different Types

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Not all animal shelters are alike. Some shelters are operated by cities or counties and are supported by resident’s tax dollars. Animal Control Officers are usually the ones responsible for bringing abandoned or stray animals to these shelters. Some shelters are independently run and rely on charitable contributions to pay expenses. There are even shelters associated with national groups such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) which provides guidelines on operating the shelter.

Shelters also differ in the kinds of services they provide, which are usually dependent on their operating budgets. Unfortunately, many shelters supported by local taxes have small budgets. Other shelters supported by animal rights groups and ones that receive private donations, have bigger budgets and are able to provide more services to a larger number of dogs.

But no matter where the financial support for a shelter is coming from or the size of its budget, there are dedicated staff members and volunteers in every shelter who truly care about the welfare of the animals in their care.

There are many reasons animals end up in a shelter. Some pets are there simply because their owners can no longer care for them. Owners will bring their dog to a shelter for a variety of reasons. They may be moving and can’t take their dog with them; the dog may have serious health problems and an owner cannot afford to pay the costs; a family no longer has time for the dog because they have a new baby; or the family member who was the pet’s owner has gone away to college, or perhaps has died.

Some unfortunate dogs are brought to animal shelters because they are homeless or they were rescued from an abusive owner.

The extent of care an animal receives after being surrendered to a shelter depends on the shelter staff and the financial status of the shelter. Some shelters will do an in-depth evaluation which includes obtaining a history of the dogs health and its behavior in its former home, if it had a home. Most shelters have a part-time veterinarian on staff, or if they cannot afford it, will have vets who volunteer their time to help these defenseless animals. Dogs will be screened for different diseases and an assessment will be made of the animal’s temperament and behavior in the shelter. Shelters with budget constraints are able to provide only a minimal evaluation.

If you want to adopt a dog from a shelter, there are several steps you must take. These usually include filling out an application, choosing the right dog for you, signing a contract for adoption, and paying a fee. Some shelters have a waiting period of 24 hours before a dog can be picked up by its new parent or parents. The purpose of this “waiting period” is to give the adoptive parent or parents time to think about their decision and voice any concerns they may have about the dog they chose. During the waiting period, the shelter will put a ‘hold’ on the dog you have selected so no one else can adopt it while you are waiting for the 24 hour time frame to end.

If you do adopt from a shelter, it can be overwhelming to see the number of dogs you have to choose from. A dog’s size, temperament, age and sex are important traits to be considered when deciding on the “right” dog. Be aware that a caged dog does not always display the same behavior it would if in a home. Don’t do yourself a disfavor by overlooking the dogs that are quiet, scared, or very excited. Once a dog is in the loving environment of your home, the chances are excellent that you will have adopted the best friend you’ve ever had. The shelter staff should be able to tell you about each dog’s temperament and personality.

Many shelters will neuter and spay all dogs before they can be adopted. Smaller, less well-financed shelters may only be able to provide you with a certificate that will pay for a portion of the surgery. Most of the dogs will have been wormed and vaccinated before being put up for adoption.

In most cases there will be an adoption fee that has to be paid to the shelter and you will be required to spay or neuter the dog if it has not already been done. If the dog has had any health problems while at the shelter, you may be asked to help pay some of those costs. This will be different at every shelter.

Some shelters will offer a trial period or “trying out” period to let you take your chosen dog home and see how it behaves in the new environment. It’s very rare that you’ll take home a dog with serious behavioral or medical problems. These things are usually discovered while the dog is still in the shelter.

Adopting a dog from an animal shelter can be incredibly rewarding. Most adoptive dog parents say they are happy that they were able to save the life of a wonderful animal by giving it a new and loving home. The sad fact is that between 4 and 6 million dogs and cats are euthanized in animal shelters every year. Every shelter is filled with dogs who were wonderful, loving pets and will continue to be great pets once they become a beloved member of its new family.

Animal shelters provide an invaluable service by providing safe havens for pets and matching them up with new, loving owners. Adopting an animal from a shelter can be a wonderful experience. If you’re looking for a new “best friend”, a shelter is a great place to find the right dog for you.

Dog Cremations

Monday, July 18th, 2011


Dog cremations are becoming increasingly common among owners who have lost their loving companion. Instead of burying a dog in a pet cemetery that may or may not be convenient to visit, a dog’s ashes can be lovingly placed in a tasteful urn for display as a constant reminder of a dear friend who has left you physically, but remains in your heart. Some owners now opt to cremate their dogs and then have its ashes buried in a pet cemetery.

There are basically two choices when it comes to dog cremations:

1. The dog is cremated and the remains are returned in a box or urn to the owner for final use in whatever manner they choose.

2. The dog is cremated along with other dogs or pets, and the owner does not claim the ashes.

Whether or not you choose to keep your dog’s ashes is a personal choice and depends primarily on how comfortable you are with dealing with your dog’s remains and the memories attached to them.

Options for Ashes
If you decide to keep the ashes from your dog’s cremation there are several options you can choose from when finding a final resting place for its remains.

Many dog owners choose to purchase an urn to keep their dog’s ashes in. Some owners will display the urn prominently in their home while others will put it away in a quiet place. If you would like to have a constant reminder of your dog you can purchase an urn that features a photograph of your dog.

Some dog owners will choose to spread their dog’s ashes in a setting that reminds them of the favorite places they spent with their dogs. If you feel the ocean would be an appropriate final resting place for your dog, there are companies that will conduct burials at sea for the cremated remains of pets.

Many pet owners choose to cremate their dogs and then bury the ashes in a cemetery in order to have a specific location where they can visit and grieve for the loss of their pets. Some pet cemeteries will conduct a memorial service if you wish, giving you the closure of a burial while still allowing you to choose cremation for your pet.

Here is a beautiful poem about dogs by Ben Hur Lampman, first published in the Portland Oregonian newspaper on September 11, 1925

THE BEST PLACE TO BURY A DOG

“There is one best place to bury a dog.
“If you bury him in this spot, he will
come to you when you call – come to you
over the grim, dim frontier of death,
and down the well-remembered path,
and to your side again.
“And though you call a dozen living
dogs to heel, they shall not growl at
him, nor resent his coming,
for he belongs there.
“People may scoff at you, who see
no lightest blade of grass bent by his
footfall, who hear no whimper, people
who may never really have had a dog.
Smile at them, for you shall know
something that is hidden from them,
and which is well worth the knowing.
“The one best place to bury a good
dog is in the heart of his master.”

You will always have the final choice of what you wish to do with the ashes when your dog is cremated. If your pet is older, it might be a good idea to make your decision before your loving pet leaves you for good.

The beautiful Rainbow Bridge Urn pictured here is available at www.pawsmemorialurns.com

Death of a Beloved Dog

Monday, July 11th, 2011


For days, weeks and sometimes months after the death of a beloved dog, you may find yourself saddened when memories of your faithful companion come back to mind. It is important to understand that mourning the loss of your dog is an essential part of your recovery. You have lost a unique companion and your emotions may overwhelm you at times.

Allow yourself to grieve for your dog; celebrate the bond you had with your dog and don’t be afraid to cry. It takes time to heal from a loss so great.

Because your pet was an everyday part of your life, even the most ordinary daily tasks can turn out to be heartbreaking. You might find yourself preparing your dog’s meal or thinking it’s time to let him out to play in the yard, and then suddenly remember he is gone. You may come home sometimes and expect your dog to greet you at the door, tail wagging furiously.

Little things like scratch marks on the floor from his toenails can trigger a deep emotional response in you. Dog beds, food and water bowls, collars, leashes, and toys are obvious reminders of everyday life with your beloved companion. You may choose to get rid of all the items that would remind you of your dog, or a better solution might be to store them away somewhere until you are positive that you’ll never want them again – either as wonderful memories or for use with a new dog if you choose to adopt again.

The Stages of Grief
Doctor Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced the now familiar five stages of grief in her 1997 book titled On Death and Dying. These stages were based on research Dr. Kübler-Ross conducted on human losses but they are just as applicable to the loss of a beloved pet. They are not meant to compartmentalize grief, only to help us better understand grief. These five stages may overlap with one another or occur in different orders, and sometimes not at all. There is no exact formula for grief.

The Five Stages of Grief as expressed by Dr. Kübler-Ross:

* Denial: The initial shock of loss leads to disbelief. Emotional numbness acts as a form of self-defense from reality.

* Anger: As it all sinks in, anger will begin to develop. This comes from a combination of your emotions and almost acts as a way to exhaust the stress. This stage often causes the mourner to lay blame on persons or things for the death.

* Bargaining: This is the “what if” stage. The grieving person envisions a way to have prevented the death. Guilt often accompanies bargaining.

* Depression: This can be a difficult stage to endure, but it is necessary to the healing process. A sad situation calls for sadness, and the reality of the death can cause a person to get very low. It is normal, but not without end. However, serious long term depression is a sign to seek help from a professional.

* Acceptance: Though the sadness and grief may remain forever, the acceptance stage means coming to terms with the reality of the death. Accepting it does not mean you are “over” it. Acceptance simply means you understand that life goes on.

The death of a beloved dog can leave a pain in your heart that you think will never go away. The most important thing to remember is that grief takes time. You will always miss your loving and faithful companion, but things will get better one day. At first, there will be more bad days than good. Eventually the good days will outnumber the bad days and you may find yourself focusing on the happy memories and experiencing less sadness.

Should you decide to adopt a new pet in the future, be aware that a new dog cannot replace your lost companion, but it might help fill the void in your life caused by the loss of your companion. As humans we will most likely outlive our pets, so be grateful for the short time you are able to share your life with them.

Here at DogsHealth.com we want to help you, find more information about dog pain on our blog.

Prozac For Dogs?

Monday, July 4th, 2011


Prozac or its generic Fluoxetine is increasingly being prescribed by veterinarians across the country to treat behavioral problems in dogs like fear aggression and separation anxiety. This practice of prescribing human medications for dogs has created a lot of controversy because many dogs don’t respond to this type of medication and will experience intense side effects.

Unfortunately, behavioral problems are one of the main reasons dogs are euthanized in animal shelters or surrendered to dog rescue groups by their owners.

Prozac, or Fluoxetine, is an antidepressant that increases serotonin levels in the brain. It is frequently administered to dogs for treating separation anxiety, aggression, and other anxiety-related issues.

Prozac is usually prescribed in combination with a behavior modification program. Once the anxiety or fear levels diminish, dogs are able to learn the necessary skills to help them cope with the object or situation that is triggering their anxiety. For this reason Prozac is often prescribed for a short period of time until the behavior modification program takes hold.

Veterinarians will start a dog on a small dose of Prozac that is less than the dog needs and then gradually increase the dosage. Increases in dosage need to be done cautiously because any sudden increase or decrease in the dosage of Prozac can cause severe behavior changes in a dog.

Prozac has some serious side effects for dogs and cannot be given to a dog taking any of the following medications: monoamine oxidase inhibitors, diazepam, phenylbutazone, digoxine, or buspirone (a generic of Buspar, a psychoactive drug used to treat anxiety disorders such as severe anxiety separation issues).

Any dog who has a history of seizures should never be given Prozac and dogs on Prozac for a long period of time will need to have their liver and kidney enzymes checked regularly as long-term use can cause damage to these vital organs.

The most common side effects that dogs experience on Prozac are changes in appetite, weight gain or loss, lethargy, weakness in the limbs, or diarrhea. Unwelcome behavioral side effects include anxiety, panic attacks, hostility and aggression, restlessness, irritability, hyperactivity, trouble sleeping, or increased depression.

Some additional serious side effects that require a veterinarian exam are tremors, muscle twitching or stiffness, problems with balance or coordination, confusion, or a very rapid heartbeat. Some dogs also develop allergic reactions that cause a skin rash or hives, difficulty breathing, or a swelling of the dog’s face, lips, tongue or throat. Any of these side effects necessitate immediate discontinuance of the Prozac.

Treatment with Prozac can sometimes be beneficial in improving problematic behavior in a dog, but any dog being treated with this medication is always at risk of numerous side effects and must be watched carefully for any indications of a problem.

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