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Joint Issues

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Arthritis
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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 ‘Nutrition for Dogs’ Category

Shih Tzu Care Tips

Monday, July 25th, 2016


Shih tzu’s are good-natured and easy to train, making them great family pets. But caring for a Shih tzu can be time consuming because they require a lot of grooming.

A major part of Shih tzu care is proper grooming which will begin as soon as you bring your new dog home. Their thick, double-coated hair can be grown long, or for easier care, kept in a short cut.

As soon as you bring your Shih tzu home it’s a good idea to start desensitizing your pet to brushing since it will need to be brushed daily. Start with a quick brushing, being careful not to get too forceful with the first few brushings.

During grooming sessions you’ll need to lift the top coat of its hair and brush the undercoat thoroughly. Be sure to brush its stomach, under the ears and between its legs where hair mats are particularly likely to collect.

Good Shih tzu care includes keeping the hair trimmed from their eyes, or in lieu of trimming you can use a special dog rubber band to place the hair in a ponytail on top of the dog’s head. These ribbons are available from almost every pet store.

Since shih tzus have floppy ears, you will need to clean their ears regularly using a special ear cleaner or mild soap. Use a cotton ball or something equally as soft to clean the ear flaps; then use a Q-Tip to clean the part of its ear canal that you can easily see. Take special care not to clean too far inside the ear canal or you can easily damage its ear drum.

Because they have flat faces, Shih tzus often have difficulty eating and drinking. It’s a good idea to supervise your dog when it’s eating or drinking water from its bowls. It helps if you put their food and water in wide, flat pans to make it easier for them to get their whole face in the bowl. Some owners prefer to hand feed their pet to make it easier for the dog to eat.

Shih tzus need regular exercise but usually can’t handle long walks. Shorter exercise periods once or twice a day is better for these little dogs. In the summer you should keep the walks shorter as Shih tzus don’t tolerate heat very well.

Shih tzus are very playful dogs and they enjoy short stretches of play. If you teach your Shih tzu to fetch a toy or play hide and seek, it will provide enough exercise for your pet and also allow it to rest when tired.

Although Shih tzu care can involve high maintenance, these dogs make a great addition to a family as long as you’re prepared for the effort it takes to keep them safe and well-groomed.

Why Dogs Vomit Undigested Food

Monday, June 20th, 2016


Dogs vomit undigested food occasionally and if this happens to your pet it shouldn’t be cause for alarm. It’s normal for dogs to vomit sometimes, but if the vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea or bloody stools, the dog should be examined by a vet and treated as soon as possible.

When a dog eats inedible food it can develop gastrointestinal problems resulting in vomiting. This can also occur with a sudden change in diet that a dog’s stomach is unable to handle. Regardless of the cause, most dogs suffering from indigestion will experience a painful contraction of the stomach muscles while trying to force out the undigested matter resulting in vomiting.

Indigestion causes two types of vomiting, acute and chronic. If your dog suddenly throws up after eating something inedible, acute vomiting may ensue. Very seldom will a dog with acute vomiting require medication to stop the vomiting and prevent dehydration. If it is required, a prescription medication will ease the digestive tract and help restore it to normality.

Chronic vomiting can be recognized when a dog continues to throw up undigested food once or twice a week. If this happens, the dog could be suffering from a stomach infection. Dogs with a weak digestive system are predisposed to indigestion, gastrointestinal intolerance and other sicknesses like inflammatory bowel syndrome. A dog with chronic vomiting will often refuse to eat. Chronic vomiting is usually associated with an inflammation of the intestines.

In order to determine the cause of indigestion and understand why a dog vomits undigested food, a series of diagnostic tests will be performed by a veterinarian, including blood tests, abdominal X-rays and an examination of the dog’s feces.

Mild cases of vomiting can easily be treated by changing a dog’s diet. However, if the cause of the vomiting is intestinal inflammation, the vet will usually prescribe drugs after determining the cause of the inflammation.

If a dog returns to normal after vomiting undigested food, there is no need to worry. However, if it exhibits other symptoms along with the vomiting, or if the condition worsens, the dog will need a medical diagnosis.

What Should a Dog Eat?

Monday, June 6th, 2016


What should a dog eat and how do you know if you’re giving your pet the best diet possible? There are so many different types of diets available for dogs today – dry food, canned food, raw meats, cooked meats, turkey, vegetables, and specialty blends.

The diet that you feed your dog will have an effect on its physical health, its weight, and the luster and health of its coat. If the diet you feed your dog lacks in needed vitamins and minerals, your dog can become restless, irritable, and tire easily. Certain foods can also cause dogs to become overly excited or nervous.

To be sure your dog is eating the healthiest diet possible, you need the right combination of vitamins and minerals as well as the right amounts of protein and carbohydrates.

Should a dog eat meat? Humans don’t need to eat meat to stay healthy but dogs do. A nutritious, well-balanced dog food should contain approximately 40% meat (to provide the protein), 50% vegetables, and 10% carbohydrates. If a dog’s diet is lacking in sufficient amounts of protein it can cause weight loss, muscle wasting and slow growth in younger dogs. A diet lacking in vegetables can lead to vitamin deficiencies, and carbohydrates are important to keep a dog’s thyroid functioning properly.

To maintain a healthy balance of the essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids a dog needs for optimum health, select a dog food that contains vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as Vitamin B1, B6, and B12, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid and choline.

There are twelve minerals that are critical to a dog’s health. These minerals are calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, Iodine, sodium, potassium, copper, chlorine, iron, manganese and selenium.

In addition, there are ten important amino acids dogs obtain from the food they eat that are necessary for correct body functioning. These amino acids are arginine, histidine, threonine, tryptophan, lysine, methionine, leucine, phenyalanine, valine and isoleucine. A dog needs these essential amino acids to build strong muscles and to control nerve impulses in its body.

A dog that does not receive sufficient vitamins, minerals and amino acids in its diet is susceptible to weakness, joint pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, increased heart rate, and enlargement of the thyroid gland.

There are other side effects of poor nutrition due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A deficiency in vitamin A can cause central nervous system depression and a deficiency of vitamin D can cause fatigue or exhaustion. A sodium deficiency can cause restlessness and a magnesium deficiency can cause irritability.

The best type of dog food your dog should eat is a high-quality, all-natural dog food containing adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids. A nutritious dog food should not contain by-products or synthetic additives. Buy the best food you can afford for your dog and you may enjoy many more years together.

Sudden Weight Loss in Dogs: Signs and Symptoms

Monday, May 23rd, 2016


Sudden weight loss in a dog that is not attributable to increased exercise or activity should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian. Some dogs do experience cyclical weight changes because they live in seasonal climates and are exercised and walked less during the cold winter months.

To be healthy, a dog should have sufficient fat covering the ribs. If your dog’s ribs start showing where they did not before, it could be an indication of a serious problem with your pet.

Hyperthyroidism, a disease of the thyroid gland, can cause sudden weight loss if a dog’s system contains excess amounts of the thyroid hormone, putting a dog’s thyroid on overdrive and causing the dog to become sluggish.

There are other diseases that can cause sudden weight loss in dogs such as Addison’s Disease, which is a deficiency of the hormones in the adrenal glands. Some of the signs of Addison’s include severe dehydration when plenty of water is always available to the dog, and a rapid loss of appetite followed by sudden weight loss.

Sudden weight loss can also be a result of inflammatory bowel disease which occurs when a dog’s stomach or intestines react adversely to inflammatory cells like lymphocytes. A dog with inflammatory bowel disease usually will display signs of weight loss, a loss of appetite, lethargy, and diarrhea. Gastritis displays the same symptoms and is caused when a dog gets an infection or inflammation in the stomach area. If a dog eats spoiled food, its stomach lining can become irritated and the result is a change in its appetite. Diabetes will also display the same symptoms.

Parasite-borne diseases can also cause a sudden weight loss in dogs and these are caused by hookworms, roundworms, heartworm disease, giardiasis, mange, or salmon poisoning disease, a bacterial disease contracted by eating salmon or trout that carry the parasitic organisms.

The signs and symptoms of many types of tumors, including pituitary, stomach, pancreas, colon, lungs, or kidneys can also result in a sudden weight loss in dogs. Fungal infections such as histoplasmosis, blastomycosis, or aspergillosis will also cause a sudden weight loss.

Weight loss in a dog is not a life-threatening emergency, but your pet will still need veterinary care. You should schedule an appointment for a complete diagnosis to determine the underlying cause.

Dogs With Upset Stomachs

Monday, April 25th, 2016


When a dog is suffering with an upset stomach it can be a miserable time for both the dog and its owner.

When dogs have upset stomachs accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea, it’s unpleasant for the dog’s owner, but worse for the dog. Vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain are unsettling to a pet and the sooner these problems are resolved, the better off the dog will be. A direct result of persistent vomiting or diarrhea is dehydration, so it’s very important to be sure your dog stays well hydrated when sick.

Some of the options for treating an upset stomach include home remedies, over-the-counter medications and prescription medications. The specific remedy needed to help a dog depends on the severity of the stomach upset and which symptoms it is experiencing.

Step one in treating a dog with an upset stomach is to identify the cause for the onset of the stomach problems. Upset stomach problems in dogs most commonly occur as the result of bacterial or viral infections or ingestion of foreign matter.

It’s not always possible to isolate the exact cause of upset stomach problems in dogs because it’s too easy for a dog to swallow something without your knowledge, resulting in the upset. However, if you can find out what caused the upset stomach, you’ll have a better chance of choosing the right remedy for effective treatment.

If you’re like most dog owners, you may want to try a home remedy before buying an over-the-counter medication. Most over-the-counter medications are safe for dogs, but you may want to call your veterinarian before giving your pet an antidiarrheal medication like Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate. Both of these products can be safely given to dogs to alleviate diarrhea symptoms.

Mild diarrhea and vomiting are signs of gastrointestinal upset, and in order to alleviate the symptoms of the upset, the dog’s digestive system needs a chance to relax and recuperate. If the upset is due to a bacterial infection a continuous supply of fresh water will give the dog’s body a chance to eliminate the harmful bacteria.

When your dog is ready to eat again you should serve it only stomach-friendly foods so you don’t further irritate its digestive system. Some of the healthy things to feed your dog at this time are chicken, ground beef, rice, eggs, and bread (lightly toasted is fine if your dog prefers it that way).
Cottage cheese is also an excellent choice because it contains a high content of good bacteria which helps clear the dog’s system of harmful bacteria.

If your dog’s upset stomach problems persist you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so more appropriate treatment can be started.

Some of the prescription dog remedies that are available include:
* Metoclopramide – for the treatment of nausea and vomiting;
* Cimetidine – for control of gastrointestinal inflammation;
* Metronidazole – an antimicrobial antibiotic for treating diarrhea caused by bacterial infection;
* Sucralfate – an antiulcer medication that helps neutralize stomach acid;
* Centrine Tabs – used to treat gastrointestinal inflammation when accompanied by nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

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