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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
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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 ‘Puppy Tips and Tricks’ Category

Potty Training a Puppy

Monday, August 24th, 2015


Potty training a puppy or housebreaking a puppy can be an easy task if you know how to do it properly. It can be easy, but also requires a lot of patience, constant monitoring of the puppy, and dedication to getting the job done while remaining loving and supportive of your new puppy.

Puppies don’t have complete control of their bladder until they reach at least 6 months of age. The more time you can spend with your new puppy, the faster your puppy will be housebroken.

Here are some things to consider when you start potty training a puppy:

Most puppies will let you know when they need to go. Obviously they can’t talk and are not mature enough to understand that they need to give you a “distinctive signal” when it’s time to take care of business, but if you pay close attention to your puppy you’ll learn to recognize the warning signs.

When you see your puppy repeatedly making the signs it uses when it has to go outside, act fast and immediately take your puppy to wherever you’ve chosen as the place to “do it.” When your puppy does eliminate itself, praise it and reward it with a doggy treat. The puppy will then learn to expect praise and a treat when it eliminates outside at its “toilet”.

When you’re not available to supervise your puppy, you can limit it to a specific area of your house by installing childproof “gates” to keep it confined to that area.

Try to keep your new puppy on a regular bathroom schedule. Take the puppy outside as soon as it awakens every morning and do the same every night before putting it down to bed.

Most puppies, since they still have small bladders, will have to relieve themselves about 15-20 minutes after eating and drinking water. Puppies will usually have to go potty immediately after playing or walking for exercise, and almost always after waking up from a nap. If you set a routine schedule for exercise, walks, and mealtimes, the potty training will become embedded in the puppy’s brain, and as each day passes, your potty training job becomes easier.

If your puppy doesn’t relieve itself within 10 minutes or so after going to its designated “potty spot”, take the puppy back in the house and watch it closely for 10 to 15 minutes. When you feel it’s ready to go, then take it to the “potty spot” again. Your puppy should take care of its business the second time around.

Potty training a puppy doesn’t mean you’ll never have to clean up its mess inside your house. Should this happen, immediately pick up the puppy and take it to its designated spot. Never punish your puppy for going potty in your house, and never, never yell or rub its nose in the soiled spot, or the puppy will be afraid of going potty whenever you’re around.

How to be a Pet Groomer

Monday, July 20th, 2015


Are you thinking about starting a career as a pet groomer? Pet grooming is ideal for people who love animals, but make no bones about it, a career in the pet grooming business can be difficult to get started in. But once you’ve established yourself as a qualified and experienced groomer it can be a very rewarding career and a lot of fun working with dogs of all sizes and types of coats.

To become a successful pet groomer you’ll need to enroll in a professional grooming school. These schools can be found in the yellow pages of your local directory, or for quicker searching use the internet. Professional schools provide their students with the tools, techniques and skills needed to break into the pet grooming profession.

It may surprise you to know that many people who work as dog groomers haven’t attended a professional school, but instead learned the grooming procedures and techniques by taking correspondence courses or night classes at their local college.

As a new dog groomer just starting in the business, it helps to get a job with an established grooming shop as a trainee or assistant. Working for a good dog grooming service will provide you with hands-on experience and the additional training needed to assist you in propelling your career forward in the pet grooming business.

There are many different breeds of dogs, all requiring special techniques for proper grooming. As a dog groomer you’ll have to know how to groom every breed of dog. For example, the grooming style of a Golden Retriever is very different than that of a Yorkie.

When you have been trained and are starting your career, you can ask friends and family if they will let you practice your grooming skills on their pet dogs at no cost to them. This will help you in improving your skills and your friends and family will probably be eager to give you a good reference when you’re searching for the right place in which to begin your career.

When you’re finally ready to be a pet groomer and you feel comfortable enough to proudly say so, you can choose whether you want to work in an established grooming shop, work from home, or even set up a mobile dog grooming business and travel to a client’s home.

Urinary Incontinence in Older Dogs

Monday, July 6th, 2015


It is not uncommon for older dogs to have incontinence problems; even younger dogs can have this disorder if they have a congenital deformity or have experienced an injury to the nerves that control the bladder muscles. However, urinary incontinence in older dogs is a far more common problem for anyone who owns an aging dog.

Understanding how a dog’s bladder works will shed some light on the problem. Dogs store urine in their bladder and when they need to urinate, the urine passes out of the body through the urethra. Normally, a dog is able to control the passage of urine, but if it loses control over the bladder the result is incontinence.

A band of muscles at the base of a dog’s bladder creates a valve that keeps urine from leaking out of the bladder. Dogs produce hormones that help them control these muscles consciously. Estrogen helps strengthen the bladder muscles in female dogs, and testosterone strengthens the same muscles in male dogs.

But as dogs age their bodies produce fewer of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. A dog that has been spayed or neutered is more likely to suffer hormone deficiencies. When this happens, urinary incontinence causes small amounts of urine to leak out of the dog’s bladder while it’s resting or sleeping.

Older dogs are most prone to urinary incontinence though younger animals can develop the condition due to congenital abnormalities or injury. Urinary incontinence in an older dog will usually begin to manifest itself when a dog is about eight or nine years old. Spayed females can develop urinary incontinence as early as three to five years of age.

Treatment for urinary incontinence in older dogs usually includes an oral medication prescribed by your vet. Phenylpropanolamine is the most common, non-hormonal drug used for both male and female dogs. Sometimes a vet will recommend hormone replacement therapy to treat urinary incontinence in an older dog. In these cases, daily doses of hormone substitutes need to be administered when treatment is begun, and once the dog begins to respond to treatment, the dosage schedule is reduced to once a week.

Side effects from hormone replacement drugs are rare in dogs. In some cases the medication doesn’t completely clear up the incontinence symptoms. If that happens, your dog will probably need to wear a dog diaper during the day and night.

Older dogs with urinary incontinence are also more susceptible to bladder infections because the muscles at the base of the bladder become looser, making it easier for bacteria to enter the dog’s organ. If this happens to your dog, antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian can be helpful in treating any bladder infections.

Should Dogs Eat Cat Food?

Monday, June 22nd, 2015


The question “Should dogs eat cat food?” is often asked by owners who have both dogs and cats living together because it’s often difficult to keep a dog from eating the cat’s food.

Cat food usually has higher levels of protein and fat than dog food and many dogs find that combination very appetizing. Cat food is also more likely to be left out all day long allowing a cat to eat when it wants, whereas dog food tends to be served only at mealtimes. Dogs have a tendency to eat whatever they find tasty, regardless of whether they’re hungry or not.

Cat food and dog food have different formulations because cats and dogs have different nutritional requirements. Cats are carnivores and must eat meat in order to maintain their health. Dogs eat cat food because they are omnivores, meaning they eat both meat-based foods and plant-based foods. Cats usually don’t bother eating a dog’s food because cats need certain B-complex vitamins that dog food doesn’t contain.

Will your dog get sick if it eats cat food? Usually only if it overindulges on cat food. If this happens the dog is likely to suffer digestive discomfort, including diarrhea and vomiting due to higher fat levels in cat food.

If your dog sneaks an occasional small amount of cat food it won’t harm its health, but if allowed to eat cat food over an extended period of time, it will probably become overweight and will lack some of the vital nutrients in dog food that are lacking in cat food.

Over time, a dog could also develop kidney problems if its excretory system is unable to remove the extra protein found in cat food. This extra protein becomes urea which is a nitrogenous compound found in the urine of an animal and is produced by the breakdown of protein.

Keeping your dog out of the cat’s food requires some rearranging. Try putting the dog and cat food bowls in different parts of the house. You could put the dog’s food in the kitchen and the cat’s food in the laundry room. If that doesn’t work, try giving the cat its food on something higher than you feed the dog on, like a countertop which cats will find easy to climb up on but a dog won’t.

Hopefully one of those tricks will work. If not you may want to install a cat door on the laundry room door that’s too small for your dog to get through. Dogs eat cat food simply because it’s food and it’s accessible. If a dog can’t get to it, the problem will end.

Why Dogs Vomit

Monday, May 11th, 2015


There are many reasons why dogs vomit so if you find your dog vomiting, don’t automatically assume that your dog has an illness.

    The most common reasons why dogs vomit include the following:

(1) Eating foreign objects or plant material. If your dog has swallowed a solid object of some kind it will often vomit it back up. If the foreign object is small enough, it can pass through the intestinal system and you’ll see it in your dog’s stool. If it’s too large or has sharp edges, your dog will continue to suffer and an emergency visit to the vet for x-rays will become a necessary life-saving action.

If you believe your dog may have eaten leaves or berries from a bush, you need to be sure the plant is not poisonous. The easiest way to check is to go online to the ASPCA poison control website at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control. There you’ll find a list of toxic and non-toxic plants, the 17 most common poisonous plants, and animal poison control FAQs.

(2) An allergy to certain foods.
If you have recently started your dog on a new diet and the vomiting began shortly thereafter, you might try mixing half of its old food with half of the new food and watch closely for changes in behavior or lingering illness. It’s possible that an intolerance or aversion to ingredients in the new food may be causing the vomiting. If you suspect this may be the cause, you can continue changing the ratio of old food to the new food to see if the vomiting goes away.

(3) Eating greasy foods or foods higher in fat content.
Table scraps or desserts can easily cause intestinal distress and vomiting in any dog. Their systems were not designed to digest rich, fatty foods that many humans eat on a daily basis. These types of food are often not healthy for us, let alone for our dogs. If your dog vomits soon after scarfing down something from your table, it’s a clear indication that you need to avoid giving it any types of food you normally eat.

Causes of vomiting that require a visit to the vet for diagnosis and treatment:
(4) Infection with parasites, viruses or bacteria can cause gastrointestinal infections also known as viral gastroenteritis. Diarrhea and vomiting are the most obvious symptoms. Many different types of bacteria and parasites can also cause GI infections and diarrhea but most of these are not serious and will go away on their own after a few days; however, others can be serious.

(5) Ulcers which can be caused by anti-inflammatory medications prescribed for skin conditions, arthritis, or other chronic health problems. Pain relief medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen inhibit a hormone-like substance that acts as a protection for a dog’s stomach lining. Prolonged use of these medications can cause severe stomach ulcers in dogs. Another less common cause of canine stomach ulcers is a mast cell cancer in the dog’s skin. Mast cell cancers release histamine which leads to stomach ulcers.

(6) Kidney Failure.
Early signs of kidney failure in dogs are increased water consumption and increased urine output. Signs of more advanced kidney failure include loss of appetite, depression, vomiting and diarrhea.

(7) Cancers.
Some possible signs of cancer that warrant a visit to your veterinarian include any new lump or bump; a change in size, shape, or consistency of an existing lump; a runny nose, especially if bloody; difficulty urinating or bloody urine; limping or a change in gait; foul breath and lethargy.

(8) Inflammatory bowel disease.
The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is unknown. Genetics, nutrition, infectious agents, and abnormalities of the immune system may all play a role. The most common signs of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs are vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Vomiting is more common when the stomach or upper portion of the small intestine are affected and diarrhea is more common when the colon is involved. There is an increase in the frequency of defecation, but less stool is produced each time. There is often increased mucous or some blood in the stool. Sometimes stools become loose. Many times the diarrhea and vomiting may be irregular.

(9) Liver disease.
The early signs of liver disease include chronic intermittent vomiting and diarrhea. Vomiting is more common than diarrhea, loss of appetite, or weight loss. Drinking and urinating more often than normal may be the first signs, and a key reason for visiting the vet.

Whenever your dog continues to display any of these symptoms and the cause is not readily apparent, you should schedule an exam with your vet. Your pet’s health and life may depend upon it.

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