March 2014 - LUV My dogs

LUV My dogs

Everything about your dog!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Your dog is overweight?

Your dog is overweight?
  Obesity is a nutritional disease which is defined by an excess of body fat. Dogs that are over nourished, lack the ability to exercise, or that have a tendency to retain weight are the most at risk for becoming obese. Obesity can result in serious adverse health effects, such as reducing the lifespan, even if your dog is only moderately obese. Multiple areas of the body are affected by excess body fat, including the bones and joints, the digestive organs, and the organs responsible for breathing capacity.
   Obesity is common in dogs of all ages, but it usually occurs in middle-aged dogs, and generally in those that are between the ages of 5 and 10. Neutered and indoor dogs also tend to have a higher risk of becoming obese.
With 35 million or 45 percent of American dogs overweight or obese, putting your pooch on a diet might just be on the cards. Do you know if your dog needs to lose weight or are you still calling it "puppy fat"? While owners are busy spoiling their canine friends with treats, extra food, and cookies as a show of love, the reality is that an overweight dog is neither happy nor healthy, and if your dog falls into this category, it's time to fix it, immediately. 

How To Know If Your Dog Is Obese?
  If you’re not sure, pat your hands along your dog’s sides from head to tail. In a healthy-weight dog, you should be able to just feel the ribs. Also, take a look at your dog from the side. Most dogs should have a slightly “tucked up” profile. If all you feel are fat pads on your dog’s sides, or if his side profile is more sausage-like than sleek, chances are your friend may need to shed a few.
  The first thing you should do is get your vet involved. Take your dog for a checkup as there are underlying conditions that can contribute to obesity, including diabetes, Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism. Have your veterinarian determine your dog’s current and ideal body weight and then tell you how many calories your dog can eat each day in order to reach that ideal weight. Your goal should be to work toward that ideal weight over a several-month period.


Symptoms
  •  Weight gain
  • Excess body fat
  • The inability (or unwillingness) to exercise
  • An above-ideal score in a body condition assessment.
Causes

  There are several causes of obesity. It is mosty commonly caused by an imbalance between the energy intake and its usage -- eating more than the dog can possibly expend. Obesity also becomes more common in old age because of the normal decrease in a dog's ability to exercise. Unhealthy eating habits, such as high-calorie foods, an alternating diet, and frequent treats can also bring on this condition.


How To Feed For Good Health
  Dogs should not be fed “free choice” as they tend to eat when bored instead of when hungry -- which contributes to ever-expanding canine waistlines. Dogs should be fed two to four times each day, and all food portions should be measured exactly with a standard measuring cup.
  Dog food label recommendations must be used cautiously. These guidelines are generic and most likely represent overfeeding for many U.S. dogs. Dogs must be fed according to their ideal body weight -- not their current weight if they are obese. If your dog is even mildly overweight, feeding according to the recommendations found on the food bag will result in continued weight gains.
  Increasing your dog's physical activity level is vital for successful treatment. The most common suggestions for dogs are leash walking for at least 15 minutes, twice a day, and playing games such as fetch.

Living and Management
  The follow-up treatment for obesity includes communicating regularly with your veterinarian about the weight reduction program, monthly monitoring of your dog's weight, and establishing a life-time weight maintenance program once your dog's ideal body condition score has been achieved. With a firm commitment to your dog's health and weight, you will feel confident that your dog is eating healthy and feeling its best.
  Eating right and being physically active aren’t just a “diet” for your dog -- they are keys to a healthy lifestyle and will reduce your dog’s risk of chronic disease and increase his chance for a longer life.

                               Warnings!
  • Too much strenuous exercise can be a hazard for your dog. Talk with your vet about how much exercise your dog should be getting.
  • If you make exercising the dog a task for your kids, make sure that they know how to properly walk a dog, help her when she is hurt, etc. Make sure they bring water for the dog. Also, if you have a young child, always have an adult accompany them on walks to avoid danger.
  • Always research foods before giving them as treats to your dogs. For example, grapes, raisins, chocolate, and onions can be very toxic to dogs.
  • Never restrict access to water; it should always be clean and freely available unless a vet requires otherwise.
  • A dog that is left outside during winter needs double the usual amount of high quality dog food. Talk to your vet about any issues this might cause if you have an overweight outside dog.
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Everything about Dog Worms

Everything about Dog Worms
  There are a wide variety of worms that can infect your dog. Although many of the symptoms are similar, each will require a specific type of medication for treatment. When an inappropriate medication is used to treat worms, infestations can return or worsen in severity, causing additional medical complications. Some of the worms that commonly affect dogs include: heartworms, roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms.

Symptoms
Dog Coughing - One of the advanced stage symptoms of heartworms in a dog is coughing. Dogs with hookworms and roundworms may also develop a cough.

Dog Vomiting - Dogs that have worms will often throw up. Roundworms can sometimes show up in a dog’s vomit.

Diarrhea in Dogs - Soft stools and canine diarrhea can be the result of worms. In addition to diarrhea, dogs with hookworms may have blood in their stools.

Low Energy Dogs - Dogs that are lethargic and less active than normal may be showing symptoms of having worms.

Pot Bellied Appearance - If your dog starts to appear pot bellied or bloated, it may have contracted worms. This is commonly seen in puppies that have picked up worms from their mother.

Dog’s Change in Appetite - If you notice a sudden change in your dog’s appetite, he may have come into contact with roundworms. Dogs that are infected often lose their appetite. As worms steal a dog’s nutrients, a dog with worms may also show a sudden increase in hunger.

Dog Losing Weight - If your dog shows signs of rapid weight loss, he may have a tapeworm or a whipworm.

Dull Coat - A healthy dog should have a shiny thick coat. If your dog’s coat begins to dull and dry out, he may have picked up a form of worms. Loss of hair or the appearance of rashes can also denote worms.

Dog Itching and Signs of Skin Irritations - Dogs that show signs of skin irritation may have a severe infestation of worms.

Dog Rubbing Its Bottom on the Ground “Scooting” - While this can often be caused by problems with the anal glands, dogs with worms will occasionally rub their rear ends on the floor in order to relieve themselves of the itch due to worms in the area.

Visible Worms in Fur or Fecal Matter - Some worms, such as tapeworms may appear as small moving segments in the fur or area around dog’s anus. Roundworms can often be seen in a dog’s stools.

Non-Intestinal Worms
  The biggest problem for dog owners in terms of non-intestinal worms in dogs is heartworms. In recent years awareness of heartworms has risen and resulted in increased preventative efforts by pet owners throughout the United States.

Heartworms
  Heartworms are a parasite that is contracted through bites from infected mosquitoes. As these mosquitoes bite dogs they transmit heartworm larvae in to the dog’s bloodstream. The heartworm eggs travel to the dog’s heart where they settle in the right heart ventricle and begin to duplicate. As these worms increase in number and grow larger they soon begin to cause severe damage to the dog’s heart, lungs and other major organs. Heartworms can live as long as five years within a dog but the infestation usually becomes fatal before that point. Heartworm infection is most commonly diagnosed by taking blood samples and testing them for the presence of heartworm offspring.

Spotting and Treating Heartworms
  Early signs of heartworm infection can be easy to miss and as a result it is often not until the infection becomes severe that it is caught. Some of the most common signs of dogs suffering heartworms include: hair loss, jaundice, diarrhea, respiratory trouble, wheezing, loss of appetite, blindness, increased heartbeat, vomiting, poor coat, coughing, lethargy and weight loss. Treatment for heartworm infestation is dangerous and since most cases are not caught until dogs exhibit symptoms due to organ damage, treatment can often be fatal. Treatment involves injecting toxins in to the bloodstream that will kill the heartworms; however, they can also prove fatal to weakened dogs. The sooner heartworm infestations are caught, the better the chance that a dog will survive treatment because there will be less damage to major organs. Heartworm treatment is expensive and time consuming. Numerous treatments are required to eliminate infestations and throughout the numerous treatments the dog must be kept confined and inactive. In some cases where heartworm infestations are severe and dogs are too disabled from their condition, veterinarians may suggest forgoing treatment and opting for euthanization. Choosing euthanization may be a difficult decision to make, but the amount of discomfort a dog experiences during advanced stages of heartworm infection is significant.

Preventing Heartworms
  Preventing heartworms is easy with the large number of heartworm tablets available for monthly dosage. The different heartworm preventative medications vary in price and all are more affordable than a single heart worm treatment. Some of the most commonly used heartworm preventative medications include: Heartgard Plus, Iverhart Plus and Panacur–C.

Important Things to Keep in Mind about Heartworms:
  • It is estimated that 100% of dogs exposed to infective heartworm larvae become infected with heartworms.
  • According to the American Heartworm Society, only 55% of dogs in the United States are on heartworm preventative.
  • “Indoor only” animals can also become infected with heartworms.
  • More than thirty different animal species can contract heartworms including: wild canids, wild felids, sea lions and humans.
  • Heart worm disease could be completely eliminated in domesticated animals if every pet owner administered heartworm preventative to their pet.
Intestinal Worms
  When referring to worms in general, most commonly people are referring to intestinal worms. These types of worms are found in the gastrointestinal tract of dogs where they thrive and reproduce, causing a slew of medical side effects. Intestinal worms are referred to as parasites because they attach to your dog’s intestinal wall and feed by leaching your dog’s nutrients. If left untreated, infestations of intestinal worms can become deadly by causing intestinal blockage. Dogs should be tested for intestinal parasites through the taking of a fecal sample once a year. All puppies should be issued de-wormers to ensure that they are not carrying worms or worm larvae. Most of the large name heartworm medications sold these days also provide protection against a number of the most common intestinal worm varieties to ensure that fully grown dogs are protected.

Roundworms

  Roundworms are a particularly common type of parasitic worm found in young puppies. The majority of puppies have traces of roundworms or roundworm eggs in their tissue at birth as a result of migrating parasites from the mother’s tissue. Puppies can also contract roundworms from their mother’s milk. This is one of the reasons why puppies are de-wormed as soon as they are seen by a vet and given their initial “puppy shots.” Many breeders also take the precaution of administering de-wormer to ensure that their puppies remain healthy. Once within the dog’s body, the roundworms will travel to the intestinal tract where they will attach themselves to the intestinal wall and continue to grow. Some roundworms can grow as large as five inches long. Once roundworms reach sexual maturity they will begin shedding eggs within the dog’s small intestine. Infected dogs will pass roundworm eggs in their feces and the eggs can then go on to re-infect other dogs that are exposed to the infected feces. Once dogs become infected by ingesting the roundworm eggs (these eggs can survive in soil for years,) the eggs will hatch and young roundworms will travel to the lungs. Eventually these small larvae are coughed out of the lungs and swallowed where they will make their way to the small intestine to grow to full sized worms. It is easy to see how an untreated infection of roundworms can continue a cycle of infection among a neighborhood or kennel of dogs.

Spotting and Treating Roundworms
  Dogs with an active case of roundworms can appear to have a bloated stomach and exhibit poor growth despite eating regularly. Infected dogs may also vomit or have diarrhea, cough, develop pneumonia or show signs of anemia. Owners may spot worms in their dogs vomit or feces. These worms can infect both young and old dogs and can become fatal by causing intestinal blockage if they are not treated as soon as possible. Roundworms are treated with a de-wormer, but it should be noted that this treatment is only effective for fully grown worms living in a dog’s intestinal tract, not for eggs. It is important to administer a full course of de-wormer prescribed for roundworms by a vet in order to ensure that the infestation is completely eradicated. The most commonly prescribed medications for roundworm infestations include: Sentinel, Drontal Plus, Panacur – C, Heartguard Plus, Worm X, Iverhart Plus and Interceptor.

Preventing Roundworms
  Preventing roundworms in most dogs is as easy as keeping dogs away from other dog feces and administering a heartworm preventative that also protects against roundworms.

Tapeworms
  Tapeworms can be contracted through eating animals that are already infected with tapeworms or through eating fleas that feed on tapeworm eggs. Tapeworms appear as segmented and can be composed of as many as ninety different attached segments reaching as long as six inches in total length. Tapeworms live within the dogs intestines and absorb nutrients from the digestive tract through its skin. Like most other intestinal worms, tapeworms attach to the intestinal wall with their heads, though these worms utilize “suckers” to attach to the tissue. Amazingly, each section of the tapeworm has the ability to reproduce and contains eggs, which means that each section that breaks off the end of the worm releases eggs. As these eggs are released, they are passed in the dogs feces. This is often where the tapeworm eggs are ingested by fleas and the cycle begins again when that flea is ingested by another (or the same) dog. As the tapeworm grows, the end segments of the worm’s body will detach and the containing eggs and sections are excreted. Most pet owners are able to identify the presence of tapeworms by spotting these small rice like segments (which are often still moving) in their dog’s fur near their anus. Tapeworms can be spread from dogs to humans.

Spotting and Treating Tapeworms
  Dogs with a tapeworm infestation may appear with no symptoms at all, or they may appear with a number of general intestinal type symptoms. Some of the more general symptoms include: itching around the anus, vomiting, an upset stomach, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort. Tapeworm infestations may also present with convulsions in extreme cases. Tapeworms in dogs are most commonly treated with Drontal Plus, Panacur – C and Tapeworm tabs. Tapeworm infestations in humans are most commonly treated with Praziquantel.

Preventing Tapeworms
  Unlike many other worms, tapeworms are not treated with heartworm medications that also cover parasitic worms. Tapeworms can be prevented by applying flea preventative regularly. Rodent populations should also be controlled since they can lead to an increase in fleas which feed on tapeworm eggs.

Hookworms
  Hookworms are very small worms that are named because of their hook-like teeth that they use to attach to the intestinal lining. These worms feed upon their host animal’s blood and are the most common parasitic worm found in dogs. Hookworms can be contracted in the same methods as roundworms, particularly during the puppy life stage. Veterinarians believe that 20% of the pets in the United States are infected with hookworms. It is possible for humans to contract hookworms from their dogs. Hookworms are much like other parasitic worms in that they lay eggs in the intestinal tract of dogs and those eggs are then expelled in feces or through a mother dog’s tissues during pregnancy. Hookworm infestations are particularly devastating to young and elderly dogs and should be treated as soon as a vet identifies hookworm eggs in a fecal sample.

Spotting and Treating Hookworms
   Dogs that have severe hookworm infections can often succumb to the parasite if not treated promptly. Signs of a hookworm infestation include: poor stamina, poor weight maintenance, progressive overall weakness, anemia, bloody diarrhea and an unwillingness to feed. In humans hookworm infestations can present with muscle pain, skin rashes and potentially lung disease. Commonly used hookworm medications for dogs include: Sentinel, Drontal Plus, Panacur – C, Heartguard Plus, Worm X, Iverhart plus and Interceptor. In humans the most commonly used medications for treatment are benzimidazoles.

Preventing Hookworms
  Hookworms can be prevented with a number of heartworm preventative medications that also treat parasites. These worms can also be prevented by ensuring that your dog’s environment is kept clean.

Whipworms
  Whipworms are so named because they have the appearance of a whip with one end thicker than the other, the thinner end having the appearance of a piece of thread. This type of parasitic worm lives in the first section of the dog’s large intestines – the cecum. Where roundworm females are capable of producing 200,000 eggs in a single day, whipworms produce much fewer eggs making detection of an infection much more difficult. Even with the administration of a fecal sample, a veterinarian may miss an infection. In cases where dogs exhibit clear symptoms of whipworm infestation, but a fecal test comes up negative, additional fecal samples may be required. Unlike roundworms, whipworms rarely cause fatal infections in dogs but they can lead to complications in infected dogs. Whipworms bury their heads in to the wall of the dog’s large intestine and feed on the dog’s blood. Once established in the dog’s intestines whipworms will lay their eggs that will be excreted in the dogs feces. Whipworm eggs are extremely difficult to eradicate from soil and can only effectively be destroyed by replacing soil. Even picking up feces can leave traces of whipworm eggs behind leaving other dogs susceptible for infection. Whipworms are one of the few parasitic worms that cannot be transmitted to humans from dogs.

Spotting and Treating Whipworms
  Dogs with whipworms can show with a variety of symptoms including signs of anemia, diarrhea, hemorrhaging, weight loss and general upset stomach. If a case of whipworms is confirmed, all feces should be picked up and disposed of properly and soil should be replaced in order to avoid re-infection. Commonly used medications for whipworm infections include: Sentinel, Drontal Plus, Panacur – C and Interceptor.

Preventing Whipworms
  Preventing whipworms should be done with a preventative oral medication. Interceptor is currently one of the few heartworm preventative medications that treats for whipworms as well as heartworms.

Other Intestinal Parasites to Consider
Coccidia
  Coccidiosis is a parasitic infection that is caused by coccidium bacteria. This bacterium is spread through feces of infected dogs and is most commonly found in puppies that have developed the disease after exposure to infected adult dog’s feces. Like many intestinal parasites, coccidiosis can be particularly dangerous to young puppies with under-developed immune systems. Adult dogs can also be affected by this infection particularly when undergoing periods of stress such as traveling, moving and even weather changes.

Spotting and Treating Coccidia
  Dogs infected with the Coccidia bacteria will present with watery and mucous like diarrhea. If the infection becomes severe diarrhea may be bloody and the dog may also present with symptoms of severe dehydration and overall weakness and lethargy.
Whenever any of these symptoms are noted it is crucial to get your dog to the vet regardless of their age because symptoms can escalate particularly quickly. The most common test performed by veterinarians that suspect coccidiosis is a fecal examination. In cases of coccidiosis the coccidium parasite is easily visible under the microscope. The parasite has an appearance somewhat like an eye with a pupil.
After confirming that coccidiosis is the cause of infection, your veterinarian will assess your dogs overall health. If your dog is experiencing significant distress due to dehydration and weakness they will keep your dog for inpatient treatment to administer fluids as well as medications to kill the parasite. If your dog is in overall good health your vet will send you home with medication to treat the parasite and suggest administering unflavored Pedialyte and plenty of water to keep your dog hydrated. Two weeks following completion of medication your vet will request a follow up fecal test to ensure that the parasite is no longer present.

Preventing Coccidiosis
  The best way to prevent the spread of coccidiosis is to keep infected animals apart from other animals in the home and to ensure infected animals are treated completely. It is also important to test feces of pregnant bitches to ensure that they newborn puppies are protected from infection. Many people will also test young puppies to ensure they are not infected with coccidiosis after their birth.
Coccidiosis is yet another reason why it is important to always pick up after your dog since leaving your dogs infected feces can pass the disease on to other dogs!

Giardia
  Giardia Worms in DogsInfection with the guardian parasite is referred to as giardiasis. Giardia is a protozoan parasite that is ingested by dogs when infectious cysts are shed in infected dog’s feces. Dogs can ingest these cysts through both direct and indirect contact with them and once ingested they travel down to the dogs intestinal tract. Many dogs ingest giardia cysts through water contamination which is why new puppy owners are advised against letting their dogs near local lakes and water bodies that could house the parasite.
It is important to note that giardia is the most common intestinal parasite found in the human digestive tract. It is possible for giardia to be passed on from dogs to humans so proper handling of infected dogs and infected feces is crucial.

Spotting and Treating Giardia
  Spotting giardia in adult dogs can be trickier than with younger dogs since the disease tends to accelerate rather rapidly in younger dogs with less developed immune systems. The most significant symptom of giardia is diarrhea that may be greasy or frothy in appearance and have mucous in it. Feces from dogs with giardia also tend to have a particularly strong odor. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms it is crucial to get them veterinary care in order to avoid dehydration, particularly in the case of very young puppies.
If your veterinarian suspects that your dog is suffering from giardiasis they will take a fecal sample. A fecal sample is taken not only to confirm the presence of the giardia parasite but also to rule out any other potential cause for symptoms such as maldigestion and malabsorption. The giardia parasite is a teardrop shaped parasite that can be seen in a fecal smear under a microscope.
After confirming that giardia parasites are present, your veterinarian will decide whether or not your dog needs to be kept in for observation or whether they can be released for treatment. You vet may also opt to administer fluids and then send you home to administer medication at home. In addition to prescription medication, veterinarians recommend bathing infected dogs to prevent any recontamination from remaining parasites on the dog. Once medication has been completed veterinarians will request a second fecal exam to ensure that the parasite has been eradicated completely. This step is particularly crucial since an ongoing giardia infection can have devastating effects on a dog and can even result in the death of young puppies in a relatively short time period.
The most commonly prescribed medications for giardia infections include: Flagyl also known as Metronidazole, Panacur and Valbazen. The favored of these is Flagyl however it is contraindicated in pregnancy.

Preventing Giardia
  Giardia is a particularly common parasite and it can be difficult to avoid; however, there are some tips to reduce the risk of your dog contracting it. Make sure not to take young dogs to water bodies where the parasite could be present and ensure that no dog drinks from the water or licks their paws after stepping in the water. Also ensure that whenever boarding your dog, you pick a kennel that offers individual spaces for dogs rather than communal kennel areas where the parasite can quickly spread.

If left untreated, worms can damage your dog’s internal organs and lead to loss of consciousness and death. If you suspect that your dog has worms, take it to your nearest veterinary office. Most worms are easy to treat and your veterinarian will prescribe a medication based on the diagnosis.
The best way to keep your dogs safe is to make sure they use a monthly heartworm disease preventive year round.



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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Top Myths About your Dog!

Top  Myths About your Dog!
A dog's mouth is clean and sterile.
  Not even close. Just think about where that mouth has been.
  Most dogs are willing to lick their own and other dogs nether regions, steal cat feces from the litter box for a late night treat, and eat anything they can find on the ground.

Raw meat is the best diet for dogs.
This may sound good in theory. But the reality is it's an unbalanced diet that can also be dangerous.
A raw-meat diet can leave dogs short on calcium and other nutrients.
Raw meat is also risky because it can carry harmful bacteria, disease, and parasites.

Photo by Rarnie McCudden from Pexels
Dogs alpha roll each other
A study of captive wolves gave rise to this myth. Dogs roll onto their backs to expose their bellies to other animals and people to signal non threat.  Even alpha dogs show their tummies to invite puppies and subordinate dogs to play. Dogs do not force other dogs onto their backs to prove leadership.

Dogs destroy furniture and other items in the house because they are angry
There may be many possible reasons for this, whether they are physical, emotional, or instinctual but none have to do with anger. Items that smell like you are often targeted because your scent comforts them.

When my dog looks guilty, it’s because he feels bad for doing something wrong
When your pooch puts on that doleful look, he must be guilty of something, right? Wrong! Your dog knows you are angry or upset and is using that body posture to try in dog language to get you to calm down and avoid punishment.

My dog understands me when I talk to him
While dogs can understand about 500 words and a very talented Border Collie named Chaser can understand thousands, when we talk to our dogs they focus in on a few words, our tone of voice, facial expressions, and our body language.

Dogs should have a litter before they are spayed
This is a myth that actually causes harm. In addition to contributing to overpopulation, allowing your dog to have a litter before spaying can make her susceptible to cancer later in life.

Table scraps are good for dogs

Although some table scraps are okay, seasonings like onions and garlic can be toxic for dogs.

A warm, dry nose signals a fever.
The temperature and moistness of your dog's nose has nothing to do with his health.
The only way to know if he has a fever is to take his temperature (usually with a rectal thermometer). It should be 100-102.5 degrees.
A better way to tell if your dog is sick is if he's not as hungry or active as usual.
Other signs of illness:
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Urinating more or less often than normal
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Discharge from eyes, ears, or nose.
Dogs can't digest grains.
Contrary to popular belief, dogs' digestive systems are quite robust.
Corn, rice, and beets aren't just filler. They enhance a dog's diet with essential nutrients and protein when pre-cooked, which is typically the case with commercially-prepared dog foods.
Dogs are omnivores and grains are a healthy part of their diet.

My new dog of the same breed will be just like my last one
Just like two children from the same family will be alike in some ways, they can be completely different in others. So while Johnny and Susie both have blue eyes, one might be easy going and the other very stubborn. Two dogs from the same breed can be very different too.

My dog should tolerate anything my children do

The reality is that young children often do not know how to interact with dogs in a caring considerate manner. Allowing children to sit on dogs, pull on their body, hit them with toys, disturb them while they eat may actually teach children the wrong lessons. Dogs are living, breathing, emotional beings that need to be treated kindly and with respect.

Dogs catch on to house training more quickly when you rub their noses in their accidents
Absolutely not. Punishing a dog for normal behavior like going to the bathroom encourages dogs to hide it better next time. Instead of punishing your dog when they do the wrong thing, reward them with praise or treats when they go in the right spot. This will be a more effective lesson.

Dogs learn only if you punish them
Absolutely not. Punishment can interfere with learning, can make behaviors worse and even cause fear aggression. Instead, you need to teach an alternative to bad behavior.

You should feed your dog according to the label instructions.
The label is just a starting point.
An extremely active dog or one with a high metabolism may require more. A less active dog would need less food to avoid becoming overweight.
Ask your vet what's right for your dog. If your dog is at a healthy body weight, you should be able to feel his ribs easily beneath the skin.

An excited dog is happy to see you
It's very easy to come home to a dog that is jumping, running around, or spinning in circles, and interpret that as the dog being glad you're home. But that's not what's really happening. It's a sign that your dog has more energy than he can handle in that moment.
Ignore him when he's overexcited, then reward him with attention when he calms down.

A fenced yard should be entertaining enough
Our canine friends live in a very rich world of smells and visual input. The back yard is the same day in and day out. What dogs long for is the smell of a new scent, the chance to check out that next bush or tree and see the world. And when out in the yard all alone they can make bad decisions, become extremely territorial and threatening to others, or even become destructive or attempt to escape.

All dogs who are afraid of people have been abused
While it is unfortunate that many dogs are abused, many dogs that show signs of fear or anxiety around people and places suffer from another problem: limited socialization. If a dog lives in a very restricted environment during their sensitive time of emotional growth (from 8 weeks to 9 months) they may not have the tools to process, interact, and enjoy new experiences as they come along.

Dogs wag their tails when they are happy
Interestingly, not always. Dogs wag their tails when they are excited, happy, or to signal an imminent attack. A better indicator of happiness would be position of the tail and frequency of the wag. Slow, loose wags of the tail is usually a sign that a dog wants to be friends.

Dogs are jealous of the phone
The phone rings and all of a sudden your pet wants your attention. This can appear as annoying behavior but from your pets perspective, you are talking, no one else is around so you must be talking to them!

Dogs that are aggressive are showing dominance
On the contrary, it is often fearful dogs that act aggressively to help make a scary situation go away. A top dog will rarely show aggression because other dogs know he is the boss. However, you will sometimes see dogs using snarls to get their way or adolescent dogs acting up because they want to challenge the real boss.

Dogs that destroy the house when home alone are being spiteful
Dogs that go to the bathroom indoors bark and are destructive when home alone are most likely suffering from separation anxiety. They are unable to relax and be calm when separated from their human family. They need a behavior modification plan, treatment and perhaps medication to learn how to be home alone.

Dogs that growl and bite are mean
Dogs that growl are trying to tell people that they are uncomfortable and afraid. What they really want is for the threatening thing to go away or stop. By understanding and respecting the message we can teach dogs the proper responses and diminish the need for aggressive responses.

 Dogs enjoy being hugged
Dogs and cats sometimes hug during mating or fighting. Although pets may enjoy nuzzling and getting affection from you, it is good to remember that your pet may confuse a hug with aggression.

Dogs and wolves are the same
While dogs and wolves share a common genetic connection, that is where it ends. Dogs have evolved over thousands of years to be partners with humans and interact with naturally in ways that wolves do not even with extensive training. Two great examples: dogs can follow a human’s pointing gesture and often “ask” people for help; wolves do not without specific training.


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Dangerous Foods That Dogs Should Never Eat

Dangerous Foods That Dogs Should Never Eat
  Who can resist those big brown eyes and cute doggie grin? Can a little reward from the table really hurt your dog? Well, that depends on what it is and what's in it. A chip with guacamole can cause your dog some real problems. In fact, there's a lot of people food your dog should never eat. And, it's not just because of weight. Some foods are downright dangerous for dogs - and some of these common foods may surprise you.

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels
Just because humans like it, doesn't mean dogs will
  Foods that are perfectly suitable for human consumption, as well as other animals, may be toxic and even poisonous to your dog, posing a serious threat to it’s health and well-being. Why? Because all animals have very different rates of metabolism. Metabolism is basically the process of breaking down food and turning it into energy.
  Please note that while we’re attempting to add every food we can find that is potentially unsafe for dogs, there are certain foods that we may miss, so don’t consider a food safe to feed to our dog just because it’s not on this list. Do your research if you are uncertain and let us know by adding a comment below with your new information so that we can keep this list updated. If you are worried about something your pet consumed, please call your vet promptly.


List of Foods Not to Feed Your Dog
Avocado
No matter how good you think the guacamole is, you shouldn't give it to your dog. Avocados contain a substance called persin. It's harmless for humans who aren't allergic. But large amounts might be toxic to dogs. If you happen to be growing avocados at home, keep your dog away from the plants. Persin is in the leaves, seed, and bark, as well as in the fruit.

Alcohol
Beer, liquor, wine, foods containing alcohol - none of it's good for your dog. That's because alcohol has the same effect on a dog's liver and brain that it has on humans. But it takes far less to do its damage. Just a little can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, problems with coordination, difficulty breathing, coma, even death. And the smaller the dog, the greater the effect.

Onions and Garlic
Onions and garlic in all forms - powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated - can destroy a dog's red blood cells, leading to anemia. That can happen even with the onion powder found in some baby food. An occasional small dose is probably OK. But just eating a large quantity once or eating smaller amounts regularly can cause poisoning. Symptoms of anemia include weakness, vomiting, little interest in food, dullness, and breathlessness.


Cat food 
Not that they would want this anyway, but cat food contains proteins and fats that are targeted at the diet of a cat, not a dog. The protein and fat levels in cat food are too high for your dog, and not healthy.

Cooked Bones 
When it comes to bones, he danger that cooked bones can easily splinter when chewed by your dog. Raw (uncooked) bones, however, are appropriate and good for both your dog’s nutritional and teeth.

Coffee, Tea, and Other Caffeine
Caffeine in large enough quantities can be fatal for a dog. And, there is no antidote. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, fits, and bleeding. In addition to tea and coffee - including beans and grounds -- caffeine can be found in cocoa, chocolate, colas, and stimulant drinks such as Red Bull. It's also in some cold medicines and pain killers.

Chocolate 
You’ve probably heard this before, but chocolate is a definite no no for your pup. And it’s not just about caffeine, which is enough to harm your dog by itself, but theobromine and theophylline, which can be toxic, cause panting, vomiting, and diarrhea, and damage your dog’s heart and nervous systems

Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins have often been used as treats for dogs. But it's not a good idea. Although it isn't clear why, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. And just a small amount can make a dog ill. Repeated vomiting is an early sign. Within a day, the dog will become lethargic and depressed. The best prevention is to keep grapes and raisins off counters and other places your dog can reach..

Milk and Other Dairy Products
On a hot day, it may be tempting to share your ice cream cone with your dog. But if your dog could, it would thank you for not doing so. Milk and milk-based products can cause diarrhea and other digestive upset as well as set up food allergies (which often manifest as itchiness).

Baby food 
Baby food by itself isn’t terrible, just make sure it doesn’t contain any onion powder. Baby food also doesn’t contain all the nutrients a dog relies on for a healthy, well maintained diet.

Candy and chewing gum 
Not only does candy contain sugar, but it often contains Xylitol, which can lead to the over-release of insulin, kidney failure, and worse.

Macadamia Nuts
Dogs should not eat macadamia nuts or foods containing macadamia nuts because they can be fatal. As few as six raw or roasted macadamia nuts can make a dog ill. Symptoms of poisoning include muscle tremors, weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters, vomiting, elevated body temperature, and rapid heart rate. Eating chocolate with the nuts will make symptoms worse, possibly leading to death.

Citrus oil extracts – Can cause vomiting.

Fat Trimmings and Bones
Table scraps often contain meat fat that a human didn't eat and bones. Both are dangerous for dogs. Fat trimmed from meat, both cooked and uncooked, can cause pancreatitis in dogs. And, although it seems natural to give a dog a bone, a dog can choke on it. Bones can also splinter and cause an obstruction or lacerations of your dog's digestive system. It's best to just forget about the doggie bag.

Corn on the cob
This is a sure way to get your dog’s intestine blocked. The corn is digested, but the cob gets lodged in the small intestine, and if it’s not removed surgically, can prove fatal to your dog. Additionally, too much corn kernels can upset the digestive tract as well so be cautious to not feed to much.

Fish 
The primary fish that you need to be careful about are salmon and trout. Raw salmon can be fatal to dogs if the fish is infected with a certain parasite, Nanophyetus salmincola. The parasite itself isn’t dangerous to dogs, but is often infected with a bacteria called Neorickettsia helminthoeca, which in many cases is fatal to dogs if not treated properly. If diagnosis occurs early on, the dog has a great chance of recovering. Cooked salmon is fine as it kills the parasite.

Persimmons, Peaches, and Plums
The problem with these fruits is the seeds or pits. The seeds from persimmons can cause inflammation of the small intestine in dogs. They can also cause intestinal obstruction. Obstruction is also a possibility if a dog eats the pit from a peach or plum. Plus, peach and plum pits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to both humans and dogs. The difference is humans know not to eat them. Dogs don't.

Hops 
An ingredient in beer that can be toxic to your dog. The consumption of hops by your dog can cause panting, an increased heart rate, fever, seizures, and even death.

Marijuana
Not that you would pass the bong to your dog, but if you do, you should know that it can adversely affect your pup’s nervous system and heart rate, and induce vomiting.

Raw Eggs
There are two problems with giving your dog raw eggs. The first is the possibility of food poisoning from bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli. The second is that an enzyme in raw eggs interferes with the absorption of a particular B vitamin. This can cause skin problems as well as problems with your dog's coat if raw eggs are fed for a long time.

Salt
It's not a good idea to share salty foods like chips or pretzels with your dog. Eating too much salt can cause excessive thirst and urination and lead to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of too much salt include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, and seizures. It may even cause death.

Yeast Dough
Before it's baked, bread dough needs to rise. And, that's exactly what it would do in your dog's stomach if your dog ate it. As it swells inside, the dough can stretch the dog's abdomen and cause severe pain. In addition, when the yeast ferments the dough to make it rise, it produces alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning.

Your Medicine
Reaction to a drug commonly prescribed for humans is the most common cause of poisoning in dogs. Just as you would do for your children, keep all medicines out of your dog's reach. And, never give your dog any over-the-counter medicine unless told to do so by your vet. Ingredients such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are common in pain relievers and cold medicine. And, they can be deadly for your dog.

Liver 
In small amounts, liver is great but avoid feeding too much liver to your dog. Liver contains quite a bit of Vitamin A, which can adversely affect your pup’s muscles and bones.

Mushrooms
Just as the wrong mushroom can be fatal to humans, the same applies to dogs. Don't mess with them.

Old food 
You don’t like old and moldy food, so what makes you think your dog will? The bacteria in spoiled food contains all sorts of toxins that can be damaging to your dog’s health. Feed them the freshest and best, dog-approved food only!

Kitchen Pantry: No Dogs Allowed
Many other items commonly found on kitchen shelves can harm your dog. For instance, baking powder and baking soda are both highly toxic. So are nutmeg and other spices. Keeping food items high enough to be out of your dog's reach and keeping pantry doors closed will help protect your dog from serious food-related illness.

Tobacco 
A major toxic hazard for dogs (and humans). The effects nicotine has on dogs are far worse than on humans. Nicotine can damage your pup’s digestive and nervous systems, increase their heart rate, make them pass out, and ultimately result in death.


  While there are certainly some human foods that are safe to feed your dog there are many which are unsafe and potentially poisonous when ingested by your dog. As a general rule of thumb, it is far better to be safe than sorry so avoid feeding your dog any human food unless recommended by your vet. Dogs that are not given human food or table scraps are generally better behaved than dogs who do receive people food anyway, they do not beg because they know they won’t receive any scraps and they also tend to drool less and bother visitors to your home less because they understand that human food is for humans and not for them.
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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dental care for your dog!

Dental care for your dog!
  It’s a fact. Most dog owners never take a good look inside their dog’s mouth. And that’s unfortunate because it is estimated that over 80 percent have significant oral pathology. Every day veterinarians are presented with patients for routine vaccinations or other minor afflictions whose oral health status is truly cause for alarm. Upon displaying the dog’s loose teeth, sore and infected gums, and rotting tooth sockets to the dog’s owner, the response usually is one of surprise and shock.
  Dental hygiene is just as important to your dog’s overall health as things like nutrition, proper exercise and routine grooming. Help keep your dog healthy – pay attention to those pearly whites!
  Catching teeth problems early will help avoid severe dental disease. The simplest way to keep track of your dog’s teeth is to look at them on a regular basis and be aware of signs that may indicate a problem.Contact your vet if any problems arise.

1. The Breath Test
Sniff your dog's breath. Not a field of lilies? That's okay—normal doggie-breath isn't particularly fresh-smelling. However, if his breath is especially offensive and is accompanied by a loss of appetite, vomiting or excessive drinking or urinating, it's a good idea to take your pooch to the vet.

2. Lip Service
Once a week, with your dog facing you, lift his lips and examine his gums and teeth. The gums should be pink, not white or red, and should show no signs of swelling. His teeth should be clean, without any brownish tartar.

3. Signs of Oral Disease
The following are signs that your dog may have a problem in his mouth or gastrointestinal system and should be checked by a veterinarian:
  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Inflamed gums
  • Tumors in the gums
  • Cysts under the tongue
  • Loose teeth
4. The Lowdown on Tooth Decay
Bacteria and plaque-forming foods can cause build-up on a dog's teeth. This can harden into tartar, possibly causing gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss. One solution? Regular teeth cleanings, of course.

5. Canine Tooth-Brushing Kit
Get yourself a toothbrush made especially for canines or a clean piece of soft gauze to wrap around your finger. Ask your vet for a toothpaste made especially for canines or make a paste out of baking soda and water. Never use fluoride with dogs under six months of age—it can interfere with their enamel formation. And please do not use human toothpaste, which can irritate a dog's stomach. Special mouthwash for dogs is also available—ask your vet.

6. Brightening the Pearly Whites
Taking these steps will make brushing a lot easier for the both of you:
First get your dog used to the idea of having her teeth brushed. Massage her lips with your finger in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds once or twice a day for a few weeks. Then move on to her teeth and gums.
When your pooch seems comfortable being touched this way, put a little bit of dog-formulated toothpaste or a paste of baking soda and water on her lips to get her used to the taste.
Next, introduce a toothbrush designed especially for dogs—it should be smaller than a human toothbrush and have softer bristles. Toothbrushes that you can wear over your finger (or a clean piece of gauze) are also available and allow you to give a nice massage to your dog's gums.
Finally, apply the toothpaste to her teeth for a gentle brushing, as in step 7.
A veterinary exam beforehand may be helpful to find out if your dog's gums are inflamed. If your dog has mild gingivitis, brushing too hard can hurt her gums.

7. Brushing Technique
Yes, there is actually a technique! Place the brush or your gauze-wrapped finger at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and clean in small, circular motions. Work on one area of your dog's mouth at a time, lifting her lip as necessary. The side of the tooth that touches the cheek usually has the most tartar, and giving a final downward stroke can help to remove it. If your dog resists having the inner surfaces of her teeth cleaned, don't fight it—only a small amount of tartar accumulates there. Once you get the technique down, go for a brushing two or three times a week.

8. Know Your Mouth Disorders
Getting familiar with the possible mouth problems your dog may encounter will help you determine when it's time to see a vet about treatment:
Periodontal disease is a painful infection between the tooth and the gum that can result in tooth loss and spread infection to the rest of the body. Signs are loose teeth, bad breath, tooth pain, sneezing and nasal discharge.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused mainly by accumulation of plaque, tartar and disease-producing bacteria above and below the gum line. Signs include bleeding, red, swollen gums and bad breath. It is reversible with regular teeth cleanings.
Halitosis—or bad breath—can be the first sign of a mouth problem and is caused by bacteria growing from food particles caught between the teeth or by gum infection. Regular tooth-brushings are a great solution.
Swollen gums develop when tartar builds up and food gets stuck between the teeth. Regularly brushing your dog's teeth at home and getting annual cleanings at the vet can prevent tartar and gingivitis.
Proliferating gum disease occurs when the gum grows over the teeth and must be treated to avoid gum infection. An inherited condition common to boxers and bull terriers, it can be treated with antibiotics.
  Mouth tumors appear as lumps in the gums. Some are malignant and must be surgically removed.
  Salivary cysts look like large, fluid-filled blisters under the tongue, but can also develop near the corners of the jaw. They require drainage, and the damaged saliva gland must be removed.
Canine distemper teeth can occur if a dog had distemper as a puppy. Adult teeth can appear looking eroded and can often decay. As damage is permanent, decayed teeth should be removed by a vet.

9. Chew on This
Chew toys can satisfy your dog's natural desire to chomp, while making his teeth strong. Gnawing on a chew toy can also help massage his gums and help keep his teeth clean by scraping away soft tartar. Ask your vet to recommend toxin-free rawhide, nylon and rubber chew toys.

10. Diet for Healthy Teeth
Ask your vet about a specially formulated dry food that can slow down the formation of plaque and tartar. Also, avoid feeding your dog table scraps, instead giving him treats that are specially formulated to keep canine teeth healthy.

Preventing Dental Disease in Dogs
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 get used to the feeling of having his teeth brushed and inspected. Puppies have 28 deciduous teeth that typically fall out by about six months of age. By this time, your dog should be getting his teeth brushed regularly. If you decide to brush your dog’s teeth, here are some important tips to keep in mind:

NEVER brush your dog’s teeth with human toothpaste – it can make your dog sick! Use special enzymatic toothpaste made especially for dogs. The same goes for oral rinses.
Plaque begins to turn into tartar / calculus within 24-48 hours, so daily brushing is recommended. Work your dog’s tooth brushing into your own routine – consider brushing his teeth around the same time you do yours so it will be easier to remember.
  Use a “finger brush” or special long toothbrush designed for use on dogs. When starting out with brushings, the finger brush can help ease your dog into it, as these do not feel as awkward as hard brushes.
  Before you begin, ask your veterinarian to show you some techniques to make tooth brushing easier on you and your dog.
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. Alternatively, you may be referred to a veterinary dentist for specialty procedures. Some dogs need dental cleanings one or more times per year, while others can go longer. Be certain to follow your vet’s recommendations. And remember, what you do at home can really make all the difference.

Adverse Effects of Poor Oral Hygiene
The toxins from periodontal disease are absorbed into the dog's blood stream. As the kidneys, liver, and brain filter the blood, small infections occur causing permanent and at times fatal organ damage. After periodontal disease is treated, and the owners give proper home care, most dogs respond wonderfully due to the decreased pain and infection.
The adverse effects of periodontal disease are due in part, to the toxins the bacteria secrete and the damage these toxins cause to delicate kidney, cardiac, and brain tissue.  In addition, many veterinarians believe that actual bacterial colonies can spread via the circulation and set up housekeeping within the animal’s tissues, commonly in the heart valve areas, kidneys and liver. Far better than extracting teeth, performing gingival flaps, filling erosions or doing root canal procedures, would be to prevent the health damaging periodontal disease in the first place.
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