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  1. Senior dogs face many health problems such as arthritis and cognitive decline, but cancer is, unfortunately, one of the most common. Although one in four dogs will develop cancer at some point in their life, this disease will strike almost half of all dogs over the age of 10. According to the Veterinary Cancer Society, it’s the leading cause of death in senior dogs. That means it’s important to keep a watchful eye on your senior dog’s health and behavior. Ensure they receive regular veterinary care and remain alert for symptoms so you can get help for your pet as soon as possible before the disease spreads. With treatment options similar to those for people, there’s hope your dog can defeat the disease. Cancer Symptoms in Dogs Cancer is the development and out-of-control growth of abnormal cells which can move throughout the body, spreading into and destroying normal tissues. There are many types of cancer, and the signs and symptoms vary based on the type and location of the illness. Therefore, it’s important to monitor your dog’s overall health and consult your veterinarian if you see anything out of the ordinary, either physically or behaviorally. Here are some of the signs to watch for: Unusual lumps and bumps. These growths could appear anywhere, so be sure to examine your entire pet regularly during petting sessions or as part of your dog’s grooming routine. Sores or open wounds that don’t heal. Weight loss or loss of appetite. Discharge from any opening in the body, such as the nostrils, mouth, or anus. This includes bleeding, vomiting, and diarrhea. Bad odor. Tumors in the mouth, nose, or anus can lead to offensive smells. Lack of interest in exercise and play, or a decrease in stamina. This can be your dog slowing down from old age, but it can also be one of the first signs of illness. Mobility issues like limping or stiffness. Although this can indicate arthritis, it can also be caused by nerve, muscle, or bone cancer. Problems breathing or going to the bathroom. If your dog is wheezing, having trouble urinating, or straining to poop, an immediate trip to the veterinarian is in order. None of these signs guarantee your dog has cancer, so don’t panic. Other illnesses or issues could be to blame, including relatively harmless ones like benign fatty tumors. But the sooner your dog is diagnosed, the sooner life-saving treatment can begin. Diagnosing Cancer in Dogs If you suspect cancer in your dog, how will your vet confirm your fears? They will likely perform a complete wellness check including blood work and urinalysis. That will allow them to assess organ function and rule out other conditions. They may also conduct scans such as an ultrasound or CT scan to see the position and size of the tumor. Finally, they will need a sample of the tissue in question for examination under a microscope. This will be done with a biopsy. One type of biopsy is a fine-needle aspirate where a very thin needle is inserted into the tumor to withdraw a sample of the cells. Your vet may also refer you to a specialist known as a veterinary oncologist. These experts focus on cancer development and treatment. You can find a board-certified veterinary oncologist through Vet Specialists. Don’t be afraid to ask your vet for a referral or second opinion. You want to ensure your dog is getting access to the best care available including clinical trials for new treatments. Dog Cancer Treatments There are three main avenues of treatment for cancer in dogs, and they are the same as those for humans: surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The treatment your vet or veterinary oncologist suggests will vary based on your dog’s diagnosis, such as the type or stage of cancer. Although the purpose of surgery is to remove a tumor, it’s not always the best option for every cancer. More cancer may be cured with surgery than with other treatments, but if the tumor has microscopic fingers that surgery can’t remove, cancer will likely return. That may make radiation or chemotherapy necessary. Also, examination of the cancerous tissue after it has been removed will help answer questions such as whether the tumor will grow back and whether it will spread, and therefore what additional steps should be taken. Radiation therapy is the use of high-dose ionizing radiation to damage the DNA of cancer cells, thereby killing them. It can shrink a tumor or even destroy it entirely. This treatment is most effective in tumors with rapidly dividing cells, and it can be used on its own or as part of a combination of treatments. It can help shrink a tumor before surgical removal or limit the growth of cancer cells left behind after surgery. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. These drugs can be administered in pill form or given intravenously and are often developed from natural sources like plants or bacteria. As with radiation, chemotherapy can be used before or after surgery or as a treatment on its own. Finally, there are potential new treatments on the horizon. A newer and still evolving treatment called immunotherapy boosts a dog’s own immune system to fight off cancer. Like the more traditional treatments, immunotherapy might work best in combination with other treatments. And there are various cancer vaccines undergoing testing such as one for osteosarcoma, a bone cancer. alexsokolov/Getty Images Plus Caring for a Dog With Cancer Side effects from cancer treatments vary. After surgery, your dog will need to rest and leave the incision site alone. Radiation therapy side effects are usually temporary and can include soreness or discomfort at the site of treatment. And chemotherapy side effects are much milder in dogs than in people, with 70 percent of dogs having few if any issues. The key with all treatments is to keep your dog comfortable and to maintain the best quality of life possible. Adjunct therapies can help with side effects. For example, acupuncture may help with pain management and appetite. Be sure to consult a veterinarian knowledgeable about alternative treatments and report every supplement and alternative therapy you’re using to ensure there aren’t any conflicts with the main course of treatment. Cancer is a terrifying diagnosis, but you can be your pet’s best advocate. Thanks to specialized treatments your dog can battle the condition while maintaining a high quality of life. The post Cancer in Senior Dogs: Signs and Symptoms to Watch For appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
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    Common Health Concerns in Senior Dogs

    Aging is a natural part of life, even for dogs. Their pace slows, their naps increase, and their coats may get gray. Giant breeds like the Mastiff are considered seniors by 6 or 7 years old, whereas toy breeds like the Yorkshire Terrier don’t enter their senior years until they’re 10 to 12. Regardless of when it happens, it’s important to appreciate the changes aging can bring and help them feel their best. Some are a normal part of being a senior, but others can indicate serious health concerns. Obesity Weight gain is a risk for many older dogs as they tend to be less active—i.e. they don’t burn the calories they once did. And an age-related decrease in metabolism may play a role as well. You can tell if your dog is overweight by assessing their body condition. Looking at them from above, they should have a waist behind their ribs, and from the side, their tummy should tuck up and their ribs should just be visible. If you’re unsure, ask your vet to assess your dog’s body condition. Obesity not only exacerbates health issues like arthritis, but it can also increase the risk of other complications such as heart disease. So, it’s important to take it seriously. However, no dog is about to put themselves on a diet. Speak to your vet about your senior dog’s daily calorie requirements and adjust feeding amounts or the choice of diet accordingly. Also, ask about exercise options appropriate for your dog’s overall health. jadephotography89/Getty Images Plus Arthritis Older dogs take a slower approach to life, but if you notice yours seems stiff or is limping, arthritis might be to blame. Osteoarthritis is the breakdown of cartilage in the joints between bones. It causes pain and inflammation while decreasing movement. Signs to look for include: Difficulty getting up from sitting or laying down Decreased interest in running, jumping, playing, or climbing stairs Limping or lameness Losing muscle mass in the back end Trouble squatting for bathroom behavior or having accidents in the house Irritability or sensitivity to petting or touch Along with a physical exam, your vet may also want to perform X-rays to examine the joints. There is no cure for arthritis, so treatment focuses on slowing the progression and easing discomfort. Your vet might recommend a medication like a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory or joint supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin. It’s also key to keep excess weight off your dog as it adds a burden to already degenerating joints. Cognitive Decline Just like humans, dogs can suffer from cognitive changes as they age. You might notice they become forgetful or anxious. This could be a normal part of aging, related to other health conditions like vision loss, which is a sign of cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), the dog version of Alzheimer’s disease. Diagnosis of CDS is based on behavior, and signs include house soiling, learning or memory issues, increased anxiety, disorientation or confusion, and disturbed sleep during the night. Your vet will need to rule out other health conditions first because issues such as sensory loss or endocrine disorders can cause similar symptoms. If your dog is suffering from CDS, there are treatment options that can help them live more comfortably. Medications specifically for CDS can ease overall symptoms, or you can try a symptom-specific treatment like anti-anxiety meds for anxiety or sleep aids for sleep. Nutritional supplements like fatty acids might help as well. And finally, providing more mental stimulation and increasing potty breaks will benefit your dog too. Hearing and Vision Loss As with humans, vision loss and hearing loss can impact senior dogs. And if it’s gradual enough, you might not realize it until the loss is significant. Dogs adapt well by relying on their other senses. Signs to watch for include: Vision Loss Problems locating toys or the food and water dishes Bumping into furniture or walls Hesitant jumping on or off the furniture or climbing down the stairs Not making eye contact with you Behaving anxiously or becoming clingy Hearing Loss Sleeping more soundly Ignoring your cues Not coming when called or not looking at you when you call their name Not being disturbed by loud sounds Ignoring sounds that used to be exciting, like a squeaky toy Hearing loss in senior dogs is usually caused by deterioration of the nerves inside the ear. On the other hand, vision loss can result from many health issues such as glaucoma and cataracts or hypertension. Depending on the issue, the sooner your vet examines your pet, the better. Although most sensory loss is irreversible, the underlying condition might require immediate treatment. ©zanna_ - stock.adobe.com Urinary Incontinence and Kidney Disease Many older dogs begin to show signs of urinary incontinence, which is a loss of bladder control. Often, the muscles controlling the bladder’s opening weaken, so the dog might leak urine during the night, dribble while walking, or be unable to hold it as long as they used to. There are medications that can help tighten up the muscles, more frequent bathroom breaks might help, or you may want to get them a diaper. However, there are other possible causes of urinary incontinence such as urinary tract infections or bladder stones, so your vet will need to rule those out. Another cause of bathroom accidents is kidney disease. This happens when the kidneys are no longer able to efficiently filter waste products from a dog’s blood, which causes the dog to drink more and therefore pee more. Other symptoms to watch for include decreased appetite and vomiting. Your vet will diagnose the disease with blood work and urine testing. It’s important to closely monitor the condition and start treatment right away to preserve as much kidney function as possible and avoid complications. That might include a special renal diet, medications, and fluid therapy. Cancer As your dog ages, their risk of cancer increases. Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells, but there are many different types of cancer, and it can occur all over the body. Symptoms will depend on the type and location of the disease. Therefore, it’s important to closely observe your senior dog’s physical health and behavior and then report anything out of the ordinary to your veterinarian. Some of the more common signs to be aware of are: Lumps or bumps, although these could be benign Weight loss or loss of appetite Vomiting or diarrhea Unpleasant odors coming from your dog Problems going to the bathroom or breathing Sores that don’t heal or discharge from body openings like the nostrils or anus Your vet will diagnose cancer through a physical exam, blood work, and perhaps X-rays. Finally, they will want a sample of the tumor either with fine-needle aspiration, a biopsy (removal of part of the cancerous tissue), or complete removal of the tumor. Treatment will depend on the type of cancer and how advanced it is but may include removal of the tumor, radiation therapy, or the use of drugs such as chemotherapy. The sooner your dog is diagnosed, the better the likely outcome. The post Common Health Concerns in Senior Dogs appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
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    Medical Emergency Tips for Your Dog

    It’s an unfortunate fact that dogs, like people, experience medical emergencies. If your pet falls victim to an illness or an accident, they will need to see a veterinarian stat. The following tips may keep your dog out of immediate danger until he receives professional help. What to Do in Emergencies One of the first steps you should take in an emergency is to call your veterinarian. Be prepared to describe the situation. Your veterinarian can tell you how to administer first aid and how to transport your pet safely. Having a dog-specific first aid kit on hand is essential as well. Breathing If the dog is unable to breathe, you’ll need to perform artificial respiration. First, clear the dog’s mouth of any obstructions, including mucus or blood. Then close the mouth, place your lips over the dog’s nostrils, and give three-to-four big breaths, 10-to-12 times per minute. If you can’t detect a heartbeat, position the dog on their back or side. Support small dogs by placing one hand on each side of the chest near the elbow. Perform five chest compressions to one quick breath. Continue this pattern until the dog starts breathing on his own. Bleeding External bleeding requires immediate attention, so press down firmly on the area with your fingers or the palm of your hand and then apply a firm, but not tight, bandage. Don’t worry about cleaning out the wound until the bleeding has stopped. Take the dog to the veterinarian as quickly as possible. Antibiotics may be needed to stave off infection. Internal bleeding, from a fall or from being hit by a car or other heavy object, can be more dangerous. The dog may show these signs: painful or swollen abdomen; pale gums; blood in vomit, urine, stools, saliva, or nose discharge; trouble breathing; weakness and collapse. A veterinarian needs to treat internal bleeding as soon as possible. Shock Shock sometimes occurs in situations that involve head injuries, significant loss of blood or fluids, and severe infection. The signs include a rapid heart rate, pale mucous membrane, very low blood pressure, very little urinary output, and a weak pulse. Keep the dog warm and quiet, treat any visible injuries, and take them to the veterinarian immediately. Broken Bones Fractures require immediate attention. Dogs will hold a fractured or dislocated limb in an unnatural position; signs of a fracture often include lameness, pain, and swelling. The dog should be transported to the veterinarian with as little movement as possible. Do not use antiseptics or ointments on open fractures. Heatstroke Heatstroke may occur when dogs are left in cars, overexercised on hot, or even warm days, or when kennel areas don’t have proper ventilation. Signs include panting and drooling, skin that is hot to the touch, vomiting, loss of coordination, and collapse. You should use cool water, ice packs, or wet towels to cool the dog, but do NOT immerse him in cold water. Offer him small amounts of drinking water once they begin to cool down. Call your veterinarian after administering the first aid, or better yet, have someone else call while you’re treating your dog. Vomiting and Diarrhea Vomiting and diarrhea are usually signs of problems with the digestive system and could be caused by any number of things, from ingestion of spicy foods or poisons to gastrointestinal system disease, kidney or liver failure, or nervous system disorders. Dehydration from vomiting or diarrhea can be fatal. Make sure the dog has plenty of water. If your dog is vomiting with diarrhea or vomiting and has a poor appetite, call your veterinarian and be prepared to tell them about anything that could have contributed, such as access to human medications, toxins, a change in diet, and other possible causes. Seizures Whole-body seizures, called Grand Mal seizures, cause your dog’s entire body to convulse, while some seizures may be localized, such as a facial tremor, or sudden onset of rhythmic movements or actions. Stay calm and note how long the seizure lasts. To prevent your dog from hurting himself, keep them away from stairs, cushion his head, and gently hold and comfort him until he begins to regain consciousness. Call your veterinarian. Stings Bee and wasp stings can be painful and frightening for a dog. A single bee sting will produce pain, swelling, redness, and/or inflammation. If your dog is stung, carefully remove the stinger with tweezers. Apply a paste of baking soda and water and then an ice pack to relieve swelling and pain. Ask your vet about giving your dog a dose of oral antihistamine. Give him fresh water and watch him carefully. Allergic reactions usually occur within 20 minutes, but can be delayed for hours. If the sting is on the nose, mouth, or around the head, observe your dog for several hours to make sure that any swelling does not interfere with breathing or swallowing. If the swelling increases dramatically after a few minutes after the sting, see a veterinarian immediately. If your dog disturbs a hive, call them to you and put distance between your dog and the swarm immediately. Then take him to the closest veterinarian. Treatment for massive amounts of stings must occur quickly to prevent shock and circulatory collapse and to minimize damage to organ systems. Choking A dog that coughs forcefully, drools, gags, holds his mouth open or paws at his mouth may be choking. Don’t stick your fingers in his mouth because you might be bitten or push the object further in. Try to dislodge the object by thumping the dog between the shoulder blades or by applying several quick, squeezing compressions on both sides of his rib cage. Dog First Aid Kit Keeping certain items on hand in case of emergency is essential. Remember, a first aid kit is not a substitute for veterinary care. Here is a list of things to include: Bandaging materials: Think sterile pads, stretch bandages, and bandaging tape Hydrogen peroxide Cold pack Antibiotic ointment Hydrocortisone 1% Magnifying glass Small scissors Tweezers (for bee stingers and splinters) Disposable gloves Cotton balls Iodine swabs Extra leash Emergency numbers for your veterinarian and poison control Collapsible water bowl Aluminized thermal blanket Tourniquet Benadryl Ask your veterinarian to explain the proper use of these items, and in the case of any topical or oral medications, be sure to check with your vet before administering them. The post Medical Emergency Tips for Your Dog appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
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    What Is YuMOVE for Dog Joint Pain?

    Paid Advertisement Dogs experience joint pain, stiffness, and aches just like people do, and owners search for solutions to help alleviate their dogs’ pain. This discomfort can limit their mobility, prevent them from enjoying their favorite activities, and ultimately impact their quality of life. Even simple actions like jumping on the couch or walking up the stairs can become difficult for dogs with joint disease, which is often upsetting for pet owners. While any dog can experience joint pain, large- and giant-breed dogs are particularly prone to developing orthopedic disease. Most joint diseases cannot be cured, but there are several options available for management. These include surgery, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and supplements. Treatment will depend on what is causing your dog’s joint pain. One joint supplement that your veterinarian may suggest is YuMOVE, the official joint supplement of the American Kennel Club, but what is YuMOVE and what does it do? Common Joint Diseases in Dogs Dogs can suffer from various orthopedic diseases, with a few of them being more common than others. Osteoarthritis Also sometimes called “degenerative joint disease,” osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints begins to deteriorate. This can happen due to repetitive stress, injury, infection, genetics, or the normal aging processes. The loss of this protective cushion results in progressively worsening pain and inflammation of the joint. Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia Dysplasia of the hip or elbow joint occurs most commonly in large and giant breed dogs, though other breeds can be affected. Dysplasia is a conformation abnormality of the affected joint, resulting in decreased range of motion, lameness, and deterioration of the joint. While hip and elbow dysplasia are typically hereditary, factors such as obesity and improper nutrition can speed the progression of the disease. Osteochondritis Dissecans Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) is a disease of young, rapidly growing large-breed dogs. OCD occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joint becomes abnormally thickened. The abnormal cartilage is weak and easily damaged by normal activity, and can form flaps or even detach from the underlying bone entirely. This causes pain, inflammation, and lameness. Patellar Luxation Patellar luxation is the medical term for dislocation of the kneecap. This is a common condition in small-breed dogs, but can occur in large breeds as well. In mild cases, the dog may skip or hop on three legs for a few steps until the kneecap returns to its normal position. In severe cases, the dog may carry the leg permanently flexed, and this abnormal gait can also predispose them to other orthopedic problems. Treating Joint Pain in Dogs Treating orthopedic disease in dogs typically requires a multimodal approach. Depending on the type of joint disease, your veterinarian may recommend options such as: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) Changes in diet and exercise regimen Physical therapy Surgery Joint supplements A combination of all of the above What Is YuMOVE? YuMOVE is a supplement that promotes joint health in dogs and cats. According to the manufacturer, its formula is designed to support the natural inflammatory response, ease stiffness, and promote mobility. YuMOVE is composed of five key ingredients: ActivEase® green-lipped mussel (containing natural chondroitin) Glucosamine Vitamins C and E Manganese Hyaluronic acid YuMOVE joint supplements come in both tablet and soft chew form, as well as senior, young, and active formulations. Your veterinarian can help you determine which formula is best for your dog. Why Should My Dog Take Joint Supplements? Nutritional joint supplements can help manage pain, reduce inflammation, and promote joint health. Research suggests that these supplements may be as effective as NSAIDs in the management of chronic osteoarthritis. They are safe to give in conjunction with other medications such as NSAIDs, providing an excellent option for additional treatment of canine orthopedic diseases. Unlike other commonly used pain relief medications, joint supplements can also useful for the prevention of joint disease. Senior dogs can benefit from glucosamine supplementation in the same way humans do. In senior dogs, the protective layer of cartilage between bones begins to wear away, which can lead to osteoarthritis. Similarly, highly active young dogs — such as canine athletes or sporting dogs — can also benefit from supplements that promote joint health. These dogs put a great deal of strain on their joints, causing damage to the cartilage and predisposing them to joint disease. Nutritional supplementation with glucosamine helps prevent cartilage breakdown and stimulate healthy joint function. Side Effects of Joint Supplements Joint supplements like YuMOVE are safe for most dogs. According to the manufacturer, all YuMOVE products are natural, and therefore can be used in conjunction with most prescription-only medicines in consult with your veterinarian. While joint supplements are generally considered very safe for dogs, it is important to contact your veterinarian prior to starting any new medications or supplements for your dog. If you notice any changes in your pet after taking these kinds of products, such as vomiting, diarrhea, different behavior, or allergic reaction, stop giving the supplement and contact your veterinarian immediately. How Does YuMOVE Compare to Other Joint Supplements? Green-lipped mussel contains ultra-high levels of joint-soothing ingredients—most importantly, omega-3s. These compounds quickly start working to support the natural inflammatory response, as well as begin to multiply the omega-3 fatty acids naturally found within a dog’s joints. The ActivEase® green-lipped mussel used in YuMOVE’s products is sustainably sourced from select bays in New Zealand, vacuum-extracted without the use of heat processing, and rigorously tested for sufficient levels of over 40 different fatty acids. The brand uses only the top 2% of the world’s green-lipped mussel for its joint supplements. YuMOVE combines their proprietary ActivEase green-lipped mussel with other joint health support ingredients including glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E, and manganese. Any of these ingredients on their own in a dog joint supplement can provide certain levels of benefit, but together they create a powerhouse of mobility support. There are many different canine joint supplements available on the market. Because every dog is different, it is best to contact your veterinarian prior to choosing a joint supplement for your dog. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend the best option based on your dog’s unique needs. This is also an excellent opportunity to discuss any other measures you can take to improve your dog’s joint health over the course of their life. How to Buy YuMOVE for Dogs YuMOVE canine joint supplements are available online directly from the YuMOVE website or through pet supply retailers like Chewy and Amazon. Consult your veterinarian about the proper YuMOVE formulation and dosage for your dog before you buy YuMOVE online. You can also visit YuMOVE.com for a trial pack. Remember that YuMOVE or any joint supplement is not a replacement for appropriate veterinary care. Dogs with joint disease often need multimodal therapy and frequent follow-up to ensure they remain comfortable and active. Your veterinarian will help you determine the best treatment plan for your dog’s individual needs. Preventing Joint Disease Preventive health care is important for all dogs, and it is especially important for large are giant breeds that are predisposed to joint disease. Regular checkups with your veterinarian will ensure that potential problems — such as obesity or an improper diet — are caught early before they contribute to the development of joint disease. Annual physical examinations also detect subtle signs of pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion in the joints, which are often early indicators of orthopedic problems. The best way to prevent and manage joint disease at home is to ensure your dog maintains a healthy weight. According to the Tufts Clinical Nutrition Service, earlier onset of osteoarthritis is just one of several ways obesity can harm your pet’s health. If your dog is overweight, your veterinarian can help you develop a diet and exercise plan that will allow your dog to lose the excess weight safely. The post What Is YuMOVE for Dog Joint Pain? appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
  5. Flea and tick season is here, and in some areas, it’s now a year-round concern. These pests can cause serious problems for your dog no matter what time of year. Fleas can cause severe itching and skin damage, and for every flea on your pet, there could be hundreds of eggs and larvae around your home. Ticks can hide almost anywhere, are difficult to eradicate, and can lead to Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever – both debilitating conditions. Here are four tips to help keep your dog flea and tick free: Prevention is key While prescription flea and tick preventives require a trip to your veterinarian, they often offer more convenience and peace of mind than over-the-counter options. There are many topical flea and tick prevention treatments available for your dog as well as flea collars that can be convenient since they typically last longer than topical treatment. Talk with your veterinarian to find the best option for your four-legged friend. Actively check your dog Fleas and itching seem to go hand-in-hand, but you shouldn’t wait until you see your dog scratching to check for fleas. Regularly run a flea comb through his coat and if you find your dog already has a flea and tick infestation, your first step is to eliminate the parasites from your pet. Choose a flea and tick spray to keep adult fleas and ticks off your pup or bathe your dogs with a flea and tick shampoo made to kill these critters. If your dog is outside in wooded areas, check him regularly for ticks and remove any you find right away. Visit your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog may have a tick-borne illness. Protect your environment, too Don’t just check your dog for fleas and ticks, treat his environment as well including your home. In fact, homes are a desirable flea habitat because the fleas are shielded from the outside elements. Also, wash your dog’s bedding and vacuum on a regular basis to reduce the number of fleas in your home. Because ticks lurk in grass or low-hanging bushes, keep your yard mowed and trimmed to keep ticks at bay. Prevention all year long Flea season can run into November or even December, and ticks can become active again as early as February. There is no clear time to start treating your dog. This is why you should consider prevention methods year-round to keep your dog safe. The post 4 Tips to Help Keep Your Dog Safe From Fleas And Ticks appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
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    Do Dogs Sweat?

    As a dog owner, you may be used to seeing your canine companion pant in warm weather, but do dogs sweat? Contrary to popular belief, dogs do sweat, but sweating is only a small part of the process they use to cool themselves down. How Do Dogs Sweat? There’s a reason why you’ve never seen your dog sweat in the same way you do, and that’s because dogs only produce sweat in certain parts of their bodies. Dogs have two types of sweat glands: Merocrine glands Apocrine glands Merocrine sweat glands function similarly to human sweat glands. These glands are located in your dog’s paw pads and activate when he is hot to cool him down. This is why you might notice damp paw prints on the ground during particularly hot days. Most dogs are covered in fur, so if sweat glands were located on their bodies, the sweat would fail to evaporate – and when sweat evaporates, that’s when cooling takes place. That’s why it is much more efficient for dogs to have sweat glands in their paw pads, where there is little fur. Apocrine sweat glands are different from merocrine glands. While veterinarians consider aporcrine glands to be sweat glands, their main purpose is to release pheromones, not cool your dog off. These glands are located all over every dog’s body, and they help a dog identify other dogs by scent. ©Vera Reva - stock.adobe.com What’s the Point of Panting? Sweat plays a very small role in cooling down your dog. Dogs rely on panting to control most of their temperature regulation. When dogs pant, they evaporate moisture from their tongues, nasal passages, and the lining of their lungs, cooling themselves as air passes over the moist tissue. They also rely on vasodilation to help them cool off, which is the expansion of blood vessels, especially in their ears and face. When the blood vessels expand, they bring the hot blood closer to the surface of the skin, which allows it to cool down before returning to the heart and helps regulate an animal’s internal body temperature. Does Fur Make Dogs Hot? Your dog’s coat actually acts as an insulator. A dog’s coat captures air to keep out the cold and hold heat in during winter, and to keep your dog cooler in hot weather,” explains Dr. Jerry Klein, AKC chief veterinary officer. “This is why you should not shave a double-coated breed. The inner coat, which is shed regularly, is also the dog’s insulating coat. Shaving that coat to reduce shedding or supposedly to keep the dog cool, also eliminates that insulating layer of fur and makes the dog susceptible to heat stroke and can result in improper hair growth and the possibility of follicle damage.” Heat Stroke in Dogs Unfortunately, panting, vasodilation, and limited sweating are not as effective in cooling dogs down as sweating is for humans. This poses risks for dogs, ranging from heat stress and heat exhaustion to heat stroke. Heat stroke is a serious concern for all dogs, but Dr. Klein warns that it is especially dire for brachycephalic breeds that have a short nose and flat face, such as Pugs, Boxers, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and French Bulldogs. Due to their unique anatomy, these breeds are not able to cool themselves as efficiently as other breeds because of inefficient breathing and panting. Dogs that have had heat stroke before, obese dogs, and those with dark coats are also at higher risk for heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when a dog’s body temperature rises and he overheats, and if left untreated for too long it can be fatal. Every dog owner should be aware of the signs of heat stress and heat stroke. Here are some of them: Heavy, frantic panting Dehydration Body temperature over 41° Celsius (feels warm to the touch) Excessive drooling Bright red gums Rapid or irregular heart rate Vomiting Seizures Muscle tremors Lack of coordination (ataxia) Unconsciousness If you suspect that your dog is suffering from heat stroke or heat stress, remove him from the heat and call your veterinarian immediately. You will need to take him to an animal hospital, but in the meantime, you can run cool water on him from a hose, in the bathtub, or put a soaked towel on his body. Always keep his head elevated and out of the water. Also, give him some cool water to drink. Keeping Your Dog Cool We might not be able to make our dogs sweat, but we can help them regulate their body temperature by controlling their environment. If your dog is spending time outdoors, make sure he has access to shade and plenty of clean water at all times. You may not think it’s that hot, but your dog has a fur coat and may have an energy level that keeps him chasing a ball no matter how high the temperature. Also, keep an eye on the temperature inside your house to ensure that it’s cool enough for your pets. Never leave your dog unattended in a car, even for a few minutes, as temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly climb to dangerous levels. Don’t exercise your dog when it’s too hot outside – instead do it very early in the morning or wait until the end of the day. If you’ve been out playing fetch, carry the ball back home for your pup, so he’ll be better able to pant well and cool himself off. You can also purchase a cooling vest to keep your dog comfortable for longer. By learning how dogs regulate their body temperature, you can help keep them stay cool, safe, and healthy year-round. The post Do Dogs Sweat? appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
  7. Before you welcome a new puppy into your home, you’ll need to make sure your space is ready for them. Puppies require a lot of attention and care, so making a checklist of what you’ll need is suggested, and picking up these basics for your new puppy is a great place to start. Best Puppy Starter Kit Goody Box Puppy Toys, Treats & Potty Training Chewy This starter set of puppy and other essentials from Chewy includes six top-rated products that new puppy owners will greatly appreciate. With everything from a fun toy that’s perfect for teething to potty training necessities, this makes a great gift. The box has a perfect five-star rating, and reviewers rave that their pups enjoyed the treats and toys. Price: $25 Best Food & Water Bowls for Puppies Neater Feeder Deluxe Elevated & Mess-Proof Dog Bowls Chewy For a dinner time that’s mess-free, consider Neater’s elevated feeding set. It comes with two stainless steel bowls for water and feeding, and it is lifted slightly for easier eating and less mess. Plus, raised walls and drainage holes mean your floors stay clean. Customers reported these secure bowls don’t spill, but they may be on the smaller side for big pups. Price: $45 Best Elevated Puppy Bed K&H Pet Products Original Pet Cot Elevated Pet Bed Chewy An elevated bed is good for keeping your pup lifted and is helpful for teaching different cues. This one from K&H Pet Products has a removable, washable cover, and is waterproof. Depending on the size you choose, it can hold up to 200 pounds and last well beyond the puppy stage. Reviewers praised this bed and highlighted its ability to stand up to strong puppy chewers. Price: $38 Best Soft Puppy Bed Best Friends by Sheri Calming Shag Vegan Fur Donut Cuddler Your puppy will sink into this adorable donut bed. The oval size makes it easy for pups to curl up, while the bumpers around the outside provide head support. The Best Friends bed is made with soft faux shag fur and is safe for washers and dryers. Pups love cuddling in this soft bed, but some consumers warn of wear and tear after repeated use. Price: $35 Best Crate for Puppies Pet Gear The Other Door Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate Chewy This Pet Great Wire Dog Crate comes in small and large sizes, which is great since crates have to be replaced as dogs grow. The crate a large side “garage” door for easy access and a makes for a comfortable place to snooze. Shoppers praised this easy-to-assemble crate, though some wished the door moved a little more smoothly. Price: $136 Best Puppy Training Leash PetSafe Cotton Dog Training Lead Chewy Designed for medium and large dogs, this nylon training leash is 15 feet long and perfect for distance training and walks in the backyard and park. A nickel-plated clip will resist twisting when attached to a collar. Reviewers rave that this leash worked well during training, especially for heavier and larger dogs. Price: $13 Best Toothbrush and Toothpaste for Puppies Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Finger Brush Dog Toothbrush Chewy Oral health is essential to a new puppy, but getting a toothbrush into their mouths might be a little challenging. These finger brushes are a little less overwhelming and can even soothe your dog’s mouth in the process. Reviewers love how quick and easy it is to use with dental gel. Price: $4 Best Puppy Training Pads Kocho Potty Pads Kocho’s absorbent training pads are necessary for avoiding accidents. They are thicker than normal pads with four layers of activated carbon that absorb odors and liquids and quickly dry. Puppy potty pads are a bit like diapers for your dog, and cutting corners on quality is not suggested. Price: $44 Best Treats Cloud Star Tricky Trainers Chewy Treats These treats are the perfect motivation for puppies during training, and with no wheat, corn, dairy, or soy, they’re a healthy choice too. These chicken liver treats are made in the USA with no artificial colors or flavors, and only have three calories per treat. Pup owners indicate that these soft, crumbly treats are puppy pleasers, and well worth the price. Price: $12 Best Puppy Collar Blueberry Pet Soft and Comfy Reflective Collar Your new puppy will need a soft, adjustable collar. This cushioned collar has buckles made out of eco-friendly plastic and 3M reflective threads sewn into it to provide visibility. Reviewers enjoy the sturdy Blueberry collar for its reflectivity, safety, and style. Price: $17 Best Puppy Nail Trimmer Boshel Dog Nail Clippers A good-quality nail trimmer is essential, so choose one that’s been recommended by animal trainers and veterinarians. It has a safety guard so you don’t cut too deep and non-slip ergonomic handles. The Boshel trimmer works well on thick nails, however, some customers say they were a bit too dull for their particular pup. Price: $15 Best Puppy Brush Vetnique Labs Furbliss Pet Brush Chewy This soft, rubber bristle brush is appropriate for both massages and baths. Your puppy will look and feel great with a brushed coat and improved blood circulation. The Furbliss brush is also easy-to-clean as it rinses with water. Individuals appreciate that the brush works well both wet and dry, and is gentler than metal bristles. Price: $13 Best Puppy Shampoo Burt’s Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo Chewy Help your puppy enjoy bath time with this gentle puppy shampoo. Burt Bee’s tearless and calming shampoo is made in the USA with soothing buttermilk. Reviewers highly recommend this shampoo, stating that it leaves fur soft and smelling fantastic. Price: $12 Best Puppy Gate Carlson Pet Products Tuffy Expandable Gate with Pet Door Chewy Keep your puppy safely contained with this gate that conveniently has a small eight-by-eight-inch pet door. No tools are needed to install this extendable gate. It’s made out of non-toxic materials and has a safety lock. The well-constructed Carlson gate garners good reviews, though some had to make adjustments to the pet door to make it work. Price: $39 The post New Puppy Checklist: Gear You’ll Need for Your New Dog appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
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    Can Dogs Cry? Do Dogs Cry Tears?

    You know that your dog feels emotions; he’s a sensitive animal, prone to joy, fear, sadness, and a range of other emotions. And of course, like most mammals, dogs have tear ducts. So, is there a connection between a dog’s brain and his tear ducts? No. While canines express needs and wants vocally, there is no scientific evidence proving that dogs, or any other animals, in fact, actually produce tears as a response to what they’re feeling. We seem to be the only species capable of breaking into emotional tears. What we do know is that dogs can have empathic, compassionate responses when we find ourselves wiping tears away and snuffling into a tissue. An interesting study shows that comforting may be hardwired into dogs. Certainly, dogs use a number of vocalizations to express themselves. Puppies learn to whine or whimper to get their mother’s attention. This behavior often carries into adulthood. Your dog may let you know he needs something—food, water, a potty break, or just a friendly pat—by “crying.” We’ve all fallen for the sad gaze and heartbreaking whimper. But, if your dog’s eyes are tearing or you see traces of fluid, something else could be going on. Tear ducts keep the eyes clean and functioning correctly. Unlike in humans, however, the liquid drains back toward the throat and nose. cunfek/Getty Images Plus Reasons For Dog Tears So, what does it mean if your dog seems to be crying? He may have allergies. If he has a sensitive or allergic reaction to something—pollen, food ingredients, smoke, dander, or dust, for example—his eyes may water. He might have a blocked tear duct, which causes your dog’s eyes to be damp and possibly irritated. Wet eyes can also be caused by infection. If the fluid is yellow or bloody, this could be a symptom of an eye infection. Other symptoms include irritated or swollen eyes. There could be a speck of dirt in his eye. The tears in this case should be temporary. If not, please consult your vet. He may have a scratched cornea, which is more common in active dogs. His eyes may not only tear, but he might paw at his eye, blink more than usual, or have inflammation around the eye. There are many different causes for excessive watering of the eyes in dogs, so it’s imperative to consult your veterinarian for an official diagnosis. If by crying we mean whimpering, howling, mewling or whining, then yes, dogs most certainly do cry. But only in humans are tears mysteriously connected to our hearts and brains. The post Can Dogs Cry? Do Dogs Cry Tears? appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
  9. Melatonin, a naturally occurring neurohormone, has long been thought to work as a sleeping aid in humans. Now there’s some evidence it may be useful for several canine conditions. Its sedative properties have been helpful in treating separation anxiety in dogs, as well as stress from noise like fireworks, thunderstorms or other noise phobias. According to Linda Aronson, DVM, who published a study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, she has seen successful results in about 80 percent of canine patients treated with melatonin. Other evidence suggests that melatonin for dogs successfully treats some forms of hair loss (canine alopecia). Rob Thorley/Shutterstock Is Melatonin Safe for My Dog? While some pet owners like the natural properties of melatonin as opposed to chemical medications, you should talk to your veterinarian before deciding on a melatonin regimen. There has not been much study of its side effects and safety, nor has it been approved by the FDA for use in animals. There are several melatonin products on the market made specifically for dogs, including melatonin chews which double as calming treats. Side effects of melatonin in dogs, although rare, include: Changes in fertility Gastric upset and stomach cramps Increased heart rate Itching Confusion However, if you and your vet determine that melatonin is a good option for your dog, you may find it treats a range of anxieties and phobias, as well as sleep problems. How Much Melatonin Should I Give My Dog? Even though melatonin is available over the counter, you should always confer with your veterinarian to determine the correct dosage. They may want you to use a specific prescription. None of us like to see our canine pal suffer from having stress, fear, or anxiety. If you and your vet decide melatonin is worth a try, it may be just the thing to calm your dog and ease their fears. The post Melatonin for Dogs: Uses, Benefits and Dosage appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
  10. Diabetes is a chronic disease that can affect dogs and cats and other animals (including apes, pigs, and horses) as well as humans. Although diabetes can’t be cured, it can be managed very successfully. Diabetes mellitus, or “sugar diabetes,” is the type of diabetes seen most often in dogs. It is a metabolism disorder. Metabolism refers to how the body converts food to energy. To understand what diabetes is, it helps to understand some of this process. The Glucose–Insulin Connection The conversion of food nutrients into energy to power the body’s cells involves an ongoing interplay of two things: Glucose: essential fuel for the body’s cells. When food is digested, the body breaks down some of the nutrients into glucose, a type of sugar that is a vital source of energy for certain body cells and organs. The glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the blood, which then transports the glucose throughout the body. Insulin: in charge of fuel delivery. Meanwhile, an important organ next to the stomach called the pancreas releases the hormone insulin into the body. Insulin acts as a “gatekeeper” that tells cells to grab glucose and other nutrients out of the bloodstream and use them as fuel. What Is Diabetes? With diabetes, the glucose-insulin connection isn’t working as it should. Diabetes occurs in dogs in two forms: Insulin-deficiency diabetes: This is when the dog’s body isn’t producing enough insulin. This happens when the pancreas is damaged or otherwise not functioning properly. Dogs with this type of diabetes need daily shots to replace the missing insulin. This is the most common type of diabetes in dogs. Insulin-resistance diabetes: This is when the pancreas is producing some insulin, but the dog’s body isn’t utilizing the insulin as it should. The cells aren’t responding to the insulin’s “message,” so glucose isn’t being pulled out of the blood and into the cells. This type of diabetes can especially occur in older, obese dogs. Female dogs can also develop temporary insulin resistance while in heat or pregnant. Damage Caused by Diabetes: A Double Whammy Whatever the type of diabetes, the negative effects on the body are the same. Excessive sugar builds up in the dog’s bloodstream, and yet the body’s cells that need that sugar can’t access it. So the “bad” effects that diabetes causes in the dog’s body are twofold: Cells are starved for vital “fuel.” Muscle cells and certain organ cells are deprived of the glucose “fuel” they need for energy. In response, the body starts breaking down its own fats and proteins to use as alternative fuel. High sugar level in the bloodstream damages many organs. Without insulin to help convert the glucose in the bloodstream into fuel, high levels of glucose build up in the blood. Unfortunately, this abnormal blood chemistry acts like a sort of poison and eventually causes multi-organ damage. This often includes damage to the kidneys, eyes, heart, blood vessels, or nerves. Daniela Duncan/Moment What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs? Early signs. The owner will sometimes notice certain symptoms that can be early signs of diabetes: Excessive thirst. The dog may drink frequently and empty the water bowl more often. Increased urination. The dog may ask to go outside frequently and may start having “accidents” in the house. Increased urination (and increased thirst) happens because the body is trying to get rid of excess sugar by sending it out through urine, along with water that bonds to the sugar. Weight loss. The dog can lose weight despite eating normal portions. This is because the dog isn’t efficiently converting nutrients from its food. Increased appetite. The dog can be very hungry all the time because the body’s cells aren’t getting all the glucose they need, even though the dog is eating a normal amount. Advanced signs. In more advanced cases of diabetes, symptoms can become more pronounced and can include: Loss of appetite Lack of energy Depressed attitude Vomiting Threats to health. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to devastating effects on the dog’s body, which is why early detection and proper treatment are crucial. Effects of diabetes on the dog’s health can include: Cataracts (leading to blindness) Enlarged liver Urinary tract infections Seizures Kidney failure Ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening acute condition that can be accompanied by rapid breathing, dehydration, lethargy, vomiting, or sweet-smelling breath; can be triggered by factors such as stress, surgery, fasting, infection, or an underlying health condition combined with low insulin level. Owners of diabetic animals should always have on hand ketone testing sticks and should test their dog’s urine if any of the above occurs. If the dog’s urine tests positive for ketones, an emergency vet should be called immediately. Diagnosis Your veterinarian can do simple tests to check for diabetes, including testing for excessive glucose (sugar) in the blood and urine. Blood tests can also show other indications of diabetes, such as high liver enzymes and electrolyte imbalances. The sooner diabetes is diagnosed and treatment begun, the better chance the pet has of a normal life. pololia / stock.adobe.com What Can Make a Dog at Risk for Diabetes? Age. While diabetes can occur at any age, it mostly occurs in middle-aged to senior dogs. Most dogs who develop it are age 5 or older when diagnosed. Sex. Unspayed female dogs are twice as likely as male dogs to have diabetes. Chronic or repeated pancreatitis. Chronic or repeated pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) can eventually cause extensive damage to that organ, resulting in diabetes. Obesity. Obesity contributes to insulin resistance and is a risk factor for pancreatitis, which can lead to diabetes. Steroid medications. These can cause diabetes when used long-term. Cushing’s disease. With Cushing’s disease, the body overproduces steroids internally, so this condition also can cause diabetes. Other health conditions. Some autoimmune disorders and viral diseases are also thought to possibly trigger diabetes. Genetics. Diabetes can occur in any breed or mixed-breed, and it seems genetics can play a role in either increased or reduced risk. A 2003 study found that overall, mixed-breeds are no less prone to diabetes than are purebreds. Among purebreds, breeds vary in susceptibility, some with very low risk and others with higher risk. Some that may be at higher risk include miniature Poodles, Bichons Frises, Pugs, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, Puli, Samoyeds, Keeshonds, Australian Terriers, Fox Terriers, Cairn Terriers, and Beagles. Treatment of Diabetes in Dogs Diet. Your veterinarian will recommend the best type of diet for your diabetic dog. Usually this will include some good-quality protein, as well as fiber and complex carbohydrates that will help to slow absorption of glucose. Your vet may also recommend a diet with relatively low-fat content. Exercise. To help avoid sudden spikes or drops in glucose levels, it is especially important that diabetic dogs maintain a moderate but consistent exercise routine. Injections. Most diabetic dogs will require daily shots of insulin under the skin, something that the owner will have to learn to do. Although it’s understandable to be apprehensive about doing this, it’s not as hard as it might sound. It can become a quick and easy daily routine that isn’t traumatic at all for either dog or owner. Monitoring and Managing Your Dog’s Diabetes Although some cases may be more challenging, canine diabetes can be usually managed successfully without complications. From giving injections to monitoring glucose levels daily, you will play the primary role in your dog’s care, and your commitment to keeping up with his daily shots and monitoring is extremely important. Your veterinarian will work with you to determine the best management plan for your dog. At the start of treatment this may involve frequent visits to the clinic for testing and medication adjustments, but hopefully the right combination of medication, dosage, diet, and home monitoring will soon be arrived at that will enable you to keep your dog’s blood sugar consistently regulated and help him live a full, happy life. Your dog’s diabetes management plan provided by your veterinarian will probably include information about: insulin medication for your dog and how to give the injections diet and exercise recommendations a daily glucose-monitoring system that will work best for your dog any warning signs to watch out for If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, don’t panic. With good veterinary support, you should be able to provide the right care for your pet and ensure you both many more happy years together. Note: The information above is designed to help inform you about canine diabetes and is not meant to take the place of a veterinary diagnosis. If you have questions or concerns about your dog’s health or possible symptoms, be sure to contact and consult with your veterinarian right away. The post Diabetes in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
  11. When it comes to communication, dogs are significantly better at interpreting our body language than we are theirs. Humans rely on verbal language more heavily than body language, whereas dogs are just the opposite. Unfortunately, this often means we are left scratching our heads, wondering what our dogs are trying to tell us. Shaking is one of these potentially confusing behaviors. They’re Wet You may have wondered why dogs feel the need to shake when they are wet. That shaking, however, is surprisingly efficient. Wet dogs can shake off 70 percent of the water on their fur in just four seconds. That is far more effective than attempts to towel dry our pups — though not as great for our bathrooms. Stress and Anxiety Dry dogs shake, too. If your dog gives a whole-body shake for no obvious reason, like a bath or a good roll in the dirt, it could be stress related. Shaking is a classic symptom of stress in dogs. When your dog shakes after hopping off an examination table at the veterinarian’s office or following an encounter with a stranger, he is trying to relieve tension. You may have even noticed that your dog shakes after a hug. As it turns out, most dogs don’t particularly enjoy hugs, and learning how to identify stress symptoms can help you make your dog more comfortable and avoid potentially dangerous situations. claudiodoenitzperez/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images Shivering and Trembling Shivering and trembling are also used interchangeably with shaking to describe upset pups. Certain toy and small terrier breeds shiver more than others. This kind of shivering can be a sign of anxiety, cold, fear, pain, or even muscle weakness. If your dog has started to shake, and you don’t know why, contact your veterinarian to make sure there isn’t a more serious issue. Ear Problems All dog breeds can get ear infections. Owners of breeds that are more prone to ear infections, however, such as Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers, should watch out for excessive head shaking. If your dog had a recent bath or has been swimming and is shaking his head, it’s quite possible that he’s suffering from an ear infection. Owners should always dry their dogs’ ears thoroughly if they’ve been in water. Dogs with irritated or infected ears often shake their heads to provide temporary relief. This shaking can lead to more problems, for example an ear hematoma (when blood accumulates in the flap of the ear). If your dog is shaking his head more than normal, call your veterinarian and gently take a peek at your canine companion’s ears to see if they appear red, inflamed, or dirty. The post Why Is My Dog Shaking? Causes & Solutions appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
  12. Summer is a time when the lure of the great outdoors calls to us and our family pets. Unfortunately, it also rings in the full-blown season of fleas and ticks. Whatever we do to keep our dogs healthy and protect them, it is impossible to keep them from meeting up with ticks and fleas when they go outside. And unfortunately, these parasites can have a serious effect on your dog’s health. There are big benefits to being consistent when protecting our dogs against these pesky parasites. Plethora of Products First of all, there are flea and tick preventatives on the market today that are safer and more effective than what was available 10 years ago. Our choices have grown exponentially over the years, however you must always consider the safety of your dog when using a flea and tick preventative. It is best to work with your veterinarian to decide on the right regimen that will fit your pet’s age, health, and breed, as well as the environment you live or vacation in. Your vet will also consider whether you have more than one pet, have dogs that swim, or have young children in your household. Choices for flea and tick preventatives now include: oral medications topical drops special flea and tick collars shampoos sprays and wipes yard treatments Tick Bites Cause Nasty Illnesses Ticks can cause infection, abscesses, paralysis, and even death. In addition, ticks are the host of several debilitating diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that vaccines are not available for most of the tick-borne diseases that dogs can get. These diseases can be very difficult to recognize and are easily misdiagnosed due to varied and vague symptoms. Treatments for tick-borne illnesses are lengthy and can be very costly. Dr. Klein suggests that during tick season, in addition to using a preventative treatment, it is critical to do a daily tick check on your dog. A tick bite will take about 12 hours to transmit anaplasma and 24-to-36 hours to transmit Lyme disease. So it’s very important to locate and carefully remove ticks from your dog as quickly as possible. Flea Circus Itching and scratching, redness, flaky skin, scabs, hot spots, hair loss. If your pet has an allergy to fleas, you may observe these uncomfortable symptoms and more if he has fleas. The bite of one flea can send your dog into a whirlwind of scratching, biting. and digging at his skin. Also, fleas are the most common cause of tapeworms. The first thing your pet will most likely do when bitten by a flea is chew at the spot where the bite is. Often this results in your dog swallowing the flea. Fleas carry the larvae of the tapeworm, and these larvae will mature into adult tapeworms inside your pet’s intestines. Fleas have also been known to cause anemia from blood loss in very infested dogs. Homes and Humans and Other Pets Humans are also vulnerable to many of the complications and diseases that ticks and fleas cause, and they are equally hard to get rid of. One more reason to practice flea and tick prevention with your pets is to help keep your home and family safe from an infestation. “Fleas and ticks also serve as vectors that spread a large number of diseases between animals,” says Dr. Klein. “So if you have more than one pet, your other pets will be at risk.” All of the above reasons should convince you that prevention is the way to go when it comes to fleas and ticks. You certainly can’t control all of the parasites in your environment, but you can take steps to protect your dog from suffering the consequences. Talk to your veterinarian and decide which prevention products will work best for your dog, your environment, and your budget. Finding the Best Dog Flea & Tick Prevention For Your Dog The American Veterinary Medial Association (AVMA) cautions pet owners that parasite protection is not “one-size-fits-all.” Some products should not be used on very young or very old pets. Some breeds are sensitive to certain ingredients that can make them extremely ill. The AVMA suggest that you ask your veterinarian the following questions when you consult about the best and safest option for your dog: What parasites does this product protect against? How often should I use/apply the product? How long will it take for the product to work? If I see a flea or tick, does that mean it’s not working? What should I do if my pet has a reaction to the product? Is there a need for more than one product? How would I apply or use multiple products on my pet? The post What Is the Best Flea and Tick Prevention for Dogs? appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
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    Flea Pills for Dogs

    The flea circus your grandfather told you about was cute. Fleas on your dog are not. If your home feels like it is turning into your very own flea circus, you definitely need to take some action. You’ve probably heard someone in your life mention flea pills for dogs. These pills can be a very effective method for getting rid of fleas on dogs, and there are more options available today than ever before. Here is what you need to know about flea pills to help you choose the best option for your dog. What Are Flea Pills? Flea pills are oral insecticides that help control, treat, and prevent flea infestations in dogs. There are several different types of flea pills out there commonly prescribed by veterinarians. Each has a different active chemical ingredient that targets fleas in a unique way. Some flea pills kill adult fleas, others kill larvae, and some inhibit a flea’s ability to lay eggs. Knowing which part of the flea life cycle the pill targets is essential for effective flea control, so make sure you read the label carefully and talk with your veterinarian. The type of flea pill that is best for your dog depends on your situation. If you are looking for an oral monthly preventative, then a fast-acting flea pill that only stays in your dog’s system for a few days is probably not your best bet. On the other hand, if your dog is suffering from flea allergy dermatitis, then a fast-acting flea adulticide is exactly what you need. Do I Need a Veterinarian to Get Flea Pills? Flea control measures have changed a lot over the years. The flea dust that your local hardware store used to sell might not be the best choice when compared to some of today’s more advanced options. As a client, navigating around the promotional material of pharmaceutical companies and the thousands of contradictory websites discussing flea pills is tricky. Luckily, you don’t have to come to the decision on your own. Your veterinarian knows a lot more about the different options and can guide you toward the one that will be most effective for your dog. More importantly, your veterinarian is aware of any potential side effects and medication interactions between flea pills and other preventatives and prescriptions. Your veterinarian can let you know if there are any breed predispositions to adverse effects, and if there is anything else in your dog’s medical history that could be relevant. Fleas are a nationwide problem. In some areas, fleas have developed resistance to certain insecticides. Your veterinarian is your best source for discovering which flea pill will be most effective against a resistant flea population. It is possible to order some flea pills for dogs online or from a pet store without a veterinarian, but many of these pills do require a prescription. Choosing to medicate your dog on your own without the oversight of a veterinarian is always risky, and in some cases can lead to flea resistance and ineffective treatments that will ultimately cost you more in money, time, and your dog’s comfort. Amanda Haldeman Flea Pills for Dogs vs. Topical Applications and Collars Flea pills are just one option for flea treatment and prevention. Topical applications, flea collars, flea shampoos, and environmental insecticides are also options to help you deal with a flea infestation. The decision to use an oral flea preventative/insecticide is up to you and your veterinarian. Flea resistance to certain products can play a role in this decision-making process, as can concerns regarding safety or personal preference about topical applicants and flea collars. Pre-existing medical conditions, your dog’s age, and whether or not she is pregnant can also help determine the right flea product for your dog. In some cases, a fast-acting flea pill that kills fleas within a few hours can be part of a treatment plan for flea allergy dermatitis. Your veterinarian might recommend a fast-acting flea pill preventative to help relieve your dog’s symptoms or recommend an over-the-counter flea pill, like Capstar, in addition to a monthly preventative. Types of Flea Pills for Dogs The Merck Veterinary Manual lists the following chemical compounds in flea pills that are most effective against fleas: Afoxolaner (Brand name NexGard) Fluralaner (Brand name Bravecto) Nitenpyram (Brand names include CapStar) Spinosad (Brand name Comfortis) Most of us have only heard of these compounds by their brand names, but it is useful to know the active ingredients as you do your research. It’s important to look at which formulations are intended to prevent fleas as well as prevent ticks. Not all of them will protect against ticks. Future Flea Prevention Thank goodness, fleas are preventable. Once you have decided on a flea pill for your dog, be sure to follow up with any additional steps recommended by your veterinarian. In most cases of flea infestations, you will also have to treat your home and yard for fleas, along with any other pets in the household, and you will need to stay on top of your flea and tick preventative schedule in order for it to remain effective. The post Flea Pills for Dogs appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
  14. When you’re playing with your puppy and she starts chewing on your hand, chances are she is teething. Puppies that are teething have a developmental issue, not a behavioral issue. It’s the same as when human babies teethe. Tiny needlelike teeth begin to appear when puppies are two to four weeks old. Then, when they’re about three months old, puppies start getting their permanent teeth. This process continues until the puppy is about eight months old. AKC’s Canine Good Citizen® Director Mary Burch, Ph.D. offers the following tips on getting your puppy through the teething stage. Control the environment. Make sure that you aren’t the only readily available chewable object and puppy-proof your home. Provide a rich assortment of acceptable toys for your puppy to chew on. Have an acceptable alternative close by. Keep the toys in places where you can easily reach them so you can quickly offer an acceptable alternative when the puppy feels a need to chew. If your puppy chews you or an inappropriate object (your shoes), give him one of the acceptable toys to chew on. Teach your puppy that nipping and biting hard are not okay. If your puppy nips and bites too hard, teach the puppy that this is not okay by ending the interaction. You can pull your hand away, say, “OW!” and leave the puppy for a few minutes. Then try again so your puppy has a chance to act appropriately. The post How to Help Your Puppy Through Teething appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
  15. When it comes to plants and pets, both can bring a lot of love and light into your life. Unfortunately, the two don’t always mix so well. In fact, some plants can be downright deadly for pets. The good news is that many plants are safe for dogs, and if you choose your plants wisely, the two can coexist beautifully, says Justin Hancock, garden expert at Costa Farms in Miami. Here are expert picks on the best plants for pet owners. RNEDDEER/Getty Images Plus <?php $js_path = 'assets/js/realtor-in-content.js'; wp_enqueue_script( 'realtor-in-content', get_template_directory_uri() . $js_path, [ 'main', 'jquery' ], \AKC\Release::version(get_template_directory() . $js_path), true ); ?> In Partnership with Find Your Perfect Home Places Buy Rent Search Now *Dog friendly rental filter applied to results Peperomia This family of easy-growing houseplants has been popular for generations because it’s so forgiving, which is perfect for busy pet owners, Hancock says. “Forget to water them now and again? No worries. Don’t want to fertilize? No problem. And they don’t contain natural compounds that are toxic to animals, so you don’t need to worry if Fido nibbles on a leaf or two.” Bromeliads With their exotic spikes of brightly colored blooms, Guzmania bromeliads look festive. These nonpoisonous plants are easy to grow and stay relatively sturdy, so they’re unlikely to suffer a lot of damage if playful pups knock them over. Echeveria This trendy succulent doesn’t need a lot of water. Nonpoisonous and spineless, they won’t harm the furry members of your household. Ponytail Palm This “plant of steel” is practically indestructible, so it’s a great choice if you need an easy-care plant that’s compatible with your pets. Its thick trunk and grassy leaves give it a festive look that’s perfect for any room in the home. Catnip Not only is catnip nontoxic, your cat is going to love it. It can be planted inside or out and is known for its bright green leaves. The only downside is that your feline may love it too much, so you might need to replant it now and then. Money Tree Sadly enough, money does not actually grow on these plants. But here’s the good news: They’re safe for pets and recommended for people with allergies and asthma. Moth Orchid These nontoxic flowers look fancy, but they’re actually low-maintenance. They come in an amazing array of colors and can add an elegant touch to any space without putting your dog in danger. A Note of Caution Hancock says it’s important to note that just because these plants are nontoxic for pets, it doesn’t mean your pet still can’t have a negative reaction to them. “Pets can have allergies to plants, just like people can have food allergies, so a nonpoisonous plant could possibly (it’s rare, of course) make a pet sick,” Hancock says. “Likewise, it’s also possible for pets to have bad interactions with fertilizers or other products used on plants.” So if your green thumb is itching, these nontoxic plants are good place to start. Just remember to watch your furry friends around any new plants, for the sake of your pets and your plants. The post 7 Pet-Safe Plants That Won’t Hurt Your Dog appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
  16. It’s important to protect your canine best friend from plants that are poisonous to dogs. Whether you’re an avid gardener or have a few potted plants on your front stoop, you should be aware that some plants might not be your dog’s friend. In fact, many shrubs, trees, and flowers commonly found in the garden and in the wild are dangerous if your dog eats them. Some can cause discomfort, some will make your dog miserable, and some can even be fatal if ingested. Shrubs That Are Poisonous to Dogs Azalea and Rhododendron: Used in landscaping and found in the wild, the entire genus is extremely dangerous for dogs. Eating even a few leaves can cause serious issues, including vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, paralysis, shock, coma, and death. Holly: Varieties include American holly, English holly, Japanese holly, and Christmas holly. Although some are less toxic than others, it is best to keep your dog away from any variety. Eating the leaves can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal injury due to the plant’s spiny leaves. Symptoms include lip-smacking, drooling, and head shaking. Hydrangea: With high concentrations of toxic substances in the flowers and leaves, ingestion, especially of the leaves and flowers, can cause lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal upsets. Ivy: Although a vine rather than a shrub, ivy is a common part of many landscapes. The foliage of certain types of ivy plants is dangerous to dogs, although not usually lethal. Ingestion can result in excessive salivation and drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, a swollen mouth and tongue, and difficulty breathing. Oleander: All parts of this popular ornamental shrub are toxic to humans and dogs. If your dog ingests the flowers or leaves, he can experience extreme vomiting, an abnormal heart rate, and even death. Other signs to look for include tremors, drooling, seizures, and weakness. Peony: These gorgeous flowering plants contain the toxin paeonol in their bark and may cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested in large amounts. Sago Palm: Often used as an ornamental shrub in temperate zones, it’s considered one of the most toxic plants for dogs. Every part of the plant is toxic, especially the seeds. Ingesting just a few seedpods can result in acute liver failure. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody stools, decreased appetite, and nosebleeds. Vojtaz/Shutterstock Trees That Are Poisonous to Dogs Black Walnut: The tree itself isn’t dangerous, but the nuts that fall to the ground can be. They start to decay very quickly and produce mold, so when a dog ingests them they cause digestive upset and even seizures. Chinaberry: The berries, leaves, bark, and flowers of this tree all contain toxins that can result in anything from vomiting and diarrhea to weakness, slow heart rate, seizures, and shock. Fruit trees: The fruits of trees such as plum, apricot, peach, and even avocado contain pits, and the seeds of cherries and apples contain toxins that can make your dog sick and are choking hazards. Even if they only eat the fruit, eating too much can cause diarrhea Horse Chestnut (Buckeye): This tree contains saponin, which causes vomiting and diarrhea, dilated pupils, affects the central nervous system, and can also lead to convulsions and coma. Japanese Yew: All varieties, from the dwarf to the giant trees, contain dangerous toxins that can be fatal to dogs. Symptoms include tremors, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and seizures. Because of their bright green leaves and red berries, they are popular holiday decorations – but they should not be used in homes where dogs live. Other nut trees: As a general rule, nuts aren’t safe for dogs. Avoid letting your dog eat the nuts from almond, pecan, hickory, walnut, or other nut trees. Ingestion can cause gastrointestinal problems and intestinal blockage. Flowers and Bulbs Poisonous to Dogs Autumn Crocus: These fall-blooming plants contain colchicine, which is extremely toxic, causing gastrointestinal bleeding, severe vomiting, kidney and liver damage, and respiratory failure. Symptoms might be delayed for several days, so don’t wait to seek veterinary attention if your dog has ingested any part of this plant. Begonia: Often used in containers, these tubers can cause mouth irritation and difficulty swallowing when ingested. Chrysanthemum: These common flowers contain lactones and pyrethrin, which cause intestinal irritation. While not lethal, eating any part of the plant can result in vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, skin rashes, and loss of coordination. Daffodil: Ingesting any part of the plant, especially the bulb, can cause severe vomiting, drooling, tremors, respiratory distress, convulsions, and heart problems. Foxglove: All parts of these tall beautiful flowers, from the seeds to the petals, are extremely toxic to dogs. Ingestion can cause cardiac failure and even death. Geranium: All varieties of this common container plant are poisonous to dogs. The symptoms include lethargy, low blood pressure, skin rashes, and loss of appetite. Iris: Ingesting any part of the plant can cause skin irritation, drooling, diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. Lily: With so many different varieties of lilies, it’s hard to remember which are dangerous and which are relatively benign. Some — for example, daylilies — are extremely toxic to cats, but cause only gastrointestinal upset in dogs. Others, such as the calla lily, release a substance that burns and irritates a dog’s mouth and stomach, and symptoms can be mild to severe. Lily of the Valley: Symptoms of ingestion include diarrhea, vomiting, a drop in heart rate, and cardiac arrhythmia. Tulip and Hyacinth: The bulb is the most toxic part, but any part of these early-blooming flowers can be harmful to dogs, causing irritation to the mouth and esophagus. Typical symptoms include excessive drooling and vomiting. If many bulbs are eaten, symptoms may include an increased heart rate and irregular breathing. With care from a vet, dogs usually recover with no further ill effects. Where to Get Help if You Think Your Dog Ate a Poisonous Plant The AKC Vetline offers 24/7 access to trained pet care professionals and licensed veterinary staff who offer assistance with questions about poisoning, as well as general healthcare issues concerned with illness, injury, nutrition, and when a dog should be examined by a veterinarian. It’s very important to remember that the hotline is not a substitute for veterinary care. According to American Kennel Club Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein, the best cure is prevention. He recommends that you survey your yard and identify any plants that may be dangerous. Then restrict your dog’s access to them. And when in doubt, seek professional help. “The most common mistake pet owners make is to wait to see if the dog becomes ill before contacting the veterinarian,” says Dr. Klein. My Dog Ate a Toxic Plant — What Should I Do? If you suspect your dog has eaten something toxic, follow these steps: Contact your vet or AKC Vetline as soon as possible. Or call the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) for accurate advice. (You will be charged a fee when you call the helpline.) Try to identify the plant by taking a sample or a photo or by collecting the dog’s vomit in a plastic bag. When you reach the vet or helpline, provide as much information as possible, including: The suspected plant and the time of ingestion. Your dog’s weight. Any symptoms your dog is showing. Under no circumstances should you induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by the vet. Specific plant poisons require specific treatments, and vomiting can make some cases worse. Don’t fall for the myth that dogs instinctively avoid dangerous plants. While it is sometimes true of animals in the wild, dogs have no ability to distinguish between safe and unsafe plants. The post Poisonous Plants for Dogs: A Full List appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
  17. With the change in seasons comes warmer weather and longer days. Unfortunately, pesky bugs also come out. Critters are not only irritating for your dog but they can be very harmful too. In fact, the deadly parasite heartworm is transmitted only by mosquitos. Here are a few tips to keep your dog safe: 1. Preventative Medicine The American Heartworm Society and many veterinarians recommend year-round preventative medication due to heartworm being found in all 50 states. While the prevalence of heartworm historically has been high in the South, the American Heartworm Society reports that it’s on the rise throughout the U.S. This increase includes regions that were once considered “non-endemic.” Even if you don’t live in an area where heartworm is prominent, you still want to talk to your veterinarian about preventative medication for your dog. There are a variety of preventative products that you can use on your dog to ward off mosquitos and prevent heartworm. These products can be administered orally or topically, and prevention is far more effective and less costly than treatment if your dog is diagnosed with heartworm. But, remember that preventives are not used to kill the adult worm and some can cause severe problems if given to animals with adult heartworms. You should follow the recommendations of your veterinarian prior to giving the preventive product. ©Tanya - stock.adobe.com 2. Routine Veterinarian Visits Schedule your dog for an annual checkup. Performing routine heartworm testing is usually included in this checkup and is the first line of defense for keeping your dog safe. Heartworm preventative medication can only be obtained from a veterinarian or with a veterinarian’s prescription through a pet pharmacy, so start the conversation early. Talk to your veterinarian about which preventative is right for you and your dog. Again, certain preventatives can protect against other parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, fleas, and tapeworms. Your veterinarian will know the differences between the types of preventatives and can help you choose the right one. The recommendation from the American Heartworm Society is to have all dogs tested for heartworm every 12 months, even those already on heartworm preventative medication. 3. Keep Your Home & Yard Mosquito Free It may not be top of mind, but mosquitos can also be a threat in and around your own home. Mosquitoes can breed in small amounts of stagnant water, which can be found in flowerpots, empty containers left outside (buckets, toys), rain gutters, and low-lying areas in the yard. Mosquitoes all across the country can carry heartworm, which means one bite from an infected mosquito can result in heartworm disease in your dog. There is no way to know whether a mosquito is infected, and it often takes several months for heartworm symptoms to appear in dogs. In my years as a veterinarian, I have treated many dogs after they have contracted the disease and sadly some cases were too advanced for treatment to be successful. Minimizing bugs in your yard is very important in helping to keep bugs away from your dog. You may want to consider using insecticide spray for your yard, but be sure you chose a pet-friendly product and you follow the manufacturer’s instructions properly. In addition to yard treatments, there are many other forms of mosquito repellent. Zadranka/Shutterstock 4. Keep the Routine Each Year Heartworm disease can cause lasting damage to the heart, which can affect a dog’s health and quality of life — just one of many reasons to have your dog on preventative medication. Heartworms mature after six months and can live in your dog’s body for seven years, constantly producing offspring. After about a year, a dog may harbor hundreds of these worms, although the average is 15. The worms cause inflammation and damage to the heart, arteries, and lungs. The recommendation from the American Heartworm Society is to have all dogs tested for heartworm every 12 months, even those already on heartworm preventative medication. Have your veterinarian test your dog for heartworm during your annual visit. What Else to Know About Heartworms: Heartworm disease (Dirofilaria immitis) affects the heart and arteries surrounding the lungs and is caused by parasitic worms that can grow up to one foot long. If left untreated, the damage to the heart and lungs can be deadly. Heartworms are only transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito and are not transferred from pet-to-pet or to or from humans. Once infected with the heartworm larvae, it can take several months for symptoms to appear in your pet as the worms grow and impact the organs. While reported cases vary state to state, Heartworm infected mosquitoes and cases of the disease have been reported in all 50 states. The most common symptoms of heartworm disease are: exercise intolerance, coughing, lethargy, changes in appetite and body conditioning. Watch for these symptoms but do not self-diagnose – only your veterinarian can test and diagnose. Heartworm does not discriminate – all dog breed types are susceptible. If found early, this is a treatable illness. In later stages, however, treatment is difficult and may be impossible, in which case your vet will guide you in making the best decisions for your pet’s comfort. It is recommended to have your dogs on year-round monthly or semi-annual oral prescription treatment. It is affordable and easy to administer with flavored edible chews or topical solutions. Ask your veterinarian what option is best for your dog. Now that you are aware of heartworm and the dangers it poses to your dog, speak with your veterinarian today to keep your dog healthy, active, and heartworm-free! The post Tips on Heartworm Prevention & Medication for Dogs appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
  18. In an emergency knowing how to conduct CPR on your dog could save their life. Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer in American Kennel Club, demonstrates how to give CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to dogs until they can reach a veterinary. What is CPR For Dogs? CPR involves chest compressions with or without artificial respiration. It is ONLY used on dogs when you cannot feel or hear the dog’s heartbeat and the dog is NOT breathing. This can occur for a few reasons: trauma, choking, or illness. Before performing CPR for dogs, keep in mind that CPR is potentially hazardous and can cause physical complications or fatal damage if performed on a healthy dog. CPR should only be performed when necessary. Ideally, you will be able to have someone call your veterinarian for guidance to perform dog CPR on the way to the clinic. Make sure the dog’s airway is clear of any objects before proceeding. Follow different guidelines depending on the size and breed of the dog you are assisting. Huckleberry14/Shutterstock Situations to Use CPR on Your Dog Perform CPR on your dog if you can’t yet reach a veterinarian and: the dog is nonresponsive OR the dog isn’t breathing OR the dog has no heartbeat CPR For Small Dogs For the purposes of CPR, a small dog is considered any dog under 30 pounds. Form your hands around the dog’s rib cage Using your thumbs and fingers, press on the chest about 1/3 of the way down CPR For Large Breeds For the purposes of CPR, a large dog is considered any dog 30 pounds and over. Form your palms one on top of the other on the widest part of the dog’s rib cage Using your hands, press on the chest about 1/4 of the way down CPR For Dogs Instructions If you have to try to perform CPR, just like in people, the mainstay are chest compressions. Make sure the airway is clear, and the dog should not be breathing. You shouldn’t do chest compression if your dog is alert and able to bite you. If you perform chest compressions, act quickly, but steadily. Do your chest compressions firmly — not too fast and not too slow. Don’t stop for at least five minutes. As a good rule of thumb, sing the song, Staying Alive (ah, ah, ah, ah, staying alive) and press down on each “ah.” Someone should be trying to get you to a veterinarian, but in the meantime, you can try doing this for five full minutes. In a large breed, you have to use more effort. If you aren’t able to get to the vet yet, try to get a veterinarian on the phone to walk you through these steps. After five minutes, if there’s no response, you can’t feel a heartbeat, and there’s no breathing, you can do another cycle. You may find it becomes less successful with each cycle. You can do up to three cycles. The chance of resuscitating after three cycles is very low. The post How to Perform Dog CPR on Small & Large Pets appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
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    What Do Flea Bites Look Like on Dogs?

    An itching, scratching dog conjures up nightmarish images of fleas hopping everywhere—especially onto our furniture, beds, and carpets. Fleas are prime suspects if your dog is scratching without any apparent reason, but before you can blame fleas for your dog’s discomfort you need to do a little more investigating. The best way to find out if your dog has fleas is to look for symptoms of flea bites on dogs. What Are Fleas? Fleas are tiny parasites that feed off of the blood of their hosts. There are over 2,200 species of fleas in the world, but the flea that most frequently infests dogs is not the dog flea, which is relatively rare, but the cat flea, scientifically known as Ctenocephalides felis. While it might seem somewhat ironic that the fleas bothering your dog are “cat fleas,” this flea species is known to infest more than 50 different mammals and birds throughout the world. In the United States, they prefer dogs, cats, wolves, foxes, raccoons, opossums, ferrets, and domestic rabbits. The widespread palette of fleas gives your dog plenty of opportunities to pick them up as she goes about her day. Flea Life Cycle Flea removal is tricky, and you need to have a basic knowledge of the flea life cycle to choose the right products for your dog. As gross as it might be to think about, you need to know how fleas feed and reproduce. Adult fleas lay their eggs in the hair of their host—your dog. A female flea can lay as many as 50 eggs a day and an average of 27 eggs a day for up to 100 days. As far as I am concerned, that’s 27 eggs a day too many. These eggs fall to the ground every time your dog shakes, scratches, or lies down, infesting your home and yard. The eggs hatch 1-to-6 days later into larvae. Indoors, the larvae burrow deep into the fibers of your carpet or outside into grass, leaves, or soil, where they then spin themselves a cocoon after a week or two. The larva matures into an adult flea inside the cocoon and waits for a potential host to pass by. Pre-emerged adults can survive for weeks and even months under the right conditions, which is one of the reasons why it is so hard to remove fleas from the home. Jagodka/Shutterstock Symptoms of Flea Bites on Dogs So what do flea bites look like? Fleas leave tiny, red, raised dots on your dog’s skin. They are typically smaller than other insect bites, although they can become inflamed after a dog scratches. Some dogs have a stronger reaction to flea bites than others, which creates a much larger red area. Flea bites are much more obvious on humans, since we don’t have dense layers of fur. On humans, flea bites look like tiny red dots. If you have a flea bite, however, you probably won’t be worrying too much about what it looks like—you’ll be more concerned by how much it itches. Here are some symptoms of flea bites on dogs to look for: Severe scratching and itching Biting and chewing at skin Hair loss Scabs Red, irritated skin The problem with identifying fleas based solely on bites is that we can’t always see flea bites on dogs. That is why it is important to know the other signs of fleas on dogs. Other Signs of Fleas on Dogs Along with the symptoms of flea bites, the best way to determine if your dog has fleas is to look for fleas themselves or their droppings. Fleas like to infest the neck, ears, lower back, abdomen, and base of the tail in dogs. These tiny parasites measure approximately 1-to-3 millimeters in length, but their dark brown or black bodies are relatively easy to see moving around, especially on light colored dog hair or skin. If you don’t catch the fleas while they are active, you can always look for the most obvious sign of fleas—their droppings. “Flea dirt,” as flea droppings are commonly called, looks like flecks of pepper scattered over the infested area of your dog’s body. These specks are actually dried blood, and if you place them on a damp paper towel they will turn from black to brown and then to red as the blood rehydrates. The best way to search for fleas and flea dirt is to comb your pet with a flea comb. These fine-toothed combs pick up fleas and flea dirt, making it easy for you to spot evidence of flea activity on your pet. Flea Bite Complications Fleas are irritating, but they can also cause some more serious complications in dogs, which is why flea control and prevention is so important. The three biggest concerns are: Flea allergy dermatitis Anemia Tapeworms Flea allergy dermatitis is the most common skin disease in American dogs. The disease occurs when a dog has an allergic reaction to flea saliva and leads to itchiness, irritation, hair loss, scaly skin, and secondary skin infections. Fleas have voracious appetites. They can consume up to 15 times their own body weight in blood a day, which is basically the equivalent of a 100-pound human eating 1,500 pounds of food in 24 hours. Not surprisingly, this blood loss can lead to anemia in heavily infested dogs, especially puppies. Dogs ingest fleas while biting at an itchy spot or grooming themselves or another dog. Unfortunately, these flea-sized snacks can contain another unwanted parasite: tapeworms. When a dog eats a flea containing tapeworm eggs, the eggs move into your dog’s small intestines, where they hatch and mature into adults. Luckily, tapeworms are easy to treat and are not usually harmful. Treating Flea Bites On Dogs If your dog has irritating flea bites, the first thing you should do is call your vet. Flea allergy dermatitis is very uncomfortable for dogs, and your vet will help control the symptoms of flea allergy dermatitis while you come up with a flea removal plan. Even if your dog does not have flea allergy dermatitis, the best way to treat flea bites is still, of course, to get rid of fleas. Talk to your vet about the best flea removal plan for your dog and household. It could take some time for all of the fleas in your home to die off, so don’t wait too long to act. In the meantime, discourage your dog from getting on furniture and especially discourage him from sleeping in your bed, and do some research about the best ways to get rid of fleas. http://cdn.akc.org/content/article-body-image/flea-Prevention.jpg Preventing Flea Bites on Dogs When it comes to fleas, prevention is definitely your best option. There are many choices out there, from pills and collars to prescription applications. These preventatives protect your dog and home from flea infestations and are much easier (and cheaper) to deal with than a full-blown flea problem. Talk to your vet about the best preventative for your dog, especially if he shows signs of flea allergy dermatitis. Hopefully, the insect bite that you feared was a flea bite turned out to just be the bite of something harmless, like an ant, giving you time to go to the vet and get your dog on a prescription flea and tick preventative. If it turns out that your dog does have fleas, call your vet and start your flea removal plan today. The post What Do Flea Bites Look Like on Dogs? appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
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    11 Flea & Tick Prevention Tips

    It’s that time of year again. Flea and tick season is upon us, and nothing annoys a dog more than those pesky pests. Responsible dog owners know that their canine companion’s warm body and soft fur is a personal paradise for these insects. But once they move in — and begin feeding on your pet’s blood — they can cause a wide range of health problems, from skin infections to Lyme disease. Your best bet for effective and safe solutions is to ask your veterinarian, who is the most up-to-date on flea and tick preventatives, treatments, and information. American Kennel Club’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein offers 10 tips for flea and tick prevention and treatment. Prevention is best managed with one of the many veterinary-approved flea and tick products available on the market. Speak to your veterinarian to find the best, most appropriate flea and tick prevention product for your dog. There are flea and tick topical treatments, collars, and shampoos; each made to address specific needs. And in extreme conditions, you can try one of these sun and bug blocker overalls, which provide protection from biting insects and harmful UV rays. Read the label. Never, ever apply flea medication made for cats to dogs unless the label says it is made for cats and dogs. Regularly inspect your dogs (even if they are taking a tick preventative) and yourself for ticks after walks through the woods or grassy settings. On dogs, look especially on the feet (and between toes), under the legs, on lips, around eyes and ears (and inside ears), near the anus, and under the tail. Be sure to look under your dog’s collar, too. Feel for bumps all over your dog, and part the fur to check out any bumps you do feel. The quicker you remove a tick, the less likely your dog will contract a secondary illness related to tick bites. Learn the proper method of tick removal. Invest in a pair of fine tweezers or a tick removal tool used for this purpose. It’s best to wear gloves and remove the tick by the head. If you are unable to remove the tick, call your veterinarian. Invest in an outdoor dog bed. Your dog can be comfortable and safe when spending time outside by relaxing off the ground. Keep grass in your yard mowed as short as possible. Refrain from walking into grassy patches in endemic tick areas if you can. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also suggests removing leaf litter, tall grasses, and brush from your yard. For fleas, look for them on areas of your dog where the coat is sparse or thin. Think belly, inner sides of the hind limbs, and armpits. Fleas are tiny and copper-colored, and they move quickly on your dog’s skin. You may also be able to see “flea dirt” or feces, tiny dark spots that turn red from digested blood when put on a wet paper towel. If you own multiple dogs, treat them all at the same time. This will help prevent cross infestation. Keeping your dog away from other dogs during flea season can also reduce the risk of getting fleas. While dogs are being treated, the surrounding environment must be treated at the same time. Wash all bedding in laundry soap and hot water and heat dry or get rid of it, and completely vacuum the sofas and carpets. When you’re done, make sure to empty the vacuum containers outside. If flea infestation is extensive in your home, a “fogger” can be used. When you use a flea and tick fogger, the room must be evacuated of all pets and people for 12-to-24 hours (read label directions carefully to determine safety, or ask your veterinarian). Be sure to choose a fogger that kills adult fleas and flea larvae. If infestation is bad enough, or in parts of the country where fleas are on the ground, professional exterminators may be needed. Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that! The post 11 Flea & Tick Prevention Tips appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
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    Mastitis in Nursing Mother Dogs

    Mastitis in dogs is not as common as in other species, such as cattle, but if left unchecked, the condition can lead to life-threatening consequences. To ensure the health of nursing dogs, breeders should be aware of the signs and management options. Karen Von Dollen, DVM, of NC State College of Veterinary Medicine offers suggestions on what to look for in your bitches after whelping to catch and treat mastitis early for the quickest resolution. What is Mastitis? Mastitis is an infection of the mammary glands in nursing female animals. While it is more commonly a bacterial infection, fungal infections can also occur. The most frequently seen pathogens causing mastitis are Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus sp., and Streptococcus sp. Mastitis can quickly change from a mild, localized infection to an abscess in the mammary gland or a potentially deadly systemic illness. Risk Management and Early Signs “There are no specific husbandry practices that will prevent mastitis, but general attention to detail in the whelping area will promote the health of bitch and pups,” Von Dollen says. All breeds of dogs, of any age, and new or experienced mothers, can be at risk of developing mastitis while nursing. The size of the litter does not affect the mother’s chances of infection, although mammary glands are more likely to become engorged in bitches with fewer puppies. With larger litters, the orifices of the teats remain open longer, allowing bacteria to more easily move into the mammary glands. Whelping boxes and puppy-raising areas should always be kept clean and dry, with soiled bedding removed as soon as possible. Von Dollen recommends that the bitch’s mammary glands be checked once or twice daily to monitor for signs of change “as opposed to waiting until there is an obvious full-blown problem.” The glands should be gently expressed daily to monitor the quality of the milk. Changes in texture (firmness or swelling), temperature (either hot or cool), skin color (redness or a blue hue), sensitivity (your bitch’s reaction to your touch), or character of the secretions (thickness or color) should be evaluated by a veterinarian. In mild or early cases of mastitis, the first sign of a problem may be that the nursing young are not gaining weight as quickly as expected. This is why it is important to closely monitor each puppy, including daily weigh-ins, especially in the first week of life. In these early stages, the dam may not show any overt signs of illness and may show only minimal discomfort. As mastitis progresses, the affected mammary glands become increasingly swollen and inflamed, discolored (frequently red or purple), and very painful. In severe cases, the dam can become very ill. Diagnosis and Treatment Your veterinarian will make a diagnosis and treatment plan based on a thorough physical exam and clinical evaluations. They will differentiate galactostasis (milk engorgement in the glands without an infection) from mastitis based on the severity of physical signs and whether there is systemic illness. A culture and cytology of the secretions from the affected gland may be performed to look for infectious agents, such as bacteria or fungus. Ultrasounds can be useful for your veterinarian to determine the extent of damage to the gland, as well as to monitor progression and resolution of the disease. Blood work may also be done to determine if there is systemic involvement. Your veterinarian will prescribe treatment based on the examination and test results. Most bitches with mild mastitis can be treated on an outpatient basis. Antibiotics may be prescribed, based on bacterial involvement, as well as pain medications. Nursing puppies must be considered when choosing an antibiotic because transmission to the puppies through the milk is possible. Nursing puppies should be monitored closely for changes in consumption, energy, and stool. Other care recommended for the bitch may include hydration, warm compresses using towels or cabbage leaves, and frequent expression of milk from the infected gland by hand. This alleviates discomfort and swelling while also encouraging blood flow. Hand-milking should be performed every six hours. The use of cabbage leaf compresses is often used to decrease pain and inflammation. Cabbage leaves should be secured to the affected mammary gland using a bandage or fitted t-shirt. Once applied, they should be left in place for two to four hours. At this time, the cabbage leaves should be removed for three to four hours before reapplying for another two to four hours. The puppies can be allowed to nurse from the affected gland when it is uncovered. Prognosis With early diagnosis, the mammary gland can return to normal function in about two to three weeks with appropriate treatment. In more severe cases, permanent damage may occur, rendering that gland unable to produce milk. In very severe cases where systemic infection occurs, death of the bitch is possible, even with aggressive treatment. What About the Puppies? Puppies are “best equipped to remove milk from the glands in an efficient manner, much more so than the human hand,” Von Dollen says. However, if the bitch is too sore to allow nursing, or if there is a concern with the antibiotics in use transferring to the puppies, nursing may not be an option. In that instance, the puppies will need to be hand-fed per your veterinarian’s instructions. Puppies should be weighed daily to ensure early intervention if they are not receiving enough milk, either from the bitch not allowing them to nurse sufficiently or from decreased milk production. If they are not gaining weight adequately, they may need supplemental nutrition. Final Thoughts Early intervention is key to keeping mastitis from becoming a life-threatening illness. Regular monitoring of a nursing bitch and the puppies is crucial to ensure that the disease is caught quickly. Your veterinarian will be your best guide to keeping your bitch and pups healthy. The post Mastitis in Nursing Mother Dogs appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
  22. Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is a bacterial illness that can be transmitted to humans, dogs, and other animals by certain species of ticks. It is caused by the spiral-shaped bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi that is carried inside a tick and gets into a dog or person’s bloodstream through a tick bite. Once in the bloodstream, the bacteria can travel to different parts of the body and cause problems in specific organs or locations, such as joints, as well as overall illness. Given the seriousness of Lyme disease, it’s important to be aware of tick prevention and treatment for dogs. Where Do Ticks Live? The ticks that carry Lyme disease are especially likely to be found in tall grasses, thick brush, marshes, and woods — waiting to latch onto your dog when he passes by. A tick can transmit the disease once it has been attached to a dog for 24 to 48 hours. First named when a number of cases occurred in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975, the disease can be hard to detect and can cause serious, ongoing health problems in both dogs and people. Lyme disease happens in every state, but infection risks vary. Over 95% of cases are from the Northeast, the Upper Midwest, and the Pacific coast, although with recent changes in deforestation, migrating deer, and bird populations, percentage rates in these areas are constantly changing. A small number of cases crop up each year along the West Coast, especially Northern California. In Canada, Lyme-positive dogs are found mostly in southern Ontario and southern Manitoba. A smaller number of cases are reported each year in Southern Quebec and the Maritime Provinces. Geoff Hardy via Getty Images How do Ticks Get on People and Dogs? Ticks don’t jump or fly; they can only crawl. They get onto their host by waiting at the tips of vegetation. When a dog or person brushes against a bush, for example, the tick quickly grabs on and then crawls to find a place to bite. What are the symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs? Lyme disease is, unfortunately, a fairly common canine disease. Typical symptoms in dogs include: Fever Loss of appetite Reduced energy Lameness (can be shifting, intermittent, and recurring) Generalized stiffness, discomfort, or pain Swelling of joints Symptoms can progress to kidney failure, which can be fatal. Serious cardiac and neurological effects can also occur. http://cdn.akc.org/Black-legged-tick-block2.jpgThe primary carrier of Lyme disease is the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis), also called the “deer tick” or “bear tick.” The tick acquires the Lyme disease bacterium when it feeds on an animal that has been infected, such as a mouse, deer, or other mammal, and then transmits the bacterium to the next animal it feeds on. Image: CDC How are Dogs Tested for Lyme Disease? Diagnosis is made by a combination of history, physical signs, and diagnostics. For dogs, the two blood tests for diagnosing Lyme disease are called the C6 Test and Quant C6 test. Veterinarians perform both. The C6 test detects antibodies against a protein called “C6”. Presence of the antibodies suggests an active Lyme infection. The C6 antibodies can be detected three to five weeks after an infected tick bites a dog and may be found in the bloodstream even before the dog shows signs of illness. The next step is to do a Quant C6 test. This, along with urinalysis will help determine if antibiotic treatment is necessary. How is Lyme Disease Treated? Treatment includes antibiotics, usually for at least 30 days. This often resolves symptoms quickly, but in some cases, the infection will persist and prolonged medication may be needed. Treatment can also include other therapies aimed at resolving or relieving specific symptoms. Can I Catch Lyme Disease From my Dog? Dogs are not a direct source of infection for people. Lyme disease can’t be transmitted from one pet to another, nor from pets to humans, except through tick bites. However, a carrier tick could come into your house on your dog’s fur and get on you. If your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, you and any other pets have probably been in the same outdoor environment and may also be at risk, so it is a good idea to consult with your physician and veterinarian to see whether you should test other pets or family members. ©ducati32 - stock.adobe.com Other Canine Diseases Carried by Ticks Ticks can also carry several other less common but serious bacterial diseases affecting dogs, including anaplasmosis and babesiosis. Anaplasmosis can involve symptoms similar to those for Lyme disease. Babesiosis can present with a wide range of symptoms, from sudden and severe shock, high fever, and dark urine to a slowly progressing infection with more subtle clinical signs. Diagnosis of both diseases includes blood tests similar to those used to check for Lyme disease. Sometimes, dogs and people can become sick with “co-infection” of multiple tick-borne diseases, where more than one type of disease-causing bacteria is transmitted through a tick bite. This situation can make diagnosis and treatment even more challenging and difficult. How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Lyme Disease or Other Tick-borne Illnesses? Recommendations on preventing ticks include these from AKC’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein: Inspect your dogs and yourself daily for ticks after walks through the woods or grassy settings. On dogs, look especially on the feet (and between toes), on lips, around eyes, ears (and inside ears), near the anus, and under the tail. Remove ticks stat. The quicker you find them the less likely your dog will contract a secondary illness related to tick bites. Learn the proper method of tick removal. Invest in a pair of fine tweezers used for this purpose. If you are unable to do so, consult with a veterinarian. Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam. They’ll be able to find any you may have missed. Prevent ticks from jumping on your dog with one of the many veterinary-approved flea and tick preparations available on the market. Speak to your veterinarian to find the best and most appropriate product for your dog. Keep grass mowed as short as possible. Refrain from walking into grassy patches in endemic tick areas if you can. Get your dog vaccinated. Vaccination could prevent your dog from getting Lyme disease. They may not be appropriate for some dogs, so discuss with your vet. The post Lyme Disease in Dogs: Symptoms, Tests, Treatment, and Prevention appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
  23. Rss Bot

    Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?

    Have you ever taken your dog out for a potty break and turned your back, only to discover your canine pal chomping on a large mouthful of grass? While you might panic and think about the vomit you’ll be cleaning off the carpet later, this behavior is not always cause for alarm. But why do they do it, and how do you know when it’s a problem? And are there ways to get dogs to stop eating grass? Reasons Dogs Eat Grass There are a variety of reasons why dogs find grass to be a delicacy. These include: Diet Deficiency Some dog owners and veterinarians assume that grass eating is a form of pica, or eating strange nonfood items, sometimes caused by a diet deficiency. Many diet deficiencies are rooted in missing vitamins, nutrients, or minerals that are absent from daily intake. This should not be a problem for dogs who are fed a well-balanced diet, so consider asking your veterinarian about switching dog food if your dog repeatedly eats grass. Need for Fiber Eating grass could also be your dog’s way of getting more fiber, which helps them digest their food, pass stool, and keep their GI system operating like clockwork. A change to food with a higher-fiber content may help. Instinct If a dog’s diet is complete and balanced, eating grass may not be related to a deficiency at all — it might be instinct. Dogs’ digestive systems, dietary needs, and cravings have evolved to fit the lifestyle of domesticated dogs. While canines in the wild weren’t getting their primary source of nutrients from grass, eating an entire animal provided an optimal diet, especially if the animal’s diet consisted of various plants. Perhaps they naturally crave grass as part of their genetic makeup, dating back to when they hunted their own prey. ©Justyna - stock.adobe.com Antacid My active young dog was on a high-quality, balanced diet when she suddenly started an odd behavior. Upon going outside first thing in the morning, she would frantically gobble up as much grass as possible until she threw up some yellow foam. After that, she was perky and ready to launch into her morning two-miler. “Yellow foam, or bile, usually indicates that the dog has an empty stomach,” says Dr. Jerry Klein, AKC chief veterinary officer. “The bile can be very irritating and uncomfortable to the dog’s stomach. People take antacids to ease this pain, but dogs may eat grass to help them release the bile and feel better.” In my dog’s case, there was a simple solution to the problem. My vet suggested feeding her a bit of her food as soon as we wake up in the morning as part of our routine. That way, the bile that enters the stomach does what it’s meant to do – breaking down the food for digestion – rather than causing pain. A small meal at night, right before going to sleep, can also help. Boredom Maybe you have a fenced backyard and are lucky enough to be able to let your canine pal out there to play. But most dogs would rather have your companionship. If they’re hanging in the yard alone and eating grass, it may be that they’re just bored. You could stop the behavior with a combination of positive reward training, an exercise regime, and quality time you spend out there with your dog throwing a ball. Tasty Treat Of course, your dog might also just enjoy the taste and texture of fragrant, wet grass in her mouth, especially when new grass is emerging for the first time during the spring, or when your dog is thirsty. Always keep a bowl of fresh, cool water outside to satisfy your dog’s thirst. Is Eating Grass Bad for Dogs? The consumption of grass may just be a sign that your dog is attempting to relieve an upset stomach, and some pups do vomit soon after eating it. That said, a small limited study conducted at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine showed that only about 22 percent of dogs studied frequently vomited after eating grass and only 9 percent frequently show signs of illness prior to eating grass. The researchers concluded that grass and plant-eating is a normal behavior of domestic dogs. But sometimes even normal behaviors can be harmful. Grass may be treated with herbicides and pesticides that are toxic to dogs. Eating grass can also cause dogs to ingest intestinal parasites, for example roundworms and hookworms, that are left from animal droppings. In both cases, your veterinarian may want to perform assessments with fecal samples or blood tests to look for parasites and toxicity. If you notice your dog eating grass more frequently or excessively, be alert for potential underlying illnesses that may be causing the behavior. Check for vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, decrease in appetite, bloody stool, lethargy, or lip licking. How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Grass If you can, try to prevent your dog from eating grass, especially the stuff that’s not growing on your own property. While chewing on the lawn is a common behavior in many canines, you can train your dog out of the behavior to help provide peace of mind. Teach the “leave it” and go outside with your dog until you’re confident that the habit is broken. Always monitor your dog when there are houseplants nearby, as certain varieties can cause toxicity if they’re chewed or ingested. It’s best to consult with your vet if you think your dog has chewed on a toxic houseplant or possibly ingested too much grass with a small amount of chemicals. Don’t use harmful chemicals or fertilizers – plant a dog-safe garden. Feed your dog smaller, more frequent meals – feeding especially first thing in the morning. Consider different products or a deterrent spray that will show your dog what areas are off-limits. Ask your veterinarian or a veterinarian nutritionist for recommendations of a balanced, nutritional food that will best suit your dog’s age, breed, and activity level. When you let your dog in the yard, play with him or give him a safe chew toy. The post Why Does My Dog Eat Grass? appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
  24. Blood belongs in blood vessels, so when it makes an appearance anywhere else on or around our pets, we worry — and with good reason. Blood in dog stool is a symptom of a wide range of conditions. Some are more serious than others, but knowing what you’re looking at can help you communicate more clearly with your veterinarian. Blood in Dog Stool The first thing you should do if you find blood in your dog’s stool, whether the stool is formed or loose (like diarrhea), is to call your veterinarian. Dogs can’t verbalize when they aren’t feeling well. Finding blood in dog poop is alarming, and it’s also a clear sign that something is going on with your pup. You can save yourself and your veterinarian time by knowing how to describe your dog’s bloody stool. There are two types: hematochezia and melena. Hematochezia is bright red blood. This type of bleeding occurs in the lower digestive tract or colon and indicates a specific set of conditions. Melena is a dark, sticky, tarry stool, almost jelly-like. This blood has been digested or swallowed, indicating a problem in the upper digestive tract. You can check whether your dog’s stool contains this kind of blood by wiping it on a paper towel to see if the color is reddish. Bright Red Blood in Your Dog’s Stool Bright red blood looks dramatic, but it isn’t always a sign of a life-threatening illness. If you notice a single streak of red blood in your dog’s stool, and the rest of his poop is normal, it might be a fluke. But you should still call your veterinarian. Consistent bleeding or large amounts of blood, on the other hand, indicate a more serious problem. Here are some of the more common causes of bloody stool in dogs: Colitis (inflammation of the colon) Parasites, such as hookworms Trauma Toxins Inflammatory bowel disease Anal sac infections or impactions ©Sasa - stock.adobe.com Severe conditions that can cause bloody stool or bloody diarrhea include viral and bacterial infections, parvovirus, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, and possibly cancer. Your veterinarian may perform a series of diagnostic tests (such as a fecal examination and possibly blood work) to help determine the cause of the bleeding, but if you think your unvaccinated dog may have been exposed to parvovirus, call ahead before you bring him into the emergency room to help the staff limit the spread of infection. Dark, Tarry Stools Dark, tarry stools are often more difficult to notice than bright red blood. Some dogs have darker stool than others, depending on diet and other factors. You know your dog’s poop. If it looks darker than normal or shows any major changes in color or appearance, contact your veterinarian. Possible causes of melena in dogs include: Parasites Inflammatory disorders Infections Ulcers Tumors Foreign bodies and trauma Kidney failure Exposure to toxins Addison’s disease Liver disease Pancreatitis Hormonal imbalances Clotting disorders Reaction to certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory medications If your dog is suffering from one of these conditions, he might show other symptoms, as well. Keep an eye out for changes in your dog’s appetite, activity levels, and attitude. Vomiting, diarrhea, appetite loss, weakness, blood in the urine, and difficulty breathing can all indicate serious conditions that require immediate veterinary intervention. If your dog shows these signs for the first time and is on any medication, stop the medication at once and call your veterinarian immediately. Treatment Options for Bloody Dog Poop If your dog is suffering from bloody stool, your veterinarian treatments may include: Diet change Fluids to treat dehydration Diarrhea treatment Medication Anti-parasite treatment Surgery Now that you have a basic understanding of the possible causes of bloody stool and how to describe your dog’s condition, contact your veterinarian. As with all other medical conditions, the sooner you get your dog examined, the better. The post Blood in Dog Poop: What to Do if You Find It appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article
  25. Taking care of a senior dog can present a lot of challenges for pet owners. Your canine companion is moving more slowly. His coordination and eyesight aren’t what they used to be — and neither are his bones. To help your aging dog get around better, here are some ways you can make your home more accessible. High Places One of the first things you’ll notice as your dog gets older is that he’ll have trouble jumping or climbing onto things that used to be a breeze for him. Couches, beds, chairs, car seats, etc., can cause a lot of problems. Pet stairs or ramps are great for getting a dog up and down safely. You may need to coax your dog to use them in the beginning, but with a little bit of training, he’ll get used to the equipment. It’s imperative to buy the correct size for your canine companion. If a large breed tries to use stairs made for a small breed, it can cause injury. As for dog beds that sit off the ground or have high sides, they can be replaced with flat, memory foam beds that are soft on joints and easy to enter and exit. <?php $js_path = 'assets/js/realtor-in-content.js'; wp_enqueue_script( 'realtor-in-content', get_template_directory_uri() . $js_path, [ 'main', 'jquery' ], \AKC\Release::version(get_template_directory() . $js_path), true ); ?> In Partnership with Find Your Perfect Home Places Buy Rent Search Now *Dog friendly rental filter applied to results Stairs If you have slick stairs, such as wood or marble, put some type of grip strip down to help your senior dog. However, if your canine companion has serious mobility issues, it’s best to block the stairs with a dog gate to avoid any risk of him falling. In some cases, installing a ramp might be necessary, if staying downstairs is not an option. Floors Some senior dogs have a really hard time walking on hardwood floors. Dog boots with traction on the bottom can help combat slippery surfaces. You can also lay down rugs with non-slip pads underneath, giving your dog a designated walkway. If His Sight Is Going If your dog is starting to lose his eyesight, consider the following: Try not to move things from their regular places while he adjusts to this big change. You should also avoid leaving items, such as school backpacks or laundry baskets, where your dog frequently walks. Rug paths help here, too. Even if your dog doesn’t have trouble walking on the floor, creating a path out of a different material can help him get around when his sight is fading. Either by using treats or a leash, guide your dog along the paths, showing that one leads to his water dish, one leads outside, one leads to his dog bed, etc. If your dog has any special needs, like a wheelchair, talk to your vet about how best to accommodate his disability. The more we can do to keep our homes safe and accessible for senior dogs, the more active they will be, which will help them stay healthier longer. The post Tips for Making Your Home More Accessible to a Senior Dog appeared first on American Kennel Club. View the source article

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