Helpful Diet and Vet Care Tips for Dogs
If you want to have a long, beautiful relationship with your dog, then you should educate yourself on the basics of puppy health care. A foundation of good health starts with diet, and this should go hand in hand with routine, preventative veterinary care for your pet! Skip out on either of these, and you may be sorry later down the road. A poor diet can lead to obesity, liver failure and even diabetes. Skipping out on routine vet care could mean that your dog is silently suffering a preventable problem without ever knowing about it! Stop poor health before it starts with these diet and routine care tips!
First Vet Trip
The very first thing you should do with your new dog or puppy is take him straight to the vet! In fact, most contracts from both ethical breeders and rescues will state that an examination by a licensed vet within 72 hours is required! This is to make sure your new best friend is healthy and coping well in his new home. He may also receive booster shots at this point, which is typically a 5 way vaccine that includes protection against deadly Parvovirus.
The Wellness Examination
Even if your dog is an adult, you should not forget about his yearly wellness exam! This is the exam where your vet will look and feel in places an owner normally will not. He will feel your dog’s stomach for anything out of the ordinary, feel his organs to make sure they are of normal and healthy size, and make sure your dog is over all healthy. He will also check inside ears, mouth and even express your dog’s anal glands if it needs done! If anything does seem out of the ordinary, your vet may have caught it in time before it became a serious threat to your pet’s life.
Nutrition for Health
Your dog needs to have a diet that is tasty, but also one that is healthy for him. Unfortunately, most manufactured pet foods, even the most popular ones you see advertised on television, are the worst for your dog’s benefit. Seek out foods that are grain free and made from whole foods instead of just meals and flours. Better yet, find a recipe book for raw or cooked homemade meals to keep your dog as healthy as he can be!
Don’t Be Fooled by Labels!
Sometimes a dog food product may seem like a great choice, but the nutritional ingredient list will tell the truth! Always read the ingredient list. The first three items listed are those in which the food holds the most of, so you must make sure no meals, by products or grains fall as those first three ingredients. You will also be able to seek out important items on an ingredient list. For example, if you want a high fiber food for a dog with digestive problems and find a food that claims to have pumpkin in it, flip the bag over and read the list! The further down pumpkin is on the list, the less amount of pumpkin is actually in each bite. The only way to be 100% certain of what and how much is in your dog’s food is to make it yourself!
If you want to stay involved with your dog’s health and proper care, ask questions to your vet! Learn about canine diet and never stop accepting new information! Science discovers new things almost daily when it comes to the dogs we love so much. Your thinking and feel about your dog may change with the more you learn, and your love for him will only grow with more knowledge!
Canine Social Anxiety
If you have ever bee nagged to start your puppy on socialization, it is in part due to the dibilitating effects of social anxiety. While dogs who were not socialized as puppies can have some degree of this anxiety, it is typically seen in a more devastating degree in dogs that have had no human contact. Dogs that come from puppy mills, including the breeder dogs from these mills or feral dogs that grew up wild can have extreme social anxiety.
The Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety appears in dogs just like it does with humans! It can come from a fear of the unknown or even fear after a traumatic event. The source of anxiety is the same, no matter which circumstance he is under, and that source is terror! If your dog is experiencing social anxiety, then you will know based on his behavior.
Behaviors exhibited during an anxiety attack from a dog could mean a total shut down of the dog’s emotions. This is similar to that of a human dissociating, or turning off their ability to function in reality. Basically, a dog having a total melt down with anxiety will hunker down to the ground, walk slowly, keep his tail tucked and refuse to acknowledge or obey you. This is because he has become so terrified, his mind has turned itself off to protect him, emotionally, from becoming more traumatized.
Other anxiety symptoms can be excessive or constant whining, barking and even growling. Your dog, when faced with his trigger of social environments or interaction will do whatever he thinks he needs to do to protect himself. In an attempt to protect himself, he could lash out at you or simply shut down, making your job as his caretaker far more difficult.
Help Your Dog Cope
Social anxiety in dogs is not something that can be trained out of him in a day, week or even a month. It is a fighting battle that can take many months or even years with consistent help and training. You can start your anxious dog down the path of healing his social anxiety with counter conditioning, which is the training tactic that helps change the way your dog feels about his trigger. If your dog was human, he would go to therapy, but since he is your furry best friend he is relying on you to help him through this.
Don’t be afraid or wait to contact a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist for help. Sometimes, dogs just need time and patience while other times they have real work in front of them that requires professional help. When it doubt, always ask a professional! Meanwhile, you can start by giving your dog a high value food treat whenever he sees his trigger, but this may only work for dogs who’s anxiety is not very severe. If your dog’s anxiety is so dire that he shuts down, you will need to start small and in a space he is comfortable and familiar with. Never punish a dog for anxiety, no matter how frustrated you get. Remember, he is terrified! If he shuts down, take the rest of the day off and let him settle in the most comfortable place he knows.
While some famous TV personalities will encourage you to punish a scared dog, in reality it only makes your dog’s behaviors worse. It can even lead to him lashing out and biting you or someone else. Instead, take it slow and stay within his threshold. If you don’t push him, he will gain more confidence and he will let you know when it’s time to take the next step!
You are your dog’s help. He cannot pick up the phone and call your local dog trainer nor ask you to do it for him. He does not know why he feels the way he does, but it is your responsibility to solve his problems. Do your anxious dog a favor and go slow, always provide praise and positive reinforcement for good behavior and never give your dog a reason to be anxious!
The Hyperactive Dog
Have you ever met a dog that seems to have springs on his paws instead of toes? You can envision him now, jumping up and down tirelessly with never ending energy! Dogs like this are labeled as hyperactive because they seem to just not stop moving! They develop undesirable behaviors like excessive barking, chewing and destructive habits. In more extreme cases, they may even begin to self mutilate, chewing at their own skin in an attempt to burn energy. It may seem like a never ending task to help these dogs, but it can be done!
The Tired Dog, The Good Dog
The age old saying, a tired dog is a good dog is not one to be argued with. A dog who has burned up his energy just wants to rest and relax. When a dog is tired, he doesn’t want to get into trouble or cause problems. For a hyperactive dog, however, becoming tired may be a difficult thing to accomplish! To figure out just why your dog is hyper you first need to look at him with a fresh set of eyes!
What breed is your dog? If he is of a working breed, such as a Border Collie or even a German Shepherd Dog then you could find yourself with a bored dog! Dogs in general are smart, but dogs who were bred to work or hunt are highly intelligent. They need a job to do! A job can be anything from learning tricks to running an agility course. There is a vast amount of activities and sports you can play with your dog, even if you never wish to compete in the ring. Mixed breed, purebreds and purposely bred hybrids all need a job, make sure the one you pick is something you both can enjoy!
Next, take a look at your dog’s schedule. Is he spending most of his time alone while you are at work? Does he get exercise beyond a simple one hour daily walk? For most dogs, one walk a day does not burn off their energy. Instead, they need the ability to run or jog for a period of time to really give them the exercise their body craves. Forcing an energetic dog to sit at home all day with nothing to do will surely put springs on his paws or entice him to become destructive to use up the energy he is stuck with.
Check the Food!
Just like with a human child, the foods your dog is eating could cause him to have more energy than he probably should! Diets, whether it is kibble, canned or homemade, that has grains and sugars in it will give your dog more energy. The carbohydrates in grains, including wheat, rice, soy and corn all turn to sugars inside the body. It doesn’t matter if a human eats it or a dog, but these carbs will also turn to fat if it is not used up through exercise. You can either increase your dog’s exercise regimen, or provide him a healthier diet!
Foods, including raw diets that are grain free and made up of almost all animal products will give your dog the healthy, balanced energy level he is naturally meant to have. This can help reduce his hyperactivity a great deal, while giving him the natural nutritional energy producers he is meant to ingest, like proteins and healthful fats.
Step It Up!
Unless your dog is of a special breed that requires limited exercise, like Pugs or Bulldogs, you should consider increasing your dog’s work outs! If you are not able to provide more than a simple walk a day, consider hiring a professional dog walker or even a dog jogger if one is in your area! These pet professionals can take your dog out for a run whenever you are at work or school. Doing so will drastically reduce his hyperactivity and unwanted behavioral problems.
Leaving your pet in the car even just for a few minutes may not seem like a big deal, but it could actually be very dangerous for your pets!
The temperature inside a vehicle can actually rise to higher than that of the outside especially during spring and summer when the temperatures go far higher than they do throughout the rest of the year. Combined with the enclosed space inside the vehicle, what may seem like a simple five minute trip to the store for you, could become a stuffy oven for your pet very quickly. This can result in exhaustion, sickness, and in more extreme cases death.
Even when the weather is colder and the temperature drops, the car can still become a very dangerous place if left alone for too long. However, you also may not want to leave your pet alone at home making it understandably difficult to decide what to do when you have an upcoming trip or simply a routine errand that needs to get done as soon as possible.
Alternatives for leaving your companion alone in the car include a ton of options such as leaving them with a friend, putting a leash on your pet and taking them with you if possible, utilizing more convenient options like a drive-thru if possible, and plenty more!
Knowing this, be careful when taking your pet places and consider the risks when leaving them in a vehicle even if it’s only for a few minutes.
Dog Food Recalls & Withdrawals
Image and Info via FDA. Veterinarians & pet owners are encouraged to report adverse experiences & product failures. http://go.usa.gov/VAV3
Do you know who to call if there is a problem with your dog’s food? When should you call?
Description of the problem with the product. Examples include:
- Foul odor, off color
- Swollen can or pouch, leaking container
- Foreign object found in the product.
It seems that we hear about Dog Food Recalls on a weekly basis, these are some of the recalls that we have heard of this year (2014). The information below comes from the FDA
Recalls – of which there are three types – are actions taken by a firm to remove a product from the market. Recalls may be conducted on a firm’s own initiative, by FDA request, or by FDA order under statutory authority.
||Presence of foreign material
||Mars Petcare US
||Presence of foreign material
||Mars Petcare US
|| Nutrena NatureWise
|| Champion Lamb Texturized
||High Copper Content
||PGG/HSC Feed Company, LLC
|| Hill’s Science Diet
||Dry dog food
||Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.
|| Pet Center, Inc.
||Lamb Crunchy’s Dog treats
||Pet Center, Inc.
||Dog and Cat Food
|| Purina, Del’s, Albers, Home Grown
||Low vitamin and mineral content
||Purina Animal Nutrition LLC
||Robert Abady Dog Food Co.,
||Dual channel infusion set
||Over-delivery may occur by gravity infusion
|| Hubbard Life, Joy, QC Plus
||Dog Food, Cat Food
|| Red Flannel
||PMI Nutrition, LLC (PMI)
Heartworm is a deadly parasite that lives in the heart and arteries of infected dogs, as well as some cats and wild animals. It is a serious disease that can be fatal without treatment. The good news is that prevention for your pet is simple and affordable.
Heartworms transfer to each animal by way of mosquitoes. When a mosquito carries infected blood from one animal to the next, heartworm larvae enter the muscle tissue and travel to the blood vessels. According to the ASPCA, “several hundred worms can live in one dog for five to seven years.” They can grow to reach twelve inches in length. They wreak havoc as they travel through arteries and vital organs, reaching their final destination of the lungs and heart.
Since mosquitoes play a key role in the contraction of this disease, animals that live in warm, humid climates (where mosquitoes are prevalent) are more susceptible. However, heartworm disease is widespread throughout the United States and any dog is vulnerable without the aid of preventative prescriptions.
Animals may not display symptoms of infection immediately; rather symptoms could take months or years to surface. Typical symptoms of this disease are coughing, vomiting, difficulty breathing, loss of weight, and fatigue. If your pet displays any of these signs of heartworm disease, you should contact your veterinarian.
A veterinarian can diagnose heartworm disease through a series of tests such as: examination, ultrasounds, and blood tests. It is important to have your vet test your dog for heartworm annually or before beginning a new heartworm preventative prescription.
Once your pet has been tested for heartworm, your vet may prescribe a preventative chewable pill which can be administered monthly. There are also topical products available which may be applied to the skin to prevent infection. It is recommended that you continue to administer preventative medication to your dog throughout the year to insure his safety, considering the medication also prevents infection from other parasites.
If your pet is diagnosed with heartworms, there are highly successful treatments. However, the treatment process is much more difficult than prevention. Treatment usually involves hospitalization, as well as a series of injections into the infected dog’s muscles. Follow up care includes restrictive exercise for several weeks, as well as preventative medication to decrease the risk of future infection.
Advancements in Heartworm prevention and treatment have come a long way in recent years. A fairly simple routine of testing your pet yearly and administering preventative medication monthly may save your pet from contracting this deadly disease.
In-Home Pet Care, Dog Walking
Tempe, Gilbert and Chandler, Arizona
Ear Infections: A Common Ailment for Many Dogs
Signs of an ear infection
Ear infections are very common among dogs. In fact, most dogs will suffer from an ear infection at least once in their life. So, how can a concerned dog owner recognize the signs of an ear infection, prevent them from occurring, and treat their pet’s ear infection when it does occur? Cesar Milan recently posted a great article written by Henry Cerny, DVM MS on his website addressing this very topic.
What causes ear infections in dogs?
Most ear infections found in adult canines are caused by bacteria and/or yeast. More commonly in puppies, ear mites are found to be the source of ear infections. Having your veterinarian take a sample and look under the microscope will help them to identify the root of the problem.
What are the signs of an ear infection?
Becoming aware of the signs that your pet may have an ear infection will help you to address the infection before it gets out of hand. Typical signs of ear infection are: scratching, rubbing, shaking of the ears, unusual odor coming from the ears, and/or pain and sensitivity in the ear area.
How can I prevent my dog from contracting an ear infection?
Ear infections commonly occur as a result of too much moisture in the ear canal. This may be from bathing, swimming, or grooming. The excess moisture creates an environment ideal for bacterial and yeast growth. One way to prevent ear infections would be to routinely clean and dry your pet’s ears after bathing, swimming, or grooming.
Ear infections may also occur as a side effect of your pet’s allergies. These allergies may come from pollens, dust, mold, or food. When a dog suffers from an allergic reaction, the skin inside the ear becomes inflamed and promotes the growth of bacteria and/or yeast already living inside the ear. To prevent ear infections from occurring as a result of allergies, you must first identify the source of the allergy and then try to reduce your pet’s exposure to the particular allergen. Also, routinely cleaning and drying the ear with ear cleaner made specifically for dogs will help to prevent bacterial and yeast growth.
How do I treat my dog’s ear infections?
If you suspect that your dog has an ear infection, the best thing to do is take him to see your veterinarian. Special medication is usually prescribed for treating the ear infection. First, you will need to gently clean the infected area with a mild dog ear cleaning solution. Fill a small amount into the ear and carefully cover it with a cotton ball. Then, rub the cotton ball softly in a circular motion. Repeat the process for as long as your dog will allow until the cotton ball comes out fairly clean after rubbing inside the ear. Once cleaned, the ear is ready for the medication that your vet has prescribed. Dr. Cerny warns to never use Q-tips, as they may push the debris further into the ear canal, and never use harsh cleansers such as rubbing alcohol. In most cases, topical ointment is all that is needed to effectively treat a dog’s ear infection. However, in severe cases, oral antibiotics may be prescribed as well.
Considering the likelihood that your dog will eventually encounter an ear infection at some time in their life, and also considering how much pain and discomfort they may go through, it is wise to be aware of the signs of ear infections, ways to prevent them, as well as ways to treat them. Your perky-eared pet will be very thankful!
In-Home Pet Care, Dog Walking
Tempe, Gilbert and Chandler, Arizona
Warning Signs of Diabetes in Dogs
Certified Professional Pet Care Specialist
Diabetes mellitus, otherwise known as “sugar diabetes” is commonly found in canines. The illness arises when dogs are unable to metabolize enough sugar.
Early warning signs of diabetes in dogs are:
– Increase in appetite
– Frequent urination
– Unexplained weight loss
– Lab results showing high glucose levels in the blood and urine
More advanced symptoms include:
– Loss of appetite
Diabetes in pets may be managed with dietary control and daily insulin shots in most cases. Noticing the early warning signs and acting on them could save your pet’s life. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you feel that your pet displays any of these symptoms. Information provided by WebMD
In-Home Pet Care, Dog Walking
Tempe, Gilbert and Chandler, Arizona
When the weather is chilly, take a few minutes to think about your furry friends.
Here are some tips to care for your pets in cold weather.
- Keep your cat indoors during cold weather, as it is very possible he or she could freeze if left outside.
- In the winter time, outdoor cats often sleep under the hoods of cars. So, before you start your car, be sure to make a loud noise near the hood, to give a cat the opportunity to escape.
- Always keep tags on your dogs, and never let them off the leash in the winter time. Dogs have a more difficult time tracking scents in the winter time, especially in snow. They can get lost more easily.
- Make sure to wipe your pet’s paws when they come indoors after walking in snow or ice. If they lick their paws, they could potentially ingest harmful chemicals such as: antifreeze and salts used on icy roads.
- Keep your dog bundled up during the winter months. Never shave your long haired dog during the winter. Consider putting your short haired dog in a warm sweater for the winter.
- Be sure to dry your pet completely after baths if you plan to take them for a walk. Never let them walk outside in the cold with a wet coat.
- Don’t ever leave your pet in your car alone in cold weather. During the winter months, your car traps in cold air and pets could potentially freeze to death.
- Some pets are sensitive to cold weather because of their age, breed, or illnesses they may have. During the cold months, limit your sensitive pet’s exposure to the weather by keeping them indoors with the exception of potty breaks.
- For dogs who are very active outside during the winter months, pet owners should be sure to increase their food supply, particularly their protein consumption.
- Provide a warm, safe place for your pets to sleep in the winter time such as a soft dog bed and blanket.
Information provided by ASPCA website. For more information on this topic and many others, please visit www.aspca.org.
Dog Walking, Pet Sitting
TLC House & Pet Sitting Service
How Holistic Medicine Can Help Your Pet(s):
What is holistic medicine?
Holistic care is based on using your body’s own natural healing powers to help the body heal itself. The four main therapies used to do so are:
- Acupuncture – the insertion of needles at specific body points in an effort to restore the flow of energy to the body.
- Chiropractic – the manipulation of the vertebrae to correct alignment.
- Homeopathic – A system for treating disease based on the administration of minute doses of a drug that in massive amounts produces symptoms in healthy individuals similar to those of the disease itself. (The free dictionary)
- Herbal medicine – the use of specific herbs and plants for medicinal purposes.
Most of us have used Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Herbs, Homeopathy, and Nutritional Supplement on ourselves, but most people do not considered “Holistic” medicine or these modalities to treat their pets. The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Board) does not currently recognize all modalities as effective, but this does not imply that Holistic modalities are not effective. They are best used in conjunction with regular western veterinary medicine.
Your pets can also benefit by eating healthier foods and finding the right medical care when needed. Medical care can be with a regular veterinarian or a holistic veterinarian. For example, acupuncture can be used to relieve pain and strengthen the body’s immune system; herbal medicines can enhance nutrition, improve body synergy, and homeopathy can treat the deepest innate causes of your pet’s diseases. 1
“Did you know that “Holistic” medicine is a term used to encompass all of the different medical modalities?
When Holistic medicine modalities are used in conjunction with Western medicine modalities, all of these “tools” create a complete toolbox™ with which a trained veterinarian may more fully serve the pet and owner. For instance, Acupuncture by itself is only one part of Holistic medicine–one branch, one theory of medicine, one tool in the Complete Toolbox™ of Veterinarian Holistic healthcare.” 2.
Which modality is best?No one modality is best, sometimes you need to use multiple tools to be most effective.
Why choose holistic veterinary care?While most western medical approach may work for infectious diseases, holistic medicine uses preventative measures by treating the whole body. Holistic veterinary care is much more effective when treating chronic illnesses like heart disease, obesity, allergies, digestive problems, joint pain, emotional imbalances, cancer support and dental health. 3. Western medicine is and can be helpful too. For emergency situations requiring surgery, for example, Western medicine will save a pet’s life. In addition, holistic veterinarians also integrate Western diagnostic methods in their care regimen, such as X-rays and laboratory tests.
What to look for in a holistic practitioner?A good holistic practitioner must have a thorough working knowledge of traditional medicine, certifications for each tool and demonstrate a good education in each of these different modalities. They should have a network of experienced practitioners helping advance their knowledge base, such as local acupuncturists, chiropractors or other holistic vets upon whom they can call for advice. They must be able to work with your existing traditional veterinarian to maximize your pet’s ability to heal. A holistic veterinarian must welcome the traditional expertise and integrate with them to optimize your pet’s ability to heal. A fully trained “Holistic” Veterinarian will have Acupuncture, Herbs, Homeopathy, Nutritional Supplements, Chiropractic, Western or Allopathic, Aryvedic, Massage, Physical Therapy, and Aromatherapy tools available all in one practice. 2
Does holistic therapy cost more?Medical treatments can get expensive, but some holistic approaches offer cheaper and equally effective results. Because herbs and nutritional supplements can’t be patented, the holistic veterinarian can offer a wider array of remedies. This can make a significant difference, especially in chronic illness cases.4
Where do I find out more information about holistic medicine?
Pet owners can conduct a free search for holistic veterinarians by state or specialty at the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association’s website.
How to find one- http://www.ahvma.org/Widgets/FindVet.html
1. petMD’s Yahaira Cespedes spoke with Nancy Scanlan, executive director of the American Holistic Veterinary Medicine Association (AHVMA), to bring us more on the developments in this exciting field of veterinary medicine.
2. Veterinarian Holistic Health Care – What is It Really?©
By Nancy Brandt DVM, CVA, CAC
3. Posted by Holistic Veterinary Care http://piedmont.patch.com/groups/holistic-veterinary-cares-blog/p/bp–9-common-pet-conditions-that-benefit-from-holistic-medicine
Your cat is a marvel of consistency – sleeps in the same place, eats the same amount of food and drinks the same amount of water. Every day. This love of routine can make it easy to spot early indicators that your cat’s health may not be right. And those telltale signs are often waiting in your cat’s litter box.
TLC offers regular litter box cleaning as part of our service. But it is more than just changing the litter. Our sitters are trained to monitor the scoops they make each visit. Among the things we look for are color (signs of blood in the urine or stool), odor (anything unusual), size of the urine clump (urinary tract concerns) and parasites in the stool.
Not all the clues reside inside the litter box. If there are not the expected number of urine clumps our sitters can alert you to this change of behavior. Peeing outside the box can be an expression of misdirected aggression (see previous post) by your cat. Somehow her environment is not to her liking and you can take steps to correct the situation.
An abnormal litterbox does not automatically portend trouble but regular monitoring is a sure way help prevent trouble from brewing and keeping your cat happy.
“If your dog is fat, you aren’t getting enough exercise.”
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention tells us that out of America’s 77.5 million dogs 35 million can be called overweight and 6.7 million are downright obese. Those extra pounds can take away an average of two years from our dogs’ lives and contribute to joint problems, respiratory diseases and a host of other ailments that can affect a dog’s quality of life.
And it is not just your dog’s physical health that is adversely affected by a lack of exercise. Regular exercise and companionship are critical to your pet’s mental and physical well-being. A stimulating break in a lonely day can curb destructive behavior and alleviate separation anxiety in your pet. Exercise helps promote a daily bathroom routine and break the lifestyle cycle that can lead to obesity. A dog accustomed to regular exercise is generally a better candidate for training. Activity reduces stress and a calmer dog is less aggressive and easier on your house.
Of course, like us dogs that have spent their lives as couch potatoes are not ready to leap into a vigorous exercise routine. At TLC our sitters/walkers are attuned to the exercise requirements and capabilities of different breeds at different times in their lives. We will not give a dog more to do on a walk than what she is capable of.
With most us working full-time, or even more, pets don’t always fit into a busy schedule. Do you realize that with just a 20-minute walk with a TLC sitter every day your dog will walk far enough in his lifetime to cross the United States? But dogs aren’t the only pets that benefit from exercise. Your TLC sitter will play with your cat or let your hamster out for a run on the wheel during a scheduled visit. All dog walking is kept to minimum in summer. TLC sitter’s can still exercise your pets with out having to walk your dogs outside.
In-Home Pet Care, Dog Walking