Dog Health

Ah-Choo! Does Your Dog Reverse Sneeze?

Simone-dalmeri-FUR242Eu_z4-unsplashMy little dog occasionally snorts uncontrollably. While the episode doesn't last long, it's actually pretty frightening to watch since it looks like he is in considerable discomfort. According to our vet, it's a harmless condition that's quite common in dogs. The official name is "mechanosensitive aspiration reflex" but it is colloquially known as "reverse sneezing."

If your dog ever does this, PetPlace.com has published a very comprehensive article about reverse sneezing that should allay any fears. The article includes:

  1. What is Reverse Sneezing in Dogs?
  2. What Does a Reverse Sneeze Look Like?
  3. How Long Do Episodes of Reverse Sneezing Last?
  4. What Does Reverse Dog Sneezing Sound and Look Like?
  5. What Causes Reverse Sneezing in Dogs?
  6. Which Breeds are Most Likely to Reverse Sneeze?
  7. What is the Treatment for Reverse Sneezing in Dogs?
  8. How to Stop a Reverse Sneezing Episode in Dogs
  9. What to Watch For
  10. Prevention of Reverse Sneezing in DOgs
  11. FAQs About Reverse Sneezing in Dogs
  12. Final Thoughts on Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

Read the article here:

https://www.petplace.com/article/dogs/pet-health/reverse-sneezing-in-dogs/?

Photo by Simone Dalmeri on Unsplash


Caution! Beware of Xylitol

CautionMany dog owners know that if ingested, chocolate is dangerous to dogs. But more than half of dog owners don't know about the danger of another common substance: Xylitol.

Xylitol is found in sugar-free gum, but increasingly, it is also found in other foods as a substitute for sugar. It may be in candy, mints, peanut and other nut butters, cookies, ice cream, yogurt, jams, syrups and even toothpaste.

According to PreventiveVet.com, xylitol poisoning cases reported to the ASPCA's Animal Control Poison Center have skyrocketed. For example, in 2005, just 201 cases of xylitol poisoning were reported. Just five years later, in 2010, 2,537 cases were reported. In 2018, 6,760 cases were reported. Those are just the cases reported to the ASPCA -- not every case of xylitol poisoning.

In July 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA) published a report on the dangers of xylitol to dogs. The FDA wrote:

In both people and dogs, the level of blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. In people, xylitol does not stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas. However, it’s different in canines: When dogs eat something containing xylitol, the xylitol is more quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, and may result in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas.

This rapid release of insulin may result in a rapid and profound decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycemia), an effect that can occur within 10 to 60 minutes of eating the xylitol. Untreated, this hypoglycemia can quickly be life-threatening...

Dr. Martine Hartogensis, a veterinarian at the FDA recommends, "Check the label for xylitol in the ingredients of products, especially ones that advertise as sugar-free or low sugar. If a product does contain xylitol, make sure your pet can't get to it."


Can You Give Your Dog Benadryl?

Editor's Note: Be sure to consult your veterinarian before following any advice about medicating your dog.

Screen Shot 2021-07-05 at 4.41.03 PMTwo veterinarians have written a comprehensive article for PetPlace.com about the pros and cons of giving your dog Benadryl -- the brand name for diphenhydramine. The article covers the following areas:

  • What is Benadryl?
  • Uses of diphenhydramine for dogs
  • Precautions and side effects
  • Drug interactions with Benadryl
  • Benadryl dosing for dogs
  • Overdose of Benadryl for dogs
  • FAQs about Benadryl in dogs

The article's authors indicate that Benadryl/diphenhydramine "can be safe and effective for dogs" when prescribed by a veterinarian. It is used primarily to treat chronic allergic symptoms but can also be used for other purposes, such as the treatment of motion sickness and to reduce adverse reactions to vaccines.

Read the entire article here: https://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/drug-library/library/diphenhydramine-benadryl-for-dogs/?


How to Help Your Aging Pet

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An organization called HandicappedPets.com provides "Walkin' Pets," products, a broad range of dog wheelchairs, dog harnesses/slings and other items specially designed for dogs with mobility issues. Very often, older dogs suffer from arthritis or other chronic conditions that make it painful to walk or even move.

The organization has also published "How to Help Your Aging Pet," a very informative eBook that includes:

  • Six signs of aging in senior dogs
  • How to spot early signs of mobility loss
  • What can I do if my dog has DM (Degenerative Myelopathy)
  • How can I help my dog with IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease)
  • How can I help my dog with Hip Dysplasia
  • Improving indoor mobility
  • Life with a disabled pet

Download a free copy (PDF) of this booklet below.

Download How to Help Your Aging Pet eBook


Your Dog and Fiber

Kabo-gikJaHkQ3yA-unsplashMost humans are aware that a certain amount of fiber can maintain and even improve our health. It turns out that fiber may be a good thing for your dog too. While most commercial dog foods provide adequate fiber for your pet, supplemental fiber may be recommended by your vet for certain conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, or digestive irregularity.

The proper amount of fiber in your dog's diet can promote healthy digestion, maintain a good weight and help regulate blood sugar. Common, safe foods that can be used to increase a dog's fiber intake include pumpkin, sweet potato and brown rice. Check out the helpful article about fiber in PetPlace.

It is essential to discuss the need for fiber with your vet before deciding whether or not to increase your dog's fiber intake beyond what he or she gets from dog food.

Photo by Kabo on Unsplash


Watch Out for Poisonous Plants

Flowers-1845074_1920Spring is here and that means you might let your dog wander around your yard for long periods of time. It's generally healthy for dogs to be outside but dangers lurk in what you may think are harmless plants. It turns out that some common plants are poisonous for pets. Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers a helpful database of "Poisonous Plants Affecting Dogs," categorized as follows:

  • House plants
  • Flower garden plants
  • Vegetable garden plants
  • Plants found in swamps or moist areas
  • Plants found in fields
  • Trees and shrubs
  • Plants found in wooded areas
  • Ornamental plants.

Did you know, for example, that the common outdoor garden plants bleeding heart, iris and lily-of-the-valley are all poisonous?

Check out this valuable database here: http://poisonousplants.ansci.cornell.edu/dogs/index.html?

Image by Spiritze from Pixabay


How to Get Your Senior Dog Moving Again...Safely

Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 12.18.51 PMAccording to the Dog Aging Project, "Decreased mobility can be a huge factor in decreased quality of life for our senior dogs." In a recent blog post, the Dog Aging Project offers some valuable tips and tricks to get your senior dog moving again...safely. The post addresses these two common questions:

  1. My dog has a lot of trouble getting up and walking on hardwood or tile floors. What can be done to help her?
  2. My senior dog can no longer jump into the car or up on the couch. How can I help him?

Of course, you should speak with your veterinarian -- but this post shares some excellent, specific tips and tricks in answer to each of these questions. If you have a senior dog who is having any kind of mobility issues, this information is well worth reading. You can find the post here: https://dogagingproject.org/mobility-tips-and-tricks-for-senior-dogs/?

Image: Dog Aging Project


Top Pet Toxins According to the ASPCA

CautionEach year, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) releases a list of the leading pet toxins. These substances are commonly found in most every home so, as a dog owner, you should be aware of their danger. The following information is from the ASPCA.

For the third year in a row, human over-the-counter (OTC) medications lead the top toxins list, making up nearly 17 percent of APCC’s total case volume. The most common items in this category include cold medications, vitamins, and pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen, which can all cause life-threatening medical issues. Because these items are easily accessible to pets in homes, purses, and backpacks, the ASPCA urges pet owners to take extra precautions and keep all toxic items, especially medications, securely locked in a cabinet.

The remaining nine items on the 2020 list, making up nearly 80 percent of all APCC cases, include the following:

  1. Human Prescription Medications remained at number two in 2020 with antidepressant, anticonvulsant, and cardiac medication ingestions being the most common cases. Like OTC medications, many of these prescriptions can cause gastrointestinal issues and may even lead to kidney failure.
  2. Food Products continue to occupy the third spot, making up 13 percent of total cases in 2020. This year, protein and snack bar exposures along with grapes, raisins, xylitol, onions, and garlic made up most food toxicity cases.
  3. Chocolate ingestion cases continue to increase year after year. APCC handles almost 76 cases of chocolate exposure each day. It’s important for pet owners to remember that the higher the cocoa content, the more dangerous the chocolate will be for your pet.
  4. Plants, both indoor and outdoor, moved up three spots to number five in 2020, with the APCC seeing 9,000 more plant-related calls compared to the previous year. At the start of the pandemic, more people found themselves decorating with plants, especially succulents, or sending bouquets to friends and family. While many plants pose a serious threat to pets, there are also many pet friendly houseplants to consider.
  5. The last five toxins on the list include household items such as cleaning products and paint; rodenticides; veterinary products such as pet medications; insecticides and gardening products including fertilizer.

For more information about the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, please visit www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435 or contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible.  


Does Your Dog Suffer from CDS?

Sharon-mccutcheon-j7mcNG_2vuo-unsplashDogs can suffer from dimentia just like humans. About 68 percent of dogs ages 15 to 16, and 28 percent of dogs ages 11 to 12, are affected by Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS).

This helpful article discusses in detail signs, symptoms and treatments for CDS. According to the article:

Many vets use the acronym DISHAAL to assess for cognitive dysfunction. DISHAAL stands for

  • Disorientation
  • alterations in Interactions with owners, other pets and the environment 
  • Sleep-wake cycle disturbances 
  • House soiling
  • changes in Activity 
  • Anxiety
  • Learning and memory impairment. 

If your dog exhibits any of the above signs, it could be CDS or some other condition -- but you definitely want to consult your vet. Start your assessment and improve your understanding of CDS by reading the article here: https://www.nextavenue.org/dementia-in-pets-what-you-need-to-know/

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash


$5 Rabies Shots at Greenville Humane - March Only

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Greenville Humane Society (Greenville, SC) is offering $5 rabies vaccinations through the end of March. They are now accepting walk-in visitors from 9 AM through 3 PM for all vaccine clinic services. The number of clients in the building at any one time will be limited, however. Please call (864) 263-5611 before you come to avoid a wait time when visiting without an appointment. Alternatively, you can make an appointment here: https://www.greenvillehumane.com/vaccine-clinic/


Testing Your Dog's DNA

Dog-2520857_1920One of the most popular dog breeds isn't a breed at all -- it's the mixed breed, sometimes affectionately known as a "mutt." The mixed breed is found throughout dogdom, very often available at animal shelters and rescue organizations. It turns out that mixed breed dogs are typically healthier than pure-bred dogs, so they are among the best dogs to own. Still, many dog owners would like to know the breeds that actually make up their dogs. This is the main reason dog DNA tests have flooded the market.

Testing your dog's DNA is likely to be the most accurate way to determine the breed mix. Yourdogadvisor.com has put together a helpful, comprehensive guide to DNA testing. It includes:

  • Why Do a Dog DNA Test?
  • How Dog DNA Test Work
  • The Best Dog DNA Tests - Our Thoughts
  • Reviews of four DNA test brands

You can access this free guide here: https://yourdogadvisor.com/best-dog-dna-test/

Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay


Taking Care of Your Senior Dog

As dogs age, they slow down, exhibit behavior more typical of seniors and sometimes develop health conditions -- just like Jairo-alzate-L-pkb93pBP8-unsplash humans. If you have a senior dog, you probably already deal with some of these issues. If so, you will want to read an excellent and informative article, "Preventive Care for Senior Dogs" from the Dog Aging Project.

This article offers comprehensive, authoritative answers to the following questions:

  • How often should I take my senior dog to the veterinarian?
  • What signs should I look for that would prompt me to take my aging dog to the veterinarian sooner than six months?
  • Once I get to the veterinarian's office, what should I discuss with my veterinarian? What information about my older dog is important to mention?
  • What does a veterinarian assess during my dog's physical exam?
  • What vaccinations should my senior dog receive?
  • What preventive medications should my senior dog take?
  • What diet and supplements should my senior dog take?
  • Is dental care important for my senior dog?

Read the entire article here: https://dogagingproject.org/preventive-care-senior-dogs/?

Photo by Jairo Alzate on Unsplash


How to Enrich Your Dog's Life

Lena-balk-Jh7mx7fMXzE-unsplash"Canine enrichment" is a phrase dog behaviorists use to define specific ways for how to make a dog's life happy and healthy. In a recent article for The Bark, animal behaviorist and dog trainer Karen London discusses tips which she discovered in the book, Canine Enrichment for the Real World: Making It a Part of Your Dog’s Daily Life by Allie Bender and Emily Strong. London highlights the following important points about enrichment:

  • "Ideal enrichment varies by individual as well as by breed"
  • "Providing choices to a dog is a great form of enrichment"
  • "Physical exercise affects the brain, mood, digestion, memory, appetite" and more
  • "Safety and security are critical elements of enrichment"
  • "Mental stimulation is an important part of enrichment"
  • "Let them be dogs!"

The article is worth reading -- and the book is a must if you want to really enrich your dog's life!

Photo by Lena Balk on Unsplash


Does Your Dog Need a Sweater?

Screen Shot 2021-02-19 at 11.16.56 AMCold temperatures mean bundling up for humans... but what about your dog? Short-haired dogs and small dogs in particular may not produce enough body heat during colder weather, so a sweater for these pups is probably a good idea. One caution, though: Some dogs willingly accept sweaters while others simply won't tolerate them.

YourDogAdvisor.com has put together an informative and comprehensive guide to dog sweaters. It includes information on sizes as well as the best dog sweaters. Six dog sweaters are reviewed in detail. Check it out here: https://yourdogadvisor.com/best-dog-sweater/

Image: YourDogAdvisor.com


Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance

Matthew-henry-2Ts5HnA67k8-unsplashIf you've taken your dog to the vet recently, you know that the cost of veterinary care can be substantial. Some pet owners might find it beneficial to purchase a pet insurance policy, especially if their pet has chronic health conditions or is older.

Money.com has put together a helpful guide to ten of the pet insurance providers they consider to be the best. The guide covers pet care (urgent vs. routine check-ups), Covid-19, important facts about pet insurance plans, pet insurance companies’ pros and cons, and detailed FAQs.

The guide is a must if you are considering pet insurance. You can find it here: https://money.com/best-pet-insurance/
 

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash


Winter Safety for Your Dog

This information is being provided as a public service from the Watauga Humane Society:

Dog-1144641_1920Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:

  • Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
  • Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
  • Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
  • Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
  • Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  • Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  • Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.
  • Check your car! During the cold winter months, cats can climb into the wheel wells of cars to keep warm. Check your car before you start it by banging loudly on the hood or honking your horn. This gives any snoozing cats a chance to run away before you start driving.

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay


The Danger of Xylitol for Your Dog

CautionEver feed your dog peanut butter? Did you check the label first? It may shock you to learn that some peanut butters contain a sugar substitute called xylitol. According to veterinarian Dr. Stephanie Silberstang, writing for PetPlace, "Although xylitol is safe for human consumption... it can be fatal when ingested by dogs. ...although dogs can tolerate regular sugar, xylitol is absorbed rapidly and can cause a spike in insulin. Because xylitol is not sugar, a spike in insulin causes severe hypoglycemia that can result in weakness, collapse, and seizures."

Xylitol is also commonly found in such ordinary items as mints, toothpaste, dietary supplements, gum and even baked goods. It's important to read the ingredients on any product label before giving your dog any food intended for humans. If one of those ingredients is xylitol, keep it away from your dog.

For more information about xylitol's dangers and how to treat xylitol toxicity, read Silberstang's article here: https://www.petplace.com/article/dogs/pet-health/xylitol-toxicity-dogs/?


If You Have a Senior Dog, Read This...

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The Dog Aging Project has published an authoritative, comprehensive article just for senior dog owners: "Understanding Behavioral Changes in Senior Dogs." It discusses:

  • Why do we see behavioral changes in senior dogs?
  • What behavioral changes should I look for in my senior dog?
  • What should I do if I see behavioral changes in my older dog?

The article offers a good overview of DISHA, a broad classification of behaviors that may be related to cognitive dysfunction, which is commonly seen in senior dogs.

Check out the complete article here: https://dogagingproject.org/understanding-behavioral-changes-in-senior-dogs/?

Photo by Pavel Anoshin on Unsplash


Canine Obesity is a Serious Problem

Thick-4392363_1920Did you know that 53 percent of dogs in America are obese? Canine obesity is a serious problem but it is generally caused by two simple factors: Your dog gets too many calories and/or your dog doesn't get enough exercise. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? It's the same problem some people have!

According to PetPlace
, if your dog is overweight, it's time to create an "obesity management program." That isn't as hard to do as the name implies: It means collaborating with your vet to properly feed your dog and ensure adequate exercise. It's important that everyone in your household understand and agree to the program so you can maintain consistency.

Dogs follow the lead of their people -- and they know how to push your buttons! While you may think it is a nice treat to give your dog "people food," particularly around the holidays, it really isn't a good idea. Just like with people, that's when pups can pack on the pounds. In addition, even if your dog seems hungry (and some dogs always seem hungry) it's best to keep portion sizes appropriate. For most dogs, daily exercise is an important part of obesity management -- so you or someone in your household needs to make that commitment. You should also know that some dog breeds, such as labs and golden retrievers, are more likely to gain weight as they age than others.

Here's a helpful article about dog obesity causes and cures from PetMD.

Image by Светлана Бердник from Pixabay