Dog Health

Ingredients for a "Happy Hound"

Guest Post by Jessica Brody

Noemi-macavei-katocz-c7bUIRBqapA-unsplashAs a doggy parent, taking care of your four-legged companion comes naturally. Your dog loves your company and that seems to be all a dog needs. But the basics of dog care are important and will provide a good foundation. As much as your dog needs love, they also need nutrition and playtime. So here are some tips to make sure your four-legged friend is not only happy, but healthy as well!

Good fences make safe dogs

Your dog might prefer to have free rein over the neighborhood but as hard as this might be to believe, not everyone loves your dog as much as you do. So to protect them from all kinds of threats that range from traffic to other dogs to less-than-enthusiastic neighbors, consider installing a fence around your yard.

Craftsmanship, height and style choice are the keys to results that are both secure and aesthetically appealing. If you’re handy you can install it yourself, but if not, searching websites like Angi.com will lead you to reputable fencing companies near your location.

Navigating the claims of dog food makers

There are many kinds of dog food that vary greatly in quality and price. The trend toward holistic dog food is a move in the direction of healthier ingredients. According to veterinary doctor Natalie Stilwell, however, there are no industry standards when it comes to labeling a dog food “holistic,” while terms like “organic” or “natural” are more defined. So it’s best to do a little research before being won over by the claims made by the manufacturer.

Humans and dogs are really different when it comes to digestion. So while it’s tempting, it’s best to keep table scraps to a minimum, or to at least know what’s not good for your dog, since some foods can actually pose a health risk, according to Animal Planet. For instance, common food items such as milk, chocolate, garlic, avocadoes, grapes, and raisins should all be avoided.

If you want to reward your dog, look for treats made specifically for them, such as doggy ice cream, cookies, and flavored treats. Make sure the dog food you serve is up to par too, containing plenty of protein, veggies, fruits, grains, and a clearly labeled “best by” date. Keep in mind that dogs need different food for various stages of life, so check in with your vet to ensure your dog is getting the right kind of food to promote healthy growth and development.

Walks, yes, but also playtime

You already know that your dog needs daily exercise, but a walk around the neighborhood is only half of it. Your pooch needs playtime to burn off energy, satisfy their natural need to explore, and provide physical and mental stimulation. By offering opportunities for play, you not only prevent bad behaviors such as chewing or barking, but also teach your dog important lessons with boundaries.

When you take your dog to the dog park, you don’t want to be shunned because your dog doesn’t know how to play nice. By playing with your dog, you can build up obedience while also addressing bad behavior, both of which carry over into other areas. As long as your pooch is having fun, nearly any form of play can be beneficial. Check out a new hiking trail, or try new activities such as flyball or agility courses, and keep that brain sharp with puzzle toys and new tricks. You can even get your dog speech buttons to help them better communicate.

Add doggy daycare to the mix

Unfortunately, not everyone can take their dog to work. Consider a dog walker or doggy daycare for the long blocks of time when you have to be away. At doggy daycare your dog will get to play and socialize. They may be so tired they’ll fall asleep on the ride home. They’ll look forward to going and you'll feel good knowing they aren’t bored at home all day.

Once they’re used to going, doggy daycare can cure separation anxiety. It establishes a routine and provides physical exercise. It can help ease your play and walk responsibilities for when you’ve had an exhausting day, and you still get to be together to relax at the end of the day.

Your dog is probably going to love you no matter what. But feeding your dog right and providing exercise and mental stimulation can keep your dog healthy and happy.

Jessica Brody created http://ourbestfriends.pet/ so others could find a place to share stories and photos of their beloved animal companions.

Photo by Noémi Macavei-Katócz on Unsplash


Get Your Dog Vaccinated in Greenville, SC

Greenville Humane Society offers affordable vaccines and other services at its Vaccine Clinic at 305 Airport Road in Greenville, SC. Appointments and walk-in visits are available on Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 4 PM. The clinic is also open on the 2nd Thursday of every month from 5:30 to 7 PM, and on the 1st Saturday of every month from 9 AM to 12 PM. 

Prices for commonly administered vaccines are as follows:

Screen Shot 2021-08-23 at 5.12.38 PMFor more information, call (864) 263-5611 or visit https://www.greenvillehumane.com/vaccine-clinic/



The Dog Days of Summer are Dangerous for Your Dog

Jorgen-hendriksen-NLYlix4HQAI-unsplashThis information is provided as a public service from Blue Ridge Humane Society:

Don't let your dog be a hotdog this summer! With the extreme temps, it's even more important to take a little extra care for your cats and dogs to keep them hydrated and safe.
 
Following are some tips to help keep any pet comfortable and safe this summer:
  • Never leave your pet in the car! Even at “lower” temperatures the interior temperature quickly becomes unsafe for any animal! Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in several states, including North Carolina.
  • Pets can also get dehydrated easily, so make sure to give them lots of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors.
  • When you are outside, make sure that there are shady places for your pet to get out of the sun, but even then be mindful that shade doesn’t lower the temperature that much. Get outside in the morning or evening when it’s cooler, and get your pets inside when it’s extremely hot out.
  • Be alert with your pets around water! Not all dogs can swim well! If your dog goes into the pool, rinse them off to remove chemicals like chlorine or salt, and try to keep any of your pets from drinking pool water!
  • Don’t forget that the ground can also be hot, especially if you’re walking on asphalt. The radiating heat can increase your dog’s body temp and their paw pads may burn. Look for grassy areas or ways to minimize walks on hot surfaces during the summer.
  • Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
Finally, there are many products and ways to help keep your pet cool like giving your pet frozen, filled Kongs, ice cubes, cat popsicles made from food that has been frozen, or pet-friendly ice cream from your favorite pet store.

Photo by Jorgen Hendriksen on Unsplash


Keeping Your Dog Hydrated

Rafael-ishkhanyan-tj0XGdGWUmE-unsplashAccording to PetPlace.com, "Dogs generally need more water compared to their body weight than their human companions do. A rule of thumb suggests that dogs should drink a fluid ounce of liquid for each pound of body weight. As with people, needs will depend on various factors. Active dogs and pups who live in hot climates, for example, may need extra water each day."

That's why it's important to have fresh water always available for your dog, at home, on hikes and when you travel. PetPlace has published a comprehensive article about this subject that includes:

  • How much water do pets need each day?
  • Why is water important to pets?
  • Signs of dehydration in pets
  • Testing for dehydration
  • Can pets drink too much water?

You can find the article here: https://www.petplace.com/article/general/pet-health/how-much-water-do-dogs-cats-need/?

Photo by Rafael Ishkhanyan on Unsplash


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

Screen Shot 2021-05-04 at 11.21.47 AM
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