Dog Health

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...

Pavel-anoshin-m-fvIeA9WZU-unsplash
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


It's Pumpkin Season... and That's a Good Thing for Your Dog

Dog-5626323_1920Pumpkin may or may not be a favorite of yours -- but it's a food that is good for your dog, particularly if he or she is having any stomach issues. Veterinarian Yvonne Stemwedel tells Eating Well, “It’s most useful for cases of what we call ‘dietary indiscretion’—meaning the dog has eaten something it shouldn’t have.” Veterinarian Ana Grum says its helps improve gastrointestinal issues and can be effective in relieving diarrhea.

In addition, pumpkin is nutritious and filling. It contains Vitamin A and potassium, good for a dog's coat, muscles and kidney function. Pumpkin's fiber content makes it a good option for weight management as well because it gives dogs a feeling of fullness, causing them to eat less.

The correct preparation for fresh pumpkin -- for dogs at least -- is to cook it and mash it with no seasoning, sweeteners or additives. Canned, 100 percent pumpkin is suitable, but pumpkin pie filling is not a good idea. Read this article for more tips.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay


ReTail Scene: Especially for Handicapped Dogs

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Does your dog have trouble walking? Has your dog had leg or hip surgery that makes it difficult or impossible to walk? Then you need to check out all of the specially-made devices from Walkin' Pets by HandicappedPets.com. Walkin' Pets was created in 2001 for pets with mobility issues. Founder Mark C. Robinson's goal is to help extend the lives of beloved pets who are aging, injured or have special needs.

Check out the website for Fall deals on some of their wheelchairs, scooters, harnesses, splints, boots and more:

https://www.handicappedpets.com/on-sale/

Image: Walkin' Pets


Fall Hiking and Ticks

Tick-1465065_1920Fall is a great time for hiking with your dog in the Carolina mountains, but one of the nuisances, and sometimes health risks for dogs is ticks. It is very easy for a tick to embed itself in your dog's coat and attach to its skin. Dogs and humans barely notice the tiny tick, but it can be far more than an inconvenience and do more damage than you may think.

This comprehensive article on PetPlace.com discusses one of the more serious diseases that ticks carry, anaplasmosis. According to PetPlace, anaplasmosis is similar to Lyme disease, also transmitted by ticks, and is most often reported from June through November, when people are outside hiking with their dogs. Most cases of anaplasmosis are transmitted by the black-legged dear tick, often found in the midwest and northeastern states, so it is probably little cause for worry in our area. Still, the article has some solid information about how ticks transmit the disease.

Cases of Lyme disease have been reported to the Center for Disease Control in the Western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina areas, so Lyme disease may be more of a concern. You can learn more about lyme disease and its signs and symptoms from the Lyme Disease Association.

It is always a good idea to check your dog for ticks when returning from outside activities. What appears to be a very small bump may in fact be a tick, so spread your dog's coat and examine it carefully. This article from American Humane explains how to prevent ticks and safely remove them.

Image by Elionas from Pixabay


Do You Sleep with Your Dog?

Sad-1930479_1920Some dog owners may not admit it, but in the privacy of their own homes, they allow their dogs to sleep in bed with them. That means your dog is spending lots of time in your bedroom -- and that could cause some interesting challenges.

The folks at Slumber Yard have put together a handy guide to "Pet Safety for the Bedroom." It includes pros vs. cons for sleeping with your pet, tips to make sleeping with your pet safe and comfortable, and a very helpful list of seven specific suggestions for how to pet-proof your bedroom.

You'll find the free guide here: https://myslumberyard.com/blog/pet-safety-for-the-bedroom/

Image by Renato Laky from Pixabay


Best Joint Supplements for Your Dog

Guest Post by Jim Smith

Harrison-kugler-d2hWXEV8J-8-unsplashAre you looking for the best joint supplements for dogs?

Watching your once happy and lively dog in pain can be heartbreaking. Arthritis, joint, and hip issues have become increasingly common in senior dogs. Joint supplements can help reduce symptoms.

But are they safe to use?

In this blog post, we’ll go through everything you need to know about joint supplements for dogs and help you pick the best ones.

Let’s get started.

As with humans, when dogs start getting older, they develop certain health issues associated with old age. Joint pain and inflammation are becoming increasingly common in all breeds.

Why is that so?
One of the biggest reasons is that our dogs are getting fatter. Overweight and obese pets are more likely to develop hip and joint pain as the weight puts more pressure on your dog’s joints.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Joint Pain

Not sure if your pooch has joint pain?
Our furry friends won’t be able to tell us they’re in pain. Dogs are especially good at hiding their pain and won’t let you know they’re hurting unless it’s unbearable. In the wild, showing pain can be a sign of weakness. So, dogs are programmed to hide it.

Common signs of joint pain in dogs include:

  • Hesitation in climbing stairs
  • Not jumping up and down the furniture
  • Swollen joints
  • Joint stiffness
  • Standing up can be challenging
  • Overall bad temper
  • Low energy

If your dog is showing any of these signs, take him to the vet for a proper check-up and diagnosis.

Best Joint Supplements

Joint supplements can be a boon for dogs with limited mobility. They help alleviate most of the symptoms and bring back your happy-go-lucky pooch.

So, let’s take a look at some of the best joint supplements.

1. Cosequin Maximum Strength Joint Supplement Plus MSM

It comes in a yummy chicken flavor and is manufactured in the US using globally-sourced ingredients. Helps improve joint health and mobility.

2, Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM Soft Chews

These come in easy to chew tablets and helps support joint health. Decaffeinated green tea provides antioxidants.

3. Petlab Co. Joint Care Chews for Dogs

This helps improve joint mobility and improve blood flow to the joints, providing your dog with flexibility, strength, and comfort.

Here's the Deal: Common Joint Supplement Side Effects

While dog supplements for joints do help alleviate symptoms, they can have harmful side effects of their own, such as:

  • High doses cause excessive urination
  • Diabetes (in case of sugar-based supplements)
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Allergies
  • Bald spots
  • Constant licking
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Itchy skin
  • Gassiness

Some of these symptoms are easy to deal with, while others are more serious. So, it’s best to stick to natural supplements for your pooch. These are safe, effective, and easy to use. More on those in a moment.

A Note on Cheap Chinese Supplements

You’ll find several cheap supplements on the market when looking for the best joint supplements.

While these look like a great deal, they can end up making your pet extremely sick! The FDA is investigating 600+ pet deaths and 3600+ injuries linked to Chinese supplements. Products imported from overseas are not regulated by the FDA. This means that they aren’t legally obliged to disclosing where the products are sourced from. In fact, some supplements may be advertised as “Made in the US” but can be sourcing their ingredients from China and other countries.

Isn’t that terrifying?

That's why it is safer to stick to natural joint supplements for dogs.

Choosing Natural Joint Supplements

Natural supplements for dogs are safe, effective, and easy to use. They help reduce joint inflammation and the pain that comes with it.

And, they don’t have harmful side effects!

  1. CBD Oil for Dogs
    CBD Oil For Dogs finds its origin in the cannabis plant. CBD oil has anti-inflammatory properties and helps treat chronic pain conditions like hip and joint dysplasia. It helps reduce pain and doesn’t have harmful side effects.

    CBD oil isn’t just great for hip and joint issues. It helps with a plethora of issues like anxiety, chronic pain, epilepsy, and helps improve a dog’s overall quality of life. You’ll find many CBD products online, most of them are low-quality. So, you should choose organic, natural, and lab-tested oil like Relievet’s CBD oil for dogs for effective results.

  2. Collagen
    Collagen is a type of protein found in cartilage, tendons, bones, ligaments, and joints. As your dog grows older, collagen production slows down, causing problems like mobility issues, joint and hip pain, weakened teeth, etc. You can boost your pet’s collagen production using collagen supplements.
  3. Turmeric
    Turmeric has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat a variety of issues. It’s safe to use with pets and helps reduce joint inflammation and pain. For the best results, choose organic Turmeric.

Did we answer all of your questions?

You’ll find several dog supplements for joints on the market, but not all of them are safe for your pooch. Some have serious side effects, while others are imported from questionable sources.

So, it is safe to stick to natural supplements when possible.

CBD oil for dogs is heavily researched scientifically proven to reduce joint pain--and it is safe to use. But, with the market saturated with CBD products, it’s important to choose the right one for your pooch.

Relievet’s CBD oil for dogs is natural, organic, and lab-tested to ensure quality.

Do you have any questions? We'll be happy to answer them if you visit https://www.relievet.com/.

Jim Smith has a passion for animals -- he lives with his cat and two dogs in San Diego. He has been writing about animals for the past 5 years, specializing in natural and alternative health.

Photo by Harrison Kugler on Unsplash


Should You Adopt a Second Dog?

Dogs-189015_1920If you've owned your dog for awhile, you undoubtedly have developed a special bond. One reason your dog naturally bonds with you is because dogs are pack animals. Dogs are generally happier as part of a pack whether it's human or canine, but most dogs seem to welcome a canine companion. So the question is: Should you adopt a second dog?

Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil, the veterinarian who heads the well-regarded Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic, believes that "dogs in general are happier with other dogs. It's hard on social creatures not to live with their co-species members." Still, getting a second dog should not be a hasty decision. “A dog might enjoy another dog initially,” she says. "But the two dogs may not display their full range of behaviors in that situation, and they have to make a quick decision based on initial impressions. We’re layering our own best judgment over that to create what is essentially an arranged marriage that may or may not work to best advantage.”

The Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine has some excellent, authoritative suggestions for how to add a second dog to your household in an informative article, "Would Your Dog be Happier with a Second Dog?" Read it here: https://www.tuftsyourdog.com/dogownership/would-your-dog-be-happier-with-a-second-dog/

Image by Manfred Antranias Zimmer from Pixabay