Category Archives: Health
Understanding Dog Worms
Until very recently, dog worms were thought to be of a spontaneous origin, brought about by the influence of heat upon decaying vegetable matter and it was and still is freely asserted that puppies are born with dog worms inherited from the mother in some mysterious manner while still in uterus. This has been conclusively proven an error and in the minds of all scientists there is no question about dog worms springing from individual eggs and having a complete life history of their own.
The principal worm species with which dog owners have to contend are round worms and tape worms. The first named commonly infest puppies and consequently are most dreaded by breeders. In shape and size these worms resemble common angle worms, but in colour are lighter, being almost white or only a pale pink.
In adult dogs these worms, when fully grown, are from three to seven inches long. In puppies they are about half that length and as thick as common white string. Round worms live in the small intestines, sometimes coiled in such masses as to obstruct the passage and occasionally they wander into the stomach or are passed by the bowels.
It is easy to understand that when one dog in a kennel is infected with worms, millions of eggs will be passed with the feaces. These are scattered all over the floors, bedding, feeding and drinking pans or transmitted by fleas. They get on the dogs coat, are licked off and swallowed and in numbers of ways gain entrance to the digestive tracts of other dogs, where they soon hatch out and in ten days are fully developed.
This rapid development account for the popular belief that puppies are born with worms, for breeders who have held post-mortems on puppies scarcely ten days old and have found in their stomachs fully developed round worms could account for their presence in no other way. They overlooked the fact that the prospective mother, confined in a kennel infested with worms, would get these eggs attached to her coat, belly and breasts and the young, as soon as born, would take these eggs into their stomachs with the first mouthfuls of milk.
Symptoms Of Dog Worms Attacking
Dog worms are responsible for so much sickness and so many symptoms that it is practically impossible to mention all of them, but their presence can safely be suspected in all dogs which have not been recently treated for them, as well as in cases where the patient is run down, unthrifty and out of sorts.
Other symptoms are a hot, dry nose, weak, watery eyes, pale lips and gums, foul breath, mean hacking cough and a red, scurfy, pimply or irritated condition of the skin and harsh, dry, staring coat that is constantly being shed.
Wormy dogs sometimes have a decreased appetite and will eat dirt and rubbish. Some days they are ravenously hungry, the next day they will not eat at all; their sleep is disturbed by dreams and intestinal rumbling, the urine is high coloured and frequently passed, bowels irregular, stomach easily unsettled, watery mucus is frequently vomited and the mouth is hot, sticky and full of ropy saliva.
Puppies which are full of worms bloat easily and are pot-bellied. After feeding their stomachs distend disproportionately to the amount of food consumed. Their bodies are also subject to scaly eruptions and their bowels to colicky pains; they do not grow as rapidly as healthy puppies should and instead of playing with each other they curl up and sleep hour after hour; they get thinner, weaker and more lifeless from day to day possibly leading to death if untreated. Puppies with worms are also liable to paralysis of their rear limbs and on removal of the worms the puppies regain control of the affected parts.
A wormy dog is usually an unhealthy and unhappy dog who leads a miserable life. It could even be deadly, especially so for young puppies. Bring your dog to a veterinarian if you are unsure. Your dog will certainly thank you for that.
Avoid Common Dog Grooming Mistakes
Regardless of the breed of dog they have, most owners would never put grooming on a list of their favourite activities. Often dreams of the perfectly groomed pooch exhibiting flawless behaviour and capturing a top spot at your local dog show (or even Crufts?) collide with reality. Grooming at home can be challenging, difficult and messy with any of these five common mistakes.
Mistake #1: Failing to Train the Dog for Grooming
Simply put, training is essential if you want to avoid a mess, a potential injury or anxiety for both of you. The younger the dog is when you start, the easier training will be. It should include boosting the pet’s comfort level when touched on its face, tail, paws or other parts of the body. Helping the dog become comfortable with the buzzing and other sounds dog grooming equipment produces is equally important.
Some dogs respond well to fairly short training sessions. Regardless of the length of time spent attending to feet, ears, tail, and faces, it’s important that the pet understand that the owner is in charge and will decide when the session is finished.
Dogs adopted as adults or that experience grooming for the first time later in life need extra patience plus praise and rewards during grooming training. For older dogs, brushing, bathing and cleaning teeth need to occur in an environment as free of stress as humanly possible.
Mistake #2: Assuming Grooming is Just for Looks
Many owners who favour do-it-yourself grooming see the process solely as a way to achieve a clean, neat pet. In fact, it’s much more. Grooming is important for keeping a dog comfortable all year long. It’s also an opportunity to check a dog’s health. When owners match grooming routines with fur type, they can use grooming to look for skin conditions or discharge, bumps or lumps that signal the possible need for a veterinary visit.
Mistake #3: Not Trimming Nails Properly
Many at-home groomers dread cutting a dog’s nails. Unless the pet has been trained adequately, it’s likely to resist having its paws handled.
Trimming a dog’s nails correctly must be a precise, non-rushed activity. Owners should use sharp clippers that they replace on a regular basis. Dull equipment crushes the pet’s nails instead of trimming them and can result in an injury. An owner new at grooming should ask a veterinarian to point out the quick of a nail and explain how to avoid it when performing a trim.
Many owners already know that long hair in dogs and mats are often synonymous. What they don’t know is what actually causes mats.
Water is a crucial ingredient in the recipe for mats in long-haired canines. One way to lower the likelihood of mats that could pass for Gordian Knots is to brush as much dead or tangled fur off the dog as possible before bathing, swimming or exposure to rain or snow.
For mats, you discover while bathing the pet, use a conditioner plus a comb to make them come loose. Blow-drying the dog will help pull apart any tangles. A quick brushing, once its fur has dried, should get rid of any remaining dead hair.
Mistake #5: Ignoring Grooming as a Yearlong Priority
As summer fades and autumn temperatures start to drop, many owners assume that all their dogs need is extra “winter fur” to keep warm until spring arrives. In fact, failing to groom year-round doesn’t adequately protect the animal’s insulating coat and might actually cause it harm.
Failing to properly maintain a pet’s coat can result in horrific tangles, the kind that only shaving the dog can eliminate. Unfortunately, the resulting lack of hair leaves the canine extra-chilly during the coldest months.
Grooming your dog yourself can be an investment in your pet’s well-being and save you the cost of professional grooming services. Avoiding these common mistakes will lead to a far more pleasant and productive experience for both you and your very best friend.
Written by Amber Kingsley
Benefits of Dog Boots
If you mentioned having boots for your dog 10 years ago, everyone would think you were crazy! But, the popularity of dog booties has grown recently and not just because your furry friend will look adorable in them. In fact, dog boots are more about function and not just fun and fashion.
While dogs do have thick pads on their feet, they are not invincible. There are times when having boots on your dog’s paws is going to give them the extra protection that they need. So, let’s have a look at five benefits of investing in some dog boots for your best buddy.
Protection in Hot Temperatures
When the sun is out in the middle of a British summer, it gets really hot. Of course, keeping your furry friend hydrated is extremely important but a lot of owners forget about their paws. Think about how your bare feet feel when you are running on hot sand; this is how your dog feels when they are walking on the pavements! Dog boots are going to protect your dog’s paws from burning when you are out in the summertime by creating a barrier between the hot ground and their pads.
Help Injury and Illness
If your dog already has a paw injury or cuts on their pads, having boots on is going to relieve some pressure and pain for them. In addition, it will help prevent further damage to your dog’s paw and allow it to heal properly. If your dog is older and struggles with arthritis, dog booties can also help eliminate the uncomfortable friction on the pads and provide the extra cushioning your canine needs to still enjoy his or her daily walks.
Explore and Hike Safely
We all love to take our dogs out exploring and often it is somewhere off the beaten track. This can mean that there are hazards all around for their paws. For example, rocks are not only slippery for your pup but they can also be sharp and dangerous. While your dog may act unfazed by rough terrain, their pads can suffer and debris like sharp sticks and plants can cause painful cuts. But, wearing dog booties is going to protect their paws on long hikes so this is no longer a problem!
Protection from Snow and Ice
Just like us, dogs get cold when they are out walking in the winter, especially when the snow starts to fall. While your dog may love to play in a winter wonderland, the snow can become cold on your canine’s paws and even ice is sharp to walk on, especially when it starts to break. Yet, when your dog is wearing boots, their paws can be protected from cuts and injuries in the winter freeze and they can enjoy running around in the snow again.
In the winter, salt is normally spread on the ground to help melt the snow and ice. Yet, most dog owners don’t realise that this can be harmful for their furry friend’s paws. The salt can cause irritation and make them very dry. If you don’t wash your dog’s paws regularly, this will result in chemical burns. When you choose boots, you don’t have to worry about this problem when you are out walking in the winter since your dog’s paws will be covered.
Recognise and Help Overweight and Obese Dogs
We’ve all been there. Our dog looks at us with those big, cow eyes, and guilt trips us into giving them just a little tidbit because we love them so much and don’t want them to look so sad. But it doesn’t take long, for those treats to add up, and before we know it, we’re getting a talk from out vet about our beloved buddy being obese and needing to go on a diet. But how do we know that our dog is fat and not just ‘big boned’ or covered in ‘puppy fat’?
What to Look for in an Overweight Dog?
There are three key ways to tell if your dog is overweight.
- Does your dog have an obvious ‘waistline’? If your dog doesn’t then he or she should have one. You can tell if your dog has a waistline by viewing him or her from different angles. From above, the waistline is what marks out the front half from the back half of your dog, it should come together with a little, rather like an hourglass. From the side, you should be able to see your dog’s abdomen rise up towards the underside of his or her hind legs.
- Can you feel or see your dog’s ribs? If you can’t feel or see your dog’s ribs, then your dog is certainly overweight, they should be visible and easy to feel.
- When your dog sits down, does their back look to be straight, or do they have any so-called ‘love handles’?
How to Help an Overweight Dog
Unless your dog has an underlying health problem, then helping your dog to lose weight should be fairly straightforward, at least in theory. More exercise, and less calories. You are the one in control of both of these things, so your dog is relying on you to keep them fit and healthy! Consult your vet for advice and support as needed.
Diet: what are you feeding your dog each day? Dried food, raw diet, canned food, human food, snacks, and treats?
Snacks are the easiest way to fatten up your dog, so try to reduce the number of treats you give them each day or switch to lower calorie, healthier options. Why are they getting treats, and can these be replaced with love and affection or a squeaky toy or play as a reward, instead of food? Can you break the treats up to make them smaller, or give individual treats instead of multiple treats at once?
Meals: rather than guessing how much food to feed your dog, try switching to a lighter or diet version of the same food, and use a measuring cup to weigh out your dog’s food. Use scales to weigh out the food, and to keep your dog entertained for longer, try hiding the food inside a Kong or similar toy, so that your dog has to work for their biscuits.
Scraps from the Table: If your dog is a canine hoover that follows your kids around or likes to help out in the kitchen or under the table at teatime, try to avoid giving them the scraps, or allowing them to hoover up the food. Cut down on giving them dishes to lick clean and restrict access to any crumbs they might find.
Exercise: are you walking your dog twice a day, or giving your dog the exercise he or she really needs? Perhaps life has been more stressful than usual, or you’ve got a new baby at home, are getting home from work later, or are struggling to walk as far as you used to due to your own ill health? If you are struggling to give your dog the walks they require, then try to find a trusted friend, neighbor, family member, or pet sitter who can walk your dog for you on a regular basis. You might find that you have a friend who would desperately love a dog of their own, but whose landlord won’t allow them to have a pet, you could both benefit from them walking your dog, even if it is just a long walk on a weekend.
Swimming: if your dog is very overweight or has arthritis or other difficulties with movement, then you could try swimming as exercise. Ask your vet about places to swim with your dog or specialist hydrotherapy facilities. Could you put up a paddling pool in your garden and supervise your dog for regular swimming sessions? Or have them swim in the sea each day, even just for a few minutes of throwing a stick for them to fetch from the water, to strengthen their legs.
Toys: are there are games, toys, or enrichment activities that you can do, to get your dog more active through the day? Can you stuff a Kong with treats, or use a ball thrower to fling a ball and have them run for it? Can you play tug at home with them once or twice a day, instead of watching tv together? Or try our fantastic Tether Tug Dog toy with indoor and outdoor options?
Join a Group: sometimes it might just be harder to walk your dog, especially in the winter when it is dark and the streets don’t feel so safe, or the weather is miserable. Are there are groups or classes near you, like flyball, agility, or dog shows? Or perhaps you could find a group on Facebook of other owners who share your love for the breed and like to meet up for play dates? Not only is this great stimulation and social time for your dog, but it’s time for you to get out and have some fun too.
Helping your dog to lose weight doesn’t have to be a huge challenge. Lots of small actions can really add up. Adding a few more minutes to a walk each day, or taking stairs instead of the lift, or cutting down the number of biscuits in their bowl at meal times.
You might start to find that your health and weight improves too and that you both start to have a new lease of life!
Written by Sarah Weldon
Sarah is a British explorer and ice swimmer, who loves nothing more than hikes in the mountain with her Italian Greyhound and cosy nights by the fire with her three devious cats.
Keeping Your Dog Cool on a Hot Day
I’ve been incredibly lucky to travel and live in many different countries with my dog, and as such have had to adapt to life in the heat of Miami and the Caribbean, and the extremes of cold in Siberia and the Baltic’s, and everything in between, especially whilst living in Britain. My dog is an Italian Greyhound, a breed renowned for their love of sunbathing and cosying up under the duvet, even on a hot day. Here are some of the tips and tricks that I’ve picked up for looking after your dog when the weather gets hot, hot, hot!
I learnt this trick whilst we lived in Grenada, West Indies. I’d not had my puppy for very long. It was tricky to get hold of dog toys and things for a pup to chew on, and with no air conditioning in our little place by the beach, the days were hot and sticky. So I decided to make some ice bars in the freezer, and dropped these into my dog’s water bowl, along with the occasional ice cube. They melted quickly, but she loved to chase the ice across the tiled floor, crunched them up, and licked up the water as it melted. Cheap, easy, and a few minutes of entertainment before the ice melted. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you could make your ice bars with dog friendly flavours or simply freeze some home-made treats for your dog.
You might not think it, but the pavements and tarmac in the UK can be just as hot as they get in places like Miami. On hot days, try to walk your dog as early and as late in the day as you can, so that you avoid midday and afternoon when the sun is at its hottest. Walking on a hot floor can burn your dog’s pads and their feet can become incredibly painful and open to infection. Where possible walk in the shade, and if the floor is hot even in the early morning or late at night, then invest in some dog boots to protect their feet and pads from burning.
In the heat of the summer, shade is your friend. When out walking, or even in the garden, or on the beach, make sure that your dog has access to shady areas. This could be a bush or tree, or a towel hung over a bench, or you could invest in a shade tent that can be folded away as required. If your dog is at home and the room is hot from the sunshine, try closing the curtains to keep the room cooler and create shady places that they have access to. If your dog is crated whilst you are at work, make sure that the crate isn’t in direct sunlight, and the room is well ventilated and cool, but not too cold.
Be sure to give your dog access to water at all times, especially if your dog is fussy about their drinking water source, as my dog is. I always carry a bottle of water with me wherever we go, and have spare dog poo bags in my pocket, that can double up as water receptacles, especially if I need to travel light and don’t have a collapsible dog bowl with me. Offer your dog water, even if they don’t want it.
Fans and open windows are great for circulating air around your dog and keeping them cool (as long as your dog isn’t going to come to harm from an open window or room fan). These can help dogs to regulate their temperature especially if they are a breed with a flatter face that struggles to keep cool through panting, such as a pug.
Unlike most breeds of dog, my Italian Greyhound is not a great fan of water, but if your dog is a water lover, you could set up a paddling pool in your yard, have fun with the mist option on your garden hose pipe, or go for a dip together in the sea or a lake. I do a lot of outdoor swimming in some amazingly beautiful places, and on the really hot days, I sometimes carry my dog into the water with me to cool off, just for a minute or so. Be cautious around water though, not all dogs enjoy water, some might be afraid or not used to swimming, and if your dog is already suffering from the heat, you could do more harm than good as the cold water draws the heat into their internal organs and away from the skin. You might want to think about investing in a dog lifejacket or teaching your dog how to get out of water, in the event that they do fall in, and never leave your dog unsupervised around water, even paddling pools.
Dog fur as much as it might look like it gets too hot in summer, can actually keep your dog cool by keeping the hot air away from the skin. Do not be tempted to shave off your dog’s fur as this could impede its ability to regulate its body temperature.
If your dog is afraid of the water, dislikes water, or you simply don’t have access to a pool of water or a hose, then you could try soaking a blanket in water and draping it over your dog, you could even put a towel in the freezer to cool it. Applying the blanket to your dog, especially around the groin or neck area can be a great way to cool your dog down if you do not already have a dog cooling mat.
If the weather is simply too hot, then you might want to just stay indoors or leave your dog at home until the day has cooled a bit. Does your dog really need to go on that outing with you? Do you really need to go and run that errand right now, or can it wait until later in the day? Can you catch a train or bus earlier in the day when it is less busy and less warm?
And finally, an easy way to keep your dog hydrated on a hot day, is to replace some of their dried food with a canned food that has a higher moisture content. You could also offer treats that are moisture rich, like apples or peas, but seek advice from your vet if your dog is on a special diet or has a particularly sensitive tummy.
Written by Sarah Weldon
Sarah is a British explorer and ice swimmer, who loves nothing more than hikes in the mountain with her Italian Greyhound and cosy nights by the fire with her three devious cats.
Today’s Tech = Better Flea Treatment + Medication For Pets
With all of today’s newest technology available at our fingertips, it’s not just about the size of our sophisticated handheld devices and smartphones anymore. It also comes to mind at the hands of our physicians, hospitals and caregivers when it comes to the many amazing new medical and medicinal advances available everywhere and they’re growing rapidly.
In the majority of these cases, we’re getting more effective medicines, diagnosed with better equipment and the eventual care provided to help us in our quest to live much longer and healthier lives. Speaking of medical advances and many newer pharmaceuticals out there, these are not just for humans, but they also benefit our pets.
Think of it this way, back in the day when mobile phones were the size of a small suitcase, there were few options available when it came to the eradication of parasites like fleas, which are really frustrating for our pets. Most of these antiquated products only came in the form of flea collars and different topical solutions. Not to say these particular products aren’t very effective in killing these pests. But with today’s modern technological advancements, these products have improved drastically over the last few decades.
For example, those old-school flea collars weren’t always available in either scentless or hypoallergenic forms. In many cases this ultimately made these products become an unsuitable option for canines with skin issues, allergies or sensitive sensory glands.
They also did little for preventing contact or interaction with certain wild critters that we’re unable to keep away that may overwhelm them with these nasty little blood suckers. Once again, given more medical advancements, we’ve being presented with much better products in today’s marketplace to assist both consumers and their pets.
One If By Mouth
Another excellent advancement with flea treatments nowadays comes in the form of those taken orally, or one by mouth, usually lasting for a month. Although it requires a red-letter date being placed on one’s calendar, or given today’s technology, a reminder put onto our smartphone. But these products are not only a tasty treat, they’re also extremely effective for long-term and short-term relief from annoying fleas.
That’s right you heard (actually read) that statement correctly. Short-term relief can exist even with products that are taken internally. There are oral flea medications eliminating these pests remarkably fast. For instance, there’s at least one oral medication (VetIq Healthy Treats Flea Guard) with the ability to start killing fleas shortly after ingestion.
Topical Treatments Are Now Tougher & Safer
While we’re taking advantage of these newer, more advanced options when it comes to quelling fleas, topical treatments like shampoos and sprays have also come a very long way. As time and trends have moved on, so have these products which have become devoid of many dangerous chemicals used in the past, include more natural products and are better for the environmentally compared to the past.
Keeping up with all of today’s technology can be challenging at best, but we should also include our four-legged best friends in this important process when it comes to these relevant trends. But they’re not just trends, they are important advances that lead to better, happier and healthier lives for both our pets and our family.
Written by Amber Kingsley
Travel junkie, Amber Kingsley, is a freelance writer living in Santa Monica, CA. Her art history background helps her hone in on topics that are of interest to readers. She is a dog enthusiast and loves spending time with her pomeranian, Agatha.