Category: dog safety

Dog Bloat: A Guide to Signs, Symptoms, and Precautionary Measures

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Dog BloatDog bloat is formally known as Gastric Dilatation Volvulus. It’s the second leading cause of death in dogs, but many owners don’t even know the signs to look for. Bloat is a buildup of gases in the digestive system caused by swallowing air, stress, or an internal twisting. Once symptoms occur, it can quickly lead to death.

Signs

The number one sign of bloating in dogs is unsuccessful attempts to vomit. They can repeat this anywhere from every five to thirty minutes. The dog will have a vomiting reflex but only produce light foam. The dog may appear restless or anxious; whining, pacing, or trying to hide. They may ignore their normal routine. For example, the dog may insist on going out during the night when they normally sleep.

Many dogs with bloat will have strange behaviors such as licking the air. They may hunch up, drink more than normal, or attempt to eat foreign debris like stones and sticks. If you place your ear against their stomach, you won’t hear the typical gurgling digestive noises.

Symptoms

Once a dog is actually experiencing bloat there are definite symptoms you’ll notice. At the beginning stages they will appear fatigued and very reserved. Eventually, they will begin to cough and gag with heavy drooling. A foamy mucous may appear around the mouth, while the gums will appear very pale. They will either stand with their legs spread apart or curl up in a ball due to pain. They will avoid laying on their stomachs due to the pain. Put your ear up to their stomach. If you don’t hear a gurgling noise signifying digestion, it indicates bloat.

As the bloating progresses, they won’t be able to defecate. Breathing will range from heavy panting to shallow breaths, but the membrane of the mouth will feel cold. The dog’s heart rate will increase, and they eventually collapse.

Precautions

There are precautionary measures that can be taken to help your dog avoid bloating. Meal time is crucial. Reduce their stress when eating. Make this a peaceful time of day. Avoid exercise for one hour before, until one hour after feedings. Discourage rapid eating by giving them several smaller meals instead of one large serving. Remove water during feedings as it will dilute the digestive acids needed to break down food. When food isn’t breaking down properly, the gasses that cause bloat are formed.

If switching food, do it gradually. Feed a mix of wet and dry foods. Choose dry foods with bone meal product or rendered meat as one of the first four ingredients. Make sure that fat is not listed within the first four ingredients. It should be high in protein with an adequate fiber content of three percent. The dry food should contain at least 30% protein.

One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or Aloe Vera gel can be given after meals to aid digestion. Prozyme, an enzyme product, can be added to food as well as herbs that reduce gas. Avoid additives such as alfalfa, brewer’s yeast, and soybean products.

Keep a product with Simethicome on hand. This would be Mylanta Gas, Gas X, or a similar product. Give it once bloating occurs to slow down the gasses, giving you more time to get to the vet. Don’t let your dog be a victim. Know the symptoms of bloat. If you even suspect that your dog has bloat it is safer to visit an animal emergency hospital immediately.

Information credit to Central Animal Emergency Clinic, a Vancouver pet hospital.

Five Things to Expect After Your Dog’s Surgery

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5 Things to Expect After Your Dog's Surgery

Five Things to Expect After Your Dog’s Surgery

You love your dog enough to seek proper veterinary care whenever there’s a problem. At times, your dog may need to go to an animal emergency and surgical center to correct serious problems ranging from swallowed, lodged objects to broken bones. Or, your pet may need routine surgery such as spaying or neutering. After surgery your pet will exhibit certain characteristics of which you should be aware:

Your Dog May Be Cranky

Your dog has just experienced a traumatic event. She or he may not be accustomed to an overnight stay away from you. Additionally, your dog is coming out of anesthesia, which can have a lingering effect on his mood and disposition. Post-surgery, a dog may appear snappish, scared, or angry. Don’t be alarmed, as this is likely the waning effect of anesthesia.

Your Dog May Seem Disoriented

Another effect of anesthesia is disorientation. Your dog may seem like he does not know where to go when you bring him home from surgery and get him out of the car. He may hesitate to go into your house. This is common behavior and will wear off after the anesthesia has left the dog’s blood stream.

Your Dog May Be Reluctant to Eat

This is very common. Surgery can affect a dog’s appetite, and any kind of pain can make him seem disinterested in food. Don’t be alarmed, as your dog’s appetite should return in a day or two. Conversely, your dog may be ravenous and want to eat immediately when he or she comes home from surgery. Limit his food intake for at least a day so that he does not eat too quickly and regurgitate.

Your Dog Will be Sleepy

If it seems like all your dog wants to do after surgery is sleep, this is normal. Post-operative sleepiness is expected with dogs, just as it is with humans. Your dog will want to sleep more due in part to the anesthesia and in part due to the trauma of the experience. As in all animals and humans, trauma can be exhausting. When it is over, extra rest and sleep are in order.

You May Seem Like A Stranger

Don’t worry if your dog seems “mad” at you, or if he seems like he doesn’t know who you are. Again, this is a common side effect of anesthesia. As it wears off and your dog becomes more relaxed in his familiar surroundings, he will come to you and forget all about the surgery.

In summary, getting your dog the surgery he or she needs is the right thing. Don’t be overly worried about whether surgery for dogs is too invasive, as it is part of standard veterinary practice. Owners who take good care of their dogs and get the care they need will have a loving relationship for more years with their pets.

Handling Your Dog’s Issues

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corgi-pupJordan Walker is a fellow blogger who has discussed various dog topics with me. He’s an avid blogger for sites such as Coops And Cages and more. This article is all about resolving some of the biggest dog issues such as their attitude toward kids, behavioral problems, and sickness.

Handling Your Dog’s Issues

I grew up with two corgis at home, but it didn’t make me feel confident enough to have dogs of my own. When I started contemplating having my own collie, I knew I would have my hands full. But before I even started the adoption process and found Bob, I wanted to ensure that I could provide him all the dog care that he needs, something that first time pet owners should do.

From my experience, there are three important things that you need to know as a pet parent – socializing your dog with people, especially kids, addressing behavioral issues, and taking care of sick dogs. I can share with you some tips on how to handle any pet issue concerning these areas. dogs of my own. When I started contemplating having my own collie, I knew I would have my hands full. But before I even started the adoption process and found Bob, I wanted to ens


Teaching Dogs to Love Kids

Kids behave differently from adults, which is why even well-behaved dogs may exhibit strange behaviors around kids. In the worst cases, dogs might even attempt to bite.

I have three young nieces and nephew who frequently come to visit, something that motivated me to teach Bob to love kids. My research and experience have taught me the following things:

  • Don’t leave the kids and dogs alone. This is one of the common mistakes pet owners make. No matter how I love Bob, he’s still an animal who doesn’t have a moral compass and kids may become too playful and unruly with dogs. Teach kids not to touch a sick, sleeping, eating or dog as well as a new mommy dog. Train them to respect the dog and set house rules, such as petting dogs gently, not to force themselves on the dog, or not to go near the dog’s crate.
  • Give your dog space. I built a dog house for him in the yard that he can treat as his safe refuge, something he might need when the kids, family members, or friends are visiting.
  • Socialize your dog. Dogs should be properly exposed to various distractions such as small animals, noisy children, and passing vehicles. When I brought Bob home, I had to let him stay in the yard while I run around him, yelling, and shouting in a childlike voice, like a kid. I also made it our routine to go to the park or playground. He eventually came to love my neighbors’ kids when I trained them to give Bob treats, touch him, and play with him.
  • Find a breed that suits your lifestyle. There are dogs that need to release all their energy to prevent behavioral problems. Get to know the various dog breeds first to choose the right one for you. My collie is perfect for kids and he doesn’t have any doggie odor.
  • Have your dog spayed or neutered. Most of the culprits in dog attacks are unaltered male dogs. I took care of this right after I adopted Bob.
  • Use positive reinforcement. Reward your dog whenever they behave properly around kids. Praise them, give them treats, and shower them with attention.

Dogs that are familiar with kids and other distractions tend to keep their aggression on the down low. Just continue creating positive memories between your dog and the kids. However, you also need to be sensitive to possible behavioral issues in dogs, which might be the cause of their negative attitude towards kids.

Addressing Their Behavioral Problems

Another aspect that pet parents should take care would be controlling or preventing common behavioral problems among dogs. Although Bob is a relatively behaved dog, I did my research and found these tips on controlling behavioral issues:

  • Barking. Dogs bark as a warning, a sign of anxiety, boredom, or excitement, as a way of getting your attention, or as a response to other dogs. Control their barking by being patient and consistent. Learn quiet commands and reward them when they obey.
  • Chewing. Provide a lot of chew toys for your dogs. Keep your things away from them. When you leave them at home, confine them to an area where they can’t do any damage. Correct their chewing by getting their attention and replace the focus of their rage with a chew toy. Let them exercise!
  • Separation anxiety. This manifests in chewing, vocalization, house soiling, or other signs of destruction whenever you leave them. Invest in dedicated training, desensitization routines, or behavior modification.
  • Digging. Dogs dig to seek comfort, show boredom, anxiety or fear, gain access or escape, hide things, or exhibit their hunting instinct. Learn which among these causes your dogs to dig and eliminate that cause. Exercise with them and let them undergo more training. But if your dogs can’t be controlled, give them a sandbox to dig in.
  • Begging. Learn to resist your dogs’ begging look if you don’t want them to grow obese. Teach your dogs not to beg to show them that you’re the alpha. Train them to stay in an area where they can’t see you eating. Reward them with a treat only when they behave until you’re done with your meal.
  • Inappropriate defecation and urination. Consult with your veterinarian to eliminate any medical causes and to determine any other reasons behind this behavior. Serious behavior modification training is necessary to control this habit.
  • Chasing. Prevent incidents by training your dog to obey you when called, keeping them on a leash, teaching them to pay attention to you when you use a noisemaker or a whistle, and staying extra alert to potential triggers. Constant training may teach your dog to pay attention to your commands before running off.
  • Biting. Dogs usually bite as a predatory instinct, a sign of fear, pain or sickness, a show of dominance, or a way to protect your property. Proper training and socialization may reduce the dog’s tendency to bite.
  • Jumping up. Whenever your dogs start jumping, ignore them to avoid rewarding such a negative behavior. When they relax, reward them until they stop this habit.
  • Aggression. The most common signs of aggression include snarling, growling, lunging, showing of teeth, and biting. Dogs with aggressive breeds or violent histories tend to be aggressive too. Ask your vet for help, then invest in a good trainer until their aggression reduces.

It may take time, money, and effort to get your dogs to behave right, but controlling their behavioral problems is an essential part of dog care.

Taking Care of Sick Dogs

You can show your love for your dog by attending to them when they’re sick. I’ve experienced this twice with Bob.

A dog with a cold will shiver and tremble, will stop playing, and will barely eat. Their nose usually goes dry and warm.

When I see Bob feeling this way, I would prepare a comfortable bed for him made of old, warm blankets and put it in a corner. It has to be a quiet corner. Some pet owners let their dogs listen to classical music at a very low volume.

You can put his toys near the bed, as well as his water.

For his diet, prepare brown rice and cooked lean chicken, which is easy for his stomach. Put his meal near his water.

Massage your dog by pressing the sides of his spine and his shoulders.

To soothe Bob, I would talk to him, saying everything is going to be okay. It can do wonders for your pet.

Give your sick dog some space. They can rest better and feel better more quickly this way.

If your dog’s symptoms get worse, take him to the vet right away. It’s a good thing medical science for pets has improved significantly this past decade.

You can be a more responsible pet owner if you know how to train your dogs to like kids, how to control their behavioral issues, and how to take care of them when they’re sick. The last thing I’d want Bob to feel is that I don’t love him enough to do all these things for him and more.

Author: Jordan Walker

Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages as well as a couple of other pet related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages

5 Helpful Tips that Can Help to Protect Your Pet When You are Traveling

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Protect Your Pet When You are Traveling

Protect-Your-Pet-When-You-are-Traveling

When planning a trip, it is important to make sure that the pet stays safe and comfortable for the entire duration of the trip. Whether traveling by motor vehicle, plane, boat, or train, there are certain things that must be considered before embarking on a long trip with a pet. Regardless of the method of travel, it is essential to make sure that the pets are in good health and that they are up to date on their shots. In addition, pets should always wear a secure collar with identification tags and owners should always carry photos to identify their pets.

Traveling By Plane, Train, or Boat

The rules of traveling by plane, train, or boat with pets will vary depending on the type of pet, the size of the pet, and the pet’s health condition. It is important for pet owners to call ahead of time to find out the rules, cost, and risks of bringing pets on a long trip. For anyone considering using public transportation, it is recommended to stop feeding the pet at least six hours before traveling in order to prevent them from defecating or urinating on themselves in their crate.

While air travel may seem like an easy way to travel with a pet, it is not the safest way for pets to travel with their owners. Animals that are flown in the cargo area of airplanes can be injured or killed due to sudden shifting of heavy cargo. Air travel has also proven to be dangerous for animals with pushed in faces and short noses because their short nasal passages cause vulnerabilities to temperature changes, heat stroke and oxygen deprivation.

Traveling By Motor Vehicle

The first rule of traveling with a pet by motor vehicle is to never allow pets to roam freely in the vehicle while it is moving. The safest way for pets to travel by motor vehicle is in a crate that has been securely anchored to the vehicle by a seatbelt or other secure means to prevent sudden shifting of the crate. It is highly recommended to secure pets in the backseat of the vehicle instead of the front seat where airbags could deploy and injure pets. Another option that doesn’t involve crates is to use special seatbelt restraints that are attached to the animal’s collar to limit their movement around the vehicle.

While bringing pets along on a trip may be the right choice in some situations, it might be best for pet owners who plan on leaving their pets unattended for long periods of time in a hotel or vehicle to take their pet to a boarding kennel or leave the pet at home with a responsible pet sitter. When considering animal care in Southern California, dog boarding in Los Angeles is a great place to find a boarding house.

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