Posts for the Taking Care Category

Common Senior Dog Diseases Every Owner Should Know About

Owning a dog and spending time with it as both of you age is truly a gift that needs to be cherished. Of course, the joy and fulfillment that dog brings to the owner’s life are only some of the reasons to care for your furry pal most deeply. They need constant care and love, and they will return the favor numerous times over. Therefore, when your dog starts getting older, to the point when it’s considered a senior, it’s essential that you pay attention to different signs and symptoms that may point to a certain disease. After all, just like humans, dogs are more susceptible to certain illnesses and conditions when they’re older.

Arthritis

The older your dog gets, the more prone it becomes to suffering from arthritis. In general, this condition is more common among larger and heavier breeds, but, in the end, it can affect a dog of any size. As they grow older, the cartilage between the joints gets thinner, which then can cause wearing of the bones. If you notice that your dog is getting slower than usual, has difficulty sitting down and getting up, shows no enthusiasm for favorite activities such as running, walking and jumping, or limps as it walks, you should take it to the vet because arthritis is a very probable cause.

Dementia

Unfortunately, dogs are not immune to dementia. What’s more, almost half of the dogs that are more than 11 years old suffer from some form of dementia. There are currently no solid explanations when it comes to the question why some dogs develop dementia, but it’s believed that the reason is mainly in the genetic predisposition. The disease is progressive and the first signs can be very mild only to gradually worsen. In general, disregarding previous training and self-grooming habits are very common, together with increased anxious behavior, excessive licking and general distress, sleep changes and unwillingness to play.

Cancer

As you all probably know, cancer is a devastating disease that leads to the overgrowth of cancer cells, which than prevents normal body functions. If not discovered and treated in time, it can end up in death. Unfortunately, the biggest cause of canine deaths for dogs over 10 years of age is precisely cancer. It’s essential that you keep a close look on your dog. Symptoms such as abnormal swelling, slow-healing sores, excessive lethargy, bleeding from the eyes/nose and sudden weight and appetite loss are major reasons for concern.

Heart disease

As your dog gets older, the risk of a heart disease gets bigger, too. Unfortunately, various types of heart issues are very common for senior dogs and generally tend to progress with time. In order to keep your dog and its heart strongest and healthiest as possible for as long as possible, you need to take really good care of it all the time, from its first days as a puppy. Responsible and serious dog owners will provide all the essentials for their dog; grooming, feeding and comfort necessities included. Moreover, with the ability to order pet supplies online, one can easily get multivitamins and other essentials for their dog. The risk of a heart disease can be minimized with constant care. But, be on the lookout for symptoms such as persistent coughing, moving and breathing difficulties, collapsing, no appetite and swelling.

Kidney disease

Another very common cause of death in senior dogs is kidney failure. When the kidneys fail to get rid of the toxins, they spread into the bloodstream. Kidney disease can progress gradually for a long time, which gives the owner time to react accordingly as soon as possible. Therefore, pay attention to the way your dog behaves. Strange breath odor, excessive thirst, vomiting, pale gums, blood in urine and sudden weight loss all point to kidney issues.

Your dog is your best friend. Therefore, treat it with love, respect and kindness it deserves. The owner’s actions and behavior are the only things that can make the dog’s life better, happier, healthier and longer.

The Main Reasons Your Dog Gets Stressed

You may not even be aware of this unfortunate fact, but the reality is that dogs can also feel stress. What’s more, stress in dogs can cause a range of health issues, some of which can end up really dangerous for your pup. For starters, some of the main signs your dog is stressed are sweaty paws, shedding, yawning, whining and howling, constant turning away of their head, pinned back ears, excessive sniffing and panting. In order to help your dog properly as a responsible owner and true friend, it’s important that you know the main causes of stress in dogs.

Your dog gets stressed when left alone

Separation anxiety is becoming a more serious problem for dogs these days considering the busy lifestyle most people lead. More often than not, dogs are left alone all day while their owners are at work, which can cause the mentioned stress and anxiety, but also fear in puppies. Dogs are pack animals and leaving them on their own, with no connection or time for them, can seriously affect their mood, behavior, and even overall health.

Constant change of surroundings

Just like you would be a bit stressed and anxious when switching school or a job, your dog will be upset if it changes the place of residence way too often. This is inevitable sometimes, but you should be aware that if you leave your dog at different friends, change homes, or leave them at kennels frequently enough, you can expect the dog will feel really stressed out, and even scared. This may cause the dog to withdraw and become depressed as well.

Car travelling

Some dogs love being in a car, but others can be really shaken by the whole drive. In general, it’s best that you slowly get your dog used to spending time inside a vehicle, and go for short drives at first. If you notice your dog is acting nervously during the drive as they’re constantly turning around or chewing on things, you can be sure that your pet is not dealing with this new experience properly. Remember, you should never force your dog inside a car. When preparing them for car travelling, do your best to get them to enter the car on their own.

Very loud sound/music

It’s not uncommon for dogs to get scared of thunderstorm or fireworks, and the reason for this is the sensitivity of the dog’s hearing. This doesn’t just go for thunderstorms and fireworks, but other loud sounds such as music and noise, too. Unfortunately, more often than not, you cannot make the noise go away, especially if the problem is in the thunder or fireworks. In cases like these, aside from being with your dog, effective dog supplies such as Adaptil Collar, which alleviates signs of stressful situations, can be extremely useful.

Lack of movement

Never keep your dog chained all the time! This affects both mental and physical health of dogs negatively. Even if it’s not chained, a dog still needs to move freely, or at least run around for a while when you go out. Dogs need to release energy every day. If they can’t move or get a bit hyper, the frustration will accumulate. This is not only a huge stress trigger, but may lead to aggressive behaviour as well.

It’s very important that you take great care of your canine friend, and take full responsibility for their health and happiness. Last but not the least, you should take your dog to regular vet checkups, as health issues that may go unnoticed otherwise can also lead to higher stress levels in canines, aside from possibly being a big health threat

Should you buy a wireless dog fence?

As a dog lover, you know how much our furry companion loves to have fun and frolic.This means ensuring that they get plenty of exercise, but leaving them unsupervised will leave you with grey hairs.That’s why keeping them contained is a good idea.Constructing a fence around your house may be the obvious choice but it could obstruct the view from your home. This is where having a wireless fence comes handy.

So the next question is how exactly does a wireless fence work? It mainly consists of two main equipment – the transmitter and a receiver collar. The transmitter emits a radio signal within a limited range.The receiver is put in the dogs collar; so when your pet dog approaches the edge of the boundary, the receiver sounds a warning. If the boundary is crossed, your pet dog will receive a shock. But fear not, this is mild and has enough power only to startle your dog.

Even though the pros of wireless fence are many and there are a lot of good brands available certain things will have to be given serious consideration, such as:

  • Property size and shape – This is because the landscape will have to be flat, with no element to interfere with the signal.
  • Minimum weight and age – Not recommend for dogs below 6 months. The dog also has to have the minimum weight recommend to ensure that the shock doesn’t harm your dog.
  • Number of dogs –  Some systems allow only 2 dogs while others allow unlimited numbers. All you have to do is buy compatible collars for the additional dogs.
  • Breed – Some dogs have short hair and others long, the collar will have to be adjusted accordingly.
  • Budget – Carefully ascertain your budget before purchasing a product.

Some of the recommend brands are:

Pet Safe Stay and Play Wireless Fence: This fence comes in a circular shape, the collar is lightweight and water proof.It is portable, comes with a built in rechargeable battery and has a 1 year warranty.It can be used for people who have multiple dogs.

Pet Safe Wireless Pet Containment System: Recommended for puppies above 6 months.

It can be extended with additional transmitter and used for unlimited number of dogs.It is also economical making it a preferred choice amongst dog lovers.

Perimeter Technologies Wi-Fi Dog Fence: Usable for up to 2 dogs, but the collar size is designed for much larger dogs ,it is also water proof.It is relatively expensive.

Friendly Pet Product Wireless Electric Dog Fence: Can be used on multiple dogs.The collar is adjustable and waterproof although it is quite difficult to set up.

Having a wireless fence is a safe and simple form of pet containment, it keeps your dog contained as well as giving  them a certain amount of freedom.At the same time you have to keep in mind that your dog will take time to get accustomed to the fence and for this proper training has to be given.Consult your vet or get a professional trainer to help you out.Make sure your dog doesn’t wear the collar for more than 12-13 hours a day.

Pooching Around’s Indispensable Survival Kit For Dogs Infographic

Doggy resource site, Pooching Around has highlighted the important items you should store away for your dog’s survival kit for emergency situations. There is no telling when disaster, whether man-made or natural, could strike and therefore, it is better to be safe and prepared than under prepared and sorry.

The infographic helpfully points out in a clear and precise way, exactly what you need. Including essentials such as food, water and some kind of portable bowl to feed and water them from.

A doggy survival kit is much of the same thing as a human go-bag and an important aspect of survival, especially animals prone to stress like dogs, is having things that they are familiar with and that will help keep them calm. This may be a favorite blanket or even a favorite toy. Both are important to pack though as the blanket will comfort your furry friend, while the toy will not only provide them with entertainment, but may remind them of home.

Internet and phone services may be down in a state of emergency, so its important also to have stored away in hard-copy form, details of vets and shelters in the wider local area (as you don’t know where you might end up if you have to flee your home) and information regarding your dog’s health records and prescriptions and medications. Having this close to hand when seeking treatment or help, will save time if a vet that has never met you or your dog before is trying to workout what is best to prescribe for your dog and how best to help them.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Treating Depression in Dogs

Is your dog suffering from depression? Have you noticed a lack of interest in him suddenly? Does your pooch’s emotional and physical enthusiasm drops down when he is stressed out, and unable to cope up with the disturbing or changing situations? There can be different reasons for canine depression, from loss of a family member to arrival of a new baby or pet at home.

Small dogs and hyperactive dogs like Pomeranian Chihuahua Mix, Border Collie, Labradors, etc are prone to developing depression and anxiety.

Symptoms of Depression:

Major symptoms of depression are:

  1. Excessive Licking
  2. Avoidance or Hiding
  3. Loss of Interest
  4. Changes in Sleeping Habits (Insomnia or Excessive Sleeping)
  5. Appetite Changes (Loss of Appetite or Overeating)

Treating Depression the Right Way:

There are some do’s and don’ts of treating canine depression to tackle the situation thoroughly.

Things to Do:

You should consider following things to cure depression in dogs:

1) Consult the vet:

The first step to treating a pet-related problem is identifying the symptoms correctly. Dogs can get depressed for various reasons:

  1. Arrival of a new baby or pet or visitor
  2. Death of a house pet or family member
  3. Sudden change in dog’s daily routine
  4. Change of house
  5. Depression of the owner
  6. Lack of proper social interaction

If you have failed to recognize any specific cause for your dog’s depression, then, consult the vet to identify it. The dog may be suffering from any medical issue.

2) Comfort the dog:

Dogs love discipline in life. They like staying within the comfort zone, i.e., following a routine and being familiar with the surroundings.

Changes in routine should be brought gradually, so the dog may not identify them. If you have changed home, keep the dog bowl, crate, etc. same to make him comfortable at the new place. Make good memories at the new site with the dog to rely on!

If it’s about the arrival or departure of someone new, pay attention to the dog as much as you did before. Make him experience the fun with or without the new member respectively to get used to the change. Implement treat training method to attract him into the play.

3) Physical and mental exercise:

Involve the dog into mental and physical exercises outdoors and indoors. Make use of their hunting skills and the habit of ‘completing the task’ at hand at any cost. You just have to engage the dog once, and he will play for hours. With time introduce the new member to the dog and let him take the dog out.

4) Pay attention:

This is not a warning signboard, but something important. Your dog loves to be the center of attention. So, it’s imperative that you show love and care to the pooch despite the changes in his life.

5) Medication:

If the dog fails to recover from the symptoms of depression for several months, then you can move on to giving him vet-prescribed antidepressants like Prozac.

Things to Avoid:

1) Delay in treatment:

Begin the treatment at the earliest you recognize the symptoms and change in dog’s behavior. Depression and inactivity can increase the chances of further problems, including upset stomach, obesity, and maybe heart problems. Curing prolonged depression is difficult.

2) Allow overeating:

Giving love and care to your dog doesn’t mean that you can promote the pooch’s overeating habit out of anxiety. You have to maintain the balance of food according to activity levels per day. Obesity in dogs can lead to high blood pressure and heart problems. Better to stay safe than be sorry later!

3) Show depressed behavior:

Emotions are contagious for pets. If your depression has transferred to your pooch, you have to consult the psychologist to get treatment for yourself. Moreover, you can train your pooch as a ‘therapy dog’ to aid in curing your depression, it will help both of you to walk out the door of gloom and sadness.

4) Force to perform tasks:

Forcing a dog to socialize, play, and go out with the new member will not do the job. You have to bring the changes gradually through positive reinforcement. Give him treats whenever he does something for you.

5) Change the dog supplies:

With a change of home, changing dog supplies, including the bed, crate, bowl, toys, etc. is not a positive step towards treatment. Once the dog is out of depression and acclimates to the new place, you can move ahead towards changing the supplies.

Conclusion:

Consistency is the key. Despite the changes in life, you can accustom the dog to new things. Comfort him to live with the changes, and your dog will soon overcome his depression. Positive reinforcement is the best encouragement for the dog to get excited to perform various tasks for you that will benefit his mental state.

By: Fiona Appleton
Fiona Appleton is a Labrador owner. She is the manager of Ultimate Home Life that has been developed to help people solve the troubles of pet ownership. She is an active advocate of animal protection campaigns. She wants people to understand that dog-behavior is reflective of our behavior.