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Wild canines are constantly in search of food for survival. Although you will never let your dog go hungry, his instinct to find food remains strong. So while it may be a nuisance when your dog is constantly pawing through garbage, sniffing at the table or trying to scrounge up a snack, keep in mind that he’s only following his survival instincts, and work to gently correct this behavior.

 Some dogs are allowed to eat all day; that is, food is left in their bowls at all times. This constant availability of food can lead to an overweight dog. Treats and snacks add up in calories, too. To check your dog’s body condition, do the "rib test." Run your hands on either side of his body along his rib cage. You should be able to feel the outline of his ribs. With an overweight dog, you might not be able to make them out at all. On the other hand, if the ribs are too prominent, the dog is underweight. In either case, visit the vet to rule out any health problems: Dogs may gain or lose weight with illness. You may see other symptoms; for example, dogs suffering from kidney problems will also urinate and drink more, and may vomit and be depressed.

 Your vet can recommend dietary modifications or special foods, and for an overweight dog, probably an exercise program as well. It’s vital to get a chubby pup back to a healthy weight, since overweight dogs are at risk of diabetes, heart problems and cancer, among other things. Keep track of all the extra bits of food given outside of mealtimes, and be more stingy in giving out treats, or ask your vet for ideas on healthier alternatives. Underweight dogs, too, are at a higher risk for all types of illness, due to their reduced ability to fight infection, decreased reserves of fat and energy, and poor healing ability. These dogs may need dietary supplements to bring them back into the pink of health.

The bottom line on pet foods is simple. We have a rough idea of the essential nutrients necessary for pets. We know some of the toxic levels for nutrients. Other than that, it is hard to be sure about any nutritional claims.

Studying nutrient needs is extremely complex. There are a great number of theories about what constitutes "proper" nutrition. For every good thing you hear about a food, there are likely to be as many bad things. Making sense of this is very difficult. There is no single food that is "best" for all makes and models of dogs.

Some things seem to be clear, though. Pets do require certain nutrients. A good way to ensure that the pet foods you feed your pets contain adequate nutrients is to look for a statement that the food meets AAFCO Food Trial testing standards. This is an organization which sets standards for pet foods. Most good quality foods will have this statement on their label. It is at least a good start in ensuring that your pet's diet is adequate.

Some people are currently advocating diets containing raw meat for pets. Before feeding raw meat, please stop to consider the health warnings for humans concerning raw meat. Dogs get the same illnesses from E. coli, Salmonella, Toxoplasmosis and other health hazards associated with raw or undercooked meat. Is the perceived benefit worth the risk of one of these diseases?

Don't let your pet teach you to feed it a poor diet. It is very easy, especially with small dogs and cats, to fall into the trap of feeding your pet what he or she wants instead of what he or she needs. Dogs are very patient trainers of human beings. If you're not paying attention, you could find that Spot is on an all meat diet in no time. It can be hard to ignore those pleading eyes, but your pet IS better off if you feed a balanced diet!

admin Feb 11 · Tags: food, feeding, dog, nutrition
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Your dog requires a minimum daily amount of six essential elements: water, protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals. Your vet can help you pick out a good commercial dog food, or monitor a homemade diet. Always read store-bought food labels, and remember the following:

Animal proteins are digested more easily than soy and other vegetable protein in general.  You don't need to feed a dog as high a volume of food if it is easily digestible. The more digestible a food, the less stool will be produced.  Keep in mind that a sick or stressed dog may need more protein. An unbalanced diet too rich in carbohydrates and/or fiber can cause constipation, bloating and other digestive problems, as well as excessive elimination. Keep in mind that foods high in vegetable proteins are also high in carbohydrates.

Fats keep skin and coats healthy and provide energy. Even an overweight dog needs a certain amount of fat in his diet.

Rancidity can be a problem with food that has been sitting on the shelf for too long. Food treated with chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin will last for up to 18 months, whereas vitamin E and other natural preservatives will keep food nutritionally sound for six to eight months.

A diet lacking in vitamins can lead to problems such as a weakened immune system, a greasy coat, bone disorders, thyroid problems or behavioral changes, to name a few. Never give your dog mineral supplements unless prescribed by your veterinarian.

Water keeps the bodily processes flowing. Make sure fresh, clean water is always available.

admin Feb 11 · Tags: health, feeding, nutrition, dog, food
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A man had just settled into his seat next to the window on the plane when another man sat down in the aisle seat and put his black Labrador Retriever in the middle seat next to the man.

The first man looked very quizzically at the dog and asked why the dog was allowed on the plane.... more

admin Jun 30 '16 · Tags: dog, police, sniffer, plane
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Ear Infections

 

Ear infections are a common canine health problem, and they can be caused by allergies, yeast, ear mites, bacteria, hair growth deep in the ear canal, and more. Symptoms your dog may have with an ear infection include:

 

  • Head shaking or head tilting
  • Ear odor
  • Vigorous scratching
  • Lack of balance
  • Unusual back-and-forth eye movements
  • Redness of the ear canal
  • Swelling of the outer portion of the ear
  • Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge


Always take your dog to the veterinarian if you think he has an ear infection. In most cases, cleaning and medicating the ear canal will quickly clear up an infection. However, surgery can be needed for chronic infections or if forceful head shaking results in the rupture of a vessel within the outer part of the ear.

 

Worms

 

Tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms are common internal parasites in dogs. And although any worm infestation can make your pooch uncomfortable, some, like hookworms, can be fatal in puppies. Signs your dog may have worms include:

 

  • Diarrhea (may be bloody)
  • Weight loss
  • A change in appetite
  • A rough, dry coat
  • Scooting on his bottom
  • An overall poor appearance


The best way to diagnose a worm problem is with a visit to the vet. Treatment depends on which type of worm your dog has, but generally includes an oral medication and may require follow-up. Don't try treating worms yourself: A medication that kills roundworms, for example, doesn't kill tapeworms.

 

Fleas and Ticks

 

It takes just three weeks for one flea to turn into an infestation of 1,000 biting bugs. A very common canine health problem, fleas are easy for your dog to pick up, but they're also easy to treat. Signs your dog may have fleas include:

 

  • Excessive scratching, licking, or biting at the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Hot spots
  • Allergic dermatitis
  • Tapeworms (which are carried by fleas)
  • Flea dirt (looks like small black dots) against your dog's skin
  • Untreated, fleas not only make your dog intensely uncomfortable, they can also cause allergic reactions, infections, and even lead to anemia from blood loss.

 

Talk to your vet about the right flea medicine for your dog, which may include oral medicine, shampoos, sprays, or topical liquids.

 

 

Hot Spots
They’re commonly known as hot spots, but the medical term for those bare, inflamed, red areas you often see on dogs is acute moist dermatitis -- a bacterial skin infection. Anything that irritates your dog's skin enough to make him scratch or chew can lead to the pain and itch of hot spots, which, if left untreated, can quickly grow larger.
A hot spot's location can help your vet diagnose its cause. Fleas, for example, may be the source of a hip hot spot, while a hot spot at the ear might point to ear problems.
Treating hot spots may involve cleaning and shaving the irritated area, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), steroids, or topical medications, depending on how bad the hot spots are, and how much pain your pooch is in.

 


Vomiting
Vomiting is a common dog health problem, with dozens of possible causes, from infection or intestinal parasites to pancreatitis, kidney failure, heatstroke, or poisoning.
Symptoms are basic: abdominal heaving and drooling caused by nausea. If your dog also has diarrhea, blood in the vomit, seems lethargic, continues vomiting, or can't hold down liquids, contact your vet right away to prevent life-threatening dehydration.
Treatment depends on what's causing a dog's distress, and may include fluid therapy, drugs to control vomiting, and homemade foods like well-cooked skinless chicken, boiled potatoes, and rice.

 


Diarrhea
Diarrhea in dogs, as with vomiting, can have lots of causes, including stress, infections like parvo virus, intestinal parasites, and food problems.


Diarrhea symptoms are pretty obvious -- look for loose, watery, or liquid stool.
Because diarrhea can easily lead to dehydration, be sure your dog has plenty of clean water available, then take your pooch to the vet if the diarrhea persists for more than a day, or immediately if there's also fever, lethargy, vomiting, dark or bloody stools, or loss of appetite.

admin Jun 2 '15 · Tags: dog, sickness, common, illness, ailment
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