Tag: Dogs health

Why Does My Dog Stare At Me?

When you sit down to dinner (or lunch, or breakfast, or even when you think about food), do you have a set or two of doggie eyes fixed on you?

Does your dog stare at you intently at certain times of day?

Do they give you a look that says, Hey, I need something, why are you not getting it for me?

Why Your Dog Stares at You

Hoping that your pup is staring at you lovingly? Contemplating how great you are for giving them so many delicious treats?

Unfortunately, dogs don’t think this way. They’re holding your gaze because it leads to a reward. 

Feed Me!

When does your dog start staring?

Is it a little before dinner time? Were you caught up in a book, TV show or finishing up some work and you noticed your pooch giving you the eye?

They were communicating that it’s time to eat. 

If they do this while you’re eating, they are communicating (begging) for some of what’s on your plate. You may notice that in these situations, your dog is amazingly skilled at looking extra sad. Dogs know which looks get them the most food. Ears forward, softened eyes, head slightly down? You can’t resist… and they know it!

Walks, Play Time, and Rides

Staring isn’t always about food. 

You dog can communicate other needs with a prolonged look. They may be telling you that it’s time to:

  • Go for a walk
  • Go outside to use the bathroom
  • Play with their favorite toy
  • Go outside to play
  • Refill the water dish

No Food? Ok, Just Tell Me How Great I Am

Your dog may also stare at you simply because they want to catch your attention to remind you to give them attention. 

They will look at you for praise and petting. 

They will look at you simply to have you look at them. 

Your Dog Depends on You

Your pup depends on you for all of their needs: food, exercise, play, affection, and care. 

Keep them safe, healthy, and protected: get them and always know where they are.

Also, make sure they’re covered by pet health insurance for those unannounced trips to the doggie ER, or for expensive, prolonged medical care. 

Understanding And Treating Cataracts In Dogs

Have you ever seen a dog with a white tint to their eyes? If you’re wondering what it may be from, it could be cataracts. A potentially life-threatening disease, cataracts should be treated as soon as symptoms appear. Read on to help understand and treat them in dogs.

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a largely inherited disease and are more frequent in purebred dogs. They are defined as the clouding of the lens of the eye. They can progress slowly or quickly, causing blindness in a few days or a few weeks.

A cataract isn’t a film over the eye, it’s a change to the inside of the clear sack that contains the lens. A minor clouding or fogging that doesn’t interfere with vision is known as an incipient cataract. Immature cataracts tend to cloud the larger portion of the lens and can result in blurred vision.

When the entire lens clouds up and complete vision is lost over time, it’s known as a mature cataract. As it progresses even further, the pupil will turn a bluish to even white color. A cataract doesn’t always mean blindness, though.

How They Develop

Cataracts can develop at any age. The Cocker Spaniel, Siberian Husky, Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, and Golden Retriever are all more prone to the disease. Diabetes can also cause them. Nearly 75% off dogs with diabetes will become blind from cataracts within a year. In fact, they can develop overnight in dogs with diabetes – one night they go to bed with normal eyes and the next morning they wake up with white eyes!

If this happens, take your dog to the vet immediately.

Cataracts can also be caused by the toxicity from drugs such as heartworm preventatives, vaccines, and flea and tick medicine. Underlying eye diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma, or uveitis can also cause this disease. Eye trauma can also lead to cataracts. Lastly, senior dogs can develop this disease due to aging but they are mostly slow to develop and don’t cause serious eyesight issues.

Treatment

If you spot some clouding in your dog’s eyes, take your pup to the veterinarian immediately. From there, they might recommend a visit to a veterinary ophthalmologist. If the cataracts aren’t major, they will be monitored and rechecked often. Anti-inflammatory eye drops may also be prescribed.

If the cataracts are major, surgery may be recommended. Surgery is more effective if it is done sooner rather than later as mature ones are harder to treat. Surgery is usually successful and most dogs have near-perfect vision post-surgery.

Prevention

One way to prevent cataracts is to prevent diabetes. You can prevent diabetes by keeping your dog at a healthy weight. Since diabetes almost always end in this disease and involves surgery, the best way to prevent them is to prevent diabetes!

There are many other holistic approaches to preventing cataracts like not over-vaccinating your pet, feeding a high quality diet, and adding supplements to their food.

Best Dog Breeds For Runners

Are you a runner? Do you want a furry, four-legged running partner keeping up with you as you two stride gracefully down the city streets, or though winding paths in the woods?

The good news is most dogs love to run. And, most dogs thrive on the increased exercise. 

But, some dog breeds are better runners than others

Not all dogs are built to jog. Some love long distance running. Others thrive on sprinting. Others like nothing more strenuous than a stroll in the park. 

How do you know which to choose? 

First, what type of runner are you? Jogger? Beach sprinter? Love high-speed running?

Here are the 5 Best Dog Breeds for Runners

Weimaraners 

These dogs love to jog because they are built to run long distances. They are well muscled, energetic, and thrive mentally and physically on lots of exercise. 

Greyhounds

Sprinters. These dogs were bred to race. You may find one that likes jogging, but most will love to accompany you on short, intense burst sprinting. 

Pit Bulls 

Sprinters and short distance runners. Because they are heavily muscled and built low to the ground, Pitfalls excel at sprinting and fast jogging for short distances. If you want to run the 50, 100, or 200, a Pit bull will love every step of the race. Longer distances can be tough on their joints. They’re built like shot-putters, and you don’t see many shot-putters running marathons.

Golden, Yellow, and Black Labradors 

These breeds like both long, slow jogs, and shorter, more intense sprint-type runs. Labs are always one of the most popular breeds because they’re very affectionate, well-behaved, and loyal. But, they can be destructive if not exercised enough. They are a working breed, so they need lots of exercise. This makes them the perfect running companion!

German Shepard

This powerful breed loves exercise. Because they love sprinting, jogging, and everything in-between, the German Shepard is one of the best dog breeds for runners of all kinds. But, make sure you intend to exercise a lot. The GSD is a working breed, so they require much more exercise than many anticipate. If you are doing near-daily road work, the GSD is for you!

Beagles

Sprinting, agility training. Beagles tend to have short legs and are built low to the ground. Many associate this hound breed with laziness. But, they are actually very high energy, and one of the most agile dog breeds in the world. If you are a sprinter, the beagle is your kind of dog.

If you are an athlete that likes to do agility training, your Beagle will train right along side of you. But, make sure you do all running in an enclosed area. The Beagle’s nose can get him in trouble because they are natural wanderers, and run surprisingly fast. 

What Makes Your Dog Become Overweight?

One of the easiest ways to keep your dog healthy is to make sure they don’t gain too much weight. Obviously, we don’t want a dog that’s too thin, nor do we want to resist their cute begging faces when it’s time for treats.

But, when a dog gains too much weight, it puts a lot of stress on their system – both inside and out. 

What Factors Can Make a Dog Become Overweight?

The most common cause of obesity in dogs is overeating. Some breeds like Beagles and hounds are classic, well-known over-eaters. 

And, many owners hate to restrict their dog’s food when they notice that there’s been weight gain. But, the reality is that you don’t have to force your dog onto some extreme diet to get them to lose the unwanted pounds. 

Improve the Quality of Dog Food

There are scientists that believe that lack of nutrition in the American diet is a major contributor to the obesity problem among humans. Simply, we are eating more food than necessary because the food we eat lacks the nutrients our bodies need. 

The same goes for dogs. 

Cheap food offend mean cheap ingredients. If you feed your dog a kibble full of fillers, they’ll need to, and want to, eat more to get the nutrition they need. 

If you are on a tight budget, you can increase your pup’s nutrition without spending a lot of money. Making homemade chicken broth and adding it to their food will provide them with a host of healthy vitamins and minerals. And, it costs almost nothing to produce. 

Adding ground pumpkin to their food will help add vitamins and fiber, and will also help your dog feel more full when eating. 

If you can afford the good stuff, look for ingredients that are considered “suitable for humans.” This means that the food in the bag isn’t old, mold, or couldn’t pass the test for people to eat it. Look for ingredients like: beef, fish, chicken, eggs, vegetables, fruits as the first 5 ingredients listed. 

Lack of Exercise and Activity

Just like us, if your dog doesn’t exercise, they’ll gain weight. Puppies and young dogs avoid this problem because they have so much energy to burn, but even young dogs can gain weight. 

And, as your dog passes into adulthood, their need for exercise increases. 

Plus, walking, working out, and playing not only helps control their weight, but it helps their muscles, bones, joints, organs, and mental health. 

Can Medical Problems Make Your Dog Become Overweight?

If you are feeding them great food and exercising with them, but they’re still gaining too much weight, then it’s time to see the vet. 

There are a few medical causes of obesity:

  • Hypothyroidism – suppressed thyroid can lead to serious weight gain. Can be treated with medication combined with better eating and exercise
  • Cushing’s Disease – this disease causes a problem in your pup’s adrenal glands. This leads to a disruption in your dog’s metabolism. Your vet may be able to treat this problem with medication
  • Pituitary Gland Diseases – because the pituitary gland is the “master gland,” problems here can cause the whole system to go out of whack. This includes weight gain. 
  • Diabetes – much like with people, diabetes can cause fat gain. And, it’s tough to tell if weight gain caused the problem or did diabetes cause he weight gain. But, the most important thing is to have your vet help you. Losing fat, especially in the mid section, can help fight diabetes in your pup

Track Their Food and Activity Levels

Feed your dog the best food you can afford, in sensible portions.

Is Rawhide Actually Safe For Your Dog?

It’s nearly impossible to walk down the pet aisle at the supermarket without seeing a section for rawhide treats. Coming in all shapes in sizes – from bones, to sticks, to circles – it is a widely popular treat for dogs. Not only do they keep dogs busy, dogs absolutely love them. But, is it really safe? Let’s take a deeper look into the world of this tasty treat.

What is rawhide?

Rawhide is made from the inner layer of horse or cow hides. When making it, the hides are cleaned then cut or ground. From there, they are pressed into chewable treats for dogs. Some treats contain chicken, beef, or liver flavoring to make them more appealing to pups.

What are the benefits of rawhide?

Dogs have a natural instinct to chew. They need to chew and some will spend hours upon hours chewing on anything they can get their paws on. Chewing provides mental stimulation and can help relieve anxiety. Since many of these treats are large and take a while to chew, it helps occupy your pup.  Puppies can benefit from it, especially when used as alternative to shoes.

Rawhide is also helpful in managing your dog’s dental hygiene. Chewing it keeps their teeth clean, jaw strong, and their breath fresher. Pups that regularly chew on this treat tend to have less plaque and tarter build-up on their teeth.

What are the risks of rawhide?

Though many dogs can consume rawhide regularly without any issues, there are certain risks – some serious – that dog owners need to watch out for.

One risk is contamination. Rawhide, like other pet toys, can contain small amounts of toxic chemicals. Furthermore, Salmonella or E. coli contamination is also a possibility. Humans can even be at risk if they come into contact with contaminated rawhide.

Another risk is digestive irritation. Some dogs can simply be allergic or sensitive to rawhide (or other ingredients used to manufacture the product) and can suffer from digestive problems like vomiting or diarrhoea.

A third, and probably the biggest, risk is choking or blockages. Some dogs don’t know how to properly chew a rawhide and will attempt to swallow large pieces. If this happens, it can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. If it isn’t too large of a piece, a vet can typically remove the piece(s) through the throat. But, if the piece is too large, abdominal surgery may be needed. If not treated or resolved, a blockage from rawhide could easily lead to death.

Some signs of contamination, digestive irritation or blockage are: gagging, repeated swallowing, regurgitation, vomiting, diarrhea, signs of pain, refusal to eat, and lack of energy. If you see any of these signs, take your pup to the vet immediately.

How to ensure your pup safely chews rawhide:

You can take certain measures to ensure your dog safely consumes rawhide. First, talk to your vet to make sure you are giving your pup the proper amount. The smaller the dog, the smaller the piece, is a good place to start, though.

If you have multiple dogs, separate them when offering them this treat. This way, they won’t feel the need to eat it quickly or swallow big bites.

Take the treat away from your dog when it is small enough to swallow whole. Some dogs tend to be possessive, so having them sit while offering them another (tastier) treat can help.

But the main thing to do is supervise your pup! Don’t leave them alone with rawhide and make sure they aren’t eating it too fast.

While most dogs can safely consume rawhide, knowing the risks can help if an issue ever does arise. Being prepared will ensure your pup safely enjoys this chewable treat!

What To Do If Your Dog Ate Something They Shouldn’t Have

We all know dogs will eat almost anything they can get their paws on. Whether it’s dropped food on the ground or your dinner. Most of the time it’s no cause for concern, but what about when your dog ate something they shouldn’t have? Here’s what you should do if that happens.

How to Tell if They Ate Something Toxic or Foreign

One way to tell if your dog ate something they shouldn’t have is by observing their symptoms. If they are showing signs of vomiting (beginning as food and ending in water) or gagging, a painful abdomen, fatigue, diarrhea or constipation – contact your veterinarian immediately. Other symptoms include a lack of appetite and changes in normal behavior.

Immediately Bring them to the Vet

If your dog ingested something foreign and you’re unable to contact your veterinarian, take them to a 24-hour emergency animal clinic. One mistake some owners make is they wait to see if the object passes on its own, according to Dr. Shari Brown. Dr. Brown advises against trying to induce vomiting yourself without a veterinarian’s okay since some foreign objects cause more harm coming back out.

Treatment

If the vet believes your dog ate something they shouldn’t have, they will most likely recommend X-rays as this will help them assess the severity of the situation and determine treatment options. However, some veterinarian’s may be able to help the object pass by inducing vomiting.

In a more severe situation, an endoscopy may be required. With this scenario, the vet will guide a long tube down your pup’s throat and remove the object from their stomach.

If the object has made its way to the dog’s intestines, surgery may be required. Once the object is in the intestine, there is a greater risk for complications because some parts of the intestines may have to be removed.

Prevention

The best way to avoid a trip to the emergency animal clinic is by preventing your dog from ingesting a foreign object in the first place! One way to do this is to keep any potentially harmful objects or foods out of reach. Whether it’s baby-locking the cabinets, closing off certain rooms of the house, or keeping objects off the counter.

And, if your dog has a habit of chewing and swallowing the stuffing or squeakers in their toys, keep them out of the house!

So if your dog is a lover of all food and toys, make sure to take preventative measures to avoid an emergency trip to the vet!

7 Great Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds That Won’t Make You Sneeze

Just because you are allergic to fur doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on owning a fluffy friend. There are hundreds of Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds, here are a few of our favourites.

Bichon Frise

Don’t be deterred by the soft puffy coat. These small marshmallows do not shed and are jolly and simple to train. The Bichon Frise is perfect for a family needing a little, cheerful dog as an easygoing company.

Schnauzer

These shed-less pups are excellent for an owner who loves to be the center of focus — or a child who adores playing “Follow the Leader.” Schnauzers love individual attention,  so expect to have a pal by your side at all times  They do need a firm hand, to balance their protective mood and his tenacious, filled with energy attitude. Schnauzers come in three sizes,  giant, standard and tiny

Yorkshire Terrier

Why is this strain a favored among allergy sufferers? These cute little dogs grow hair instead of fur. Hair has an extended development cycle in this strain, meaning that they shed less often. The only drawback is that these guys that are are going to need continuous dressing to prevent their hair from becoming a matted mess. Having a groomer shave them in a pup cut can supply a temporary low-care option.

Shih Tzu

Dog lovers with allergies shouldn’t be deceived by this strain’s long, glossy locks; in reality, the Shih Tzu sheds very little. Dog owners have two options for hairstyles.  Keeping the jacket keeping it long or short into a “puppy” cut. However, keeping it long comes at a cost: the coat needs regular combing and daily care.

Poodle

The poodle is cherished by many allergy sufferers. Poodles are famously smart and loyal breeds. This strain is also blessed with a non-shedding coat. The poodles tight and fluffy curls tend to maintain dander, keeping it off the floor and bed. Like many of other hypoallergenic dog breads, poodles need regular baths and haircuts.

Italian Greyhound

Perfecto! This small Italian breed has a layer has a very thin layer of hair, so while he just sheds, it is not difficult to keep him clean of allergens. The strain does not need a large lawn, and is quite lively and loyal. They are  quite sensitive to cold though, so this is not a great strain for a family living in a chilly climate.

Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese water dog made its way to the White House. After extensive research the Obamas had to find a strain that wouldn’t irritate family and staff members allergies. Like the poodle, this pooch has a low shedding speed due to his “curled hairdo, which keeps dander from accumulating on furniture, garments, upholstery, and the floor.

Pickles: The Pup That Saved The World Cup

The History Making Pup

In 1996, England was preparing to hold the World Cup, which to the English, was kind of a big deal. Especially because they had a feeling they might win—which they did—so you can imagine how bummed they were when a thief stole the World Cup trophy just four months before the matches started.

The entire country immediately went into a frenzy to avoid international embarrassment and find the missing cup. After months of searching, and a failed ransom request Pickles, a curious collie saved the day by finding the lost trophy.

While on a routine walk, the pup sniffed something out in the bushes and wouldn’t let up. When Pickle’s owner took a look at what the pup had found, he discovered the missing World Cup!

In the aftermath of finding the Cup, Pickles meteoric rise to fame began. The press lavished him with attention, quickly becoming known as the hero dog that saved the Works Cup. The country even threw a banquet in Pickles honor.  Awarding him a bone and a £5,000 check —archive footage shows the check being shoved into his face, so we hope it was cashed by his master and not chewed to shreds.

Finding the world cup changed Pickles life forever. Once an ordinary dog, he became known as the pup that saved the world cup.  He starred in feature films, The Spy with the Cold Nose, and appeared on Magpie, Blue Peter and many other TV shows. The country named Pickles Dog of the Year.  A title that came with a year’s free supply of food from Spillers. There were offers to visit Chile, Czechoslovakia, and Germany.

Meet Cullen And Romulus, The World’s First Set Of Puppy Identical Twins

We all know puppies are adorable. It’s hard to resist those fluffy coats and unbelievably cute faces. But, have you ever looked at two puppies and thought to yourself, “Wow, they look exactly alike?” Your eyes may no longer be deceiving you. For the first time in history, two puppies were born identical twins.

The Irish Wolfhound twins were delivered via C-section with their five litter mates by Kurt de Cramer of Rant en Dal Animal Hospital in South Africa. The two puppies were attached by their umbilical cords to the same placenta – not a common occurrence during the procedure. The twins, named Cullen and Romulus, had some slight differences in their white markings but blood tests confirmed that they were, in fact, identical twins.

Why the slight difference in markings? Though the twins share the same set of genes, each gene will be influenced by indirect environmental cues, changing how each gene is expressed. So, like human identical twins, Cullen and Romulus won’t look exactly alike.

Although it is not impossible, identical twins are very rare for non-human species.

Many people have suspected that domestic dogs could be identical twins, but Cullen and Romulus were the first confirmed case. There could certainly be undocumented cases of non-human identical twins, especially since scientists have only genetically tested a small sample of wild and domestic animals. The rarity could also be because two organisms living in the same placenta don’t receive the same amount of nourishment. In the wild, that could mean only one animal survives.

Although Cullen and Romulus were born slightly smaller and lighter than their siblings, the now twelve-week-old pups are thriving and enjoying life with the rest of the pack.

Teaching Your Puppy to Walk on a Leash

Bringing a new dog into your home is one of the most exciting, rewarding things you can do. If they’re a rescue, they’ll surely reward your kindness with love, affection, and years of zany antics. If you’ve gotten a puppy or young adult dog (or an adult that was untrained), then getting them to walk on a leash can be challenging.

There is a small school of thought that preaches the belief that dogs walking on a leash should be allowed to roam freely, smelling and barking and playing how they like. There are other who believe that off-leash walking is possible, even in the city.

Don’t buy into it.

Why you Must Teach Your Dog To Walk On A Leash

The reality is that we need our dogs well behaved on the leash, not to satisfy our egos of being a good dog trainer, but instead to:

  • Keep our dogs safe – walking off leash in a city is dangerous, no matter how well trained or well behaved your dog is. Unless you have also trained all pedestrians, bike riders, skateboarders, and drivers, then your dog is at risk
  • Keep other safe – if you have a big dog, it doesn’t take much for them to jump up and knock someone down while out on a walk. This can lead to lawsuits, and your dog will be punished. You also don’t want to be pulled down by an unruly pup. That puts you both at risk for serious injury
  • Bond with your dog – Teaching your dog to walk calmly next to you no matter where you are can expose them to a myriad of fun things: dog parks, trips to the stores that allow dogs, adventures in the city, meeting other dogs at charity events and fundraisers, runs on the beach, etc.

But, how do you get an energetic, monkey-minded dog, especially a puppy, to behave while walking on leash?

Training A Puppy To Walk Good

  1. Don’t Let Their Energy Dictate the Pace

The biggest mistake dog owners make on the walk starts before the leash.

Dogs, especially puppies, become very excited at the sight of their leash. It means walks! Freedom! Friends and cars and people and all the cool smells the wind brings!

They’ll jump. They spin in circles. They’ll run around.

And, what do most of us do? We think it’s cute, leash them up, then start the walk. Before we even get out of the door they’re pulling us like a Clydesdale.

Calm Your Puppy Before The Walk

First, don’t start the walk until they’re calm. This will take patience on your part and theirs. You have to be willing to wait them out. Teach them to sit and wait calmly (it’s an excited calm, but it’s not jumping and running and spinning).

Once they’re calm, attach their leash/harness. Now, this will not happen on the first attempt. They’ll feign being relaxed, then get wild as you begin the leashing process. Back off, re-start. Keep going until they’re calm.

This one challenge will remove many of the behavior problems that occur on the walks. By putting your dog in a calm mental state, you teach them that – yeah, walks are cool, but they’re more fun when we do them as a team.

  1. Choose the Right Equipment

This is a highly individual choice. Rope leash vs nylon vs multiple-handle vs slip.

You’ll have to experiment.

However, a good rule is: if you have a large, powerful, or forceful dog, retractable leashes are not your friend.

A retractable leash will allow a dog to run at full speed before being stopped with a violent pull of their neck or chests. They allow for very little gripping power. Retractable leashes also break easily.

Leave retractable leashes to the Toy group.

  1. Off-Leash Training

If you have a yard, you can use the space to teach your dog that walking next to you is awesome. However, if you live in an apartment, you can try it indoors, too.

Put their leash on (when they’re calm). Walk away. When you’re about 10-feet away, call them with a quick command like “come on,” or “let’s go.”

Be cheerful. Let them know it’ll be fun.

When they reach your side, reward them with treats or affection.

Take hold of the leash and start walking. If she strays, use a gentle pull on the leash to put her back on track. Do not yank. These create negative associations.

Continue this exercise until you can make a lap or two around the yard (or apartment), then take the show on the road.

  1. Expose Them to All the Sights and Sounds

Once on the street, you and your puppy will be faced with many distractions. Exposure to cars, people, other dogs, cats, squirrels, etc. help your dog become desensitized to the stimulus. They’ll acknowledge the car or the other dog, but it won’t cause a negative behavior.

If she’s pulling or getting wild, simply repeat your command (Let’s go, come on, etc.) and walk in the opposite direction. Gentle pulls to get her attention focused on walking.

Want to Contact Me?