Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Why Does My Dog Stink?

Dogs and "smell" seem to go hand in hand, but when is your dog's smell so pungent and bad that it borders on abnormal? First, let's explain that dogs do not sweat like humans through their skin. Most of the perspiration happens through their paws. There is a tiny bit of perspiration that happens through their hair follicles, but it's limited. The main way dogs regulate their body temperature is through panting. Which is why you should avoid taking your dog on major hikes on hot, hot days! All healthy dogs may smell the same to us humans, but in fact, each dog has it's own individual smell. A dog produces it's individual scent by secreting oil through it's skin, hair and glands. So yes, your dog when healthy, will  have it's own "dog smell". But if the smell is SO BAD it borders on something died, you may want to seek out what could be causing it.

  1. Something in fact did die and your dog rolled in it. This is the most obvious conclusion. Dogs are notorious for rolling in things that don't smell good! If this happens, you will need to bath your dog and hope for the best. 
  2. Allergies often manifest as problems with the skin. Allergies are not something that can simply be ignored and do take some diligence on finding out the source of the allergy. If ignored, the skin will begin to thicken from inflammation, secondary inflammation will occur and the skin will start producing excess secretions of oil and water. Simply bathing your dog does not help. You may make the problem worse by over-bathing your dog. You need to find the root cause of the allergy and that may take a veterinarian. 
  3. Seborrhea. I am not going to go into great detail on seborrhea, because that could be a whole blog post in itself. In Layman's Terms, Seborrhea is excessive scaling and flaking of the skin. Your dog's skin could be dry and flaky or oily and greasy. There are two forms of seborrhea, primary and secondary. Primary seborrhea can be breed specific and start at an early age with no underlying disease. Secondary seborrhea is caused by an underlying problem: disease, hormonal changes, allergies, infections, poor diet, obesity, environmental factors, ect. If you suspect your dog has seborrhea, it's best to get a Vet for help in determining the cause.
  4. Yeast has a very distinct smell. It is often compared to corn chips and manifests in the paws and ears. You will also see your dog excessively scooting around on their butt. If you suspect  the smell is yeast, the first thing you should do is examine what kind of food your dog is eating. Is it high in carbs? Yeast thrives on carbs. You will also need to clean the paws, ears and have your dog's scent glands cleaned regularly until the yeast is cleared up. If it persists, it may be time to visit a vet. 
  5. Infected ears. Is your dog scratching it's ears and shaking it's head a lot? Chances are, Fido has an ear infection. It could be bacterial. If so, you will need to clean your dog's ears until the infection is cleared. Sometimes, medicated ear ointment from your vet is needed. 
  6. Flatulence. Of course this will make your dog stink! This will make the whole room stink! If your dog has bad flatulence, chances are that it is dietary or there is an intestinal problem going on. First thing comes first, change to a higher quality diet. 
  7. Bad Breath is most of the time caused by built up odor producing bacteria in the mouth that can be caused by tartar or something like an abscess. Sometimes it can also stem from an underlying problem in the gastrointestinal tract, liver or kidneys. The first thing to examine is whether or not you are giving your dog adequate dental care through regular cleanings. If not, it may be time to start! If you are on par with the cleanings, it may be time to have a Veterinarian examine your dog for an underlying problem. 
For more information on stinky dogs, please visit these sites:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Depressed

Dogs can suffer from depression, just like humans. But, dogs do not speak human. They speak dog and sometimes it's hard for us humans to figure out what they are saying. Here are 10 signs that your dog might be depressed. Please keep in mind that just because your dog may be exhibiting one of these signs, it does not necessarily mean they are depressed. A lot of these signs could also mean they are injured or sick. Bottom line, it's best to know your dog's personal language. Pay attention to how they communicate on a day to day basis in order to understand when your dog is acting out of the ordinary.

  1. Change in Behavior: This is the most basic sign. Is your dog acting out of the ordinary? Have they lost interest in things that used to excite them? Example: Walks, favorite food, no longer greeting you at the door. The first thing to do is check out the environment. Have you had a new life change (new baby, a big move, ect..)? Sometimes, a dog will sense your own mood and act accordingly. It may be time to do your own self-reflection on whether you are in fact sad or stressed out. This could be causing your dog to feel the same way. Remember, that dogs are pack animals and if their leader is feeling sad or stressed, you canine will feel the same way. Though, they won't know why. They just know something is wrong with their leader. 
  2. Sleeping Pattern Changes: Usually a dog's sleeping patterns will fall in line with their human companion's. If you are noticing that you dog is particularly lethargic, they may be sad about something. BUT, they could also be sick or injured. Again, first check the environment for major changes. Next, take them to the vet to be reassured they are not sick. 
  3. Pacing: Pacing is a repetitive, back and forth frantic walk in a path. If you dog is pacing, it could mean a myriad of emotions: boredom, frustration, agitation or they could be excited about something fun that is about to happen! Pacing can also mean illness or injury. An injured or sick dog may pace because they cannot get in a comfortable resting position. They are basically trying to wear themselves out to rest. Again, know your dog's normal day to day routine and language and check the environment for any new change.
  4. Body Language: This is again assuming you know your dog's individual language. Some dogs are naturally timid and shy. Other dogs are more confident and boisterous. Some common body language signs that your dog is feeling sad are the eyes and the "passive stance". Generally, if a dog is avoiding eye contact, something is wrong. It does not necessarily mean that the eye contact has to be with you. It could mean that when you throw their favorite toy across the room, they refuse to look at it. Another common sign is a passive stance: walking or standing with their tail between their legs and head low. Sadness does not necessarily mean they are depressed. It could be just a temporary fleeting feeling they are feeling at that particular moment. 
  5. Eating Habits: Has your dog's eating habits changed? Like humans, a dog can suddenly start eating more or less when they are depressed. Ideally, your dog should have scheduled feeding times. This allows you better monitor their health and notice any eating changes. Keep in mind, they may just be bored with their food and it's time for a switch up. If your dog is more of a free range feeder, you will need to weigh them on a regular basis to make sure they are not gaining or losing weight too quickly.
  6. Aggression: This is more of a serious one. If your dog is showing signs of aggression, please take them to the vet to make sure they are not ill or injured. Period. 
  7. Excessive Licking: (especially the paws!) Some dogs will exhibit and obsessive compulsion to lick themselves when something is bothering them. You must first check to make sure that they are not injured, have a skin irritation or allergy. If not, it could be an emotional response. 
  8. Destructive Behavior: First, I must clarify. If you have a puppy, it's going to be destructive and it's your job to teach them boundaries. But, if you have a dog that was once calm and collective suddenly chewing up things, chances are something is wrong. They could be bored, mad, frustrated or depressed. First make sure that they are getting adequate mental and physical exercise. Next, check for major changes in the environment. It could be something as "silly" as a new smell in the house! If all of this has been addressed, you may need to seek a vet. 
  9. Excessive Shedding: When I say "excessive shedding", I'm not talking about the day to day shedding of your dog. Dog's shed. Period. What you will be looking for is thin, bald spots of hair missing on your dog. If this is happening, please take your dog to the vet. Chances are, it's a health issue. But, it could also be an emotional reaction. 
  10. Avoidance or Hiding: If your dog seems to be hiding in a corner or avoiding you or other family members, something is wrong. Again, it could be a major environmental change, it could be weather (like a thunderstorm) or it could be health related and need a vet's diagnosis.
Bottom line, the best way to tell if something is wrong with your dog is to pay attention to them everyday. Get to know your dog: What your dog likes, dislikes and how they communicate. If you do notice something is "out of the ordinary" with your dog, don't panic. First, assess the environment and try to decide if it is indeed emotional or if it's physical. Always consult your veterinarian, because even emotional issues may sometimes need a doctor's care. 💗

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The New House "Kibble" --Honest Kitchen

  We've switched things up a bit here at Bark City and are super excited about it! Our new house "kibble" will be Honest Kitchen which isn't kibble at all! It's a dehydrated, human-grade pet food. Yep, Honest Kitchen even has a guy named Jerry taste testing batches of their food at their facility (not a job I would want, but I do give Jerry a hardy pat on the back and a gold star.)

So why Honest Kitchen? Cooked foods have never been part of the canine diet. Cooked, processed  dog food was first introduced about 80-yrs ago in response to the high cost of meat during the Great Depression and was heavily promoted at the end of WWII. The cooking process of kibble significantly decreases the nutritional value of the food. It's proteins become denatured, enzymes are rendered inactive and the natural microflora are no longer available. Manufacturers then try to add back the lost nutrients with synthetic vitamins and mineral so they can put that label on the bag that says "Complete and Balanced". The problem with that is that our pets cannot completely utilize the synthetic vitamins and minerals. What the body does not process, gets passed through and causes a lot of strain and stress on the body. Over time, this stress adds up. A once happy, silky coat puppy eventually becomes an adult dog with a myriad of health concerns ranging from food allergies, weight problems, ear infections, dental infections, gastrointestinal problems and Kidney/ Liver diseases. The vet bill adds up and you have a miserable pup.

If you would like to read more about how food impacts your pup's lively hood, here are a couple of good links to get you started:
 I'll be "Honest" (pun intended!) When you look at that itty-bitty box of Honest Kitchen Pet food and the price compared to a big, bulky bag of kibble, you kind of shirk back for a moment. Keep in mind, that this box is dehydrated food. It's lighter and does not contain the water weight of real food (that gets added in when you prepare it!). But, you will find that in contrast to kibble, you will be feeding your pup a lot less food because they will be absorbing more nutrients! Most kibble consumption gets passed right through your dog and ends up on the lawn. This equals you wasting money. You are literally flushing your money down the toilet... only there is no toilet. Once you switch your dog to a whole food diet, you will notice that your pooper scooper duty becomes less frequent and your dog becomes a unicorn. 😃

I'm not going to lie, probably the best diet for your pup is a raw, home-made food. But, for many this is not really feasible. It requires a lot of training and TIME. Honest Kitchen is the "real food" for the busy person. The low temperature dehydration process helps retain the food's natural nutrients. It is versatile and allows you to mix in whole foods with the dehydrated, so you know your pup is getting quality nutrition and your money will not be wasted on poop and vet bills.

When you welcome a dog into your life, you are becoming responsible to a companion that is unconditionally loyal to you. The dog owner therefore becomes responsible to giving their four-legged family member a diet that they can thrive and to give the best opportunity for a long, healthy life. Even if you don't choose Honest Kitchen, do your research on finding the best food possible for you canine companion.