Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Canine Heat Stroke

Summer is just around the corner, which means it will be getting HOT. Just like humans, dogs can get heat stroke. Here are some symptoms to watch out for and what to do if you suspect your dog may be over-heated:

A dog's temperature is a bit different from a human's. If you notice that your dog is acting over-heated, the first thing you must do is take his/her temperature. Here is a link that provides instructions on the "how". Below is a nifty graphic I made on normal - dangerous temperatures for a dog: 

If your dog is indeed over-heated and/or suffering heat stroke, there are measures to take in order to make sure it does not do permanent damage to your canine or become fatal:

Always remember to take precautionary measures to make sure your beloved four-legged friend is safe in the heat. Here is a post I wrote a couple years ago regarding keeping your dog cool during hot months. Canines only lose heat through the pads of their feet and panting. Add fur on top of that, and summer can get quite grueling.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

10 Canine Safety Tips for 4th of July

4th of July-- Independence Day! It's a day where we humans BBQ, socialize, relax and explode things. For dogs, it is a time of pure scariness. Dogs don't associate all the noise and chaos as YAY! Whoohoo! Fun! Most dogs associate it with--> OMG, the world is ending. So, how can we humans make this nightmare a bit more bearable? Here are 10 safety tips for the 4th of July:

  1. First and foremost, right away in the morning, exercise your dog prior to all the activity. This exercise should be long enough to thoroughly wipe out your dog mentally and physically. A well exercised dog equals a calmer dog.
  2. After exercise, keep your pet (including cats) indoors during all the activity. The 4th of July is a shelter's busiest time of year, because pets go missing while trying to escape all the noise. Make sure your dog has a place to hide in the house if necessary. Leaving your dog in the car is not an option and can often escalate into more panic. Plus if it's hot out, leaving your dog in the car equals a life threatening situation. 
  3. Respect your dog's fear. If Fido is hiding under the bed or in a kennel, do not try to pull them out "to get used to the fireworks". 
  4. Have proper identification for your dog: collar with tags and a microchip just in case your dog escapes. 
  5. Stay home with your dog or hire someone to stay home with your dog. If your dog is in a panic, they could try to claw and dig their way out of the house. I've even seen pictures of dogs jumping through closed windows. This could lead to serious injuries. A person should be home with your four-legged family member for safety. 
  6. Keep calm. If your dog is in a panic, the worst thing you can do is start panicking with them about the fact that your dog is panicking. You, or your doggy babysitter, needs to remain calm through the whole situation. 
  7. Drowned out the sound. You can do this by closing all doors, windows and blinds, and turning on the tv (or radio).
  8. Provide distraction through fun games or incredibly yummy treats. 
  9. Invest in a thundershirt: You can usually find these at your local pet store. They have them for dogs and cats.
  10. Drugs. If you know already that your dog hates 4th of July, talk to your vet. A veterinarian can prescribe a medication to help ease your dog's panic. 
The Fourth of July can be a fun, relaxing time for family members to get together. It's a time of bonding. But please don't forget about your furry family members! Make sure you are well prepared and they are taken care of in order to minimalize the possibility of injury or escape. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Canine Ear Health

Ear problems are probably one of the top reasons dog owners visit the vet. A dog's ears should be regularly monitored in order to keep them healthy and infections at bay. Once an infection starts, it can become time-consuming for the owner and agony for the dog. Often, a two-prong attack is what is needed to find out what is causing a dog's ears to become infected and to provide relief. The owner needs to 1. consult a veterinarian for medication that will provide immediate relief and 2. Examine what environmental factors are causing the dog's ears to become irritated. It is important to stay on top of your dog's ear health. Prolonged ear infection can cause permanent damage to you furry family member's hearing.

A veterinarian's medication will provide immediate relief for your dog's ears, but if the environmental factors that are causing the problem are not fixed, ear infections will become chronic. Often, an ear infection is caused by a dietary allergy. Bacteria and yeast are naturally present in your dog's gut, but can get out of whack from excess amounts of grain and sugar. Another factor that can cause excessive bacteria and yeast is moisture. If your dog is a swimmer, it is important to dry out your dog's ears after swimming. Also, check your dog's ears for grass seeds after hiking. These little babies can get lodged into the ear causing your dog A LOT of pain. Sometimes, surgical removal is required. Often your veterinarian might suggest using an oil to soften the lodged seed. But this should only be done if recommended by your vet.

If your dog is showing signs of an ear infection, it is important to take your dog to the vet for a diagnosis of what is causing the infection. If an antibiotic is prescribed, it might be beneficial to supplement your dog's diet with a probiotic to keep your dog's gut in balance. Healthy ears will not require frequent cleaning. In fact, over cleaning your dog's ears can cause infections as well! If you need to clean your dog's ears, please make sure you only clean the visible part of the ear. Like humans, it is not a good idea to stick a q-tip or anything else inside the ear. This could cause damage or blockage.

There are many good ear cleaners on the market, but you can also make your own ear cleaner at home. I have pinned a few examples here. Frequent monitoring of your dog's ears will keep those ears floppy as well as perking up in all directions!