Monday, February 22, 2016

Cranberries For UTI Health in Canines

The secret of cranberries and maintaining a healthy urinary tract has been passed down from generation to generation. It is now not so much a secret and could be said to be general knowledge. I bet the majority of you have been told to drink cranberry juice when suffering from a bladder infection. But, are cranberries really all that effective for treating urinary tract infections (UTI) and can they be used for canines?

Little research has been done on the effectiveness of cranberries on canine urinary tract health, BUT a lot of research has been done on humans. Of all the reading I have done for canines on cranberries, it seems that most veterinarians are using the human research to shed light on canine health. In addition, it seems that a lot of canine owners are praising the benefits of cranberries for helping their furry family members.

There does seem to be some confusion on how cranberries help with UT health.  It is often told that cranberries help by lowering the PH in urine, thus making it more acidic and killing off the bacteria. However, this seems to be just a wives tale passed on from generation to generation. In fact, it looks like cranberries help by making it difficult for bacteria to attach to the bladder wall tissue. If the bacteria can't attach, they can't multiply and just float around until they are flushed out with urine. It should also be noted that cranberries are not very effective in curing an already blazing urinary tract infection. You need antibiotics for that. Cranberries are helpful for maintaining a healthy urinary tract. This, in turn, reduces the chances of an infection. If your dog has chronic bladder infections, it is wise to work with your veterinarian to find out why. It could be a diet issue or an anatomical issue. As always, if you are supplementing your dog, you should always let your veterinarian know. Some medication and supplements don't work well together.

Aside from helping with UT health, cranberries are...well, like most berries... super healthy. They are rich in vitamins A, B1, B2 and C. In addition, they have abundant minerals and antioxidants. A daily dosage would be as follows:
  • Cats and small dogs: 100mg/ 3 times a day
  • Medium dogs: 200 mg/ 3 times a day
  • Large dogs: 300 mg/ 3 times a day
  • Giant dogs: 400 mg/ 3 times a day
If you would like to read more on cranberries for UTI health, here are some helpful links:

Monday, February 1, 2016

Dog Collar Safety In Daycares

At Bark City, we have a "No Collar Rule" while the dogs are in the daycare. The reason we do this is because when two dogs are playing and have collars on, they can quickly become entangled. Teeth can get caught, jaws can get caught and feet can get caught. This causes a safety issue for both dogs involved. Once the entanglement happens, things can escalate pretty quickly from the dogs panicking to get free. They start to twist, turn and pull. The body part that is caught can get pretty injured--- broken, dislocated... ect. But, what's worse is that the dog wearing the tangled collar can quickly become asphyxiated and die from the twisted collar cutting off their oxygen supply.

I'm bringing up this rule, because I thought it would be a good idea to talk about collar safety. There are three basic types of collars and each collar serves a different purpose and should be used at the appropriate time. I am using examples found on 2 Hounds Design, because...well... they had images of the three types of collars I am going to discuss:

This type of collar is called a Martingale Collar and is often used with dogs that have a smaller head than neck. Owners often use them when walking a dog, because the dog cannot slip out of the collar and run away (which is also a safety risk). It is recommended that these collars only be used when an owner is walking their dog with a leash. Martingale collars have no quick release and cause the biggest threat for entanglement. If you need a martingale collar for walking your dog, you should also purchase a quick release collar for supervised off-leash play.

This is a quick release collar. Notice the buckle has that nifty pinch release? This collar is what should be used when outside with your dog in off-leash scenarios... like a dog park or playing in the backyard with another dog while supervised. The buckle provides a quick way for the owner to release an entangled collar.

And last, but not least, the harness. A harness is a great solution for the dog that is "still learning". There is nothing around the dog's neck that could cause potential suffocation. BUT, another dog could still get entangled which can still cause injury. A harness also needs to fit properly, otherwise the dog could still slip out. When buying a harness for your dog, you should do some research on what kind of harness to buy and how it should fit. You should also "ask an expert" to help you initially fit the harness to your dog.

All in all, the general rules when it comes to collars are:
  • If your dog is going to doggy daycare, make sure they take collars off! If they don't, your dog should not go to that daycare. 
  • Double up on your collars-- use the appropriate collar for the situation.
  • If your dog is unsupervised with another dog, "no collars" is best. If your dog is not trained well enough to handle no collar, they should always be supervised while wearing a quick release collar. 
  • Learn the power of recall training.