Top Tips When Adopting A Rescue Dog

If you are thinking of adding a new member to your family, adopting a rescue dog could be good path to take. Adopting a rescue benefits not only you and your family, but a dog that badly needs a loving home.

Of course, adopting a rescue dog may also have some pitfalls, but if you go in knowing exactly what to expect, you can avoid the worst of them. Here are some tips when adopting a rescue dog.

Make sure you are ready to adopt

The rescue dogs in shelters are definitely ready for adoption. The question is, are you? The first you need to consider is whether you and your family has the commitment to adopt a rescued dog. This is the first thing you need to ask yourself when thinking of getting a dog, regardless of whether it is a rescue dog or not.

Talk this over with your family and make sure you are all on board with the idea. Having a dog is a big responsibility, and if it is your first pet as a family, you may not realize how big a responsibility it really is.

We suggest that you try fostering a rescue dog first instead of adopting it outright. Think of it as a sort of test run to give you and your family some idea of what you are getting yourselves into before actually committing. It will also help you prepare better for when you do decide to adopt a rescue dog.

Do your research

It always pays to do research and get as much information as possible. This puts you in a better position to make good decisions.

A good place to start is to debunk the misconceptions about rescue dogs. The biggest of these is that rescue dogs are abused or abandoned dogs.  This means it will be very hard and problematic to take care of them.

The truth is, although some rescued dogs were abandoned and abused, most are in shelters for other reasons. Many healthy dogs in shelters, including puppies, come from happy, loving families that just cannot take care of another dog for one reason or another. They send these dogs to shelters in the hopes that others with more resources will adopt and be able enjoy their company.

Aside from researching more about rescue dogs in general, it is also very important to find out as much as you can about the history and background of the dog you plan to adopt. Do not be shy about asking as many questions as you want from the rescue organization, and expect straightforward answers.

Put yourself in their shoes

To better understand how to deal with a rescue dog, try to put yourself in their position. This will make it easier for you to understand their behavior and know how to deal with it.

The first thing you should remind yourself is that you do not know much about them. The shelter may give you some idea about their history or background but for the most part you do not know what kind of personality they have or how they will behave.

Keep in mind that most rescue dogs are scared. It does not matter if they were abandoned, abused or came from a happy family. They have just been transferred to a shelter, an unfamiliar environment where they are people and dogs that are all strangers to them. Before they can get accustomed to this environment, you come along and introduce them to yet another strange environment. This constant change of surroundings is enough to scare any dog. Or most people, for that matter.

Prepare your home

Just as you childproof your home for toddlers, you should dog proof your home for the new arrival.

  • Keep small items that a dog might swallow out of their reach.
  • Make sure there are no loose wires, cables or strings around that they might bite on or chew.
  • Keep chemicals and medicines sealed tight and out of reach.
  • Remove poisonous plants from your home, or at least out of reach.

Give them proper training

Most rescue dogs have been through different surroundings and supervised by different people, so they usually pick up a few bad habits along the way. The good news is dogs easily adapt to new environments, but you should still make sure they do so properly by giving them the right training.

You and your family can do this on your own with a little research. If you feel uneasy doing it yourself, find out from your veterinarian where you can avail of the services of a good dog trainer.

Make sure they are healthy

Most shelters give the dogs under their care regular checkups, but this is usually quite basic. It may not reveal serious or major health problems that a more thorough examination may find. It is best to bring your newly adopted dog to your own veterinarian for a more thorough examination.

Make time for them

The most important consideration for you is time. You need to have quite a bit of this, as well as patience, when you first bring home your scared arescue dog is scared. You must give them time to adjust to you, your family and your home.

They may not warm up to everyone in the family. If this happens, keep that person away initially and gradually allow them to come near. Do the same with other pets as this may also occur if you have other pets.

Give them some space to process their new circumstances. This can be as small as a basket with a pillow or as large as an entire room. This may take some time, so avoid pressuring them and  let them work it out.

For some it will take one to two days for other it could take one to three weeks. Just show them as much love and care you give to the other members of the family and soon they will feel part of the pack. The important thing to remember is for you and the other people in your family to not get frustrated with the situation as they will pick up on your emotions and this will not help in the transition to adapt.

Tags: ,

Taking Care of Your Dog’s Teeth

We put a lot of thought and effort in keeping our furry friends safe and healthy. We take them to the vet regularly, feed them healthy food, walk them every day, we even take them to the park for fun exercise. But what about taking care of their teeth?

We all do things routinely to take care of our own teeth, such as brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist regularly.  Yet many of us don’t bother to give our dog’s teeth and gums the same kind of attention.

Probably most of us believe that oral hygiene for dogs isn’t really necessary. Many believe that dog’s teeth maintain themselves. This might have been true for dogs in the wild whose diets do not include the processed stuff we give our dogs. If you do not take your dog’s dental care seriously you will regret it.

Dogs can get toothaches and sore gums like humans, and we might not be even aware of it. What is worse is if a dog does have dental problems, and does not get treatment, it could lead to bigger and more serious health issues.

The most common dental disease dogs get are periodontal or gum related. For instance, untreated tooth decay or gum disease can provide bacteria a way to get into the bloodstream, which in turn can cause heart, kidney, or liver problems. It can also lead to infection and tooth loss. Losing teeth is probably one of the worse things that can happen to dogs as it can affect their overall health.

The good news is that with the right information and proper care, such occurrences are preventable.

So, what do we and our dogs need to do to take good care of their teeth? It’s actually mostly the same as the regimen of people that take good care of our teeth with a few variations.

Brushing Teeth

For regular cleaning, let’s start with choosing the right toothbrush. You can use a tooth brush for people. if you do, choose a soft bristle one and make sure it is small enough to fit comfortably into your dog’s mouth.

However, it is best to get a toothbrush designed for dogs. They typically come with angled handles or finger slip-ons that make it easier to use on dogs.

The ones with angled handles work more or less the same as human toothbrushes. The finger slip-ons are a little different. They slip over your finger and rub their teeth with it, much like baby toothbrushes. Any of these will work, so choose the one you are most comfortable using.

Next, choose the toothpaste. Do not use toothpaste for people on your dogs. Human tooth paste includes ingredients that may be harmful to dogs when swallowed. In fact, in large quantities they might be harmful to humans as well, except we don’t swallow. If you can teach your dog to spit it out like we do, you can probably use human toothpaste safely. Since this is unlikely, better to choose toothpaste specially formulated for dogs, which is safe for them to swallow. 

Now we get to the fun part: getting your dog used to regular toothbrushing. It is different for each dog. Some take to it right from the start. There are even dogs that get a kick out of it and look forward to every toothbrushing moment. Others are not so adventurous. They will resist and get anxious, making the process stressful for both dog and human. If this is the case for your dog, here are some tips on how to make it pleasant and easy for both you and your dog:

  • If you can, start them young. It’s easier to teach puppies.
  • If your dog is already older by the time you start, do not lose hope. It will just take some effort, but it is not impossible.
  • Before you begin, make sure you have a positive and relaxed attitude. Your furry buddy can pick up on your attitude, so if you will anxious or stressed, they will be, too.
  • Go slow and easy. They do not have to adapt to it on the first try. The goal is to make the toothbrushing experience a fun and good one for your dogs. When you achieve this, brushing becomes a treat for both you and your dog.
  • Get them acquainted with the toothbrush and toothpaste. Let your dog sniff and touch them. Let them have a taste of the toothpaste.
  • Don’t take too long, especially during the first few times. It isn’t important to actually finish brushing your dog’s teeth. It is more important to get them feeling relaxed and at ease during the process. As soon as they seem agitated or anxious, stop. You might get further in the next session.
  • Although it is ideal to brush their teeth once daily, you should start with regular brushing every other day, or even three times a week.
  • If a daily brushing is still a hassle even after doing it for a long time, don’t stress over it. If once or twice a week is the best you can do, that is fine. Just make sure you do it regularly and on a schedule.

Now that you know how to get started with brushing their teeth, this is how you do it:

  • Start with the outer portion of their teeth using soft strokes.
  • When they seem more relaxed, brush the inner portions of their teeth as well.
  • Brush along the line of the gums in a circular motion. Do not put too much pressure on the teeth and gums during brushing.

It also helps to give them positive reinforcement after each brushing session, whether successful or not. Giving your dog a hug, a pat on the head, or a treat after each toothbrushing session will make them associate the process with good vibes. This will make it easier for you during the next session.

Regular Dental Checkups

Like us, our dogs should also go to the dog dentist for regular checkups. Find out if your vet is qualified to do this. If not, ask your vet, friends and relatives with dogs for recommendations for a good dog dentist.

Like tooth brushing, going for a checkup can be a nerve-racking experience for your dog. It is a good idea to get them accustomed to the activity by making a test visit before the actual checkup. This will also give you the chance to check out the place.

Taking these simple steps can make oral hygiene fun and easy for our canine companions. This can go a long way in giving them healthier, longer, and happier lives.

Tags: , ,

Causes of Dog Aggression

Dog aggression is a frightening experience, and very dangerous for both dogs and people because it can happen as if out of the blue. A very friendly dog can suddenly act aggressively, growling, snapping, and lunging at other dogs and people. At its worst, dogs may attack and cause injury or even death to other dogs and people, including their owners.

In many cases of dog aggression, owners do not know why it happened. Dog owners are usually unaware of the signs of aggression until it is too late. Knowing the potential causes of aggression can help owners see the signs and deal with the aggression before it escalates. Preventing this type of dangerous behavior is far better than dealing with the consequences.

Dog aggression may be due to the following reasons.

Illness or Injury

Pain is a common cause of aggression in dogs. It is not surprising, as people in pain frequently become irritable and aggressive as well. If your dog suddenly shows signs of aggression, it may be due to pain caused by some type of disease, illness, or injury.

Check your dog carefully for injuries. If your dog appears unusually sluggish, quiet, or inactive, starts limping, or stops moving completely, the dog may be sick or have internal injuries. If you cannot figure out the problem, bring your dog immediately to your veterinarian. Do not give your dog any kind of medication, such as pain relievers, unless prescribed by your veterinarian. Giving medication without knowing what is wrong could cause more harm than good.

Fear

A dog constantly in fear can become aggressive. Like most animals, dogs may go through freeze, flight, or fight mode when confronted by a dangerous situation.

When dogs sense danger, they will try to escape and get away. If escape is not an option, fear sets in and they will either freeze or fight. In most cases dogs will confront the situation by becoming aggressive, like a rat caught in a trap. It will resort to physical violence to escape the cause of its fear or the source of perceived danger.

Physically abused dogs almost certainly become aggressive because of this fight response to fear. This is very common with rescue dogs many of which are victims of abuse. If you have a rescue dog or if you are not aware of your dog’s history before you got them and they act aggressive, this is most likely due to fear from past abuse.

The best way to get around this situation is to reassure the dog that there is nothing to fear. Be gentle and patient with them. If they show signs of aggression in certain situations, stop immediately and remove them from the environment. Introduce them back to the same situation slowly and with care. It may also be best to consult with a dog trainer that specializes in abused dogs.

Territory

Territorial behavior is instinctive for some dogs. Also known as resource guarding, this happens when dogs become very possessive of certain objects or areas of their environment such as food, toys, sleeping area, or their owner. When a person goes near a dog that is eating, playing with a toy, or resting on its bed and the dog displays aggression, it is probably due to this territorial instinct.

The best way to avoid this situation is to respect the dog’s space when engaging in these activities. Punishing or scolding the dog for this will only confuse it.  The dog may even take it as a challenge and make the aggression worse. It will not always be easy to understand exactly what the dog is feeling territorial about, but over time it will become apparent.

Confinement

There are some cases when we need to confine dogs temporarily for safety reasons. Confinement may take the form of a traveling cage, a harness, leash, or a fenced area. Dogs not used to confinement may feel anxious or frustrated when in these situations, and these feelings may manifest as aggression. On the other hand, this may also likely occur when the dog is always in a confined situation, as its frustration from the lack of freedom can build up.

In the former case, it is important to reassure your dog about the temporariness of the confinement. You could do a couple of test runs before the day so they know what to expect. In the latter case, the best way to mitigate aggressive behavior is not to confine your dogs as much as possible. Let them have enough room to run around and burn off excess energy. They are more likely to behave better during confinement if they know they can have some freedom on a regular basis.

Conclusion

The best way to deal with aggressive behavior in your dog is to find out the cause for it. If you are at a loss, you need to consult with a veterinarian or a dog behavior professional. Misinterpreting the cause of your dog’s aggression may lead you to take action that could just make things worse for you, your dog, and those around you.

Tags:

The Dog Harness Versus Dog Collar Showdown

Most dog owners give their dogs a collar as a matter of course. There is nothing wrong with that if it is simply to provide them with a means of ownership and identification, AKA dog tags. However, if they use it as a means of control, which is its actual purpose, then that might pose a problem.

It has long been observed that harnesses have much more going for it compared to collars as a way establishing control over dogs. Despite that, most people still continue to use collars for this purpose. To set the record straight, here is the harness versus collar showdown.

The Truth About Collars

Collars are physiologically a bad idea. The neck of most creatures is a slender and relatively delicate part of the anatomy, so using it as a means of restraint is effective, but unsustainable. It is effective because it is restrictive and often painful. It is unsustainable because it can lead to serious injury or even death.

Imagine having a collar around your neck, and someone pulling on it with any significant force. Even if the collar is not so tight that you find it difficult to breathe (which happens all too often with dogs), the pressure and discomfort is considerable. It will force you to follow whoever has you in hand, but you will feel lousy for a significant amount of time. Some might say it is not as bad as being led by the nose, but that is an entirely different article right there.

It is basically the same with dogs. Over time, this type of physical trauma will lead to chronic physical and psychological problems. It may cause injuries to the nerves and blood flow in the neck and spine, and drive the dog to aggressive behavior.

We are just talking about regular, run-of-the-mill collars here. It goes without saying that cruel inventions such as spike (or prong) and choke collars are incompatible with responsible pet ownership.

Body Harnesses Rule

Fortunately, more people are seeing the benefits of body harnesses, making it much more popular of late. It is primarily an instrument of restraint and collar like the collar, but the differences are myriad.

Ziggy wearing the Rambler Front Range Harness by Best Friend Mobility

For one thing, the placement makes much more sense. As you can probably guess, the harness goes around the body or torso of the dog, rather than the neck. For another, the design is less likely to harm the dog. It takes into account the physiology of the dog. It spreads the pressure along a broad area to prevent local injuries, and typically come with pads at contact points to make it more comfortable for the dogs.

An added advantage of harnesses over collars is it can serve other functions. Harnesses may be fitted with pouches and straps to hold items for the owners and dogs, such as food, water bottles, tools, and anything small and light enough for the dog to carry. They may also feature reflective straps or LED lights, which is handy when walking the dog at night and making them easy to find and follow in the dark. 

Harnesses undoubtedly rule when it comes to controlling and restraining your dog. In fact, it is so effective and safe that human parents use child harnesses, which have the same general design to keep their fleet-footed toddlers in check outside the home.

That said, harnesses come in many configurations. The design of each one is specific for different uses, so be sure to choose the right one for your dog and purpose. Here are two general categories to get you started.

Vest Harness

A widely popular harness in recent years, webbing harnesses are sturdy and robust, designed after the harnesses used for horses. Dog webbing harnesses are usually thick nylon webbing with sturdy plastic snap-on buckles to keep everything it in place.

Most harnesses of this type also have built-in slots or straps for added functionality. For example, a thick strap of webbing located on the center serves as a handle. This is particularly useful if you have a handicapped dog as it gives you a way to lift your dog bodily without causing injury to yourself or the dog. Other features include built-in slots and straps compatible for use with standard car seatbelts.

Nylon Strap Harness

The nylon strap harness is the simplest type of dog harnesses. The basic design is the same one used for child harnesses, and there is some debate on which was based on what. At any rate, this category of harnesses may very well be the first of its kind to come out into the market.

However, just because the design is old does not mean it is out of date. They continue to work very well, probably because manufacturers have gone through many iterations over the years, and they have pretty much perfected the design.

Generally, nylon strap harnesses go with the dog’s body shape and movements. When the dog strains against the restraint or makes an unguarded movement that may injure it, the harness puts pressure on certain parts of the body that it will make it stop. This trains the dog to follow the lead of the owner instead of the other way around.  

With all these benefits of harnesses for you and your dog, choosing them over collars is definitely a smart choice. Leave the collars on your dogs for identification, but use the harness for control.

Tags: ,

Holiday Foods that can Harm Your Dog

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and that means parties and get-togethers with friends and family that comes with a wide variety of food and drinks. The season of eating and drinking is not confined to just us humans, as we always like sharing our blessings with our pets. With all the delicious smelling food dished out, our dogs will definitely take a peek and wonder if they, too, can be jolly.

However, you need to be careful what you give them. What may be just extra pounds for us may be more harmful to our canine pals. Certain foods can cause health problems, ranging from the not so harmful, but irritating to the very harmful or even fatal. Here are some holiday treats you should avoid giving your dogs.

Chocolates and Other Sweets

Sweets, in general, are a no-no for dogs, and for most other non-humans for that matter. The high sugar and fat content in most processed sweet delicacies is enough to make them really hyperactive. To give you an idea of how potent sweets are for dogs, giving a dog a regular cookie manufactured for human consumption is equivalent to feeding a dog a whole hamburger sandwich.

Giving them chocolates is even worse. Aside from the sugar and fat content, the active ingredients include caffeine and theobromine. These have bad effects on a dog’s hormonal and neurological functions and may cause vomiting, seizures, coma and even death.

Turkey

You might be thinking “Even turkey?”. Sadly, yes, mainly because of the high fat content of turkey meat, which can cause your dogs to get a major stomachache. Aside from the fatty meat, the bones can also be cause for alarm. Cooked poultry bones are small and brittle. This could splinter and produce sharp endings that could cause injury starting with your dog’s mouth all the way to their gut. These bones can also get lodged in their mouth or throat. Make sure to keep them away from turkey and chicken bones.

Nuts

Certain nuts, such as macadamia, may cause dogs to become weak, lethargic and, in worse cases, lead to collapse. In general, nuts also pose a choking hazard to dogs as most are hard and small.

Avocado

Most pet owners are not aware that avocados can be very harmful to dogs, even in small amounts. This is because most owners will probably not feed them the fruit itself in the first place. However, many dips such as guacamole have avocado as an ingredient, so it is best to keep them away from dips altogether.

Grapes and Raisins in Fruitcakes

Fruitcakes usually have quite a bit of raisins in them, and they are usually delicious. However, grape or raisin toxicosis in dogs is a thing, and most people are not aware of this. A dog that eats grapes or their dried version raisins, may induce vomiting or diarrhea, which in turn can cause severe dehydration. If you have any fruit cake left over from past celebrations, make sure you keep your furry friends away from it.  

Alcoholic Drinks

It is obviously a bad idea to give our dogs alcohol, but many owners can’t resist.  However, as most dogs are usually half our size, giving them even just a sip of any alcoholic drink could be problematic. Aside from this, many holiday cakes are soaked in alcohol as well. A single bite may have enough alcoholic content to have a very bad effect on your dog.

Nutmeg

This seemingly harmless spice that we put in many desserts and holiday drinks such as eggnog actually contains a small amount of cyanide. Unfortunately, this is not a small amount for our dogs and may cause seizures if taken.

Eating in moderation during the holidays (and most times for that matter) benefits both owners and dogs. When in doubt if something is good or bad for your dog, its best to play it safe and give them vet-approved treats. This way, we keep the holidays fun and merry for everyone.

Tags:

What You Need to Know About Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD)

Intervertebral disk disease or IVDD in dogs is a disease that occurs due to the hardening of the disks between the vertebrae of the spinal cord. These disks work as shock absorbers interlaced between each vertebra.

If they begin to harden, their shock absorbing function decreases causing pain, weakness or limit range of motion. Eventually, they may harden to a point where they will bulge and compress on the spinal cord, causing even more pain or disrupt nerve function to the bladder and bowel or worse cause paralysis. IVDD when it occurs happen slowly and may take a long time to become noticeable.

Symptoms

Symptoms of IVDD typically do not manifest immediately and may vary. This is why it is hard to check for symptoms of IVDD as they may occur intermittently, gradually, or just suddenly appear. Below are the most common symptoms.

  • Difficulty in moving head and neck due to pain or stiffness
  • Lowering head stance
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Pain during movement
  • Hunched or arched back
  • Problems urinating
  • Dragging of one or more limbs when walking
  • Knuckling of paws when walking
  • Overall weakness
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Lack of coordination
  • Impaired reflexes
  • Difficulty in standing
  • Collapsing
  • Paralysis

Causes

The most common cause of IVDD is age. Like most animals, a dog’s bones become less flexible and more susceptible to hardening of the disks as they grow older. Dogs that regularly perform highly strenuous and high impact activities could be at higher risk in manifesting the disease earlier. Constantly jumping from very high places could cause acute rupturing of disks.

Breeds at Higher Risk

There are breeds that are more susceptible to getting IVDD. This is mainly due to a cartilage formation disorder called Chondrodystrophy, common to some breeds. IVDD usually occurs in these breeds between the ages of 3 and 6 years old. The following are dog breeds most at risk for IVDD:

  • Bassett Hound
  • Beagle
  • Bulldog
  • Corgi
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Dachshund
  • Pekingese
  • Poodle
  • Shih Tzu

Although not common, other dog breeds may also get the IVDD. If they do, it usually occurs between the ages of 8 and 10. These nonchondrodystrophic breed most susceptible to IVDD include:

  • German Shepherd
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Doberman Pinscher

Diagnosis and Treatment

In order to check for IVDD, most veterinary examinations will order X-rays, neurological tests and special imaging tests such as a CT scan or MRI. For moderate cases of IVDD, treatment could include steroid treatment and anti-inflammatory medicines. Confined rest to up to six weeks may also be required.

Severe cases of IVDD may require surgery, but is sometimes not advisable for dogs that can no longer walk. In such cases, the use of a dog wheelchair is commonly recommended to give the dog a chance at a healthy and active life even with the disease.

Physical rehab is generally part of the treatment for both minor and severe cases.

Prevention

Here are some tips to help prevent or at the very least minimize the risk of dogs getting IVDD:

  • Maintain your dog’s weight. This can help reduce strain on their backs and necks.
  • Use harnesses instead of neck leashes when walking your dogs. This will also help relieve neck stress.
  • Avoid instances where your dog will need to jump down to a lower area such as ledges, tables or chairs.
  • With the help of your veterinarian, you may also consider having your dog use a back brace for added support.

Tags:

Understanding Hip Dysplasia

If you think your dog may have hip dysplasia, here are some basics you should know about the disease including the most common symptoms and treatment

What is Hip Dysplasia

It is the malformation of a dog’s hip joint. A dog’s hip joint is composed of a ball and socket joint. To give you a better idea, a human hip joint is also a ball and socket joint. As with our hip joint, range of movement can be done more or less in a circular motion.

The motion, under normal conditions, is smooth as if the ball and socket are sliding on each other. When hip dysplasia happens in dogs the ball and socket are not formed properly and because of this, instead of a sliding motion during movement, there is rubbing and grinding of the joint. This is very painful especially when moving the back legs. 

How Dogs Get Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is probably the most common skeletal problem that dogs get. Large and giant breeds are the most prone to it but it can also occur in small breed dogs. Gender is not a factor as both male and female dogs may be diagnosed with the disease. Genetics is considered a very big factor as it seems dogs with parents who have had the disease are more prone to also getting it. German Shepherds, Great Danes, and St. Bernard’s are some of the breeds prone to hip dysplasia.

Because genetics is a key factor in predisposition, hip dysplasia onset may occur early, even as young as four months old. Much older dogs may also get it as a result of other health problems such as osteoarthritis. Obesity and lack of exercise are also considered as risk factors.

Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia 

Check your dogs for the following behavior:

  • Less active then usual
  • Has difficulty
    • getting up
    • running
    • jumping
    • climbing stairs
  • Weakening of back limbs
  • Hopping or swaying gait when walking or running
  • Back legs unnaturally close together when standing
  • Pain in hip joints
  • Grating sound when moving back limbs
  • Decreased range of motion in the hip joints
  • Loss of muscle mass in thigh muscles
  • Enlargement of shoulder muscles due to front limbs compensating for weakness of back limbs

Risk Factors of Hip Dysplasia

As we have already stated earlier, genetics is one major factor as well as size. Obesity and rapid weight gain is also a factor as well as lack of exercise.

If you suspect your dog may be suffering from hip dysplasia bring them immediately to your veterinarian for a check-up. Be prepared to give them details that will help in diagnosis such as health history, recent injuries and their parent’s history.

Treatment of Hip Dysplasia

Treatment may include weight reduction, physical therapy, medications for pain relief, acupuncture, and the use of mobility aids. Treatment must be under the supervision or approval of your dog’s veterinarian.

Tags:

The Loyal Dachshund

The Dachshund is truly a magnificent breed. They are one of the most popular choices as family companions mainly because they are small, loyal, and adorable.

People tend to think that because they are small, they are not meant for hard work, but they were originally bred to hunt down badgers and other animals that tunnel underground. The name “dachshund” actually means “badger dog” in German, which is their country of origin.

Their peculiar shape makes it easier to distinguish them from other breeds. It is also what makes them so cute and endearing. Their shape has also given them loving nicknames such as wiener dog, hot dog, and sausage dogs.

Possible Health Issues

Like all breeds, they are prone to certain diseases and health conditions for which you should be prepared if you decide to take one in to the family. It does not necessarily mean your particular wiener dog will get any of these diseases, but there is a possibility.

INTERVERTEBRAL DISC DISEASE (IVDD)

This is basically a back problem, to which dachshunds are prone to having. Some people attribute their tendency to acquire this problem to the disproportionately long torsos of dachshunds, although there is no conclusive evidence to support this. It may also be due to genetics, certain movements, or falls from height.

Initial symptoms include difficulty or inability to use their hind legs. This could eventually lead to paralysis, and in some instances, loss of bladder and bowel control.

Health professionals suggest always supporting the dog’s back and rear area when they are being carried to prevent injury. Treatment for the disease may include crate confinement, anti-inflammatory medicines, surgery, and the use of a dog wheelchair.

In some cases, rehabilitation therapy can also help before the disease completely takes over. Use of dog wheelchairs are also included as part of the therapy or rehab program.

EPILEPSY

Dachshunds are also prone to epileptic seizures. This may also be due to genetics, congenital abnormality, or severe trauma to the head. Treatment usually involves medication. Bring your dachshund to the vet at the first instance of a seizure get proper treatment.

GASTRIC DILATATION-VOLVULUS (GDV)

Also known as bloat or torsion, this disease usually affects large breed dog, but dachshunds are the exception. This may be due to their deep chest shape. It is a life-threatening condition that causes the dog’s stomach to fill up with gas. This causes the stomach to twist and get distorted. As the air or gas builds up, the dog cannot belch or vomit to remove the air because of the distortion. This blocks the normal flow of blood to the heart, causing blood pressure to go down, and eventually lead to shock.

Immediate medical attention is critical for this condition. Symptoms may include excessive salivating and dry retching. It is best to bring the dog to the vet immediately if you observe these signs.

CANINE DIABETES MELLITUS (DM)

This is common to the breed,  especially for overweight dachshunds. Symptoms may include urinating excessively, persistent thirstiness, and weight loss despite an increased appetite. Treatment may include a special diet and regular insulin medication. Keeping your dachshund’s weight in check is a good preventive measure.

Choosing Your New Best Friend

When selecting a dachshund puppy, look for a breeder that can provide you with a health clearance for both parents of the puppy. Genetics may play an important part in the eventual health of the puppy.

If you are getting a dachshund from a shelter, try to get as much health information as possible. Bring the dog straight to a vet for a complete checkup to get a rundown of existing and potential health problems. This will give you a good idea of how to provide your new best friend the best care.

Tags:

Braver Hund! The German Shepherd

For all you German Shepherd lovers out there, here are some facts about these awesome-looking dogs you may not know:

They are a fairly new breed. They date back to 1899 when a German Cavalry Officer, Captain Max Von Stephanitz decided to come up with a German herding dog breed better than their human counterparts.

Hollywood made them popular. During World War I an American soldier rescued a German Shepherd puppy from a bombed-out dog kennel and brought the pup back home to America. This puppy eventually became the most popular dog in Hollywood: Rin Tin Tin. This dog’s rise to fame also made his breed very popular in America and eventually the world.

They are very smart. Intelligent and capable of accomplishing almost any task, they can easily be trained to do all sorts of things.

They are very hard working. Not only are they smart,they are also very persistent. Once they are given a job to do, they will make sure it is done just the way they have been trained to do it.

They’re not just shepherds. Because of their intelligence and persistence, they eventually ended up doing so much more than just shepherding livestock. German Shepherds help in law enforcement, military, rescue, assisting the blind and disabled, and so many other jobs.

They get lonely. You cannot leave them alone for long periods of time. By long periods, we don’t mean days but hours. If you do leave them alone, they get bored, lonely, and upset. To cope they turn to disruptive and destructive acts such as constant barking, scratching or chewing on anything they can get their paws at.

They need activity. Partly because they easily get bored and lonely and mostly because they seem to generate a lot of energy, it is a must that they enjoy regular, rigorous activities to keep them preoccupied and to use up all that energy. Daily runs and park visits help as well as assigning them simple tasks to do. They can fetch the daily newspaper—if you still subscribe to print or your slippers, if you don’t—or keep the doors closed or put down the toilet seats and covers. Giving them regular training sessions will definitely keep them happily busy.

They shed a lot of fur. You’ll need to practice regular good grooming to keep their fur at bay. Plus you’ll probably need to vacuum around the house more often.

They don’t like strangers. Although they need companionship, they are very wary of people they do not know. This can be remedied by getting a German Shepherd pup adapted at an early age through regular exposure; for example, try bringing them to public places where they can be exposed to other people.

They make good guard dogs. Their wariness of strangers is what makes them good at guard duty.

They love their family. When we say family we don’t just mean their moms and puppies. When we say family we also mean their human family. They are one of the most loving, caring and loyal pets you and your family can ever have. They are very good with kids, sometimes acting like human parents would.

We’re sure you and your family will have lots of fun moments with a German Shepherd, that is if you’re not having lots of fun already.

Tags: ,

Do Disabled Dogs Need Dog Shoes?

Are dog shoes really necessary? Many pet owners are buying dog shoes for their pets, believing it essential as it gives their pet’s paws added protection. Others question the trend. There are those who feel that dog shoes are just fashion accessories imposed on dogs by their owners. For disabled dogs, this question becomes even more important.

For dogs that can stand and walk normally on all four legs, the need for dog shoes may depend on the environment they live in. The terrain and weather may make dog shoes necessary. With extreme temperatures, floor surfaces, as well as slippery and muddy ground, it may make some sense.

It may be even more necessary for disabled pets. Because of the challenges that disabled dogs have to live with on a daily basis, dog shoes may be a necessity for most of them. Dog shoes can:

  1. Help prevent slips and falls – Dog shoes are usually designed with non-slip soles. This gives disabled dogs added support and stability when standing, keeping their legs from slipping apart.
  2. Give better traction – The non-slip nature of dog shoes also helps give disabled dogs a better grip on the walking surface, especially while in a wheelchair. This is especially helpful when they are walking on smooth and slippery floors.
  3. Give added leg support – Many dog shoes are also designed to wrap around and support the paw joint area.
  4. Prevent scrapes and wounds – This is the most common advantage of dog shoes. Since most disabled dogs tend to drag their non-mobile limbs behind them, this can result in scrapes and cuts on the skin and damage to the nails. This is especially worse for active dogs that need to run around, with or without their wheelchair. Wearing dog shoes helps protect the paws as they drag them on the floor.
  5. Help in the healing process – For dogs recovering from surgery or undergoing physical therapy, using dog shoes helps in the recovery process. This is because the shoes give them added support during therapy.

Check out this dog boots review from Wirecutter

This article was updated on March 11, 2019

Tags: