Posts Tagged ‘dog health’

Is Agility Training Right for Your Dog?

Do you have a pooch potato? One way to get your dog out and exercising is to try agility training. In this fun-filled activity, you direct your dog through an obstacle course and his performance is scored for speed and accuracy. Dogs learn to follow commands from afar and jump and weave through special equipment such as hoops, tunnels and teeter totters. Many dog lovers participate in agility just for fun but if you discover your dog is an agility athlete, you can participate in timed trials for competitions.

Best Breeds for Agility Training

Dogs between the ages of 9 months and 8 years do best in agility training. All breeds may participate but dogs descended from a working breed with medium builds tend to be better suited to the training. The best breeds include cattle dogs, shepherds, sheepdogs, poodles, pinschers, terriers, schnauzers, retrievers, collies and spaniels. Dogs with short noses such as bulldogs, boxers and pugs; giant breeds such as great danes or mastiffs, and dogs with short legs, such as dachshunds, may have difficulty with this type of training.

Personality Traits Needed for Agility Training

To have fun with agility, your dog needs to be interested in participating. Dogs successful in agility training have these characteristics:

• Motivation. Dogs willing to work for toys, food or praise can be successfully trained in agility.

• Focus. The dog needs to follow the owner’s directions without getting easily distracted.

• Self-confidence. The dog should be able to work away from the owner and handle change.

• High energy. Dogs that get bored easily or get into trouble at home often excel in agility.

• Athletic ability. Dogs in good overall health with good stamina make the best agility performers.

Benefits of Agility Training

Agility training provides an outlet for your dog’s natural instincts and abilities. Benefits include:

• Keeping your dog active and healthy through exercise

• Reinforcing obedience training and improving communication

• Developing flexibility, speed and accuracy

• Providing mental stimulation to combat boredom

•  Building trust and confidence

In addition to these great benefits for your dog, agility training can also help you stay in shape, burn fat, build muscle, stay alert, bond with your dog and have fun.

Agility Classes in Albuquerque

Interested in trying agility training? Check out these resources to get started. *

Acoma Training Center (acomatrainingcenter.com, 505-266-6436) offers beginning agility, agility drill and special agility classes.

Albuqerque Kanine College (albuquerquekkaninecollege.net, 505-275-6623) holds puppy, beginning and advanced agility classes.

Animal Humane New Mexico (animalhumanenm.org, 505-255-5523) teaches agility fun classes in a light-hearted setting.

Sandia Obedience Club (sdocnm.org, 505-888-4221) offers agility classes and sponsors AKC trials in obedience, agility, tracking and rally.

* Dawg Gone Good does not endorse these businesses. Listings offered for reader convenience only.

First Aid for Fido

If your dog wasn’t breathing, would you know what to do? None of us like to think about our beloved pets needing first aid, but accidents happen. Knowing how to help your dog in an emergency could mean saving his life. Here, some common accidents and what to do if they happen to your pup.

Choking
Symptoms may include: breathing difficulty, choking sounds, blue color to lips and gums, pawing at the mouth.

• Keep your dog calm and take him to the vet immediately if he’s able to breathe.
• Look into your dog’s mouth. If the object is visible, gently try to remove it with tweezers or pliers. If it’s not easy to remove, proceed to the vet immediately.
• If your dog collapses, put him on his side and hit his rib cage with the palm of your hand to see if you can dislodge the object. Keep repeating until you get to the vet’s office.

Fractures
Symptoms may include: sudden onset of lameness, swelling or pain when touched, bone sticking through the skin.

• Muzzle your dog; if he’s in pain he may bite.
• Gently lay him on a firm surface for support.
• Transport your dog to the vet using a board or blanket as a sling.

Bleeding (External)
Symptoms may include: bleeding from a skin wound.

• Muzzle your dog; if he’s in pain he may bite.
• Press a clean gauze pad over the wound and apply pressure for 3 minutes. This will help the blood clot and lessen the bleeding.
• For severe bleeding on the legs, apply a tourniquet made from gauze or an elastic band. Bandage the wound and apply pressure. Take your dog to the vet immediately.

Bleeding (Internal)
Symptoms may include: bleeding from the nose, mouth or rectum; coughing up blood; blood in urine; pale gums; weak and rapid pulse.

• Keep your dog quiet and warm and take him to the vet right away.

Poison
Symptoms may include: seizures, loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing.

• Collect any material your dog may have vomited or chewed and proceed to the vet.
• If you dog is exposed to harmful external toxins such as cleaning products, read the caution label on product and follow the instructions. For instance, if the label says to wash your hands with soap and water, wash your dog’s skin with soap and water.

Resuscitating Your Dog

If your pup stops breathing or has no heartbeat, you can use techniques such as rescue breathing and chest compressions. Start the resuscitation at home and continue until you get to an emergency clinic and professionals can take over.

Rescue Breathing

• Stay calm and have another person call the vet so you can stay with your dog.
• Check to see if  your dog is unconscious.
• Open your dog’s mouth and pull his tongue out flat. Check to see if any object is blocking his airway.
• Close your dog’s mouth and keep it closed with your hand. Begin rescue breathing by blowing into your dog’s NOSE until you see his chest rise. Continue the rescue breathing every 5 seconds.

Chest Compression

• Lay your dog on his right side on a stable surface. Locate his heart–it is in the lower half of the chest, on the left, just behind the elbow of the left front leg.
• Place one hand under your dog’s chest and one on his heart.
• Press down on your dog’s heart 1 inch for a medium-sized dog. Press harder for a larger dog.
• Don’t perform rescue breathing and chest compressions at exactly the same time. Alternate the techniques.

Dog First Aid Kit

Having a first aid kit for your dog helps you in emergencies. In a small plastic tool box or tackle box, keep a piece of paper with your name, address and phone numbers; your vet’s name and number, and any special information about your dog such as medications he takes. Some suggestions for stocking your first aid kit include:

Rolled cotton

Cotton balls

Gauze pads and tape

Hydrogen peroxide

Hyrdrocortisone ointment

Scissors

Eyewash

Silver nitrate

Tweezers

Oral syringes (without the needle)

Pediolyte

Large towel

Rolls of elastic wrap

Emergency ice pack

Thermometer

 

Legal Disclaimer

This post is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for a vet’s professional diagnosis and treatment.

Could Your Dog Be A Blood Donor?

Transfusions save people who have suffered severe blood loss from trauma or disease. But did you know that blood transfusions also save pets’ lives? Regional animal blood banks, which collect and store blood products, are still a relatively new concept. Better veterinary care, surgery options and the increase in pet insurance to offset cost have led to an increase in life-saving blood transfusions for dogs and cats. Albuquerque’s Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers at 4000 Montgomery Blvd NE, (vescnm.com), has a volunteer blood donor program that supplies blood products to vets in the area.

Canine Blood Types

While there are more than a dozen blood types in dogs, the most important one is DEA 1.1. Dogs that test negative for DEA 1.1 are considered universal blood donors and their blood can help both DEA 1.1 positive and negative dogs. Breeds likely to be DEA 1.1 negative include greyhounds, boxers, German shepherds, dobermans, pit bulls and Irish wolf hounds. Dogs that test positive for DEA 1.1, such as labs and golden retrievers, can only donate blood to other DEA 1.1 positive dogs.

Requirements to Become a Donor

Albuquerque’s Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers always seeks animal blood donors to ensure that blood products are available when needed. They have the following requirements:

Dogs                                                                               Cats
Age: 2-6 years                                                                 Age: 2-6 years
Weight: 50 pounds or more                                        Weight: 10 pounds or more
Current on vaccinations                                               Current on vaccinations
Heartworm negative and on preventative care       FeLV/FIV/FIP negative
No on-going health problems                                     No on-going health problems
No previous history of transfusion therapy             No previous history of transfusion therapy
Pleasant disposition                                                     Pleasant disposition and strictly indoor cats

The Procedure

Your dog must first be tested to determine blood type and check for disease. Once he’s cleared for donating, he’ll be lightly sedated. A small area is shaved on his neck and a needle is inserted into his jugular, the large vein in his neck. After the blood is collected, your dog will receive water, treats and food. His system immediately starts replacing the blood; his blood volume will be back to normal in a day and his red blood cell count in two to three weeks. It’s best to restrict your dog from any strenuous activity for 24 hours after donating blood. Your dog will be asked to donate blood every six to eight weeks.

What Happens to the Blood?

Your dog donates whole blood and the blood bank separates it into two components—red blood cells and plasma. Vets use red blood cells to help dogs survive trauma and surgery, and to treat anemia, blood loss due to cancer and the inability to produce enough red blood cells due to disease. Plasma helps blood clot and is used to treat hemophilia and other inherited blood diseases and bleeding from liver disease or the ingestion of rodent poison. Depending on the amount of blood taken, your dog’s donation will help between two to four dogs.

Benefits for Animal Blood Donors

At Albuquerque’s Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers, blood transfusions save animals from life-threatening situations such as car accidents, poisonings and chronic illness.  Aside from helping save lives, owners of animal blood donors receive the following benefits:

Free annual vet exams.
Free blood analysis. Canine preliminary testing consists of  Ehrlichia, heartworm, Babesia gibsoni and Babesia canis for some breeds, CBC full chemistry panel and blood typing. Feline preliminary testing includes FeLV/FIV, Mycoplasmosis, CBC full chemistry panel and blood typing.
Free units of blood for each unit donated available throughout your pet’s life.
Free gift bag of goodies for your dog or cat.

Caring for Older Dogs

The life expectancy of dogs has expanded. Most dogs in the 1970s lived 7 or 8 years; today dogs can live 10 to 15 years. Dogs have different needs as they age. Understanding the changes your dog experiences will help you provide the best care for your best friend.

Senior Dog?

Like humans, dogs age differently. Breed, weight, nutrition and vet care affect a dog’s life. In general, small dogs under 20 pounds may not show any signs of aging until they’re 12; 50 pound dogs won’t seem old until they’re 10, and large dogs reach old age at 8 or 9.

Signs of Aging

Most older dogs will experience these changes:

• Slowing down. You may notice your dog takes longer to stand up and walks up stairs slowly. Many dogs experience arthritis pain as they age. You vet can advise you on ways to eliminate your dog’s discomfort and help his mobility.

Graying hair and drying skin. Changes in the coat and skin are a natural part of aging. You may notice that your dog’s muzzle looks gray or that he has a dull coat. Brushing frequently and massaging your dog will keep the circulation flowing and improve the condition of the coat. Larger breed dogs may develop callouses on their elbows because they lay down more often.

• Brittle nails and thick foot pads. Since older dogs may not be wearing their nails down through exercise, you should clip them more often.

• Hearing and vision loss. You may not notice that your dog has hearing loss until it’s advanced. Dogs may stop following vocal commands or appear aggressive because they’re startled when they don’t hear people approaching them. If your dog has a cloudy eye, he probably has sclerosis. Many people confuse this condition with cataracts but dogs with sclerosis can typically see well.

• Sensitivity to temperature changes. As dogs age, they don’t regulate their body temperature as well. A dog that tolerated hear or cold well when younger, may have comfort issues now.

Behavioral Changes in Older Dogs

Stress will make these changes worse:

• Separation anxiety. Your dog may whine, bark, become destructive or potty inside when you’re out.

• Sensitivity to noise. Sounds such as thunder that never bothered your dog before now make him scared.

• Vocalizing. Your dog may whine, howl or bark due to hearing loss or separation anxiety.

• Aggression. Older dogs don’t like change and may have a reaction to new people. Aggression can also be caused when your dog is in pain or experiencing a drug reaction.

• Confusion, roaming in circles, disorientation, withdrawing. Your dog may have cognitive dysfunction syndrome which affects the brain and nervous system.

Signs of Disease

As dogs age, their likelihood for developing a disease increases. Their immune system is not as strong as it was, making dogs more susceptible to illness.

• Obesity. Older dogs need approximately 20 percent fewer calories; they also tend to exercise 10 to 20 percent less. Since obesity is the number one health problem in older dogs, consider food that’s high in fiber and low in fat.

Increased thirst and urination; increased appetite without weight gain. Signs of diabetes; take your dog to the vet for testing.

• Tiring more quickly. If you dog is out of breath with minimal exercise, he may have cardio-pulmonary problems and should be checked by your vet.

• Coughing and excessive panting. Signs of heart disease; take your dog to the vet.

• Bleeding gums, loss of teeth, bad breath. Periodontal disease affects many older dogs; check with your vet for treatment.

Help Your Older Dog

We all age, and while it may be difficult seeing your dog move more slowly, there are things you can do to make him more comfortable.

Take your older dog to the vet at least once a year.

• Walk your dog. If your dog has stiff joints, try taking two shorter walks rather than one long one.

• Provide your dog with a bed or two. He’ll appreciate having a soft surface for naps.

• Groom your dog more often. He will love the attention and brushing will stimulate the skin.

• Reduce calories. It may be hard to say no when your dog begs for food but your dog’s obesity can cause serious health problems.

Legal Disclaimer

This post is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for a vet’s professional diagnosis and treatment.

My Dog Ate . . . WHAT???

As we all know, dogs will eat just about anything. Scavengers by nature, they seek out potential tasty treats on the ground, in the trash and off the floor. Your dog eating garbage or poop may creep you out, but is it really harmful? In most cases, the answer is yes.

Dog Poop

As disgusting as this seems to us, it’s very common for dogs to eat their own and other dogs’ poop.  There’s no known cause for coprophagia (that’s the technical name for this behavior) but theories range from boredom to vitamin deficiencies.

Harmful? Your dog could pick up parasites or other diseases if she eats poop from an infected dog. It’s also good to have her checked by the vet to rule out any nutritional issues.

Cat Poop

Some dogs find cat poop delicious and it can be an ongoing battle to keep them from snacking in the litter box. This can stress out your territorial cat or family members the dog decides to kiss.

Harmful? A dog that eats cat poop probably eats at least some cat litter, which contains chemicals. Cat litter that clumps expands 15 times when wet, and could cause an intestinal blockage. And, just like dog feces, cat poop may contain parasites and other disease-causing germs.

Grass

Some people think that dogs eat grass because their tummies are upset. While it’s true that dogs eat grass and then sometimes vomit, there’s been no proof that puppies ingest grass as a medicinal herb. They eat grass because they like the way it tastes.

Harmful? Grass and other plants that have been treated with fertilizer or herbicide will cause stomach upset and could be serious. Keep your dog away for these chemicals.

Cat Food

If your dog loves to clean out the cat bowl in addition to eating her own food, she’s getting way more calories than she needs. As carnivores, cats require a diet of meat and meat products. Cat food has more calories and fat than dog food, which makes it super-yummy for pups.

Harmful? Cat food will not harm your dog in the short-term. Over time, eating rich cat food can lead to obesity and digestion problems.

Garbage

Dogs see garbage or trash as an all-you-can-eat buffet. The food found there is so much more exciting than their daily kibble. Also, if you share food off your plate or leftovers with your dog, he doesn’t know the difference between those okay treats and the ones he finds himself.

Harmful? Eating garbage can cause more harm to your dog than just an upset stomach. Garbage contains many toxic elements that can poison dogs and even kill them. They can choke on bones and ingest non-food items that may cause intestinal blockage.

Dirt

It’s called pica when a dog eats dirt, mud, rocks, wood or anything without nutritional value. If you’re feeding your dog a nutritionally balanced diet, pica may be a behavioral problem caused by boredom or the need for attention.

Harmful? Many icky things can be in dirt or mud such as antifreeze, intestinal worms or parvovirus. Check with your vet if your dog continues this behavior to rule out parasites, nutritional deficiencies or other health problems.

Weird Things Dogs Have Eaten

•  13 rocks eaten by, Lucy a Lab puppy

•  Rubber ducky swallowed by Ozzie, a Staffordshire Terrier pup (above)

•  10-inch toy arrow consumed by Betty, a Bull Terrier pup

•  Chocolate and plastic egg with Homer Simpson figurine eaten by Dixie, a Dalmation

•  Fork swallowed by Apachee, a Husky

•  Magic fairy wand wolfed by Pip, a Whippet pup

•  130 (!) nails eaten by Roxy, a Basset Hound

•  15 baby pacifiers gobbled by Lulu, an English Bulldog

•  Mobile phone consumed by Nero, a Doberman/Great Dane mix

 

Legal Disclaimer

This post is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for a vet’s professional diagnosis and treatment.

Time to See the Groomer?

You and your love-bug are cuddling when suddenly, you notice an odor. Someone needs a bath and it isn’t you! If you’re short on time, don’t have the right tools or lack patience and dog grooming experience, it’s time to call in a professional. Dog groomers provide many services for your dog including bathing, brushing, clipping, nail care and ear care. Reasons to see a professional groomer include:

• Convenience. There’s nothing like dropping off the furry one and picking up a soft, clean, sweet-smelling dog.

• Comfort for your dog. Professional dog groomers know how to make your dog cooperate for nail trimmings or ear cleanings without hurting him.

•  Professional products. The right tools and products get the job done easily.

•  Detection of injuries or parasites. Your dog will be given a thorough inspection for cuts or open wounds which will be treated prior to any service.  A groomer can also alert you to external parasites and treat your dog accordingly.

• Information on keeping your dog looking good. A professional groomer will give you tips, not only on your dog’s grooming, but also on how to care for him on a daily basis.

How to Choose a Groomer

Where you take your dog for his grooming can make a big difference in how he’s treated. Ask vets, trainers and pet supply store owners for recommendations. Before booking an appointment, go to the facility and look for the following:

Cleanliness

• Friendly and knowledgeable staff

• Gentle and kind treatment of dogs

• Area where dogs are kept before and after grooming

• Atmosphere, not too loud, hot, cold or uncomfortable

Desert Dry Puff & Fluff

If you’re in the Albuquerque area, stop by Dawg Gone Good located in Nob Hill on Central at Wellesley, and check out our new grooming services.  Our feet, face and fanny services are eco-friendly (no water needed) and cage- and kennel-free. Wait for your dog or leave him with us–after his service he can relax in our doggie play area. For more information and reservations, call 505-508-2704.

Sharing “People” Food

In the not-so-distant past, people would scrape all their leftovers into a pan for the dog. Today, we know that a dog’s nutritional needs are different from our own. Table scraps don’t provide the minerals and vitamins dogs need, lead to obesity and can even be toxic. Yet, some “people” food such as lean meat, fresh veggies and fruit, can enhance your dog’s diet. The key to sharing “people” food with your dog? Moderation.

Sharing “People” Food

Avoid feeding your dog at the table. This can lead to unwanted begging. Give him treats away from the table and ask him to do a trick before giving him the food.

Give your dog small amounts of new food. Introduce a new food every few days so you can recognize the cause of any digestive upsets.

Know which type of food you are giving your dog, such as meat, carbs, fats or fibers. This will help you balance her calorie intake.

Don’t give your dog “people” food if he doesn’t eat his regular kibble.

Don’t overdo it. Giving your dog extra treats adds calories and too many calories can lead to disease. Try cutting back on your dog’s regular meals to compensate for any treats. Also, watch out for smaller dogs. Only a few extra calories can cause weight gain.

“People” Food for Dogs

Just like humans, dogs will become ill if they eat too much fat, carbs or calories. Some “people” foods, however, benefit a dog’s nutritional needs when given in moderation.

Yogurt provides calcium, protein and probiotics. Look for sugar- and fat-free options.

Pumpkin adds fiber to keep the GI tract moving.

• Sweet potatoes, which can be sliced and dehydrated, contain fiber, vitamins B6 and C, and magnesum.

Salmon and herring offer omega-3 fatty acids.

Green beans, with vitamins K and C, magnesum and fiber, can be substituted for some of your dog’s kibble to control weight,

Eggs provide a very digestible protein boost.

Apples, but not the seeds which contain cyanide, give a crunchy treat of vitamins A and C, plus fiber.

Popcorn, with no butter or salt, contains potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Rice, an easily digested carb, helps settle a dog’s upset tummy.

Cottage cheese, high in calcium, adds extra protein.

Extra Special Treats

In addition to the “people” food above, you can share marshmallows and ice cream with your dog for special occasions. Remember, moderation is key!

“People” Food Not Okay for Dogs

The following foods, some in low amounts, can make your dog very sick. No matter how much your dog begs, do not give in!

• Chocolate

• Grapes

• Raisins

• Onions

• Garlic

• Avocado

• Raw meat, fish and eggs

• Macadamia nuts

• Alcohol

• Coffee and tea

For more information on you dog’s nutritional needs, please visit Dawg Gone Good. We carry quality foods and treats your dog will love!

Legal Disclaimer

This post is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for a vet’s professional diagnosis and treatment.