Monday, November 17, 2014

Top Caring Tips for Your Pregnant Mutt

Whether your mutt's pregnancy was planned or not, providing your full care and attention for her during this time is crucial to the health and development of her future puppies and for your mutt herself. Below are important guidelines that will help walk pet owners through the next eight to nine weeks of pregnancy:

Few Quick Facts
  • A full pregnancy term is approximately 63 days (or roughly 9 weeks).
  • There are three trimesters - 21 days for each trimester.
  • Your mutt's nutritional and environmental needs will start to change.
First Trimester
During the first trimester, you most likely will not notice any major changes to your mutt's physicality and energy level. There may be some mild morning sickness or a slight attitude shift, but overall there is minimal fetal development during this time, so you can keep the food quantity and exercise level the same. Put a pause on flea or other insecticide treatments. If you are worried about worms for your dog, consult with your trusted vet to see what safe, mild dewormer you can use. As for other medications your dog might be on, again put it on hold and consult with your trusted vet before continuing the use of them.

Second Trimester
As you move into the second trimester of the pregnancy, you can start to see some weight gain on
your dog as the fetuses start to grow. At this point, cut back on the exercise level (such as jumping, running, or limit working dogs) and increase the quantity of healthy foods. Find a quiet, stress-free area in your house for your mutt to rest. A well-balanced and healthy diet is essential to the development of the fetuses and their mom. Depending on your dog's situation, you can ask your vet about adding certain vitamins to your mutt's diet - DO NOT add these supplements without consulting with your vet first though. Make sure your pet always have fresh, clean (as in filtered) water. Also, keep her contact with other animals limited and don't make any major home environment changes (i.e. move furniture around, introducing new pets, or having lots of guests over). The key during this time is to give your mutt plenty of rest and nutrients, provide a stress-free place, and limit the chances of contracting diseases. Be sure to also take your mutt in for her regular check ups with the vet and go more often if necessary.

Third Trimester
Everything that we covered in the second trimester is even more crucial now in the last trimester. At this point you will noticeably see an enlarged belly area; your mutt will need more rest from pregnancy exhaustion; and she may be very moody due to the hormonal changes. One good tip is to take your dog in to the groomers for a maternity cut where they will clean and shave the belly area. If you don't, your mutt will most likely start to shed its belly hair anyway. It's a way for the body to prep for the actual birthing and nursing of the new born puppies. Now would be a good time to buy or build a whelping box where your mutt will give birth and place it in the same area as her resting place. It is important that you keep a close watch on your dog especially the last two weeks of the third trimester because she can give birth at any time. Some signs for going into labor are drop in body temperature, swollen vulva or discharge from vulva, abnormal behavior like excessive panting or digging, and lack of appetite. Also have your vehicle ready and know where the nearest 24-hour pet emergency is in case you have to take your mutt to the hospital for complications during labor.

Keeping your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Top Q&A for a Senior Dog's Diet

Just like humans, our beloved mutts' bodies and dietary demands change as they age. Their metabolism, activity level, and ability to fight off infections usually decrease. While some of these cannot be avoided, there are still certain body changes that you can manage with a good healthy, senior diet.

When is my dog considered a senior dog?
While size and breed are determining factors of how well your dog ages, below are rough age ranges for your mutt to be considered a senior dog:
  • Small and medium dogs less than 50 pounds: 7 years old
  • Large dogs up to 90 pounds: 6 years old
  • Giant dogs over 90 pounds: 5 years old
What does a senior diet consist of?
Not all senior dog foods are good replacements. Unless recommended otherwise by your trusted vet, you would want to switch your mutt's current diet to a senior diet that has the same amount of (or sufficient) protein and fiber with less calories and fat. The protein will help maintain your mutt's muscles, and the fiber will help with regulating its digestive system and keeping your mutt feeling full. Because of the decrease in metabolism and activity level, less calories and fat equals lower chance of gaining weight which helps prevent other unwanted diseases.

What should I do if my dog doesn't seem to be hungry?
While eating less could be a good way to maintain your mutt's weight, too much weight loss could also be unhealthy. A couple of ways to help increase your dog's caloric intake is (1) mixing some soft canned food to the dog pebbles or (2) adding a little bit of water to the dry food to help soften the pebbles for better chewing.

What other things can I do as a pet owner to help my dog's aging process?
There are many things a dog owner can help ease the aging process for their mutts. The most helpful one is taking your dog into the vet for its regular check ups. Talk to your vet about any suspicious behavioral changes, dietary needs like extra vitamins or supplements, and any other things you can do to help prevent diseases that may be arise.

Keeping your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tips & Tricks: Building a First Aid Kit for Your Dog

It is always helpful to familiarize yourself with what a first aid kit would look like for your mutts because accidents can happen at anytime. If you are prepared, you can help significantly reduce the severity of an injury and maybe even avoid death. It may also be wise to have multiple kits for emergency use, like a larger kit at home and a smaller kit in the car.

Below are some of the essentials of building your first aid kit for your dogs:
  • A clean blanket
  • Nail clipper
  • Rectal therometer
  • Vaseline or KY jelly
  • A muzzle
  • Tweezers
  • Hemostats
  • Styptic powder
  • Bandaging materials: roll of gauze, first aid tape, non-stick pads at minimum
  • Medication: your dogs' regular meds (if any - be sure to follow instructions regarding storing the meds in certain room temperatures), multi-purpose wound care gels/sprays that can help clean/treat/heal wounds, and any other easy & quick products like eye solution to flush out unwanted bodies or cortisol cream for itchy bug bites
  • Other items that may come in handy depending on the type of first aid kit you are putting together (i.e. first aid kit for hiking, camping, search & rescue...etc.)
Keep in mind that the purpose of a first aid kit is to try to temporarily stabilize the situation in an event of an injury. Depending on the injury, your best option may still be to visit a vet as soon as possible. For more information on which products and other items to add to your canine first aid kit, consult with your trusted vet.

Keeping your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

Friday, September 5, 2014

3 Steps to Follow When You Find a Stray Dog

One of the worst nightmares for pet owners is realizing that our beloved mutt has gone missing. So if you were to ever encounter a stray, here are three steps that will help you help the dog get back to his/her owner quickly and safely.
  1. Observe the dog and its surroundings for safety - The first thing to be aware of when you see a stray dog is to observe the dog's behavior and its surroundings. Do not make sudden movements, whether that's slamming on the brake when you're driving or run excitedly to the mutt. Observe calmly and see if the mutt is in a dangerous situation (like in the middle of traffic) or if the mutt is showing any signs of aggression, nervousness, or rabidness towards you or others. If you don't feel like the stray is approachable, then take note of its location and call animal control. If you can, you may stay with the mutt until help arrives. If you feel like the dog is approachable and friendly, then calmly allow the mutt into your car and drive it to the nearest animal shelter or vet clinic if you see that the mutt is injured. Keep in mind that picking up a mutt may not be the best idea especially if the dog is injured and may react to your touch aggressively when it's in pain.
  2. Seek professional help - So you have the dog in your possession; now what? If the dog does not have a tag or any other types of identifier that you can see, then the next best thing is to take it to the nearest animal shelter where they can scan for registered microchips for further investigation. Depending on the situation, the shelter may take the stray in or may release temporary caring rights to you. The shelter usually will take photos of the dog and your contact information in case the owners come looking for their pet. If you decide to temporarily care for the stray, you may want to consider taking the mutt to a trusted vet to make sure it doesn't have any internal injuries, parasites, or diseases. Keep in mind that you may be the one that is financially responsible for these vet bills.
  3. Spread the word - Don't assume that all strays were abandoned or left unwanted. Think that if this were your dog that's lost, what would you do to find it? Make a valiant effort to help spread the word about this lost pet through friends, families, church groups, local community news boards, internet, social media...etc. If enough time has passed and there is still no contact from the original owners, you may consider adopting this as your own pet. Your local animal shelter can provide you with the appropriate length of waiting time required by your local authorities before officially letting you adopt the mutt. Just keep in mind that there still may be a chance that the original owners may still find you and wan their pet back. Be prepared to have a realistic plan in mind if and when that happens.
Keeping your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Top Q&A About Heat Stroke in Dogs

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from heat strokes too if they are not taken care of properly. In some circumstances, a dog can be more prone to getting a heat stroke because it relieves most of its body heat and sweat through panting. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions and answers to what a pet owner should know about heat strokes in their mutts.

Under what conditions can my dog get heat stroke?
There are many conditions in which a dog can suffer heat stroke. The most common include exercising your mutts in hot and/or humid weather, not enough access to fresh water, leaving your mutt in a car when it is warm outside (even if you crack your windows!), and/or being left out in the sun with no shade.

What are some symptoms of a heat stroke for dogs?
  • Heavy, labored or troubled panting
  • Vomitting
  • Weakness/collapsing
  • Confusion
  • Dry, tacky pale gums
  • Seizures/coma
How do I prevent my dog from a heat stroke?
There are several ways pet owners can help prevent their mutts from a heat stroke. Many of them are easy to implement such as providing adequate shade and enough fresh water if your mutts are outside; allowing your mutts to access an air-conditioned room periodically; exercising them in the morning or evening when it is not the warmest time of the day, and keeping their fur/hair short during the summer months.

What should I do if my dog does get heat stroke?
The best treatment for heat stroke is to take your mutt to your trusted vet as soon as possible. Depending on the situation, you may have to help your dog cool down first before bringing it to the vet. Gently pouring cool (not ice cold) water over your mutts' body or blowing cool air on your mutts are good ways to help them safely decrease their body temperature. Keep in mind that in some dogs, symptoms of a heat stroke may be delayed. So your best treatment for a heat stroke is prevention!

Keeping your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Top Q&A for Cherry Eyes in Dogs

What is a cherry eye?
  • A prolapse of the third eyelid gland - meaning that the membrane located in the corner of a dog's eye, which houses a tear gland, is inflamed. So a dog that has a cherry eye would have a red or pinkish swollen bump in the inner corners of its eye.
What causes a cherry eye?
  •  For reasons that are unclear, the membrane around the tear gland grows weak and starts moving around. The movement usually causes irritation and leads to the swelling of the gland. Cherry eyes are mostly hereditary, so certain breeds like Shih Tzus, Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels, Lhasa Apsos, and other small breeds. It's also thought to be caused by parasites, infections, cancer and/or immune system issues. 
 What are some signs of a cherry eye?
  • Eye redness, swelling of the inner corner(s), mucus and/or excess watery discharge, your mutt pawing at its eye or rubbing its face on the ground at the irritation.
 How do you treat a cherry eye?
  • The best way to treat a cherry eye is to consult your trusted vet. Many times vets will prescribe an ointment to see if the swelling and irritation will go away first, and if that doesn't work, then usually the second (and only) option is to perform surgery. With surgery, the vet will most likely try to tuck the gland back in (which has a very high success rate). If that doesn't work, then the vet will most likely remove the gland all together.
What are some risks associated with surgery vs. no surgery?
  • While surgery is the last resort for cherry eyes, some circumstances many require it. The main risk with removing the tear gland is having a dry eye which may lead to vision damage. If this does happen later on, it can be treated with medication.
  • In some pets, the prolapsed gland doesn't cause discomfort or damage to the eye and may come and go on its own. So the main reason for fixing the cherry eye is more for cosmetic purposes. Again, consult with your trusted vet to see what is the best action to take for you and your mutt.
Keeping your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Swimming Safety Tips for Your Dog

Summer is here! As the weather gets warmer and warmer, a lot of our furry little friends like to find places like pools and lakes to cool off in. Pet owners also will often times want our mutts to enjoy the fun summer activities with them. While having a good time outside can be good physical and mental health, there are still several things dog owners need to watch out for when allowing their mutts to take a dip:
  • Not all dogs can swim well - while a mutt can pick up swimming techniques faster than a human, some dogs swim because they have to for survival and not because they like to. Mutts like American Bulldogs have big bodies but short legs tend to have a harder time paddling in water compared to others. 
  • Wet ears can easily lead to ear infections - keeping your dogs' ears clean and dry after a swim is important so they do not get ear infections. Ocean and lake water usually have many bacteria and bugs that could be a danger to your mutts. Consult with your trusted vet to learn what the best cleaning techniques are for you and your dogs.
  • Watch out for other safety hazards at the beach - if you take your dogs to the beach, keep an eye out for other potentially dangers things like broken shells, jellyfish, and big currents. There are also many parasites hiding in the sand, so keep your mutts close and perform a quick physical check up on them after you leave the beach.
  • Swimming at night is more dangerous than during the day - as a pet owner, you would have to pay even more attention to your mutts if they are swimming at night. Dogs already have bad vision to begin with and their eye sight decreases drastically when it is dark. So make sure you know where and what your mutts are doing when they are swimming, even if it is just in your backyard pool.
  • Know what the temperature of the water is before going in - sometimes the problem with summer is that certain waters can vary in temperature drastically. Make sure you know how warm or cold the water is before allowing your dogs to go in. Dogs can also suffer from hypothermia so just be aware if your dog is shivering or not.
  • Teach your dogs to swim one step at a time - throwing your mutts into the pool or lake for fun will only create trauma for them, specially if they haven't really swam before. So make it a game: throw their stick or ball in for them to fetch is a good start and then increase the fetch distance slowly. Also train them so they know where is the best spot to get out if they are swimming in a pool. If your mutts start to panic, the best way is to use a calm voice to tell them to swim back to shore. You might put yourself in danger by jumping in to help a panicking dog (specially if they are big dogs)!
Keeping your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Spring Safety Tips for Your Dogs

As spring arrives, our friendly furry companions love to take advantage of the lengthier, warmer days by spending more of their time outdoors. While we love seeing our mutts enjoy their time outside, there are still a few things dog owners need to be aware of when it comes to transitioning from the winter to the spring season.
  • Bugs, Bugs, Bugs - Spring is the perfect time for bugs such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas to hatch from their eggs and start being more active. Take some time and make sure that your mutts are current on their heartworm preventative medication. Also start performing your own check ups on your dog's ears, neck, head, chest, and legs to ensure that they haven't picked up any unwanted ticks and fleas.
  • Veterinary Check Up - As you do your spring cleaning, put on the list to take your dogs to the vet for a physical exam and to update their vaccinations. Spring will turn into summer quickly and your dogs will most likely have more contact with other animals which increases the chance of catching an infectious disease like the kennel cough.
  • Dog Proofing the House - Again, as your mutts are now becoming more active, dog proofing your house inside and out is crucial to avoiding any unwanted accidents or intoxication. Make sure that your yard fertilization, the type of plants you plant, and the chemicals you use to spring clean the house with are all safe for pet owners and are stored away securely. If you have a fenced yard, take some time to make sure that your fence is secure and strong so your dogs can't escape and injury themselves. 
Keeping your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How to Workout With Your Dog Safely!

As warm weather approaches, building a workout routine with your mutts can be extremely beneficial. A lot of people find it fun and motivating to workout with your dogs. However, there are certain cautionary steps pet owners should take when exercising with your mutts. Here are some tips:

  • Evaluate your mutts' physicality - Don't just dive into an intense workout session with your dog; build up to it. Make sure you know what your dog is capable of and consider its breed and age for certain exercises. It would be good to consult your trusted vet before you start a workout regiment with your mutts.
  • Environmental Considerations - Running, hiking, biking, or walking in cold or hot weather may not be the best times for you or your mutt. If you're exercising outside during the summer, try to go early or late evening when the pavement is not hot on your mutt's feet. During the cold winter, consider walking or running your dog on a treadmill.
  • Prep Yourself with Food & Water - Make sure you bring some food and water for both you and your mutt, especially if you plan on doing a lengthy or intense workout. Dog treats and an energy bar may help boost you and your mutt's energy and water will help prevent heat stroke.
  • Train Your Dog - Properly train your mutts to walk or run the same side of you every time to avoid tripping each other. Teach them not to pull on the leash or not to run ahead of you unexpectedly to avoid throwing you off balance. 
  • Safety Comes First -Make sure you wear a helmet, knee pads, and other protection when appropriate. Don't tie the leash to your wrist in case your dog pulls and jerks you off balance. Don't push you or your mutt too hard. If either of you are starting to show signs of exhaustion, pain, or trouble breathing, then that's a good indication to stop the workout and rest.
  • Again Stay Hydrated - Allow you and your mutt to drink plenty of water throughout the exercise and a little bit of food here and there to boost your energy (but don't exercise on a full stomach either).
  • Cool Down & Body Check - After your workout, make sure to cool your body down and stretch out your muscles. Also take some time to check your mutt's leg and paws for any cuts, bruises, ticks, and other foreign objects. You may also reward your dog with a treat for working hard.
  • Once Again, Hydrate You and Your Dog - Also be sure to allow the proper amount of rest for you and your mutt in between workouts for your bodies to recoup. 
Keeping your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Top Pet Emergencies for Your Mutt

As a pet owner, how do you know when your mutt's health is a serious issue that requires a veterinarian's care ASAP? Below are a few common health problems that vets see in the ER:
  • Urinary Problems - If you notice that your dog is having difficulty peeing, has blood in its pee, or is not producing any urine for an usual long period of time, take your mutt to see your trusted vet as soon as possible. Although rare, urinary blockage does happen and has a high chance of being life-threatening if not quickly treated.
  • Difficulty Breathing - Signs of your mutt wheezing, raspy breaths, and choking is when you need to get them to a pet hospital as soon as possible. Your dog may have lodged something in its throat, and if this is the case, do NOT try to extract it yourself. Doing so may result in pushing the object even deeper and clogging the airway completely. 
  • Poison or Toxin Exposure - If you suspect your mutt has gotten itself into something poisonous like a bag of fertilizers in the backyard or a bottle of kitchen cleaner,  ASPCA animal poison control at 888-426-4435888-426-4435 for immediate help.You may be asked to take your dog to the vet for further assistance or even induce vomiting for your mutt.
  • Neurological Issues - A normal healthy dog is usually alert and bright, so if you notice that your mutt is experiencing neurological issues like unresponsiveness, disorientation, or in a coma, consult your vet right away. Another major issue dog seizures caused by epilepsy. If your dog is shaking uncontrollably or has lost its bowel and urinary control, get them to the vet or pet hospital.
  • Dog Trauma - Dog trauma may include various situations like a big fall, getting hit by a car, involved in a dog fight, or having a gunshot wound. For these situations, even if your mutt seems fine on the outside, still take them in to a vet to get checked out. Sometimes there may be internal bleeding, ruptured lung, or a hernia that may need immediate medical attention.
The list above is only a handful of health problems that your mutts might experience. This doesn't mean that other health concerns does not require vet care. The best the to do is when in doubt, consult your trusted vet!

Keeping your mutts happy, healthy, and hearty!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dog Nutritional Facts You Need to Know!

There are a lot of human foods that can be good for your mutts to eat. However, it is easy for dog owners to start believing in certain myths about what they can and cannot feed their mutts - and more importantly, how much to feed them. Below are some nutritional facts to help dog owners better decide what to and what NOT to feed their pets.

Canned Food vs. Dry Food
Depending on what lifestyle your dog lives, both canned and dry dog food has pros and cons. Canned food usually has more quality-protein, fewer preservatives and calories, and is better tasting. On the other hand, dry dog food is less expensive, cleans your dogs' teeth better, and may satisfy your mutts' urge to nibble and chew on items.

While apples have great nutrients for both humans and your mutts, the seeds of an apple contains a form of cyanide which cannot be easily filtered through your pets' digestive system. Also be careful of how much apples you feed your mutts - too much of the fruit can lead to diarrhea and weight gain.

Fish can be extremely beneficial to dogs who have meat allergies. However, some raw-diet enthusiasts may want to be careful feeding too much raw fish meat to your mutts since fish can contain harmful parasites when uncooked. Also whole-bodied fish has many tiny sharp bones that might cause other health issues.

Right Amount to Feed
While there's no absolute answer to how much or how often you should feed your mutts, the rule of thumb is that if your dog is at a healthy, fit weight and size, then they are probably eating the right amount of food. Most veterinarians will recommend a morning meal and an evening meal for adult dogs to help you better manage your mutts' intake and quality of food.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Facts You Should Know About Heartworm in Dogs

Every dog has a risk of getting Heartworm. Although this disease is NOT contagious among dogs directly, Heartworms can easily be transported between mutts through just one single mosquito. When a mosquito bites into the blood stream of an infected dog, the mosquito picks up a tiny larvae called microfilariae. The mosquito then can make its way onto another mutt, transporting the larvae and infecting a different dog.

Over the next several months the heartworm larvae will grow up to a foot in length and spread into the heart and lungs of the dog and produce even more microfilariae in the blood stream. If left untreated, this poor mutt is a perfect reservoir of heartworms ready to infect other animals and also has a high risk of getting heart, lung, liver, and kidney problems that may result in death.

Prevention is the key for mutts when it comes to heartworm disease. Even if you keep your dogs indoors, they are still at risk for getting infected. Heartworm has been reported in all 50 states in the U.S. so visit your trusted veterinarian to ensure your mutt's health today!

Keeping your mutts healthy, happy, and hearty!