Obesity in Dogs
Symptoms of Obesity in Dogs The si...
Symptoms of Obesity in Dogs
The signs of obesity can be subtle, especially to owners who see their dogs all the time and aren’t easily able to notice gradual changes in their weight. This can be even more difficult to identify in longhaired breeds. There is no uniformly-accepted medical way to measure whether a dog is or isn’t obese. Most veterinarians and owners assess their dog’s weight on a “look and feel” basis. Dogs are considered to be at their ideal weight if their ribs are easy to feel as individual solid structures without using very much pressure, and if their chest, abdomen and hips form a well-defined, waist-like “hourglass” shape when viewed from above.
Other signs of obesity include:
A “waddling” gait (rolling from side to side when moving)
Difficulty breathing (respiratory distress; dyspnea; increased respiratory effort)
Noisy breathing (sterdor; stridor; wheezing; crackles)
Because these signs can be associated with conditions other than obesity, it is important to have an overweight dog examined thoroughly by a veterinarian before it is put on a diet or on an exercise program. This way, any potential underlying physical causes for its weight problem can be ruled out.
Even a moderate amount of excess body fat can reduce a dog’s lifespan and increase its chances of early death. While this association may not be completely direct, obesity does increase a dog’s chances of developing other conditions that can shorten its life, such as infectious disease, cancer, arthritis, skin disorders, high blood pressure (hypertension), respiratory disease, reproductive irregularities, diabetes mellitus and heart (cardiac), neurological and musculoskeletal (orthopaedic) diseases. This is why it is so important to maintain a dog’s optimal body weight as best you can.
Causes of Obesity in Dogs
Obesity is caused by eating too many calories (excess energy intake), by not getting enough exercise (deficient energy output), or by some combination of the two. Extra energy from a dog’s diet is stored as fat. Factors that can contribute to a dog eating too many calories include being fed table scraps, snacks and other treats between meals, being fed energy-dense, high-fat, highly palatable commercial diets, or simply being fed too much of a well-balanced diet. Other factors can include age, breed, sex, heredity, hormonal abnormalities, and lifestyle. A strong human-animal bond often contributes to overfeeding and excess snacking. Basically, the combination of and balance between these factors can lead to overconsumption, excessive calorie intake, insufficient exercise, or some combination of these.
Dogs that are not given regular exercise can become overweight even when they eat an appropriate amount of food. Older animals, and those that are spayed or neutered, frequently become less active than they previously were and thus become predisposed to putting on weight. Aging dogs usually live an increasingly confined and sedentary lifestyle. Hounds, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, and Shetland Sheepdogs are some of the breeds that more commonly are affected by obesity. Statistically, dogs that live with overweight owners are also more likely to become overweight. Finally, dogs with certain hormonal or metabolic disorders, such as hypothyroidism, can be prone to obesity because their body’s normal rate of metabolism is slowed down, which decreases their energy needs (that is, the number of calories they need to take in.)
Signs and Symptoms of cavities
There is a wide range in the appear...
There is a wide range in the appearance and severity of periodontal disease in dogs. Plaque and tarter on the teeth can appear as the “tip of the iceberg” and the severity of disease cannot be properly evaluated unless the animal is placed under general anaesthesia.
The following signs of gingivitis and periodontal disease include:
Dropping food or difficulty chewing/eating
Pain or sensitivity around mouth
Pawing at mouth
Pus around the tooth, or pus noticed under the eye (tooth root abscess)
Red gums, bleeding gums, receding gums
Your pet should be evaluated by a veterinarian prior to being placed under anaesthesia for further diagnostics and treatment of dental disease. Usually, blood work and a urinalysis are recommended to deem a pet safe to go under anaesthesia or to diagnose/exclude other systemic diseases. Your veterinarian will place your pet under gas anaesthesia and exam all the teeth, gums, and the tissue in and around the mouth. Radiographs, or x-rays, of the teeth are usually taken, and the gums are “probed” with a calibrated probe to look for pocketing around the teeth. In a dog, the normal pocket depth is around the tooth should be 2-3mm. Deep pockets around the teeth are indicative of worsening dental disease. When diagnosing a cavity, probing the middle or occlusive surfaces of the tooth may result in a loss of bone or “soft” area in the middle of the tooth.
The severity of the disease is based on 4 grades that are established based on plaque/calculus, gum health, and radiograph (x-ray) changes. The chart below illustrates the grade of dental disease based on certain factors along with the prognosis.
Treatment and Prognosis:
Treatment of dental disease depends on the severity, or grade based on examination. For dogs with Grade I and Grade II gingivitis, a routine dental cleaning and polishing will be performed. This removes the plaque and tarter build up from teeth and gum line; this is performed with a scalar. The teeth are polished to remove any microscopic dents or scratches caused by the scalar. For Grade III and Grade IV periodontitis, the teeth are scaled and polished but additional treatments such a removing teeth or more advanced dental procedures may be performed. These animals often go home on pain medication, a broad spectrum antibiotic, and soft food for 3-4 days.
The prognosis of dental disease is based on if the disease is reversible with dental care or irreversible. If the gingivitis is reversible, pets have a good prognosis and prevention is key to slow down plaque formation and worsening disease. Irreversible disease has a worse prognosis, meaning that dogs may continue to loose teeth throughout their life, are at risk for tooth root abscesses, and pain. Pets should be checked annually to assess their dental disease along with annual dental cleanings. For the animals with irreversible periodontal disease, pets need to be re-evaluated by a veterinarian 2-4 times a year. Based on the disease severity or type of procedure needed, your veterinarian may recommend consulting with a veterinary dental specialist.
Cavities and Dental Disease in Dogs
Definition: Dental disease in dogs...
Dental disease in dogs is a broad term indicating inflammation and infection of the tooth’s supporting structures. Human dental disease is different than dental disease seen in dogs. In people, the most common problem is tooth decay that is caused by a loss of tooth enamel, resulting in pain and an infected tooth, or cavity. The term “cavity” is not often used as a dental problem in dogs compared to their human counterparts. An animal’s diet is significantly lower in sugar and there are less “occlusive” or rubbing surfaces on their teeth than in humans. A cavity is an extremely rare finding and if it does happen, it occurs in the first molar in the dog due to the confirmation of that tooth.
Causes and Prevention:
Dental disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs that is preventable. Over 80% of dogs that are over the age of three are known to have dental disease. Food and treat particles combined with the normal bacteria in the animal’s mouth forms a plaque along the gum line and to the surface of the tooth. Minerals and enzymes in saliva can harden the plaque into dental calculus (tarter) which firmly sticks/attaches itself to the teeth. Plaques will start to mineralize 3-5 days after its forms and adheres to the tooth. Dental tarter is disease above the gum line, known as gingivitis that causes inflammation, reddening of the gums, and bad breath. Plaque and dental tarter are problematic when they spread under the animal’s gum line. Bacteria in the mouth begin to damage the gums, the supporting tissues around the tooth, the tooth itself, and the tooth root. With progression of gingivitis, the gums separate from the teeth, and pockets are formed, which encourage further bacterial growth. At this point, the damage is irreversible and is called “periodontal disease,” which is a more severe form of dental disease where there is loss of bone and gum around the tooth. Periodontal disease can be painful and lead to loose teeth, tooth root abscess, bone loss, and infection.
There are numerous factors that play a role into the formation of dental disease:
Age (older animals are commonly affected)
Overall health status
Dental disease is often seen in our older pets. Diet has shown to affect dental disease, meaning that hard kibbles may be better than canned food at decreasing the accumulation of plaque on the teeth. Additionally dog’s that chew on toys or dental chews may remove the plaque. Small to miniature breeds including brachycephalic dogs (pugs, etc.) have a greater risk of dental disease. Due to their size, breed, and genetics, their teeth are often crowded and can result in increased plaque formation.
Dental disease is preventable for dogs. Regular brushing of your dog’s teeth can reduce the plaque formation on the outside of the teeth, thus reducing tarter build up and gingivitis. Ideally, all an owner needs it a toothbrush and water, contact of the brush to the tooth is most important to remove the bacteria. Additionally, chew toys, dental chew, dental diets, and prescription medications can be used to improve dental health.
Preventing Allergies in Dogs
The best way to prevent allergic re...
The best way to prevent allergic reactions in dogs is to keep them from coming into contact with, eating, inhaling or otherwise being exposed to whatever allergen is causing their hypersensitivity. For example, flea bite allergies are best prevented by removing the allergen – fleas – from the dog’s body and immediate living environment. There are a number of good commercial products to help owners prevent or resolve flea infestations. Owners of dogs with flea allergies should consult with their veterinarian about the best approach to control the problem. To prevent the symptoms of hay fever, owners should keep their dogs away from whatever seasonal allergen is causing the problem, to the extent that they can. Food allergies can be prevented once the culprit in the dog’s diet is identified. This can be done through a strict ingredient elimination diet supervised by a knowledgeable veterinarian. Many of the newer kibbles contain novel protein sources, such as venison, bison, duck and fish, which can be extremely helpful for dogs that are allergic to more common protein sources, like chicken, beef or lamb.
Canine allergies can be difficult, but not impossible, to diagnose and manage.
Symptoms and Signs of Allergies in Dogs
Effects of Allergies on Dogs – From the Dog’s Point of View
Dogs, like people, commonly develop allergies. Canine allergies usually cause dermatological (skin) problems, ear irritation and/or gastrointestinal upset. Allergies can be extremely detrimental to a dog’s health and to its quality of life. Continual scratching, licking and biting at irritated areas of skin often leads to physical sores, which can become infected. When the ears are affected, the constant head shaking and scratching can cause hematomas to develop, especially on the tips of the ear flaps. Hematomas are basically blood-filled blisters. If allergic reactions are particularly severe and prolonged, the dog may develop significant behavioural changes as well, as a result of its continual and inescapable discomfort.
Symptoms of Canine Allergies – What the Owner Sees
The visible signs of allergies mimic those of many other conditions. Dogs with allergies usually develop skin problems, ear problems or digestive/gastrointestinal upset. Owners of affected animals may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
Bumps and white raised pustules; pimples
Itchiness; scratching; biting at skin
Lethargy; weakness; general malaise
Red, weeping eyes
Redness, rash; common in the groin and flank areas, on the paws, between the toes, behind the front legs (in the armpit/axial area), under the neck and on the chin
In an effort to relieve skin irritation, affected dogs may exhibit:
Frequent and relentless scratching at affected areas
Licking or chewing at affected areas
Moist sores called hot spots; prone to becoming infected
Rolling on the floor or ground
Dogs with allergies frequently develop infections or other irritation on their external ears and in their ear canals. Symptoms may include:
Abnormal yeast-like smell coming from the ears
Frequent and relentless scratching at the ears
Head shaking; often vigorous and persistent
Thinning of the hair in and around the ears
Waxy build-up in the ears
Dogs with allergies – especially food allergies - often have gastrointestinal disturbances in addition to skin and ear irritation. The gastrointestinal tract includes the stomach and the small and large intestines. Common signs associated with allergies to ingredients in food include:
Enlarged lymph nodes
Loss of appetite
Loss of interest in normal activities
Food allergies can continue undiagnosed for years. Many owners mistakenly believe that their dogs’ symptoms are just caused by a sensitive stomach.
Most dogs don’t develop acquired allergies until they reach adulthood.
Allergies in Dogs (Canine Hypersensitivities)
Definition of Allergies Allergies,...
Definition of Allergies
Allergies, also known as hypersensitivities, are acquired overreactions by a dog’s immune system to something that it perceives as being foreign and potentially dangerous, called an “allergen.” Common canine allergens are food ingredients, pollens, grasses, weeds, plants, flea and tick saliva, mites, chemical cleaners, detergents and other household products, plastics, drugs, carpet fibres and cigarette and cigar smoke. Allergies often cause skin problems, ear irritation and gastrointestinal upset. Affected dogs may scratch, lick or bite at irritated skin areas, creating sores that can become infected. The constant head shaking and scratching from “allergic ears” can cause blood-filled blisters, called hematomas, on the bottom of the ear flaps. Dogs with allergies can develop significant behavioural changes because of the inescapable discomfort associated with their condition.
Causes and Prevention of Allergies in Dogs
Causes of Canine Allergies
An allergy is an acquired and exaggerated defensive reaction by an animal’s immune system to something that it perceives as being foreign and potentially dangerous. The offensive substance is called an “allergen.” Acquired allergic reactions, also called hypersensitivity reactions, develop over time. The first exposure to the offending allergen stimulates the dog’s immune system to go into a state of readiness. This includes producing antibodies to that specific allergen. Subsequent exposures trigger a full-blown, complex, highly regulated immune response, because the cells of the immune system recognize the allergen and have been primed to find and destroy it.
There are four main categories or causes of allergies in dogs:
Contact allergies are triggered by a dog’s repeated exposure to some irritating substance that comes into direct physical contact with its skin. Common canine contact allergens are chemicals in household cleaners, shampoos, flea collars, fertilizers, insecticides, medications, natural and synthetic clothing or furniture fibres, plastics, seasonal pollens, trees, bushes, grasses, weeds, flowers and other plant products. Contact allergies usually are most noticeable to owners on areas where their dog’s skin is not well-protected by hair, like the nose, feet, groin, belly and between the toes.
Injection Allergies, of which the most common are caused by flea bites. In a nutshell, dogs with this condition become hypersensitive to the saliva of fleas, ticks or other blood-sucking external parasites. Flea bite allergies trigger an immune reaction to the fleas’ saliva, which causes intense irritation and itchiness and can increase the risk of secondary bacterial infections and localized hair loss at the bite site.
Inhalant Allergies Many dogs develop allergies to environmental substances that they inhale. Common culprits include cigarette and cigar smoke, fireplace smoke, seasonal pollen from weeds, trees, grasses and other plants, and many other things. Inhalant allergies are second only to flea bite allergies in terms of frequency in dogs. The severe skin itchiness and irritation associated with inhalant and some contact allergies is called “atopy.” Many contact and inhalant allergies, in both dogs and people, are casually referred to as “hay fever.”
Food allergies can develop from hypersensitivity reactions to almost anything in a dog’s diet. Common canine food allergens include beef, dairy products, corn, wheat, eggs, chicken, lamb and soy.
How to Stop Aggressive Behaviour in Dogs
When a dog regularly growls, snaps,...
When a dog regularly growls, snaps, or bites, aggression is a serious behaviour problem for its owner. In fact, aggression is the top reason why dog owners seek the help of a professional dog trainer. And it's not just the "scary" larger breeds of dogs that are prone to aggression; any breed is capable. Although it can't be cured overnight, there are steps you can take to curb the aggressive behaviour and help your dog remain calm.
Why Do Dogs Behave Aggressively?
Aggressive behaviour in a dog refers to any situation in which a canine starts to warn of an impending attack. This includes becoming still and rigid, growling, baring teeth, snarling, lunging, and nipping or biting.
Your first step is to figure out what's causing your dog's aggression. Some dogs growl when someone approaches them while they're eating or chewing a bone, for instance. Others react aggressively toward children or strangers.
The aggression doesn't have to be toward a person, either. Some dogs become aggressive around other animals, only specific animals (cats but not other dogs), or toward inanimate objects, such as wheels on vehicles or yard equipment.
Additionally, some dogs are bred for traits that actually promote aggressive behaviour. For instance, terriers are bred to attack rodents and other small animals while "guard dogs" like Dobermans and Rottweilers are bred to protect property and people. These are natural instincts that require owners to ensure the aggression is directed only in the appropriate situations through proper training.
The key thing to remember is that you can't come up with a plan to change your dog's behaviour until you know the reason behind it. The most common types of dog aggression include:
Territorial aggression: The dog defends its space or your home from what it deems to be an intruder.
Protective aggression: The dog defends members of its pack against another animal or a person. Mother dogs will also be extremely protective of their puppies and may become hostile toward anyone who goes near them.
Possessive aggression: The dog protects food, chew toys, bones, or another object of value to it.
Fear aggression: The dog tries to retreat in a scary situation but then attacks when cornered.
Defensive aggression: Similar to fear aggression—the dog attacks in defence of something rather than trying to retreat first.
Social aggression: The dog attempts to earn the alpha spot in a group. Dogs who are not socialized properly with other dogs and people may also exhibit hostility.
Frustration-elicited aggression: The dog behaves aggressively when it's restricted on a leash or in a fenced-in yard. Sometimes a dog may become overly excited, such as before a walk if their handler is taking too long, and nip the person.
Redirected aggression: The dog might become aggressive towards a person who attempts to break up a dog fight. It may also happen when the dog cannot reach the real target of its hostility, such as a neighbouring dog blocked by a fence.
Pain-elicited aggression: The dog exhibits aggression when injured or in pain.
Sex-related aggression: Two male dogs become aggressive when vying for the attention of a female dog.
Predatory aggression: The dog behaves aggressively without much warning when acting like a predator, such as when chasing wildlife. This instinct becomes a serious danger when a child is playing chase with a dog. It may start out as an innocent game, but some dogs can quickly turn on and possibly bite the child.
Getting & Introducing a Second Dog
Some Things to Consider… So...
Some Things to Consider…
So, you’ve decided to get a second dog. Your resident dog may or may not be enthusiastic about the arrival of a new addition to the family. He may become especially possessive of toys, food, people or territory. He may grumble at the new dog and mark his territory by urinating inappropriately in the house. This can cause potentially dangerous conflicts between the dogs. On the other hand, many dogs welcome the addition of a new buddy. They thrive on having a new friend to play with, sleep with and just generally share the fun and beauty of the day. Adding a second dog can be a wonderful thing for both dogs and for the whole family. The introduction just has to be handled carefully.
Keys To A Successful Introduction
Think carefully about how to introduce your resident dog to its new playmate. Both dogs will need plenty of space and time to get to know one another and shouldn’t be forced into confined areas. They probably will be playful, frightened, excited, happy and occasionally aggressive at different times as they work things out. Keep the atmosphere as calm and quiet as possible. The resident dog should be lavished with more attention than the new dog, to set the hierarchy straight and make it clear who is “top dog.” One of the most important things when introducing a new dog into the home is to manage competition over food and toys. The house should be prepared well in advance. New blankets, bedding, food and water dishes should be brought in before the new pooch arrives. It’s also smart to buy some new toys that can be given to the dogs at the same time, so that they have an opportunity to share and play without being overly possessive or dominant.
It’s tempting to give the new dog the spotlight, but this can lead to controversies. Just give the dogs an opportunity to get to know one another on their own terms. As they take walks around the neighbourhood and romp in the back yard, they will realize that they belong to the same family and hopefully will become the best of friends.
The Signs of a Sick Dog and What to Do
You love your dog and you want them...
You love your dog and you want them to be happy and healthy.
You may be the easy going type of owner who thinks your dog will be able to show you he is sick. Learning how to interpret subtle sights can help you address health issues before they get really bad.
How to Tell If your Dog is Sick
Sometimes, it is very difficult to tell if a dog is sick or hurt. Our dogs cannot communicate with us in words, so we must rely on their actions and attitudes to guide us. You know your own dog better than anyone else, so you may be the first one to notice that something is wrong with them. Friends and family who do not see your dog all the time may notice subtle changes that need to be addressed.
It's important to understand that dogs do not generally exhibit signs of illness when they first become sick. It is believed that they instinctively hide their illness as a form of self-protection (appearing weak would have made them vulnerable in the wild). In addition, dogs are not emotionally attached to their own discomfort the way humans are, so they are more likely to act normally when they feel under-the-weather.
Body language clues are usually subtle, but they can give us some information if we pay close attention. There are specific symptoms that dogs will exhibit when they can no longer hide their illness. You should watch for signs of illness so you can get your dog to a veterinarian in a timely manner. Be sure to find the right veterinarian and establish a good relationship with that vet so you are more comfortable calling when something comes up.
Signs of Illness in Dogs
Here are some signs to watch for that might indicate the need for veterinary attention. Please note that this is not a complete list. When in doubt, don't wait. If your pet exhibits any signs that do not seem normal, call your vet right away.
Immediately contact your veterinarian or go to an emergency clinic if you observe any of the following signs:
Blue, white or very pale gums
Collapse or loss of consciousness
Dizziness, imbalance, or circling
Extremely bloated abdomen
Inability to walk
Signs of acute severe pain (such as crying out very loudly and excessively, acting aggressive when touched, or guarding a part of the body intensely)
Body temperature over 104 F or under 99 F (normal is typically 100.5 F -102.5 F)
Sudden and extreme change in mental state or cognitive function
Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the following signs lasting more than one to two days:
Displays of mild to moderate pain (such as whimpering or resistance when a specific area is touched or action is taken)
Excessive scratching or dull, dry, or flaky hair coat
Excessive thirst (increased water intake)
Frequent and/or inappropriate urination
Nasal discharge or congestion
Not acting like his normal self
Wheezing or frequent panting
You should contact your vet if you notice any signs that you deem abnormal for your dog. It is better to be cautious than to wait. In some cases, your vet may be able to tell you if something does not need to be addressed right away. In other situations, your vet may advise you to make an appointment or to go to an emergency clinic, depending on the urgency. Above all, follow your veterinarian’s advice.
Dog Ear Mites
Dog Ear Mites Definition Ear mite...
Dog Ear Mites
Ear mites are nasty tiny parasites that spend most of their lives in and around the external ear canals of the animals that they infest. Occasionally, they are found on other areas of their host’s skin, such as the paws, head, neck, rump or tail. The ear mite that is the biggest concern to domestic dogs (and cats) is Otodectes cynotis. Otodectes mites feed on their hosts’ blood. Their bites cause a severe allergic reaction that is accompanied by itchiness, irritation, skin sensitivity, scratching, head-shaking, rubbing, waxy build-up, hair loss, open sores and a great deal of anxiety for the dog and its owner. Otodectes mites are extremely contagious and are one of the most common causes of ear-related problems in puppies and young adult dogs. The average life cycle of these ear mites is about 3 weeks. Ear mites will bite people, causing a rash of raised red bumps.
Causes of Ear Mites
Ear mite infestation is almost always caused by contact with an infested animal or its bedding. These tiny mites are extremely contagious between dogs. They can also infest cats, rabbits and ferrets. The average life cycle of ear mites is about 3 weeks. Otodectes mites cannot survive free in the environment, as they have no means of providing themselves with shelter or food. Ear mites spend virtually all of their short lives on a host animal. Fortunately, they are not contagious to people, because they cannot live very long on the skin of humans.
Prevention of Ear Mites
The best way to prevent a dog from becoming infested by ear mites is to prevent it from coming into contact with affected animals. If one dog (or cat, rabbit or ferret) in a household has ear mites, it should be treated vigilantly and isolated from the other pets, in an attempt to prevent them from becoming infested as well. The other animals, and the living environment, should also be treated as a precaution, even if they have not yet developed symptoms of ear mites. Any treatment should be done in accordance with a veterinarian’s specific directions.
While people almost never become infested with Otodectes mites, there is some zoonotic potential. Ear mites will bite people. When they do, they cause a transient rash of raised red bumps, called “papular dermatitis,” which usually develops on the arms of people who come into close contact with infested dogs.
A dog’s ears can become permanently damaged if ear mites are not treated in a timely manner. Over-the-counter ear mite remedies are available. However, the symptoms of ear mites often mimic those of other ear problems. Accordingly, it is important for owners to get a positive diagnosis of ear mites before starting any treatment for the condition.
How Ear Mites Affect Dogs
It only takes a very few ear mites ...
It only takes a very few ear mites to cause an intense allergic reaction in dogs. Affected dogs will have extremely itchy, irritated, sensitive ears and will be very uncomfortable. They will try to relieve their discomfort by scratching at their ears, head and neck vigorously and relentlessly. They will rub their ears on the ground or on furniture and will shake their heads violently. Unfortunately, these efforts will only cause them to suffer further anxiety and pain. The symptoms become worse as the mite load increases.
Symptoms of Ear Mite Infestation
Owners of dogs suffering from ear mites normally notice one or more of the following signs:
Irritation of the external ears (intense; usually both ears are affected)
Itchiness (pruritis) in and around the ears, head and neck (intense)
Scratching at the ears, head and neck (intense; constant; frantic)
Rubbing the ears on the ground/floor
Rubbing the ears with the paws
Head-shaking (violent; persistent)
Hair loss (alopecia) around the ears
Red ear flaps (outer and inner)
Ear flaps that are thickened, brown-to-black, crusted, scabbed, bleeding, oozing
Waxy exudate in the ear canals (thick, dry, crumbly, dark; resembling coffee grounds)
Unpleasant, smelly (malodorous) ear discharge (most common with secondary bacterial infection)
Itchiness (pruritis) on the neck, rump and tail (intense)
Scratching at the neck, rump and tail (intense)
If left untreated, the constant scratching caused by ear mite infestation can lead to weeping open sores that are prime sites for secondary bacterial infections. Self-mutilation increases the likelihood of infections or other damage to the middle ear, such as otitis media. Repetitive head-shaking can cause hematomas to develop at the ends of the ear flaps. Hematomas are localized, pouch-like accumulations or pockets of blood that can be difficult to treat. Continuously swollen, infected ears can also contribute to hearing loss. Ear mites should be suspected whenever both of a dog’s ears are affected.
Dogs at Increased Risk
Ear mites can occur in dogs of any age, breed, mixed breed or gender. However, they tend to be more common in puppies and young adult animals. Dogs kept in crowded, unsanitary conditions are more likely to “catch” ear mites from nearby dogs or from shared bedding.
Can a dog get sunburned?
A sunburn is an inflammatory condit...
A sunburn is an inflammatory condition on the skin caused by over-exposure to sunshine. Most dogs have some natural defence from the sun because of their fur coats, which block the solar rays and protect the skin from ultra-violet light. Some dogs have darker, heavily pigmented skin, which provides even more protection from the sun. Many dogs also have common sense to avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Sunburns and skin problems related to the sun aren’t particularly common in dogs but they do occur, especially on light skinned, hairless or uncovered areas. The top of the nose and the ears are especially susceptible to sun burn. Repeatedly getting sunburns can increase the risk of your dog developing malignant skin cancer.
Causes of Sunburn in Dogs
Sunburns and sun-related skin problems are more likely to occur rarely in dogs, but they do occur. However, for sun damage to happen to pets, a mixture of factors must come into play. For instance, if the skin is poorly pigmented or lacks pigmentation, your dog is at much higher risk. Furthermore, a thin coat or areas of the body that are bald are also more prone to sunburn. These sensitive areas should be regularly but in moderation be exposed to the sun in order to cause skin diseases.
You can take precautions to reduce the risks that the sun's rays pose to your dog. If practicality permits, apply sunscreen to those parts of your pet's skin that are not pigmented or have little or no hair. In many cases, this may be impractical since the pet will lick it off straight away. Try to keep your pet out of the direct sunlight during the warmest time of the day when the sun is strongest (10:00-16:00). Whenever possible, try to provide shade and do not trim your pet's hair coat, especially for the summer. Remember that their fur coat acts as insulation, keeping cold out during the winter and cooling the pet in the summer. Their fur acts as a natural barrier, protecting the skin from the suns harsh rays.
Dogs at Increased Risk
The sun's ultra violet radiation can cause multiple skin problems in dogs. Certain parts of the body, such as the ears and nose are susceptible to getting burnt. Dogs that have recently been groomed, have thinner and less protective hair, therefore more susceptible.
10 Questions to ask yourself before breeding
Buying a puppy from a breeder: If ...
Buying a puppy from a breeder:
If you choose to purchase a puppy from a breeder, the first thing you have to do is to make sure it is from a reputable breeder. Only consider buying from breeders who have been approved by KUSA (The Kennel Union of South Africa), even then, its best to make sure you know who you are buying from. Preferably visit the breeder’s premises yourself.
Take the following questions into consideration before you decide to breed with your pet:
1. Why are you thinking of breeding your dog? Do you know any of the medical shortfalls of the breed and are you looking to improve this?
2. Is my pet matured enough to fall pregnant? Breeding your dog before they have had enough time to mature can cause lifetime complications for both the mother and her puppies.
3. Just like with any human, administering any medication during pregnancy is very dangerous for the mother and the puppies, make triple sure that your pet is not on any chronic medication which could possibly harm the litter.
4. is your pet healthy enough to fall pregnant? Speak to your vet regarding this before your dog falls pregnant.
5. Can I afford to breed my pet? How long after the puppies are born will you be able to afford to feed and give them the necessary medical care? Keep in mind that your puppies will need to be dewormed and vaccinated before they go to their homes.
6. Is your home a healthy breeding environment? Just putting your dog in an enclosed kitchen or garage area is not the right thing to do.
7. Have you kept her vaccinations up to date? Make sure with your vet on this. This is imperative for the health of both the mother and her pups.
8. Does your pet have any behavioural problems or diseases that could possibly do harm to the litter while she is still pregnant?
9. Does this breed have any medical problems or a genetic condition which could possibly harm or be carried over to the litter? Make sure to do some research on this before you think of breeding your dog.
10. Will this be a breed that will definitely find a suitable forever home? Do you know how to choose the right family for your breed? Keep in mind that not everyone will treat the dog the way you would.
The heavy stuff
If you are not registered with the appropriate registration organisation and breeding your dog you will more than likely be a backyard breeder in other words a puppy mill. Make sure you read up on the laws for this as it could lead to hefty fines from the local SPCA group.
Breeding is normally considered an easy way to make money, it is not. There are many things that need to be done before and after the puppies are born.
When you consider buying a specific breed of dog, it’s often one that you know you want which has a certain temperament and size to fit in with your needs. If you have any concerns or queries speak to Arthur at Sezer Kennels, he has over 50 years of experience that could put your mind at ease.
Benefits of Spaying Your Dog
What Is Spaying? Spaying, also kno...
What Is Spaying?
Spaying, also known as an ovariohysterectomy, is a surgical procedure where both of a female ovaries, as well as the entire uterus, is removed through an opening made in the abdomen while under anaesthesia. Most vets recommend feeding your dog for a few hours prior to the surgery, a full tummy can trigger vomiting and push the stomach contents into the lungs, causing complications. This you will discuss with your vet prior to the surgery.
Why Spay A Dog?
It has many behavioural and health benefits for you and your dog. The main objective of a voluntary spay is to prevent your dog from having puppies. Spaying will eliminate the risk of pregnancy and also prevent cancer from developing in your dog and minimise the chances of having irregular or prolonged heat cycles, false pregnancies, uterine torsion, uterine prolapse, cysts, inflammation of the uterus and pyometra infection (the accumulation of a pus build up in the uterus). Spaying can also help manage some endocrine irregularities, including epilepsy and diabetes. It will eliminate the barking, whining and destructive behaviour caused by intact males living in or nearby a household. Females spayed prior to their first heat cycle are much less likely to develop mammary gland (breast) cancer. The chance of breast cancer increases with each successive cycle your dog has. Sometimes, females are spayed to repair unhealthy, damaged or deformed reproductive tissue. Females don’t need to have a heat cycle or puppies to be happy or as mature normal. Spaying isn’t a cure for all your dog’s behavioural problems, it won’t change your dog’s basic nature, such as their friendliness, shyness or nature to protect their family and property. Genetics, environment and how your dog is raised all influence their disposition and conduct of your dog nor will it make her lazy or fat. Obesity in domestic dogs is almost always caused by too much food and too little exercise.
When to Spay a Female Dog?
Normally, female dogs have been spayed after 6 months of age or before they have their first heat cycle. Spaying earlier than 12 weeks of age has been related to an increased risk of urinary infections and lifelong urinary incontinence.
Possible Complications of Spaying
Any surgery that involves the use of general anaesthesia carries certain risks, anaesthesia-related deaths in very rare cases.
Benefits of Neutering Your Dogs
What Is Neutering? Neutering, also...
What Is Neutering?
Neutering, also known as castration, is a surgical technique in which both the male dog’s testicles are removed. The surgery is not particularly complicated, most dogs are dropped off at the vet in the morning and released later that afternoon. Neutering requires the use of general anaesthesia for the dog’s safety and comfort. Most vets recommend feeding your dog for a few hours prior to the surgery, a full tummy can trigger vomiting and push the stomach contents into the lungs, causing complications.
Why Should You Neuter Your Dog?
Neutering has many behavioural and health benefits for you and your dog. The main goal of voluntary neutering is to prevent a dog from making puppies. Occasionally, dogs are neutered to remove damaged, diseased, and or malformed tissue or to help control epilepsy or endocrine abnormalities. Neutering reduces the risk of your dog developing age-related prostate enlargement (“benign prostatic hypertrophy”) and eradicates the risk of developing testicular cancer. It also reduces the chance of perianal adenomas, (benign tumours) that intact male dogs often develop around their anus. Neutered dogs tend to get along well with other dogs, they tend to be less territorial, less prone to roam and overall less aggressive. Neutering reduces unwanted urination habits, including the desire to mark territory, and reduces the undesirable “humping” behaviour. Neutering isn’t a cure for all your dog’s behavioural problems, it won’t change your dog’s basic nature, such as their friendliness, shyness or nature to protect their family and property. Genetics, environment and how your dog is raised all influence their disposition and conduct of your dog.
When Should You Neuter A Dog?
Male puppies can be neutered as early as 8 weeks of age. When a dog is neutered before puberty, his urges won’t develop as strongly as they would normally, this is generally viewed as a positive consequence of castration in animals. Dogs neutered after puberty may remain engrossed in females during their heat cycle, even though they won’t be able to get them pregnant.
Potential Complications of Neutering
Any surgery that involves the use of general anaesthesia carries certain risks, anaesthesia-related deaths in very rare cases. Sometimes, one or both of a dog’s testicles don’t develop normally (monarchism; anarchism) or don’t drop correctly from the stomach through the inguinal cavity into the scrotum (cryptorchidism). These irregularities are considered genetic and can increase the chance an intact male developing testicular cancer. Irregular testicles should be removed for your dog’s safety, but it can prove to be difficult for the vet to find them and might need a larger cut and more time under anaesthesia than a standard castration surgery.
Getting a Puppy
What to expect when getting a new p...
What to expect when getting a new puppy
Depending on the puppy’s attitude towards their environment, the puppy will either be into everything that they see or will be very scared and nervous. If your new puppy is all over, you will probably have to increase your supervision and make sure that you have puppy-proofed your household well to avoid damage. If your puppy is shy and timid, try to make the household quiet and let the puppy get to know their new home and family members, on their own terms. Make sure that you have had a family meeting to decide who will be the main caretaker of the puppy, this will help limit the fighting in the household. Make sure that you have the right supplies ready, this will include some of the following:
Food and water bowls
Food and treats, the treats can be used to do training
A collar or halter and leash
Bed, a designated place to sleep to avoid your dog sleeping on your bed
Chew toys and toys such as a tennis ball etc.
Baby gates if you are looking to block off certain parts of your house
Make sure you have also picked a vet, preferably one that is close by in case of an emergency
Puppies that have just parted from their mother and siblings will repeatedly bark and wine more than usual. You can expect this for the first 48 hours of bringing the new puppy home. The puppy will eventually calm down and the barking and wining will subside.
Puppy puddles and accidents will probably occur on multiple occasions. Easily excitable and nervous puppies are particularly susceptible to having mishaps. Prepare your household with sufficient of cleaning equipment, and where possible limit the puppy at first to an area without carpeting or flooring that will soak up the liquid.
A change in environment, and specifically a change in diet, can cause your puppy to experience symptoms such as diarrhoea or loose stool. If the puppy experiences diarrhoea, make sure that your puppy is getting enough water in their system and decrease the amount of food the puppy is eating. If the diarrhoea does not start to improve within the next 1 to two days, take your puppy to the vet and have your puppy checked for any intestinal parasites.
Your new dog and family will have to adjust to your new dog living in your home. Get your new puppy into routine with when their meals times are and when they will go on walks. It will be challenging but once you get into a routine it will be easier for everyone in your household.
AM Staff Characteristics
The American Staffordshire Terrier,...
The American Staffordshire Terrier, at one time was named the Bull-and-Terrier Dog, Half-and-Half, Pit Dog or Pit Bull Terrier and is now commonly known as the ”Am Staff,”. They are a well-balanced dog whose incredible strength is unusual for its moderate size. Am Staffs are sturdy, powerful yet agile and very muscular. The American Staffordshire Terriers have many extraordinary qualities as seen below. The name of the breed was reviewed in 1972 to the American Staffordshire terrier, to better distinguish it from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (from England). The Am Staff is often confused with Pit Bulls because the two breeds share an ancestral bloodline and were originally raised to fight. Since then the American Staffordshire line has become much gentler in the last century. In spite of their reputation as a very aggressive breed, the Amstaff is a real family dog.
Affection Level & Friendliness
High, AM Staffs love to get some love from their owners despite all the negative talk about the breed being very aggressive. The Am Staff is a loyal, fun-loving and fearless dog that loves to bring joy to their families.
Medium, Make sure that you give your pooch a brush every week or so to minimize shedding. Staffordshire Terriers are reasonable easy to groom if the dog is taught to be handled from a young age. Am Staffs can be quite sensitive and stubborn to having their feet touched, it is important to get them used to being handled as puppies. Their short coats shed slightly throughout the year, and heavily biannually as the seasons change. A weekly brush can keep the coat under control and shiny. Amstaff’s don't transmit much of a “dog odour” and bathing is only necessary a few times per year, unless your dog likes to play in the dirt.
Amstaff’s are prone to having bad breath, so regular teeth cleaning should be included in your dog’s grooming regimen.
AM staffs love to run and be playful, these dogs are best suited to a family with a medium to large backyard space. Loving and playful, this breed will happily play with the children in the garden.
See below for the AM Staff’s exercise needs.
Exercise Needs & Playfulness
Walks are very important for American Staffy, daily walks are recommended for this breed. AM Staff’s need daily exercise to sustain their muscle tone. They adore long walks and playing in the backyard. Due to their need for activity, they are best suited for a home with a fenced yard and plenty of space to run and play. On the other hand a bored American Staffordshire terrier is a very destructive American Staffordshire terrier. A copious amount of exercise and stimulation is vital to maintaining the integrity of your home's furnishings. The Amstaff loves to chew, so try and leave plenty of bones and rawhide around the house to protect shoes, couches, and other items from a bored Amstaff.
Medium, although it is recommended to watch your child with any dog. This breed should be treated as a family member, and never left tied up alone or outside. Serious social problems and hostility can develop if an Amstaff is neglected and left without the company of loving individuals.
If raised alongside other animals, a well-bred American Staffordshire terrier will do fine with other pets. If you are adopting an older dog, it's best the family not have other pets around. Even the gentlest Staffordshire can attack if confronted by another animal, this can also happen if they fear their owner is in any danger. Aggression towards other pets is the major issue that you will likely have with an Amstaff.
High, have a look at our training tips for the different training exercises to do with your staffy. Amstaffs are very strong-minded dogs, for that reason training requires a lot of confidence and patience with your pet. Socialization with other animals should also be done as early as possible. Amstaffs need to be trained to be friendly to people, that children are their friends, and non-threatening. Positive reinforcement must be used as the training method for an Amstaff, harsh discipline will lead to mistrust between you and your dog.
How is Kennel Cough treated?
We are not veterinarians and a...
We are not veterinarians and are not providing medical advice of any kind. Please consult your veterinarian for Kennel Cough treatments for your dog. Kennel cough if left untreated it could be fatal. Kennel Cough normally affects young puppies due to their developing immune systems and older doge due to their weak immune system. Pregnant dogs will also have lowered immune system as well as dogs with pre-existing respiratory problems.
Kennel Cough can be diagnosed by your vet using bacterial cultures and blood tests to quarantine the bacteria. X-rays of the dog’s chest area, lungs and trachea could also be taken. Once the Kennel Cough diagnosis has been made by your vet, the disease will usually run its course and the dog will frequently recover on his own. Recovery time can last between 3 and 6 weeks, this varies from dog to dog. Kennel Cough can be contracted regardless of the breed, age or size.
However, there are several homeopathic options for the treatment of Kennel Cough.
Your local vet can prescribe antibiotics to help your dog recover faster. However, because the disease is caused by both a bacteria and virus, the dog will require treatment from your vet. Dogs who are prone to develop pneumonia often will more than likely need to be hospitalized for a more aggressive treatment.
If one dog in your home gets Kennel Cough, the other dogs in your home are likely to develop the symptoms as well. Where possible, try to keep the dogs separate and deep clean all surfaces the dogs use, including all bedding and flooring. If you can’t separate your dogs, frequently cleaning will limit cross-contamination.
As we have covered, this illness is primarily characterized by a straining, hacking cough. If you have had a bad head or chest cold, you know just how frustrating and exhausting the constant coughing and sneezing can be. Dogs suffering from Kennel Cough will feel the same way. Your dog is uncomfortable, frustrated and desperately craving relief from the sickness. Fear not as Kennel Cough treatments, may provide some comfort for your fur baby.
This is not medical advice. Make sure you ask your vet what Kennel Cough medications are best suited for your dog’s symptoms as not all dogs will experience the same symptoms.
Although this contagion usually does not transfer to humans, there some cases where young children and adults with compromised immune systems may be at risk. In these cases, it is best to talk to your health care provider about your treatment options.
Have a look at our posts regarding the Kennel Cough Symptoms as well as the article named what is Kennel Cough?
Kennel Cough Symptoms
Although Kennel Cough is not f...
Although Kennel Cough is not fatal for your dog, it does cause symptoms that make an infected dog quite uncomfortable. Airborne transmission is the main way Kennel Cough is spread. The bacteria can survive on dander and dust particles for some time.
The most common symptoms of Kennel Cough include:
A dry, hacking cough. This is a classic symptom of Kennel Cough. The cough is generally dry (sometimes mucous can be expelled when coughing) and can be described as a “hooting” noise. The cough is constant, persistent, and can be worrying. Some dogs may experience a coughing fit every couple of minutes while others may cough constantly as they are lying down, walking, or just going about their daily activities. The cough is probably the most uncomfortable aspect for your dog (it can be seen and heard). Discharge. Nasal discharge and watery eyes are common symptoms of Kennel Cough. More often than not, the discharge will be clear but can be slightly cloudy or discoloured, discolouring is usually a sign of a secondary infection. Fever. If the dog develops a fever, he probably has contracted a more severe form of the disease. Some dogs with Kennel Cough appear to be perfectly normal and healthy, excluding the fact that they are coughing all the time. But a fever indicates that their body is trying hard to fight off an infection. Fatigue. Not all dogs with this illness appear to be lethargic. Some do, while others appear perfectly fine. If your dog is lethargic, they will have a decreased energy level, lack of interest in activities (that they are usually excited about), little to no motivation, low desire for food etc.
While these Kennel Cough symptoms may not sound like much to be concerned about – They are taking a huge toll on your dog’s body and mental well-being.
If you think that your dog may have contracted Kennel Cough, take them to your vet as soon as possible.
How long does Kennel Cough last?
Most dogs recover from Kennel Cough within 3 to 4 weeks. If your dog has a compromised immune system, is a puppy or a senior it may take up to 6 weeks to completely recover from Kennel Cough. However, even after your dog has recovered they may still be a carrier of Kennel Cough. Kennel Cough recovery time varies from dog to dog but can roughly take between 3 to 6 weeks to recover. How can Kennel Cough be prevented?
Kennel Cough can be a costly experience due to the amount of time, number of trips to your vet, medication and research taken to make your dog better again.
More About American Staffordshire Terriers
Also commonly known as an amstaff, ...
Also commonly known as an amstaff, AM staff, staffie or staffy. They are an American medium sized dog with a short coat. This breed is known for being very affectionate and reliable with their masters. They have a high pain tolerance and unusual patience which makes them brilliant with children. The Amstaff is an excellent companion, family pet and watch dog. The Amstaff is very competitive in the obedience ring and show ring. Their average life span is between 12 to 16 years.
Standard Amstaff features include:
A medium length muzzle that is rounded.
Their eyes are wideset, round and dark.
Very muscular and stocky build with broad shoulders and a powerful head.
Amstaff stands on average about 46cm tall and weigh between 28-40kg.
The American Staffordshire Terrier History
The American Staffordshire Terrier can be traced back to England and is a mix between a White English Terrier and an Old English Bulldog. The goal was to produce a dog with the strength and strong will of the bulldog while having the swiftness and nimbleness of the terrier. Much like the English Bulldog the Amstaff was bred and trained to bait tethered bulls and bears. The first Staffy was brought to America in the 1850s and has since evolved into two different breeds namely the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. They are very people orientated and enjoy being part of a family. The Amstaff is relatively easy to train but doesn’t to do well with other feline or canine counterparts.
More About English Bulldogs
English bulldogs are gregarious by ...
English bulldogs are gregarious by nature and great companions. They are often called British Bulldogs with most dogs having a thick neck, short face and heavy wrinkles. These social creatures are very laid back and love a moderate amount of attention to keep them going. With low grooming needs and short legs they are perfect for a slow paced life. The English Bulldog has a naturally sweet and gentle disposition which makes them great family pets.
Standard English Bulldog features include:
A large, flat head with a short muzzle and upturned nose.
Dark low set eyes and a protruding lower jaw creates the comical grin that they are well known for.
With a short and muscular frame they make for great guard dogs.
English Bulldogs stands on average about 40cm tall. Female’s weight ranges to about 23kg and a males weigh in at about 25kg.
The English Bulldog History
The English Bulldog gets its name from their origins in the British Isles. They are descendants from the Mastiffs that originated in Asia and later bred in Germany to create the Boxer as we now know today. Much like the Pitbull the English Bulldog was bred to help butchers control their livestock levels then later used in bull fighting. Their signature under bite provided them with a better grasp on the bulls face or under belly. Although they had a very rough start they make for a great companion whether you live on a small holding or a flat. English Bulldogs were born and bred workers. They are very persistent, brave and have a high pain threshold.
What Is Kennel Cough?
What Is Kennel Cough? Kennel Cough...
What Is Kennel Cough?
Kennel Cough or Canine Cough is an upper respiratory infection caused by a bacteria and a virus. Otherwise also known as Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC) and Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis due to the fact it affects the dog’s lungs, windpipe and voice box. Not only is Kennel Cough is highly contagious and extremely uncomfortable for your companion, it usually is only life-threatening in puppies, elderly dogs and immune compromised dogs.
What Causes Kennel Cough?
Kennel Cough is caused by numerous infectious agents, many of which infect the dog consecutively.
The most common is called Bordetella Bronchiseptica. If the infection is caused by this bacterium the symptoms generally last for only 10 days. However, the dog will continue to shed the disease for another 6-14 weeks.
In most cases, Kennel Cough is caused by a combination of both the Bordetalla bacterium and two other highly infectious viruses namely Canine Distemper or Canine Influenza. The viruses weaken the dog’s immune system to make them more susceptible to Bordetella while simultaneously attacking the cells in the respiratory tract. Thus puts the dog’s trachea (windpipe) and larynx (voice box) in danger.
It is important to note that some dogs are carriers of this disease but show no symptoms. However, every time they come in contact with other dogs they are exposing them to Kennel Cough, leaving them with a high risk of infection.
How Is Kennel Cough Transmitted?
Kennel Cough is an airborne disease, primarily spread through the air. When an infected dog coughs, sneezes or barks even just once, they release thousands of microscopic contaminates into the air. The airborne bacteria and viruses can remain alive and able to infect in the air for up to 2 weeks on tiny dust particles. Once inhaled, these agents begin to wreak destruction within the upper respiratory tract.
Direct contact between two dogs can easily spread Canine Cough. Be careful who your dog interacts with and where they hang out! Things such as touching noses, sniffing butts or breathing in the same air as an infected dog can cause your best friend to develop the illness. If a dog is thought to have this illness, they must be quarantined immediately.
For more information contact your local vet
Why You Should Vaccinate Your Dogs
Vaccines used for the protection of...
Vaccines used for the protection of pets are currently divided into essential vaccines and non-essential vaccines. Essential vaccines are those that should be given to all pets in all regions because they protect against diseases that are widespread and have serious effects. Non-essential vaccines are only given strategically when a particular disease is prevalent in an area or when circumstances predispose to the appearance of the disease. Non-essential vaccines should be discussed with your vet prior to getting them done for your pet’s safety. It is highly recommended that you vaccinate your animals to prevent them from getting sick and costing you a fortune. Vaccines prevent against disease by allowing the immune system to generate defences against illnesses. An inoculation has disease antigens that slightly stimulate the immune system without infecting your dog. The immune system then produces antibodies to combat off any real disease if your dog is ever exposed to it later in their life. If you are unsure of any treatment or vaccines contact your local veterinarian for more information. Below is a guideline for dog vaccinations that should be followed.
Essential vaccines for dogs