How to Socialize a Dog

 

Veterinarians can tell if a dog has been socialized the moment they walk into an exam room. Some come in excited while others hide behind their owner and don’t want to come out. Socialization helps make the difference. Here are 3 ways to socialize your dog.

Start at a few weeks of age

Puppies need to be socialized before they are 16 weeks old. Owners tend to isolate their puppies at that time and expect that at a year, they’ll get them used to cars and different environments.

The ideal time for this kind of puppy training is between 3 and 12 weeks of age. The window of opportunity to socialize your dog usually closes around 18 weeks. Even if you adopt an adult dog, they can get used to individuals they see on a regular basis.

Set goals

Think about who and what a puppy will be around when it gets older and make a long list the things your pet needs to be socialized to.

That means children, adults, men, women, crying babies, people of different nationalities, crowds, people wearing hats, and people not wearing hats. The wider the variety of people you can expose your puppy to, the better.

Include different environments

Have your puppy walk on grass, concrete, through buildings like pet stores, on busy streets, quiet streets, areas with other animals — and near cars, trucks, buses, and trains.

You can even take your dog for rides in the car through different areas of town, through fast-food drive-thrus, and through car washes. This is also the time to get your dog used to be handled during grooming.

 

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Why Do Dogs Smell Butts?

 Why Do Dogs Smell Other Dogs' Butts? The Real Answer!

Why Dogs Smell Other Dog Butts

You know the scene: you’re out with your dog when you come across another friendly canine. There’s the initial sniff, and a circle around. Now, another moment and another sniff, right on the rear end. Then it’s time for another loop around and yet another butt sniff. Why do dogs do this?

As a pet owner, the natural thing is to want to pull your dog away from the other dog when they are performing this ritual. After all, it is a little embarrassing when your dog starts smelling the butt of a friend or neighbor’s dog while you are having a conversation.

It seems pretty weird, especially considering how humans communicate, but it’s actually an important part of canine behavior. Here’s why.

Butt sniffing is a very natural, instinctual, and basic form of dog-to-dog communication. Strangely enough, it is how dogs greet and get to know each other. Even dogs that know each other will sniff butts to “see what’s new” and reinforce their bond and communication.

The dog butt sniff is the canine equivalent of “hello, how do you do?” and similar to how humans use a handshake when meeting and being introduced to someone. Dogs communicate with each other using their strong sense of smell and detect signals in the chemicals in smelly oil from the anal glands.

What a Dog Sniff Can Reveal About Another Dog

To understand what a sniff can tell a dog, it is important to understand how dogs are different. There are four main differences in the ways that dogs communicate in comparison with human communication.

  1. The first difference between dogs and humans is a dog’s amazing sense of smell. They are reported to have approximately 40 times more smell-sensing cells in their nasal passages than we do (and some reports suggest an ability as much as 1,000 to 100,000 times greater than that of humans). With such a super ability to smell, dogs rely on this sensory information far more than humans. Some experts believe it consumes over 30% of a dog’s brain function as opposed to about 5% in humans. It’s so strong that a dog entering a room can perceive if another dog previously in the room was happy, stressed, scared, or in heat. Although it is difficult for humans to completely understand exactly how this works, the “sniff” can somehow also tell the dogs if the encounter is likely to be friendly or not friendly.
  2. Dogs have prominent and active anal glands. These apocrine glands, which sit on each side of a dog’s rectum, produce strong-smelling secretions intended to send chemical signals about that dog’s identity to other animals. These signals include information like the sex of the dog, what the dog is eating, and even some clues about a dog’s emotional state.
  3. The third difference of note is the presence of the Jacobson’s organ (also known as the vomeronasal organ). This is a small piece of olfactory nerve tissue filled with extrasensory receptors that perceives odors transmitted through the air. Also present in many animals including cats, snakes, and even elephants, it transmits information to the brain from its position just inside the nose and mouth. You might notice a dog is activating their Jacobson’s organ when they make a funny face called the “Flehman response.” Dogs will often tilt their nose up and curl their lip to optimize their ability to “smell” in this way.
  4. The last big difference is that unlike humans, dogs will reintroduce themselves frequently, sometimes several times in a day or even an hour. Any change or stimulus will often lead to the butt sniff. Some believe the “sniff” can actually relieve tension and stress by helping an individual feel more comfortable about the other dog. Two dogs living in the same house may smell each other when one comes in from the outside or comes back from the vet to confirm information about the dog’s state including diet, stress, availability for mating, and mood.

What You Should Do During Dog to Dog Butt Sniffing

Behaviorists suggest that because the butt sniffing routine is a normal part of dog behavior, it’s best not to interrupt it if the dogs seem friendly. Interrupting this behavior is equivalent to you stopping a friend from shaking hands with someone they are meeting: it can annoy or upset the friend and can make the introduction awkward. In fact, lack of this butt sniffing communication between dogs can create stress between the dogs.

With that being said, some dogs are more aggressive “sniffers” than other dogs and not every dog that meets will actually like each other. If the sniffing gets intense and you notice any other signs of aggression, then it is appropriate to pull your dog away from the other.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Why Dogs Wag Their Tails?

Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tails?

An old joke about wagging tails goes like this: A young boy is afraid to pet a dog. An adult says, “He’s friendly – look, he’s even wagging his tail.” The boy responds, “Yeah, but he’s barking and growling – I don’t know which end to believe!”

This poor excuse for a joke contains a lot of truth, because a wagging tail does not necessarily mean a dog is friendly. So, if a wagging tail does not always indicate friendliness, what does it mean?

A dog’s tail position and motion is incorporated as a component of a complex system of body language that domestic dogs use, along with “verbal” cues such as barking, growling or whining, in order to communicate. A wagging tail indicates excitement or agitation. But whether the dog means it as an invitation to play, or to warn another dog or person to stay back, depends on other body language.

A slowly wagging tail that curves down and back up into a “U” usually indicates a relaxed, playful dog. If his ears are erect and pointing forward, and he is in the classic “play bow” position, he’s inviting you to play.

A tail that is held higher, whether wagging or not, indicates dominance and/or increased interest in something. If the end of the tail arches over the back, and is twitching, you may be faced with an aggressive dog.

Tail position and movement is simply used as a social indicator for other living things. Dogs generally don’t wag their tails when they are alone. For example, if you pour your dog a bowl of food, he may wag his tail excitedly at the prospect of eating. But if he finds the bowl already filled – without anyone being around – he will usually not wag his tail. He may still be happy to eat, but there’s no one around with whom to communicate his happiness.

 

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

5 Natural Remedies to Help Your Dog Itchy Skin

 Natural Remedies for Itchy Dogs

Natural Remedies for Itchy Dogs

We all know the feeling of an itch that won’t go away. Whether it’s due to a bug bite, dry skin, or an allergic reaction, itching can be a real pain. But what happens when your dog won’t stop scratching, licking, or chewing on himself?

“Dogs manifest itching in a variety of ways,” says Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, a board certified veterinary dermatologist and the medical director of Animal Dermatology & Allergy Specialists in White Plains, New York, and Riverdale, New Jersey. “A lot of times, we’ll just see dogs licking at their paws as their way of relieving itch.” Other not-so-common signs may include scooting, rolling around on the ground, and crawling on their bellies, he says.

Allergies are a common cause of itchy skin in dogs, according to Rosenberg. He cites three major allergy categories: environmental (grass, weed, trees, dust, etc.); flea, tick, or bug bites; and food allergies.

Dogs having allergic reactions tend to be itchy around their paws, ears, groin area, and rear ends, he says. With other skin diseases like flea allergies, dogs scratch and bite more on their rump area. Dogs experiencing an autoimmune skin disease or skin infection can be itchy anywhere.

Occasional or mild itching by itself isn’t too serious, but it could be a sign of a more serious condition when accompanied by other symptoms, Rosenberg says. He recommends that pet parents consult their veterinarian or seek the help of a veterinary dermatologist “if there’s itching that’s chronic and the dog is breaking its skin and that results in skin infection. Or if the dog is just uncomfortable, itching to the point where they can’t sleep at night.”

To give your itchy dog some relief, consider these five natural remedies offered by our vet experts. It’s wise to consult a veterinarian before starting on any therapy, Rosenberg advises. “We want to make sure we’re recommending things that are going to help with the individual dog.” If the treatment doesn’t appear to be effective or if the condition worsens, seek professional help.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

“Omega-3 fatty acids in general can help reduce inflammation,” Rosenberg says. You can administer omega-3s topically like you would a spot-on flea medication, give them orally, or spray the essential fatty acids on the spot directly. In addition to reducing itchiness, omega-3s also might help a dog with dry skin.

Fish and Sweet Potato Diet

Fish and Sweet Potato Diet

Feeding a fish and sweet potato diet might help your itchy dog, suggests Dr. Diane Richter, owner of Compassion Veterinary Hospital in Bradford, New Hampshire, who practices both Western and alternative medicines.

Richter recommends fish because most dogs with food allergies are allergic to proteins commonly found in dog foods, such as chicken, beef, or turkey. Another perk of feeding your dog fish is that certain types are high in omega-3 fatty acids. “You’re picking a protein source that’s going to get more fatty acids and oils into the diet,” Richter says. This can decrease inflammation in the skin and help with potential food allergies, she adds.

She also frequently sees dogs with wheat and gluten sensitivities. Sweet potatoes provide the carbohydrates that dogs need in their diets, but lack the wheat that might trigger an allergic reaction, Richter says.

Richter suggests trying the diet for six weeks and only feeding that diet. For variety, you can make treats using salmon or sweet potatoes, she says. Richter also recommends buying a commercial dog food with fish and sweet potatoes (as opposed to making it yourself) since it’s tough to get all the nutrients your dog needs into a home-cooked diet.

Colloidal Oatmeal

Colloidal Oatmeal

To help calm your dog’s irritation, you can grind plain oatmeal into a fine paste and spread it onto his skin, Richter suggests. “The oatmeal itself seems to draw that heat out and dry that moist, red, hot skin and cool it down.”

Oatmeal is non-toxic, so there is no need to worry if your pet licks it off. Alternately, you can purchase dog shampoo with oatmeal as an ingredient, Richter says. Bathing your pet with an oatmeal shampoo has the added benefit of removing potential allergic triggers, like pollen and mold spores, that get trapped in the fur.

Lavender, Tea Tree, and Calendula Flower Oils

Lavender, Tea Tree, and Calendula Flower Oils

Lavender, tea tree, and calendula flower oils have anti-inflammatory properties that can help dogs, Richter says.

She cautions that tea tree oil can be toxic if ingested, so it’s important to watch your dog to make sure he doesn’t lick it off and always dilute it before use. Concentrated tea tree oil can be quite dangerous for dogs. If you’ve never used essential oils on your dog before, consider doing a patch test with a small, diluted drop to ensure he doesn’t have a bad reaction.   By Teresa Traverse

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

How Often Should You Bathe A Dog?

 

If your dog had the wherewithal to make out a list of his least favorite things to do, getting a bath would probably be close to the top. Since dog baths tend to be messy, time-consuming and not a whole lot of fun for everyone involved, it’s natural to wonder, “How often should I bathe my dog?”

As is often the case, the answer is “It depends.”

“Dogs groom themselves to help facilitate the growth of hair follicles and to support skin health,” says Dr. Adam Denish of Rhawnhurst Animal Hospital in Elkins Park, Penn. “However, bathing is needed for most dogs to supplement the process. But bathing too often can be detrimental to your pet as well. It can irritate the skin, damage hair follicles, and increase the risk of bacterial or fungal infections.”

Dr. Jennifer Coates, veterinary advisor with petMD, adds, “the best bath frequency depends on the reason behind the bath. Healthy dogs who spend most of their time inside may only need to be bathed a few times a year to control natural ‘doggy odors.’ On the other hand, frequent bathing is a critical part of managing some medical conditions, like allergic skin disease.”

Whether your dog willingly hops in the tub for a scrubbing, or fights you tooth and nail every bath day – here are a few things to know that can make bath time easier.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?

How often you should wash your dog depends on a number of factors, including his health, breed, coat, and activity level, as well as where these activities are taking place. Dogs who spend the day outside rolling around in things they shouldn’t are going to need a bath far more often than ones who spend most of their time on the couch. Or, as Mari Rozanski, of Plush Pups Boutique in Huntingdon Valley, Penn., puts it, just use your nose.

“If your dog comes into the room and you can smell him, he needs a bath,” says Rozanski. If your dog is covered in dirt or dried mud, a thorough brushing (outside if possible!) followed by a bath is usually your best option.

“I always bathe the body first and head last, as dogs tend to shake once their head is wet” says Rozanski. “Just because a shampoo says tearless or tear-free, do not put it directly in the eyes, rather wash around the eyes and rinse right away.”

Coates adds that if baths are part of a dog’s medical treatment plan, “your veterinarian should give you guidance on how often to bathe and what product to use.”

When to Call the Professionals

Rozanski has bathed barkers of all stripes, from Chihuahuas to Great Danes. She’s seen pet bathing fads come and go and says that keeping your dog clean is more than simply lather, rinse and repeat.

“Bathing dogs is not as simple as it seems. There are so many different types of dogs and coats which each need to be addressed separately, because of varying textures and lengths. In a salon, the groomer can address these distinctions, but at home, a pet owner may not realize the difference.”

For example, she says, a Shetland Sheepdog is a double-coated dog with thick, shedding hair. This breed requires a good soaking and moisturizing with lots of water and a lot of brushing and combing before, during, and after the bath, then a dog-specific conditioner, rinse and high velocity blow dry.

If you simply don’t have the time, space or desire to wash your dog at home, there is no shame in calling in an expert.

Finding the Right Bathing Products

Some differences between human and canine skin are obvious, but one that isn’t, skin pH, is arguably the most important when it comes to picking out the right bathing product.

“Human skin is very acidic, coming in at a pH of under 5 in most cases,” says Coates. “But dog skin is much closer to a pH of 7, meaning that it is essentially neutral – not strongly acidic or strongly alkaline.”

Therefore, some products that are specifically designed for human skin could be quite irritating to canine skin. For routine baths, Coates recommends using a mild, moisturizing dog shampoo. “Oatmeal-based shampoos are a good choice for many healthy dogs,” she says.

According to Denish, dogs can have negative reactions to shampoos and other products, even if they’re specifically made for dogs. “I have seen many pets that have had reactions to topical shampoos, rinses and conditioners. Reactions typically are either skin-mediated or from actual ingestion of the shampoo.”

Clinical signs of a skin reaction can include red, itchy skin and hives. Ingestion of pet shampoo can cause symptoms like vomiting, drooling and decreased appetite, Denish says. If you notice these symptoms, he recommends re-washing your dog with warm water only and reaching out to your veterinarian for next steps.

If you’re unsure of which type of shampoo to buy, talk to your veterinarian, who knows your pets and their medical history and is in the best position to provide individualized recommendations. This is especially true if your dog suffers from a skin condition.

“I separate shampoos into two types-basic grooming and medicated shampoos. As a veterinarian, I believe that real medicated shampoos should be recommended and dispensed by your pet’s doctor,” Denish says.

Learn more about the most common bath-time mistakes pet owners make.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Common Puppy Illness

 6 Common Illnesses to Watch for in Puppies

Your puppy is brand new and you want to protect him. The best thing you can do is to feed him a healthy, balanced diet, says Dr. Jim Dobies, a veterinarian with South Point Pet Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., and a member of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association.

“If you do, you’re giving your puppy’s immune system the best chance to fight off infection, he says. “He is in better shape to fight off illness and recover.”

But you can’t protect your baby pooch from everything. Here are six common illnesses he could catch in his first year of life.

1. Parvovirus (Parvo)

This highly contagious canine illness attacks puppies aged between 12 weeks and up to 3 years. Transmitted through bodily secretions and unvaccinated dogs, canine parvovirus is easily passed on, though most dogs are vaccinated against it starting at six to eight weeks, then again every three weeks until they are four months old (or until your veterinarian recommends).

Symptoms: A CPV infection (parvo) in dogs starts with a fever, and at this point puppies are probably very contagious (to other dogs, not humans). “After a few days, they will experience vomiting and bloody diarrhea and become dehydrated and weak,” says Dr. Dobies.

Treatment: Vaccinate against parvovirus! If you haven’t, hospitalization is the best route, where your puppy will be given IV fluids and sometimes antibiotics to prevent sepsis, which can be fatal.

Recovery time: Three to seven days. Puppies with parvo are usually hospitalized for three to four days then go home with medications.

2. Distemper

The vaccination against canine distemper virus is quite effective. The first vaccination takes place at six to eight weeks, and again after 9 weeks, “and when puppies have had one or two vaccines they are immune,” says Dr. Dobies. Consult your veterinarian for the best course of action for your dog concerning the distemper vaccine.

Symptoms: “This can really be an ugly disease,” he says. It shows in two ways: Initially distemper in dogs typically appears as an upper respiratory disease with sneezing and eye discharge. Then it can develop into pneumonia or can lead to neurological problems such as a fatal encephalopathy (brain damage).

Distemper in dogs is frequently misdiagnosed because owners think their puppy has a cold “so by the time we see them they have tons of discharge from their nose and eyes and have high fever. They are also depressed,” Dr. Dobies says.

Treatment: Seek medical attention for distemper in dogs. This usually involves inpatient supportive care.

Recovery time: It can take weeks to recover from canine distemper and pets usually go home from the hospital with respiratory medications.

The bad news about canine distemper is if your puppy survives it, the disease can lie dormant and break out again when she’s older. At that point she has an even worse

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Poisonous Plants for Dogs at Home

 20 Common House Plants: Are They Dangerous to Your Dog?

Toxicity of 20 Common House Plants to Dogs

House plants are popular additions to many rooms. Usually, plants and dogs live together harmoniously, although some curious pets often venture to take a little taste. Listed below are 20 of the most popular houseplants and their levels of toxicity.

 

  • Philodendron. Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may also occur.
  • Boston Fern. Non-toxic
  • African Violet. Non-toxic
  • Ficus. Mildly toxic. Contact with the plant can result in skin irritation. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Mother-in-Laws Tongue (Snake Plant). Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Schefflera. Mildly toxic. Chewing on or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may also occur.
  • Croton. Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Jade. Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting, depression and staggering.
  • Aloe Vera. Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite or muscle tremors.
  • Dieffenbachia. Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may also occur.
  • Poinsettia. Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may also occur. Generally over-rated as a toxic plant. Large amounts of the plant need to be ingested for even mild toxic signs to develop.
  • Pothos. Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may also occur.
  • Corn Plant (Draceana). Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting, drooling and staggering.
  • Spider Plant. Non-toxic. Do not confuse spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) with the toxic spider lily (Crinum species or Hymenocallis species).
  • Ivy. Moderately toxic. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, breathing difficulty, fever or muscle weakness.
  • Norfolk Pine. Moderately toxic. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting, depression, pale gums and low body temperature.
  • Palm (Neanthebella). Non-toxic.
  • Chinese Evergreen (Algaonema). Mildly toxic. Chewing on or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may occur.
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum). Mildly toxic. Chewing on or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may also occur.
  • Antherium. Mildly toxic. Chewing on or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may also occur.

 

 

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Your Guide to What is Poisonous to Dogs

Common Items Poisonous to Dogs

There are hundreds of items your dog can get access to. Some things are highly toxic and others are non-toxic. This article is a guide to help you determine if a particular item is a problem and link you on to more in-depth information. Be sure to look at the related articles, which can be found on the right-hand side of the page.

If you think your dog may have been exposed to a toxin, the best thing to do is to check the label of the item you think your pet ingested. Read the information about toxicity. Often, but not always, the information on packaging regarding children is relevant to dogs and some manufacturers even discuss dog toxicity. If there is an 800 number on the package – call them! It’s also recommended that you call your veterinarian to confirm the recommendations. If you go to your veterinarian, take all packaging and any information you have on the product.

General Information. For most poisonings, there is not much you can do at home. Consult your veterinarian or veterinary emergency facility if you suspect your pet has been poisoned. For some ingested poisons, your veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting before bringing the pet in for examination and treatment. Inducing vomiting of a toxic substance should never be done unless specifically directed by a veterinarian. For topical exposures, bathing in lukewarm water with a mild dish soap can reduce further toxin absorption before the pet is examined and treated by a veterinarian.

List of Common Dog Toxins

Non-toxic Items Commonly Eaten by Dogs. Chewing on things is a normal part of puppyhood so before you rush your pooch to the veterinarian, here is a list of some commonly eaten and, thankfully, non-toxic items. If your pup chews any of these, don’t worry about toxicity. The only real concern is the potential for obstruction if the object or container becomes lodged in the stomach or intestines. Also, you can expect some vomiting and maybe even a little diarrhea from eating a non-food item.

Amitraz. Amitraz is an insecticide used in some brands of dog tick collars and topical solutions. Toxicity most often affects curious puppies who ingest the poison but can occur from wearing the tick collar or receiving demodectic mange treatment. Typical symptoms begin within about 2 to 6 hours of ingestion and often begin with the pet becoming weak and lethargic. Vomiting, diarrhea and disorientation are also common. Without treatment, coma may result. In severe untreated cases, toxicity may result in death. Call and see your veterinarian for treatment.

Amphetamines. Amphetamines are human medications that are commonly used as appetite suppressants and mood elevators or for the treatment of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders. Amphetamines must be prescribed by a physician, but because they are popular as appetite suppressants and mood elevators, they are often purchased illegally. Amphetamines are nervous system stimulants that also affect the brain. After ingestion, toxic signs are usually seen within one to two hours. Common signs include restlessness, hyperactivity, agitation, tremors and seizures. Prompt veterinary treatment for amphetamine toxicity is crucial and will give your pet a better chance of full recovery. If left untreated, amphetamine toxicity can be fatal.

Ant Traps. If an ant trap is ingested, the only real concern is the potential for obstruction if the object or container becomes lodged in the stomach or intestines. Most ant and roach traps are made from either sticky paper or chlorpyrifos, which has a low level of toxicity in mammals but is highly toxic to insects. Also, you can expect some vomiting and maybe even a little diarrhea from eating a non-food item.

Antifreeze. Ethylene glycol toxicosis is a type of poisoning that occurs after ingestion of antifreeze or other fluids containing the ingredient ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol itself is not toxic, but it is metabolized in the animal’s body to several extremely toxic chemicals that are responsible for its potentially lethal effects. Ethylene glycol poisoning results in nervous system abnormalities and severe kidney failure with almost complete cessation of urine output. Ethylene glycol poisoning can be fatal if not treated soon after ingestion (within 4 to 8 hours). The minimum lethal dose for dogs averages five milliliters per kilogram of body weight. Thus, a little more than three tablespoons (or 45 milliliters) could be lethal for a 22 pound (10 kg) dog. Definitive treatment should be started as soon as possible after consumption of ethylene glycol (within a few hours). If treated promptly and appropriately, pets that have consumed ethylene glycol will not develop kidney failure and have a good chance of survival. Signs to watch for include: nausea, vomiting, increased thirst, lethargy and incoordination progressing to coma. Pets may act as if they are intoxicated. These signs develop within 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion of ethylene glycol depending on the amount ingested.

Aspirin. Aspirin toxicity (salicylate toxicity) is poisoning that occurs following the ingestion of aspirin or aspirin-containing products. Cats and young animals are more susceptible to the effects of aspirin than are dogs because they are unable to metabolize the drug as quickly. Aspirin interferes with platelets, which are responsible for helping the blood to clot. Disruption of platelet function increases the amount of time it takes the blood to clot after being cut. Spontaneous bleeding may also occur causing pinpoint bruises to appear in the skin and on the gums (petechiae). Aspirin toxicity may cause gastrointestinal problems, respiratory difficulties, neurological problems, bleeding disorders and kidney failure. Gastrointestinal problems are common in dogs whereas central nervous system depression is most common in cats.

Arsenic. Although a common poison in the days of Agatha Christie, arsenic is somewhat difficult to obtain and animal poisonings are rare. Usually, poisoning is due to the ingestion of very old insect traps. Since 1989, the use of arsenic in insect traps has greatly diminished but there are still some out there. The lethal dose is 1 to 25 mg per kilogram of weight, and signs of poisoning include severe vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. If caught early, most pets are treated and recover. If treatment is delayed and the signs of illness are severe, pets usually do not survive. If your pet has ingested an insect trap, make sure to check the label to see if arsenic is present and call your veterinarian.

Bathroom Cleaners, Bleach, Lysol and Other Corrosives. Household cleaners can cause very serious “chemical burns.” Most often these chemicals are ingested or licked by dogs causing a caustic or corrosive burn usually affecting the tongue and upper esophagus. If chemical ingestion is witnessed, immediately flush the mouth with large amounts of water. This can help reduce the amount of chemical in the mouth and may reduce the damage. Chemical oral burns may not show up immediately. Call your veterinarian for additional treatment recommendations. Common signs include: lack of appetite, drooling, pawing at the mouth and excessive swallowing.

Carbon Monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas, that when absorbed into the bloodstream, forms a compound that causes hypoxia (reduced oxygen supply) of the heart and brain. Dogs can be exposed by automotive exhaust in a closed garage, faulty exhaust system, non-vented furnace, gas water heater, gas/kerosene space heater and/or smoke inhalation from a fire. Some pets are predisposed to toxicity due to preexisting heart or lung disease. Symptoms of toxicity include drowsiness, lethargy, weakness, incoordination, bright red color to the skin and gums, difficulty breathing, coma and/or abrupt death. Occasionally, chronic (low-grade, long-term) exposure may cause exercise intolerance, changes in gait (walking) and disturbances of normal reflexes. Be aware that if the source of poisoning still exists, both you and your dog are at risk. Prevent toxicity by minimizing exposure and using carbon monoxide detectors around your home.

Carbamate Insecticides. Carbamates are a type of insecticides used to treat insects on our crops and soils, prevent and treat flea infestations and are used in ant and roach baits. The majority of toxicities in dogs related to this chemical are due to improper use of the chemical, especially when many different types of insecticides are used at the same time. The dog formula should never be used on cats. Carbamates affect the nerve-muscle junctions. Without a normal nerve impulse through the muscle, the function of the muscle is impaired. Since muscle tissue is present in the intestinal tract as well as the heart and skeleton, various signs may be seen if a pet is exposed to toxic levels of this insecticide. Symptoms include: vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, difficulty breathing, muscles tremors, twitching, weakness and paralysis. Prompt veterinary care is required to survive a toxic exposure.

Chocolate. Chocolate, in addition to having a high fat content, contains caffeine and theobromine. These two compounds are nervous system stimulants and can be toxic to your dog in high amounts. The levels of caffeine and theobromine vary between different types of chocolate. For example, white chocolate has the lowest concentration of stimulants and baking chocolate or cacao beans have the highest concentration. Depending on the type of chocolate ingested and the amount eaten, various problems can occur. The high fat content in chocolate may result in vomiting and possibly diarrhea. Once toxic levels are eaten, the stimulant effect becomes apparent. You may notice restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination and possibly excessive panting. Heart rate and blood pressure levels may also be increased. Seizure activity may occur in severe cases.

Cocaine. Cocaine is rapidly absorbed from the stomach, nasal passages and lungs. Following exposure the cocaine usually leaves the system within four to six hours. The lethal dose of cocaine in dogs is 25 mg per pound of body weight. Dogs exposed to cocaine show signs of intermittent hyperactivity followed by profound lethargy. Some may develop seizures. Treatment is aimed at supporting the body systems. Inducing vomiting is not helpful since cocaine is so rapidly absorbed. Hospitalization with intravenous fluids and sedatives are typical treatments. Depending on the severity of illness, amount ingested and time lapsed before treatment, some pets exposed to cocaine do not survive.

Detergents and Soaps. Most soaps and detergents are generally non-toxic. You can expect some vomiting and maybe even a little diarrhea from eating a non-food item. Read the container for additional information. If ingestion is witnessed, you may flush the mouth with large amounts of water.

Ecstasy. Ecstasy, also known by various street names such as XTC, Adam and MDA, is chemically related to other amphetamines, which stimulate the central nervous system. After ingestion by dogs, signs of toxicity generally develop within one to two hours and last longer in pets than in humans due to the animal’s inability to metabolize the drug. Symptoms include hyperactivity, restlessness, drooling, tremors, staggering, seizures, and if no treatment is given, coma and death ensue.

Estrogen Toxicity. Estrogen toxicity is a condition in which a group of estrogen compounds (female hormones), either produced in excess within the body or administered from the outside, become poisonous to the body of dogs. Estrogen toxicity is seen most commonly in reproductive-age females and older. Symptoms can include: lethargy, pale gums, bleeding, fever, thin hair coat and feminization (female sex characteristics) in males.

Ethanol. Ethanol is an alcohol that is used commonly as a solvent (liquid that dissolves) in medications and is the major ingredient of alcoholic beverages. Common causes of toxicity in dogs include direct access to alcoholic beverages or spilled medication, ingestion of fermented products (bread), intentional or malicious administration by human beings and/or dermal (skin) exposure to these products. Toxicity can cause a wide variety of signs and may lead to death. Signs can include: odor of alcohol on the animal’s breath or stomach contents, incoordination, staggering, behavioral change, excitement or depression, excessive urination and/or urinary incontinence, slow respiratory rate, cardiac arrest and death. If you suspect your pet has ingested a form of ethanol, please call your veterinarian for additional instructions.

Fuel. Gasoline is not a commonly ingested toxin, most likely due to its odor. If ingested, unleaded gasoline irritates the gastrointestinal tract and may cause vomiting. Some dogs may inhale stomach contents as they vomit, resulting in aspiration pneumonia. To develop signs of toxicity, the amount of gasoline that needs to be ingested is around 20 ml per kilogram of weight. For a 20 pound dog, that is about 1/2 cup. Diesel fuel and jet fuel may also cause gastrointestinal upset but have less toxicity than unleaded gasoline.

Glow Jewelry. The active ingredient in most glow jewelry and other glow-in-the dark products is dibutyl phthalate. This substance has low toxicity and there has not been a report of an animal poisoned by its ingestion. If your dog has ingested dibutyl phthalate, you may see profuse drooling. Encourage him to drink a small amount of milk or eat a piece of bread. This will help dilute the taste of the dibutyl phthalate. Even rinsing the mouth out with water can help reduce the signs associated with glow jewelry exposure. Even after rinsing the mouth, you may want to bathe your pet to remove any dibutyl that may have leaked out of the tooth marks and onto the pet’s hair coat.

Grape and Raisins. Ingestion of grapes or raisins can be toxic to dogs.  The amount of grapes or raisins ingested has been between a few grams to about 2 pounds, and dogs ingesting these large amounts have developed kidney failure. Any dog that ingests large amounts of grapes or raisins at one time should be treated aggressively, so contact your veterinarian immediately if ingestion has occurred. Eating a few here and there has not been proven to be toxic.

Herbal Medications. While most plants used have beneficial properties, it is important to remember that the strength of the plant’s active ingredients will vary with the variety of herb and the horticultural practices used to grow them. Herbs can be sprayed with pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers. They may have been fertilized with improperly prepared compost, which can harbor harmful bacteria. They may produce more than one active compound causing unwanted side effects, which may worsen some medical conditions. There are no standards for quality control in production and dosages. Onion, garlic, pennyroyal and ginseng are a few of the commonly used herbal preparations that can cause toxicities if used inappropriately. Many have vomiting and diarrhea as a side effect. Even if your pet is taking an herbal supplement without complication, make sure your veterinarian knows what you are giving. Some herbs interfere with other health concerns and other medications.

Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is a popular and effective over-the-counter medication available to treat pain and inflammation in people. For dogs, ibuprofen can easily exceed toxic levels. The most common cause of ibuprofen toxicity is a well-meaning dog owner who tries to alleviate pain in his dog by administering a dose he thinks is adequate without knowing the toxic dose. The initial toxic effect is bleeding stomach ulcers. In addition to ulcers, increasing doses of ibuprofen eventually lead to kidney failure and, if left untreated, can be fatal. Symptoms include poor appetite, vomiting, black tarry stools, vomiting blood, abdominal pain, weakness and lethargy.

Inhaled Toxins can be toxic to dogs.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is typically associated with confinement in a running vehicle but can also occur in a home with improper ventilation and faulty furnaces. If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to carbon monoxide, remove him from the scene and place him in an area with fresh air. Contact your veterinarian or local emergency facility for further instructions.
Smoke inhalation is another common inhaled toxin.

Iron. Iron is a chemical element that is important to red blood cell production in the body. It is found in a variety of supplements and vitamins. Iron toxicity typically occurs after accidental ingestion of the supplements or from overdoses of supplements. Iron comes in a variety of forms and the forms that may result in toxicity are: ferrous fumarate, ferrous sulfate, ferric phosphate, and ferrous carbonate. Toxic levels of iron cause damage to the stomach and intestinal lining as well as cause severe liver damage and heart damage. The first signs generally occur within six hours of eating a toxic amount. Even without treatment, your dog may appear to have improved after the initial gastrointestinal upset. Unfortunately, spontaneous recovery has not really occurred and about 24 hours later, diarrhea returns along with liver failure, shock and possible coma. Bleeding disorders can also occur. See your veterinarian immediately if you suspect iron toxicity.

Ivermectin. Ivermectin is an anti-parasite drug that causes neurologic damage to the parasite, resulting in paralysis and death. Ivermectin has been used to prevent parasite infections, such as heartworms or ear mites. Causes of ivermectin toxicity in dogs include administration of excessive doses and breed sensitivity to lower doses (which occurs in some breeds such as the collie or Australian shepherd). Toxicity can result in any number or combination of clinical signs including dilated pupils, depression, drooling, vomiting, tremors, disorientation, weakness, recumbency (inability to rise), blindness, unresponsiveness, slow heart rate, slow respiratory rate, coma or death.

Lead. Lead toxicity refers to poisoning due to ingestion or inhalation of products containing the element lead. Dogs may be exposed to lead from several different sources. Lead toxicity can cause anemia (low red blood cell count), gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) and nervous system problems (seizures). Lead crosses the placenta from pregnant mother to babies and is also excreted in her milk. Thus, the developing fetus and nursing young can be affected. See your veterinarian if you suspect lead exposure.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Age-Appropriate Food for Pets: Why It’s Important

 

 

When it comes to choosing an appropriate diet for your pet, it is important to consider your pet’s age, body condition, medical problems and even breed. It is also important to be sure your pet’s food includes a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which indicates that the diet has either been tested via food trials or has been analyzed to meet nutritional guidelines.

Here, learn more about what to feed your pet throughout his or her life and find out why products labeled “all life stages” might not be the most appropriate option.

Feeding a Species and Life Stage-Appropriate Diet

One of the most important feeding fundamentals for pet parents to understand is that dogs and cats do not have the same nutritional requirements. Cats are considered strict carnivores while dogs are classified as omnivores. While it is not ideal, dogs can receive adequate nutrition on a feline diet, but cats must never be fed dog food. Although adult dogs and cats will intake sufficient nutrients if fed a growth formula (food specifically formulated for growing pets), puppies and kittens should not be fed adult diets while still developing. The greatest concern associated with adult dogs and cats consuming moderate amounts of a growth formula is the propensity to gain weight.

Pet parents with dogs and cats in various age ranges might be tempted to choose a single food labeled for “all life stages.” These diets are particularly appealing when it is difficult to separate pets and feed them individually. Feeding a diet deemed appropriate for “all life stages” may be fine for some households, however, for pets with specific nutrient requirements, or pets that gain weight on an “all life stage” diet, it is best to feed individual foods and keep pets separated during feeding times.

What to Feed a Puppy or Kitten

Because of their rapid growth rate, puppies and kittens possess calorie requirements that exceed those for adult or mature pets. For this reason, it is important to feed developing puppies and kittens diets labeled for growth. There is a general consensus amongst veterinarians which recommends feeding a puppy or kitten formulation until the pet has achieved 90 percent of its adult size. Generally, cats’ stature maturity is reached at 10 months, small and medium dogs at 12 months, and large-breed dogs are usually fully-grown by 18 months.

When it comes to large-breed dogs such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers and Great Danes, nutritional recommendations are different than those for their smaller counterparts. Because large-breed puppies have a genetic propensity for rapid growth, they are prone to skeletal abnormalities. Feeding a diet that is labeled for large-breed puppies is recommended. These diets are formulated to regulate the calories and calcium intake needed to minimize the risk of developmental problems such as hip dysplasia and osteochondrosis, a condition in which there is disruption in the normal maturation of cartilage to bone. The failure to feed a diet formulated for the specific needs of large-breed puppies can result in pain secondary to arthritis and the possible need for corrective surgery.

Feeding an Adult Pet

The majority of commercially-available pet foods are appropriate for young adult dogs and cats. Dogs in the “young adult” category fall in the age range of one to between five and seven years depending on their breed. Cats in this group range from 10 to 12 months to between six and seven years. Young adult pets are typically neutered, which has been shown to slow their metabolism.

Obesity affects more than 50 percent of dogs and cats in the U.S. It is therefore important for your veterinarian to monitor your pet’s weight and body condition and to make diet recommendations and adjustments accordingly. If your young adult pet has an underlying medical problem such as bladder stones, arthritis, allergies or kidney disease, your veterinarian will suggest a specifically-formulated diet to help with these issues.

As pets mature, their dietary needs can change based upon their activity level, overall health and body condition. Mature adult dogs, depending on their breed, fall into the age range of between six and eight years and older. Cats between seven and eight years of age or older are considered mature.

When pets reach this age, many pet parents become interested in feeding diets labeled as “senior.” Since there is no standard for such a label designation, these diets possess caloric and nutrient variability. For example, some companies increase the protein content, while others lower the percentage of protein in their “senior” formulations. Due to the fact that all pets age at different rates and develop individual health issues, consult your primary veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist before switching your pet to a “senior” diet.

Mature pets can fall at either end of the weight spectrum. Some dogs and cats, as they become less active, are predisposed to weight gain. A weight reduction diet, moderate exercise and limited treats can help to restore your pet’s ideal body condition. On the other hand, some dogs and cats become underweight as they age. Studies suggest that as pets enter their senior years, they are not able to digest protein and fat as readily as they did when younger. As pets age, they are also at risk for weight loss secondary to dental disease and diminished senses of taste and smell. If no underlying condition has been diagnosed to account for weight loss such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism in cats, or cancer, discuss a diet change with your veterinarian.

Pet Feeding Tips to Follow

Some ideas for feeding pets individually include:

  • Feed smaller meals two to three times per day rather than free feeding by providing entire day’s portion at one time.
  • Place pets in separate rooms at feeding time, giving them 15 to 20 minutes to finish a meal.
  • If one cat is young and spry and the other is overweight and unable to jump high, feed the cats on different levels. This will enable the younger cat to eat at an elevation while the less mobile cat consumes its food on ground level.
  • If you cannot separate dogs and cats in segregated rooms, disperse food bowls to different ends of the room in which feeding occurs and supervise closely.

Providing an appropriate diet based upon your dog or cat’s age, body condition and medical problems will help to ensure a happy and healthy life.                    By Mindy Cohan, VMD

 

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Things Dogs Hate About Humans

5 THINGS HUMANS DO THAT DOGS HATE

1. Hugging

It’s quite normal for us human beings to hug in a bid to express affection. However, dogs did not evolve like us, and hence may not enjoy being hugged. A dog placing its paw or leg on the back of another one is usually seen as a sign of dominance.

Your dog is unable to translate your intentions when you hug him and thus may assume that you are exerting your dominance. A number of them can tolerate your hugs, but some will feel fearful, threatened and even become hostile instantly.

2. Prolonged Stares

It’s natural to think that staring at a strange dog without breaking contact as you approach them is an excellent way to warm up for them and create a stronger bond. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that since most dogs read it as an act of either aggression or dominance.

Some dogs might start wiggling, looking away or start moving backwards. Instead, you can look to the side and observe how the dog responds so that you discern their comfort level. This trick helps you to build their trust quickly.

3. Words Over Body Language

Dogs are capable of understanding a variety of common words we use every day, but they can never fathom the human language. Dogs are uniquely made, in the sense that they read the human body language effortlessly.

They can figure out what you thinking before you even do it. If you, therefore, pay too much attention to whatever you say compared to what your body is communicating, you end up sending mixed signals, which is annoying to your dog.

4. Not Giving Your Dog A Chance To Explore

The same way we humans use the sense of vision to interpret our surroundings, dogs use their sense of smell. Denying your dog the opportunity to explore his world for a few moments on a daily basis is just wrong.

If your primary goal is going for a daily walk for the purpose of potty breaks or exercising with your dog, it is imperative that you allow him to sniff around.

5. Head Patting

Some people might think that their dog enjoys being patted on the face or even head. Dogs feel threatened the same way you would if a stranger came up to you and touched your head.

Most of those that tolerate being patted on the head or face know and trust the person patting them although they still dislike it. It’s also not a surprise to see a dog leaning away when the owner tries to pat him on the face. Instead, give them a rear or chest rub.

 

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372