Why We Love German Shepherds

 Breed of the Month: Why We Love German Shepherds

It’s not easy to earn worldwide respect and admiration, yet one canine breed has accomplished just that.

Renowned for intelligence, physical prowess, and functionality, the German shepherd has developed into one of the most popular breeds across the globe, surpassed in popularity by only the Labrador retriever in the United States. This fact comes as little surprise to most German shepherd owners, who’ve witnessed this breed embody some of the most desirable traits any human or dog can offer, including loyalty and heroism.

The German shepherd first achieved international prominence following World War I, when soldiers returned home raving about the intelligence this breed displayed while serving as military messengers and rescue dogs. Since then, this breed has been both purposeful and beloved while occupying roles ranging from police and military service to household protection and devoted companionship.

Here are six reasons we adore German shepherds:

1. Noble Look

Sporting a domed forehead, long muzzle, erect ears, and bushy tail, German shepherds exude a handsome yet dignified appearance. They often come across as stately and self-confident. Moreover, the breed’s appearance offers tremendous diversity, as German shepherds have a variety of color combinations (black/tan, black/red, black/gray, etc.) and coat lengths ranging from short to long.

2. Remarkable Intelligence

German shepherds were bred specifically for intelligence, and the end result does not disappoint. Among the smartest of all canine breeds, German shepherds tend to be easily trainable, learning basic tasks with few repetitions and obeying commands with impressive regularity. In fact, German shepherds were ranked the third most intelligent breed by American Kennel Club judges. Their intelligence level explains their high degree of functionality (more on this later), as well as their success within the entertainment industry. Rin-Tin-Tin – a German shepherd who lived from 1918 to 1932 – remains one of the most notable canine movie stars of all-time, having appeared in 27 Hollywood films.

3. Unparalleled Functionality

It’s safe to say German shepherds like to have a purpose in life. Originally bred in Germany as sheep herders, they demonstrated the versatility necessary to transition into many other occupations. Today the German shepherd’s combination of intelligence and strength makes him the preferred breed for many lines of work: military and police service, search-and-rescue missions, assistance for disabled individuals, and household protection.

4. Heroism

This courageous breed deserves to be commended for the many heroic feats these canines have contributed through service to society. German shepherds have been responsible for loyal military service during times of war, for alerting deaf people when the doorbell has rung, and for locating missing children. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, German shepherds were utilized for search-and-rescue attempts amidst the rubble of the fallen World Trade Center.

5. Family Appeal

Under the right circumstances, German shepherds can make excellent household pets. In addition to being intelligent and trainable, this breed tends to be highly sociable and fairly energetic in nature. They serve as proud companions once loyalty develops. Perhaps the ideal guard dog, ever-devoted German shepherds often become protective of their beloved family members, as they’re not particularly fond of strangers. Their medium-to-large size (50 to 90 pounds) means they can provide adequate family protection without proving cumbersome around the house.

6. Physical Prowess

An impressive physical specimen, the German shepherd boasts an extremely muscular physique. This breed is like the LeBron James of the canine family, possessing a rare blend of strength and agility. The German shepherd’s strong frame becomes raised during times of excitement and lowered when the canine is moving at a quick pace. They can reach top speed quickly, yet round corners with ease. Because of their physical attributes, German shepherds are well-suited for athletic competitions like agility trials and obstacle courses.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

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

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

German Shepherds – Choosing German Shepherd Dogs

 Breed Profile on German Shepherd Dogs

Since his rise to movie fame in the early 1920s, the German shepherd has become a favorite breed for families, law enforcement and the disabled. Also known as the Alsatian, the German shepherd has consistently been one of the top 10 companion dogs in the United States and is a member of the “herding” class. Despite the similarity in appearance to the wolf, the German shepherd is a loyal, faithful and devoted human companion and, with proper training, can perform nearly any task. The German Shepherd is commonly abbreviated as GSD by veterinary staff.

The German shepherd was one of the top 10 breeds for the year 2014. Click here for the complete story on Top Dog Breeds of 2014.

History and Origin of German Shepherd Dogs

Prior to the late 1800s, sheep herding dogs were randomly bred, and only those that worked well were selected. As the 20th century approached, a strict breeding program was undertaken in Germany to develop the current randomly bred shepherd dog into a more uniform herding dog with versatility and intelligence. The newly developed German shepherd breed progressed and gained in popularity until the early 1900s. When World War I broke out in 1914, all things German became taboo; even German language courses were dropped from school curriculums. The fate of the German shepherd dog was in doubt. In order to save the breed, the American Kennel Club, which had registered the breed in 1912, temporarily changed the name to the shepherd dog. After the war, however, the original name was reinstated. In Britain, the name was changed to the Alsatian, although the German shepherd dog name was finally reinstated in 1979.

In the 1950s and 60s, Americans became interested in the German shepherd dog, and large numbers were imported. A syndicated television show and a number of movies starring Rin Tin Tin, a descendent of the canine movie star from the 1920s helped spur the renewed interest.

Over the years, German shepherds have become useful as guide dogs for the blind, deaf and other handicapped individuals because of their intelligence, trainability, well-rounded temperament, as well as their ability to get along well with people. The military and police force employ the breed for scent-discrimination to track criminals, drugs, weapons, bombs, and to find people buried in debris of earthquakes or other disasters.

Appearance and Size of German Shepherds

The German shepherd dog is medium to large size with erect pointed ears, a long body, and a weather resistant coat. A thick stiff outer coat covered by a softer inner one makes the German shepherd readily able to withstand extreme climates. The most popular colors are black and tan or a mixture with a dark saddle. White shepherds are not acceptable colors for showing but are becoming popular pets.

The German shepherd dog is typically 22 to 26 inches from the ground to the top of the shoulder. The normal adult weight is 75 to 90 pounds.

Personality of German Shepherds

The German shepherd dog is very intelligent, easy to train, powerful and elegant. Though not overly affectionate, shepherds are loyal and faithful. The breed is renowned as a police dog and is often used in search and rescue missions. The German shepherd is also a popular companion dog, family member, assistance dog and guard dog.

Home and Family Relations

Due to their tolerant nature, German shepherds are excellent pets for childrenand are natural protectors. With proper training, the shepherd is an effective and imposing guard dog.

Training of German Shepherd Dogs

Training should begin early in life. Untrained shepherds have a tendency to be difficult to handle and control. Since shepherds are intelligent and eager to learn, they can be trained to do a variety of tasks. They perform well in sentry duty, police work, tracking, obedience, search and rescue as well as assistance dogs for the disabled. Originally trained as a herder, the breed is still used in this capacity in some areas.

Special Care

German shepherds do not require any special care. Daily grooming will help keep their coat clean and healthy.

Common Diseases and Disorders of German Shepherd Dogs

Even though the German shepherd dog is a strong muscular breed, they may be prone to a variety of ailments.

  • Gastric torsion, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.
  • Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
  • Elbow dysplasia is the abnormal development of certain parts of the elbow joint during the growing phase.
  • Epilepsy is a seizure disorder, which develops between the ages of 2 to 5 years.
  • Panosteitis is an inflammation of the long bones during growth. It results in pain and lameness until the dog matures.
  • Pyoderma refers to deep skin infections.
  • Hot spots are areas of itchy moist skin irritation.
  • Pannus is a disease of the eye resulting in inflammation.
  • Corneal dystrophy is a primary, inherited, bilateral (both sides), symmetrical condition of the cornea that is not accompanied by corneal inflammation or systemic disease.
  • Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive degenerative disease of the spinal cord that slowly results in weakness and eventually inability to use the rear legs.
  • Intervertebral disk disease is a disorder that affects the spinal disks resulting in pain, difficulty walking and possibly paralysis.
  • Diabetes is a disease of the pancreas related to insufficient amounts of insulin production.
  • Pancreatic insufficiency is another pancreatic disease that results in inability to digest food properly.
  • Malassezia Dermatitis – is a yeast infection of the skin caused by Malassezia pachydermatitis.
  • Food Allergy can occur in some pets. Affected pets develop skin lesions secondary to some food ingredients
  • Perianal Fistula – is an infection and development of fistulas of the anal glands and tissues around the anal area.
  • Aortic Stenosis – this disease is caused by stenosis of the aorta and causing symptoms such as weakness, collapse and sudden death.
  • Pericardial Effusion – is an accumulation of fluid within the pericardial space. It can be caused by tumors of the heart or idiopathic (no known cause).
  • Congenital Idiopathic Megaesophagus – is a dilatation of the esophagus caused by decreased contraction of the muscles, causing food regurgitation.
  • Lymphocytic plasmacytic enteritis (LPE) is a form of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Lick granuloma is a condition in which the dog licks an area excessively, usually on the front leg, until a raised, firm ulcerated lesion is formed.
  • Anal Sac Adenocarcinoma is an adenocarcinoma of the anal glands.
  • Testicular tumors are tumors that involve the testicles in intact male dogs.
  • Dwarfism is a deficiency of growth hormone (GH), which is normally secreted by the pituitary gland.
  • Cataracts cause the lens of the eye to loose transparency and can result in blindness.
  • Lens luxation is a dislocation or displacement of the lens within the eye.In addition, German shepherds have a higher incidence of allergies, ear infections and malignant cancer such as hemangiosarcoma and Lymphoma.

Life Span

The average life span for a German shepherd dog is 10 to 13 years.

We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

 

310 919 9372

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com

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

Cat Eye Discharge — What’s Normal and What’s Not

 A tabby cat with eyes closed.

Cat Eye Discharge — What’s Normal and What’s Not

Cat eye discharge can be completely normal or something to bring to your vet’s attention ASAP. Here’s how to determine what’s worrying and what’s not.

Do your cat’s eyes ever get watery, goopy or downright crusty? It can be a little gross, but beyond that, cat eye discharge can sometimes indicate an eye problem that needs to be looked at by your veterinarian. If you’ve ever wondered if your cat’s eye boogers are normal or what could be causing them, you’re not alone.

“Tears are produced constantly throughout the day and normally drain at the corner of the eye without spilling over,” says Beth Kimmitt, D.V.M., resident of ophthalmology at Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in West Lafayette, Indiana. “If something causes irritation to the eye, more tears are produced. Irritation to the eye or blockage of the normal drainage pathway may lead to tears that spill over onto the face.”

Read on to get the scoop on what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to cat eye discharge:

1. A small amount of discharge is probably nothing to worry about.

“While technically a normal eye should not have any ocular discharge, a small amount of clear discharge, which may dry and appear slightly brown and crusty, may be OK,” Dr. Kimmitt says. If your cat just gets those morning eye boogers, the eyes are more than likely fine.

2. Some breeds are more prone to eye boogers.

Due to the shape of the face, Persians, Himalayans and other cats with short noses and large, round eyes might have more eye leakage than other cats. This might be normal, but if the discharge is excessive, ask your vet.

3. Some cat eye problems warrant a trip to the vet.

Yellow or green eye discharge is not normal — if your cat has colored discharge, make a vet appointment as soon as possible. “If there is enough discharge that you have to wipe your pet’s eye(s) more than one to two times daily, or if your cat is squinting or frequently rubbing at its eye(s), or if the eye(s) look red, it should be seen by a veterinarian,” Dr. Kimmitt says. When it comes to your cat’s eye issues, don’t delay making that vet appointment — your cat’s eyes and eyesight might depend on it.

4. Many things can cause abnormal eye leakage in cats.

Cat eye discharge is a sign of many different eye diseases and disorders, including corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis and entropion (an eyelid that rolls inward, allowing the hairs on the skin to irritate the eye). Your veterinarian will examine your cat and possibly perform certain tests to find out what exactly is causing your cat’s eye discharge.

5. It’s important to keep your cat’s eye area clean.

Use a soft, wet cloth to gently wipe away any discharge. “There are also a variety of veterinary products available to help clean around the eyes,” Dr. Kimmitt says. “Just be sure to find one that is labeled as safe to be used around the eyes, and avoid any product that contains alcohol.”

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

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

310 919 9372

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com

Your Guide to Common Dog Poisonings

Common Canine Poisons and Toxins

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 MonoxideCarbon 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 InsecticidesCarbamates 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.

ChocolateChocolate, 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.

CocaineCocaine 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.

EcstasyEcstasy, 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 ToxicityEstrogen 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.

EthanolEthanol 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 JewelryThe 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 RaisinsIngestion 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.

IbuprofenIbuprofen 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.

IvermectinIvermectin 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.

LeadLead 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,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

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

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Can Pets Get Cancer from Cigarette Smoke?

 

THE DANGERS OF SECOND HAND SMOKE FOR PETS

You must have been living on a desert island for the last few decades if you are not aware of the danger that smoking poses both to smokers and to the people who come in contact with second hand smoke. Less well known, however, is the effect that a smoke filled home can have on pet health.

First some definitions. Second hand smoke is smoke that is exhaled or otherwise escapes into the air and can then be inhaled by non-smokers, including pets. Third hand smoke is the residue from smoke that remains on skin, fur, clothing, furniture, etc. even after the air has cleared. Both second and third hand smoke can be referred to using the term “environmental tobacco smoke,” or ETS.

Now let’s take a look at the scientific studies that reveal a link between environmental tobacco smoke and serious diseases in cats and dogs.

THE EFFECTS OF TOBACCO SMOKE ON CATS

A study published in 2002 demonstrated a greatly increased risk of malignant lymphoma (also called lymphoma or lymphosarcoma) in cats with exposure to ETS. The relative risk for malignant lymphoma in cats with any household ETS exposure was almost 2 ½ times higher than that seen in cats who lived in smoke-free households.

For cats with five or more years of ETS exposure, the relative risk climbed to 3.2. In other words, these poor cats were more than three times as likely to develop lymphoma as were cats who lived in a home where no one smoked.

This study and others also strongly suggest a link between oral cancers in cats and third hand smoke. It is thought that cats groom the toxins contained in tobacco smoke out of their fur, which damages tissues in their mouths. This eventually leads to oral cancer.

THE EFFECTS OF TOBACCO SMOKE ON DOGS

Dogs can become seriously ill after long term exposure to second and third hand smoke as well. Two studies, one published in 1992 and the other in 1998, determined that cancer of the respiratory tract was more common in dogs who were exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. Interestingly, the type of cancer the dogs got was influenced by the shape of their heads.

The risk of nasal cancer increased by 250% when dogs with long noses (picture a Collie) were exposed to tobacco smoke. On the other hand, dogs with short or medium noses tended to develop lung cancer under similar conditions.

When you think about it, these findings aren’t all that surprising. The extensive nasal passages of long-nosed dogs are good at filtering out the toxins contained in cigarette smoke, which protects the lungs to the detriment of the nose. These same toxins pass right through the relatively shorter noses of other dogs and then become lodged in and damage the lungs.

Many other studies underline the damage that tobacco smoke does to the lining of the respiratory tract and a possible link to non-cancerous diseases such as chronic bronchitis and asthma.

DO ALTERNATIVES HELP?

By now you might be thinking, “I’ll just smoke outside.” While direct research into the effect that outdoor smoking has on pet health hasn’t been performed, we can look at a 2004 study on infants and draw some conclusions. It found that smoking outside of the home helps but does not eliminate smoke exposure to babies. The infants of parents who smoked outdoors but not inside were still exposed to 5-7 times as much environmental tobacco smoke in comparison to the infants of nonsmokers. Similar results could be expected for pets.

And what about vaping? Again, no direct research into the health effects of second and third hand vaping solution on pet health has been done, but according to the American Lung Association:

In 2009, the FDA conducted lab tests and found detectable levels of toxic cancer-causing chemicals, including an ingredient used in antifreeze, in two leading brands of e-cigarettes and 18 various cartridges. A 2014 study found that e-cigarettes with a higher voltage level have higher amounts of formaldehyde, a carcinogen.

It’s hard to imagine that inhaling substances like these or licking them off their fur could be completely risk free for pets.

CONCLUSIONS

Looking at the science brings us to the inevitable conclusion that second and third hand smoke exposure is very dangerous for pets. If you must smoke, do so outside or switch to vaping, but know that you are still likely putting your pets’ health at some degree of risk… to say nothing of what you are doing to yourself.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

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

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

5 Places To Look For Ticks On Dogs

 

Finding ticks on your dog is not so simple. These tiny bloodsuckers are good at playing hide-and-seek, particularly when their host is covered in thick, dark hair. Ticks can latch on to your furry friend and live in hiding, feasting on blood for several days at a time. Here are 5 places to look for ticks on your dog.

1. In The Groin Area

The groin probably isn’t the first place you would look for ticks on your pet. However, they can get attached in and around your dog’s bottom.

You should check the perianal area. Ticks are drawn to dark, moist areas on the body.

2. Between The Toes

Ticks have nothing against your dog’s paws. Though it takes extra effort to latch on, a tick can become attached between the toes.

If you find one there, use hemostats or tweezers to remove it. Grasp the tick without crushing it and pull it straight out.

3. In And Around The Ears

Though uncommon, sometimes when a tick latches on in or around the ears of a dog, tick paralysis could occur. Unlike other tick-transmitted diseases, tick paralysis will go away without lasting health effects once the tick is removed.

Do also check the inside your dog’s ears, including the ear canal. Sometimes ticks can be found on the insides of floppy ears.

4. Under Clothes And Collars

If your dog wears a collar 24/7, it’s easy to forget to remove it during the tick inspection. Ticks can hide under your pet’s collar, harness or any article of clothing she’s wearing.

If your pet wears a T-shirt or sun protection shirt, those have to come off.

5. The Eyelids

Is it a skin tag or a tick on your dog’s eyelid? Sometimes, it’s hard to determine.

Dogs can develop skin tags anywhere on their bodies, but they frequently appear near the eyelids. You don’t want to rip off a skin tag. Make sure that black mass on the eyelid is actually not a tick.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

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

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Why Is My Dog Humping Everything?

 

If dogs could have their own TV show in the style of Jerry Springer or Jeremy Kyle, I’m sure it’d be tagged ‘Why do I feel the need to hump everything in sight? Dog humping, often embarrassing, occasionally humorous, but mostly an unwanted behaviour that many a dog owner would like to stop. Let’s see if we can offer a solution on why dogs hump and, more to the point, how to stop dogs humping.

1. Indiscriminate Dog Humping

 

This type of indiscriminate humping isn’t about mating. Even a dog who is frenzied by hormones knows the difference between a receptive partner and someone’s leg. It’s not even about pleasure, although that may play a role. Dogs mainly hump because they’re trying to assert themselves. The longer they get away with it, the more powerful they feel.

Humping usually starts during a dog’s adolescence – between 6 months old and 2 years old – depending on the breed. This is the time when reproductive hormones are starting to reach adult levels, and some dogs go a little bit crazy. And dogs are always trying to prove that they’re tougher than the next guy. Some do it by humping. Others do it by putting their feet on another dog’s back. They reach sexual maturity before they reach emotional maturity.

2. Is It Just Dogs Prone To Humping?

Humping is not strictly a male dog behaviour, although males are the worst offenders. Unlike females, whose hormones ebb and flow with their reproductive cycles, males maintain fairly steady hormone levels all the time. The hormones themselves don’t cause humping, but they make dogs more likely to do it.

There’s another reason that males are more likely than females to latch on to human legs, one that has nothing to do with reproductive urges. Males are just more competitive. They’re always trying to prove (to people as well as to other dogs) how big and tough and independent they are. Humping is just one way in which they push the boundaries and assert their dominance within a family.

3. Why Do Puppies Hump Each Other?

Watch a litter of puppies at play, and you’ll see that they spend quite a bit of time climbing on top of each other, mounting and sometimes, even the littlest of the little squirts, thrusting their Elvis-like hips in a mesmorising display belying their tender age. The more assertive dogs may take advantage of their position and throw in a little humping session now and then. It’s their way of saying that they are, quite literally, top dogs. They hump to show their dominance more than for any other reason. Even puppies understand rank.

Once dogs are out of the litter and living with people, the same instinct remains. Human legs don’t have special appeal, but they’re accessible and easy to wrap paws around. In the wild, dogs never mount dogs who are higher in rank than they are. The only time that a dog tries this with people is when there’s some confusion in his mind about who’s in charge and who isn’t.

4. How To Stop Dog Humping

Sexual mounting has been successfully treated in many cases by neutering the offender. However, when the behaviour is psychologically ingrained, this may be ineffective. If the dog (male or female) is neutered in an attempt at correction, environmental/behavioural alterations are also advisable. It should go without saying that the owners must not allow or encourage further sexual mounting.

Neutering a dog or spaying a female is a big decision. It, in and of itself, is not a cure for anything – other than the prevention of tiny little paws appearing sometime down the line. Don’t be too quick to rush your dog to the vet as a shortcut to curing a behavioural problem. You’ll be disappointed. Behavioural problems require behavioural intervention. That includes mounting/humping.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

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

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Is Fish Good For Dogs?

 

So, you’ve read all the positive testimonials from dog owners about the benefits of feeding fish and now you want to know whether it really is possible to feed your dog a fish based diet with amazing health results? To answer the question – is fish good for dogs?

1. The Benefits Of Fish As A Food For Dogs

Fish is a great, easily digestible protein source for dogs. Especially for dogs following digestive upsets or with liver or kidney disease, whilst being relatively low in saturated fats and empty calories (good for weight control). These facts alone makes fish a fantastic source of nutrition for dogs.

Due to the high level of Omega-3 Fatty acids in fish, it is a natural anti-inflammatory to the body making it great for dogs with allergies or intolerances to other non-fish proteins. If you purchase Omega 3 supplements you’ll often find that cod liver oil is the main ingredient. By feeding a dog on a diet mainly made up of fish, you can ensure your pet is receiving these supplemental benefits as nature intended.

2. Is Fish A Good Diet For Dogs With Allergies

Fish is great for dogs who suffer from allergies. The bioavailable essential fatty acids in fish can help to heal sore, flaky, damaged or itchy skin.

This is because Omega-3 fats found in fish oil help to reduce inflammation, which can lessen the intensity of many allergies. Omega-3 fats can also reduce a dog’s reaction to pollen and other common allergy triggers found in the environment.

3. Should Dog Owners Avoid Certain Types?

Avoid fish that contain high mercury levels like tuna or swordfish and always use caution and moderation feeding shellfish/crustaceans as they can contain a high bacterium load, so if you are feeding them ensure they are cooked as they could cause tummy upset.

Always check the sourcing of your fish because poor quality care or intensively farmed means increased toxin levels. Salmon and white fish are also great to feed, all of them are a great source of Omega-3 for dogs. You may have to put up with a fishy breath straight after meal time but this should quickly pass, if not speak to your veterinarian as it could indicate an underlying health issue. Feeding an unbalanced fish diet can lead to dietary deficiencies just like in feeding any unbalanced diet.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

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

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

5 Common Reasons Your Dog Keeps Scratching Himself

 

Itching and scratching is a common issue among dogs. However, that doesn’t make it any easier to witness your dog suffer. Here are a few of the more typical reasons for itching and scratching in dogs and how to best help treat and prevent it from occurring in the future.

1. Fleas

Flea saliva is very allergenic, so a single flea can cause flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) that makes your dog itchy at the bite site (often around the head, anus, neck, tail base, or groin area). In addition to the itching/scratching, dogs with a flea infestation will deposit flea “dirt” (or digested blood in the form of their feces) on the skin. This flea dirt will appear like black pepper flakes.

Prevention: Minimize your dog’s exposure by limiting his access to locations where a heavy burden of fleas may exist — wooded areas, dog parks, daycare, kennels, etc. It is also important to utilize flea preventatives. As each pet’s needs differ, consult your veterinarian to determine which type of preventative is most appropriate (including topical, collar, or oral medication).

2. Ticks

Ticks seek blood to survive. That is why tick bites create inflammation at the point of entry that can worsen the longer the tick stays attached and releases its saliva into the skin. Additionally, secondary bacterial infection can occur add to the tick bite site that will lead to further irritation and itching.

Prevention: Limiting your dog’s exposure to areas where ticks may exist — wooded areas, dog parks, daycare, kennels, etc. – and using tick preventatives is the best way to prevent full blown infestations from occurring. Discuss with your veterinarian if using a preventative for both ticks and fleas is ideal for your dog.

3. Mange

Mites like mange (Sarcoptes, Demodex, etc.) are microscopic insects that burrow deep into the layers of the skin to feed and live. Chewing their way through your dog’s skin creates inflammation and leads to secondary infections (bacteria, yeast, etc.). Skin-lesions from mange can manifest all over the body, but the armpits, groin, ear margins, and areas having minimal hair (elbows, etc.) are most commonly affected.

Prevention: Keeping your dog in good health can help prevent some cases of mange. However, often treatment after mite infestation is the only recourse. Dips, injections, oral drugs, and spot-on treatments can all be used to treat sarcoptic mange. Mild cases of localized demodectic mange often resolve without any treatment when a dog’s immune system becomes better able to control mite numbers.

4. Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies, which mainly manifests with itchy skin in dogs, tend to be most prevalent during spring, summer, and fall, but regions that undergo frequently warm and/or humid weather can have a year-round allergy season. Blooming plants and flowers, grasses, weeds, and trees are common contributors to seasonal allergies.

Prevention: Regular brushing and bathing, air filtration systems, and limiting the exposure to allergenic environments are some means by which you can also help prevent or minimize the risk your dog will suffer from allergic dermatitis.

5. Nutritional Allergies

While dogs most frequently suffer from allergies due to environmental triggers, allergic reactions to food is possible. Some dogs may be allergic to certain proteins (beef, dairy, chicken, etc.) and/or grains (wheat, corn, rice, etc.). This allergic reaction may exhibit in a number of ways, including skin inflammation and itching.

Prevention: Diagnosing food allergies in dogs can be difficult and should be done with the supervision of a veterinarian. He or she will typically put the dog on an elimination diet to try and determine what, if any, common ingredients may be causing the dog’s allergies. Depending on the ingredient(s) causing the dog’s allergies, your vet can then make suggestions for diets that restrict the potential allergen.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

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

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Diseases You Can Catch From Your Dog

 Diseases You Can Catch From Your Dog

Your dog can give you so much: love, attention, entertainment, company – and infection. But being alert to some of these problems can help to keep you and your pet healthy.

Whether you own a dog or a cat, a bird or a reptile, a rabbit or fish, you should be aware that your pet can have an effect on your health by infecting you with certain diseases. These are called zoonotic diseases, which are animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans.

You may already know about some of the more common zoonotic diseases: Lyme disease is a bacterial disease transmitted by tick bites; malaria is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito, and bubonic plague is transmitted by rats, or rather by fleas that become infected by biting the rats. However, you should also be aware of several common zoonotic diseases that can be transmitted by your pet.

Most Common Diseases You can Get From Your Dog are:

  • Hookworms and Roundworms – a disease caused by a gastrointestinal parasite. Infection can occur from either ingesting parasite eggs or coming into contact with the larva in the soil. These parasites can be acquired from handling infected soil through gardening, cleaning feces, walking in sand or playing in sandboxes used by animals. Children are most often affected.
  • Psittacosis – a bacterial disease you can get by inhaling dust from dried bird droppings.
  • Rabies – a viral infection caused by a virus found in the saliva of infected animals and is transmitted to pets and humans by bites. Infected bats, raccoons, foxes, skunks, dogs or cats provide the greatest risk to humans.
  • Leptospirosis – a bacterial disease you can acquire from handling infected urine or by putting your hands to your mouth after touching anything that has come into contact with infected dog urine.
  • Ringworm – a contagious fungal infection that can affect the scalp, the body (particularly the groin), the feet and the nails. Despite its name, it has nothing to do with worms. The name comes from the characteristic red ring that can appear on an infected person’s skin.All animals can acquire zoonotic diseases, but animals at increased risk include: outdoor pets, unvaccinated animals, pets that are immunocompromised (a suppressed immune system), poorly groomed animals and animals that are housed in unsanitary conditions. People with immune disorders, on chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy may be at increased risk of infection.

    Animals with zoonotic diseases may exhibit a variety of clinical signs depending on the type of disease. The signs can vary from mild to severe. As a pet owner you should know your animal and be aware of any changes in behavior and appearance.

What to Watch For

Signs of zoonosis include:

  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin lesions/rashes
  • Itching
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Coughing
  • Bruising under the skin
  • Joint swellings
  • Lameness

Veterinary Care for Infectious Diseases in Dogs

Your veterinarian will need a good history, including an accurate travel history and complete physical examination in order to make an accurate diagnosis. Since there are so many different kinds of zoonotic diseases, your veterinarian will also do various diagnostic tests. Some of these may include blood tests, cultures, x-rays or ultrasounds.

Treatment depends on the specific diagnosis and may include antibiotics, anti-parasitic drugs or anti-fungal drugs; intravenous fluids; symptomatic care for associated conditions (e.g. vomiting or diarrhea); and analgesic (pain) medication.

Preventative Care

Not all animals with zoonotic diseases are serious risks to people, but good hygiene practices should always be observed. Proper education, a good understanding of the disease and its method of transmission are a vital part of home and preventative care. Use proper hygiene and sanitation when handling pets and their excretions and maintain a good program of veterinary care.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

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

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Your Precious Pet – My Dedicated Services