3 Bad Behaviors Dog Parents Encourage

 

We all strive to be the best pet parents we can be, but we often accidentally encourage those naughty behaviors that drive us nuts. It could take double the time to “un-train” the behavior as it did for him to start doing it. The following are some of the top pet-parent encouraged problems, along with tips to make them go away forever.

1. Jumping Up

2. Begging

They call them “puppy eyes” for a good reason. It’s hard to resist them when your dog gives you that look that seems to say, “I’m starving to death,” so of course you give in and share whatever is on your plate. The reality is you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of splitting your food with your dog.

Instead of sharing, give your dog his own delicious treat while you eat. Find a treat-stuffable activity toy or bone that will keep your dog happily occupied during meal time. If your dog finishes before you do and resorts to begging again, ignore him. (Again, if you have a persistent dog it’s not easy to do!) This behavior, like many of these problem behaviors, will likely go through what’s called an “extinction burst,” which is a temporary increase in the begging behavior before it goes away.

3. Leash Pulling

Dogs have places to go and things to pee on, and if your dog is a puller, you’re just an anchor keeping him from the next adventure. Pulling is another “creep up” behavior because we often allow our dogs to pull now and then, not realizing that if we let the pulling continue, we’re going to end up competing with our dogs’ muscle memory. Dogs very quickly learn that “a tight leash means I go forward,” and that feeling of tension around their necks becomes the set point for walking.

The goal is to teach your dog that pulling never works, and a loose leash is the way to go. When your dog pulls, stop walking every single time (you really have to pay attention during this exercise). When he circles back to you, or even looks back at you, offer him a reward right next to you, so that he has to come close to get it, and continue walking.

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

You Should Never Ignore These 21 Dog Symptoms

 21 Symptoms You Should Never Ignore in Your Dog

There are serious symptoms that should never be ignored in your dog. A symptom is defined as “any problem that can indicate an underlying disease” and may be your first clue to the presence of a life-threatening problem in your dog. Here is a list of 21 symptoms that should never be ignored if you see them from your dog!

1. Pacing and Restlessness. In dogs, pacing and restlessness can be indicate pain, discomfort or distress. These symptoms can be associated with a condition called bloat in which the stomach twists. Bloat is life-threatening and most commonly occurs in large breed or deep-chested dogs.

2. Unproductive Retching. Dogs that attempt to vomit and are unable to bring anything up is another common symptom of “bloat”. You should call your veterinarian immediately. Click here to learn more about “bloat”.

3. Collapse or Fainting. Acute collapse is a sudden loss of strength causing your dog to fall and be unable to rise. Some dogs that suddenly collapse will actually lose consciousness. This is called fainting or syncope. Some dogs recover very quickly and look essentially normal just seconds to minutes after collapsing, whereas others stay in the collapsed state until helped. All the reasons for collapse or fainting are serious and should not be ignored. See your veterinarian immediately. Click here to learn more.

4. Not Eating or Loss of Appetite. Anorexia is a term used to describe the situation where an animal loses his appetite, does not want to eat or is unable to eat. There are many causes of a “loss of appetite” and is often the first indication of illness. Regardless of the cause, loss of appetite can have a serious impact on an animal’s health if it lasts 24 hours or more. Young animals less than 6 months of age are particularly prone to the problems brought on by loss of appetite. Click here to learn more.

5. Losing Weight. Weight loss is a physical condition that results from a negative caloric balance. This usually occurs when the body uses and/or excretes essential nutrients faster than it can consume them. Essentially more calories are being burned than are being taken in. Weight loss is considered clinically important when it exceeds 10 percent of the normal body weight and is not associated with fluid loss. There are several causes for this, some of which can be very serious. Click here to learn more.

6. Breathing Problems. Respiratory distress, often called dyspnea, is labored, difficult breathing or shortness of breath. This can occur at any time during the breathing process, during inspiration (breathing in) or expiration (breathing out). When your dog has trouble breathing, he may not be able to get enough oxygen to his tissues. Additionally, if he has heart failure, he may not be able to pump sufficient blood to his muscles and other tissues. Dyspnea is often associated with accumulation of fluid (edema) in the lungs or the chest cavity (pleural effusion). This fluid can lead to shortness of breath and coughing. This is a very serious symptom and should be evaluated immediately. Click here to learn more.

7. Red Eye. A “red eye” is a non-specific sign of inflammation or infection. It may be seen with several different diseases including those involving different parts of the eye including the external eyelids, third eyelid, conjunctiva, cornea, and sclera. It may also occur with inflammation of the structures inside the eye, with glaucoma (high pressure within the eye) or with certain diseases of the orbit (eye socket). Either one or both eyes can become red, depending upon the cause of the problem. Some of the possible causes can be serious and ultimately cause blindness. Click here to learn more.

8. Jaundice. Jaundice, also referred to as icterus, describes the yellow color taken on by the tissues throughout the body due to elevated levels of bilirubin, a substance that comes from the breakdown of red blood cells. There are several causes for jaundice and regardless of the cause, jaundice is considered abnormal and serious in the dog. Click here to learn more.

9. Trouble Urinating. “Trouble urinating” can include straining to urinate, frequent attempts at urination, and evidence of discomfort when urinating. Discomfort may be demonstrated by crying out during urination, excessive licking at the urogenital region or turning and looking at the area. There are several underlying causes. Some of the causes if left untreated can result in death in as little as 36 hours. Click here to learn more.

10. Urinating and Drinking Excessively. These signs are often early signs of disease including kidney failure, diabetes mellitus, thyroid gland problems, uterine infection (called pyometra), as well as other causes. Dogs normally take in about 20 to 40 milliliters per pound of body weight per day, or one to two cups per day for a normal sized dog. If you determine that your pet is drinking excessively, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Click here to learn more.

11. Fever. A fever is defined as an abnormally high body temperature resulting from internal controls. It is believed that fever is a method of fighting infection. The body resets the temperature control area of the brain to increase the body temperature – probably in response to invasion of foreign matter such as bacteria or viruses. The normal temperature in dogs is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your pet temperature is high, call your veterinarian. Click here to learn more.

12. Seizure. A seizure or convulsion is a sudden excessive firing of nerves in the brain. The severity of the seizure can vary between a far-away look or twitching in one part of the face to your dog falling on his side, barking, gnashing his teeth, urinating, defecating and paddling his limbs. A seizure can last from seconds to minutes. Seizures are symptoms of some neurological disorder – they are not in themselves a disease. They can be caused by several disorders including epilepsy, toxins or tumors. Click here to learn more.

13. Bruising and Bleeding. Abnormal bruising and bleeding arises with disorders of hemostasis (clotting). Clotting abnormalities are also called coagulopathies, because they reflect the inability of the blood to coagulate or clot. Bleeding from clotting disturbances may occur into the skin, the mucous membranes, and various internal organs, tissues, and body cavities. The impact of such bleeding on the affected individual may be mild or severe depending on the degree of blood loss. Click here to learn more.

14. Coughing. Coughing is a common protective reflex that clears secretions or foreign matter from the throat, voice box, and/or airways, and protects the lungs against aspiration. It affects the respiratory system by hindering the ability to breathe properly. Common causes include obstruction in the windpipe, bronchitis, pneumonia, heartworm disease, lung tumors, kennel cough and heart failure. Some of the causes are life threatening and all pets with a cough should be evaluated by a veterinarian. Click here to learn more.

15. Bloated or Distended Abdomen. Abdominal distension is an abnormal enlargement of the abdominal cavity. This term is usually reserved for abdominal enlargement due to causes other than simple obesity. One cause of abdominal distension is abnormal fluid accumulation. Another cause of abdominal distension is enlargement of any abdominal organ including the liver, kidneys, or spleen. Distension of the stomach with air (“bloating“) or fluid or distension of the uterus (womb) during pregnancy, can result in abdominal distension. Pressure from the abdomen pushing into the chest may make breathing more difficult and pressure within the abdomen may decrease the appetite. NOTE: It is important to recognize abdominal distension because it can be a symptom of potentially life-threatening diseases and should be investigated thoroughly. Click here to learn more.

16. Bloody Diarrhea. Blood in the feces can either appear as “melena” which makes the stools appear black and tarry is the presence suggests digested blood in the feces. Melena is different from fresh blood in the stool (hematochezia). Bleeding into the colon or rectum appears as fresh blood in the stool. Bloody diarrhea should be evaluated by your veterinarian as soon as possible. Click here to learn more.

17. Bloody Urine. Hematuria is the presence of red blood cells in the urine. It may be gross (visible to the naked eye) or microscopic. There are several possible causes including bacterial infections, cancer, stones in the urinary tract. Click here to learn more.

18. Bite Wounds. Bite wounds are often the result when two animals engage in a fight or aggressive play. Bite wounds, which may only appear as a small puncture wound in the skin, can actually be quite extensive. Once the tooth penetrates the skin, severe damage can occur to the underlying tissues without major skin damage. Some wounds may appear deceptively minor but may have the potential to be life threatening, depending on the area of the body bitten. All bite wounds should receive veterinary attention. Click here to learn more.

19. Bloody Vomit. Vomiting blood can fresh blood, which is bright red or partially digested blood, which has the appearance of brown coffee grounds. There are a variety of causes of vomiting blood and the effects on the animal are also variable. Some are subtle and minor ailments, while others are severe or life threatening. Click here to learn more.

20. Lethargy or Weakness. Lethargy is a state of drowsiness, inactivity, or indifference in which there are delayed responses to external stimuli such as auditory (sound), visual (sight), or tactile (touch) stimuli. Lethargy is a nonspecific sign associated with many possible underlying systemic disorders. It may have little to no impact on the affected individual; however its presence may represent severe or life-threatening illness. Lethargy of more than a day’s duration should not be ignored, and should be addressed, especially if it persists. Click here to learn more.

21. Pale Gums. Pale gums or mucous membranes can indicate blood loss or “shock”. The possible causes for either blood loss or shock are life-threatening and thus should be evaluated immediately. Click here to learn more.

We hope this gives you more information on the most common and important symptoms in dogs.

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

3 Reasons You Should Pay Attention to Dog Poop

1. Note Signs of Gastrointestinal Diseases in Dogs

No one wants to deal with dog poop. Just look at how many inventions are out there to make this necessity more pleasant. But there are also solid medical reasons for why it’s a good idea to pay closer attention to poop than just making sure it is picked up. Here are 3 reasons you should pay attention to your dog’s poop.

2. Detect Intestinal Blockages

Constipation is a fairly serious condition for dogs; it should be addressed by a vet as early as possible. Some common causes of constipation include a lack of exercise, dehydration, and eating foreign objects or difficult to digest foods (e.g., bones). Constipation can also be caused by pain (back, hip or knee), enlarged anal glands, and enlarged prostate in male dogs.

The easiest way to spot constipation is by making a note that your dog hasn’t been defecating as usual—which you will know by paying daily attention to the amount your dog relieves himself. If someone else walks your dog, ask them daily if your dog defecated and if it looked normal. Don’t worry about sounding weird, this is your pet’s health.

3. Spot Internal Conditions Earlier

Different types of blood spotting or discoloration in your dog’s fecal matter can signal different conditions (of varying degrees and severity). Dark, tar-like stool can indicate an upper gastrointestinal bleed. Red blood and mucus can indicate colitis (i.e., inflammation of the colon or the lower portion of the intestine), while red streaks in stool can also indicate colonic or rectal bleeding, which can be due to neoplasia.

Disease of the anal glands can also cause changes in the stool. This can manifest itself as a hemorrhage, but you also might not see any blood and instead can observe your dog dragging his hind end on the ground as a way of trying to relieve discomfort.

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

Dog Emergency: Immediate Medical Attention Needed

4 Dog Medical Conditions That Need Immediate Medical Attention

Every pet dog will encounter some health issues throughout their lives. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to drag your dog to the vet every time. But there are some conditions that cannot wait for medical attention.

1. Difficulty Breathing

If a dog has an increased breathing rate or an increased respiratory effort, they should be brought to a veterinarian immediately. Difficulty breathing can indicate a host of life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure, heartworm, severe anemia, or disease of the pleural space (between the lungs and chest wall).

A veterinarian will need to monitor your pet closely, perform a physical exam, and run tests to determine the cause of the breathing difficulties, and treatment varies based on diagnosis.

2. Severe Vomiting or Diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea are an occasional fact of life with pets. In dogs in particular, diarrhea and vomiting are common consequences of a change in diet, eating too much or too fast. But frequent and severe episodes of vomiting and diarrhea in pets can indicate serious medical issues, especially when accompanied by symptoms like lethargy (“If your pet is lying around, doesn’t greet you at the door, or is hiding,” according to Paquin), pain, or pale gums.

Diarrhea and vomiting can be caused by dysfunction of many different organ systems, like the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, urogenital system, or liver. Leaving these conditions untreated can also lead to severe dehydration. A veterinarian can prevent or treat dehydration by replenishing your pet’s fluids, while also running tests to check for underlying medical issues.

3. Inability to Urinate or Severe Constipation

You need to be aware if your dog is suddenly not defecating or urinating. If you are not seeing urination within a four- to eight-hour timespan, this is a sign that the pet should be taken to a doctor, though the timeframe may vary by pet, how much they drink, and how often they typically urinate.

If your dog makes frequent attempts to urinate without being able to do so, something is up. Likewise, with defecation, you should be aware of any deviation from your pet’s normal habits. Vocalization upon urinating or defecating should be particularly alarming, as it means your pet is likely in pain. This can suggest a complete blockage of the urethra or colon in the case of constipation. These symptoms can stem from infections, tumors, physiologic or metabolic disorders, lesions of the spinal cord, and more.

4. Active Bleeding

A certain degree of severity is important to note here. If your dog is bleeding profusely, cover the wound with a gauze pad and apply pressure to it. Check after a minimum of three minutes. If your pet continues to bleed after several minutes, emergency care is the best recourse.

Any active bleeding should always be investigated. It can be a result of a traumatic injury and require surgical treatment, or could indicate an abnormal clotting ability or other systemic disease. If your pet’s blood is not clotting properly, expect your veterinarian to run a number of tests before implementing a course of treatment.

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

The Danger of Driving with Dogs

 The Danger of Driving with Dogs

Dogs love to go for car rides. For many dogs, their favorite words are “bye-bye”. I’ve seen dogs jump, prance, smile and bark with delight at the thought of a car ride. How many times have you seen dogs hanging out the car window? Or on the owners lap looking as happy as can be?

Yes, going for a ride in the car can be fun, but driving with dogs can also be very dangerous to both you and your dog. I recently talked to some owners that were in an accident – caused by their dog – in which they were injured, the car they hit had some severe injuries and their dog was killed. How tragic!

There are some very common dangers and causes of injuries that can be prevented – and if you understand them, it will help keep you and your dog safe.

1. Jumpers – Many dogs love to hang out windows and watch what goes by, enjoying the feel of the air in their hair. Some dogs will jump out of an open car window, even though their owners would have sworn they would never do that. One day – for some reason – something extra excites them and out they go. I’ve seen everything from mild injuries and abrasions to fractures and even death resulting from dogs jumping into traffic and immediately being hit by another car. For every dog that jumps, the owners say the same thing. “He always rides like that – and never jumped before.”

2. Air and eye injuries – Some dogs that hang their head out of an open car window can obtain injures when things that are flying in the air hit their head or eyes. When these objects hit the dog’s eyes it can cause corneal ulcers and injuries.

3.Airbags – Dogs can be severely (even fatally) injured by airbag deployment. For this reason, many dog seats and harnesses are created for use in the back seat.

4.Distraction – Dogs distract drivers. I’ve seen excited dogs on their owner’s lap moving back and forth from the passenger window to the drivers’ window. For one reason or another, they distract their drivers causing an accident. The driver looks at their dog to see what they are doing and wham!

5.Slowed reaction time – With a dog on your lap, your ability to drive and react quickly is impaired. Drivers are often unable to make a quick turn with their dog on their lap. This is a common cause of accidents.

6.Injury in crashes – Pets can be severely injured in crashes and, when they are unrestrained, they can run out of the car and suffer even more injuries. Some have even run away.

7.Foot petal problems – Some dogs (and cats) love to get down by the floor, under the seat or near the foot petals. I’ve seen several cases where this caused crashes.

Pets riding unrestrained in a vehicle may be cute and fun – until an accident happens. Less than 20% of dog owners use some sort of harness or seat belt to restrain their dog while in a car.

Seatbelts and car seats are especially made to keep dogs safe. We recommend that all dogs be restrained in the back seat during car rides. All pets should have a microchip as well in case they get free during a car ride. Windows should be kept at a lowered point so the dog can get air but can not get their head completely out the window – thus preventing eye injuries and any risk of jumping.
Keep your dog safe.

 

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

4 Treats That Can Harm Your Dog’s Teeth

 

Even though canine teeth are incredibly powerful, they’re still susceptible to fractures, breaks, and in some cases, even cavities. Pet parents might be surprised to discover that some of their dog’s favorite treats can put their dog’s oral health at risk. Here are some treats that can actually harm your dog’s teeth.

1. Sweets

Some pet parents can’t resist sharing their desserts with their dogs. Sweet treats like ice cream, cookies and other sugary human delicacies are a bad idea for dogs from a nutrition and weight standpoint, but sweet foods can also have a negative impact on tooth health as well.

Even though dogs aren’t as prone to cavities as humans because of the shape of their teeth (they have fewer flat teeth where bacteria can build up) and the pH in their mouths, it is still possible for dogs who eat an excessive amount of sugar to develop them, particularly on teeth in the rear of the mouth.

2. Ice

It might seem like ice cubes are a great dog treat because they do double duty as a quick chew as well as a way to hydrate. Unfortunately, those hard chunks of ice can do major damage. Even though dogs have powerful mouths, the pressure required to break through a piece of ice is considerable, and a determined ice-chomping dog might end up with a fractured tooth.

The sharpest points of a dog’s mandibular first molar and the maxillary fourth molar are particularly at risk for snapping off because of the pressure needed to crush ice. Come hot weather, skip the ice and give your dog a good old fashioned bowl of water instead.

3. Animal Bones, Antlers and Rolled Rawhide

Dogs have an innate need to exercise their jaws, however many beloved chews like bones, elk antlers and cow hooves can cause serious dental trauma like fractures and breaks. Bones, particularly antlers, have zero “give,” which makes them long lasting but also more likely to be hard enough to cause problems.

If you wouldn’t hit your knee with the bone or chew, it’s probably not a safe bet for your dog’s teeth. But that doesn’t mean that your furry best friend has to remain chew-less – your dog can still exercise his jaws on durable rubber treat-stuffable toys.

4. Hard-Plastic Dental Bones

Some processed plastic or nylon dental chew bones are marketed to suggest that they improve dental health, but they may in fact cause the same types of problems as antlers and hooves. Many of these chews don’t pass the “knee test,” which means that they’re hard enough to do damage to your dog’s teeth.

On top of that, some dental chews might not deliver the tooth cleaning benefits that they promise. Unfortunately most of these treats do not provide proof beyond anecdotal claims.

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

3 Ways You’re Shortening The Life Expectancy of a Dog

 

As pet parents, we like to think that we are providing a healthy, happy life for our dogs. But there is a lot more that goes into raising a healthy pup. And sometimes, our busy lifestyles cause us to overlook some simple measures that could help to extend the lifespan of our canines. Help your dog live longer by avoiding these things.

1. Letting your dog gain too much weight

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 53 percent of dogs were overweight last year. In addition to that, the association found that 95 percent of the owners of these obese dogs incorrectly identified their pets as being at a normal weight.

Letting your dog get too heavy can not only reduce his life span but also his quality of life. People do not realize that dogs do not process or break down food like we do.

2. Neglecting canine dental care

Periodontal disease (gum disease), is a common problem in dogs. Veterinarians estimate that 85 percent of dogs over five years of age suffer from the condition, which develops after food and bacteria collect along the gum line and form plaque in a dog’s mouth.

A build-up of oral bacteria can ultimately lead to all sorts of health problems for your pet, including heart valve problems and infections within the kidneys.

3. Skipping annual check ups

While it may be a pain to cart your dog into the veterinarian on an annual basis, doing so may save his life. Simply getting your dog seen once or twice a year by a veterinarian can help improve life span. Even if your dog is acting normally, something could be brewing inside.

And in the case of a dog’s heath, time is of the essence. “In some cases, by the time symptoms appear, there isn’t much we can do. But if we get treatment started early, that can help to improve a dog’s quality and quantity of life.

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 Types of Dog Eye Discharge (and What They Mean)

 

Eye discharge is a common problem in dogs. Some types are completely normal, while others are associated with potentially serious health concerns. Pet parents need to understand the various types of dog eye discharge and what each may mean.

1. A Little Goop or Crust

Tears play an essential role in maintaining eye health. They provide oxygen and nourishment to the cornea (the clear layer of tissue at the front of the eye) and help remove any debris that might get trapped there. Tears normally drain through ducts located at the inner corner of each eye, but sometimes a little bit of goop or crust will accumulate there.

This material is made out of dried tears, oil, mucus, dead cells, dust, etc. It is most evident in the morning and is often perfectly normal. The goop or crust should be easy to remove with a warm damp cloth, the eyes should not be red, and your dog should not exhibit any signs of eye discomfort (rubbing, squinting, blinking, and sensitivity to light).

2. Clear and Watery

Excessive eye watering (epiphora) is associated with many different conditions that run the range from relatively benign to serious. Allergies, irritants, foreign material in the eye, anatomical abnormalities (e.g., prominent eyes or rolled in eyelids), blocked tear ducts, corneal wounds, and glaucoma (increased eye pressure) are common causes of epiphora in dogs.

If your dog has a relatively mild increase in tearing but his eyes look normal in all other respects and he doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort, it is reasonable to monitor the situation. Your dog may have simply received a face full of pollen or dust, and the increased tearing is working to solve the problem. But if the epiphora continues or your dog develops red, painful eyes or other types of eye discharge, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

3. Reddish Brown Tear Stains

Light colored dogs often develop a reddish brown discoloration to the fur below the inner corner of their eyes. In the absence of other problems, tear staining in this area is normal and is just a cosmetic concern. If you want to minimize your dog’s tear stains, try one or more of these solutions: Wipe the area a few times a day with a cloth dampened in warm water or an eye cleaning solution; keep the fur around your dog’s eyes trimmed short; and/or add an antibiotic-free nutritional supplement that reduces tear staining to your dog’s diet.

Keep in mind that it can take several months for porphyrin stained fur to grow out and for the effects of any of these remedies to become obvious. If you notice an increase in the amount or a change in the quality of your dog’s tear staining or if your dog’s eyes become red and painful, make an appointment with your veterinarian for an eye examination.

4. White-Gray Mucus

Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS) is a condition that usually develops when a dog’s immune system attacks and destroys the glands that produce tears. With tear production being less than normal, the body tries to compensate by making more mucus to lubricate the eyes.

But mucus can’t replace all the functions of tears, so the eyes become red and painful and may develop ulcers and abnormal corneal pigmentation. Left untreated, KCS can result in severe discomfort and blindness. If you notice white-gray mucus collecting around your dog’s eyes, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

5. Yellow or Green Eye Discharge

A dog whose eyes produce yellow or green discharge often has an eye infection, particularly if eye redness and discomfort are also evident. Eye infections can develop as a primary problem or as a result of another condition (corneal wounds, dry eye, etc.) that weakens the eye’s natural defenses against infection.

Sometimes what looks to be an eye infection is actually a sign that a dog has a systemic illness or a problem affecting the respiratory tract, nervous system, or other part of the body. Any dog who looks like he might have an eye infection should be seen by a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

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

Indoor Vs Outdoor Cat: Is It Ever OK to Let Them Roam?

 Outdoor Cat Controversy: Is It Ever OK to Let Them Roam?

Pet parents commonly pose the question as to whether they should allow their cats to venture outside of the house. As a veterinarian and advocate for animal welfare, I explain that the decision is ultimately theirs, but to bear in mind that their cat is likely to use up her “nine lives” more quickly while outdoors. As with any controversial topic, there are both pros and cons to providing your cat with the opportunity to explore the great outdoors.

Dangers and Risks for Outdoor Cats

There are many potential dangers faced by outdoor cats, but some risks can be mitigated. For example, outdoor cats exposed to the rabies and feline leukemia viruses can be protected by vaccines. Another virus that is more prevalent in outdoor cat populations is the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Although a vaccine for FIV exists, its use is controversial.

The risk for exposure to fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes is also greater for cats who spend time outside. These pests can transmit the agents that cause diseases, such as feline infectious anemia and heartworm. Responsible pet parents must ensure that their cat receives appropriate parasite preventatives to stay healthy.

Another preventable problem associated with outdoor cats is unwanted pregnancies. Due to the persistent and staggering overpopulation issue, it is imperative to have your cats spayed or neutered before they are permitted outside.

Unfortunately, unsupervised outdoor cats are at risk for several serious problems that cannot be easily avoided. Vehicular accidents are one of the most common life-threatening issues faced by outdoor cats. Encounters with other animals can also pose grave consequences. Bite wounds, if not detected early, can result in serious infections. Cats attacked by larger animals such as dogs, foxes, or coyotes have a low survival rate.

Cats who roam outside are in jeopardy of being exposed to toxins such as antifreeze and rodenticides. If a cat ingests either product without the owner’s knowledge, the window of opportunity to administer an antidote is lost. Toxic outdoor plants such as lilies, azaleas, cyclamen, or the bulbs of tulips and hyacinth also endanger cats.

Benefits of Letting Your Cat Outsid

While there are many sound reasons for keeping your cat indoors, there are several benefits associated with outdoor life. The majority of outdoor cats maintain a healthy body weight. As opposed to their strictly indoor couch potato counterparts, outdoor cats play and run and therefore burn many more calories.

The importance of environmental enrichment for cats is strongly touted by veterinary behaviorists. Although cat parents can be creative in initiating indoor games, the mental stimulation experienced outdoors is ideal. Exposure to live prey allows cats to partake in natural hunting activities. Hunting outdoors serves as an outlet for stalking and aggression that might otherwise be directed toward other household pets and family members. For cat parents, channeling their pet’s scratching tendency toward trees and other natural surfaces is much preferred compared to leather furniture or Berber carpeting.

While indoor cats are afforded a longer life expectancy, some people believe that quality of life outweighs quantity. Pet parents need to recognize that there are circumstances that make a cat’s indoor confinement very difficult. Stray cats who have become accustomed to living outdoors have a hard time acclimating to life strictly inside. Parents of cats with non-resolvable litter box aversion often have no choice other than to allow their cat to venture into nature when “nature calls.”

In order for cat parents who live in a highly trafficked area to strike a happy balance, they can consider leash walking their cats in a harness or allowing their cats to explore and exercise within an enclosed yard under supervision. Whether you choose to allow your cat to roam outside or keep it indoors, be sure to take measures to ensure both her physical and mental well-being.

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 Sunscreen Safe for Dogs?

Is there sunscreen for dogs?

We know that during the summer months wearing sunscreen is key to our health and safety. But what about our four-legged, furry friends? In addition to providing our dogs with proper shade, air, and hydration during the summer months, sunscreen should be part of your warm-weather care routine.

 

 

Can Dogs Get Sunburned?

Just like us, our dogs can get burned from sun exposure. A sunburned dog can suffer from red, inflamed skin that becomes irritated and painful.

Sunburns on dogs can also lead to hair loss and scaly skin.

Should You Put Sunscreen On Your Dog?

Yes, you should put sunscreen on your dog. It’s actually very important to put sunscreen on dogs, especially those with light skin and white fur or hair. A dog’s skin can be damaged by the sun just like our own, so they require the same protection against the development of sunburn and skin cancer.

If a dog has to be outdoors during peak sun exposure hours (10 am to 4 pm), sunscreen should be reapplied to sun-sensitive areas of the body—the nose, around the lips, tips of the ears, the groin, and the belly—throughout the day.

What Kind of Sunscreen Can Be Put on Dogs?

The safest and most effective sunscreen to put on your dogs is one that is specifically designed for canine use. These sunscreens are designed with dogs in mind and don’t pose any health risks. If doggie sunscreen isn’t an option, pet parents can purchase a broad-spectrum sunscreen for babies and children with an SPF of 15 or higher at the local drugstore.

But it’s EXTREMELY important for pet parents to read the labels on baby sunscreen before applying it to their pets, since dogs may lick their skin and accidentally ingest the sunscreen. Choose a fragrance-free product that doesn’t contain zinc oxide, ingestion of zinc oxide can lead to hemolytic anemia. Pet parents should also avoid any sunscreen that has para-aminobenzoic acid (also known as PABA) as an ingredient. This could also be toxic if ingested.

How Should Sunscreen Be Applied to Dogs?

When applying sunscreen to the face region it is important to be careful with it getting into the eyes. Pet owners may want to apply the sunscreen to a small area on the body first to see if it causes a reaction before using it all over the body.

After applying sunscreen, allow the lotion or cream to soak in for several minutes and monitor your dog to be sure he or she doesn’t lick the lotion or cream.

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

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