Category Archives: Dogs

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

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

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

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