All posts by Diana

Why is My Dog Depressed?


Depression isn’t typically diagnosed in dogs, but veterinarians and behaviorists know the signs of depressive behavior well. But because we can’t ask dogs why they’re behaving this way, it’s important to pay attention to the context around this behavior and know the common causes. Here are 5 reasons why your dog might be acting depressed.

1. Lack Of Attention

There’s a reason why dogs are often saddest in the morning before you leave for work and happiest when you walk in the door after—they want to be around you. Dogs are social animals and love to be with people. Many are left alone long hours without access to human contact, access to bathroom facilities, or an outlet for their energy or natural instincts.

This can lead to depressive behavior, but for many owners, there’s not much they can do about their job schedules. That’s why it’s important to spend quality time with your dog when you can, and that can take many different forms, including physical activity, mental stimulation, brushing, petting, or any other number of activities.

2. Not Enough Exercise

Physical stimulation is important for a dog’s overall health, but your dog’s exercise routine must also sufficiently meet his or her emotional needs. A fenced-in yard can’t replace a regular walk with new smells and sights and sounds.

A good baseline for exercise is a total of five miles of walking per week, but that varies from dog to dog depending on his or her age and energy level. It’s more important to let your dog take her time and enjoy the surroundings, even if that means you just do one block over 20 or 30 minutes.

3. Death Of Family Member Or Fellow Pet

This is one of the most common reasons for depressive behavior in dogs. Unfortunately, it’s also probably the most difficult to deal with because the source of the behavior is irreplaceable. In the case of losing another pet in the house, some respond well to the addition of a new pet, while others will remain depressive, wanting only the company of the one who’s gone.

As for the loss of a human family member, research has shown that a dog’s bond with her owners is similar to a baby’s bond with her parents. Other family members need to step up wherever possible to meet the dog’s physical and especially her emotional needs, in tragic situations like this.

4. Owner Is Depressed

That dog-owner bond goes beyond loss, and one study has shown that dogs can tell whether we are happy or sad by our facial expressions.

Dogs are also being used to detect low blood sugar in diabetics, as well as cancer. They certainly can tune into people and our subtle changes in body language and emotion, so they can be impacted by a family member’s depression. We can’t fool our dogs. They are very in tune with our emotions.

5. Behavior Correction

The way you train your dog may lead to depressive behavior. Dogs who are corrected for unwanted behavior may soon stop offering behaviors at all in order to avoid punishment. Using things like shock collars or other extreme forms of punishment may lead to a state of mind known as learned helplessness that can be associated with depression.

This occurs when people or animals feel helpless to avoid negative situations. In studies, dogs no longer tried to escape shocks if they had been conditioned to believe they couldn’t escape. Instead of punishing for “poor” or “negative” behavior, try rewarding for good behavior. Dogs trained with rewards are often more confident and attentive to their owners than those who are punished.

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

Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

Is Sugar Bad for Dogs ?


As much we enjoy eating sugary treats like ice cream and candy, they shouldn’t be fed to dogs. Although it is a necessary component of their diets, certain sugars, like those found in sweets, can be harmful to dogs just like it is to people. Here are the reasons your dog shouldn’t have sugar.

1. Toxicity

Both chocolate and the artificial sweetener xylitol—found in many sugar-free candies—can be toxic to dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that can be poisonous to your pet. Dark, semi-sweet and Baker’s chocolate can be lethal if ingested.

Dogs can’t digest theobromine as efficiently as humans. Theobromine can be used medically as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, and a smooth muscle relaxant. Since dogs can’t process theobromine, excessive amounts of it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, panting or restlessness, excessive urination, a racing heart rate, muscle spasms and occasionally seizures.

2. Cavities

Another downside of consuming too much sugar? Dental caries or cavities. The problem with sugar is that bacteria in the mouth use it which produces acids. Acids increase the loss of minerals in the enamel or the outer coating of the teeth, leading to dental disease.

You can’t avoid sugar – pretty much everything you can put in your dog’s mouth contains some form of sugar to some degree. The best you can do is feed dog foods that are lower in carbohydrates and brush your dog’s teeth. It is also essential that your dog’s teeth be checked at least annually by your veterinarian and that you agree to professional cleanings as recommended by your vet.

3. Upset Stomach

If you want to avoid having to clean up vomit or diarrhea, it’s probably best to avoid giving your dog sugar. In the short term, a sugary treat can lead to an upset stomach.

All animals rely on the bacteria and other microorganisms in our gut to help us digest the food we eat. A higher dose of sugar than our pets are used to can upset the balance of those micro-organisms and lead to diarrhea – sometimes explosive, sometimes bloody, and sometimes even with vomiting.

4. Weight Gain

Refined sugar is largely empty calories. If you’re constantly giving your dog sugar, they can gain weight, which can stress joints and lead to other problems down the road.

Heart disease, joint problems, lethargy, and difficulty breathing from the additional weight on the chest wall are just a few of the other problems that can result. In general, even if your pet avoids these diseases for a while, quality of life is decreased (less energy, less interest in playing, etc.) when he is overweight.

5. Metabolic Changes

Sugar causes increased secretion of insulin, which the body needs to store and use sugar. Insulin has many effects on other hormones in the body, which can change a pet’s muscle tone, fat storage, immune system and energy levels.

These changes can lead to weaker, less active and obese pets who are more susceptible to other hormone related diseases, infections and obesity. In the long term, sugar can cause some significant changes to your pet’s body and metabolism. The most common challenges are obesity and diabetes.

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

Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

Dangerous Mistakes With Medicine for Dogs


Do you have a drawer or cabinet full of half-used, perhaps expired pet medications? We all know that we are supposed to dispose of “extra” medications, not keep them around “just in case,” but sometimes frugality makes getting rid of something that might be useful in the future awfully hard. Here we inform you of several instances when you must restrain yourself. The risks far outweigh any potential benefits.

Oral Antibiotics

What are you doing with “leftover” oral antibiotics anyway? Weren’t you told to give your pet the entire prescription? Anyway, do not be tempted to give your pet whatever is lying around when a new problem arises. Antibiotics have no efficacy against viruses, fungi, or any disease that isn’t caused, at least in part, by a bacterial infection.

Also, a particular type of antibiotic is only active against a certain subset of bacteria. What are the chances that the antibiotic you have on hand is the ideal one for treating the infection your pet now has? Finally, expired antibiotics can lose their effectiveness. Giving your pet an antibiotic when it is not needed, the wrong type of antibiotic, or an expired antibiotic can result in antibiotic resistant infections that are very difficult to treat.


Avoid giving your pet any medication that contains a corticosteroid unless it has been prescribed by your veterinarian to treat your pet’s current medical problem. Corticosteroids suppress the immune system (among other things) and if your pet has an infection of any sort, they can make your pet’s condition worse rather than better.

Prednisone, prednisolone, cortisone, hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, betamethasone, flumethasone, isoflupredone, methylprednisolone, and triamcinolone are all commonly prescribed corticosteroids. Check the medication label. If you see any of these listed as an active ingredient (any other ingredients that end in “-one” are suspect also) do not give that medication to your pet. This applies to both oral and topically applied medications.

Eye Medications

Unless your pet has a chronic eye condition and you are 100% sure you know that is what you are treating with previously prescribed medications, never put anything in your pet’s eyes without first consulting a veterinarian. Most eye injuries/disorders cause pets to have similar symptoms (redness, drainage, and squinting).

Without an exam and a few simple tests, it is virtually impossible to know what is going on. Problems affecting the eyes have a disturbing tendency to go from bad to worse VERY quickly, particularly if they are treated with the wrong medication.

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

Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Natural Pet Food


1. The Definition Of ‘Natural’

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which makes recommendations for laws regulating pet food, defines natural ingredients as those “derived from plant, animal or mined, unprocessed or subject to physical, heat, rendering, purification, extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis or fermentation, but not subjected to chemically synthetic process.”

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “for the most part, ‘natural’ can be construed as equivalent to a lack of artificial flavors, artificial colors, or artificial preservatives in the product.” It’s important to realize, however, that the term “natural” does not guarantee the quality of the pet food or that your pet will do well eating the food.

2. Natural Pet Food Should Be Balanced

In order for your dog to remain healthy they need a diet that is complete and balanced. There are six basic nutrient groups that need to be present in your pet’s diet: protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and water.

Each of these groups of nutrients plays a vital role in making sure your pet’s body functions normally, and it is the ingredients in your pet’s food which are the sources for these nutrients. Each ingredient provides a unique set of nutrients. Whether “natural” or not, all the ingredients in your pet’s food contribute to the nutrient balance of the diet. It is that balance of ingredients and nutrients that is most important in a diet.

3. Natural Pet Food Is Not The Same As Gluten Free

Though the mistake can often be made with pet foods just as easily as with our foods, diets labeled as “natural” do not automatically make them gluten free. If you feel this is important attribute for your pet’s diet, then pay careful attention to the ingredients on the pet food label.

There are often many natural/gluten free diets to choose from at specialty pet retailers, including some foods that include ancient grains. These ancient grains are gluten-free crops such as quinoa and buckwheat that have been used for centuries due to their richness in fiber and mineral content. Many are not even technically grains but actually seeds.

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

Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

Everything You Need To Know About Cataracts In Dogs


How Do Cataracts In Dogs Develop?

The lens is comprised of specialized cells that produce fibers made of protein. Cataracts in dogs occur when the cells or protein fibers are damaged. Diabetes in dogs can cause cataracts to develop. High blood sugar levels alter the metabolism of the cells in the lens and can cause very rapid onset cataracts. The most common reason cataracts develop in humans is damage from exposure to ultraviolet light. While UV light can contribute to dog cataracts , it’s not the most common cause.

Cataracts that happen as the result of UV light usually develop later in a dog’s life. Another cause of cataracts in dogs comes down to genetics. Hereditary cataracts occur quite commonly in certain purebred dogs.“Breeds like Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Siberian Huskies, and Yorkshire Terriers, among many others, are affected by hereditary cataracts. Hereditary cataracts tend to form in dogs at a young age—between 1 and 5 years old.

Can Dogs With Cataracts Still See?

Most of the time, yes, dogs with cataracts can still see. Incipient cataracts cover less than 15 percent of the surface area of the lens. Many dogs won’t notice these, and they’ll rarely undergo surgery to remove the cataract at this stage.

On the other hand, mature cataracts are those that cover the entire lens. Dogs with mature cataracts can only see changes in light. Dogs with mature cataracts should undergo cataract surgery to remove them. In between these two—from 15 percent all the way to 99 percent—are immature cataracts, which can be something of a gray area. We usually begin to see significant vision deficits with cataracts that cover 75 percent of the lens, but the degree to which it impacts the dog varies.

Do Cataracts Hurt Dogs?

A dog might experience disorientation or confusion if a cataract develops quickly, but generally speaking, the cataract itself does not hurt. That said, inflammation typically accompanies cataracts, which can be painful or at least uncomfortable. When the protein structure in a lens changes, the body sees that as a foreign substance. This is what causes the inflammation, and down the road, it can also lead to glaucoma, which is very, very painful.

For that reason, pet owners looking to treat immature cataracts in dogs should start their pet on a regimen of anti-inflammatory dog cataract eye drops. These drops will likely need to be used throughout the dog’s life. There is currently no eye drop on the market that will resolve a mature cataract. There are some beliefs that certain antioxidant eye drops can slow down the progression of small cataracts just by improving the overall health of the eye but they will not dissolve the cataract.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has A Cataract

To identify cataracts in dogs, just look for whiteness in the pupils. Mature and even some immature cataracts are easy to spot due to their cloudy nature. It’s when you get into the incipient cataracts that you need to look for other clues.

If your dog has difficulty catching food, if he’s sniffing for treats rather than seeing them, or if he’s not able to fetch or retrieve as well as usual, he might have cataracts. Most of the time, cataracts in dogs will occur over time, but with diabetic cataracts, you may see your dog start bumping into things overnight.

Treatment And Prevention

Cataracts won’t go away on their own, they need to be removed surgically. If you see or suspect that your dog has a cataract, consult your vet or a veterinary opthamologist to discuss whether surgery is right for your dog. Because we can see things pop back up after surgery, this option requires a lifelong commitment from the owner. Immediately after cataract surgery, your vet will likely start your dog on a routine of anti-inflammatory cataract eye drops. After the procedure, the drops will ramp up for about four to six months. You’ll also likely need to schedule regular vet appointments to recheck your dog’s eye.

After that period of time, you’ll still need to give your dog the eye drops, and regular checkups should continue. Because so many canine cataracts are hereditary, there’s not much an owner can do to prevent them, but a high-quality diet with an antioxidant supplement may help. For example, omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, promote eye health, as well as heart, brain, joint, and skin health. Consult with your vet or a veterinary nutritionist to find out what is appropriate for your dog.

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

Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

5 Remedies For Upset Stomach In Dogs


When you have an upset stomach, you probably reach for ginger ale, crackers or Pepto-Bismol to settle your tummy. But what should you do when your dog’s stomach is out of sorts? Learn more about the tips for how to make your pup feel better with natural remedies

1. Do Nothing

When your dog’s stomach is trying to get rid of something, it can be helpful to stop putting more things in his stomach for 12 to 24 hours. If the GI system is having a tough time, you don’t want it to digest things.

Fasting for that long is absolutely fine for the dog, and it’ll likely be harder for the pet parent to withhold food than it will be for the dog not to eat.

2. Ice Cubes

When your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea, you want to make sure he stays hydrated, however, giving him too much water may make his stomach even more upset.

Remove his water bowl from his reach, and give him ice chips every 2 to 3 hours. See if he can keep that down, then give him some more ice cubes and a couple teaspoons of water.

3. Bone Broth

One of the most powerful things you can give to your dog to soothe and heal his stomach while keeping him hydrated is bone broth. Simmer meat (on the bone) with apple cider vinegar and water in a crockpot. Once the meat falls off the bone, continue to simmer the bones until the minerals and marrow are released into the water.

Bone broth takes at least a day to make, so you’ll need to make this meal before your pet actually gets sick. If you make it ahead, however, you can skim off the fat and freeze it, then you can give your dog bone broth ice cubes when he’s sick. In a pinch, you can also buy boxed bone broth.

4. Canned Pumpkin

When fighting indigestion, canned pumpkin is a favorite of many holistic veterinarians. It has a low glycemic index, so it slowly absorbs, which helps with upset stomach and digestion. Make sure to get canned pumpkin, and not pumpkin pie mix, as you don’t want to feed your dog spices.

Smaller dogs (approximately five pounds) can be fed ½ teaspoon of canned pumpkin, while larger dogs (approximately 75 pounds) can be fed 1 tablespoon. You can even try adding a tiny bit of ginger to the canned pumpkin. Like ginger ale, it soothes the stomach.

5. Seek A Veterinarian

Watch the overall pattern of the symptoms, which should slowly subside over 24 to 48 hours. However, if your dog seems to be constantly uncomfortable or if the symptoms get worse—for instance, the frequency continues to increase every few hours, you see blood in their vomit or stool, or they collapse—call a veterinarian, as these symptoms could be indicative of pancreatitis, stomach bloating, a severe allergy, leaky gut syndrome, abnormal parasites, or another serious condition.

If you discover that your dog ate something he’s not supposed to—like a plant, food, toy or chemical—seek help immediately. If your pet dog has ingested something potentially poisonous and your veterinarian is unavailable, talk to an expert at the Pet Poison Helpline.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,

Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

5 Disease-Fighting Foods Good For Dogs


Flaxseed, blueberries, and oatmeal are some of the foods experts recommend we eat to stave off illness and maintain peak health and wellness. You naturally may have wondered…Does this apply to dogs, too? Are there certain foods you can feed your dog to keep disease at bay? Here are some disease-fighting foods you can feed your dog.

1. Fish Oil

Foods rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been studied extensively for their role in controlling inflammation in a variety of species. These fatty acids have been shown to help in the management of kidney disease, joint disease, skin inflammation, and more. Many pet foods contain omega-3 fatty acids but not all of them. In addition, the amount added to [over-the-counter] products may not be sufficient to provide the desired beneficial effects.

If you’re not a fan of supplements or your dog food doesn’t contain omega-3s, consider steaming, grilling, or baking a piece of fish for your canine companion. Be mindful of the type of fish you choose, as some varieties are higher in mercury than others. Salmon is a good option since it is typically high in omega-3s but low in mercury.

2. Vegetables

Leafy green and yellow-orange vegetables, such as carrots, may decrease the risk of bladder cancer in certain dogs, according to a study. Scientists suspect bioflavanoids, dietary fiber, plant sterols, and other anti-carcinogenic substances (known as phyto-nutrients) present in these vegetables may inhibit or slow down the progression of cancer.

Yellow-orange vegetables used in the study (aside from carrots) included pumpkin, squash, and sweet potato. Leafy green vegetables included lettuce, salad greens, spinach, collard greens, and parsley. Try giving dogs swiss chard, turnip greens, beet greens, kale, and dandelion greens.

3. Mushrooms

Mushrooms contain polysaccharopeptides (PSP), which researchers believe have tumor-fighting properties. There is some evidence that they can improve immune responses.

If you do want to offer your canine companion mushrooms, it’s important to keep in mind that some types of mushrooms are poisonous for dogs. Always talk to your veterinarian before adding mushrooms to your dog’s diet.

4. Fiber

In some cases, veterinarians may recommend feeding oatmeal or lentils as part of a high-fiber diet. Flax, psyllium, or chia seeds can also be used to supplement your dog’s diet. Fiber can help your dog feel full, and ultimately aid with weight loss. Keeping your dog lean is important. Obesity can shorten your dog’s lifespan, and is linked with an assortment of diseases, including joint, liver, and respiratory disease.

Fiber is also essential for maintaining gastrointestinal health, as it helps support the gut microflora. A healthy gut is linked with strengthened immunity, a factor in warding off disease.

5. Fruits

Veterinary nutritionists will often recommend that their clients feed fruits to their dogs as part of a sound nutritional plan. This is because fresh fruits and vegetables may provide trace nutrients or compounds that we have yet to discover, or that are not abundant in commercial pet food.

The phyto-nutrients contained in blueberries and other fruits may help prevent cancer. Giving fruits and vegetables over commercial pet treats ensures that an owner knows exactly what it is and where it came from. It can be difficult to identify the sources of all the ingredients – some of which have questionable nutritional value – in commercial pet treats.

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

Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

Top 5 Things Poisonous to Dogs


Each year, there are more than 100,000 cases of pet poisoning in the U.S. Many of these were caused by household substances that may seem perfectly harmless to you. But just because something is safe for people doesn’t mean it won’t hurt beloved pets. Here are the top 5 dog poisons you should know of.

1. Prescription Medications For People

Drugs that might be beneficial or even lifesaving for people can have the opposite effect in pets. And it doesn’t always take a large dose to do major damage.

Some of the most common and harmful medications that poison dogs include prescription anti-inflammatory and pain medications which can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers or kidney failure. Antidepressants which can cause vomiting and, in more serious instances, serotonin syndrome – a dangerous condition that raises temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and may cause seizures.

2. Insecticides

You may think you’re doing your dog a favor when you apply flea and tick products marketed to fight fleas and ticks, but thousands of animals are unintentionally poisoned by these products every year.

Problems can occur if dogs accidentally ingest these products or if small dogs receive excessive amounts. Talk to your vet about safe OTC products.

3. Over-the-counter Medications

This group contains acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen and naproxen (Advil, Alleve), as well as herbal and nutraceutical products (fish oil, joint supplements).

So the next time you consume any of these OTC medications, keep them safely stored away from your dog.

4. Pet Medication

Just as we can be sickened or killed by medications intended to help us, cases of pet poisoning by veterinary drugs are not uncommon.

Some of the more commonly reported problem medications include painkillers and de-wormers.

5. Household Products

Just as cleaners like bleach can poison people, they are also a leading cause of pet poisoning, resulting in stomach and respiratory tract problems.

Not surprisingly, chemicals contained in antifreeze, paint thinner, and chemicals for pools also can act as dog poison. The pet poisoning symptoms they may produce include stomach upset, depression, chemical burns, renal failure and death.

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

Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

People Food for Dogs


Thinking of changing up your dog’s meal plan? Well, here are some people foods your dog can enjoy as well.

1. Pasta And Rice

Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp” canoodled over a plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Your pooch can have pasta once in a while, too. Just make sure it’s plain and cooked.

Brown rice is a healthy whole grain your dog may gobble up. Mix some into her regular dog food to liven up her meal. Make human food a treat for your dog – it should be no more than 5% to 10% of her diet. The rest should be dog food, which supplies the nutrients she needs.

2. Meat

What dog doesn’t go on alert when there’s meat around? Chicken, turkey, lean ground beef, and chuck steak or roast are animal-based proteins, which help dogs grow strong.

A few rules apply: Always cook meat well. Never serve it raw or undercooked. Avoid fatty cuts, including bacon. Cut meat (and any human food) into easy-to-chew chunks. Ground meat is fine, too but old, moldy, or spoiled meats are not okay.

3. Vegetables

Vegetables give your pup vitamins, fiber, and some canine crunch. Try serving these raw veggies grated or finely chopped: carrot, cucumber, zucchini, lettuce, bell peppers, corn (cut off the cob), and celery.

Or steam these favorites: green beans, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, and hard winter squash. Skip avocado, which can upset her stomach. Don’t give any vegetable or other human food that seems to cause tummy trouble.

4. Treats For Dog-Day Afternoons

To cool off a hot dog on a sultry day, give her pet pops. Make them with any food she likes, like veggies or applesauce. Freeze the pops in an ice cube tray.

Or whip up some peanut butter pops: Mix 1 cup of peanut butter (unsalted is best) with half a mashed, ripe banana or a little water. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets lined with wax paper and freeze.

5. Bread And Pretzels

Bite-sized bits of whole wheat bread are good for her gut health. But don’t give her raw dough, it can cause serious stomach problems.

She might also go for some pieces of unsalted pretzel. Just skip the salted kind, which can make her extra thirsty and can cause big problems if she eats a lot.

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

Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

6 Most Common Dog Health Problems

Our dogs are faithful companions, and they depend on us for good care. To help your canine friend live a healthy life, you should know some of the most common health problems dogs face, their signs, and what you can do about them.

1. Ear Infections

Ear infections are a common canine health problem, and they can be caused by allergies, yeast, ear mites, bacteria, hair growth deep in the ear canal, and more.

Symptoms your dog may have with an ear infection include head shaking or head tilting, ear odor, vigorous scratching, lack of balance, unusual back-and-forth eye movements, redness of the ear canal, swelling of the outer portion of the ear, or brown, yellow, or bloody discharge.

2. Worms

Tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms are common internal parasites in dogs. And although any worm infestation can make your pooch uncomfortable, some, like hookworms, can be fatal in puppies.

Signs your dog may have worms include diarrhea (may be bloody), weight loss, a change in appetite, a rough, dry coat, scooting on his bottom, vomiting (with roundworms in particular), an overall poor appearance.

3. When Fleas Find Your Dog

It takes just three weeks for one flea to turn into an infestation of 1,000 biting bugs. A very common canine health problem, fleas are easy for your dog to pick up, but they’re also easy to treat.

Signs your dog may have fleas include excessive scratching, licking, or biting at the skin, hair loss, hot spots, allergic dermatitis (allergic response caused by contact), tapeworms (which are carried by fleas), flea dirt (looks like small black dots) against your dog’s skin.

4. Hot Spots

hey’re commonly known as hot spots, but the medical term for those bare, inflamed, red areas you often see on dogs is acute moist dermatitis – a bacterial skin infection. Anything that irritates your dog’s skin enough to make him scratch or chew can lead to the pain and itch of hot spots, which, if left untreated, can quickly grow larger.

A hot spot’s location can help your vet diagnose its cause. Fleas, for example, may be the source of a hip hot spot, while a hot spot at the ear might point to ear problems. Treating hot spots may involve shaving and cleaning the irritated area, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), steroids, or topical medications, depending on how bad the hot spots are, and how much pain your pooch is in.

5. Vomiting

Vomiting is a common dog health problem, with dozens of possible causes, from infection or intestinal parasites to pancreatitis, kidney failure, heatstroke, or poisoning. Symptoms are basic: abdominal heaving and drooling caused by nausea. If your dog also has diarrhea, blood in the vomit, seems lethargic, continues vomiting, or can’t hold down liquids, contact your vet right away to prevent life-threatening dehydration.

Treatment depends on what’s causing a dog’s distress, and may include fluid therapy, drugs to control vomiting, and homemade foods like well-cooked skinless chicken, boiled potatoes, and rice.

6. Doggy Diarrhea

Diarrhea in dogs, as with vomiting, can have lots of causes, including stress, infections like parvo virus, intestinal parasites, and food problems. Diarrhea symptoms are pretty obvious – look for loose, watery, or liquid stool.

Because diarrhea can easily lead to dehydration, be sure your dog has plenty of clean water available, then take your pooch to the vet if the diarrhea persists for more than a day, or immediately if there’s also fever, lethargy, vomiting, dark or bloody stools, or loss of appetite.

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

Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372