dogs

Allergy Alert! Itch That Time Again.

Has your dog suddenly started scratching herself or biting certain areas of her body? Chewing on her feet? Rubbing her face back and forth across the carpet?

If so, she may be suffering from seasonal allergies. These reactions to an obvious, but invisible, itch is her body’s way of responding to molecules called “allergens.”

The major culprits: trees, grasses, pollens, molds and ragweed. The main cause: inhaling these irritants through the nose and mouth.

Unlike humans, most dogs’ allergies manifest themselves as skin irritations or inflammations known as allergic dermatitis. Left untreated, your dog’s constant scratching can lead to open sores and scabs, hair loss and hot spots. Ear infections, running noses, watery eyes, coughing and sneezing may also occur.

To determine the source of your dog’s allergy, ask your vet to conduct a series of tests: intradermal, blood or both.

Once a specific allergen has been identified, you can try the following:

Avoidance: for pollens, keep your dog away from fields; keep lawns short; keep her indoors when pollen counts are high; vacuum and wash floors with non-toxic agents instead of regular household cleaners containing chemicals.

Topical therapies: frequent baths with an oatmeal-free shampoo; foot soaks to reduce tracking allergens into the house; topical solutions containing hydrocortisone to ease the itching.

Diet: one low in carbohydrates like grain, or low in fat; put omega-3 fatty acids and/or coconut oil in her food; add a combination of the naturopathic supplements quercetin, bromelain and papain to her meals.

Drugs: antihistamines, cyclosporine or steroids.

As always, consult your vet before starting any form of treatment. Monitor your dog’s behaviour closely and report any improvement or worsening in her condition.

It may take several attempts before the proper treatment is found. But when it is, your dog will be much more comfortable — and so will you.

Article by Nomi Berger. Nomi is the best selling author of seven novels, one work of non-fiction, two volumes of poetry, and hundreds of articles. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her adopted Maltese, Mini, and volunteers her writing skills to animal rescue groups in Canada and the USA.

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How to Introduce a NEW DOG TO YOUR OTHER PETS

9 Easy Steps to Welcome a New Dog Home

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Few things are as exciting as bringing home a new pet. At least for you. But how do you imagine the big introduction between your new dog and your resident pet(s)? Do you imagine handing out treats and name tags at your front door, resulting in happy munches and friendly woofs (or meows) as they bond instantly and forever. Cesar Millan would be so proud.

Then you blink twice and remember that you are living in reality and not in some ideal parallel universe. But reality can match your ideal, when you’re armed with these nine easy to follow steps, and a healthy dose of reality.

 

  1. Patience. Introducing your new dog to the pets already in your home is a process. To succeed, you must start with a plan and a promise – to yourself — to be patient. The process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks (and in extreme cases, a few months).
  2. Making a Match. To improve your chances of a happy blending of old and new, choose a dog as close as possible in temperament and activity level to the pets you already have. Dogs and cats are creatures of habit, and most dislike any disruptions to their daily lives and routines.
  3. Monitor Temperament. Some dogs are naturally more relaxed and more social than others. Some are more territorial and don’t enjoy sharing at all. Unhappy with the arrival of a newcomer, they may demonstrate their disapproval by fighting with the perceived “intruder” or by marking.
  4. Separate Corners. Allow your new dog to adjust to you and to his/her new surroundings by keeping him/her in a separate room with his/her bed, food, water and toys for several days. This is where having its own crate can be a lifesaver. And make sure to spend as much quality, comforting time with your new arrival as possible.
  5. Maintain Routines. Maintain your other pets’ regular routines – from feeding and pottying, to exercising, playing and together times. This will reassure them that nothing has changed.
  6. The Nose Knows. Since smells are of utmost importance to animals, get them used to each other’s scents as soon as possible. We’ve all witnessed how dog’s get to know each other through the tried and true smelling of the rear. It’s important they have the opportunity to smell each other, but it’s a good idea to keep the new dog on a leash at first, in case you need to take control quickly.
  7. All About Food. Another smell driver is food. Feed your resident pets and your new dog on either side of the door to his/her room, or crate, encouraging them to associate something pleasurable with one another’s smell. Once this has been successfully accomplished, walk your new dog slowly through your home, room by room, allowing him/her to become familiar with its sights, sounds and smells. Keep your other pets behind the closed door of his/her room to allow your new dog a sense of safety and privacy, while promoting a further exchange of scents between them. Repeat this several times a day for a few days.
  8. Good Sightlines. Next, use two doorstoppers to keep the door to your new dog’s room propped open just enough for all of the animals to see each other. Repeat this several times a day for a few days.                                                                                                                                                 But remember, when you leave your home, make sure your new dog in his/her room with the door closed, or secure in its crate.
  9. Reward and Correct. Armed with the tastiest treats and most tempting toys, you can expect sniffing, approaching and walking away. Reward good behavior with praise and treats, but discourage bad behavior by promptly separating the offending parties and gently, but firmly correcting them.

Hopefully, when you’re ready to make the “formal” introductions, your patience and your animals’ pre-preparations will pay off. And they will not only recognize, but also start to accept one another by what they see and smell.

Once again, patience is key. This too is a process, which may take time until the blending is successful, and your family is calmly and contentedly one.

If, however, certain problems persist, speak to your vet or consult a recommended animal behaviorist.

Some additional resources on introducing new dogs to your existing pet family may be found on Cesar’s Way Blog and the Humane Society.

10 Effective Ways to Keep Pets Healthy

10 Effective Ways to Keep Pets Healthy

Jordan Walker loves animals. As the lead content curator of Coops and Cages, and other pet-related websites, he has written several articles about the matter. In this post, he shares the most effective ways in keeping your pets healthy.Photo 1

Raising a pet involves a lot of responsibility from you as the owner. With the happiness and devotedness these creatures bring to the family, it is only just that you give them that same kind of happiness by keeping them safe and healthy all the time.

Dogs and cats, which are the most common home pets, are curious creatures. They can touch anything they see around and eat anything that entice their senses. For that reason, it is very important to pay attention to their needs to keep them safe and healthy all the time.

Providing them a pet-safe home is just one of the major responsibilities you should be aware of right at the moment you decide to have a pet. But other than that, there are other things you have to take into consideration to become a more responsible pet owner. Here are some:

Consider Having a Healthy and Well-balanced Diet.

The health of your pet can be affected by the way you feed and treat them. In fact, a well-balanced diet plan is the key to your pet’s good health condition.

Each pet has its own nutritional needs and it is better to consult the veterinarian before buying any pet food you see at the grocery store. Instead of rewarding them with “people food” or unhealthy table scraps, it is better to give them fresh slices of fruits or vegetables.

Complement Their Food Intake with a Regular Exercise

Pets also need regular exercise in order to keep them mentally alert and active. You can take a walk together with your dog as your early morning routine or buy your indoor cat an exercise toy to keep it moving that will boost its energy and prevent from gaining extra weight.

Visit a Trusted Veterinarian for Vaccination

Seeking the right medical care is also your responsibility as a pet owner to ensure you are providing the optimum health care for your furry pals.

By consulting a trusted veterinarian, you could monitor the weight and health condition of your pet. You will know whether there are any early symptoms of fatal diseases.

Also, your pet needs regular vaccination to safeguard them from harmful diseases, such as rabies, distemper, parvo, and canine hepatitis.

 

Provide a Safe and Clean Environment

A clean environment is the key in providing long-term health care for your pet. Always remember that germs and parasites usually come from places where they stay most. That is why it is important to keep their home and play area clean and safe from sharp pointed household items that can potentially harm them.

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Good Grooming Is of Importance

Just like humans, pets also need good grooming in order to make them look and feel good inside out. Make sure your pet gets the right grooming that it needs, starting from the hair to toenails. Regular grooming could help prevent fleas, ticks, and other possible illnesses that come together.

Pay Attention to Dental Care

Oral health is also an important component when it comes to pet care. Your pet can eat and chew anything, it sees on the floor or ground, which makes them more susceptible to dental threats like gum disease and chronic pain.

Regular brushing or dental cleaning from the vet is the best way to keep your pet’s teeth strong and healthy as they grow.

Spay/Neuter Your Pet

With millions of homeless dogs and cats that are being euthanized each year, spaying or neutering is considered a helpful way to reduce the numbers.

Apart from helping reduce the cases of homeless pets, spaying and neutering also bring health and behavioral benefits to your pets like helping them prevent uterine infections and tumor.

Keep Pets Comfortable Despite the Changing Weather

It is important to keep your pets comfortable during cold or hot season. This way, they can avoid health risks and withstand the varying weather.

Take your pet to cold places during the hot season and avoid leaving them in the car park for long hours. By doing so, heat stroke can be prevented. For the winter season, you can buy them fitted coat for extra protection from the cold temperature and help them avoid colds and runny rose.

Prepare a First Aid Kit

To become fully prepared of any injury or health issues of your pet, it is better to keep a medicinal box or kit for them in your home. Consult your vet on the essential first aid medicine and ointment to include in your kit to ensure you can take care of any possible problem that may arise.

Nourish Your Pet Emotionally

Aside from feeding and giving them the right supplements they need, you should be also able to give your pet a holistic nourishment they need for their mental and emotional development.

Your pet would feel happy and more energetic knowing that he lives in a happy home. But how do you provide the right emotional support that it needs? Simply share bonding activities with your pet, especially during special occasions and give the love and care he deserves. At the end of the day, you’ll see how much he can give you in return.

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Author: Jordan Walker

Jordan WalkerJordan is the lead content curator for Coops and Cages as well as a couple of other pet-related blogs. His passion for animals is only paired with his love for “attempting” to play the guitar. If you would like to catch more of him, you can by following his Twitter account: https://twitter.com/JordanWalker82

Be Special: Adopt a Dog with special needs

Their bodies may be imperfect, but their spirit remains intact.

So it is said about the special needs dog. Although caring for one can be challenging, more and more people are opening their hearts and their homes and adopting them. For this reason, more and more dogs who might otherwise be euthanized are being given a new “leash” on life.

bigstock-Lonely-Homeless-Dog-And-Helpin-4790849Experts stress the importance of not viewing special needs dogs as “handicapped.” Although they have certain limitations (including partial paralysis, three leggedness, blindness or deafness), they’re not “aware” of them, and can be as active and affectionate as any other dog.

Adopters of special needs dogs insist the rewards outweigh the work. Many use social media to share their experiences, to interact with owners like them, and to encourage others to adopt. They don’t see these dogs’ medical or physical problems as a shortcoming, and don’t believe it makes them any less of a dog.

Those interested in adopting a special needs dog should first fully inform themselves about that dog’s condition, limitations, and maintenance. This includes meeting with their vet, requesting a tutorial on administering medications, and asking if they will make house calls. If not, they should ask to be referred to someone who will.

The quality of life for special needs dogs has been greatly enhanced by the growing number of products available to their owners.bigstock-Icon-Illustration-Representing-25243043-2 There are pet diapers, no-slip boots, orthotic braces, prosthetics, and front, back, combination and amputee harnesses. Ramps, pet steps, pet stairs and pet carts. Adjustable pet wheelchairs that can accommodate dogs weighing up to 180 pounds. And because partially paralyzed pets frequently get carpet burns when out of their chairs, there are washable, heavy-duty “drag bags” to protect their back ends.

Sadly, dogs who are blind or deaf have been characterized as aggressive, unpredictable, untrainable, prone to other health issues, and even a shorter life span. Studies, however, have proven otherwise. They have shown that despite their obvious deficiencies, these dogs are generally quite healthy and capable of living long, otherwise normal lives. And that, whether blind or deaf, they are no more aggressive, unpredictable or untrainable than sighted or hearing dogs.

Blind dogs are trained through the use of both sound and scent cues. By relying on their highly developed sense of smell, their noses let them know where and what things are, and when combined with their owners’ reassuring voice and touch, helps them live as normally and comfortably as possible.

They quickly learn and “map out” their surroundings, and for added protection, have their own “go to” place, created by putting their food and water bowls, doggie bed, kennel, and several favorite toys (squeaky toys or ones with bells inside are best) on a distinctive mat, and never moved. A carpeted runner or large area rug provides them with safe play area because the traction is good and the edges clearly discernible.

Sharp edges on furniture can be padded with bubble-wrap or foam pipe insulation to help prevent injury. Any stairways should be baby-gated, and a textured mat laid before each one to alert the dog to the gates’ proximity. And all outside activities, from pottying to playing, should be done either in a securely fenced yard or securely on leash.

Deaf or hard-of-hearing dogs are trained through the use of sign language or hand signals with treats as reinforcement. Vibrations are also used, such as walking with a “heavy foot” if their attention is elsewhere, and stomping close to their bed or near their head to waken them rather than touching and startling them. Lights can also be used as a teaching tool to get their attention, but, of course, this works best as night.

Since they bond instantly with their owners, placing their trust and safekeeping in their hands, deaf dogs always look to them for guidance and follow where their owner leads. As with blind dogs, all outside activities, from pottying to playing, should be done either in a securely fenced yard or securely on leash.

Because there is nothing inherently “wrong” with them, deaf dogs can do almost anything hearing dogs do. Many of them excel at agility and obedience, and make excellent therapy dogs.

As the owners of special needs dogs readily agree, their own lives have been irrevocably changed. By the sweetness and determination of the animals they adopted. By the smiles they elicit and the kisses they distribute. And most importantly, by the inspiration these dogs provide, not only for them, but for everyone around them.

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Article by Nomi Berger

Nomi is the best selling author of seven novels, one work of non-fiction, two volumes of poetry and hundreds of articles. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her adopted Maltese, Mini, and now devotes all of her time volunteering her writing skills to animal rescue organizations throughout Canada and the USA.

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