Monday, February 28, 2011

Paw Check

Ice melts, also known as rock salt, are substances used to melt ice. Even if you do not use them on your property, your dog will likely be exposed to them on your daily walks outside of your yard.

The Dangers of Ice Melts

Most products on the market are safe as long as they are used as per their instructions. Many ice melts will burn your lawn but can also irritate the pads of pets' feet. If your dog eats a small amount of the product, it can irritate the stomach. Ingestion of large amounts of ice melts can alter the electrolyte balance in a pet's system, causing lethargy, weakness, and even seizures. In severe cases, it can be fatal.

Some dogs will lick their feet after a walk causing small amounts of ingestion. This can cause oral irritation, drooling, nausea and vomiting in some pets. Larger ingestion can occur after dogs drink from melted snow puddles.

Ice melts can also irritate your dog's paws. The pads will get quite dry in the winter and even crack. The ice melt can be very irritating – basically, it is the equivalent of rubbing salt in a wound.

Tips to Prevent Ice Melt Problems

1. Keep all bags of rock salt out of the reach of your pet. Keep ice melts in sealed pet proof containers.

2. Do not walk your pet in areas where rock salt or ice melts have been used. (This may not be possible.)

3. Clean your pet's paws after coming in from outside when exposure to ice melts.

4. Do not let your dog drink from puddles of melted snow. These may contain ice melts.

5. Fit your dog with dog boots to protect your dog's feet and keep them clean.

6. If you use ice melts, hose down and wash off all traces of the ice melts when the weather improves to minimize further exposure to your pet.

7. Beware "Pet Safe" ice melts. Some products are labeled as pet safe but there are no regulations to prove that they are. Based on product research, you should consider all ice melts as potentially dangerous.

If you ever suspect that your pet has ingested ice melts, please contact your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic immediately.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Natural Animal Health Product

Today, I learned from a reader's comment about a natural health product which would keep a dog from licking a wound.

Unfortunately, you can only buy it from certain veterinarians, but the website will find one for you when you insert your zip code.

The product is called LickGuard

There is an increasing trend in the animal health industry toward using natural alternatives in place of synthetic products. This trend has been in response to an increased awareness of issues such as antibiotic resistance, drug residues, and overall environmental impact. According to Van Beek who manufactures LickGuard, naturally-based products are safe for livestock and companion animals and help improve their health and performance. They use the best available ingredients from around the world when formulating products to be sure that the full benefits desired from the ingredients are realized in the final product.

Yes, no more cone collars!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Finicky Eater?

While some dogs will eat anything, other dogs are extremely picky.

What can you do?

Here are a few tips for dealing with a dog that is a finicky eater:

Make sure your dog is OK. If your dog has developed the habit of being picky about what he eats, the first step to the solution is to take your pooch to the veterinarian for a check-up. This is especially important to do if the finicky eating developed suddenly, if it is accompanied by vomiting and/or diarrhea, if your dog is showing other signs of illness, or if the finicky eating is associated with weight loss. Visiting the vet will help you rule out any underlying medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal or oral disease that may be causing the finicky eating.

Check the food. If your dog receives a clean bill of health, the next step is to evaluate the food you feed. Make sure it has not spoiled. Both dry and moist foods can expire, and it is also possible to buy a bad batch of food. Check the expiration date and take note of any odd odors in the food.

Feed a good food. You should be feeding a high-quality nutritious diet approved by your veterinarian. A quality brand of food will supply your dog with all the nutrients he needs, eliminating the need for diet variety.

Consistently feed one type of food. Constantly changing foods may cause your dog to "hold out" for something tastier, creating a finicky eater. Change can also cause vomiting and diarrhea in some dogs. Feeding human food snacks can have the same affect and can also lead to obesity.

Tips for getting your dog to eat:

If you have been feeding your dog the same food for an extended period of time, he has always been finicky about eating it and you feel that he is unhappy with the taste, then you could gradually switch to a new quality food. To do this, mix the old food in with small amounts of the new food, then slowly increase the new food and decrease the old. This will prevent gastrointestinal upset. Make the change over at least 2 to 3 days.

When changing foods, pick a new flavor or texture that may better suit your dog's desires. For example, you may want to try feeding a semi-moist food instead of dry, or you may choose lamb and rice rather than beef and rice. If you are selecting a softer food, keep in mind that these foods can cause more tartar build-up on your dog's teeth, and they are generally more expensive. Adding small amounts of a moist food to your dog's dry food may be a better alternative.

Heating the food is another trick that can help finicky dogs to eat. This helps to release the aromas that are appealing to your dog. You might try microwaving your dog's moist food, or adding hot water to the dry food. Stir the mixture around before giving it to your dog to make sure there are no "hot spots" created by the microwave warming.

Mixing something extra into the food can also be helpful - break up a dog biscuit, add a little meat-flavored baby food or sprinkle in a small amount of shredded cheese. This will make the food more appealing. To make it more difficult for your pooch to pick out the goodies, mix the special additives throughout the food. Be careful with this option. Too much of that "something extra" can lead to obesity. Also, do not spoil him so much that he becomes more finicky.

One more thing to remember.....unlike humans, dogs do not need variety in their meals because they have all the nutrients they need in their dog food.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Antioxidants For Dogs, Too

You hear so much about antioxidants and the damage caused by "free radicals".

What about our pets?

Oxygen gives your pet life but it may also behave aggressively - and excess oxygen can ironically poison body cells. Uncontrolled free radicals may run amuck throughout your pet's body, doing considerable damage to cells. They alter the structure of cell membranes and create havoc to poly-unsaturated fats, cell proteins and cell DNA. The more active the cell, the greater the potential risk of tissue damage.

In people, this damage has recently been linked to degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, Parkinson's disease and cataracts; it may also have a deleterious affect on aging. In pets, it is thought that free-radical damage may play a similar role in certain diseases and wreak havoc on the aging process.

Antioxidants are important because they help minimize the damage caused by free radicals, protecting your pets from tissue damage and disease. In the process they may also enhance immunity.

Dietary antioxidants include vitamin E, vitamin C, taurine and the carotenoids - beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and certain trace minerals. They help keep your pet's cells healthy, including lungs, heart, blood cells, muscles, nerves, GI tract and reproductive organs.

Some pet foods now contain these healthy antioxidants to help keep your dog healthy. Be sure to check labels to guarantee that your pet is getting its daily dose of antioxidants.

How about YOU?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Top Dog 2010

This year the American Kennel Club (AKC) celebrates its 127th anniversary and recently released its 2010 report about registered dog breeds in the USA.

Can you guess what breed is #1?

Hint: For the 20th straight year in a row, it is the same breed!

America's favorite dog - the Labrador Retriever.

The biggest change this year is that the Beagle jumped into 4th place from fifth knocking out the Golden Retriever to 5th. The bulldog also jumped into 6th place knocking out the boxer.

America's Top Ten Dog Breeds for 2010:

1. Labrador retrievers
2. German shepherds
3. Yorkshire terriers
4. Beagles
5. Golden retrievers
6. Bulldog
7. Boxers
8. Dachshunds
9. Poodles
10. Shih Tzus

For the full list, check here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day Dog Hug

Love Pug

Happy Valentine's Day!

Some people believe that Valentine's Day is a "greeting card holiday" and others think it is a day to express their love for the people and things around them.

Although I dislike consumerism, I belong to the second group.

Valentine's Day is also a great day to celebrate our love for pets - whether you buy your dog a special toy or treat, or just take a moment to kiss your dog and say, "I love you".

This loving video really made me smile, and I hope that you will enjoy it, too.

Dog Hug

Friday, February 11, 2011

Skiing With Your Dog

My Favorite Spot to Ski; Whistler, B.C.

Many blogs ago, I have talked about Ted Kerasote and his books about his dogs: Merle's Door and Pukka.

Today, I received an e-mail sharing a video of him skiing with his dog in the back country of Jackson Hole.

What great scenery and music. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dog Walking Good For Your Brain

Yes, walking your dog can help boost your memory!

Besides enjoying the outdoors, getting some exercise, and bonding with your dog, it has been proven that walking can modestly expand the hippocampus and improve memory.

In healthy adults, the hippocampus — a part of the brain important to the formation of memories — begins to atrophy around age 55 or 60.

In a study published on January 31st in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers randomly assigned 120 healthy but sedentary men and women (average age mid-60s) to one of two exercise groups. One group walked around a track three times a week, building up to 40 minutes at a stretch; the other did a variety of less aerobic exercises, including yoga and resistance training with bands.

After a year, brain scans showed that among the walkers, the hippocampus had increased in volume by about 2 percent on average; in the others, it had declined by about 1.4 percent. Since such a decline is normal in older adults, “a 2 percent increase is fairly significant,” said the lead author, Kirk Erickson, a psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh. Both groups also improved on a test of spatial memory, but the walkers improved more.

While it is hard to generalize from this study to other populations, the researchers were delighted to learn that the hippocampus might expand with exercise. “And not that much exercise,” Dr. Erickson pointed out.

So, keep on walking to stay healthy and mentally sharp.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dog Owie

Did you know that "owie" is not in the dictionary? Owie has been coined in the Urban Dictionary as "A word commonly used by small children or infants to describe a wound."

I learned that a 2-year old successfully dialed 911 and got help for her mother, repeating the word OWIE. This word should be updated in the dictionary as one of many first words taught to toddlers.

Ebony could only let me know about her "owie" by constantly licking it. She tore her dewclaw nail exposing the quick. Now that must really hurt! She refused to tell me how it happened and gives me those sad eyes having to wear her clown collar.

She has already managed to chew off some of the bandage and I wonder what it will look like by morning.

We definitely will not be on the Trail for the next few days.

The veterinarian had to cut her nail off and the bandage is suppose to stay on for three days. We shall see!

Not a happy camper

Saturday, February 5, 2011

One Tough Dog Toy

If you can put up with squeaking, which dogs love, here is a great dog toy.

It is called Kyjen Invincible Snake - The snake's body is FILLED with big squeakers (no stuffing) that keep on squeaking even after they have been punctured.

Toys that make noises are very interactive, encouraging your dog to play. There are 6 squeakers inside the large snake (and 3 inside the small snake) – plus, the snake has a rattle inside its tail.

How about a Valentine gift?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Salsa Dancing Dog

Not your average dancing dog.

The golden retriever in this video is truly amazing!

Take a few minutes to watch this salsa dancing dog.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Need A Laugh?

Have you seen this video of a French Bulldog puppy taking on a doorstop?

It will definitely fill the laugher quota for today.

Watch the video.