DogTime Blogs

Friday, July 31, 2009

Hearing Loss in Senior Dogs

It’s not unusual for a dog’s hearing to deteriorate with age. You may notice your pet not responding to your call, sleeping longer, or your pet not being alerted to sounds they would normally hear.


· Teach your pet hand signals with verbal signals

· Avoid sudden movements

· Use the ground for sending vibrations

· Keep to a strict routine – meals and toileting

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cat Aggression

Cats are very social pets when well socialized from a young age. Studies have shown that cat personality appears to be linked to the personality of the father. A male cat that is adventurous, friendly and outgoing is more likely to have friendly kittens than that of an unfriendly, timid cat. There also appears to be genetically-programmed, timid and unfriendly cats that remain this way no matter how much training. Needless to say, most cats respond extremely well to early experience and exposure as a kitten.

Between the age of 12-14 weeks, kittens start to show predatory play behavior – hunting, scratching, fighting, spraying etc. Rewarding good behavior and soft play and ignoring bad behavior is essential from this age and earlier. Without this, aggression can develop.

Treatment of Aggressive Behavior:

Use food rewards for good behavior

Avoidance for bad behavior

Medical intervention if severe

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Signs of Mental Aging in Senior Dogs

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome describes the aging of our pet’s mental state. Treatment options do exist for pet’s demonstrating these signs:

· Pacing

· Wandering aimlessly

· Increased vocalization – whining

· Confusion

· Seems lost

· Refusing food

· Inappropriate toileting

· Changes in interaction with people

Treatment options:

· Prescription medication

· Early behavioral modification

· Dietary intervention

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mouth Tumors

Unfortunately, the mouth is a common site for tumors in dogs and accounts for about 7% of all cancers. The most common mouth tumor is the melanoma then squamous cell carcinoma and fibrosarcoma.

Common Breeds
Mouth tumors can occurs in any breed of dog. However, certain breeds have been diagnosed
Melanomas - smaller breeds such as cocker spaniels and poodles
Squamous cell carcinomas - large breed dogs such as Labrador Retrievers and Samoyeds.

• Melanomas – 12 years
• Squamous Cell Carcinomas – 10 years
• Fibrosarcomas – 9 years

Treatment Options
• Surgery
• Radiation Therapy
• Chemotherapy
• Immunotherapy

Monday, July 27, 2009

“Hot Spots” – Pyotraumatic Dermatitis

Hot spots refer to skin infections that occur due to an overgrowth in bacteria causing a nasty moist, infection that usually spreads under the coat. Some breeds are more prone to these types of infections such as Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers.

These skin lesions are often very painful and require a complete treatment program to ensure they heal appropriately.

- often begins with sedation and clipping of the hair over the affected area
- the area is then cleaned
- e-collar is placed
- pain medication for a few days
- antibiotics for 14-30+ days
- home care of daily washing with an antibacterial shampoo
- cool compress to help reduce the itchiness

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hair loss in Cats

1. Failure to produce hair
- rare, but can occur in specific breeds such as Sphinx
2. Loss of existing hair
- skin infections – bacterial, fungal, parasitic
3. Self-trauma or behavioral
- excessive grooming, stress-related, injuries

Treatment depends on cause and can range from
• Flea control
• Mite control
• Antibiotics for bacterial infection
• Elimination diets for allergies

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Could you per be suffering from allergies?

Pets show signs of allergies in very different ways to our typical signs of sneezing and coughing. So, it’s important for us to be able to detect signs of allergies in pets:
1. excessive licking
2. general odor
3. ear inflammation or discharge
4. copper-stained paws
5. hair loss
6. circular crusty skin lesions
7. red pimples
8. greasy skin
9. dandruff
10. thickened skin

Veterinarians can perform various tests including:
• Skin smears
• Skin scrapings
• Cultures
• Urine tests
• Blood tests
• Allergy testing

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Weight gain after neutering

Having your pet spayed or castrated is indisputably beneficial to your pet as it can control pet populations and help prevent disease. However, studies have shown that within 48 hours of surgery, appetite can increase and metabolism can slow in cats. This can ultimately lead to weight gain and diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and urinary tract problems.

This highlights the importance of nutritional changes and exercise modification following neutering. Talk to your veterinarian about the appropriate diet and exercise regime for your pet.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Brushing your pets teeth

Dental disease is not necessarily a disease of our senior pets. Early dental problems can occur in younger pets. The American Veterinary Dental Society estimates that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by age 3 years.

Gum disease is caused by the buildup of bacteria within plaque on the tooth surface. Bad breath, red gums, tartar and plaque are signs of a dental problem.

Regular teeth brushing are the gold standard in pet dental care. Various products exist to help maintain the health of our pet’s mouth. Talk to your veterinarian about the best options for you. Not all pets will allow this procedure, so it’s always best to start when your pet is young.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Blastomycosis is a fungal infection that can affect dogs and people. Fungal spores are found in sandy, acidic soil near fresh water. Studies have shown that large breed, male, dogs of 2-4 years of age are at greater risk of the disease.

Route of infection: inhalation of spores

Clinical Signs:
Difficulty breathing
Enlarged lymph nodes
Eye infections
Skin ulcers

Antifungal drugs

When appropriate treatment is prescribed for the correct duration, it has been reported that 70-80% of dogs completely recover. Dogs with severe cases of lung involvement and neurological signs have a poor prognosis.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ask the Vet - Fever

A fever is an increase in body temperature: in dogs it is a temperature >104.0°F and in cats >103.0°F. Some animals, particularly cats can increase their body temperature with stress. But, any temperature over 104.0°F is unlikely to be due to stress. As body temperatures rise about 104.0°F, serious harm can occur to the pet’s internal organs.

Causes of fever include:
· Infectious disease (viral or bacterial)
· Immune mediated disease
· Cancer
· Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD) in young dogs.

Your veterinarian may need to run various tests in order to determine the cause of the fever. Tests include bloods, x-rays, and ultrasound examinations.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Feline Asthma Medical Options

Feline Asthma is the general term used to describe inflammation of the lower airways which restricts airflow through the lungs. Signs include wheezing and respiratory distress.

Feline asthma can be diagnosed by your local veterinarian and has various treatment options. Inhaled corticosteroids or bronchodilators have demonstrated fewer side effects than medications given orally. But, can be more difficult to administer.

Long term steroids
· Most effective long term treatment, however, are associated with many side effects.

· Administered as an inhalant and opens airways within 15 minutes in cats and lasts 3-4 hours.

If your cat has been diagnosed with feline asthma, talk to your veterinarian about the treatment options.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Open Windows

It’s not all that uncommon for pets to accidentally fall from a building or car out of an open window. Unfortunately, our pets do not quite understand the concept of open windows and the consequences of jumping out. Although cats are known for their ability to land on their feet “cat righting reflex”, they are not invincible when it comes to high-rise apartments and moving cars.

Secure your pets if you are to open a window
• Pet crates
• Pet barriers
• Car seat belts

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fly Strike

Fly season peaks mid to late Summer. These unpleasant pests look for injured tissue on living animals to lay their eggs. The maggots then hatch out to feast on the damaged flesh. Common areas of attack include open wounds, around the eye, and around the anus. It takes about 8-12 hours for the egg to hatch into the maggot form. Infestations are not only irritating, but they can cause serious damage and death.

• Bathe and groom your pets regularly
• Check your pet’s skin for wounds or dermatitis daily
• Treat any conditions such as diarrhea
• Clean any skin folds
• Control flies in the home environment

Monday, July 13, 2009

Garden Fertilizers

As we prepare our gardens for the perfect bloom, care must be taken when using fertilizers around our pets. Fertilizer can contain many different ingredients; some of which can cause mild gastrointestinal irritation to death if ingested by our pets.

Blood meal
Dried and ground blood that contains 12% nitrogen. If ingested, can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

Bone meal
Dried and ground animal bones. This ingredient makes fertiliser extremely inviting to our dogs. Large consumption can result in constipation or gastrointestinal blockage.

Commonly added to fertilizer and also found in vitamin supplements. Iron toxicity can result in stomach ulcers, liver disease, heart damage.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Common Household Poisons

Without toys and exercise, pets can become bored and start looking around the house for something to play with. There are various household items that should be securely stored. Most insecticides, pesticides and cleaning agents contain poisonous chemicals.

• Ant Poisons
• Antifreeze
• Battery acid
• Bleach
• Brake Fluid
• Cleaning Products
• Crayons
• Deodorants
• Drain Cleaner
• Dye
• Fertilizer
• Flea Products
• Heavy Metals (Lead, Zinc)
• Insecticides
• Matches
• Paint Remover and Thinner
• Perfume
• Rat Bait

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Choosing the Right Dog Toy

There are many different types of toys to choose for our pet. It's important to choose the right toy for the right situation and the right size of dog or cat.

Training Toys: used to teach your dog what is ok to chew on.

Interactive Toys: toys that can be enjoyed by owner and dog i.e. tug of war or fetch

Durable Play Toys: toys that can be safely chewed on by your pet all day

Comfort Soft Toys: toys that your pet can bond with or sleep with i.e. plush toy

Treat-dispenser Toys: toys that provide mental stimulation for your pet i.e. KONGs that allow you to put food in the center

If your unsure, ask your vet to recommend the right toy for your pet.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dog and Cat Blood Types

Human blood types fall into the categories of A, B, AB and O.

Cats are similar with A (majority), B, and AB (rare). There is no O type. It's important to know what blood type your cat is in case of an emergency. Cats that receive the incorrect blood type can have severe and potentially fatal reactions.

There are many different blood types in dogs. Approximately 13 different groups are recognised with many new groups being discovered.

Your local veterinarian can perform various tests to determine what blood type your cat or dog is.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Discolored Teeth

A discolored tooth is often a dead tooth. It is important to get these teeth examined by your veterinarian. These teeth require extraction or a root cancl in order to prevent it from forming an abscess (infection).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Is Your Pet Ignoring You?

If your dog chooses to ignore you when you call their name, it could be because they associate their name with a punishment. Think about the last time your dog toileted in the house or did something bad. Did you call him/her by their name before scolding them?

This is just one reason for why your pet may not come to their name. But, it’s not too late to re-train them.

Over the next few weeks, practice calling your pet enthusiastically followed by the word “Come!”. As soon as your pet runs towards you, call out praise such as “Good Boy/Girl!” and reward with a big hug. Try this in a confined area first before using it in open areas.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Things to Consider Before You Get a Dog

Choosing the right dog for you is a step that shouldn't be taken lightly.
• If you are considering a pedigree, consult with your veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or responsible breeder to learn about suitable breeds of dogs for your household.
• Dogs with histories of aggression are inappropriate in households with children.
• If a child is fearful or apprehensive about a dog and, delay acquiring a dog.
• Always spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it.
• Introduce a dog to a home with extreme caution. Never leave a child alone with a
• Spay/neuter all dogs unless planning to breed with them
• Do not play aggressive games with your dog such as chasing, wrestling
• Socialize and train any dog entering the household.
• Teach the dog basic behaviours such as “sit”, “stay”, relax”, “come” Promote
submissive behaviors such as rolling over to expose abdomen and relinquishing food
without growling
• Immediately seek professional advice from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or
responsible breeders if your dog shows any aggressive or fearful behaviour.
• Avoid buying a puppy from a pet shop as most the time the history of the pet is unknown.
• Avoid buying a dog that was advertise in the paper.
• A registered pedigree will always have papers and are printed on official paper.
• Ensure your puppy comes with an official vaccination record by the veterinarian

How to introduce a new cat to the household

Just like us, cats have their own unique personality. It’s important to introduce them slowly to a new household to avoid any unwanted drama. As in the wild, new cats are not welcomed and are often chased away. They can gain acceptance through gradually moving closer to the pack in a non-threatening manner.

Tips for introducing a new cat:
1. Don’t let them meet at first
2. Confine the new cat to a room to get to know the smells of the house
3. Rotate the rooms so each cat gets to learn of the new cat
4. Allow them to then listen to each other through a door
5. After a week, slowly introduce them for small periods of time

Any unwanted behavior such as hissing or growling means you start all over again until they finally approve of each other. They may not even be the best of friends, but they may be able to tolerate each other.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tips for Flying with Pets

Traveling pets has become increasingly popular. With the introduction of pet-specific airlines, it is important for us to know how to prepare our pet for safe air travel.

• Restrict food for 12 hours before a flight
• Provide only small amounts of water
• Exercise your pet just before the flight
• Train the pet to see the crate as a positive experience by allowing it to sleep in there at home, giving praise and treats
• Use puppy pads or small litter box for the trip to help with any accidents
• Stay as calm as possible to your pet doesn’t pick up on your concerns