DogTime Blogs

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween and Pets

It’s not uncommon to get our pets involved with Halloween. But, it is important to note that not all activities are safe for pets.

Treats to Avoid:
• Chocolate
• Gum
• Chewy candy
• Hard candy balls
• Treats with foil or plastic wrapper

Keep to treats such as carrot sticks, pet cookies, or apple slices.

Decoration Dangers:
• Lighted jack-o-lanterns
• Spooky fog
• Stringed festive lights
• Electrical cords

Dressing up your pet:
• Avoid clothing that is too tight (this can choke your pet or stop circulation)
• Do not dress your pet up if they are nervous or seem agitated
• Never leave your pet with a costume unattended

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tear Stains

Dog breeds such as the shih tzu, poodle, maltese, french bull dog, and cavalier, can commonly get a red discoloration under their eyes. This is tear staining and although the staining may be unsightly, the staining is not a medical concern. What may be a concern is whether your pet has an eye condition that has resulted in excessive tears. Examples of eye diseases include conjunctivitis, glaucoma, blocked tear ducts, and dry eye.

If your pet has suddenly developed excessive tears, always have their eyes checked by the veterinarian.

If your pet has excessive tears due to the breed, gentle cleaning daily with warm water can help reduce the staining.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Can houseflies spread Ringworm?

A recent study examined the role of the housefly in spreading ringworm. And, although the fly does not actively spread ringworm in its excretions, it could carry it on its surface and transmit it to other animals and people as a mechanical vehicle.

For this reason, it is especially important to control the housefly particularly when the household is occupied by people or pets with a lowered immune system and to practice good hygiene.

Ringworm is a fungus that causes skin disease. A open skin wound is necessary for an infection to occur. Washing our hand frequently after playing with your pet and covering up skin wounds will help prevent disease.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (F.I.P.)

FIP is caused by the virus, coronavirus. It causes no or mild disease, usually diarrhea. The virus is widespread and occurs worldwide and is transmitted through contaminated feces. Once infected, the cat will shed the virus before dying.

Diagnosis relies on a good history of the pet as cats often succumb to the virus several weeks after a stressful episode such as surgery, adoption, or trauma, and are usually from multi-cat environments. Cats often present with weight loss, fever, and a poor appetite. Younger cats under 1 year of age, older cats or purebred cats are at a higher risk.

For more information about the prevalence in your area and the best way to prevent the virus, contact your local veterinarian.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Walking Dandruff

This condition of walking dandruff is due to a mite called Cheyletiella yasguri. It can cause itchiness and dandruff. These mites live on the surface of a dog’s, cat’s, or rabbit’s skin. And as they travel around the pet, dandruff attaches to their back giving the illusion that the dandruff is walking.

Not only can these mites cause problems to our pets. They can also bite humans, causing lesions on our skin. These mites can be found in dog bedding, dust particles around the house and can occasionally be picked up by our pets from places like dog day care. Because of this, it is important that the environment is cleaned regularly through vacuuming. And that early signs of itching or dandruff are examined by the vet.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pets as blood donors

Just like humans, pets can qualify to become pet blood donors. Emergency and critical-care hospitals can transfuse up to 20-30 pets per week. So, its no wonder there is a need for dog and cat donors.

Not all pets qualify. It takes a very calm pet to lie still with a needle inserted into their jugular vein in the neck.

• 50 pounds or more
• 1-8 years of age
• Current vaccinations

• 10 pounds or more
• 1-8 years of age
• Current vaccinations
• FeLV/FIV negative

Ask your local vet hospital or critical care center to see if your pet qualifies.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure can result from many different heart conditions such as valve disease. It results in the heart not being able to effectively pump the blood to the rest of the body. Early signs in dogs may start with a subtle cough or exercise intolerance.

Certain breeds are at higher risk including the:
• Cavalier,
• poodle,
• Chihuahua,
• Great Dane,
• Boxer.

Treatment often includes medications to help relieve the chest of fluid build up and to help the heart pump effectively.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Caring for a Senior Cat

The American Association of Feline Practitioners recently published their senior care guidelines. Cats were classified into the following categories:

• middle-aged 7-10 years
• senior 11-14 years
• geriatric 15+ years

With the improvement of cat care, the percentage of older cats has increased with many cats living into their 20s. It’s with regular visits to the vet – twice a year – that we can ensure that cats live a healthy long life.

Cats are very good at disguising pain or illness until it is severe. Early health changes occur at the middle-age range and full vet examinations with blood tests can often pick up these early problems.

One thing that you can do at home is to monitor your cat for early behavioral problems. Studies have found that behavior problems increase with age – nearly 30% of cats between 11-14 years develop at least one behavioral problem and increases to 50% for cats 15+ years.

Examples of behaviors that may change:
• Interaction with people or other pets
• Grooming
• Sleep habits
• Exercise
• Vocalization
• Toileting

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Dog aggression is a problem that can appear in many different forms and should be taken seriously: guarding toys or food, play biting, barking at owner.

If your dog is showing any of these examples:
• Seek veterinary attention immediately
• Consult an animal behaviourist or specialist trainer
• Do not put your dog into a situation where they can be harmful to people or other animals until the issues are resolved

Monday, October 19, 2009

Food Allergies

Food allergies are a common problem in our pets.

Common food allergies
Dogs: Beef, Cow’s milk, chicken, eggs, wheat, soy, corn
Cats: Fish, chicken, beef

Problems food allergies causes include gastro and itchy skin.

Elimination diets whereby you remove these common problems for at least 8-12 weeks can help determine if food allergies are really a problem. Otherwise, veterinary prescription diets can also be used for this time.

Improved responses can be seen 1-9 weeks of the changed diet if you are dealing with a food allergy.

Friday, October 16, 2009

What to feed your rabbit

Rabbits require a diet high in fibre and roughage.

One of the most common problems encountered in rabbit medicine is dental disease. Rabbits have teeth that are continually growing so they need to be worn down when eating.

Feed a good quality fresh hay or fresh grass. Avoid feeding lucern hay as it is too high in calcium.

You can also offer your rabbit fresh leafy greens and vegetables such as brocoli, cabbage, spinach leaves, brussel sprouts

Do not feed a sole diet of rabbit pellets or mixes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blindness in Dogs

Common causes:
Dry eye
Retinal problems (atrophy and detachment)
Lens luxation

This eye disorder is characterized by an increase in eye pressure and can result in blindness. Glaucoma is thought to affect approximately 2% of dogs.

Signs of glaucoma
Enlarged eye
Slightly dilated pupil
Inflammation of conjunctiva

Breeds predisposed to glaucoma
Bouviers des Flandres
Dandie Dinmont Terriers
Welsh Terriers
Basset Hounds

Cataracts are an opacity of the lens.

Breeds commonly affected by inherited cataracts (onset of cataracts ~1 year of age)
American Cocker Spaniel
Bichon Frise
German Shepherd
Golden and Labrador Retrievers
Siberian Husky

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Preventing Dog Bites

Nearly 1 million Americans require medical attention annually following dog bite inuries.

Most of these injuries occur in children aged between 5-9 years and a significantly higher incidence in boys than girls.

It is important to teach children basic safety and dog behaviour so they can avoid being bitten.
• Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
• Do not run from a dog and scream.
• Remain still if approached by an unfamiliar dog.
• If knocked over by a dog, be still and quiet.
• Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
• Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
• Avoid staring into the eyes of a dog.
• Do not disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or nursing puppies.
• Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
• If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.

Further statistics at CDC

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Weight Loss Plan

Obesity is a major health issue in the world. And unfortunately for our pets, they follow in our footsteps of overindulgence and poor activity. According to the Journal of American Medical Association, it is estimated that:
• 7.2 million dogs are obese
• 26 million dogs are overweight
• 15.7 million cats are obese
• 35 million cats are overweight
• Over half of these pets are older than 7 years of age.

Signs that suggest your pet may be overweight:
• the collar is getting too tight
• you cannot feel your pet's ribs
• your pet has no waist
• your pet has a broad flat back

Obesity can cause many other unwanted problems such as
• Diabetes
• Arthritis
• Liver disease
• Heart problems

Overweight pets can be expensive pets: a diabetic emergency can cost up to $1500 for one visit, and a cruciate ligament repair can cost up to $5000 for surgery.

Tips to Weight Loss
• Feed your pet only at meal times i.e. once or twice daily
• Do not use treats for training unless they are healthy e.g. carrots;
• Reward with hugs and positive attention
• Do not vary the diet too much as this encourages fussiness
• Do not allow for ‘begging’ behaviour
• Allocate feeding to one household member to avoid your pet being fed twice
• Measure or weigh your pet’s food
• Consider veterinary recommended weight loss diets
• Keep the food in a secure, out-of-reach area
• Do not feed table scraps
• Increase your pet’s exercise

Your veterinarian can help you calculate the amount of calories your pets need a day and also advise you on the types of exercise that is right for your pet.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why the average pet owner should not breed their pets

Being a professional dog or cat breeder requires a lot of experience and knowledge. If you are seriously considering becoming a breeder professional, contact the local breed association for advice.

Things to think about:
• Too many pets end up in shelters
• Development of genetic disorders
• It requires a lot of time and effort in selecting the right mates – it’s a profession
• It requires knowledge of the breed as well as genetics
• You need to put in place the appropriate disease preventive measures
• You need knowledge of the mating and whelping process
• You need to understand diet requirements

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fractured Teeth

A fractured tooth is one that has a crack or break in the crown or root of the tooth.

The treatment options include:
- extraction,
- dentinal bonding
- root canal.

Broken teeth can be uncomfortable as they can be associated with exposed pulp where the nerves and blood vessels are found.

Your local veterinarian will be able to assess the damage and determine what the best treatment is. In severe cases, your pet will be referred to a dental specialist.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a behavioral condition that occurs when dogs are separated from their owner. Dogs can demonstrate destructive behavior such as chewing furniture, barking, escaping from the home, digging through doors, urinating or defecating in the home when left alone.

It is estimated that 17% or 10.7 million dogs in the US suffer from Separation Anxiety.

How to prevent separation anxiety:
• From a young age teach your pet to be comfortable with alone time
• Leave your pet something to play with such as toys or other play mates
• Leave the music or radio on at home
• Avoid over-enthusiastic hellos and goodbyes
• Reward your pet when they are behaving calm

If your pet is showing signs of separation anxiety, contact your local veterinarian for specific tips for your pet. In worst case scenarios, medication may be prescribed to accompany behaviour modification techniques.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Annual Dental Cleaning

Everytime your pet has a dental exam and cleaning, a dental record is completed.

Your veterinarian will determine:
- are there any teeth missing,
- are there any extra teeth,
- is there tartar present,
- are the gums inflamed (gingivitis),
- are there any broken teeth or mobile teeth,
- are their any deep pockets surounding the tooth.

There are various techniques and products that can help reduce tartar build up. Talk to your local veterinarian about what is suitable for your pet.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Perfect Grooming Tools

Good health, diet and grooming are all important in getting the perfect coat on your pet. However, grooming tools can make all the difference.

Soft-bristle brush
All purpose brush on any pet
Broad head and supple bristles

Metal Comb
Largest, stiff, sturdy tines are best for removing mats

Grooming Glove
Good alternative for pets that don’t like to be brushed

De-matting tool
Tapered metal tines at an angle to work out mats in long-haired breeds

Tangle Splitter
For use on the toughest mats

Slicker Brush
Short, metal bristles for removing loose hair and dirt

Flea Comb
Narrow tines to help extract fleas
Make sure you have a tub of soapy water to put the fleas into immediately.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Can Dogs Improve Mental Health?

A recent study researched women and their relationship with their dog. It was found that companion dogs do contribute to improvement in emotional, mental and physical health.

Mental health was described as an ability to live a full and productive life. This study showed that a deep emotional relationship existed between owners and dogs and this increased mental stability.

Women described their dog as making them “feel safe”, “loved”, and “worthwhile”.

Friday, October 2, 2009

How to Reduce Visits to the Groomer

For pet owners who have long-haired dogs, visits every 4-6 weeks to the groomer can get very expensive.

Here are some tips to lengthen the time between visits:
1. Brush your pet weekly
2. Shampoo, condition, and blow-dry monthly
3. Trim nails and paw-pad hair
4. Keep ears clean, dry, and free of hair
5. Trim the rear end to help keep it clean

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Getting Rid of that Urine Odor

Urine smells especially from intact males can permanently seep into all types of surfaces: wood, rubber, and metal. Domestic Engineering has a great idea on cleaning up these surfaces:

1. Use a black light to see exactly where the urine is
2. Mix equal parts of club soda and white vinegar in a bucket
3. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle
4. Spray onto the urine stained area on the surface
5. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes
6. Rinse thoroughly with clear water
7. Dry the surface with an absorbent cloth

*Vinegar may harm some surfaces so you may want to test a spot first.