DogTime Blogs

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pet Sleeping Habits

Dogs need their sleep and without it they can become stressed. Stress can result in behavioral changes, weight loss and a lowered immune system. Although very few studies exist on the sleep and dreaming habits of dogs, it appears that the amount of sleep required depends on the dog breed, age and energy levels. Most dogs need about 14 hours of sleep a day.

Large breed dogs such as Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards and Great Danes sleep a lot more than the small breeds. They can sleep up to 18 hours a day. Low energy dogs that sit at home such as Bull dogs and Bassett Hounds sleep a lot more than high energy dogs such as working dogs (e.g. search and rescue dogs).

Placing your pet’s bed in an area that is away from noise and activity will help them get their required amount of sleep for rejuvenation. Changes in sleep patterns can definitely be an early sign of illness. If this is the case, seek veterinary attention for further investigation.

Like humans, dogs’ do dream. The twitching, whimpering and paw movements are signs of a dog in deep sleep. Avoid suddenly waking your pet up from deep sleep.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Anti-inflammatory Side Effects

Pets are often prescribed anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) to help relieve the pain following surgery, dentals or long term for pets with chronic conditions such as arthritis. These products can provide very effective pain relief, but are not advised for pets with kidney, liver, or stomach issues. Only your veterinarian is able to choose the right anti-inflammatory for your pet.

If your pet has been prescribed anti-inflammatories, it is important to monitor your pet closely for any side effects such as:
- vomiting
- diarrhea (with or without blood)
- inappetence
- tense abdomen
- black stools
- drinking a lot
- urinating a lot
- pale gums

Notify your veterinary hospital immediately if you notice any of these signs.

And NEVER use human NSAIDs on your pets!

Prevention of serious NSAID problems
- Monitor for signs
- Visit the veterinarian regularly i.e. every 3-6 months
- Have blood tests done at vet visits to pick up early signs of kidney or liver problems
- Keep to the prescribed dose (Increasing the NSAID dose does not necessarily provide more pain relief)
- Notify the veterinarian of all other medications your pet is on. Other drugs such as Corticosteroids (used for allergy relief) and Aspirin can cause serious drug reactions.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Is your Pet Missing Teeth?

On the surface, missing teeth may not appear to be a problem in cats and dogs. But, under the surface, bone cysts or abscesses can form causing long term problems.

Dogs and cats should have all their teeth showing by 6 months of age.

How many teeth are they supposed to have?
Dogs: 42 permanent teeth
Cats: 30 permanent teeth

You local vet can schedule dental x-rays to determine whether a tooth is truly missing or whether it lies under the surface of the gum.

It's always best to get these investigated early rather than wait for a more serious problem to occur.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is the development of a malformation of the hip in any dog breed. More commonly seen in large breed dogs, it has been reported by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals as high as 80% in some breeds. The condition has a strong genetic component but can also be caused by other factors such as growth rate and diet.

Commonly affected breeds:
• Bull Dogs
• Newfoundlands
• Saint Bernards
• Labrador Retrievers
• Golden Retrievers

• Radiographs analyzed by the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHIP)

• Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the pain
• Nutraceuticals to help with join health
• Modified exercise program
• Physical Therapy
• Diet modification for weight loss
• Surgery

• Do appropriate screening of dogs before adopting them
• Get your puppy screened early at the time of vaccination

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pets with Bad Breath

Healthy pets should have normal fresh breath. Bad breath can be a sign of a serious dental disease or health problems. The American Veterinary Dental Society reports 70% of cats and 80% of dogs show signs of dental disease by age 3 years.

It's important to have your pets teeth examined by a veterinarian every year. You can help prevent dental problems by brushing your pets teeth regularly.

Other preventive measures include dental sealants, dental chew toys, and dental chews. Ask your veterinarian to discuss preventive options for your pet.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pets with Allergies

Allergies are one of the most common problems in dogs with inhaled allergens, food and fleas being the top causes. When pets breathe in allergens such as pollens, they can develop itchy and irritated skin. Allergic pets generally show signs around 6-7 months and fully develop signs by 3-5 years. It can be seasonal or it can be all year round.

Signs of allergies in pets:
• Chewing of feet
• Discoloration of fur on feet (saliva staining)
• Hair loss
• Hot and reddened skin around face, feet, armpits and groin
• Scabby skin

If you suspect allergies, your veterinarian can run a simple blood test to determine what is causing your pet to itch.

Tuesday, December 22, 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

Monday, December 21, 2009

Inter-dog Aggression and Owner-Directed Aggression

If your dog shows aggression towards other dogs when walked, you may want to make note of the following tips to prevent problems:
- Avoid high-density dog areas
- Avoid hours that are popular for dog walking
- If you see a dog up ahead, create space between you and them
- Use head collars to help control your pet
- Use a short non-retractable leash

Owner-directed Aggression

This form of aggression is highly dangerous to you and your family and should be taken very seriously. If this occurs, schedule an appointment with a qualified veterinary behavioralist to help get this under control sooner or later.

Basic tips for handling this dog include avoiding these pets when sleeping, eating, toileting or nursing.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Beware of Christmas Plants

Christmas plants are those that are often used to decorate the homes during the festive season.

Toxic Plants:
- English Holly
- American Mistletoe
- Poinsietta
- Christmas Tree Preservatives

Thursday, December 17, 2009

How to tell if your cat is in pain following surgery

Following surgery, any animal can be more quiet than usual. But, how do you know if they are in pain? Unfortunately, complications can occur following surgery so it is important to be able to read the signs so that you know when to take your pet back to the veterinary hospital.

• Posture: a cat in a hunched position, with its head hung low, resenting handling is likely to be uncomfortable.
• Orientation in bed or crate: a cat that sits back in its bed or crate, or pacing, agitation or vocalization can also indicate that your pet is uncomfortable.
• Facial Expressions: A head-down posture with the eyelids half-closed may indicate pain.
• Loss of Normal Behavior: any change in the normal behavior should be monitored as it may indicate pain.
• Response to handling: a cat that flinches or turns to bite when its wound is gently touched is an indication of pain.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Uveitis in Cats

Uveitis is an eye disorder that can lead to blindness in cats. It is a condition that affects the uvea which is made up of the iris, and surrounding tissue.

Signs of eye pain:
- Redness
- Squinting when in light
- Third eyelid prominence
- Weepy eye

Treatment involves reducing the inflammation, treating any underlying causes and preventing complications such as glaucoma, cataracts, and lens luxation.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How to Prevent Birds from Biting When Being Handled

Just like our cats and dogs, birds should not be punished for bad behavior such as biting. Punishment can lead to increased aggression, fear, apathy, and avoidance behaviors. It’s important to see through the eyes of the bird and determine whether it bites out of fear, aggression or avoidance.

Tips to handling a bird that bites
• Use a wooden perch and teach your bird “up” and “off”.
• Reward the bird with tiny treats
• Once the bird is comfortable on the perch, use this as a means to move your bird.
• Eventually, train your bird “up” and “off” on your still hand.

A bird can just as easily learn that certain behaviors will be followed by a positive reinforcement.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thinking of a Gift for your Pet for Christmas?

When considering a fun and safe gift for your pet, don’t forget good quality time. Pets love a good cuddle, a walk, lounging on the couch with you, and just spending time with their family. Cats love toys that dangle or crinkle. Dogs like squeaky toys and toys that hide treats.

Safety tips:
• Avoid rich Christmas food including roast turkey, chocolate, nuts, garlic, or onions
• Avoid cooked bones
• Keep Christmas decorations safely away from pets

Friday, December 11, 2009

Will Cat Food Hurt My Dog?

Cat food is not harmful to dogs. However, a cat’s diet does have different nutritional requirements to that of a dog’s diet. The richness of a cat’s diet can cause problems for dogs such as stomach upsets (vomiting and diarrhea) and even obesity.

On the other hand, dog food does not contain the necessary nutrients for cats. And therefore, cats cannot achieve a healthy balanced diet from dog food. It’s always best to keep the cat food for cats and the dog food for dogs.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

USA Today Pet Talk: How to pet a dog, a lesson for kids and parents

Very interesting tips for kids and parents at Pet Talk: USA Today

Salmon Poisoning

Salmon poisoning actually refers to the fatal disease when dogs ingest salmon that is carrying a tiny parasite. Well-cleaned and cooked salmon is unlikely to cause a problem. However, care must be taken in feeding fish of any kind to your pet as bones can cause harm to your pet’s digestive tract.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Is it Ok to Give My Dog Milk?

Many dogs are actually lactose intolerant which means that they lack the enzyme necessary to break down the lactose within the milk. These affected dogs can become ill with vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort, when fed milk.

Whilst many dogs are lactose intolerant, some dogs are not. If you are unsure, only give small amounts of milk at a time and dilute with water.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Car Sickness

Motion sickness does occur in dogs and usually occurs very shortly into a car ride. Dogs typically start drooling and then vomit. It’s important to get your dog used to car rides from a young age. Letting them sit in a car for a few minutes a day will help them to be calm and associate the car with a good experience. Once your pet is comfortable with the car, you can then gradually introduce short car rides.

If your pet is older and does not seem to be acclimatizing to the car, you can always talk to your veterinarian about motion sickness medication.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Feet Chewing

Unlike people, where allergies cause sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes, dogs show allergies by chewing at their feet and legs. On white-haired dogs, the orange tinting is a sign of saliva staining and chronic allergies.

Common allergies:
• Fleas
• Food
• Shampoo
• Pollen
• Grasses

Your veterinarian can help run tests to determine what your pet may be allergic too.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Scooting can be caused by a number of reasons:
• Fleas
• Worms
• Anal Gland Problem

If your pet regularly gets its parasite preventives, it may need to be examined by the veterinarian. Anal glands, particularly in smaller breeds, can become blocked. If these glands are not expressed regularly, they can cause extreme discomfort and also become infected.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Important Tips for Kids and their Pets

Pets are an important part of life for over 60% of the US population and children can benefit immensely from the bond they form with their pets. Unfortunately, serious dog bites, cat scratches, and other pet-related diseases still occur in children predominantly 4-9 years of age.

Pets' Playground - Playing Safe In a Dog-and-Cat World, published by the American Animal Hospital Association, is an essential resource to help keep kids safe while benefiting from the human animal bond. The book can be viewed here.

Pets' Playground teaches children about:
· Pet behavior and feelings
· Pet toys and playtime
· Healthy meals and treats for pets
· Good pet care and responsibility
· Creepy crawlies that pets and kids need to avoid
· Household safety and poisonous plants
· Visits to the vet
· And more!

More fun pet games at Kids and Pet Safety


Dogs can drool for many reasons:
• Nervousness
• Excitement
• In anticipation of food
• Breed-related

To save your carpet, furniture and clothing from drool, try to wipe your pets mouth regularly, use chew toys to help them swallow more to soak up any excessive saliva.

If you pet has started to drool suddenly, seek medical attention as it may be a sign of nausea, anxiety, or painful teeth.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Dog Keeps Pulling on its Leash

It’s not unusual for the excited dog to pull on its leash when walked. Unfortunately, this can put a lot of pressure on their neck. Gentle Leaders are a great solution for preventing pulling. The Gentle Leader attaches to the collar and wraps around the muzzle.

Taking your pet to obedience class can also help your dog learn to walk calmly.