Category Archives: Pet Health

Dry vs Wet Dog Food: Pros and Cons

For as long as there have been different types of dog food, the debate has raged about which type is better. Should you feed your dog dry food or wet food? Ultimately, the choice depends upon which your dog prefers and which suits your needs and your budget better. Before deciding, you should weigh the following pros and cons to make sure you make the right decision for your dog.

Wet Dog Food Pros:

Wet dog food can be a great source of water for dogs that don’t care to drink from their water bowl. Wet dog food is also easier to ingest, which is a benefit for senior dogs or those with problems with their jaws or teeth. Wet dog food also has a richer, stronger scent which can help entice your dog to eat his own food and stop begging at the dinner table.

Wet Dog Food Cons:

Wet dog food is generally more expensive than dry, and your dog may need to eat more of it to feel full and get his recommended daily calorie intake. Wet food also does not last as long as dry kibble; it must be used within hours after it is opened.

Dry Dog Food Pros:

Dry dog food encourages chewing, which can lead to better jaw health, and better health for your dog’s muscles and bones in his face. Dry dog food also helps to chip away at plaque buildup on your dog’s teeth, keeping his teeth cleaner and reducing the amount of oral hygiene work you have to perform. Dry dog food is usually less expensive than its wet counterpart, which can help you stretch your budget.

Dry Dog Food Cons:

Dry dog food can cause a problem for dogs that are elderly or have problems chewing. Likewise, if your dog has weak teeth, dry kibble can cause his teeth to chip or crack. If you believe any of these issues may be a problem for your dog, you should talk to your vet.

5 Things You Never Knew You Shouldn’t Give Your Dog

Most people know that chocolate is a major no-no for dogs. Like sharing your morning coffee or a late night alcoholic beverage, it may seem cute to let your dog taste the food and drinks you’re enjoying, but these and many other items can be toxic and even fatal for your furry friend.

1. Grapes and Raisins

The ASPCA acknowledges that the exact reason grapes and raisins are toxic in canines isn’t clear. Some dogs can even eat them without any issues, but others experience symptoms after just a few pieces of the fruit. Pay attention to your dog’s urination levels. If it increases briefly and then drops or stops altogether, get him to the veterinarian right away. Without care, this can cause death in as quickly as three days.

2. Corn on the Cob

It may seem funny to watch your dog try to get the kernels off a cob of corn, but your pup doesn’t actually care if he eats part of the cob while he chomps on the juicy corn. He’ll digest the corn without problem, but the cob may get lodged in his small intestine. The only way to prevent a fatal blockage is to have it surgically removed.

3. Onions and Garlic

Lump all the relatives of these seasonings into the warning. High concentrations, like onion and garlic powder or onion soup mix, are the most hazardous. Orange or red-tinged urine and weakness are signs of toxicity from these foods.

4. Candy and Gum

Sugar has the same unhealthy effects on dogs as on humans – so consider a natural supplement to replace your dog’s sugar-filled treats. Many treats actually contain xylitol, a no-calorie sweetener that can cause high insulin levels and other severe conditions in your dog. Disorientation can begin as early as 30 minutes to a few hours after ingestion.

5. Bread Dough

Yeast is the culprit, whether in the raw dough or on its own. The moist, warm surroundings of your dog’s digestive tract encourage the yeast to increase and expand. The mound of yeast can affect blood flow to the stomach or prevent the diaphragm from fully functioning, while the expansion produces alcohols that can poison your dog.

Senior Moments: Signs Your Dog is Aging

Signs of Aging in Dogs

Your dog is exhibiting behaviors that are a little “off” from his normal routine. Sometimes these behaviors are a sign of a health issue, other times they are simply normal signs of aging. If your dog is getting up in years and showing signs of slowing down, the following information can help you discern whether you need to rush to the vet, or if it’s a sign of nature taking its course.

Reduced Appetite

As dogs age, they need less in the way of calories. If your dog’s appetite has decreased slightly, this could be a sign of advanced age. However, if your dog stops eating completely and even treats and table scraps don’t entice him to chow down, you should consider scheduling an appointment with your veterinarian to see if something else is going on.

Reduced Energy

Reduced energy levels are also a sign of aging. Your dog will slow down as he ages. Shorter walks and shorter play times at the dog park are normal, as is letting the neighbor cat walk by the front window of your home unmolested. However, if your dog is lethargic and reluctant to move from his favorite pillow, this is another instance when you might want to call the vet.

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Other Health Concerns

As your dog ages, his coat will become less bright and fluffy, and his fur will thin out some. He may also turn gray or white around his muzzle. His hearing may not be as sharp, nor his sense of smell. Just like humans, dogs will also lose muscle mass as they age, especially in the hindquarters. Your dog may have a difficult time climbing up on your favorite chair with you, or take a little longer to get out of bed in the morning. These are all natural signs of aging for dogs. As a dog parent, you know better than anyone when your dog is sick. If something feels “not quite right,” it probably isn’t, and you should visit your vet to get a professional opinion.

How to Assist Your Furry Friend as He Ages

Routine Vet Visits

It is important to obtain routine vet care for your dog, no matter his age. Not only does this help you keep up your dog’s routine medications, it can also help your vet identify any issues right away. Like humans, as a dog ages, there are many medical issues that can come into play. The sooner these are identified, the easier it is to keep your dog in good health.

Diet and Exercise

One way you can reduce the signs of aging in your dog is to ensure that he is getting the proper nutrition. A diet comprised of a high-quality dog food is helpful; a grain-free food that is high in protein is best. Some experts believe that dogs that eat a grain-free diet have healthier skin and coat, as well as healthier bones and joints. It may take some trial and error with different foods to find one that suits your dog’s individual nutritional needs as he ages. You should also provide your dog with the right amount and type of exercise that fits his needs and abilities.

 

The Importance of Crate Training Your Puppy

Putting your dog in a crate is not a bad thing. In fact, when done properly, crate training benefits not just your pup, but your entire household.

Misconceptions

“I would never put my dog in a cage.”

“We adopted our dog from a shelter, so I don’t want him to feel like he’s back in a pen.”

These are just two common statements pet professionals hear when discussing crate training with clients. The truth is, a crate serves as a safe, comforting place for your dog when he is introduced to it properly and trained to use it in a positive fashion. A crate should never be used as a form of punishment.

 

Why Crate Train?

Dogs seek out dens for comfort and safety in nature; they provide shelter from harsh weather, offer a gathering place for the pack and a safe spot for sleeping. An appropriately sized crate satisfies the innate need for security that your puppy would get from a den in the wild. If your puppy is afraid of thunder or doesn’t like big crowds of people, a crate is a perfect retreat for him. From your perspective, a crate is a great tool for house training, sound sleeping and a safe way to transport your dog. Getting your pet used to the crate as a puppy makes things easier on you while preventing a lot of experiences that may cause anxiety in your dog later in life.

The Benefits

Dogs instinctively avoid eliminating in their den. Thus, crating your dog while you’re out of the house is likely to prevent potty accidents. Puppies in particular need to go to the bathroom regularly, but the process of crate training will result in a dog that knows to go only when he’s outside.

If your dog is conditioned at an early age to sleep in his crate, the likelihood of an uninterrupted night of rest for both of you increases. Taking your pup along with you on trips or even in the car to the park or vet is much safer when he’s in his crate.

Choosing the Right Puppy for Your Family

In the movies, bringing a new puppy home often seems like a spontaneous and idyllic moment that families share together. But in reality, adding a puppy to your family is like deciding to have another child. You will want to take the necessary time and steps to decide if this is truly the right time for a furry addition to your family. If you know that now is the perfect time to bring a puppy home, the next step is finding the right puppy for your family dynamic. These tips will help you as you make this exciting and important decision.

Tips for Choosing the Right Puppy for Your Family

  • Consider your current living situation and the space that you call home. If you and your family are city dwellers who live in a small apartment, consider the size of your home and the outdoor space you have available before you decide on a puppy. Perhaps a smaller breed is the best choice for your family. Families who have larger homes with ample room to run around may find that a large breed dog is best.
  • Think about the things that you like to do together as a family. If your children love to practice their favorite sports activity in the yard, an active dog may be a great choice. However, if you and your family would rather spend your days inside reading a good book, a docile dog that prefers to snuggle would be better suited.
  • Evaluate the personality types of each family member and try to identify the type of temperament you would like in a new puppy. If you have kids that are shy and reserved, it would not be wise to get an outgoing dog. Instead, find a breed with an equally cautious temperament so that it will match the family dynamic.

Once you have decided what type of puppy is right for your family, you should begin your search as soon as possible. You will be thrilled to have a new addition playing around the yard. At that point, it will be time to make more equally important decisions, such as those regarding the health and welfare of your new pup.

The Importance Of Play In Puppies Health

Importance of playYou’ve just brought a new puppy home, and you know you have a lot of work to do. You have to buy all of the supplies your new four-legged family member needs, and you are going to start training as soon as possible. Of course, you have to potty train your puppy as well and spend time exercising with them each day. With this new busy schedule, it can be easy to overlook the importance of play and the role it plays in your puppy’s development. However, playtime is essential and these tips can help you understand why.
• Playing helps your puppy learn social rules and norms in your home. When you play with your puppy, you help them learn that it hurts when they bite. You teach them which toys they can play with, and which items in your house are off limit. You show them that you will take time for them each day.
• Playtime can also improve your dog’s senses and teach them how to focus on a task. Search and find games are perfect for showing your dog how to use its instincts as well as sight, sound and smell to find a toy. You also help them improve their mental capabilities, as you allow them to have fun while focusing on one particular task.
• Spending one-on-one time with your dog while playing also establishes a bond between you and your new pet. Your new puppy needs to know that you are going to take care of all of their needs, including the need to feel loved. When you spend special time enjoying fun play activities with your pet, you will bond with your new puppy. This increases trust, and will help improve the training process as your dog adjusts to life in your home. Playtime keeps your puppy happy, which helps them to stay healthy.