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Dogs

The Very Basics Of Caring For A Dog

There is a reason why dogs are often called man’s best friend–they are loyal, loving, and affectionate. But, do you feel like you know everything there is to know about these cuddly creatures? If not, it would be in your best interest to do your research. This article is a great resource.

Never hit your dog. There are better ways to train a dog without having to resort to violence. The best way to train a dog is to reinforce positive behaviors with treats and attention. Negative behavior should be handled with a stern and disapproving voice as opposed to striking the animal.

Take care to keep your dog cool while traveling during the summer by car. Even with your air-conditioning on, the dog may become over-heated in his pet carrier. A simple and low-cost countermeasure is freezing a few gallon jugs of water and placing them near him where he can curl up and cool off.

It is important for you to take your dog in to see the vet on a fairly regular basis. Just like humans, dogs can develop health problems like toothaches, arthritis and weight gain. Do not wait until you think your dog is sick before taking him in to be seen.

When obtaining a shelter dog, you need to set up an appointment with your local vet immediately. Dogs that live in shelters may be sick or may have been around other sick dogs. Giving your dog shots before taking it home will keep everyone healthy.

Ease your dog into knowing a new baby that comes into your home. Dogs can be very jealous and you need to continue to show him plenty of love an affection, even though you’ve got a brand new bundle of joy in your life. Talk to the dog as you handle the baby and keep him in the loop.

Keep your dog at a healthy weight. Plenty of dogs are overweight, and just like humans, this can lead to health issues. People tend to overfeed their dogs, and many also feed them table scraps. A dog doesn’t need as many calories as most people think; talk to your vet about how much you should feed him each day, and what food is most suitable. A vet will advise you based on his size, age and lifestyle.

When it comes to buying food for your dog, don’t skimp by buying the cheap stuff. When you look at the big picture, it is good for your dog to consume nutritious, good quality food. You’ll have to pay more, but you can be certain your dog gets the right vitamins and minerals from good sources.

If training has become routine and boring with your dog, consider introducing agility exercises into the mix. These will still teach your dog to obey and be challenging, but they tend to be a lot more fun than the regular commands. Get the whole family involved by making an obstacle course and working the dog through it frequently.

Schedule a vet appointment for the new dog. Don’t wait to long to make your appointment. The veterinarian will do a full checkup and set a schedule for his vaccinations. Set up an appointment to have your dog fixed, too.

When taking your senior dog to the vet for an annual visit, make sure to request senior blood work. A blood panel can help your vet to identify any kidney, heart or vascular concerns. If caught early, treatment is often minimally invasive and less costly. This is a great way to keep your pet healthy for years to come.

You must learn how to introduce your dog to other dogs. Keep him on his leash during introductions so you have better control. Start with a walk by while keeping his attention on you. Then, on the next walk by, allow the dogs to sniff each other a bit. This will allow them to get to know each other without the dangers of attacks.

If your pup has an accident in your home, be sure to clean it up properly. Here is more info on dog breeds beginning with p look at the webpage. You want to be using a professional grade cleaner along with an efficient odor remover. Your dog may do his business in the exact same area if his scent from the excrement lingers.

If you are trying to teach your dog some basic commands, one of your first ones should be a recall. Everyone wants their dog to return to them when called for. If you have a solid recall for your dog, you will not have to worry about chasing your dog down it manages to get outside. It should come back to you when you use your recall word.

If you are training your dog to not pull when on the leash, you should invest in a quality collar and leash. If you have a larger dog, the force of it pulling might be able to break basic collars and leashes. For this reason a good, strong collar is recommended when you are walking your pup.

Naming a dog can be an absolute blast, but there are several things you should consider. Be sure that your dog’s name doesn’t rhyme with a word like stop or no, as this can be extremely confusing for your pet. Try and keep the name at one or two syllables in length, so that it’s easy for you to call out in a hurry.

Always keep an eye on your dog’s diet. You can give a puppy a high calorie diet because this will help him grow. Adult dogs should not eat the same diet as it will cause them to gain weight, possibly resulting in health problems.

If you do not have a fenced in yard, your dog should remain on a leash whenever it goes outside. If your dog is not on a leash, it could leave your yard and end up getting hurt. A leash is the best way to ensure that your dog will not be harmed by a vehicle, ingest something that it shouldn’t, or end up in a scuffle with another animal.

It’s time for you to do something about your dog’s weight. Your dog will only continue to get fatter if you don’t do anything about it. If you truly care about your friend and companion, you’ll do what it takes to make sure it stays healthy. Use these tips and help it slim down.

Have Some Dog-related Questions? We Have Answers

A dog is a man’s best friend, but how do you know that you are properly taking care of your dog if your dog doesn’t speak the same language? Learning how to take care of your pet is very important. You need to consider the following helpful advice for taking care of your dog.

You may know that chocolate is dangerous for dogs, but you may not know the specifics. Chocolate is dangerous because of the stimulants caffeine and theobromine. Baking chocolate is the most dangerous, with a high amount of stimulants. White chocolate contains the least amount of stimulants. Take you dog to vet if he ingests chocolate.

Having fresh and clean water available to your dog at all times is a must. Dogs become dangerously dehydrated in a matter of days, so its very important to always have water ready. Dogs will also appreciate water that is clean. If you find it necessary to drink filtered or bottled water because of the quality of water from your tap, then be sure to provide your dog with the same high quality water.

Keep on top of fleas. Not only can fleas cause infection in your dog, if one is swallowed, your pet can get tapeworms as well. Speak to your veterinarian about the best prevention method, but remember that this is not a one shot deal. You will have to continue your efforts over the life of your pet.

Hot summer days are harder for dogs to handle than humans. Always make sure your pet has enough water to drink. Provide them with a shaded area to rest if they are going to be outside for any length of time. And, if your dog begins acting in an unusual manner, call the veterinarian. Heatstroke could be fatal, so it is important to get medical care as soon as possible.

Don’t force your dog to eat something. If you got them a treat and they aren’t interested in it, don’t make them eat it. Get to know your dog better to figure out how you can make it happy.

Giving your dog a bath is essential to his health. Depending on his size and activity level, toss him in the tub weekly or monthly and always use a shampoo that is made for dogs and is pH balanced. Pets have different pH levels than humans and a good dog shampoo will leave your canine clean with a beautiful shiny coat.

Check to make sure your dog’s collar is adjusted properly by fitting two of your fingers comfortably underneath it and pulling gently. There should be just enough room to do this and no more, otherwise he may be able to wiggle out of it. Always keep it on, except during crate transport, as the collar can get snagged and injure.

Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your dog. You should congratulate your dog when it displays a good behavior, for instance by giving it a treat or petting it. Talk to your dog in a soft voice and make sure you praise it every time the good behavior is displayed.

Send your dog to school! He will feel more comfortable knowing exactly what is expected of him and obedience school will help him learn that. It will also boost his self-confidence, and of course, make a more well-behaved pet of him. Call around locally and see if you can sign him up for a trial class and take it from there.

Try to provide your dog with plenty of opportunities to socialize. Take him on walks to the park or beach where he will be around people and other dogs. Encourage his interactions with others and praise him for good manners. He’ll be much more comfortable in any setting and generally happier too.

Dogs sometimes get tiny cuts on their paws. Small cuts can be treated by washing, flushing with hydrogen peroxide and bandaging. If the cut is deep, contact a vet.

If your dog is always drinking out of the toilet, try changing how you provide him with water. Most prefer it cold and fresh, hence the attraction to the bathroom, so buy a fountain or thermally insulated dish to keep his water at a more appealing temperature. Also, add ice-cubes when it’s hot out and he’s panting

Try to provide your dog with plenty of opportunities to socialize. Take him on walks to the park or beach where he will be around people and other dogs. Encourage his interactions with others and praise him for good manners. He’ll be much more comfortable in any setting and generally happier too.

Make sure that you carry small bags and gloves with you while you are out walking your dog. If he uses the bathroom outside, it is your responsibility to clean up the mess. It is unsanitary for you to leave it there, and it some places you may receive heavy fines for that.

Outdoor doghouses are not enough to keep your furry friend comfortable in cold weather. You must also provide some sort of bedding for him. Choose from straw, hay, cedar bedding or even blankets. Make sure that you change the bedding often no matter what you choose to ensure that there no bugs move in and mold doesn’t grow.

If your dog seems to be struggling with learning commands, consider getting a clicker. A clicker is a tool that is useful when training as it teaches your pup that when he does something correctly, a click will happen which is immediately followed by a reward. Clicker training can be helpful for teaching commands, tricks, and walking manners.

If your dog makes messes in the house or chews when you are away, consider crate training. Crate training involves providing your pet with an appropriate sized crate to,stay in while you’re out of the house. It can keep your pet and belongings safe. Just make sure to never leave him in the crate for a very lengthly period of time.

Now you should know what goes into caring for your pet as best you can so now you should be able to bring a new pet home! There will always be things you don’t know, so don’t stop learning. A great place to discuss your dog with other dog lovers would be an online forum. Never stop learning.

Best Advice for Dogs with Skin Issues

I still need to publish a real post about Mr. Stix’s full backstory, but this feels more pressing. For nearly 18 months, Mr. Stix’s permanent nakey spot (from unknown injuries before he was rescued, including 15 fractures and this big patch of coat missing) has featured several inflamed, peeling areas. Initially I tried to fix it myself at home with things like aloe vera, vaseline, a veterinary ointment called animax that the shelter had give us while we fostered him most of 2019, etc. It’s sort of a combination of steroids, antibacterial, and antifungal stuff. I took him to see our main veterinarian in spring 2020, when there was a 2-month wait to get into see a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. It has been quite a journey since then, and it’s nowhere near over. Here’s my best advice for dogs with skin issues.

Before I tell the ongoing saga with Mr. Stix’s skin. Here is my best advice for dogs with skin problems.

See a board-certified veterinary dermatologist as soon as you can. Yes, your main veterinarian can probably help, but it’s honestly best to go right to the top experts.

Agree to whatever skin scrapings / cytology the veterinary dermatologist recommends. This provides information about what types of secondary infections currently grow on your dog’s damaged skin.

Do NOT assume every skin issue is allergies. It often is some sort of allergic process, but NOT always and assuming so (and acting accordingly may only delay real solutions and subject your dog to all kinds of quack advice and home remedies).

Buy the best quality fish oil and Vitamin E supplements you can afford, if it’s recommended for your particular case of a dog with skin issues.

When necessary, agree to the skin biopsies (yes, like minor surgery) and have them reviewed by a veterinary pathologist that specializes in dogs with skin issues. The one we used is at Texas A&M.

Follow your veterinary dermatologist’s advice and plans, and keep the faith. These dogs with skin problems often don’t improve quickly. (I need to take my own advise. See below.)

Mr. Stix’s Story as a Dog with Skin Problems

This is what Mr. Stix’s nakey spot looks like when it’s normal. Photo from May 2019 soon after his hip surgery. The bald patch is permanent. That’s not the issue.

This is how bad the red / peeling areas got in mid-2020 when we saw our main veterinarian, who added a low-dose of oral Vitamin E and some topical too and told me to keep using the animax.

This is how it looked when Mr. Stix first saw the board-certified veterinary dermatologist in early August 2020, but the specialist had me STOP the animax and instead use a prescription anti-bacterial ointment (mupirocin) … as well as add a better quality oral fish oil and continue both topical and oral Vitamin E (but at a higher dose twice a day). We knew from the skin scrapings / cytology they did onsite that Mr. Stix had a bacterial infection.

But, without the daily topical steroids (which long term are a bad idea), Mr. Stix’s skin got much, much worse — even breaking open and scabbing over.

Our veterinary dermatologist had recommended doing the skin biopsies right away in August 2020, and I *almost agreed to it then, but I was VERY worried about the cuts resulting in skin that would NOT heal. And, I figured it was at least worth a try to use the prescription antibiotic ointment and other supplements and stuff.

But, by around Thanksgiving, it was clear we had to do the biopsy. That photo is kind of gruesome, so you can see it here, if you want. I wish I had done the biopsy sooner. I feel like I wasted time from August through November.

Post-Biopsy Diagnosis

As I expected, despite all the know-it-alls trying to tell me it was an allergic issue, it turns out that Mr. Stix instead has an autoimmune condition called erythema multiforme. They believe it was triggered by the trauma of his earlier injuries. They don’t think it is life-threatening. They don’t think it will spread to other areas of his skin. Just the already damaged, permanent nakey spot.

With that information in hand, we updated the treatment plan to include a topical, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory ointment (tacrolimus — often pricey, but we used a Good RX coupon at Costco to get the cost down). They use a version of this medication orally for people who have had various kinds of transplants. It’s the smallest / safest option for treatment, and that’s where we started.

I was so hopeful it would work at the once-daily application, but the skin still didn’t heal completely.

So, in early 2021, we started applying it twice daily on the advice of our veterinary dermatologist.

But, it still hasn’t healed completely. It often improves a lot and then comes roaring back, so we had another appointment to see the specialist last week. We had to try something new.

Enter the Big Immune-Suppressing Drug

Despite my concerns and form of veterinary PTSD about major immune suppression drugs (after our experiences with Lilly), I agreed last week to add oral cyclosporine, which is also a drug that people get after various transplants. Mr. Stix would need to take it daily for life.

It smells like it’s made from skunk butts, so each gel-cap pill is individually packaged, and you keep them in the freezer because that can help with nausea it can cause (since it’s recommended you give on an empty stomach).

I found some good info on this med, and our veterinary dermatologist assured me that it has been safely used in veterinary medicine for like 20+ years, etc.

The med only comes in doses of 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg, and at his size Mr. Stix’s ideal dose is around 88 mg once a day. So we went with 75 mg (25+50) to err on the lower side.

It takes like 3-7 days for the med to build up in the blood to therapeutic levels, but it takes more like 4-6 weeks to know if it’s going to help the skin (or not).

We made it to day 4, then the barfing started.

Anxiety

I wish I could say that this is all going to be fine, but I just don’t know. I feel like I just have to accept that the skin will never fully heal, even though seeing his raw spots up close while applying the topical med twice a day and topical Vitamin E once a day causes me so much angst and anxiety.

I supposed to check in with our veterinary dermatology team next week to confirm that Mr. Stix’s weirdness and apparent suffering has improved.

It took a lot of convincing to get Mr. Champion of My Heart to agree to try the cyclosporine, so even if the specialist comes back and recommends maybe a lower dose, I doubt we’ll want to risk it … because Mr. Stix sure seemed to be having some neurologist issues to me, and after the Lilly situation, I just cannot do that again.

He is only 3 years old. I don’t want to make anything worse. It honestly felt like I’d poisoned him.

The good news is that most of the time his skin doesn’t seem to hurt or itch or anything — though I do have pain meds, if he needs them. It mostly just looks bad, and he has to wear a no-lick collar for about 20 minutes after I apply his meds so that he doesn’t lick it off.

His nakey spot is prone to sunburn anyway, and the topical tacrolimus increases the risk of burning, so I used his earlier sun-reflecting coat (which started to look ragged) as a pattern and sewed him a new / light sun protection coat. He looks very cute in it.

https://championofmyheart.com/2021/08/05/dogs-with-skin-issues/

Pets

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