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Tips To Keep Your Dogs Healthy And Happy

Many people adopt dogs without knowing a great deal about how to care for them. There are many different issues to consider when caring for your dog. Different breeds require different care, you have to choose the right kind of food, and you have to understand the health problems that can afflict them. Read the following article for more information.

Be careful with your dog around Christmas season, many dangers are lurking just under the festive ambiance. For instance, electrical chords are typically strewn about during the holidays, and dogs often chew them, creating an electrical hazard. Dogs may be tempted to eat the decorations on the tree. They may also be tempted by the tree water, which can be toxic.

Never allow your dog to ride in a car unsecured. Sitting on your lap or in the front seat is dangerous both to him and your ability to drive. Always place him in an appropriately sized pet carrier or invest in a pet seat belt that will keep him snug and safe in the middle of the back seat.

If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, he or she may eventually come in contact with a skunk. If he gets sprayed, mix together one teaspoon of dish-washing detergent, a fourth a cup of baking soda and a quart of hydrogen peroxide solution (but make sure it is no more than three percent). Apply the mixture to your dog’s coat and allow it to sit for five minutes. Wash your dog off well afterward.

Dogs need a great deal of attention on a daily basis. If you have a hard time making time for your dog you will soon notice that there are behavioral problems that were not there before. In the least, you should try to set aside an hour each day just to love your dog.

When you get a new dog, set up an appointment for him at the vet. As soon as you bring your new dog home, make an appointment with your vet. Your vet will provide a full check up and establish vaccination dates. Remember that there is a tremendous dog overpopulation problem, so you should have your dog spayed/neutered.

When preparing to groom your pet, start the session off on the right foot by helping your dog relax. Spend a few minutes simply petting him, starting with the head and then rubbing the back, paws, belly and even tail. Once you feel your dog is happy and content, begin grooming him.

Never give your dog milk! It’s not necessary for his body and he doesn’t have the proper enzymes to digest it anyway. Feeding your dog cow’s milk can lead to chronic diarrhea and leave him with an upset stomach, among other health problems. Stick with plain old water for a healthy and hydrated dog.

Although the sound may be cute, your dog’s nails shouldn’t click along the floor when it walks. That’s a sign that the nails are too long. The nails should actually just barely touch the ground. Seek the advice of a professional on what tools are the best for giving your dog a pedicure.

If you breed your dog, do so responsibly. The AKC advises all owners of pure-bred dogs to make an effort to advance the breed and discard all other motivations, such as money or experimentation. Consider the repercussions of your actions before allowing your dog to mate and create a litter of puppies.

If you are planning on getting a new puppy, plan on investing in some training classes. These classes offer a great opportunity for your puppy to socialize with other dogs and learn basic commands. These classes will provide your new puppy with a great foundation for future training and will help them get a great start in life.

It is essential that you get your dog vaccinated. Vaccinations will protect your dog from different types of illness and diseases. Most vaccinations are done at your dogs yearly check-up. Your vet can explain what each vaccination is for. The rabies vaccine is required by law in many different states.

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.

Invest in a separate tub if your dog gets frequent baths. Buy a large metal basin where you will have plenty of room to scrub, but won’t risk clogging the pipes in your bathroom. Giving him a bath outside and away from the slipperiness of a porcelain tub is also safer for you

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.

Always make an annual checkup appointment for your dog. Vets can find problems such as kidney troubles, thyroid issues and diabetes well before symptoms appear to you. An annual check-up for your pet can help to avoid future expense and needless suffering for your dog.

You need to exercise some extra caution with your dog during the hottest months of the year. It is easy for a dog to become overheated, and this can cause health problems. Reserve a cool and shady area for your dog to hang out. You need to ensure your dog has some cold and clean water. You can also get doggie sunscreen to help keep your pet out of harm’s way.

Keep your dog safe from dangerous chemicals. Similar to kids, cleaning chemicals and any car maintenance substances are harmful to them. These substances are poisonous, so if a dog gets any on them or ingests any, they could get burned, become very sick, or die. Store your hazardous chemicals in a place that your dog can’t get to, or keep them in a closed area using a child-proof lock.

All of the expert advice contained above should have you ready to really take good care of your dog. That said, focus on love and everything else will fall into place. As long as you continue to adore your four-legged friend, and mistakes you make will be forgotten quickly and won’t be so harmful.

Happy Pup, Happy Pet Owner. Here Is How!

Are you thinking about adopting a dog from the pound? Are you interesting in getting a pure bred dog? No matter what type of dog you want, your dog is going to bring you plenty of love and happiness. It also comes with responsibility and you can learn about that in the following article.

Always, have your dog spayed or neutered. Studies have shown that this leads to the pet living a longer and much healthier life. Not only that, but neutered and spayed dogs feel less need to wander away from home, so they are not as likely to be hit by a vehicle or become lost.

If your puppy or dog is constantly chewing up your furniture, invest in some chew-toys. Scatter them around the floor, especially around the legs of the sofa and end-tables. Be enthusiastic about your offers to play with the chewies with your dog to encourage frequent use. This should eventually deter him from chomping your furniture.

If you are interested in providing your dog with the healthiest of diets and making positive contributions to the earth’s environment, make his food from scratch. You can buy locally grown organic ingredients and provide him all the proteins, carbs and fats he needs with no preservatives while reducing the waste from packaging as well.

Never lose your temper or punish your dog if you find that they did something wrong. Negative reinforcement will simply make your dog scared, which will make it difficult for you to train them. Use positive reinforcement at all times to get your dog to cooperate when teaching him new things.

If you are struggling to get your pet to behave during a grooming session, apply positive reinforcement. With your words and your tone, praise your dog for anything little thing that he or she does well during the time you are working with him. Give him a treat when you are finished, so he begins to associate grooming with something good. You should turn your dog’s behavior around in no time!

To protect your dog in the event he is lost or stolen, have a microchip surgically implanted by your vet. These handy chips store data that can be retrieved by a shelter or animal officer and used to contact you. They are painless to put in and offer peace of mind for the pet lover!

Pet boarding and day-care services are a billion dollar business, so make sure you get your money’s worth if you have to leave home without your dog. Although kennels offer interesting opportunities to socialize, your dog will be happier with familiar surroundings. Thoroughly check references for a sitter-service and keep him in his own home if at all possible. Otherwise, put him in a reputable kennel and check up on him oft

Your dog needs to exercise regularly. Like humans, dogs must exercise to burn calories, remain healthy, and help their minds stay sharp. Exercising also helps them avoid boredom that can cause destructive behaviors. Keeping your dog active can curb chewing, biting, digging, and chasing urges. It can even help them avoid depression.

If you are training your dog, make sure the treat you are giving him really is desirable. Pets have preferences too, and if your dog does not like the treat you are providing, there is not going to be much motivation to do the right thing. Try out a few different brands, and remember that soft, chewy treats are generally the most well-received.

If your dog is prone to getting burs in his coat, keep a can of Crisco in your kitchen cupboard. Next time you notice a bur, put gloves on to protect yourself and work the Crisco around until you can pry the bur out. Give him a nice shampoo to get the shortening out later.

Be prepared to have a lot of patience with your dog during potty-training. Much like children, dogs learn at different speeds and ages and your canine may be slow or stubborn. Have good resources at your fingertips to assist your efforts and remember not to get angry when your dog has “accidents” as that will only impede his progress.

Pay attention to your dog’s breath. Dogs will always have “dog breath,”u009d however, really bad breath is a sign that they need a dental check up. Plaque buildup caused by bacteria could be the culprit and that will need to be treated by a professional. After their treatments, you will need to brush their gums and teeth and feed them food that helps maintain good dental health.

Choosing a dog food needs to be done with great consideration. Since there are so many, you should find one that is made for your particular dog. Giving your dog leftovers may be cheap, but it may not give them a lot of health benefits.

Do not give in to the temptation to get a puppy without knowing how to take care of it properly. Educate yourself about the needs of the breed you are considering before actually visiting a breeder or a pet store. Some breeds are happy to live in a limited space, but others need room to run.

Never give someone a dog as a present. Most animals that are given as gifts eventually wind up in a shelter. This is due to the fact that many people can not handle the responsibilities that come with having a pet. If someone wants a dog bad enough they should be the one to make that purchase.

You need to teach your dog a few simple commands at a very young age for its own safety. Your dog should always come when you call its name and a command such as ‘give’ should be used to get your dog to stop gnawing at a potentially dangerous object.

It is natural to want to get your dog trained as quickly as possible. However, remember that there is a limit as to how fast this process is going to go. If you are not realistic, you are much more likely to get frustrated with your pet, which could damage your relationship. Your pet will learn over time, but it may not happen as fast as you would like.

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.

Dogs

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/

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