Natural Ways to Deter Fleas

puppy running

One thing all dog owners can agree on, no one likes fleas! As small as they are, they can be a big nuisance to not only your dog, but your whole household. It is recommended that you discuss with your vet the best flea prevention for your dog. Most people choose to use topical applications of medicated flea control. This week we are looking at some natural methods to help protect against fleas.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar          Who knew the wonder remedy has benefits for dogs too? Some dog owners have found adding a little bit of apple cider vinegar to their dog’s water can help to deter fleas. Approximately 1 tsp is enough for a 40lb dog, diluted in about 1 Litre of water. If you find your dog doesn’t like the taste, you can put a 50/50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water into a spray bottle and just spray down your dog’s fur. Depending on how comfortable you are with the smell of apple cider vinegar, you can also spray down the dog bed and any other furniture he typically goes on.

 

DIY Flea Bath           If it’s getting to be around flea season, you can pre-emptively give your dog a homemade flea bath. Just combine 2 cups of water with the juice of 1 lemon and about ½ cup of his normal doggy shampoo. Mix well, and use in place of his regular pet shampoo during his next bath. Your dog will smell lemony fresh while also keeping pesky bugs at bay!

 

Go To The Beach!               Many dog owners swear by the use of salt on fleas. If you’re worried that maybe you’ve seen one or two fleas around, take your dog to go swimming at a dog friendly beach! The salt from the water may ‘dehydrate’ and kill the fleas. Because this method hasn’t been studied, this method is not recommended if you’ve seen many fleas on your dog. Be sure not to do this method too often, as the salt will also start to dehydrate your dogs skin and dry out his hair.

We hope that these natural remedies help you and your dog stay happy, healthy and free of fleas!

Preventing Bloat in Dogs

dog eating

Extreme bloat in dogs is a serious health concern. Sometimes the bloated stomach contorts, also commonly known as a ‘flipped stomach’ or ‘twisted stomach’. The medical term for it is actually Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV). It can cause serious harm to your pup, so it is important to know the warning signs, what to in the case of bloat and what can trigger bloat to happen in the first place.

 

Triggers of Bloat

When a dog eats a large meal or drinks a lot of water, his stomach expands. This expansion can put pressure on other organs nearby causing problems such as a lack of blood flow or a tear in the stomach wall. Sometimes if a dog is very active, this will cause the bloated stomach to rotate or ‘twist’, preventing enough blood to get to major organs.

Many larger breed dogs have a much higher chance of developing GDV in their lifetime, as opposed to smaller breed dogs; this is due to their deep and narrow chests. Dog breeds such as Great Danes, Boxers, German Shepherds and St. Bernards all have very high chances of having bloat at some time in their life. Dogs who have suffered from GDV, often have a much higher chance of it occurring again. Because bloat can occur if a dog eats to fast or has rigorous exercise to close to eating time, dogs who are naturally very active should be fed small meals and try to relax for a bit before going for a run. A popular tool if your dog tends to eat too fast is a ‘slow-feeder’ type bowl.

Although it is widely believed that bloat or a flipped stomach happens only to dogs who are too active after eating, there are also many cases where there was no known reason as to what caused the bloat. That is why it is important for every dog owner to know the symptoms and stages of bloat and how to handle situation.

 

Warning Signs of Bloat & What to Do

The symptoms of bloat typically don’t take long to appear. The dog may seem restless and start pacing. He may try to vomit but is unable to. Other typical symptoms are pale gums, drooling and rapid heartbeat. As all dogs are different, he may show only one of these symptoms or he may show many. If you notice your dog having any of these symptoms or any dramatic change in health or personality, you should always call your vet first to determine with an expert if he needs to come in. With cases of bloat, time is extremely important to the dog’s recovery.

If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, it is important to try and keep him as comfortable as possible until medical attention. Do not encourage the dog to get up and move around if he has collapsed, just make sure he is in a comfortable position. Do not try to force the dog to eat or drink as this can worsen the problem.

Once at the vet, the vet will relieve the pressure in the dog’s stomach by either a tube or a needle, depending on the severity. All cases of bloat should be seen by a vet immediately to prevent any further complications.

 

Bloat or GDV can be a very scary thing to deal with. It can be even scarier for your dog! That’s why we owe it to our furry best friends to know what to look out for and how to help until proper medical attention from a vet professional.

Health Needs of Diabetic Dogs

old golden retriever

Having a dog who is diabetic requires some knowledge of what possible behaviours to watch out for. Many diabetic dogs live completely normal lives like any other dog, and very rarely do they suffer from negative side effects. But it is important nonetheless to be aware of what happens in your dog’s body when their insulin is low and how to prevent as well as treat it.

 

Diabetes in both humans in dogs, is a result of the body not producing enough insulin or the body having an inadequate response to insulin. Just like with humans, when dogs eat, their bodies break down the food into individual macronutrients that the body can then sort and utilize. Glucose, made up of a small chain of simple sugars, is a type of carbohydrate used primarily to give the body energy. Insulin is meant to be produced when we eat food so that it can carry the glucose to where it needs to go to be used as fuel for the body. When the body does not produce a sufficient amount of insulin, glucose is not able to be utilized. As a result, blood sugar levels increase and when left untreated, can lead to very serious health problems.

 

If a dog is not able to produce enough of the hormone insulin on his own, the vet may recommend a dosage of insulin that he will need to take at certain times every day. It is very important that the insulin is given at the right time. Your vet will give specific instructions on dosage and times, depending on your dog’s individual needs and if he has type I or type II diabetes (dogs most commonly have type I, while cats are more likely to have type II).

 

Some signs to watch out for that your dog has diabetes are excessive thirst, lethargy, weight loss, a change in appetite or vomiting. Your dog may show several or maybe just one of these symptoms. In general, if you notice any abnormalities in your dog’s behaviour, health or appearance, you should immediately discuss with your vet as early detection of diabetes can prevent more serious health problems.

 

Although the exact cause of diabetes in dogs is unknown, it can sometimes be a result of obesity, autoimmune disease, or can develop as a result of certain medications. Some dog breeds have been known to be more susceptible to developing diabetes. Breeds such as miniature schnauzers, Keeshonds and Samoyeds seem to be more likely to develop diabetes compared to other dog breeds, especially at around 6-9 years of age.

 

The best way to try and prevent diabetes is to help your dog stay active by getting enough exercise every single day. As we know, dogs who are obese can be at higher risk of developing diabetes so make sure your dog also has a healthy diet that doesn’t include too many treats or table scraps! And as we mentioned earlier, watch out for any changes in your dogs behaviour as early detection of diabetes can help prevent more serious health complications as a result from the disease. With help from your vet and keeping your dog active and eating a wholesome diet, your dog is sure to live a happy and healthy life!

Importance of Keeping Your Dog’s Ears Clean

flapping ears

We all know how important it is to keep our own ears clean to prevent things like infections or hearing loss. It is just as important that we keep our dogs ears clean! We want to make sure our dogs stay happy and healthy; one way to do so is by keeping their ears free of potentially harmful dirt and germs!

 

Unless you have a very talented dog, it’s likely that he can’t keep his own ears clean. So it is up to you to take a look in his ears every so often to make sure there’s no junk or signs of irritation. Dogs (especially ones with long floppy ears) are bound to get dirt, mud, grass, etc., in their ears at some point. Most of it flies out when the dog shakes his head, but to ensure it’s clean, have him sit down for you so you can take a good look in his ears. You want to look out for dirt, excess build-up of ear wax, anything lodged in the ear, redness or lots of scratches.

 

The most noticeable signs if your dog’s ears are really bothering him are excessively shaking his head, leaning his head to one side, scratching the ear excessively and whining or whimpering when someone touches the ear. If you notice any of these signs, it is best to have your vet take a look at the ears as these symptoms generally don’t show up until an infection has taken place and needs antibiotics. To ensure it doesn’t get to the point of infection, you want to use vet approved dog ear wipes to wipe the outside area of your dog’s ears (don’t try to force it too deep in the ear!), this should be done every other day or so.

 

Be aware that the tools we use to clean our ears should never ever be used on your dog’s ears. Q-tips can easily damage delicate areas in your dog’s ear. It is best to have your vet show you how to properly wipe your dog’s ears so that you are gentle but also effective at remove excess dirt or wax. Your vet will likely recommend pet wipes using all natural ingredients so it will help soothe your dog’s ears and not irritate them with harsh chemicals.

 

So when your dog is rolling in the grass and getting his ears dirty, you can worry a bit less now that you know what signs and symptoms of ear irritation to watch out for. With daily ear checks and as needed ear cleanings with pet safe wipes, you dog will have sparkling clean ears!

Preventing Joint Problems In Dogs

senior dog with ball

If you’ve ever owned a large breed dog, you’re probably familiar with how common it is for large dogs to develop joint problems. Many of us don’t realize when our dog has joint problems until it has progressed to the point of them needing medication. So we’ve put together some helpful tips to preventing joint problems so that hopefully your dog won’t have trouble getting around when he gets older!

 

 

Ensure Minor Injuries Get Proper Rest

If puppies have a big fall, tumble down some stairs, etc., they need the proper time to fully heal. Ideally the fall should try to be avoided completely, but puppies will be puppies! After the injury, make sure to limit your pup’s activity until the injury is fully healed. For minor injuries that don’t require a vet visit, you can still call your vet and describe the situation so he can give you a general time to keep the pup on a lower activity level. Injuries that don’t get proper time to heal will often leave the joints weakened and can mean joint issues later on in life for your pooch.

 

Keep Your Dog Active!

Dogs that are carrying extra weight are putting more pressure on their joints when they walk around. This speeds up the deterioration of joint cartilage which can’t be reversed. Keeping your dog slim by giving him regular walks, not too many treats and a wholesome diet will help keep him moving around easily and not put additional pressure on his joints.

 

Early Detection

One of the best ways to ensure that your dog is comfortable moving around and not in any pain is to know the warning signs of early arthritis and sore/weak joints. Taking notice of things like, stiffness when standing up if lying down for a while, limping when walking or after a certain amount of walking, whining or whimpering when doing certain movements. These could all possibly be signs of early joint deterioration. If you start to notice any of these signs, be sure to speak with your vet on how to make your dog more comfortable and if he/she recommends any dietary supplements to help reduce inflammation in the joints.

 

Although arthritis and other joint problems cannot be reversed, and can be hard to avoid, they can definitely be slowed down. With help from you and looking out for any warning signs of joint pain, your dog can live a long happy life!

Healthiest Dog Breeds: Part 2

dog with veggies

This week we are continuing our look at some of the healthiest dog breeds. So far, we’ve looked at the Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie and Havanese. All of these dog breeds have relatively low health concerns and a higher than average lifespan. Today we are looking at three more fantastic and healthier than average dog breeds!

 

German Pinscher

The courageous and proud German Pinscher is one of the healthiest dog breeds. Considering they are on the larger side, it’s a delightful surprise to find out this breed actually has a very low risk of hip dysplasia (a common problem for many large breed dogs). They have an average lifespan of 14 years old and the only health concern that is a common problem for this breed are cataracts which (depending on the exact cause) can be detected early and treated or managed. This is a pretty active breed so to ensure they get to a healthy 14 years old or more, be sure to give them a proper nutrient-rich diet and plenty of exercise.

 

Miniature Schnauzer

This wonderful breed puts the confidence and hardiness of a big dog into a little fluffy package. An intelligent and energetic breed, the miniature schnauzer definitely makes our list for the top healthiest dog breeds. The have a very high average lifespan of about 13-15 years old, and not uncommon to live even longer! With proper care and health management, these dogs often live their entire lives without any major health problems. As with many dogs, one problem to watch out for is hip dysplasia. With proper care and preventing measures, this problem is usually not an issue for the dog. Discuss the best ways to prevent hip dysplasia with your vet as he may give specific recommendations for your dog, but the most effective way is to keep your dog active with daily walks, runs, swims, etc. But avoid exercises that put a lot of pressure on your dogs joints such as jumping or going up and down lots of stairs.

English Springer Spaniel

If you are an outdoorsy person, you’d definitely get along great with the last healthiest dog breed on our list. The bold and energetic English Springer Spaniel has an expected lifespan of 10-14 years. They love running outside all day with their family, and all that exercise and fresh air definitely helps to maintain their excellent health. This breed is prone to a few health problems that should be tested for and treated by a vet to ensure a healthy pup! Some health concerns for the English Springer Spaniel are retinal dysplasia, hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy (which can eventually lead to blindness). Although there is no cure for progressive retinal atrophy, after consulting with your vet, you may be able to give your dog antioxidant supplements to reduce the severity and slow down the rate of degeneration in the retina.

 

It is always a good idea to research breeds before considering a new dog, and one of the biggest concerns when looking at a breed are the health concerns and average lifespan. As you can see with the dog breeds we’ve discussed, the most important consideration to keeping your dog healthy is to provide proper nutrition, exercise, and of course, love!

Healthiest Dog Breeds: Part 1

dog doctor

When looking to get a new dog or puppy, one of the biggest concerns of many future pet parents, are the common health problems of the breed. Even when considering a mixed breed dog, it is important to be knowledgeable and aware of possible future health issues with each breed that make up your mutt. This week we will be listing some of our favourite dog breeds that are well-known for their lack of health issues, also taking into consideration a long life span and great quality of life.

 

Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle dog belongs to the herding dog group. A medium-sized dog weighing about 30-35lbs when full grown. This energetic dog loves the outdoors and running around with his doggy friends all day. This is a very ‘sturdy’ breed that has no problem running into thick forests or jumping into lakes and getting dirty. They have an average life span of 13 years, and with proper exercise and nutrition, often live well beyond that number. You may be surprised to find just how active these dogs remain even into their later years. Your 8 year old Australian Cattle Dog will likely still be running around just like he did as a puppy!

 

Border Collie

Another super healthy dog also belonging to the herding dog group, the Border Collie! They are very active dogs that need a lot of daily exercise to help keep them healthy and happy. They have an average lifespan of 12-14 years and a few minor health problems that may occur in their later years such as hypothyroidism and Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA). With proper care, many Border Collies live into their senior years without any major health problems. Many Border Collie breeders have taken special care and many years to help ensure their puppies are as healthy as possible. Most of the small health issues that can occur in Border Collies can be tested for as a puppy and prevented or controlled before they become adult dogs.

 

Havanese

The smallest breed on our list today, the cute and cuddly Havanese! This breed has an average lifespan of 12-14 years and have very few health problems. Typical health concerns for Havanese are deafness and elbow dysplasia, these problems usually only occur in older Havanese although some puppies may be born deaf. Unlike our breeds listed above, the Havanese only needs short daily walks. But make sure he does get those daily walks! Dogs who are overweight are more likely to develop elbow dysplasia with that extra weight they are carrying around. Also remember to feed your Havanese high-quality dog food that doesn’t contain too much protein as that can also lead to canine elbow dysplasia.

 

These wonderful dog breeds  are known for their health and high quality of life and with proper exercise and nutrition, you are sure to give your dog the best years he can possibly have!

Choosing the Right Dog Food

USA, Illinois, Metamora, Close-up of bowl full of dog food

If you are a new pet parent then you have probably already been doing lots of research already on which food brand to buy for your pup. If you’ve owned your dog for a while now, you may be frustrated with some of your dog food choices or confused on what’s best for your pup. Today we will discuss some ingredients that can really benefit your dog as well as what common dog food ingredients to avoid and why.

Most people are aware with all those dog food TV commercials, that you really do want the first ingredient listed on your dog food to be meat. Which kind of meat is really up to you, depending on if your dog has any food allergies or sensitivities. Dogs are recommended about 15-30% of their diet to consist of protein, while puppies require a little bit higher at 22-32% (due to their growth).

Despite what you might be hearing, grains can actually be good in your dog food. Whole grains, not fillers, are carbohydrates that will give your dog energy. Some dog owners may be concerned about gluten allergies in their dog as we hear about it fairly commonly in humans. In reality, gluten allergy is very rare in dogs compared to humans.

Some ingredients that are less than desirable to be in your dog food would be fillers such as corn gluten and meat by products. These ingredients have very little nutritional value for your dog and are typically used in cheaper dog foods to add more content to the food while also keeping the cost low.

While there are other types of diets that you can provide your dog (a raw diet for example), if you are searching for the right kind of kibble we are sure these tips will help you with your decision. Choosing the right food for your dog is imperative to helping them continue to live long and healthy lives!

Staying Cool in the Summer Heat

Lifestyle_Vacation_Dog_Beach_TS_518565039

Keeping your pups cool during the hot summer months can be critical to their health and happiness. We’ve put together some easy tips to make sure you and your furry friends can stay cool while still having summer fun!

 

#1: Bring water with you

It is so important for your dog to stay hydrated when you two are out enjoying the sun. Make sure you always have a bottle of water handy. There are also many portable water dishes you can buy at pet stores that will easily collapse so you can store it in your pocket or bag. Make sure to offer fresh water to your dog every 15-20 min or so (use your best judgement with the heat). You can also bring along frozen ‘pupsicles’ to keep your dog cool! Mix together some dog-friendly foods such as peanut butter, banana and yogurt. Freeze solid and bring along as a cool treat! But remember, even with delicious ‘pupsicles’ your dog will still require access to fresh water.

#2: Limit time outside if your dog is short-nosed (Brachycephalic)

If your dog has a short nose (ex., Pug, English bulldog, French bulldog, Mastiff, etc.), it is critical that they don’t spend too much time in the heat. These breeds overheat much faster compared to longer nosed breeds and they have a much higher risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Make sure these dogs have access to water at all times, have access to plenty of shade that they can cool down in, and on days with heat warnings, it may be best to keep them inside for most of the day where it is air conditioned. For all dog breeds (not just short nosed) it is sometimes better to leave them at home instead of giving them a long walk or hike in the summer heat.

#3: Do not leave dogs in a hot car

Most people are aware of the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car. The temperature inside the car will be even hotter than the outside heat. When the weather is 70???F outside, after just 30min in the car it can feel like 104???F. If you must bring your dog in the car and leave him while running errands, see if a friend is available to come along with you. That way someone can keep your dog company while you run into the store and back, as well as you can leave the car running for the air conditioning. Always try to plan ahead so that you will not be in a situation that your dog has to sit in a hot car.

#4: Learn to recognise the signs of an overheated dog

It is always a great idea to learn more about your dog’s health and well-being. Taking a pet first aid course and learning to recognise when your dog isn’t quite acting themselves is all part of being the most responsible pet owner you can be. Some of the signs to watch out for are; excessive panting, dry nose, lack of appetite, wobbly or shaky when walking around. If your dog is suddenly experiencing one or more of these symptoms, give them time to cool off immediately. If symptoms don’t improve, call your vet and they can advise you if your dog needs immediate attention.

 

Having fun with your pup is easy! Now staying safe and healthy in the heat will be too!