This is a question most, if not all, animal parents tend to ask themselves, and with good reason! The short answer is: no one knows for sure. Many scientists disagree or agree on whether dogs can or cannot recognize their siblings. There are studies that support this claim, just as there are studies that don’t. Long story short, we all wanna know, but we don’t know yet! The keyword here is yet. But don’t be discouraged, there is a lot of information that points to the answer being yes. Read more and decide what you think!
Is There any Scientific Evidence?
According scientific research, it is possible that the dogs have memories for their siblings. Image source: baywoof.com
Although there are varying theories, Steven R. Lindsy believes it is actually possible. However, this is most likely limited to those puppies that were at least 16 weeks old when separated, given that it covers their critical socialization period, which they will remember. It is important to note that usually the puppies are separated at the age of 6 weeks, 10 weeks short of the critical socialization point. It is also important though to remember their noses are much more powerful (around 10,000 times more) than ours, which can make it easier for them to recognize their siblings.
Another theory suggests that due to their DNA, dogs might be able to recognize their family members to avoid breeding with them. According to multiple evolutionary theorists, animals might have the instinct of knowing when an animal from its same species is part of its family. This theory can be highly debated, as many animals do breed among family members, including dogs, but remember these are all still just theories. There are multiple studies you can also check out on whether dogs remember their siblings!
Even if your dog is shy at first around the dog you believe is its sibling, they might warm up to them once they sniff them. Of course, this all depends on whether they recognize them or not. Some signs that they do can include immediate playing and excitement after sniffing the other dog, the dogs sniff each other more than usual and a lot of tail wagging. They also tend to stay close to each other as much time as possible, they constantly stare at the other and they are alert on each others location. You can also tell by learning more about dogs’ body language!
What Do they Feel?
Image source: Pexels.com
Just like a human might feel when they see a stranger, they might feel anxious at first. However, something might click for them once they sniff them, just like when you remember a person by their voice or their face, or maybe nothing will, like when you see a person that seems to know you but you can’t seem to remember them! Despite the click happening and the excitement (and tail wagging) increasing, it is not likely that they feel any type of bond towards their siblings. The most likely scenario is that they recognize them but see them more as an old friend, although “their behavior is a lot more open than if it was a new friend”, according to Ph.D. animal behaviorist Suzanne Hetts.
What should you do?
image source: pexels.com
Do not attempt to bring them closer together nor rush them into interacting. Give them their own time to interact and their own space. This does not mean to leave them unattended, but simply to let them do their own thing! They will either recognize each other or not, but either way, they might become friends.
Do not get impatient either, they might take a long time sniffing each other or might approach each other extremely slowly. Don’t worry about it, they will get there eventually, on their own time. Remember that your dog can sense if you’re feeling impatient, and this might interrupt the moment.
All in all, enjoy it! After all, it’s always a special moment when your dog makes a new friend, or even more, reconnects with their siblings! Try talking to the other dog’s owner, if you don’t know them, you might just end up with a new friend yourself!
image source: pexels.com
Did you form your own opinion after reading? Even if scientists have not been able to figure out whether their various theories about this topic are correct or not, it is doubtful they will give up on finding the answer. After all, it might take long, but in the end, we will find out! Meanwhile, let your pets make friends with their siblings, whether they are aware of their DNA bond or not. And don’t forget to enjoy spending time with your pet and its sibling as well. You might find a new buddy for your buddy!
Whether you’re looking for causes your dog might be throwing up, or how to treat them, there might be an overwhelming amount of information on the internet and you might be wondering, where do I start? When it comes to your pet’s health, the sooner you get them well, the better. It is also important that you know when your pet needs to be taken to the veterinarian, and when it might be an emergency. This is why we’ve narrowed it down to the 5 most common causes and some of their treatments, so you can get them feeling better in the blink of an eye.
If your dog seems to be vomiting white foam, this may be why. It may all be caused by indigestion, meaning that it might only be that they ate their food way too quickly. This can happen to dogs once in a while, just like it can happen to humans, but don’t worry, it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. They may also be throwing up bile in this scenario, but that just means that they have an empty, and upset stomach. A spoonful of canned pumpkin might be an ideal remedy for this occasion. If it happens too often, however, take them to your vet. Chronic vomiting may be a symptom of something more serious!
Just like eating too fast may cause indigestion, drinking too fast may cause water intoxication. This usually happens when the dog is out swimming and accidentally swallows too much water, but may also happen when they are extremely thirsty, especially after exercising, and drink too much water, too fast. Always be aware of how your dog is drinking its water after exercising, and that they are not swallowing too much water when swimming to prevent this. If your dog starts throwing up right after a day out on the pool, or after exercising, it is possible they may have water intoxication and it is important that you take them to your veterinary as soon as possible!
If your dog is throwing up white foam, drooling excessively and seems unable to poop, they might have bloat. This is a serious problem that means an emergency trip to the veterinarian. Their gums tend to be pale, but even if they are not, and you suspect they might have bloat, take them to the veterinarian right away, as this is a life threatening condition. Bloat is when your pet’s stomach is filled with gas that they are unable to release, causing their stomach to twist and putting pressure on the dog’s diaphragm. This causes difficulty to breathe and limits the circulation of blood to their heart.
If your pet is throwing up water, they may be suffering from kidney failure. This is also a very serious problem that tends to cause death. Sadly, if your dog has kidney failure, it means they have been sick for some time now, but may not have shown any noticeable symptoms. There is no known cure for kidney failure and treatments may be expensive. If you believe your dog may be suffering from kidney failure, take them to your vet for more information and to know what can be done to help your pup. Some other things to look out for, apart from vomiting water, include the excessive consumption of water, difficulty urinating or excessive urination, diarrhea, the dog may seem uninterested in food, foul breath, and depression.
Heatstroke is usually caused by being in extremely high temperatures for too long, such as being inside of a hot car, or sometimes exercising in temperatures that are too hot. This causes your dog’s temperature to rise to extremely high and dangerous temperatures, which can cause organ failure, brain damage, and even death. Symptoms include heavy panting, extreme thirst, seizures, dark red gums and/or tongue, a quick heartbeat or pulse, throwing up, excessive drooling, high body temperatures, glazed eyes, diarrhea with blood, unconsciousness, lethargy, and lack of coordination.
If you believe your pet may have heatstroke, attempt to cool down their body temperature immediately, and take them to your nearest vet. Cooling down treatments include taking them to a cool area and providing them with water in small amounts or ice cubes. It is likely the veterinarian will give them fluids through IV. You can prevent heatstroke in your pet by always providing them with water and shade when exercising, carrying around water to give them when the environment is hot, and never leaving them in an enclosed, hot, space for long periods of time, or at all if possible.
Pale pink, white, or dark red gums.
Reduced skin elasticity.
Dry and sticky gums.
Pale lower eyelid color.
Longer capillary refill time.
Increased heart rate.
Sunken or small (smaller than usual) looking eyes.
Regardless of the cause your dog is throwing up, dehydration will always make things worse, so be sure to keep your pet hydrated while they get better, or on the way to the veterinarian or hospital. This should not be done by giving them excessive amounts of water, as they will most likely only throw it back up. Instead, give them water in very small amounts, and in a regular manner. You can also give them small ice cubes that they can lick at their own pace, but just like the water, do not feed them too many. An ice cube or a spoonful of water every 15 minutes should be a great start. If your dog continues to vomit, it is time for the vet. If they have not vomited for over 2 hours, continue giving them water, and after 12-24 hours of not vomiting, begin giving them soft foods, also in small amounts. If they begin throwing up again, stop feeding them and continue with the water while you take them to your veterinarian.
Whatever the cause, always visit your veterinarian to make sure you are providing them with the correct treatment for your dog, given that, just like humans, dogs may need special treatments as well. If your dog vomits too often, take them to your vet immediately! You can find more causes and treatments here. We hope your pup gets well soon!
Like many newbie parents, new pet owners may overthink every little quirk their dog displays. The good news is there are signs that tell you when your dog is growing.
In addition to regular checkups with a veterinarian, including routine wellness procedures such as an annual blood panel, fecal testing and urine analysis, these indicators should be noticeable to pet owners.
A very healthy dog is eager to spend time with family, greeting you at the door, coming to you for playtime, watching and observing with interest.
If your dog suddenly starts spending time alone, is disengaged or sleeping more, it could be a sign of a health issues. Changes in his behavior are one of the number one reasons pet owners discover something is off with their companions. Pay attention to any change and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian in office dispensing.
Another sign and symptom of good health in dogs are clean ears: no waxy buildup, no discharge and no pungent or musky smell.
It’s normal for dogs’ ears to get dirty, so routine cleaning is commended. Ignoring dirty ears can lead to pet ear infections the second most common reason most dogs owners visited vets in 2015, and a major source of irritation for our pets.
Clean ears also help retain normal body temperature by radiating heat out.
One tell-tale sign and symptom your dog has an ear infection: smelly ears, sometimes like the smell of yeast. Schedule a checkup with your veterinarian if you feel your dog is suffering from an ear infection. Common signs besides the smell and waxy buildup are side-to-side shaking of the head and pawing at the ear.
If you have questions about your dog’s health or are concerned that an issue may be present, contact your veterinarian instantly. Remember: Your dog can’t always tell you when something is wrong. If you see a sign that has you questioning your pet’s health, don’t hesitate to schedule a checkup with a vet.
Why Examine Your Dog At Home?
If every dog owner are to learn what was involved in a physical exam, they would watch their dogs closer and take them in for an examination by their veterinarian as soon as necessary. Veterinarians wouldn’t assume to make their living off of giving vaccines and heartworm tests, owners could pay for what was necessary, and the pets would benefit by being taken care of when needed.
I don’t assume every dog owner to be an expert at a physical exam but here are a few things you can check at home and simple steps you can follow to decide when it is time to take your dog in for further medication. This physical exam will not be more than five minutes and you should do it every week:
Keeping an eye out for early signs and symptoms of medical problems is one of the most important things you can do for your dog, and could save you a lot of stress, time and money in the long run not to list your dog’s health. Here are 3 ways to examine your dog’s health at home.
A healthy mouth is the best way to a healthy pet. Relatively clean-smelling breath and clean teeth absent of tartar buildup are signs of good healthy teeth.
If your dog has gingivitis (also called gum disease) or periodontitis, it can ultimately affect vital organs of the dog and lead to serious health issues. Periodontitis is an illness of the supporting structures of the teeth (bone, ligaments, etc.) and is the primary cause of tooth loss in pets. It’s caused by the buildup of food, plaque, and tartar in the spaces within the gum and the lower part of the tooth.
A stinking smell coming from your dog’s mouth could mean tooth decay or worse: oral melanoma, an aggressive form of cancer.
Regular dental care can result in improved overall health and longevity of a pet by spotting issues early on.
Shiny, Clean Coat
Nutritious pets will typically have a shiny, clean coat due to natural oils and shedding. A healthy pet doesn’t need to be bathed regularly unless your pet got dirty. Regular bathing for pets with fur (versus specific breeds with hair which require grooming) isn’t necessary and can lead to skin irritations.
If your dog is usually licking, chewing or scratching, it could be a sign of a skin irritation, skin allergies, a bug bite or the presence of fleas. It’s also a sign your dog is uncomfortable.
Regular Bladder and Bowel Movements
How do you know if your dog has a stomach ache? Check out his poop. Healthy intestine movements will be absent of blood, mucus, worms, eggs, a chalky white discoloration, a black, tarry appearance, a greasy coating or diarrhea. If you notice a change it could be due to a change in diet, stress, allergies, parasites, bacterial infection, spread infection, ingestion of a toxic substance, pancreatitis, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, or an obstruction.
The color of your dog’s urine is important: If your pet’s pee is the color of transparent yellow (straw yellow, pale gold, amber, clear yellow) it’s a sign of good health.
Dark or bright yellow could be a symptom of dehydration. Orange is typically associated with jaundice, gallbladder problems, pancreatic problems, severe dehydration, liver disease or damaged blood cells.
If your dog’s urine is reddish, pink or cloudy it may be a sign of a urinary tract infection, cystitis, clotting diseases, trauma or cancer. If your dog is peeing inside the house or off a customary piddle pad, it could also be a sign and symptom of distress due to a health issue. A checkup is highly recommended for further testing.
Traveling is one of the experiences that are best shared with a close companion, like your canine best friend. Taking your pooch with you on your travels will be like taking a little kid with you, in a way. Dogs are very energetic, friendly, curious, and adorable, but they can also be unruly and tough to handle. That’s why, before you leave on any adventure, you should have these essential items to make your travel easier, safer, and more fun.
Vaccination and Health Records
Just as people need to secure important documents when they travel, pets are also required to have their records, particularly those concerning their health. Many places are wary about new pathogens being introduced to their territory through animals from other places.
That’s why a number of countries will ask for your pet’s health and medical records before they grant entry into their country. If you’re traveling to the United Kingdom, Australia, Malta, and New Zealand, they may require blood test results that prove that your dog is rabies-free.
It’s not just foreign countries too. The United States will also require health certificates before your pet can reenter the country to make sure they don’t bring pathogens from abroad. Even if you’re just travelling within the country, you may still need to present your dog’s vaccination records to get into certain establishments or consult with different veterinary service providers.
Dog Vaccination & Medical Record Example
Water and Food
Traveling can consume a lot of energy, so your pet (and you) needs to recharge from time to time. Recharging means taking naps and eating food (and snacks). Dogs can sleep almost anywhere, but they definitely can’t eat just anything, especially not human food. Most people food are too processed, too high in sodium and sugar, and too unhealthy for pets.
Feeding them scraps may result in serious health problems over time. When you’re on the road, you should pack some food, snacks, and treats to tide Fido over. Most of all, you should have lots and lots of drinking water for your dog to prevent dehydration.
How much food you should pack depends on how long you’re traveling and staying in your destination. Check first if the food you feed your dog is available in the area. If it is, there’s no need to pack a lot.
Best be prepared if it’s not. Of course, you can always try a new brand of dog food, but remember that it has to be gradually introduced to your dog’s diet to avoid adverse reactions. Aside from their normal food, you should also bring treats to reward good behavior and help keep them calm and suitably engaged while on the road.
Leash and LED Collar
Prepare a leash and LED collar for your pup when you travel. If your dog is young or untrained, a leash is necessary to help you manage your pup’s behavior and keep track of them at all times. While you travel, you can also train your dog to get used to being on a leash.
Letting your dog wear a leash and a bright LED collar is a safety precaution. It helps you keep an eye on your dog, especially at night. In the event that they escape or stray, the glow-in-the-dark collar will easily catch attention and prevent accidents, like getting hit by a car.
Dogs create a lot of mess. They shed, slobber, and bring in dirt, stains, and mud. They also love to dig a hole on things, whether it’s the ground or your car seat. While the ground can manage, your car seat won’t be able to survive this abuse if you leave it unprotected while traveling with your dog.
You need a waterproof, durable car-seat cover to save your car seat from irreparable damage and your bank account from the cost of reupholstering. Most covers are stainproof and machine-washable too, so you don’t have to worry about cleaning them after a long ride.
Light and handy, collapsible bowls are the perfect containers for food and water for pets when traveling. These silicone feeders come in many different sizes, and most of them can fit into your backpack, making them ideal for hiking and outdoor adventures with your pet.
In fact, you can take one with you every time you go out with your dog. Most collapsible bowls have handle with a small hole where you can insert a string or carabiner, which you can just hook on the straps of your bag or belt loop. After that bowls have been used, you can just load them with other utensils in the dishwasher for cleaning.
Every dog owner knows that their pets can often be very fickle and easily distracted. Pets up and leave what they’re doing or ignore their humans when they see something more interesting. Their short attention spans make them adorable and irresistible. At the same time, it’s also why they can be tough to manage sometimes.
Your dog has to sit still and behave for hours while traveling. Some dogs are capable of staying calm during a long trip, but most won’t last more than a few minutes without making a racket. Either they turn on the zoomies inside the vehicle, bark incessantly at passers-by, hang their heads out of the window, or insist on getting your attention. It’s cute but not very safe, especially when you’re driving or riding public transportation.
In times like these, you need the perfect distraction to keep your pet on their best behavior. Chew toys and stuffed toys are perfect for this purpose. Prepare your dog’s favorite toys before going on a long trip.
Pack the toys that are particularly challenging and stimulating (e.g., Kong Classic, puzzle ball, dispensing dog toy, etc.). One toy can keep their attention for some time, enough until you can take them out for a short walk.
Just as most dogs don’t have a concept of personal space, they also don’t have much understanding of what’s clean or not. It’s up to their owners to maintain their hygiene—coats lustrous and shiny, ears dirt-free, nails trimmed, teeth healthy and cavity-free.
While traveling and going on adventures, your pet can get messy and attract ticks and fleas. This why you should always bring a pet grooming kit whenever you travel with your pet. The kit should include the dog wipes, clippers, towels, a brush, a deodorizing spray, and pet toothbrush and toothpaste. By bringing a grooming kit when you travel, you hit two birds with one stone: keep your pet clean and minimize the mess they create in your car.
Traveling to different places means getting exposed to potentially unsafe environments. Keeping your pet clean can protect them from contracting bacteria, viruses, and infections in the foreign surroundings.
Biodegradable Poop Bags
It’s common courtesy to clean up after your pet wherever you go. You should always bring bioplastic poop bags whenever you go out.
Not all biodegradable poops bags are made equal. Some brands just slap on a biodegradable label without actual proof that their product decomposes naturally within a short period. As a responsible pet owner, you should be a conscious buyer and make sure you’re getting proven green poop bags.
How you dispose biodegradable poop bags also plays a key role in the decomposition of these bags. If they end up in landfills, where they won’t be exposed to moisture and oxygen under mounds of other rubbish, these bags will degrade slower or end up being “mummified” trash.
Carrier or Travel Crate
A carrier or travel crate may be necessary to transport your pooch. Some public transport vehicles and establishments will only allow pets inside if you put them in a carrier or crate. You need to be prepared in case you don’t have any choice.
Moreover, young pups shouldn’t be left to wander because they may get injured or catch deadly bacteria or viruses. It’s best to keep them confined inside their crate when you’re not in a safe environment.
Bringing a carrier or travel crate may also be for the benefit of your pet. For anxious pets, staying inside their crate may help them feel safe and relaxed while on the road or in a foreign place.
First Aid Kit
Accidents can happen when you travel, like your pet getting injured. You need to be prepared to treat pet injuries immediately so they don’t get worse. When traveling, you should ready a basic first aid kit for your pet (and yourself).
Your pet first aid kit should contain tweezers to remove ticks and splinters, styptic powder to stop bleeding of clipped toenails and minor wounds, antiseptic spray for dogs to clean wounds, gauze bandages, adhesive tapes, and scissors, among other things.
Aside from the supplies, you also need to learn how to learn how to apply first aid to different pet injuries. Sometimes, this can make the difference between life and death.
Have a Safe and Fun Travel!
Taking your dog on a long trip requires thorough research and careful preparation. You need to know whether your destination has pet-friendly accommodations and establishments and veterinary services nearby. You also have to prepare essentials, from health records to toys and snacks. Only then can you have a safe and fun travel.
Bad breathe is known as halitosis. Bad breath should not be assumed as normal in pets but is an indicator of poor health. It should be therefore be followed by a visit to a veterinarian once it is observed. Oral and general physical examination, radiography, urinalysis and blood tests i.e. complete blood count (CBC) and biochemistry are common tests that help to come up with a diagnosis. Maltese, Chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers, Shetland sheep, Saint Bernards, Pekingese etc. are more likely to have halitosis. Bearded dogs e.g. Schnauzers usually harbor food particles and saliva on their fur which interacts with bacteria leaving a foul small. Common causes of halitosis include:
1. Periodontal disease
This refers to inflammation of the soft and hard structures in the mouth that support the teeth. These include the gum (gingivitis) and the bone structures (periodontitis).
Periodontal disease occurs as a result of poor oral hygiene. Impacted undigested food particles mix with saliva and bacteria in the mouth forming a sticky film around the teeth (plaque). This usually builds up overtime if not cleaned and mixes with minerals and serum from the gums causing it to harden forming what is known tartar.
Tartar forms around the teeth near the gum line causing inflammation of the gums and recession. This exposes the sensitive parts of the teeth e.g. dentine making it hard for dogs to feed due to pain. Bleeding, red gums, pus, yellowish coating on the teeth may also be seen.
Dental plaque and tartar also predisposes dogs to teeth decay and loss of teeth affecting their eating habits. They become unable to chew hard foods e.g. bones preferring softer foods.
Toy breeds e.g. maltese are predisposed to periodontal diseases and owners should therefore be more observant.
Treatment entails dental scaling which is usually done under anesthesia. Light anesthesia is indicated in senior dogs or those suffering from organ failure. Antibiotics are also prescribed to treat gum disease as they may occur concurrently.
Regular dental checkups and dental cleaning helps prevent cases of periodontal disease. Dogs on wet canned food are more predisposed to these conditions therefore require frequent checkups as compared to those on dry food.
Feeding dry commercial foods helps to scrape of plaque as well as massage the gum which helps in blood circulation and preventing cases of gum disease.
Feeding treats such as bones, dry hides or those fortified with enzymes that digest plaque are also beneficial.
Brushing of teeth and use of mouth washes and sprays help to kill bacteria and remove undigested food debris in the mouth.
2. Kidney disease and diabetes
Kidneys help in filtering toxins from the blood. In cases of chronic kidney diseases this process is compromised leading to accumulation of theses harmful substances in the blood. This consequently leads to a smell similar to that urine (ureamic halitosis) from the mouth. It may be accompanied by other symptoms such as
Increased intake of water
Urinary incontinence (toilet accidents in the house)
Your veterinarian as stated above may take a sample of urine for tests (urinalysis) as well as some blood work for diagnosis.
Chronic kidney disease requires emergency veterinary care. Treatment of the underlying condition usually resolves the halitosis.
3. Foreign Bodies
This occurs when foreign bodies e.g. bone splinters lodge in the gum, below the tongue or between teeth trapping undigested food particles in the mouth. Bacteria and saliva mix with the food debris leading to decomposition and foul odor. An oral examination is sufficient to come up with a diagnosis which is done with the dog restrained or sedated. Other accompanying symptoms include:
Pawing at the mouth
Reluctance to eat
Aggression in case wants gets close to open the mouth due to pain
Drooling or hyper salivation
Treatment usually entails removal of the foreign body and flushing out the impacted food particles. Dental cleaning may be advised if there as signs of plaque or tartar build up on the teeth. Antibiotics may also be prescribed in case of injury caused by the foreign body.
4. Oral tumors
Tumors occur on the lips, gums, cheeks and palate of the mouth. It’s thought that dogs inhale carcinogens (cancer causing substances) when sniffing around their environment. These carcinogens go further to establish on the tissues of the mouth where they interfere with normal cell growth forming cancerous growths. Common types of oral cancers include: melanomas, squamous cell carcinomas and fibrocarcinomas. Benign cancers include: epulis and papillomas.
Common symptoms include:
Reluctance to eat
Bad breath results from necrosis of the affected tissues, drooling and bleeding. Treatment entails surgical removal of the tumors. Abscesses on teeth root canals, mouth cavity or the nasal cavity as well as ulcers can also cause halitosis.
This is common in coprophagus dogs (dogs that eat fecal matter) or those that ingest garbage. This normally leaves a foul smell in the mouth. Securing garbage bins and keeping the dogs environment free offees may help resolve the problem.
Fish or liver diets can also leave a bad smell in the mouth.
This is a transient problem common in puppies. As puppies loose teeth, bacteria, food and saliva may settle within the empty teeth pockets which decompose giving off a fishy or rotten smell. This lasts for approximately 4 weeks. Mouth washes and sprays can help control the smell.
7. Congenital defects (cleft palate)
This is common in puppies soon after birth. Cleft palate occurs when the palate of the nasal and mouth cavity fail to fuse during embryonic development leaving a hole on the roof of the mouth. In such situations, puppies fail to suckle well and appear malnourished. Food is normally seen coming out through the nostrils. In other circumstances it may get lodged in the nasal cavity where it decomposes giving off a bad smell. Treatment entails surgical correction to close the opening.
8. Lip fold pyoderma/dermatitis
This is common in dogs with saggy or droppy lips e.g. Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Pugs, Shar pei etc. Saliva and food particles collect and accumulate within the folds of skin on the lower jaw where the upper canine sits on the lip. Moisture and warmth in the area causes bacteria to thrive setting pace for decomposition and infection giving off a bad smell. Loss of hair, ulcers and reddening of skin around the affected area may also be evident. Dogs may also smack their lips and paw at the mouth to ease the irritation.
Management entails keeping the skin folds dry by wiping of the saliva and food debris 2-3 times a day antibacterial wipes. Cornstarch can also be applied on the area to keep it dry. Washing the area with antibacterial shampoo helps to keep the area clean and free of bacteria. Clipping hair also helps to reduce moisture.
Halitosis is a sign of poor health in dogs and should be taken with seriousness. Regular oral and dental checkups are important to ensure general good health of the pet including oral health which prevents mouth odor.
Hurricane season is now well upon us, and as we watch Hurricane Florence ravage the east coast with other storms forming in the Atlantic, we must keep in mind the importance of preparation. Even if you do not live on the coast, you may be located in an area at risk for other natural disasters.
Hundreds of thousands of pets are left behind, lost, or killed during hurricanes and other natural disasters. In 2005, when New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, over 600,000 pets were left behind. Many of these pets did not survive the storm or were otherwise lost forever to their families. Many more pets were separated from their humans during the chaos during and immediately after the storm. Although our storm preparedness and response has, in general, greatly improved since 2005, thousands of pets continue to meet this tragic fate every year.
While tracking and predicting the weather can be difficult, there are precautions pet owners can take to prepare for the worst. The two most important pieces of advice constantly repeated by the CDC, the ASPCA, and other organizations are:
Make a plan.
Create a disaster kit.
While these two factors cannot guarantee the absolute safety of you and your pet in the event of an emergency, they can certainly go a long way in minimizing the danger.
Make a plan.
Begin preparing by researching what sorts of natural disasters could potentially affect your area; for example, hurricanes pose a large threat to those living on or near the coast, but they are not the only type of severe weather that can occur. Depending on your location, it is important to also prepare for disasters like tornadoes, snow storms, earthquakes, fires, and volcanic eruptions. The first part of making a plan is to be aware of any potential danger and be familiar with the risks you may face.
Evacuation is encouraged ahead of most natural disasters, especially hurricanes. Don’t wait until an evacuation order is issued to find somewhere to go, and don’t depend on emergency evacuation shelters to accommodate your pets – research pet friendly hotels ahead of time, and consider local boarding options if necessary. If you have family or friends in a safer area, make sure that they would be willing and able to host you and your pets during an evacuation. Have a plan for where you will evacuate to in the event of an emergency, and if you decide to evacuate, do it as early as possible, as traffic and conditions will often get worse as the storm approaches.
If you decide to ride out the storm at home, there are a few precautions you can take to make your home as safe as possible. Make sure all of your supplies are in a central location so that you can access them easily in the event of a power outage or other unexpected situation. Confine your pets to one or two rooms so that you can catch them or quarantine them if need be – the last thing you want is your pet wandering off or hiding, even if it’s in your own home!
When securing a room or rooms, be sure to remove any plants or substances that could be harmful to your pets, like pest control or cleaning products.
If you have a small dog or other pets, block off any small or narrow spaces that they may attempt to hide in. The most important thing is to keep your pets close and accessible in case you need to move quickly. It is often a good idea to get your dog comfortable with being in a crate or kennel, as that will likely be the easiest way to transport your pet if need be.
Finally, make sure your pets are up-to-date on all of their vaccinations. In confined spaces, germs can spread more easily.
Build a disaster kit.
When creating an emergency kit for your pet, you will often need many of the same items you should have in your own emergency kit, like a flashlight, food and water (enough to last several days or even weeks), blankets, and bedding. Your pet’s disaster kit should include a few extra items, like a spare leash and collar, favorite toys, and any car or travel safety items you might need in the event of evacuation.
You should also stock up on any medications your pet needs well in advance of a storm, including preventative flea and tick medicine. If your pet has anxiety during fireworks or thunderstorms, you might also consider purchasing a compression shirt or asking your vet for special medication to help keep them calm. If your dog has special needs, you will need to be able to provide them treatment in the event of a blackout or transportation difficulties.
Your disaster kit should also include important documents like vet and shot records, registration papers (if you have or need them), and a contact info sheet with your name, address, and phone number on it. Consider making a “missing pet” handout or flyer, so you have one on hand in a worst-case scenario. The handout should include your contact info, any special needs your pet has, and a recent photo.
Many vets and animal welfare organizations encourage microchipping, and it is an especially good idea in the event of a disaster like a hurricane. In the event that you get separated from your pet, microchipping is one of the most effective ways of reuniting with them. If your dog is already microchipped, make sure that the information associated with it, like your address and phone number, is up to date.
No matter if you decide to ride out the storm or evacuate, it is important to keep in mind that leaving your pet behind is never an option. Remember: if it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for them. All animals should be brought inside immediately at the first sign or indication of inclement weather, including thunderstorms. Prepare ahead of time so you are able to keep yourself, your family, and your pets as safe as possible.
Many pet parents have come to believe that a holistic approach to pet care often means healthier, happier lives for their four-legged family members. For some pet parents though, time, cost, or convenience are still used as an excuse not to explore this approach. Oftentimes, what pet parents think they know about the holistic approach is either much exaggerated, or altogether untrue, so let’s debunk the myths surrounding holistic pet care first.
Myth #1 – Holistic care takes too much time and effort on my part.
Dedicating your time to prevention now may save you and your pet the time and effort of treating ailments down the road. If there’s no disease, there’s no time and effort dedicated to it. Preventative steps are as easy as adding a bit more exercise to your pet’s daily routine, making sure their food meets all of their dietary needs, and adding supplements at a young age to combat the effects of aging or breed predispositions.
More exercise benefits everyone so that’s really a no brainer, especially considering an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs are considered overweight or obese in the US (per the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention [APOP]). Besides the obvious effects of an overweight pet, like lower quality of life, pets are also at risk of chronic inflammation, respiratory disorders, kidney dysfunction, metabolic and skin disorders, as well as cancer. When weighing (no pun intended) the cost of going for a walk or prioritizing play with the risks of not doing it daily, the time it takes to keep your pet healthy doesn’t seem as big of sacrifice.
Changing your pet’s food regimen to a higher-quality, species appropriate diet doesn’t have to mean you personally cook them two square meals a day. (If you do have the time, it’s an excellent option for your pets!) The priority is giving them larger amounts of meat-based proteins that reflect their carnivorous diet. Whether that means supplementing as often as you’re able or switching their food entirely, the important thing is ensuring they get adequate amounts of nutrient proportional to their dietary needs. If you are considering switching their diet or supplementing, there are a number of holistic brands that offer healthy, natural, and nutritional pet food. Serving these top-quality foods to your pet will take no more time than it does to pour a bowl of kibble, which is still convenient for you (and super tasty for your pet).
Supplementing addresses common problems that dogs and cats face as they age but they’re also meant to be used proactively. For example, if you know your pet’s breed, you can add supplements to their daily routine to combat any predispositions to disease. As you’d expect, larger breeds like German Shepherds, Labs, Great Danes and St. Bernards are predisposed to joint issues like hip dysplasia and arthritis but so are smaller breeds like Dachshunds, Corgis and Pugs. Certain breeds like King Charles Spaniels are more at risk for heart disease than others, along with Boxers, Golden Retrievers, Dobermans and Dachshunds. If you have a mixed-breed pet, genetic testing can be beneficial too. Knowing that Ivan the Adorable is a Golden Retriever/Lab mix, could help you supplement for those breeds’ dispositions, which as we now know, includes heart disease and joint issues, like arthritis. (Click here to learn more about Canine Arthritis and how to defend against it.)
Dedicating time to a more proactive lifestyle right from the beginning curbs the time you could spend treating preventable issues later. The goal really is to spend the most quality time you can with a dog who’s at their best and being proactive about their health and wellbeing is how you’re going to do that.
Myth #1 debunked.
Myth #2 – I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg when it may not even be needed.
It’s all about the bigger picture. Spending more money on your pet’s health earlier in their life means less money is spent reactively treating issues in their old age. When you have to react to joint issues or kidney dysfunction, there’s a slew of spending that takes place. Vet visits, tests, x-rays, procedures, though all a no brainer if they help your pet, are also potentially preventable.
Diet is actually much more intertwined with proactive pet care than people realize. Think about your own diet for example. Most of the time (fingers-crossed) we abstain from fast-food and junk food and opt for balanced meals with fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Most kibble is comparable to junk food for dogs- they can live on it but it’s not likely providing them with all of the nutrients they need to thrive. Fillers, plant-based proteins and the high number of rendered products that go into making kibble, make it less nutritional than the whole, real foods your dog could be eating. Yes, a raw diet that’s locally produced and humanely sourced is more expensive than kibble, but it provides the best targeted nutrition for them. Raw diets come with many options, all providing your pet with the nutrients they need. Simple pet foods, protein-based products, and even freeze dried dog food are all viable options for dogs. Although raw diets may not be the most cost-effective option available on the market it’s worth incorporating as often as you can. Even adding high-quality meats to your pet’s dish every so often is going to improve his overall health.
The takeaway here is that the cost associated with holistic pet care is comparable if not less than a more “traditional” approach to pet care. Choosing a higher-quality food or adding supplements may seem less cost-effective than throwing a 30lb. bag of generic kibble into a cart and calling it a day but if you consider the effects of those choices five years from now, it becomes more about when you’re spending money, not if. Really, taking a holistic approach to pet parenting is really quite cost-effective.
Myth #2 get outta here.
Myth #3 – It’s convenient to use the same pet care I always have, why change now?
The biggest reason people resist holistic health care is that it’s more convenient to stick with what they know. When it comes to holistic pet care though, the only “inconvenience” is the amount of time it takes to learn something new. Conventional vet care is more about treating disease, whereas the holistic approach is about nurturing health. In conventional (reactive) care, an animal will be treated for issues as they arise. Holistic care wants to prevent the issues from existing at all, by making well-informed choices from the beginning. It’s as easy as adopting a lifestyle that focuses more on health than just disease. Really, a lot of pet parents already practice certain aspects of holistic pet care without knowing it. Regularly exercising your dog keeps his mind and body sharp, feeding him your meaty table scraps provides him with much-needed nutrients, and keeping an eye on his overall health are all aspects of the holistic approach.
Myth #3 conveniently done away with.
So, what’s so different about a holistic vet?
Holistic veterinary medicine combines conventional and alternative (or complementary) medicine, so a visit to the holistic vet is a lot like a visit to a conventional vet. Your holistic vet examines your pet and discusses any issues they may be experiencing. Depending on the ailments, your vet may ask that you bring in a stool or urine sample. They may take blood from your pet, check teeth and gums, and look in your pet’s ears and eyes. They’re likely to feel your pet’s body to ascertain muscle mass, check for water retention, feel for bloat or gas, and check for any unusual lumps or bumps.
The main differences you may find during a visit to a holistic vet include:
Non-traditional treatment recommendations
Adding herbs, supplements, or homeopathic remedies to your dog’s food
Changing their diet to something more natural and raw-based
Homeopathic (natural healing) consultations
Monthly nail trimming sessions
Anesthesia-free teeth cleaning
This practice acknowledges that your pet’s body has the capacity to heal on its own, if the impediments to healing are cared for and removed. Through proper nutrition, regular care, avoidance of chemical toxins, and minimization of emotional stress, your pet’s immune system gets stronger and is able to heal itself. Holistic pet care tends to avoid the overuse or common misuse of many drugs like antibiotics, steroids, artificial chemicals, and vaccinations.
Traditional medicines and techniques, and/or nutritional strategies, may also be employed as part of holistic treatment. After all, holistic veterinarians are also integrative and apply a combination of disciplines to their treatment practice.
Holistic pet care is less time-consuming, affordable, and more convenient, and should certainly be considered another viable option for how you approach pet care. Pet parents who take a lifelong interest in their dog’s lifestyle, including regular exercise, diet, and check-ups, tend to have dogs with fewer health problems and a better quality of life which is what’s most important.