Canine health problems: What is bloating?

Bloat is a common health problem in deep-chested breed of dogs. The dilation of the stomach due to entrapment of the fluids/food/gas is typically called bloating in dogs. However if along with the entrapment there is also the rotation of the stomach on its long axis then the condition is called gastric-dilation volvulus which could even prove fatal to the dog. Let’s just say that bloat could be an early sign of volvulus. Therefore if you notice any of the following symptoms then immediately take your pet to the veterinarian.

Common signs of bloat/gastric-dilation volvulus are:

  • Unproductive bouts of retching
  • Trying to belch/vomit without producing anything
  • Dry mouth or excess salivating
  • Weakness/lethargy
  • Uneasiness while walking
  • Pale gums
  • High heartbeat rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold body temperature
  • Extreme anxiety or depression
  • Stomach feels slightly tight
  • Hollow noise made on patting the abdomen

Apart from these common symptoms there could sometimes be no warning at all before your dog goes into hypertensive shock due to stomach rotation. Therefore if you suspect that your dog’s stomach is bloating then immediately take him to a veterinarian. Bloat or volvulus mostly occurs in deep chested dog breeds like Irish setters, German Shepherds, Great Dane, Akitas, Saint Bernards to name a few. However this problem could affect any dog.

Here are some common causes of bloat or gastric-dilation volvulus:

  • Vigorous exercise immediately before or after meal
  • Eating one large meal once daily/quickly eating lot of food
  • Drinking water immediately after eating dry dog food.
  • Eating meals from bowls kept on a raised platform etc.

Gastric dilation volvulus or bloat should not be taken lightly for they have a 50% chance of recurring and most of the time prove fatal for your beloved pooch. Also since the time it takes for the bloat to get worse is just a few hours. Therefore on slightest suspicion of bloat in your dog rush him immediately to a nearby veterinarian. Hope these tips will help you in providing excellent pet care. Remember a healthy dog is a happy dog. Good luck!

Joys of Being a Dog Lover!!

This is perhaps one of the most informal blogs that Tailwaggers has published. Nevertheless I hope that our readers will enjoy it. So yesterday while I was on my regular walk I saw a lady walking ahead of me cringe at the sight of two young dogs that were coming at the passersby wagging their tails in anticipation for a pat or a treat. This happens a lot as there are quite a few compassionate residents who feed these dogs. Although they are extremely friendly yet many people especially ladies get scared upon their approach. These pups and their mother are especially familiar with me as our Tailwaggers team got them vaccinated when they were but few months old. The thought that crosses my mind whenever I see them is that how much more love I am getting in my life apart from what I get from my family and my own lovely dog. I know that all my fellow animal lovers will agree with this fact. I feel sad for those who cringe at the sight of these street dogs because they are losing on so much extra love that we all need in our stressful lives. I also for the fact cannot understand the mentality of the people who are biased towards the breed dogs. Anyways for the time being I will leave you with some of the pictures of these lovely mother and her two sons.IMG00430-20130214-1715

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How to tackle separation anxiety in your dog!!

Separation anxiety in dogs is the fear of being left alone or abandoned when left at home alone. The result of this anxiety could be howling, crying, whining, scratching furiously at doors or windows, tearing cushions and other items etc. and in extreme cases urinating and defecating.

Separation anxiety is one of the behavior problems in dogs which are most difficult to rectify due to the fact that dogs are pack animals and it is in their inherent nature not to be alone. Hence being at home alone while the members are out is something that the dog has to acquire and the owner has to help him with it. The best time to start this training is right when you bring the pup home. His calm and submissive behavior should be rewarded whereas his whining should be ignored. Here are some more tips to help ease separation anxiety in your dog:

1.     Do not touch or talk or make eye contact.

Don’t make a big deal when you leave for the day or when you return. This way, you are communicating to your dog that the time apart is no big deal. It’s just business as usual and there is no need to be anxious. Depending on the severity of the dog anxiety, you may need to practice the rule for five minutes or up to an hour before you leave and when you get back.

2.     Start out slow but steady by leaving your dog alone for just five minutes.

Once you have shut the door behind you, wait till the whining starts. Before it accelerates to a pitch of hysteria, re-enter the room and stand in a calm and confident way and say “NO” firmly. Leave the room and repeat exercise. Leave your dog alone for five minutes, then extend the time to twenty minutes, then an hour. Continue to increase the time you spend away until you can leave for a full eight hours without any more separation anxiety problems!

3.     Say goodbye to your dog long before you leave.

If you are having trouble practicing the policy of “do not touch or talk or make eye contact” then take a moment to share affection and tell your dog that you will miss him way before you actually leave. Keep in mind that this display is for you, not your dog so that it becomes easier for you to be firm with him when needed.

4.     Stay calm and assertive!

When you are ready to go to work, leave those guilty, nervous, and concerned feelings behind. Instead, let your dog know that everything is going to be okay by projecting the confident energy of a pack leader. A dog draws his energy from the owner. So a calm and assertive leader can ease separation anxiety in his dog.

5.     Before you leave the house, take your dog for a walk.

Start your day by taking your dog for a brisk walk. Then reward your dog’s calm-submissive energy with food and water. Some dogs may need to rest before eating, but all dogs can benefit from hydration. The idea is to leave your dog in quiet, resting mode while you are away.

Sometimes in extreme cases of separation anxiety in dogs it is highly recommended that you take your pooch to the vet and get accurate advice and medication if needed. Always remember that a vigilant owner is a happy owner.

 

 

Project Pole Insulation – An Initiative

Project Pole Insulation was inspired by watching the process of dog catchers catching dogs with catch poles and the injuries caused to the dogs during the process. If you have ever noticed, the dog catching drill is fast and efficient, this is why we fail to notice the inside story. All animal welfare organizations in Delhi city use catch poles for catching dogs. Once a dog is caught he or she can and often does panic and begins to bite the poles in an attempt to be free, usually resulting in some pretty awful mouth injuries. Though these kinds of incidences are rampant, very few even pay attention or for that matter come up with a solution like using net or insulating the poles. Hence  Project Pole Insulation.

In order to prevent these injuries Indigree Angels Trust and Tailwaggers have started a joint initiative in the form of ProjectPole Insulation to try and help save the dogs from this completely avoidable trauma. We are going into animal shelters in the city and insulating their catchpoles by coating it in a way that ensures that if/when the dog bites the pole he does not injure himself. We are also training people within the organizations on how to make and maintain the insulation on their catchpoles as well. Yesterday we insulated PAWS and ANIMAL INDIA TRUSTs catch poles. We thank them for caring. We hope the rest of the shelters will also understand the importance of this Project and welcome us as well.

We appeal you to support us by promoting Project Pole Insulation and making sure that catch poles brought into your area are properly insulated and safer for the dogs.

You can also leave your comments here. Your feedbacks will be highly appreciated.

Dog Diabetes: Some Common Symptoms…

Recently one of our member’s dog has been diagnosed with diabetes. This made us realize that Diabetes in dogs & cats is one of the lesser known disease. This incident inspired this blog basically.  Although the diabetes is not curable yet it is treatable. Aside from older dogs, bigger dogs are more susceptible to dog diabetes than smaller breeds. Some other risk factors are gender, diet, age and weight. Also Diabetes in dogs is a hereditary disease. Even cats are susceptible to diabetes. We have tried to summarize some symptoms of diabetes in dogs & cats:

  • Weakness or Fatigue – Diabetes can cause wasting of back muscles or weakness in the back legs of cats. With dogs there may just be a general sense of lethargy, being less active, or sleeping more.
  • Increased thirst – Drinking more water than usual, known as polydipsia, is an early warning sign of diabetes.
  • Increased Urination – Urinating more frequently, producing more urine throughout the day, or having “accidents” in the house may mean your cat or dog has developed polyuria, another early warning sign of diabetes that goes hand in hand with polydipsia.
  • Increased Hunger – If your cat or dog suddenly acts as if it is always starving, despite eating the usual amount (known as polyphagia), and maintains or loses weight despite increased food intake, this can be a sign of diabetes as well.
  • Sudden weight loss – Though a diabetic pet may show signs of being hungrier than ever, sudden weight loss is a common occurrence because diabetes can cause an increased metabolism.
  • Obesity – Obesity can actually cause diabetes to develop; therefore, if your pet is obese you should keep an eye on it to determine if it is developing any symptoms of diabetes.
  • Thinning or dull hair – Thinning, dry, or dull hair, particularly along the back. Thinning hair is generally a symptom of some illness, diabetes included, so it is best to visit your veterinarian to determine the cause.
  • Cloudy eyes – A common complication of diabetes in dogs is cataracts, or cloudy eyes. Cataracts can lead to blindness if not monitored.
  • Depression – A later sign of diabetes in dogs and cats is ketoacidosis, metabolic acidosis caused by the breakdown of fat and proteins in the liver in response to insulin deficiency. Ketones in the body in high amounts are toxic, and this imbalance in the body of your pet can cause depression.
  • Vomiting – Another side effect of ketoacidosis, if your pet’s diabetes has escalated to this point before it’s been recognized, is vomiting. Ketoacidosis is more commonly found in older pets and in females. Dachshunds and Miniature Poodles are also predisposed to it.

We strongly recommend you to take your pooch to the vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms. And if in case your dog is suffering from diabetes then no need to get discouraged as there are many incidences when an early diagnosis has led to a relatively longer, normal life for the dog. With few extra precautions regarding the diet of the dog and medicines will help you and your best friend sail through this.

For other useful articles regarding Cat & Dog health please visit our website www.tailwaggers.in

Rough Housed by Your Kitty? Here are some tackle tips…

 

Play aggression in cats/kittens is a very common cat behavior problem. Biting and scratching during play are typical of play aggression, a behavior most commonly observed in young cats and kittens. To read more about why and how of cat behavior problem of aggressive play you can also visit http://www.tailwaggers.in/cat-behavior-problems-play-aggression.html. Meanwhile we give you some easy and helpful tips to tackle your cat’s aggressive behavior problems.

 

English: A Persian kitten play fighting with i...

English: A Persian kitten play fighting with its owner. When separated from mother and siblings, a kitten would engage in active play fighting with humans. Play fighting may involve playful biting, but the bite is generally not serious. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

What can you do to tackle this play aggression?

 

 

 

  • Firstly it is very important that you keep a track on your cat’s behavior to understand the pattern of aggression so that you could detect and rectify this problem in the early stages of cat’s development.
  • Secondly A bell on a breakaway collar around your cat’s neck clues you in to his whereabouts thereafter you could deny him/her his favorite stalking places. This will contribute to discourage the cat from stalking.
  • Usage of noise deterrents like human-generated hiss, a can filled with pennies or a hand clap at the onset of stalking could be very useful and discourage your kitten from being aggressive. Remember, your aim is to startle the cat not scare him.
  • Another cat companion for your lonely cat could help a lot. The new friend will give him an outlet to vent his youthful energies as well as show him the boundaries of playful biting and scratching.
  • Simply walking away and ignoring your kitten is highly effective; it teaches him that the consequence of rough play is no play.
  • Keep all of your play objects at a distance from your hands, so your cat has no opportunity to bite or scratch you. If you can predict when the attacks are likely to happen, toss a toy ahead of you to attract the cat’s attention away from your feet. Avoid rough play with the cat, and make sure all family members comply.
  • Toss moving objects like ping-pong balls, walnuts, or aluminum foil balls for your cat to chase. Provide climbing perches, scratching posts, and ball toys that deliver food when batted about. Buy a fishing pole toy with feathers on the end to dangle in front of your cat. Imitation bugs on wires, feather wands and catnip mice on a string that can be made to bounce erratically work best. (For safety’s sake, keep these toys out of reach when the cat is not supervised.)

 

Always remember never slap/beat your cat. It is not only cruel but also the pain of being struck can lead to more aggressive behavior, and your kitten will learn to fear and avoid you. So good luck and have a blast!!!

 

 

 

 

 

How to make your cat use the litter box..

The most common of all cat behavior problems is that of elimination outside the litter box. Besides the mess and damage, inappropriate elimination is unsanitary and creates an unpleasant (and often malodorous) atmosphere in the home.

 

Sometimes your kitty suddenly begins eliminating in inappropriate places which could be a sign that she doesn’t feel well. You’ll never make any progress on getting her to use the litter box consistently if there’s a physical cause for the unwanted behavior, so get her to the vet as soon as possible.

 

Apart from physical reasons, it could also be something psychological such as the location of the litter box. Maybe it’s too far out of the way (for example, down in a basement or up in an attic) or too hard to get into or out of for small kittens or elderly cats. Sometimes, air fresheners or other odors in the room will keep the cat away. Pine and citrus, for example, are pleasing smells to us but may be offensive to cats. Also, loud noises, such as a nearby stereo, may disturb your cat when she’s doing her business.

 

Before you try to treat inappropriate elimination as a behavior problem, take your cat to the vet for a thorough exam. If your vet rules out a physical cause, you know it’s probably a straight behavior problem. However, even if there is a physical problem and your vet treats it successfully, your cat still has developed the habit of eliminating someplace other than litter box; you’ll still need to follow the steps for correcting the behavior problem. Here are some helpful tips:

 

Give your kitty a lot of options: Litter boxes and litter should be bought simultaneously with the decision to get a cat. Set them up before the cat sets a single paw in your home. Make sure they are clean, easy to find, and numerous enough as many cats dislike using a box that another cat has recently used (even if that other cat is herself). A litter box in every room could help your cat feel more comfortable. A useful thumb rule to follow is: The number of litter boxes in the house should equal the number of cats in the house plus one. Thus, if you have two cats, you should have at least three litter boxes; even households with just one cat should have at least two boxes.

 

Keep it simple silly: These days a lot ofinteresting options are available in the form of Deodorizing litters, antibacterial litters, high-tech litters etc. There’s nothing wrong with using a litter that makes your job of tending to the litter box a little easier but it is likely that your cat may be put off by the additives, perfumes, and chemical deodorizers used in some of these products. And that means they’ll choose to do their business elsewhere. A plain cat box clumping litter (unscented) usually works fine.

 

Stop the behavior initially: Once a cat starts eliminating outside of the litter box, do not assume she’ll learn to use the box on her own. Cats habitually return to the same places to eliminate, a habit that’s re-enforced by the lingering odor of urine or feces. Since a cat’s sense of smell far superior to ours, cleaning up a litter box accident so that you can no longer detect the odor may not be enough to deter the cat from doing it again. Therefore it is necessary to stop your cat after her first accident itself. You can do some of the following things:

 

  • Block the favorite spots: Deny your cat access to places where she’s eliminated outside the litter box. Physical barriers work well, but if that’s not possible, try covering the spots with tinfoil or double-sided tape. This provides a barrier to the odor and a texture the cat won’t want to walk on. If possible, consider placing a litter box directly on top of the inappropriate spot, and then gradually move the box an inch or so every few days, until it’s where you want it to be.
  • Appropriate restraint and reward always works: When your cat first comes home, keep her in one room with a litter box. Once she’s using that box consistently, give her the run of more rooms. Usually, this is enough to lock in the habit. However, a cat that doesn’t completely get the hang of the litter box — or backslides and starts eliminating in other places — needs some additional training. The best method is to use a large portable dog kennel. Set the cat up in the kennel with litter and water and give her meals in there, too. When you see her use the litter box, let her out for a recess. Keep an eye on her, and return her to her private quarters after an hour or two. The next time you see her use the litter box, let her out again. The idea is she only gets free run of the house when she uses the litter box. This strategy can train (or retrain) a cat to use the litter box in as little as two or three weeks — but longer isn’t uncommon, either.

 

Always remember that Cats have an instinct to dig in loose materials and bury their urine and feces, and many of them adapt this instinct to the litter box with few problems. But it’s still something they have to learn, and they often need help to get the lesson right.