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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!

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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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

10 Reasons to Get Your Pet Spayed/Neutered.

Happy Furry Friday, folks!

Happy Furry Friday, folks! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spaying/neutering is an essential part of your responsibilities as a pet owner. However before proceeding you should have a complete knowledge about the basics. Spaying as we say is removing the ovaries and uterus of a female pet and is a veterinary procedure that requires minimal hospitalization and offers lifelong health benefits. Whereas Neutering is removing the testicles of your male dog or cat and is proven to vastly improve your pet’s behavior and keep him close to home. Unlike common misconception, spaying/neutering your pet is not at all harmful. Instead it has added health benefits if done at the right age.

If you are having doubts about your pet’s sterilization then read on as we give you top 10 reasons to spay or neuter your pet!

  1. Give your female pet a longer, healthier life.
    Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.
  2. Provide major health benefits for your male.
    Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.
  3. Say goodbye to your female’s heat woes.
    While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they’ll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house! Unlike humans dog/cat females do not have adverse effect if their heat cycles are stopped.
  4. Keep your male dog from wandering away from home or getting lost.
    An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate! That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he’s free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males not to mention getting dognapped for illegal dog fights.
  5. Get a better behaved pet in your neutered male.
    Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.
  6. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat.
    It is an age old misconception propagated by lazy and irresponsible owners. The truth is that lack of exercise and overfeeding causes your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.
  7. Saves you from frequent and costly trips to your vet.
    It is highly cost-effective as the cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered male escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray!
  8. Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community.
    Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna and frighten children. Spaying and neutering packs a powerful punch and is a totally humane way of reducing the number of animals on the streets. This step not only reduces dog menace but also cruelty on stray animals.
  9. Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation.
    Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds end up in shelters and are ultimately euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering. It is highly irresponsible to bring pups/kittens to life when their future is so dark and unreliable.
  10. Abandoning unwanted litter is not a very good life lesson for your children.
    Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children—especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters.

What to do if your pet dog gets burned?

 

 

Though there is a lot of awareness about how to treat injuries like fractures or swelling as well as what to do when your dog gets diarrhea or vomits but not many people know how to handle dog burns. A common truth that every pet owner faces is that however careful you may be, sometimes accidents do happen. The majority of burn wounds in dogs occur in the home and are categorized as thermal (heat), chemical and electrical. We strongly advise you to take your dog to the vet immediately when burn accidents happen but in the meantime you should know these handy tips also:

  1. The least dangerous and easily treatable dog burns are superficial thermal burns which can be treated by immersion of the affected skin in cold water or by applying an ice pack. Then you should remove any hair or debris from the burn wound and gently pat dry. Do not use oil-based medications on a burn wound. Prefer medical creams which will help prevent infection and does not interfere with burn wound healing. Ask your vet to suggest such medicines to use just in case. A non-stick telfa pad can then be applied followed by a light bandage to hold it in place. If the burn wound becomes infected or is not healing, veterinary care is needed.
  2. A more serious burn is deep thermal burns which extend below the surface of the skin and require immediate veterinary care. You should place a cloth loosely over the burn area (Do not rinse with water or place any medications on the burn wound) and then head to a veterinarian immediately. Since these burn wounds are serious and very painful hence some dogs may even go into shock.
  3. Then there are Electrical burns which are usually the result of a dog biting into an electrical cord. These burns are seen on the lips and tongue (where the dog bit the cord) but the dog’s entire body received an electrical shock. If you see your dog bite an electrical cord, do not touch the dog or try to pull the cord from its mouth as you may get shocked. First pull the plug from the outlet before doing anything else. If your dog is unconscious then check for breathing and a heartbeat or pulse. If breathing or the heart has stopped you may need to perform CPR. Whenever your dog is a victim of any electrical burn or shock, even if he seems fine, seek immediate veterinary care.
  4. Lastly there are Chemical burns (acid or alkali compounds) which are most common as well. These may occur on the surface of the body or may be ingested. Rinsing the chemical off with water should be done as soon as possible. However, if you know the compound is an acid, you can rinse the area with baking soda dissolved in water. If the compound is alkaline, then vinegar and water may be used. If your dog ingested the compound, check the container to see if there is an antidote and seek veterinary care immediately.