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Dog ear Infections

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Every dog has some bacteria and yeast in their ears. Sometimes this balance can be thrown off, which can lead to an ear infection. This over growth can be very uncomfortable and even painful for your dog. It can even lead to hearing loss if left untreated for too long. Your dogs ear infection can last anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks. As always it is important to check with your vet for proper treatment.

If an ear infection is very severe your dog may yelp when it is touched or whine when itching his/her ear. Ear infections are easily treated if you know what you are looking for, I will try to give you the information to tell the difference between an ear infection, ear mites, or allergies.

Here are some symptoms to look for:

  • Discharge from the ears will usually be black or yellow and chunky, the discharge may even contain blood.
  • If you notice excessive scratching, rubbing, or shaking of the head. You may also notice head tilting.
  • Redness and swelling may be noticed in the inner ear flap or the ear canal.
  • You may notice an unusual or foul smelling odor coming from your pets ears.
  • Eye movements that seem abnormal from left to right (or right to left)

You may also notice your pet seeming off balance. Head shaking can cause tissue damage leading to blood-filled blisters.

Swimming, dogs with allergies, and dogs that grow hair in the inner ear are more prone to ear infections.

 

Signs it is ear mites or caused by allergies:

Mites may become present if an ear infection is present. Often times the two are confused because they have similar symptoms. It is important to treat ear mites right away because they attack the blood vessels in your dogs ears. If your dog has ear mites, keep your eyes open for mite feces or eggs. Ear mites are more common in puppies. The only way to be sure if it’s ear mites, is a trip to your vet.

Dogs may develop an ear infection due to allergies. If you notice your pet wheezing, sneezing, if they have watery eyes, or if you notice excessive itching it could be an allergy.

Ear infection medical treatments:

  • Otomax ear drops-treats acute and chronic ear infections
  • Cephalexin antibiotics-used for serious skin infections
  • Mometamax ear drops-Once a day infection treatment
  • Baytril Otic-treats outer ear infections
  • Mita-clear –used for ear mites

 

Home treatments:

  • Warm compress-apply the towel to the outside of the ear and press down for 30 seconds. Can be repeated a few times a day
  • Green Tea-steep a few bags in boiling water, cool completely, and use to flush ears twice a day, or use as a towel compress
  • Vinegar-mix one part white or apple cider vinegar and two parts warm water. Apply with a spray bottle (set on mist) or a warm cloth and dab dry. This can be done 2-4 times a week. Do not use this method with open sores.
  • Vitamin E Oil-Gently massage a few drops into the ear for 10-25 seconds.
  • Garlic Oil-Apply 2-3 drops and massage for 10-25 seconds. Garlic is a natural antibiotic.

 

These supplements may also help:

  • Probiotics
  • Enzymes
  • Fatty acids
  • Antioxidants

Please remember that although some of these may help, the best course of action is always to contact your vet.

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Pets and Vacations

dog with suitcase

dog with suitcase

When it comes time to take a vacation, the decision must be made, to take the furry members of your family or leave them? Here are some tips for both choices to keep your vacations fun, and your pets happy.

Leaving your pets at home

If you decide to vacation without your pet, here are some things to think about. If you want to go the route of a kennel, be sure to check into how the kennel is run so you know how your pet will be treated. Do they have beds for your pet, or do they sleep on concrete floors? Do they have yard time? Are they given attention from the people working there? Do they charge extra for administering medication? What is the feeding schedule? Asking these questions and more will ensure a pleasant stay for your pet, and less anxiety for you.

Another option would be to check into “pet sitters”. This is a surprisingly inexpensive and very convenient option. You have to be ok with someone in your home with you not there. This option is usually easier for pets and great for pets with anxiety issues. In my area the cost for three, thirty minute visits a day, including giving meds and grabbing the mail, comes to the same as a stay at my local kennel. Pet sitters will usually take your pets for walks, feed them, and give them plenty of one on one time. Most will offer shorter visits if you’re on a tighter budget. A big plus is your pet feels at home because he is at home.

Taking your pet along

By Air or Sea: Be sure to do the research to find out if your accommodations in fact, allow for pets. If you are leaving the country, find out if your pet needs a “pet passport”. (It is in fact a real thing). Also check to see what immunizations your pet will need. Be sure to check in to rules and regulations for flying with your pet as well.

Traveling by Car: Be sure to plan out stops along the way, where it is safe for your pet to stretch his legs and relieve himself. This will help get rid of pent up energy your pet may have from being trapped in a small space. If it is going to be a particularly long trip, make sure you have prior arrangements for sleeping and eating for your pet as well.

Always be sure check with campgrounds you may stay at, or city you are staying in to find out the leash rules or if there are certain areas designated for walking your pet. Make sure your pet has a collar on at all times, and of course, Pet ID Tag with information to reach you. A simple name and phone number is best. Doing the preparation and research before hand, can go a long way toward ensuring a safe, happy journey for you and your furry family member.

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Why dogs eat poop??

dog brushing teeth

Scared Dog

If you are like many pet owners you have noticed one or more of your dogs eating poop. Now if you do what I did you automatically thought this meant your dog needed more in his diet. So you bought new food, bought the animal a vitamin or a combination of both. The thing is, depending on “whose” poop your dog is eating, you may have just wasted your time and money. Having a cute but disgusting “poop eater” myself, here is what I learned.

The first thing I learned is, even though dogs can seem gross, they have their reasons. Though we may not always understand those reasons. So one thing you need to pay attention to would be, is your dog eating his own feces or another animals? The sad thing is, sometimes it’s hard to tell, especially if your dogs are the same size.

Dogs that eat their own poop. Most likely if a dog is eating it’s own feces the reason is some sort of vitamin deficiency. However you do also need to keep in mind that if you had trouble potty training your dog and they were yelled at often you may have made them confused. This will make a dog eat his own feces not because he likes the taste, but because he thinks he was punished for the act itself and not the fact that he went in the house. This is what vets call the “hide the evidence: syndrome. They eat the feces so they will not get into trouble.

Dogs that eat cat poop. Now unfortunately if a dog eats cat poop out of your litter box there are a number of reasons why they may be doing it. It could be that they like the taste. (gross I know). Or that they have that vitamin deficiency again. Or it could also be that they are trying to be sure their “territory” isn’t claimed by another animal. Only trial and error, and some patience, can tell.

Dogs that eat other dogs poop. Sadly there are, again, a number of reasons for this. The usual reason is territory. Dogs feel the need to mark their territory. So especially if it’s a smaller dog eating a larger dogs feces, it will usually mean they do not feel they can cover the other animals smell, so they dispose of it. Again gross I know. It could also be that darn vitamin deficiency again, or again with the “hide the evidence” syndrome.

So now that you know the reasons, here are some tips to help you fix your problem. If your dog is eating their own feces, make sure they are not overly punished but be firm. If that doesn’t help, try adding a vitamin. If your pet is eating other dogs’ feces, you can try a couple things. Scooping the feces often so there is nothing to eat, or feeding the pets whose feces is being eaten pineapple. Sounds odd but dogs strongly dislike the taste on the other side. Another option is scolding when you see him doing it, or you can go with the vitamin. If its cat feces you pet enjoys, try getting a litter box with a top and a swinging door. His usually discourages your pet from getting into it.

I hope this helps you figure out, or at least understand, why your dog has this, lets face it, extremely disgusting habit. The only way to discover the reason, is patience and of course trial and error. Hopefully you can try the other reasons first and avoid extra cost that may have been unneeded. Your vet can always help, however they cannot speak to your animal any more than you can so even with them, it will be trial and error. Please remember if you intend to feed your animal anything that is not specified for dogs, to check with your vet first for dosing amounts and safety. No two dogs are alike as no two people are. They may require a different set of rules. Hope you found this helpful and good luck to you! And as always… make sure your pets are wearing pet id tags!

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Canine Body Language

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Learning to read your dogs body language can help you understand how he/she is feeling. This will enable you to make the best choices for both you and your pet.

What’s this look all about?

What his/her eyes are saying:

Larger pupils and direct eye contact with you, another person, or another dog is a warning sign your pet is feeling aggressive and possibly gearing for an attack. If aimed at you, back away slowly, avoid running or making direct eye contact. If directed at another dog, try removing one or both animals to calm the situation.

Refusing to make eye contact or avoiding your eyes is a submissive or frightened response. This signals that the dog is unsure of you or trying to avoid an unpleasant exchange.

Squinty eyes can mean a couple things. If they are squinty, sad and the sclera (the white part) is red or yellow, this can mean your dog is not feeling well. Squinty eyes, on their own can also be a sign of pleasure, like when you scratching his/her belly or behind their ears.

What his/her tail is saying:

Tail between his/her legs and crouched low to the ground is a submissive tail. This usually means he/she is shy/unsure or frightened. It could be your pet is just timid by nature, or your pet could just be letting another dog know he/she acknowledges their dominance and does not wish to fight.

A high stiff tail means your pet is uncomfortable and taking caution. The higher and stiffer the tail, the more tense your pet is. Try comforting your dog as a tense animal may become an aggressive animal if they feel threatened.

A fast wagging tail is usually an indication of a happy pet. A circular wagging tail signifies excitement and the need for attention. Keep in mind, a tense animal with a straight, slowly wagging tail can also signify aggression and/or dominance.

Reading his/her ears:

Ears and head both erect with small movements is a sign of a relaxed pet. Playful/friendly ears are similar but with a slight head tilt and wagging tail.

Ears that are perked up, facing forward, with a stiff tail and possibly raised back fur can signal aggression. This is usually from your pet exerting dominance and means he/she could be preparing to lunge.

Ears pressed down on the head are signaling fear and means your dog is frightened or unsure of his/her surroundings. This may be accompanied by the submissive tail and eyes.

Hopefully reading this body language tells and putting them together can help you better understand what your pet is feeling. Best of luck!

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Lake water safety

dog on a boat
dog on a boat
Captain Fido
 

If you are an avid boater, you want to make sure your dog is safe and has as much fun during your excursions as you do. Here are some general guidelines to follow when taking your dog out on the water. Please remember to always use common sense when it comes to the well being of your pet.

In some parts of the country, there are certain times of year that lake water is unsafe for pets. Bodies of water that carry blue-green algae can cause a series health risk. Talk to your area officials to see if it is problem in your area.

Make sure your pet can swim. Start from shore and work your way from there, just in case something happens you want to know your pet can swim. A pet flotation device is always a wise choice as well.

Beware of lake water! It is best to bring drinking water along for your pet, as lake water can be unsafe to drink, even for your pet. Although is very small amounts it should not hurt your pet.

Be sure to check for rocks or muscles near the beach or shallow water that may harm your pets paws.

Always rinse or bathe your pet when returning home. Include cleaning and drying their ears.

Apply sunscreen to white dogs or dogs with thin coats as they can burn easily (they make a special sunscreen for dogs, check your local pet store or with your vet)

Make sure your dog gets plenty of rest. Imagine how tired you are after swimming!

Most of all…enjoy your adventure! Happy summer!

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Dog Grooming 101

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If you are like me, you like your pet to look and smell clean! You are also like me if you just do not have the time for that kind of upkeep. So how do you solve your problem? A dog groomer of course. Whether you are looking for a new groomer or have one you’ve been using for years, here are some things to remember. Always make sure you get references from other pet owners you know. Pet people can usually tell if others are also pet people, obviously you want a pet person. Find out how busy they are, even pet people can be a bit rough if they are over worked. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like: Where did you get your training? Can I see in the back? Seeing in the back can be a big eye opener, are the other pets being groomed crammed in a small crate to wait for pick up? Are they stuck standing while other pets are being done? Make sure you randomly check out the place to see if the groomer yells at the animals or seems to genuinely care. I can tell you from experience, if you choose the wrong groomer, you may end up picking up a pet that is traumatized with razor burns! Our pets are members of our families do not be afraid to make it known! Once you find the right fit for your pet, you both will be much happier and less stressed.

Happy grooming!
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New Dog and Your Toddler

Kid with puppy

As any close relative will tell you, raising a youngster isn’t meant to be simple, and it’s something that takes a lot of effort, tolerance, and love to get right. The same can be said for bringing a dog into your household, so when you’re trying to do both at the same time, it can turn into quite the challenge. Introducing a new dog to your toddler requires a bit of dedication to make sure things run smoothly, but if you’re willing to put in the work, your toddler and your new dog will make fast friends.

The choice to bring a dog into your home should never be made without due consideration, but this goes double when there’s a inquisitive toddler jumping around the house. So when choosing a new furry friend, make sure you take into account all of the troubles that you will surly face. The two most important things to consider are the size and personality of your new pup. Generally speaking, the larger the dog is, the harder it will be to manage him around your child. Big dogs can often bang your toddler around without even realizing it, so it may be best to pick a small- or medium-sized dog for your toddler to play with. On a related note, you also should choose a dog that doesn’t get too excited or destructive. Preferably, you want a calmer, less nippy dog that your toddler will be able to live with peacefully.

Assuming you’ve picked out your new dog, there are a few of preparatory things you need to take before introducing him to your toddler. First off, you need to make sure your house is puppy-proofed before you bring your new canine home. This means clearing your house of any sharp edges or dangerous products and chemicals hanging around. After you’ve brought your new pup into your puppy-proofed home, let him get used to his surroundings for a few days before introducing him to your child. Your dog will automatically be excited and nervous about his new home, so let him burn off a bit of steam before introducing a curious toddler into the situation. As always, make sure that you purchase a new pet id tag for your new puppy!

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Dealing with separation anxiety

Scared Dog

It is not terribly common, but it is heartbreaking to have a pet that does not cope well with being left alone. In most cases it is triggered by the departure of a specific individual. Some of the ways dogs react to this anxiety are: scratching point of exit, chewing, barking, whimpering, pacing, panting and some even lose control of their bladder or bowls. Most of the time the anxiety is caused by a traumatic experience, that may have occurred in your pets past. Sometimes something as simple as getting your pet a “friend” will solve the problem. However in most cases it seems only human attention will relieve this fear.

There are ways to help relieve this stress to your pet. Here a some of them. First of all, you can talk to your vet who may prescribe a medication that can be given to your pet a certain amount of time before your departure. Please remember it may not work completely and, depending on the animal, may wear off before you return so it is best to combine it with another technique. You can also try using aroma therapy plug-ins designed to calm pets which, again, works depending on your animal. Another option you can try is what trainers call the “safety signal” method. You are going to give your pet a special toy that they only get when you leave. You give them the toy, pretend to leave, then take away the toy when you return. As you increase the amount of time you are “gone” your pet will begin to understand, when they receive this toy you are not really gone. Therefore you can actually leave without your pet realizing they are alone. This method can take a lot of time and may not work on all animals. You can also do this by taking your dog to a day sitter so the house becomes the “safety signal”. It is always best to discuss any options with your vet and even consult a professional trainer who can help you design a plan that is specified to your dog. Brought to you by: OvernightPetTags.com

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Bringing a new baby home with pets

Dog and Baby on blanketOne of the major stresses in life, is bringing home a new baby with pets at home. If you are a pet lover your pets have been your baby until now. This will be a big change for them, just as it is for you. I myself am expecting and have done a ton of research on how to best handle the situation. No matter how you intend to handle it, please don’t forget your pets and remember that they have feelings too.

If your preparing to bring home a baby you’ve already been spending all your waking moments planning and preparing. The best thing you can do to make this transition easier for your pets, is making sure they are feeling lots of love and attention during all these changes. Even though it may seem best to you, keeping them out of the nursery or pushing them away all the time will only make your pets resent your new addition. If you happen to leave your pets with family members while you are in the hospital make sure that you have their information on the pet id tags.

Something else you can do to make this easier is cuddling with your pet or pets as much as possible with your growing belly. You make think you smell the same but they may already be able to begin picking up baby’s sent from you. Something else you can do is make sure you pack your own baby blanket for the hospital. Normally after delivery the hospital will wrap your new bundle in a blanket and put a cap on his or her little head. Your spouse can take this blanket or cap home and let the animals smell it on their own without feeling anxious. By the time you come home with baby, they are used to the smell, or at least expect it.
No matter how you handle your situation do not stress. Remember that babies and pets have been living together peacefully for a long time. So do not stress. Give you pets some love and attention. Enjoy being pregnant and look forward to baby and pets being the best of friends.