The Dachshund: A Tiny Dog With A Big Personality

There are few more smile inducing sights than seeing a miniature dachshund confidently standing up to a larger, more docile dog. This tiny creature with short stubby legs and a long body is stubborn, often foolishly so, and will fearlessly frolic with other dogs, cats and any other pet you may have in your home. A lively little mutt, a dachshund is an ideal choice for the first time dog owner due to their relaxed temperament and ability to fit in pretty much anywhere. Your dachshund will be your faithful companion and relish any opportunity he has to sit with you and succumb to your chin rubs.

Although he is a healthy breed, the dachshund has a few medical ailments that need to be watched out for as he grows older. Be aware and get him to the vet if you spot any of the warning signs of the following conditions.

Epilepsy

As with the human condition, dachshunds can develop seizures at any age. Watching your dog have a seizure can be terrifying, but the best thing you can do is stay with him and soothe him until it passes. It is thought that this neurological condition is genetic and incurable. However, there are plenty of medications that can be utilized to get your little hound’s epilepsy under control should he develop it at some point in his life.

dog-1343049_1920

Parasites

In a similar way to other hounds that love their walks, dachshunds are susceptible to anything parasitic ranging from fleas to ticks. The best way to combat this is to ensure your little guy starts a regular flea prevention routine from puppydom. Spot on treatments are the simplest and least intrusive way of giving your dog medication. You place a tiny pipette of medicated liquid onto the back of his neck once a month to keep him protected against the nasty parasitic blighters.

There are many parasites carried by other tiny critters that you need to be aware of. If you have a read of a post about a heartworm dog named Bobby Sue, you’ll see just how deadly parasites can be. Mosquitos can carry heartworms and release the parasitic larvae into a dachshund’s bloodstream after biting his skin. If your little pal starts coughing, seems wheezy or is losing weight, get him to the vet for a check up.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Because dachshunds weren’t blessed with the strongest of vertebra, their elongated shape means that they can find themselves with a whole host of back issues. They may need to have anti-inflammatory medication or have an operation to have discs removed if the pain becomes too great. It’s vital when you lift up your dachshund to give him a cuddle that you support his rear end and back. Because this is such a prevalent problem in the dachshund breed, owners have tried to fend off back problems with visits to a doggy acupuncturist or chiropodist with great success.

dog-1018408_1920

If you find yourself the proud companion of a dachshund, you’ll be welcoming a fiery, entertaining and delightful little creature into your home. He or she will be at the center of many a comical memory and will be a welcome addition to any family.

Cold Facts: Common Health Concerns Among Siberian Huskies

Siberian Huskie

It is no wonder why the popularity of Siberian Huskies has grown exponentially over recent years; they are just so hard to resist. There aren’t many other breeds that are quite as strikingly gorgeous as the Siberian husky, what with those piercing blue eyes, that thick coat of fur and those disarming wolf-like looks. But it isn’t just their appearance that makes them such amazing pets. It is their joyful demeanour, their buoyant energy, their loyalty and friendliness. But the fact they make the best furry friends imaginable is also what makes it so hard to cope with when they get sick. There is an emotional bond that can crush your soul like nothing else.

Yes, Siberian Huskies tend to be incredibly healthy compared to a lot of other breeds, but that doesn’t mean they are free of all health concerns. Quite the contrary, in fact. Of course, the best medicine in your arsenal is knowledge and prevention, which is why we are going to highlight the main health problems of this very special breed:

Huskie in the snow

Corneal Dystrophy
Unfortunately, Siberian Huskies are known for suffering autoimmune disorders that affect the eyes and one, in particular, is to do with the cornea. Unfortunately, this tends to be a hereditary disease and one that your local veterinarian will probably tell you has no known cure, whether medicinal or therapeutic. What it looks like is tiny white spots in the cornea, with the condition affecting your pups vision. It’s not nice, but the good news is it isn’t painful.

Zinc Deficiency
Another autoimmune disorder your husky is susceptible to is a low level of zinc in their body, which tends to cause hair loss. The most common areas of hair loss are on the face – lips, chin and eyelids – but it can also occur at their elbows, hocks and feet. The obvious thing to do is add a zinc supplement to their diet. However, before you do this we would strongly recommend you speak to your vet first.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Yeah, Huskies tend to get it pretty rough with their eyes, and this is another hereditary example of this. This is a condition whereby your dog’s retina slowly disintegrates over time. The best way to ensure that this condition doesn’t affect your puppy is to have your Husky screened at an early age and let it undergo the necessary examination. While this won’t cure them, it will allow you to make lifestyle adjustments to ensure any progression is put off for as long as possible.

Hip Dysplasia
Ask any vet and they will tell you that a lot of big dogs are prone to hip dysplasia and Siberian Huskies fall into the category. To give you a little more information on it, hip dysplasia is where the joint doesn’t quite fit together properly, making later life a lot harder for them. There are certain things you can do to help your dog if they suffer from this. However, we would also recommend you ask the breeder whether the pups parents have been screened for hip dysplasia. It is hereditary, so those parents who were fine on this front tend to produce a litter that is unaffected too.

Common Pooch Problems Vets Spot Instantly

We all want our pets to be healthy and happy. When it comes to dogs, there are some health problems that are very easy to spot. In fact, sometimes a vet may be able to diagnose them without any invasive tests. Want to know what they are? Then read on

Dehydration

Water is very important for all living beings, and it’s no different when it comes to the canine species. When a dog’s fluid levels drop below a certain level, they will begin to suffer from dehydration. Ideally, a dog’s hydration should always be above 80%, much in the same way that it should be this high for us humans. There are some very visible symptoms that giveaway dehydration. Firstly, take a look at the dog’s eyes. If they are sunken, then there is a good chance that the pup is dehydrated. Lethargy, a dry mouth, and loss of appetite are also indicators that the dog hasn’t been getting enough water too. This can be confirmed by a very easy skin-tent test to check the elasticity of the skin.

Obesity

Sadly, there is a high number of dogs out there that suffer from obesity and other weight problems. Owners find it too tempting to spoil their pups with lots of treats and tidbits! Even though a pooch may not be self-conscious about all the extra weight that they are carrying, it is important that the dog is treated and put on a diet to prevent any serious illnesses developing. It’s easy to tell if a dog is overweight. If you can’t feel its backbone when you stroke it, then it needs to lose a few pounds. Similarly, you should be able to feel its ribs without pressing at all.

soldier-and-dog

Canine Congestive Heart Failure

Heart failure in dogs may not be so easy to spot just by looking at a dog, but there are some classic tell-tale signs that give it away. You should ask if the dog has been sleeping and exercising as normal. If they have been sleeping excessively or have been reluctant to exercise, then they could be suffering. A lack of appetite and persistent cough are also common symptoms however this does need to confirmed by further tests including xray and echocardiogram.

Dental Diseases

Taking a look at a dog’s teeth can tell you a lot about their dental hygiene. One of the most common dental diseases is periodontal disease which affects around 80% of all dogs at one point in their life. If a dog suffers from this illness for a long time, it can sometimes lead to heart problems and diabetes. This is very easy for vets to spot as most dogs that have the disease will have a smelly breath and some visible swelling on the gums. They might also lose interest in eating because of the pain.

Thankfully, you won’t always be flummoxed by a dog’s health condition. Some are very easy to spot. Plus, it helps speeds up the whole treatment process!

Keep Your Dogs Healthy With These Basics

Keeping dogs healthy

All loving owners of dogs know that you need to go out of your way to keep them as healthy as possible, and the more loving the owner, the healthier the dog tends to be. If you have dogs of your own, then you might well be wondering about some of the things you can do to keep them healthy. The truth is, it is a fact of achieving a few basic things which ensures that your dogs will remain as healthy as possible. As long as you are bearing these essentials in mind, your dogs should live long and healthy lives. Let’s take a look at what those things might be, so that we can better understand how to achieve great doggy health.

Balanced Diet

Many of the things you need to consider for your pooch are exactly those which are just as important for you, and this first one is a great example. You need to ensure you are feeding your dogs a decent, well-balanced diet in order to keep them as healthy as they can be. This means that along with feeding them dried biscuits, you should also ensure that they get plenty of actual meat, as this is the sustenance which keeps them going for real. With a decent diet, your dogs are much more likely to be healthier – and you will notice the difference in how happy they will suddenly look as well.

The Coat

Looking after the coat is not just an aesthetic concern – it is actually relevant to their overall health too. One of the major things that you need to do is to keep the coat trimmed and brushed, as not doing this can lead to a variety of issues. You should also make sure to use a flea treatment for dogs, so that any fleas they might have are dealt with in no time at all. When you use this treatment, be careful not to get it in their eyes or anywhere else, as this could cause some severe irritations which could then lead to further problems. Keeping an eye on their coat for future fleas is always a good idea, too, so make sure that you do just that.

Regular Walks

This is one of those absolutely vital aspects of dog care. You simply can’t have a dog and not take it for walks, as this is exercise which they absolutely need in order to thrive physically. There is a lot of debate about how much exercise is ideal, but as a rule it is tempting to say that more is better. You would be hard pushed to exercise a dog more than they can handle, so don’t worry about overdoing it. Do, however, be concerned with a lower amount of exercise, as this could easily result in several serious health conditions if you are not careful. As long as you are taking your dog for regular walks, you are taking care of their most basic needs, and you can be sure that they will live long and healthy lives.

Have You Bitten Off More Than You Can Chew?

Do you feel you bit off more than you could chew with your dog? Are you finding it hard to shake the feeling you aren’t doing everything you can to make your pooch happy? In truth, dog ownership is hard. No amount of research can prepare you for the amount of responsibility a dog will bring into your life. And, the responsibility is a long-term one. Children grow up and look after themselves. A dog can’t do that! So, you could say getting a dog is more responsibility than having a child. Who’d have thought it? Like with anything, it’s important to admit when you’re overwhelmed. There’s help out there if you know how to ask. Even if you think you’re coping, it’s important to take a long look at the quality of life you’re offering your pup. If it’s lacking in any way, it’s time to call in the professionals. But, who do you turn to with your doggy woes? Here’s a list of a few options!

HEALTH

Like everything else in their life, your dog relies on you to make sure all is well with their health. But, you aren’t a professional, so what can you do? Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much. Your job is to spot problems. Before you got your dog, you should have done some research into common illnesses to watch out for. If not, do it now! Learn signs and symptoms of when there’s a problem so that you can act. If you do notice something, don’t hesitate to take your dog to a veterinary practice. Knowing you can hand the responsibility to someone who knows what they’re doing will come as a great relief. You’ll be able to rest easy that your four-legged friend is getting the best care.

two-dogs-running

HAPPINESS

It’s not just health you need to keep on top of. Your dog’s happiness should be your top priority. Many dog owners neglect to make their dog as happy as they could. Stop the habit by employing some help. It’s understandable that you don’t give your dog the attention they deserve. We’re all busy. Even so, neglecting your dog in this way is a form of abuse and is a failure on your part. So, how do you deal with the problem? You get help, of course. Do you not spend long enough playing with your dog? Do you not take them for walks as often as you would like? Friends for Pets pet care and other companies like them can ensure your dog gets the walks it needs. Plus, there’s the benefit that they’ll be able to play with other dogs at the same time. This interaction could make a huge difference to you, and your dog’s life. So, go ahead. Take the guilt off your shoulders and make your dog happy in the process!

ADVICE

As well as the significant issues, we all need advice about pet care sometimes. Are you struggling to find the right food for your dog? Are you unsure how often you should be grooming them? The good news about pet advice is that, with the internet, it’s completely free. So, don’t hesitate to head to a search engine and find out what you need to know. While you’re looking, it’s worth finding out as much as possible. That way, you can improve the general care you provide! Of course, reading information online isn’t the same as having a conversation face to face. If you can’t find what you need, why not talk to your friends who own dogs? Experienced owners are sure to be able to help out. And, again, you don’t have to pay for the privilege!

VACATION

We all need a vacation every now and again. Having a dog is no reason you can’t still get away when you feel the need. You probably know what to do by now. Ask for help! When considering what’s best for your dog while you’re away, think about their temperament. An outgoing, excitable dog could thrive in a boarding kennel environment. You’ll be able to rest easy knowing that your dog is getting plenty of interaction and having fun while you’re away. If you have a shy dog who doesn’t like to leave their home, you might be best off getting a live-in house sitter. This option has the benefit of knowing that your dog will still be safe and secure in your home. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s the right thing!

Simple Tips To Keep Your Dog Healthy

Keeping a dog healthy

Our loveable canine companions will always find ways to get themselves into a spot of bother all on their own. There’s not much we can do if a dog is determined to have fun and explore without doing a thorough safety check first. Dealing with a slightly dusty and beaten up dog is part and parcel of being a dog owner.

If their exuberance is out of our control, then take heart in the fact that we can control another aspect of their well-being: their health. Your dog doesn’t have the capacity to make sure their insides are kept in tip-top condition, but you do – and that’s why they adore you so! Here’s a few of the simple steps you can take to ensure yours feels great inside and out.

Eating Well

Every person is different, and consequently needs different quantities and types of food in order to have a balanced diet. Dogs are no different. It’s really important that your furry best friend gets the gets the right levels of nutrients through their foods. As dogfoodaid.com says, failing to provide the correct food for your pet can result in a number of serious conditions, such as obesity, arthritis, skin allergies, and congestive heart failure. All of these can be preventable if you take the time to learn just what foods your dog needs, so make sure you take the time to learn!

Brushing Their Teeth

Can you imagine what might to your teeth and all-round health if you didn’t brush your teeth? We’re sure you rather wouldn’t think about it, so we’ll just tell you – it would not be good. Your dog might not need to have fresh breath for an important meeting or get together, but they still need to have their teeth well taken care of. If they don’t, they’re liable to suffer from gum disease, which can cause massive complications in dogs, including missing teeth and eroded gums. What’s particularly evil about this condition is that it’s often difficult to detect until it’s too late.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be “too late” without a bit of preventative care. Brushing your dog’s teeth might not sound like the easiest or more enjoyable task of the day, but you’ll be doing him or her a great service.

Protection from the heat

Protection from the Heat

If you’re in the UK, you’ll know how much time we put into making sure we’re protected from the sunshine (at least on those rare few days a year when it shines). If we need to be lapped in suntan lotion and have access to a sun umbrella and water, then it’s fairly reasonable to assume your dog will too –  especially as sunshine can play havoc with your dog’s health. So before you take your dog along with you to the beach, make sure they have plenty of access to water (though not too much!) and a place to sit in the shade. In hotter weather, it’s advisable to coat your dog in canine friendly suntan lotion – they do exist! Just make sure it doesn’t contain Zinc Oxide, as that can be toxic to dogs.

My first ever castration on a cat…

Vet student in surgery

Yesterday morning I picked up the scalpel blade, tensed the skin and made my first cut into the scrotum of a cat… or at least that was my intention. Not enough pressure on the brand new scalpel blade and the skin remained pretty intact. It was my first time performing any surgery on a cat; sure I’ve assisted a lot, but actually taking the role of the surgeon and performing a procedure alone… This was my first time making the skin incision. I knew what I was doing, yet the skin was a lot tougher than I expected.

Yet it is not just about me here, it is about the patient on the table who I am operating on. This cat never asked for the surgery, that was the decision of the owners looking out for the cats best interest. With male cats castration reduces roaming, fighting and urine spraying (marking) in over 90% of cats neutered. With the number of cats that I’ve seen over the past few months with infected abscesses from fighting being able to reduce the likelihood of this to me is a good thing. Plus urine marking is not something us humans appreciate, so removing this behaviour means happier humans and less stress in the home.

Now the actual surgical procedure is one of the simplest in veterinary medicine, a small incision into the skin of the scrotum, opening the sack containing the testicles. Ligation (tying) of the blood vessels and spermatic cord and then cutting these to remove the testicle. The second testicle is then taken through the middle inside wall of the scrotum so there is only one incision through the skin. The skin incision is so small it does not need to be sutured close as it will heal itself rapidly in the few days after the surgery.

So passing the scalpel blade across the skin again it parted, and I saw the sack containing the testicles which I opened with just the tip of the blade as it is really thin. I don’t want to damage the testicle as one of the most important rules in surgery is good haemostasis (aka controlling and minimizing bleeding). I am holding the testicle, and separate it from the attachment to the containing sack. I expose the cord to ligate it, placing two ligatures with several “throws” on my knot, and then pass the scalpel blade across it detaching it from the body. I am checking for bleeding to make sure my ligatures are good, there is none so that is the first testicle removed. I repeat the process for the second testicle, with a little more speed now I have finished the first, I check for bleeding and finding none let the cord retract back into the scrotum.

Surgery complete I pass into the role of anaesthetist and monitor the patients recovery until they are ready to go home…

Introduction to Animal Nutrition, the real facts behind the label…

Pet food for cats and dogs

Ok, several people have asked me to talk about nutrition so here goes, I’m lucky as I did cover nutrition as part of my BioVeterinary Science degree so do have a little knowledge here. However there is no way I can fit everything onto a single diary entry so I will be spreading this out over the next couple of weeks. Today is simply going be an introduction of sorts, I am going try and keep it general and just cover a few key points.

Pet food for cats and dogs
What is really in pet food?

There are many arguments into what is the best type of diet to feed animals, I don’t intendto get involved in this and will just cover the scientifics. Generally there are 6 main nutrients required by the body to function being protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids and water. Understanding nutrition has taken food from allowing animals to “survive” through to improving their health, and increasing their life expectancy. Now food for animals is formulated to specific needs or requirements. Even within species there are now different feeds for ages, sizes, and even breeds. And thats before even looking at pregnancy or illness such as diabeties.

Different species eat different types of food, with Herbivores, Omnivores and Carnivores. These can be broken down even further which I will do another day, however lets keep it simple for now. Generally the approach to food preparation can either be nutritionally based or by ingredients. When nutritionally prepared exact combinations of the right amounts of nutritients are used. Where with the ingredient approach a simple ingredients list is used and mixed as a food with no consideration for amounts or nutritional content.

The recent advance of Health Nutrition has four objectives split between nutrition and health nutrition

Nutrition – Body Development and Maintenance: Amino acides, minerals, trace elements, vitamins and fatty acids are the basis of body development

Nutrition – Energy Provision: Lipids and carbohydrates are the main energy sources. However some species (such as cats) also require proteins for energy metabolism

Health Nutrition – Nourishing and Prevention: When nutrients (such as antioxidants, essential fatty acids, prebiotics, fibre etc) are used to reduce risks of diseases

Health Nutrition – Nourising and Caring: When nutrients are added or others limited to support the theraputic or recovery process, for example for diabeties

When you take all of these into account you start to realise how important nutrition is to an animals welfare. However labelling for feeds can be misleading which is disappointing. Basically it stems from the law that requires manufacturers to list food in descending order by weight before cooking. This means that water rich ingerdients such as meat ends up at the top of the list, but being a minority in the final product. Fresh meat for example contains up to 75% water, so a food containing 25% fresh meat will provide just 4-5% protein in the dry food. With the other labelling guidelines, its especially important to understand them.

Here’s what the labels means….

  • “contains…” – less than 4% of the ingredient mentioned
  • “with…” – 4-14% of the ingredient mentioned
  • “rich in…” – 14-26% of the ingredient mentioned
  • “…paste” – 26-100% of the ingredient mentioned
  • “full…” 100% of the ingredient mentioned (aka can’t be nutritionally balanced)

So what does this mean in real life?

Say a company makes a pet food formulated with 4% lamb, 4% chicken and 4% beef. They can simply package it in 3 different packs and label it as “with chicken”, “with beef” or “with lamb”.