Why Do Some Dog Breeds Have Their Tails Cut Off?

One method of tail docking is performed when a puppy is between 2 and 5 days old. The breeder uses surgical scissors to cut off the puppy’s tail without anesthetic.

I was playing with one of my favorite neighborhood dogs the other day.  He is a beautiful Boxer with the sweetest disposition and is the patriarch of the neighborhood dogs.  He has not been neutered, but he has no tail.  I asked his owner why he would have one of the procedures done and not the other, and why he chose tail docking.  His response was that the breeder had done it before he adopted his dog.  He wasn’t even offered the option.  I have heard this before, from a client who owns a Golden Doodle.  She said she wasn’t even aware that there was a choice until after she had picked up her puppy.  This made me wonder why some dog breeds have their tails cut off?  What is the reasoning behind the procedure and how it benefits the dog?

I decided to do some research and came up with some surprising information.  I had always assumed that was supposed to have some kind of medical benefit, but why?  Here is what I discovered:

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post. All medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

What is Tail Docking and how is it done?

Tail Docking, also known as Tail Bobbing or Tail Cutting, is the process of removing most of a dog’s tail at the base.  There are 3 methods of removal. 

The first is performed by the breeder.  A strong rubber tie is wrapped around the tail.  This cuts off the circulation from the body to the tail.  The part of the tail beyond the tie is expected to fall off after a few days.  This has to be performed when the puppy is between 2 and 5 days old.

Some dog breeds have their tails cut off (Tail Docking) because they are working dogs, but most have it done for aesthetic reasons. Many owners don't even know  how the tail is removed or that Tail Docking is an option.
Some dog breeds have their tails cut off (Tail Docking) because they are working dogs, but most have it done for aesthetic reasons. Many owners don’t even know how the tail is removed or that Tail Docking is an option.

The second method, also performed by a breeder when the puppy is between 2 and 5 days old, is performed by cutting off the puppy’s tail using surgical scissors. Neither of these two processes involve the use of anesthetic and the puppies are awake.  Because of the circulation to the tail at this age, stitches are not usually necessary. 

The third method involves a veterinarian.  This is done when the dog is over 8 weeks old. The vet will place the puppy under anesthetic and use a scalpel to remove the tail.  The skin at the base of the tail is pulled over the open wound and held together with stitches.

According to the RSPCA and many other studies, any of these processes cause considerable pain at the time of removal and can result in long term pain as well as associated medical, emotional and social issues.

In 1996 The University of Queensland did a study of 50 puppies.  This was included in their findings:

“The behaviour of 50 puppies of traditionally docked breeds was recorded during and after the procedure of tail docking at the University of Queensland Companion Animal Veterinary Hospital. The behaviours were recorded at the time of the procedure and then in 5 second intervals for the first minute followed by 10 second intervals until the pup settled to sleep. All puppies vocalised intensely (‘shrieking’) at the time of amputation of the tail, averaging 24 shrieks (range of 5 to 33).”

Read more here:  https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:712177

History of Tail Docking

Tail docking began many centuries ago.  Dogs were not pets in the sense that they are today.  Although still considered companions, most were working dogs. They were used for herding on farms or as hunting dogs.  On a farms, dogs would round up cattle or sheep. Because of their close proximity to the larger animals as well as their exposure to machinery, it was felt that their tails were subject to injury. It was thought that removing the tail was a preventative measure to ensure the dog’s safety.

A hunting dog had the potential to engage in fights with other animals.  It was felt that the tail provided a disadvantage as the opponent had something to grab on to, leaving the dog vulnerable. In both cases there was also the concern that if these dogs got too dirty, there could be issues with infection. In later years, when employed as police or guard dogs, this same principle of the dog being vulnerable applied, and the tails were removed for these working dogs.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Current Reasons for Tail Docking:

For working dogs in the military, on the police force or on farms, the reason for tail docking continues to be for the safety of the dog.  Many dogs who do not work also have their tails docked.  This is often for aesthetic reasons.  The owners feel the dog looks better without a tail or that this provides a look that is familiar to the breed.  Tail docking, for some breeds, has been a requirement for some show dogs to be allowed to compete. 

There is also the belief that it is required.  Many people who are purchasing dogs from breeders are not even aware that tail docking is an option.  The breeders perform the docking and sell the pups already altered.  The owners, in a number of cases, are not even aware of the reasoning behind the removal of the tail, the process by which it is removed nor the potential hazards associated with it.

Which Breeds Most Commonly Dock Tails?

Only certain breeds customarily have their tails removed.  These include:  Dobermans, Rottweilers, Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, Schnauzers and Poodles.  The American Kennel Club has identified over 60 breeds that are known to have docked tails.

NOTEWORTHY:

In most areas of Canada and the US, tail docking has not been banned.  In many countries the procedure is banned or, at the very least, must be performed by a veterinarian and a medical or ohttps://dogsbestlife.com/home-page/dog-health-docked-tails/ther suitable reason is required before the surgery is performed.

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My Dog has Dandruff

There are several possible causes and symptoms of dandruff in dogs. If you see flakes on your pup or on any surface where he has been resting, be sure to look for further symptoms. Contact your vet and have your dog properly inspected to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

I was giving my dog, Zorro, a massage the other day.  His black coat is shiny and smooth, but I noticed that he had many little white flakes all over his back.  At first, I thought it was dust and wondered where he would have been to get covered in dust.  I looked a little closer, brushed back his fur a little and realized that it was coming from his skin.  My dog has dandruff.  I hadn’t seen this before so I set out to learn the causes and symptoms of dandruff in dogs.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post. All medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

Is dandruff a common occurrence for dogs? 

Dandruff is common in dogs.  You may notice it on your dog’s fur, although it is more difficult to see on a lighter colored dog.  You may also see it on your dog’s bed, blankets, coat, car seat, harness or on your furniture.  If you discover that your doggo has dandruff, it is important to narrow down the cause so that it can be treated appropriately. 

What are the potential causes?
 There are many causes and symptoms of dandruff in dogs, They range from environmental to more serious underlying medical issues.
There are several possible causes and symptoms of dandruff in dogs. They range from environmental to more serious underlying medical issues..

Dry Climate

Allergic Reaction

Diet is missing something – Often Omega 3 or Omega 6

Grooming – Too much or too little

Stress

Infection – Fungal and Bacterial

Hypothyroidism

Mange

Seborrhea

Because of the wide range of symptoms and causes of dandruff in dogs, it is important to narrow down the environment(s) that your dog has been in recently. Learning the source will help to find the appropriate treatment.  If your dog is showing any other symptoms, seek the advice of your veterinarian immediately as there may be a more serious underlying cause.  Early detection and diagnosis of any pet ailment or concern is key to having the best chance of recovery without permanent damage.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

If the only symptom is dandruff, here are some questions to help narrow down the possible sources of your pup’s dandruff:

Has the weather become dryer or has the heat in your home been turned on recently?

Weather changes to dryer conditions or the furnace in your home running can cause your dog’s skin to dry out.  This would cause flaking and itching.

Has your dog eaten anything new?

Food allergies are common and can result in itchy, dry, flaky skin. If you have changed your dog’s food, treats or if he has managed to get into the garbage, he could be having an allergic reaction

Have you changed anything in your home or yard (cleaning products, plants, garden)?

Has your dog been laying on your freshly cleaned carpet or furniture?  Has he been rolling on the lawn after a treatment?  If so, his skin may be irritated.  Even the use of new laundry detergent or fabric softeners on bedding, dog coats or your own clothes can be a skin irritant.

Is your dog’s diet rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6?

These two fatty acids benefit the dog’s skin.  If your dog food is lacking in either or both of these nutrients, he may develop a skin irritation resulting in dandruff.  The best source of Omegas is directly from foods, but your vet may recommend a supplement to add to your dog’s daily routine.

How often do your bathe and groom your dog?

If you bathe your dog frequently, you may be accidentally drying his skin.  Shampoos, soaps and hair dryers can take their toll on a dog’s skin leaving it dry and flaky.

Has something changed in his daily routine or in the home?

If your dog is upset, if his little world has been disrupted in any way, he may be stressed.  Something as simple as moving his bed, or location of his dish can cause anxiety for some doggos. If his human’s work routine has changed, a new family member has arrived (human or fur), or if someone in the house is stressed or sick, your dog may be feeling anxious. Stress is a common cause of dandruff.

Does your dog have visible skin irritation?

If your dog has fleas, a recent cut or if he has food allergies, the skin can develop a fungal or a bacterial infection.  Consult a vet if your dog’s skin appears red, crusty, has bald or thinning patches of fur, or of he has an unusual odor.  All are signs of infection. These skin infections can cause dandruff.  

Has your dog’s once smooth, shiny coat become dull and coarse?

These are a couple of the symptoms of hypothyroidism.  He may be itchy and develop sores. He may begin shedding more than usual.  There are many other symptoms of hypothyroidism, including ear infections, fatigue and aversion to cold.  It is important to have this condition diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian immediately.

Does your dog have mites?

Mites can cause many types of skin irritations including itching, hair loss and dandruff.  If you suspect mites, have your dog tested and treated.  Some species of mites can be transmitted to humans and other pets. Some species of mites result in mange, another skin disease found in animals and birds.

Is your dog’s flaky skin located mainly on the face, and torso?

These areas contain sebaceous glands.  If the dandruff that your dog is experiencing is predominantly in these areas, he may have a skin condition called Seborrhea. The skin will appear red and flaky.  Your dog will also be itchy.  This is another condition where your dog might develop an odor.  Once diagnosed, a veterinarian will be able to recommend shampoos or medication to clear it up.

There are several possible causes and symptoms of dandruff in dogs.  If you see flakes on your pup or on any surface where he has been resting, be sure to look for further symptoms.  Contact your vet and have your dog properly inspected to rule out any underlying medical conditions.  Have a list prepared for the veterinarian.  The list should include all foods and treats that he has consumed, any recent changes in the home, any contact with other animals, bathing routines, soaps, shampoos, cleansers and detergents used in the home, and anything unusual behavior that you may have noticed recently. Any insight into the cause will assist with the diagnosis.

Sources

https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/healthcare/dog-dandruff-facts-and-prevention

https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2018/02/14/dog-dandruff.aspx

https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/ss/slideshow-skin-problems-in-dogs

https://www.petcarerx.com/article/the-causes-of-dog-and-cat-dandruff/650

https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/coconut-oil-dogs-understanding-benefits-and-risks

https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/skin/c_multi_pyoderma

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321379

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Xylitol: The Danger for Dogs

Xylitol poses significant danger for dogs. It does not take a lot of it to make your dog sick, and when it is consumed, is does not take long before symptoms occur.

Xylitol poses significant danger for dogs.  It does not take a lot of it to make your dog sick. When it is consumed, it does not take long before symptoms occur.  Because it is found in many everyday products you may not even be aware that your dog has ingested it.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

I did some research to learn more about what Xylitol is, where it comes from, how it is used in our foods and other household products and how it will affect our pups should they swallow any.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol and is used as a sugar substitute in many foods.  It looks like regular sugar but has significantly fewer calories. It is derived from various fruits and vegetables and is also found in certain types of wood.

There are several natural sources of Xylitol including:
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Oats
  • Corn on the cob
  • Birchwood

Because Xylitol has a lower caloric content than sugar it is used in the production of many calorie reduced foods.  It is a source of sweetener for a diabetic diet or a calorie reduced weight loss plan. It can also be found in medications and oral care products.  Xylitol has even been identified as an effective agent against oral bacteria. This results in reduced cavities and is thought to lower the incidents of tooth decay.

Xylitol can be found in the following common household items:
  • Chewing Gum
  • Mints
  • Sugar Free or Calorie Reduced Candies
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jams
  • Honey
  • Syrup
  • Fruit Drinks
  • Sugar Free Gelatine
  • Sugar Free Pudding
  • Toothpaste
  • Oral Care Rinses
  • Nasal Spray
  • Cough Syrup
  • Cough Drops
  • Vitamins
  • Prescription Medications
  • Formulas Used in Feeding Tubes

All these potential sources are found in the average household’s pantries and cabinets. Because of this it is important to be sure you are keeping them all away from your dog.  A dog consuming just a little can be extremely harmful. If you suspect that your dog has come into contact with something containing Xylitol get him to the vet immediately. 

When you are not in the house it’s important to remember that people toss chewing gum on the ground. It is not uncommon to spill mints or candies when sharing them among friends.  Garbage cans get blown around and the contents are scattered over parks, trails, sidewalks and lawns.  I see this daily when dog walking, in all neighborhoods. Dogs are quick to pick things up.  You may not even see it happen. It can take less than an hour and up to half a day to begin seeing the effects of Xylitol poisoning. 

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post. All medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

If you see any of the following symptoms contact your veterinarian immediately. Your dog may have ingested something you are unaware of.

Symptoms of Xylitol poisoning in Dogs:
Foods and gum containing Xylitol can be found on the ground during walks. Be sure to watch what your dog is sniffing.
  • Lethargic
  • Lack of Coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Liver Failure
  • Coma
Is there a Cure?

If you can reach your veterinarian quickly, they may be able to offer an IV drip that will help to restore your dog’s glucose levels. Extensive liver damage may result in death.

Because of the severity and the rapid deterioration that occurs with Xylitol poisoning, the best method of protecting your dog is prevention.   Here are some things to consider:

  • Keep all foods and oral products in cabinets above the dog’s reach.
  • Do not give your dog table scraps or leftovers. Xylitol is an ingredient in many foods.
  • Provide only treats prepared specially for dogs.
  • Do not let children eat unsupervised around your dog.  Food that is dropped may go unnoticed. Children may just want to give their furry friend a treat.
  • Keep backpacks, purses, jackets, suitcases or bags containing gum, mints, candies, drinks etc. zipped up and out of reach.
  • Keep a close eye on what your dog is sniffing when on a walk.  Even though it is important to let your dog sniff, it is equally important to keep their noses where you can see them.
  • Keep garbage cans covered securely, inside the home and out.

The best defense is a good offense.  Taking steps to avoid an issue is always safer.

Sources:

https://www.vets-now.com/pet-care-advice/dangers-of-xylitol-for-dogs/

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-996/xylitol

https://ca.iherb.com/pr/xlear-inc-xclear-xylitol-saline-nasal-spray-fast-relief-1-5-fl-oz-45-ml/7047?gclid=EAIaIQobChMInu6dtdv66AIVBK7ICh1hVAzyEAAYAiAAEgIxVfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/xylitol-101#dental-health

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Why is My Dog’s Stomach Gurgling?

Gurgling, also known as borborygmi or Borborygmus, occurs when the dog’s digestive system is processing food. Quiet noises coming from the abdomen are normal. Louder noises can be normal as well, or they can be a symptom of something more serious.

The other night I woke when my dog became restless.  Zorro rarely wakes in the night so I was a bit concerned, although he seemed fine.  He had some water and got back in bed.  Then I heard my dog’s stomach gurgling.  It was quite loud.  He was having trouble sleeping so I thought maybe he had to go out.  I let him out in the yard, but after several minutes he still hadn’t done anything and was happy to go back inside.  After returning to bed, his stomach was still rumbling quite loudly.  I massaged his tummy for a while and he fell asleep.  Unfortunately, I did not.  I was very concerned as to what was causing the discomfort and what I could do to help.  Because I was concerned that this could be something serious I decided to get up and do some research.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

What is gurgling?

Gurgling, also known as Borborygmi or Borborygmus, occurs when the dog’s digestive system is processing food.  It occurs in animals just as it does in humans.  The food is chewed and swallowed and then begins its journey through the stomach and intestines.  It’s during this process that gurgling happens.  Quiet noises coming from the abdomen are normal.  Louder noises can be normal as well, or they can be a symptom of something more serious.

I am neither a veterinarian nor medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post. All medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

When is gurgling considered normal?

There are a number of circumstances which cause gurgling that are not a cause for serious concern.  These include:

  • Regular Digestion
  • Gas
  • Air passing through the system
  • Eating something that didn’t agree with your dog
  • General hunger

If your dog has recently eaten, she may have swallowed some air while eating.  This air may be moving around in the digestive tract and causing the sounds.  If she has lapped up water very quickly, there may be excessive air, which would create larger air pockets, thus causing louder noises as it moves its way through.  This generally does not cause pain or distress.

If she has eaten something that doesn’t agree with her, such as something she found on the street, she may be having a mild reaction to it. If her food has changed and she hasn’t adjusted yet, it can create some discomfort, just as it could in a human. Either of these situations can also cause gas. Usually, this will pass through and she will feel better soon.

It may simply be that your dog is hungry.  The body continues to process anything remaining in the digestive tract, but if there are little or no contents in the intestines, the system is only processing air and liquids. This is when the louder gurgling begins.  Once she eats, the body should adjust to the normal routine.

When you should be concerned:
A dog’s stomach gurgling is usually not serious, but if accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, it can be cause for concern.

If you see any of these symptoms in your dog, you should take her to a vet immediately.  There may be something more serious going on:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargic
  • Swollen stomach
  • Restlessness

Sometimes these symptoms can indicate a blockage or partial blockage in the intestines.  Your dog may have swallowed something around the house, outside in the yard or even on a walk with you.  If the object doesn’t move, food cannot pass through normally.  Because some or all of the food that your dog has eaten remains in the digestive system, she feels full and will not eat.  The small amount that does pass through will be mostly liquid, resulting in diarrhea. Depending on where the blockage is located, any food that has been consumed may be regurgitated (vomited).  A lack of food and nutrition will cause lethargy. Vomiting and diarrhea will rapidly cause dehydration and should be treated as quickly as possible.  Intestinal blockage is very serious and requires immediate medical attention.

If you notice that your dog’s tummy is swollen (blown up like a balloon) and that she seems to be having trouble settling down, this could indicate a condition called Bloat.  This is very serious and requires immediate medical attention.

Summary

Gurgling, on its own, can be caused by a number of circumstances, most of which are harmless and will go away within 24 to 48 hours.  If the gurgling is accompanied by any other symptoms, you should have your dog examined by a vet.  There may be a more serious underlying condition that needs to be addressed with medication or even surgery.  It is important not to wait if your dog is in any discomfort or distress as time may be of the essence.

Follow up on my dog’s condition:

Two days after the gurgling incident, Zorro woke several times in the night and eventually he vomited. A few hours later he had an episode of extreme diarrhea.  I made a vet appointment immediately.  He was put on a special diet for three days and has been given some medicine to coat his stomach in case of irritation.  The vet wants me to collect stool samples over the next few days to be analyzed. 

There has been no more vomiting.  We are keeping a close eye on him to be sure there are no further issues. So far Zorro is eating, sleeping and playing well and is almost back to his old self.

Sources:

https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/dog-stomach-noises-what-do-they-mean

https://www.dogster.com/dog-health-care/why-is-dogs-stomach-making-noises

https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/help-my-dogs-stomach-is-bloated-understanding-canine-bloat-torsion-and-gdv

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Canine Coronavirus

Canine Coronavirus is an intestinal disease and cannot be transmitted to humans. COVID-19 is a respiratory condition. To date there have been no documented cases of dog-to- human transmission.

We are all aware of the term Coronavirus, and there are many stories floating around about whether or not dogs can transmit coronavirus (Covid-19) to humans.  These stories are confusing and creating unnecessary fear.  The term Coronavirus is a large group of diseases that encompasses hundreds of different viruses of varying intensities, including the most recent strain COVID-19. Other familiar strains include SARS, MERS and even Canine Coronavirus.

I am not a veterinarian nor medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post. All medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post called Let Your Dog Sniff – Pros vs. Cons.  When I was researching the post, I found a description of what illnesses can be found in dog feces and why you should be careful of what your dog is sniffing.  One of the things I learned was that coronavirus can be found in dog poop.  At the time, the term meant little to me, but in light of the recent pandemic, I was curious.

“COVID-19 cannot be transmitted between dogs and humans.”

Update April 5th, 2020:

There has been an incident of COVID -19 found in a Tiger at the Bronx Zoo, reportedly transmitted from a zoo worker to the animal. This indicates some possibility of transmission between humans and animals. If you are showing signs of COVID-19, or have been diagnosed positive for the virus, it is best to avoid contact with your pet. It’s best not to sleep with, cough or sneeze around, or touch your pet with your bare hands. If you are healthy and out walking your dog while practicing safe distancing, it would be best not to allow others to pet your dog. The likelihood that the virus will survive on a dog’s fur for any length of time is very slim, but better to be on the safe side.

I have read many articles, posts and even memes recently, stating that the World Health Organization has determined that COVID-19 cannot be transmitted by dogs.  This news was comforting on many levels.  Firstly, mass panic in some countries was causing people to abandon their pets (or worse) for fear of having them transmit the deadly virus.  This news update put minds at ease and saved the lives of many animals. Being a dog walker exposes me to many dogs in parks and on walks. Also, I am working with many animals whose family members may or may not be at risk. Admittedly, this news from the WHO brought me a small bit of comfort.

Still puzzled by the information I had previously found regarding coronavirus in dog poop, I decided that I needed to clarify all the confusing information.  I discovered that there is a Canine Coronavirus which is specific to dogs and cannot be transmitted to humans.

What is Canine Coronavirus?
A dog sniffing or ingesting infected poop can contract Canine Coronavirus.
A dog sniffing or ingesting infected poop can contract Canine Coronavirus.

Canine Coronavirus is an intestinal disease that is transmitted from one dog to another through contact with fecal matter (poop).  A dog sniffing and/or ingesting infected poop can contract and spread the virus to other dogs.  It is not an airborne disease, but tends to spread in places where large groups of dogs gather.  It can be transmitted through direct contact with contaminated dogs as well as through sharing contaminated food dishes. In dog parks where many dogs poop, there are traces of fecal matter everywhere.  When your dog steps in it and then licks his paws, he is ingesting these traces.   

Symptoms of Canine Coronavirus:

Adult dogs may demonstrate a few minor symptoms or none at all when infected with the virus.  These only last a few days and include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Reduced food consumption
  • Rarely they will develop a fever

In puppies the disease can be significantly more serious. Because secondary infections can develop in respiratory system, the puppy can become septic if left untreated.  It is important that you take your puppy to the vet at the first sign of any unusual symptoms.  Antibiotics can be prescribed to clear up the respiratory and other secondary infections.

Incubation Period and Prevention of Canine Coronavirus?

A dog can carry the virus for up to 6 months from the time of contact.  Your dog can unknowingly transmit the virus during this period. As he may not show any signs of illness, it is imperative that you clean up after your pup. Always be aware of what he is exposed to while sniffing around on walks. You should refrain from allowing your dog to eat from group food bowls.  Many people who are trying to be generous will offer food bowls in dog parks. Group doggy daycare environments may leave a large bowl of kibble out for all dogs in their care.  These practices can cause the spread of Canine Coronavirus. 

Summary

Canine Coronavirus is an intestinal disease and cannot be transmitted to humans.  COVID-19 is a respiratory condition. To date there have been no documented cases of dog-to-human transmission.

As always, you should be aware of any change in your doggo’s behavior, sleep patterns, eating habits or changes in fecal matter; including frequency, consistency, color and odor.  Behavior, appetite and poop are the strongest indicators of your dog’s health. Any changes in these areas should be monitored, evaluated and assessed by a veterinarian as soon as symptoms develop.

Wash your paws and play Safe!

Sources
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Microchipping Your Pets

It is a small chip that is similar in size to a grain of rice. It is programmed with a number that is assigned to your pet along with the phone number of the company that issued the chip. Should your pet be found outside, the vet can wave a scanner over the location of the chip and the phone number and pet number appear on the scanning device.

You never think it will happen to you. You open the door and your pet bolts out before you have a chance to stop him. As I walk through the various neighborhoods with my Doggos, I see so many lost animal signs on posts, fences, mail boxes – anywhere a desperate pet parent thinks there is a chance that someone might have seen their dog or cat. Animal shelters and vets continuously receive calls from frantic and desperate people who have lost their pets. They see animals daily who have been found and brought to them in hopes that someone will be reunited with their beloved family pet. There are times when these methods work, but all too often, they are not enough and the animal has to be re-homed, or worse. Microchipping your pets will help to identify them should they be found.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

My dog has tags on his collar

For years, the best method of attempting to make sure your pet would be returned has been a tag on his collar. The tag provided the pet’s name and your phone number. If your pet was found, hopefully the person would be honest enough to call and return him, or at least bring him to an animal care worker to have them contact you. This has been somewhat effective, but there are circumstances where this fails. As we have discussed in my post Collar vs. Harness, using a collar all the time can be unsafe unless you are using a break-away style. This means that if your dog bolts from the home, he may not be wearing a collar or the collar may come off if he gets hooked on something while running around outside. This is where the microchip could be the best alternative.

What is a Microchip?

It is a small chip that is similar in size to a grain of rice. It is programmed with a number that is assigned to your pet along with the phone number of the company that issued the chip. When your pet is found, a veterinarian can wave a scanner over the location of the chip. The phone number and pet number appear on the scanning device. The vet then calls the phone number and provides them with your pet’s ID number found in the chip. The number is run through a database and your contact information is provided. The vet can then contact you and tell you where to come and pick up your fur baby.

How is the Microchip Inserted?

The microchip comes in a large syringe (needle) that the vet inserts between your pet’s shoulder blades. There is some fatty tissue in that area that allows it to sit comfortably, and your pet will not feel it once it has been placed. It is made of a material that allows it to attach itself to the tissues, keeping it firmly in place.

Does it hurt?

Because the need is larger than a normal needle, the initial injection does hurt more than a vaccination. Some vets will freeze the area before insertion, but many do it without it. The process is extremely quick and your pet’s reaction is very brief, indicating that the pain is minimal. There may be a trace amount of bleeding at the site and a small scab is possible.

As always, discuss this and every other medical process with your vet. Pet care is a very personal decision and the best practice for your pet may not be the same as it is for someone else’s. You are already doing your research by reading about microchipping. Make a list of any questions or concerns before you see the vet and have them answered before you proceed. If you are comfortable with the answers you can make your decision with confidence.

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Tick Bites and Lyme Disease

I am not a veterinarian nor medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post. All medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment

I had always known that along with the sunny spring weather came the increased risk of tick bites and Lyme Disease, but recently I learned that they can be found year-round in different areas. The rule of thumb is that temperatures over five degrees present a nice living environment for ticks, and increase the chances of your dog coming home with a stowaway on board. These pesky intruders can be very dangerous for your pet as well as you and your family. They carry and spread diseases, the most common being Lyme Disease.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

How do I know if my dog has a tick?

After each walk, it is recommended that you do a full body inspection of your dog. This is even more important if you have been in tall grass or wooded areas, as ticks tend to hide in these environments. If your dog sits, lays down, rolls around or even just sniffs the ground, one of these little insects can latch itself onto your pup and begin its mission to burrow into the surface of her skin. By doing a nose to tail inspection, you can find, remove and clean the area of the bite before the tick has enough time to do any damage. The longer a tick remains on your dog, the harder it is to remove. It also has more time to potentially spread any diseases it may be carrying. Ticks can stay on your dog for up to 10 days depending on the age of the tick.

What do ticks look like?
Ticks range in size, from the size of a flea up to about a centimeter long.
Tick bites and Lyme Disease can be dangerous to your pets and family
Tick bites and Lyme Disease can be dangerous to your pets and family.

Ticks range in size, from the size of a flea up to about a centimeter long. They have an oval-shaped body and a small head, with spider like legs. When you see or feel one on your dog, you will most likely see the body, as they burrow head-first into the skin. When you do your inspection, be sure you are in a well-lit area. Do both a visual and manual examination. Sometimes the tick buries itself in a particularly furry area, making it difficult to see. By using your finger tips to feel for bumps, you may find one that you overlooked.

How do I remove a tick from my dog?

To remove the tick safely, you must be sure to pull the entire head and body from the skin. There are special tools available for tick removal. People will tell you to use regular tweezers, but they can be very sharp on the ends. This can result in the body being detached from the head, and the head remaining in the dog. This is the one thing you are trying to avoid. The head is the part that is stuck in your dog’s body and the highest risk to your dog’s health.

You may have been told to use a dish soap or Vaseline concoction that will cause the tick to retreat on it’s own. Any vet I have spoken to has advised against these processes as they take longer and may or may not work.

Getting the tick out as quickly as possible is the goal. After it has been plucked out of your dog’s skin, wash the area with hydrogen peroxide and or rubbing alcohol. This will clean the wound left behind by the bite.

Once you have removed the tick, it is advisable to put it in a sealed bag and take it to your vet to be tested for Lyme Disease.

What symptoms should I watch for?

It can take several months for symptoms associated with a tick bite, most notably Lyme Disease, to appear. If at any time during this period she shows signs of fatigue, lethargy, muscle stiffness, joint pain or fever, you should take her to a vet to be tested. Even the testing can take several months. Sometimes the antibody that indicates Lyme Disease takes a while to show up in the blood. This test may have to be repeated a few times. The results will be compared to the previous levels of the antibody to monitor any increases in the levels.

How is Lyme Disease treated?

If found early enough, Lyme Disease can be treated with a simple antibiotic. Your vet may also prescribe pain meds to help with the stiffness and joint pain until the antibiotics run their course and the disease has been cleared from your pup’s system.

How do I prevent my dog from tick related illness?
  • Avoiding wooded or grassy areas during peak seasons.
  • Early detection from thorough daily inspection.
  • Fast removal of any ticks that are present during inspection.
  • Topical prevention medication applied between the shoulder blades.
  • Oral prevention medication taken at prescribed intervals

DO NOT USE TOPICAL PREVENTION MEDICATION IN A HOME WITH CATS AS THIS MEDICATION IS TOXIC TO CATS

ONLY USE MEDICATION AS PRESCRIBED OR ADVISED BY YOUR TRUSTED VETERINARIAN

Sources

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/how-to-remove-a-tick#1

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/akcs-chief-veterinary-officer-on-tick-borne-disease-symptoms-prevention/

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Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Dogs can develop a number of complications from poor dental hygiene, just as humans can. Tartar and plaque buildup, periodontal disease and other oral infections can not only affect the mouth area, but can travel through the dog’s body causing damage to the to the heart as well as other organs.

How important is cleaning your dog’s teeth? Very! Dogs can develop many complications from poor dental hygiene, just as humans can. Tartar and plaque buildup, periodontal disease and other oral infections can not only affect the mouth area, but can travel through the dog’s body causing damage to the to the heart as well as other organs. Brushing your dog’s teeth can prevent numerous medical issues for your pet.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Cleaning a dog’s teeth only takes 2 minutes. Once your dog is used to the practice, it will become as much a part of his daily routine as eating. These two minutes can save your doggo some serious medical issues and discomfort. It can save you thousands of dollars. A simple teeth cleaning can cost $1000.00. This does not include any specific tooth repair or extractions that can be avoided by a proper dental hygiene routine, just as you do for yourself.

Preparing Your Dog for a Cleaning

If your dog has never had his teeth cleaned, you can start by getting him comfortable with having your hands around or in his mouth. A puppy will adapt more easily, but even an older dog will get accustomed to the process if you start slow and use the proper tools. First thing to do is to get toothpaste that is made especially for dogs. There are many flavours to choose from that will make it inviting for your dog. Is he a chicken fan? Yep, they have that flavour too!

DO NOT USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE! IT IS TOXIC FOR DOGS

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
Start by getting your dog used to having fingers in his mouth. Once your pup is comfortable with 
this process, you can introduce a toothbrush. You can use a soft human toothbrush or a dog 
specific brush.
Start by getting your dog used to having fingers
in his mouth. Once your pup is comfortable with
this process, you can introduce a toothbrush.
You can use a soft human toothbrush or a dog
specific brush.

Now that you have the toothpaste, sit your dog somewhere where he is comfortable. Start by moving your hands and fingers around his mouth. Speak soothingly to him so he knows it’s a good touch. Once he is comfortable, add a bit of the flavored toothpaste to your finger and gently rub your finger over the teeth on the side of his mouth. Lift his lip for better access. Move from the canine (the big pointy one) back toward the molars. Do this on the top and the bottom of each side of the mouth. You will notice that your dog is licking and enjoying the flavor of the toothpaste, as if you had given him a treat.

Once your pup is comfortable with this process, you can introduce a toothbrush. You can use a soft human toothbrush or a doggo specific brush. The dog toothbrush usually has two sizes, one on each end. This allows you to select the appropriate size for the size of your dog. If your dog is more comfortable having your finger in his mouth, a finger toothbrush that you just slide on your index finger into and add the toothpaste, may be a better choice.

Be Observant

While you are brushing your dog’s teeth, be sure to watch for any unusual issues, including decay, broken teeth, broken gums or abscesses. As with any medical issue, early detection will result in faster and easier treatment and recovery.

Sometimes dogs just can’t tolerate having you clean their teeth. If this is the case, there are other options. You can have your vet clean them for you or you can ask for a recommendation of chew toys that will help to keep your dog’s teeth as clean as possible.

There are a number of choices that dogs enjoy playing with. Some toys allow you to apply the flavored toothpaste to them. This helps to ensure that he gets the benefit of the enzymes and not just the brushing action.  Always check with your vet to be sure the chew toy you select is safe for your pet.

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Protecting your Dogs Paws from Cold, Salt and Heat

The pads of a dog’s feet are exposed to extreme temperatures and various things left on sidewalks

You look outside and see a beautiful winter wonderland. You get up, put on your coat and boots, put a harness and nice winter coat on your doggo and head out the door. Ten minutes into your walk, your pup is walking on three paws and holding the fourth up in the air. This happens so often. It could be the cold, the paw could be irritated by salt, an ice pellet may be stuck between the toes or an entire chunk of salt might be stuck up in there. Any of these problems will take the fun out of winter for these poor dogs, who, for the most part, love to frolic in the snow. There are a few ways of protecting your dog’s paws from the elements.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

So, what are the options?

Many people choose booties. These are great because they offer protection from all of the elements. They are warm and there is no need to wipe paws when they return home; a process that few dogs enjoy. It may take a while for your dog to get used to the feeling of having something on their feet. Take few practice runs in the house before going outside to help your pup adapt. Initially they may bite at them or refuse to stand or move once they are up, but it will become as routine as putting on a harness for both of you.

It is important to choose well fitting booties with proper tread. I have found that a Velcro strap to adjust tension helps with comfort and keeps the bootie from coming off.

Another option is to choose a paw protection wax which you apply directly to the bottom of your dog’s foot. It coats the pads and puts a layer of protection between your dog’s paws and the elements. If your dog is adamant about not wearing booties, this is a great alternative. It’s best to choose a wax that is made from natural ingredients. Your dog will likely wind up ingesting anything you smear on his paws, so having healthy ingredients will save any other potential problems.

Whatever method you choose for protecting your dog’s paws, you can help maintain the health of his feet by applying a balm to help with dryness or cracking. This can be brought on by walking in all weather, including heat. The pads of a dog’s feet are exposed to extreme temperatures and various things left on sidewalks. Using a moisturizer specific to a dog’s needs, will keep your doggo comfortable.

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10 Foods that are Dangerous for Dogs

The best option is to refrain from giving our pups leftovers and samples from our plates as even the ingredients we don’t see can be life threatening. Choose healthy foods and treats for your dogs and keep a close eye on them when out walking or in dog parks.

We’ve all had that moment when we find our dog chewing on something that they picked up when we thought we were watching closely. They are fast and they smell things we can’t even see. That’s when you reach in and pull it out without even thinking of the potential repercussions of sticking your hand into a very well toothed mouth to take something that they want. You just do it, because you know that they may be consuming something dangerous. What we often don’t realize is that the foods we eat can be the most dangerous foods for dogs.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Everyone knows not to give their dog chocolate, but what else should we avoid? How do these foods affect our doggo’s? What symptoms should we look for?

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post. All medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

Below is a list of 10 of the most dangerous foods for dogs, some symptoms to watch for and the potential outcome:

The best option is to refrain from giving our pups leftovers and samples from our plates. Even the ingredients we don’t see can be life threatening. Choose healthy foods and treats for your dogs and keep a close eye on them when out walking or in dog parks. You never know what other people have dropped or, sadly, intentionally left where dogs can swallow it.

If you see any unusual symptoms, these or others, see a vet immediately as situations can escalate quickly.

Sources

https://www.petmd.com/dog/chocolate-toxicity

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/people-foods-avoid-feeding-your-pets

https://www.vets-now.com/2017/01/foods-poisonous-to-dogs/

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