Dog Health Care Links from WebMD

These are links to give you advice on preventive care and other important health topics for your dogs.  I hope they prove helpful to my fellow pet owners.

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Healthy Dogs

Preventive Care

It’s your job to keep your dog healthy and safe. Get the facts about grooming, vaccinations, parasite prevention, and first aid.

Grooming

10 tips for keeping your dog’s eyes clean and healthy.

A few basic maintenance tips should keep his ears in good shape.

Brushing your dog’s teeth and more tips.

Veterinarian Petting Dog

Tips for getting “dog breath” in check.

Clipping a dog’s nails can be tricky: Here’s what you need to know.

It might be easier than you think.

Fleas, Ticks and Heartworm

Spot medications, shampoos, collars: How flea and tick treatments work.

Here’s what to look for on your pet or in your home.

How to keep your dog free of this devastating parasite.

Use extra care when removing ticks from your pet.

Vaccinations

Core vaccinations are recommended for all dogs. Find out what your dog needs and when.

Some vaccinations may be needed only in certain circumstances, such as boarding.

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Other Care

10 tips to help your dog have a great time on the road.

10 tips to ease the stress of flying with your dog.

Could you have a toxin in your home and not even know it?

Knowing what to do in an emergency could mean the difference between life and death for your dog.

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9 Things Your Dog Wants to Tell You

9 Things Your Dog Wants to Tell You

Learn what your pooch’s behavior is really saying about you, your home and more

By Alexandra Gekas

We like to ascribe all sorts of emotions to our dogs, but, truth be told, they are much simpler than humans. They’re motivated by the basics: food, activity and companionship. That said, a dog’s behavior around his owners does have meaning. From the desire to protect you to an intuition about your health and happiness, read on to discover what your dog would tell you if he could speak.

“I want to protect you.”

You may think your dog belongs to you, but you belong to your dog, as well. That means he is going to claim you and protect you. “When he’s sitting on your foot, it’s an ownership thing. If his [bottom] is on you, he’s marking your foot,” says Jennifer Brent, animal advocate and external relations manager for the L.A.-based non profit animal welfare advocacy group Found Animals. “It’s not just that he wants to be close to you, he’s saying, ‘This is mine; now it smells like me, don’t go near it.’ He does this for three main reasons: to feel secure about his place in your life, to warn other dogs that you are spoken for and because he wants to protect you.” To ensure your protection, dogs will also bark at guests, growl at other dogs when outside and pull on the leash while out for a walk. “There’s a line of thinking that the dog is your scout. He sees himself as a member of the pack, and he wants to make sure everything is cool before you get there,” Brent says. Photo: Thinkstock

“I can sense when you’re in a bad mood.”

Whether it was a stressful day at work or a fight with your significant other, your dog will pick up on how you feel—and feel it, too. “It goes without saying, when you’re stressed, they’re more stressed; when you’re happier, they’re happy. They match up moods with you better than a spouse or a partner,” says Marty Becker, DVM, pet expert at Vetstreet.com. “They sit there and study you.” This relationship works the other way, too: If you want to make your pooch relax, you know just where to scratch; if you want to be more playful, you know how to pet him. “You can, like a gas pedal, change that dynamic with your dog,” Dr. Becker says. Photo: Matthew Williams-Ellis/Thinkstock

“I need more exercise!”

If she’s eliminating on the floor, chewing the furniture or running circles around the coffee table, your dog is probably trying to tell you she needs more activity in her life. “That’s where we see a lot of behavioral issues with dogs in households,” Brent says. This is particularly true for active breeds, such as herding or hunting dogs. “The Dalmatian was trained to be a hunting dog. You can’t take an animal that’s used to running eight miles a day, put it in an apartment, and expect it to be OK. If your dog’s destroying stuff, he’s saying, ‘I’m bored, you need to give me something to do.'” While exercise is important—dogs should receive 45 to 60 minutes of physical exercise and 15 minutes of behavioral training per day—Dr. Becker says you can also play mental games to keep your pooch entertained. Make her play search-and-seek games for her food or even use food puzzles that she has to solve before her meal is dispensed. Photo: Shutterstock

“I’m scared you won’t come back.”

While most dogs are going to bark for a few minutes when you leave the house—just to let you know you’re forgetting someone—some dogs have a much more serious reaction. “If you watch a video of a dog with separation anxiety, it’ll tear your heart out. It’s like the kid lost at the mall without his parents,” Dr. Becker says. “They freak out. They think you’re not coming back. They often attack the area where you leave; they’ll tear up the doorframe, they’re destructive. If you come home and they’ve had diarrhea or [are excessively] panting, their cortisol levels are high, and you have to take action.” Dr. Becker recommends speaking with a dog behaviorist to receive a training program and possibly a canine antidepressant. To help assuage the trauma associated with your departure, you can try these training intervals: Put your coat on, grab your keys and go stand outside for 30 seconds. Come back in, and then go out for one minute, then five, and build from there. It’s also helpful to give your dog a treat before you leave, or feed him using an interactive food puzzle to keep him distracted. Photo: Shutterstock

“I can tell when you’re not feeling well.”

It’s a hard phenomenon to explain, but many dogs seem to be able to detect illness in their owners. And new evidence has found that some dogs can actually detect a wide array of serious conditions, including cancer, as well as seizures related to epilepsy. “We know that there’s a chemical marker that a few dogs are detecting, just like they can detect bed bugs, mold, peanuts, drugs and explosives,” Dr. Becker says. “They can smell the ketones on a diabetic’s breath when their sugar is low. For epileptics [about to have a seizure], they can alert their owner so they can get out of harm’s way.” Some canines are even more naturally empathetic to humans. Often, these dogs become therapy dogs, providing affection to those in need, while also sensing—and being able to react to—health problems. “Some people just need a dog to lay still with them; others need a reason to get out of the bed. It’s the weirdest thing how therapy dogs know when to [move] close or far away,” says Dr. Becker. Photo: Shutterstock

“Pay attention when I’m not myself.” 

It’s important to pay attention to your pooch’s behavior because if something seems amiss, he’s probably not feeling well. “You want to catch things in the earliest period to prevent unnecessary pain or worse,” says Dr. Becker. “I call it ‘Dog-ter Mom,’ because 80% of caregivers for pets are women. You just need to pay attention to your intuition.” That means noticing behavior that’s out of the norm: he’s not as playful as usual, he’s acting aggressively, he has trouble getting up or isn’t eating properly. “You want to pay particular attention to eating habits,” Dr. Becker says. “Food is their currency. If he isn’t eating enough or is eating too much, if he’s drinking more water or needs to eliminate more, or if you have a dog that’s losing weight, then something’s wrong.” Photo: Adam Wasilewski/Thinkstock

“I need a routine, but with a little variety.”

They say that a dog’s mental capacity is that of a toddler; and just like a toddler, dogs thrive on routine. “Knowing what to expect is really, really important, otherwise they don’t know how to react,” Brent says. A general routine is best, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything at the same time each day. In fact, varying the time will actually help in the long run, says Dr. Becker. Otherwise, your dog will start running the show. “You don’t want them to force how the clock works,” he says. If they do, it’s likely that your dog will “insist on his 5 a.m. feeding on a Sunday, when you want to sleep until 8 a.m. Vary it up. If you control their food, you control them—in a good way.” Photo: Thinkstock

“Be clear when I’m doing something wrong.”

Correcting your dog is important—and how you do it is key. Avoid explaining your dog’s behavior to him, or using a calm voice. Take a firm (not mean) tone and be direct. “Dogs respond to tone. If you say, ‘No!’ while a bad action is happening, you’re going to get a much better response than if you say it in a gentle voice or wait to say it afterwards,” Brent says. To ensure results, it has to be said in the moment of action, and in the same way every time. “If you want to train your dog to be calm when he sees another dog, you can’t wait until that dog has passed to give him a treat for being good. You can’t wait until you get home,” Brent says. “That says putting down the leash means a treat, instead of the action [you’re trying to reinforce].” Photo: Shutterstock

“I’m not a human.”

There’s no doubt your dog is part of the family—but that doesn’t mean she should be treated like a person. “Thinking your dog has the motivation of a person is the number one problem I see,” says Gina Spadafori, pet columnist and executive editor of the PetConnection.com. Whether your dog eliminates in the house or chews up the remote, the cause has nothing to do with revenge. “It’s not an emotional or rational response. It’s either a lack of training, illness or a stress reaction that can be triggered by a change in the house,” Spadafori says. So if your dog is acting out, start by trying to find the root cause. Is she sick, improperly trained or has there been a recent change in routine? Once you locate the cause, understanding and correcting her behavior will be much easier. Photo: Chris Amaral/Thinkstock

Read more: Dog Language – Understanding Dog Behavior at WomansDay.com – Woman’s Day

How to evaluate online pet health articles

How to evaluate online pet health articles

by THERESE on JANUARY 31, 2010

in CATSDOGSPET HEALTH

If you’re like me, when one of my pets is diagnosed with a major illness, one of the first places I turn is to the Internet. Type any pet related health condition into your favorite search engine and you’ll find something – probably a lot of somethings! The question is, how accurate is the information you find? A savvy pet owner will not only read what’s online, but will evaluate the source of that information. Here are a few tips to help you decide whether or not the articles you find online are worth the time it takes to read them.

Consider the source
Look for articles written by researchers and other experts at veterinary schools, organizations that do research on animal health, and well-known websites. Cornell University College of Veterinary MedicinePet ConnectionDogAware.com, and VeterinaryPartner.com are just a few of the many highly respected websites that cover pet health.

If you see an article on a website that doesn’t seem to have any credentials, look on some of the websites that do offer credentials to see if they have any corroborating info. As the old saying goes, “don’t believe everything you read.”

Look for current articles
While older articles are definitely worth reading, if you’re doing research on something like feline cancer (which I’m in the midst of learning about with Tequila), also try to find articles that are as up-to-date as possible. The newer articles will likely cite recent studies and/or advancements made about the condition you’re dealing with in your pet.

Look for articles by respected authors
Writers like Christie Keith and Gina Spadafori(from Pet Connection) Dr. Patty Khuly (from Doolittler)Lew Olson (from B-Naturals), and Mary Strauss (from DogAware.com) are all well respected pet health writers. Anything you see written by them is going to be well-researched and based on facts. On the other hand, not every Joe Blow who sets up a website and posts his theory on how to heal dogs of cancer is going to be worth your time. Some of the information you find, will be written by people who mean well, but just aren’t qualified to be offering medical advice. And of course, be wary of the scammers who have the miracle cure you’re looking for. Chances are, the only thing you’ll be making healthier by sending them your money is their bank account!

Evaluate personal accounts carefully
Regardless of what type of illness your pet has, you’re probably going to want to hear from others who have gone through the same thing with their pets. I know I did when when Lydia was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 (and I do now that Tequlia’s been diagnosed with cancer). I wanted to hear from others who have dealt with the same type of cancer. I wanted to know how the pets were treated, what they fed them, what supplements they gave their pet, how the disease progressed. And of course, I wanted to hear from people who had dogs who survived! I found happy and sad stories, but every time I read something I reminded myself that Lydia’s situation was unique, and that her story wouldn’t be identical to any other. It’s important to keep this fact in mind no matter what type of problem you’re facing with your pet. Not every disease in every pet is going to progress in the exact same way. Get input from others, but don’t get too hung up on exactly how things progressed in their pets.

Being faced with a major illness in one of your pets is stressful enough without wasting time reading articles that prove to be harmful, or inaccurate at best. Finding information online about your pet’s condition is the easy part – evaluating it can sometimes be a bit tricky. So, before going too far into what you’re reading take the time to decide whether it’s worth reading. It could save you a lot of time and heartache.

Having Pets Makes You Healthier, Happier and Live Longer!

Everyone who has ever owned a pet knows the joy and companionship they provide.  There is a growing body of research that indicates our furry friends can contribute to our health and well being .  Pets can enhance mood, alleviate depression and anxiety, reduce stress and even encourage physical fitness.  There are many benefits to owning a pet.  Here are a few.

Improved Mood and Alleviating Depression/Anxiety:

Just the simple act of petting a cat, dog or any furry creature has been found to alleviate depression and anxiety.  Pets can help improve mild to moderate depression just by being there.  The stress of the day can evaporate for a little while as soon as Fido greets you bursting with happiness and unconditional love.  Aquariums are great options for those who can’t have a furry critter as a pet.  Studies with Alzheimer’s patients have resulted in lowered anxiety just from looking at an aquarium for a few minutes.

 

Healthier Heart:

Owning a pet can result in lower blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol.  One study conducted in Australia showed that men who own pets have less signs of heart disease.  As mentioned earlier, pets help reduce anxiety which is essentially stress.  Lower stress levels help to keep blood pressure under control.  Dog owners can especially benefit since they are more likely to exercise with their dog which ultimately enhances heart health.

Lower Incidence of Allergies:

Contrary to popular belief, children raised around furry pets or farm animals have a lower chance of developing allergies and asthma.  One study showed that infants with a dog in the home had less occurrences of allergies.

 

Physical Fitness for Dog Owners:

Dog owners are more likely to get the minimum recommended 150 minutes of exercise every week.  It’s easy to get that amount of exercise in when the dog needs to be walked every day.  Even playing fetch or tug of war with Fido increases physical fitness levels .

Pets just simply add fun and enjoyment to our lives.  Be it a cat, dog, guinea pig, hamster or fish, the right pet is out there for everyone.