Your Dogs Health
Your Dogs Health
In this section you will find help and advice about your dogs health
Things you should NOT allow your dog to eat.
The list below could kill or seriously harm your dog.
It really is hard to know even what dog food to get your dog, even some dog foods have been known to poison dogs.
Dog Health Problems
Basic CPR for cats and dogs
The following is just information intended to help you understand if your dog is unwell and what maybe causing it. Always contact a vet for a proper diagnosis of any problem you fear your dog may have.
Every dog has to go through it, every dog most probably hates it as much as anyone else does, but the fact of the matter is that your dog will show sick symptoms once in a while and will become ill. This is natural for a dog or any other animal, they all get sick and there's nothing anyone can do to prevent it.
On the other hand there are ways in which you can ease the suffering a bit for your dog and help them get the fast paced recovery they deserve. There are probably many different home remedies for helping your dog get better, but often if any are going to work then it will be the suggestions or medication your vet will give you after a diagnosis of your dog, so when you fear your dog is ill you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.
Let's now look at some of the more popular of the hundreds of symptoms that your dog may be feeling.
Not wanting to move
Many dogs when ill wont want to move very far, have pain in moving, refusing to exercise, limping or has signs or injured paw/leg, or just general decreased agility. Theses can all be signs of illness or injury and should be watched out for.
This may seem an obvious choice but many dog owners fail to notice discharge from eyes, nose, and ears. These should only normally be a worry if the discharge is coloured.
A dog's loss of appetite is a good well recognised symptom of illness as well as over eating without weight gain, sudden weight loss, or diarrhoea. Keep an eye on your dog's diet and food habits to make this easier to recognise when it happens.
An overweight dog is something many owners should be very aware of especially after the middle age of about 7 years of age (depending on dogs' size). A dogs' weight can seriously put your dogs' health at risk and cut their life short as well as causing an unnecessary painful ending.
Dogs tend to be able to eat as much as we choose to feed them at times and feeding your dog till he/she is full is a bad idea at the best of times. A set amount should be given to your dog each day and some notification next to your dogs bowl might help the confusion of who's fed the dog and who hasn't.
As your dog becomes older, you will need to check their weight more often as their metabolism will slow down and overeating will become out of control and a problem for your dog. Obviously dogs come in different sizes and shapes so there is not set amount of food that has to be given to your particular breed of dog and a small amount of research or a trip to the vets will be needed to see how much your dog should eat.
Determine the weight of your dog is correct by checking that your dogs' ribs can be easily felt with little pressure, and are not visibly noticeable. Your dogs' hips should be easily felt and not surrounded by too much flesh and fat, and from looking down on your dog the body curves inwards after the rib cage slightly.
If these are all in place then your dog appears to be a healthy weight and this should be maintained throughout their life. Always ensure your dog has plenty of exercise and play time to maintain a healthy dog. If your dog becomes too thin then a vet should be contacted for advice and support as well as if your dog is very overweight.
What Causes Dogs To Urinate and Drinking More Than Usual?
This can be a tricky diagnosis to make on the vets behalf as it can be any number of different conditions such as diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes), diabetes insipidus (water diabetes), conditions affecting the kidneys or liver, adrenal gland disorders, pyometra(uterine/womb infections), and conditions causing more levels of calcium in the blood.
Theses are all possibilities but sometimes discovering if your dog actually has more frequent trips to the toilet or is drinking more than normal can be hard to monitor. As a guide, a dog should produce about 25ml - 40ml of urine per kg of your dog's weight every twenty four hours, and should consume 60ml - 80ml of water for ever kg of your dog's weight per twenty four hours. Note that this is just a guide and many dogs consume a lot of water through food or other sources.
What Your Vet May Say or Do
Before moving onto specific conditions associated with drinking more than usual or urinating more than usual, your vet will begin by trying to find if your dog is drinking more than usual because they are thirsty which causes more urination, or if your dog is needing to urinate more than usual which causes them to drink more to make up for lost fluids.
Then blood tests, physical examinations, and urine samples will be taken to gain more info on the current situation and state of your dog.
Once this has been done the next step is to look at the different possibilities further as we will do in the Associated Conditions below.
Acute (Sudden) Kidney Failure
Dog Addison's Disease / Adrenal Gland Disorder
Chronic (long term) Kidney Failure
Cushing's Disease - Adrenal Gland Disorders
Diabetes Mellitus (Sugar Diabetes)
Dog Diabetes Insipidus (Water Diabetes)
Dog Hyperparathyroidism (Overactive Parathyroid Glands)
Dog Liver Failure and Liver Disease
Dog Tumor (Causing Elevated Blood Calcium Levels)
Choking in Dogs
Choking is a common reason why pets are brought to the veterinarian, though the signs of choking are often mistaken. Usually, the owner confuses coughing or vomiting with choking. Understanding the causes and signs of choking can help determine proper care and treatment for your pet.
Choking can occur due to an obstruction of the airway from a foreign object in the throat, severe swelling of the throat or due to constriction of the neck. True choking is an emergency and immediate veterinary assistance is crucial.
Oral Foreign Object
Having "something stuck in the throat" is a common problem in pets. Due to their curious nature and indiscriminate eating habits, dogs and cats can get all kinds of items stuck in their mouth. Large pieces of food, bone, balls, toys, wood, cloth, metal and even fish hooks have been removed from the mouths of dogs and cats.
In order for the foreign object to cause choking, the object must obstruct the opening to the airway. Just having an object stuck in the mouth does not always result in the emergency condition associated with choking.
One common oral foreign body that does not result in choking is associated with bone ingestion. Bones can get stuck between teeth, around the lower jaw or even stuck on the roof of the mouth. This results in significant distress for the pet but not choking.
Other Causes of Choking
Severe throat swelling can occur and is usually associated with an allergic reaction or response to trauma. The tissues within the throat can swell so much that the opening to the airway is blocked.
Constricting neck injury is usually associated with collars and ropes. Dogs and cats that get collars tangled can choke due to the constriction of the neck from the tightness of the collar. In severe cases, dogs and cats can hang from collars, leashes and ropes. For example, a dog may be tied to a leash with just enough slack to jump the fence but not enough slack to allow the dog to touch the ground on the other side. A more common example is the exuberant puppy that constantly pulls on the choke chain while on a walk. This can result in choking.
A complication associated with choking is pulmonary edema. This is the accumulation of fluid within the lungs associated with neck injury. The exact reason this occurs is not completely understood. When the neck is constricted or the airway is blocked, it is though that nerve stimulation in the neck results in fluid accumulation in the lungs. This can lead to significant breathing problems.
Pawing at face
Anxiety and distress
Diagnosing choking is based on history and physical examination. For oral foreign bodies, a thorough oral exam reveals the cause of the obstruction. In severely distressed animals, sedation may be required to examine the inside of the mouth.
Chest x-rays may be necessary if breathing difficulty is noted. X-rays are taken to look for signs of pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in the lungs).
A thorough physical exam is necessary to determine if there are any other injuries.
For oral foreign bodies, the foreign object needs to be removed immediately. After removal, the mouth needs to be examined again, looking for wounds that could have been caused by the object.
Oral antibiotics may be prescribed if oral wounds are noted.
For neck injuries, the collar and any constricting item needs to be immediately removed. Based on chest x-rays and physical examination, hospitalization may be recommended.
Cats/dogs with breathing difficulty may need oxygen supplementation. Animals with pulmonary edema may require diuretic medication such as furosemide to try to reduce the fluid in the lungs.
In severe cases that do not quickly respond to treatment, an emergency tracheostomy may be required. This is a temporary measure that allows the pet to breath until the cause of the choking can be resolved. A temporary tracheostomy is performed by making a small incision in the neck. The trachea (windpipe) is then cut to allow a breathing tube to be placed directly into the trachea.
In select cases, some patients may require assisted breathing with a ventilator.
If you notice your pet is choking, remove any item that may be constricting the neck. Examine inside the mouth and remove any foreign object you see. Do not blindly place your hand down your pet's throat and pull any object you feel. Dogs and cats have small bones that support the base of their tongues. Owners probing the throat for a foreign object have mistaken these for chicken bones. Do not attempt to remove an object unless you can see and identify it.
If you cannot easily remove the object, lift and suspend a small animal with the head pointed down. For larger animals, lift the rear legs so the head is tilted down. This can help dislodge an item stuck in the throat.
Another method is to administer a sharp hit with the palm of your hand between the shoulder blades. This can sometimes dislodge an object.
If this does not work, a modified Heimlich maneuver can be attempted. Grasp the animal around the waist so that the rear is nearest to you, similar to a bear hug. Place a fist just behind the ribs. Compress the abdomen several times (usually 3 to 5 times) with quick pushes. Check the mouth to see if the foreign object has been removed.
Even if you are successful in removing a foreign object, veterinary examination is recommended. Internal injury could have occurred that you may not realize.
Make sure your pet has a collar that fits properly. Tight collars can create serious injury.
Do not let your pet have sufficient slack in a tie out to allow jumping over fences.
Keep all small items, toys and balls away from your pet. Super balls and racquetballs are a common cause of upper airway obstruction in large breed dogs. Make sure the ball you use to play fetch is large enough to prevent getting stuck in the throat.
If you have ever experienced the coughing fits and other symptoms that go along with bronchitis then you have an idea of what a dog goes through when it has a kennel cough.
This condition is a form of bronchitis and is usually caused by an animals exposure to bordatella bacteria. Though it is more commonly associated with dogs, cats are also susceptible to infection caused by the bordatella bacteria.
It is so named because the condition is often found in cats and dogs housed in a boarding facility shelters). Generally, animals in these facilities are housed in closed confined quarters. This makes it easier for the highly contagious condition to be passed from one animal to another. It is one of the most common infections in dogs.
Of the all the symptoms, the continual dry cough is the most prevalent. Another one can be a white discharge that is emitted during coughing spasms. Some animals also cough up large amounts of phlegm. Though rare, vomiting can also occur in extremely bad cases. Puppies and kittens are especially vulnerable to this condition.
Though it can cause animals much distress, the condition is usually not serious. It can be treated with antibiotics if it does not go away on its own.
What Causes Vomiting and Diarrhea in Dogs?
Vomiting and diarrhea in dogs is caused by problems in the digestive system, this digestive system is basically a long tube from the mouth of your dog to the anus which processes all the food eaten. Along the way all the food will be processed in the appropriate way and then disposed of as feces.
The problem that causes vomiting or diarrhea in your dog is when something disrupts this process somewhere along the digestive tubes and your dogs defence system assumes there is something harmful and unwanted in the body and tries to get rid of it in the way of dog vomit or diarrhea.
It's not uncommon for you to notice that your dog only has either vomiting or diarrhea; this is determined by where the problem is situated along the digestive system and can be a big clue to the problem you have.
If your dogs' problem lies within the small intestine/upper intestine or stomach, vomiting and diarrhea may be noticed for a short time then as the illness develops and moves down to just the small intestines, only diarrhea will be present. In this situation your dog will be feeling and looking very unwell, with a lack of appetite and will not need to toilet much more than usual but will have large amounts of diarrhea.
If the problem is lower in the dogs' digestive system in the large intestine then only diarrhea will be present with no vomiting. In this case your dog will frequently pass small amounts of feces and may struggle to do so (not to be confused with constipation) with possible blood in the feces, jelly like textured feces, or increased dog flatulence. Besides this your dog should have normal appetite and attitude, and seem otherwise unaffected.
These two cases of small intestinal and large bowel diarrhea should be easily distinguished and recognised. Once this is decided, you may now want to look further at the 'Possible Illnesses' section below.
Dog Food Poisoning
Dog Gastric Bloat
Dog Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Dog with Obstruction in the Digestive System
Dog Parvovirus Infection
Dog Pyometra (uterine/womb infections)
Dog Irritable Bowel Syndrome
1. Very runny and slimy or jelly like Diarrhea.
2. Possible blood in the feces.
3. May strain to pass diarrhea (not to be confused with constipation).
4. Dog will need to toilet more than normal but with very little each time.
What Causes Dog Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Colitis?
This illness is caused normally by intolerance to a new food or food they have not had before. It is much like an allergic reaction in the stomach, lower intestines or other digestive system areas.
The most common type of irritable bowel syndrome is colitis; this is irritation and inflammation of the colon (the last part of the bowel leading to the dog's anus). This has a similar cure to dog food poisoning and is in many ways the same.
When this happens, it is also possible that the inflammation in the stomach caused by the food intolerance will cause the dogs' body to create too much stomach acid which will give a similar feeling to heartburn. In turn this will cause vomiting that may contain yellow bile in the mornings from the night of rest and body accumulating acids.
To get rid of this stomach pain dogs will often make themselves sick by chewing and swallowing grass to intentionally irritate the stomach and make themselves sick. This is quite normal behavior and your dog will fee instantly better afterwards and act as normal again. If your dog does not feel better then it may be a different illness that is more serious than first thought.
What Your Vet May Say or Do
To get rid of your dogs diarrhea and vomiting caused by irritable bowel syndrome or colitis your vet may simply ask you to stop your dog from eating for 24 hours so that their body can be flushed of all the offending bacteria and inflammation issues.
Once this is done you may then give your dog very bland foods such as boiled rice, pasta, boiled chicken, turkey or white fish until the feces is looking normal again after at least two visits to the toilet, then you can slowly mix the bland and normal foods at different ratios until your dog is back on their full normal food.
Symptoms for dog food poisoning are similar to human food poisoning, such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and generally feeling unwell. If your dog is suffering from this they will not be toileting much more than usual and feces will be in large amounts unlike other lower digestive system illnesses.
What Causes Dog Food Poisoning?
The cause of food poisoning is as you might expect brought on by eating or swallowing something that the body cannot cope with or find unfamiliar. This can include something your dog has found and eaten around the house, garden
, on a walk, or in the garbage where the illness gets its nickname 'garbage disease'.
When this happens the body will try to reject the unwanted substance by flushing it out of their systems either via dog vomit or dog diarrhea much the same way as humans and other animals cope with unwanted or damaging substances in the digestive system.
A change of diet or dog food may bring this illness on because your dogs' body is not used to the new type of food it's getting, this does not mean that the food you are using is unsuitable for your dog, but does mean that you will have to introduce the food more slowly.
What Your Vet May Say or Do
To cure dog food poisoning is to enable the dog to get rid of any offending foods or substances in the digestive system easily. To do this you will need to stop feeding your dog for 24 hours and give them only water. If you carry on feeding your dog your dogs' body will never be able to get rid of all the food in its system, thus making the digestive system think there is more bad foods to get rid of resulting in continuous vomiting and diarrhea.
To begin your dogs' detoxification and clearing of the system you should feed your dog on only water for 24 hours as stated previously to be sure that all offending foods have passed through the body. After this time you should begin to feed your dog little and often with bland foods such as boiled rice, pasta, boiled chicken, turkey or white fish, this ensures that the stomach is eased in gently and doesn't reject the food because of its strong taste.
After feeding your dog on a bland diet and after your dog has produced at least two normal stools you can gradually start introducing them back to their normal foods. To do this begin mixing the bland food with some stronger tasting normal food and slowly increasing the amount of normal food you put in until your dog is eating full portions of their normal every day food.
This process should take no longer than 48 hours after the initial 24 hours. If the vomiting and/or diarrhea does continue or become worse over this period then a vet should be contacted for further advice. The vet will then look at other symptoms such as obstructions, infections, or inflammation caused again by dog food poisoning.
Other Possible Conditions
Dog Gastric Bloat
Dog Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Dog with Obstruction in the Digestive System
Dog Parvovirus Infection
Dog Pyometra (uterine/womb infections)
Dog Skin Irritation and Problems
Itching and Scratching
Itching or scratching and trying to rub themselves up against furniture can be symptoms of bad skin or new pests on the scene. At this time your dog may be feeling ill or unwell or have it to come.
Dogs scratching and licking themselves can drive dog owners mad with frustration of trying to discover what is causing the terrible itching your dog is feeling. Dog skin problems are not uncommon in dogs and no matter how much you look for fleas, ticks, and other pest you may not find anything but bad dog skin problems.
It certainly is a worry when your dog spends most of their time scratching, itching and licking themselves to try and get rid of the annoying tingly burning sensation they are feeling, when all it's doing is making it worse for them. There is no way to make it better for them but taking them to the vet and seeing what the skin problem is.
There are many different suggestions that could be made about your dogs skin problems and only after studying your dogs skin and possible other tests could an expert tell you the problem that your dog has.
Possibilities of dog skin problems:
Parasites are a possibility for you dog itching and scratching, there are many different types of pests that cause your dog to itch but generally they are either ticks or fleas, easily found by rubbing the dog's skin for lumps or looking for flea faeces in the fur.
Dog allergies are also another common cause for itchy rashes on your dogs' skin, once you find the cause witch could be something in the dogs' basket or sleeping place, the remedy is easily solved by removing the offending product from reach of the dog.
Bacterial and fungal skin infections are last on this list of common skin problems for dogs these can be found by either loss of hair in areas of your dogs' body with dry skin
in the centre and a general soar look to the skin, or by ulcer like patches on your dogs skin also looking soar and painful.
Mange in dogs
Demodectic mange doesn't itch at all. Sarcoptic mange, on the other hand, is very itchy, forcing your dog to scratch all over and can leave your dog in a lot of pain.
Demodectic mange may not be itchy, but it is a discomfort to your dog just the same. Additionally, demodectic mange is not contagious.
If you dog is showing signs of hair loss and a rash in that area, then this could possibly be a form of Mange. Please DO NOT try to treat this yourself, because most treatments that you can find in the internet DO NOT work and NEVER use motor oil on the affected area, as some discribe you should do.
This doesn't help the problem, but more to the point, is very flammable and can harm your dog. Always seek your vets advice.
And that completes the main categories for dog skin problems, please remember to always consult your vet about your dogs' skin issues to help ease the suffering and pain for your dog.
What a health mouth should look like.
Brushing your dogs teeth, giving your dog hard chews and bones to chew on on a regular basis, can help stop the following problems:
Bleeding or soar looking gums, along with discoloured teeth or teeth loss. These all need to be diagnosed properly by a vet and could be due to a more serious illnesses.
Bad dog breath can be a bad problem for you and your dog, at times a dogs breath an be unbearable and make bonding with your dog a chore you'd rather avoid at all costs. This may not be due to your dog and more down to the care you have not realized that your dog should have.
Dog's bad breath like most other dog symptoms can be the cause of many different issues separately or together, this makes the cause hard to diagnose without a proper examination from a professional dog carer or vet.
Common causes of dog bad breathe -
Maybe your dog is finding it hard to eat or swallow which can lead to dog's bad breath and other illnesses that are related.
Saliva drooling from your dog's mouth may also be a cause of bad dog breath, as more saliva gets built up in your dog's mouth is makes it easier for bacteria to breed resulting in bad breath.
The last and most common form of bacteria build up is from not cleaning or not properly cleaning your dog's teeth, this enables tartar to form and make the bad odour you are forced to smell day in day out.
Many believe that food choice and what you feed your dog is a problem when dog breath is concerned, as this may be true to an extent this is more of a temporary short term problem and the reason above is more likely to be the problem cause.
There are plenty of dental hygiene products available in pet shops and online, some work better than others on different dogs but you best bet is to clean your dog's teeth regularly to stop the bacteria build up, this is where the problem begins and where you should target your efforts.
If you fear the problem has got too far to recover or damage or the gums and teeth is visible you should contact your vet as soon as possible for help and a proper diagnosis of your pet.
Dog ear infections
are common in dogs and other pets alike, these infections can be caused by numerous situations and causes but as your pet relies heavily on their hearing it can be extremely annoying for them as well as soar and painful.
The shape of a dog's inner ear is the cause for many of the different ear infections due to it being able to collect moisture from playing around water or in rain, ear wax, dirt and unclean debris, and unwanted parasites.
To identify and determine whether your dog has an ear infection or ear related condition, you will have to study your dog's behaviour. Common ear infection activities include, rubbing their heads and ears against objects in your house like sofas and tables in order to stop the irritating ear, tilting of the head, and a red looking, soar, foul smelling ear with possible discharge.
To start you should take your pet to a vet to properly diagnose the infection that has occurred they will then probably issue you with medication or need to have the dog sedated in order to clean out the foreign debris. This process can be a difficult one for a vet and may have complications in finding the correct medication.
Dog ear infections that are diagnosed correctly can more than likely be cured, but taking your dog to the vet is crucial, without this step you will be putting your dog through more pain and it will take longer to become better.
To give your dog the prescribed medication you will need to raise the dog's ear and apply the medication to the vertical part of the ear so it can seep down into the correct area of the dog's ear. Then holding the base of the ear flap with your finger and thumb massage the ear canal and you will hear a squishing sound to note that the medication is in the correct area, then clean the outside and around the ear with alcohol to stop further dirt from getting into the ear to complete the process.
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