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December 2013

5 Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat

 by wai on 18 Dec 2013 |
7 Comment(s)
All of us want our dogs to be healthy and happy, but it can be quite a struggle to resist the temptation to give your furry friend table scraps. While a special treat on occasion may not be cause for concern, there are several common foods that can be quite dangerous for dogs. In order to prevent tragedy from occurring, avoid these 5 foods your dog should never eat. 1. Onions & Garlic Regardless of the form these foods come in, onions and garlic are a huge no-no for dogs. These foods can actually compromise a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. If your dog accidentally ingests a small amount, he will probably be okay. However, repeated exposure to these foods can spell serious trouble for your companion. If you are worried your dog may have ingested large quantities of onions or garlic, keep an eye out for symptoms of anemia which include weakness, vomiting, disinterest in food, and breathing difficulties. 2. Grapes/Raisins Many dog owners have used grapes and/or raisins as dog treats, but these foods are dangerous for your pet’s health. While scientists aren’t sure of the exact cause, grapes and raisins are known to cause kidney failure in dogs. Even the smallest amount can make your dog ill. To prevent this tragedy, keep grapes and raisins away from areas your dog can reach. Repeated vomiting is a sure sign your dog has eaten these foods, and within a day he will become lethargic and unlike his normal self. Seek medical attention immediately if you notice these warning signs. Image credit 3. Candy Many types of candy and gum are sweetened with an ingredient called xylitol. While we may be able to safely consume this ingredient, it can wreak havoc on your dog’s system. Xylitol can actually increase the amount of insulin in your dog’s body, which can cause blood sugar to drop and liver failure to set in. Loss of coordination, vomiting and lethargy are early warning signs your dog has consumed xylitol. He may also experience frequent seizures. If you notice any of these warning signs, head to the veterinarian immediately. 4. Macadamia Nuts Macadamia nuts can be fatal to dogs, and should never be given as a treat. Even a miniscule amount of these nuts can lead to illness and poison your dog’s system. Symptoms of macadamia nut poisoning include muscle tremors, weakness/paralysis, vomiting, fever and a rapid heart rate. When combined with chocolate, macadamia nuts can make symptoms worse and may cause death. Keep these nuts and any foods containing them well out of the reach of your furry friend. 5. Avocado Avocados contain persin, which can be toxic to dogs. While you may love guacamole, your dog’s system can’t handle large amounts of this substance found in avocados. While a small amount isn’t likely to cause lasting harm, it’s still a good idea to keep your dog away from them. If you are growing avocados at home, keep them away from areas your dog plays – persin can be found in the seeds, leaves and bark in addition to the fruit itself. While it can be tempting to feed your dog a special treat now and then, many common foods are dangerous to dogs. In order to keep your pet happy and healthy, avoid feeding him these five dangerous foods.

Walking Your Dog:6 Tips to Establish Pack Leadership

 by wai on 09 Dec 2013 |
7 Comment(s)
It doesn’t matter if you’re walking just one dog or 10 at a time; you can keep them in line if you’ve established yourself as the pack leader. Here are six tips for walking your dog in a way that establishes your authority. 1. Use a short leash Using a short leash gives you more control, which is essential for establishing yourself as the pack leader. Attach the leash to the top of the dog’s neck; this will allow you to more easily guide your dog. 2. Stay in front If your dog has a sense of control during the walk, he will see himself as the pack leader. But your dog will see you as the pack leader when you walk in front of it. This starts from the moment you leave the house. Make sure you walk through the door first. The dog can walk behind you or beside you. 3. Walk for a minimum of 30 minutes in the morning Don’t end the walk as soon as your dog relieves itself. Set aside at least 30 minutes for walks, and go for as many as 60 minutes if possible. The needs of each dog breed are different. Consult your veterinarian, and monitor your dog’s behavior to ensure its needs are being fulfilled.   Image credit 4. Reward your dog on your terms After your dog has relieved himself, allow him to wander about sniffing around.  However, you will need to dictate the beginning and the end of “reward” time. If he resists your tug on the leash, tug a bit harder until he obeys your “command” to start walking. Never yank your dog around. Gentle tugs on the leash should be sufficient enough for him to follow your lead. 5. Stay in the lead Stay in the lead even after you’re done walking. Make your dog wait as you remove her leash and/or remove your shoes. 6. Reward her after the walk By giving your dog a meal or snacks after you walk, she will realize that she has to “work” for food. These are just some tips to get you started on the road to becoming your dog’s clear pack leader. There are some important reasons to establish this leadership role. The only way you can successfully do it is to be consistent and disciplined in your approach.  

Can Dogs Catch Worms From Cats?

 by wai on 03 Dec 2013 |
6 Comment(s)
There are several types of worms that dogs can become infected with including tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms and heartworms. Dog owners might assume that as long as their dog is kept indoors or in a fenced yard away from other dogs, their dog cannot catch worms. This is a common misconception, especially if there are cats wandering the neighborhood. As all of these worms can also infect cats, your dog may be at a bigger risk than you are aware of from worm infestations. Consider the cats that live in your neighborhood. Fences do not keep them out, and they are more likely to leave hidden feces that you don't see but that your dog will quickly find. A worm-infected cat can easily contaminate your property or any area that your dog walks through. Even for an indoor dog, taking him out to potty can put your dog in contact with worms which are left behind by cats. Worms are spread in a variety of ways. Tapeworms are spread by fleas and by contaminated feces. Your dog can catch fleas that are carrying tapeworms from an infected cat who drops a few fleas as he passes through your property. If your dog eats or comes into contact with feces from a cat with tapeworms, he will likely catch tapeworms. Hookworms are even easier to transmit from animal to animal. Both dogs and cats can catch hookworms through the pads of their feet and then contaminate the soil and grass with their feces. There are three species of hookworms that infect dogs and they can live in the soil even after you've removed any infected feces. Your dog can catch hookworms by eating, walking on, or laying on contaminated dirt or grass. Image credit To compound the worm problem even more, you cannot count on cold weather to wipe out the worm eggs. Both whipworm and roundworm eggs are transmitted by feces and can live in the soil. Whipworm eggs can survive for up to seven years in the soil, even in freezing temperatures. By eating dirt with eggs in it, your dog can catch hookworms and whipworms. Heartworms are not transmitted in the same way as the other worms. They are transmitted by infected mosquitoes. If a mosquito bites an infected dog or cat and then bites your dog, he can catch heartworms from the infected mosquito unless he is on heartworm prevention. Thus, if any dogs or cats in your neighborhood are infected with heartworms, it is possible for mosquitoes to carry the heartworms from the infected animal to your dog. Not only can dogs catch worms from cats, they can transmit worms to cats, which in turn can spread the worms to other dogs that live nearby. A single wandering cat can spread worms from one dog to another, even if the dogs have no direct contact with each other. While you cannot fully protect your dog from exposure to worms, you can take steps to minimize exposure. 1. Promptly scoop all poop on your property including that left behind by cats and other dogs. 2. Avoid walking your dog through areas where other dogs and cats have deposited feces. 3. Keep your dog on heartworm prevention. 4. Control the mosquito population by not leaving standing water for mosquitoes to breed in. As some worms can also be transmitted to humans, you'll want to ensure that your dog is treated for worms if he does become infected. Have your dog's feces checked by a veterinarian at least once a year. While this won't catch all worm infections, it will increase your odds of catching an infestation in the early stages.
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