What should I do if my dog is in heat?

First of all, DO NOT WORRY! Being in heat isn't a canine disease but a natural sign that tells your dog is ready to mate.

There comes a time in the life of an intact female dog when they’re ready to breed. This period is called being in the heat or 'Estrus.' You can avoid this by spaying your dog, but we’ll come to that later.

Do you want to help your dog through its heat cycle? Let's learn more about Estrus before we jump into tips for helping your furry friend.

What is Estrus or Being in Heat?

Female dogs come into the heat twice per year. Although the interval can vary between breeds and dog to dog, small breed dogs may cycle three times per year, and large dogs may only cycle once every 12 months.

Like in human, heat in dogs signify 'menstruation.' That means, frequent blood discharge and urge to urinate with behavioral changes.

Her estrogen levels will dramatically increase and then decrease. At this time, the eggs are released from her ovaries.

The dogs first go into heat between the ages of 6 - 24 months. Each estrus period lasts about 18 days.

This is also the time when male dogs will be attracted to female dogs for mating. Keep a lookout for dogs around your house, and try keeping your female dogs indoor to prevent pregnancy.

Did you know male dogs are attracted towards a female dog for the full 18 days, but the female dog will only be receptive to males for about half that time?

How do you know if your dog is in heat?

Toy breeds or small dogs first come into heat for the first time as young as four months, while large dogs come into heat when they're as old as two years. On average, each dog first comes into heat between the age of 6 to 15 months.

There are telltale signs of estrus that you can identify without much difficulty.

Look out for physical and behavioral changes. The dogs often react differently when they come in heat.

  • Swollen vulva
  • Bloody or straw-colored discharge from the vulva
  • Receptive to male dogs
  • Excessive licking of the genital area
  • Agitated, nervous, or aggressive behavior
  • Urinating more frequently
  • Change in tail position

Vaginal discharge is the most common sign of estrus.

Keep in mind; there are four stages of the canine heat cycle.

Proestrus

Proestrus marks the start of the heat cycle. The telltale signs include the swollen vulva, blood-tinged discharge, excessive licking of the genitals, and aggression toward male dogs.

It lasts approximately 9-10 days. After that, the bleeding will become more watery or stop.

Estrus

The estrus phase is also known as the fertile phase. This is when she's ready to mate and is receptive to males. This phase is marked by a frequent urge to urinate and slowed vaginal discharge. Since they're ready to mate, they will approach male dogs with their tail held to the side.

Diestrus

The Diestrus phase occurs directly after the "in-heat" stage. It allows your dog to either return to the normal stage or develops into a pregnancy.

They will no longer be receptive to male dogs, and her vulva will return to standard size.

Anestrus

Anestrus is also called the 'inactive phase' as there are no signs of hormonal or sexual behavior in dogs.

What should you do when your dog is in heat?

If you haven't yet spayed your dog, the chances are that it's a tense situation for both of you.

Caring and cleaning

Dogs will bleed when they're in heat, so be prepared to deal with a lot of blood.

  • Invest in a good doggy diaper, disposable or reusable ones with liners.
  • Designate a special blankie for her use during this time. Dogs love to spend more time sleeping when in the heat, so a comfy blanket will be a great help.
  • Keep disposable wipes on hand so you can rapidly swipe across the floor and furniture.
  • Offer a safe, chew-resistant toy that she can nudge up against. This, too, will provide a sense of security.
  • Ensure to provide enough water and nutritious food.

Don't let your dog out in the yard alone.

Male dogs will find any opportunity to mate with your dog when she's in heat. A dog can easily find a female emitting breeding pheromone, so it's better to keep her inside.

Don't let your dog off-leash

When you're walking your dog outside, such as in a park, don't let it off-leash. The chances are that she'll intend on finding a male dog and wander off.

Consult a Vet

Consult a veterinarian if you notice signs of illness. Dogs can experience health issues immediately after a heat cycle, including bacterial growth in the uterine lining, which can cause a life-threatening pyometra or uterine infection.

Spay your dog

Spaying your dog is a permanent solution to prevent your dog from being in heat. If you have no plans to breed your dog, spaying is the best solution.

Spaying is also a good idea from the dog's point of view because each year, an estimated 8 million animals are euthanized in shelters across the country. Spaying will ensure that lesser animals are landing up in shelter homes.

  • Spay or castration is a sterilization process that female dogs undergo where their uterus and ovaries are removed.
  • Surgical sterilization removes specific reproductive organs. Ovariohysterectomy or typical "spay" removes ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus from a female dog.
  • Hysterectomy is a surgical alternative that removes the uterus and part of the fallopian tube but keeps the ovaries intact to produce hormones.
  • Ovariectomy removes ovaries from the female dogs, but the uterus remains intact.

Early spaying of female dogs and cats can help protect them from serious health problems later in life, such as uterine infections and breast cancer.

What is the right time to spay?

Although veterinarians recommend spaying your dog as young as four months old to ensure she never experiences a heat cycle, much recent research indicates that allowing your dog to grow before spaying ensures that the hormones are kept intact for necessary skeletal development.

Discuss health concerns with your veterinarian in Urbandale before deciding what age is appropriate to spay your furry friend.

All in all, caring for your dog is more than necessary. You need to be attentive to her physical and mental needs, giving her lots of affection, and be aware that she might be irritable.

Check this infographics for more information.

 

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Urbandale, to learn more about spaying your dogs.

EHRLICHIOSIS : Everything you need to know about this Canine Disease

Ehrlichiosis is unlike any other canine disease. If you find pronouncing 'Ehrlichiosis' difficult, you can call it 'Canine Typhus.'

Also known as a canine rickettsiosis, canine hemorrhagic fever, or tracker dog disease, Ehrlichiosis is a tick-borne disease common in dogs. While in some cases, it also infects humans and other animals. The news of Ehrlichiosis in dogs comes out every year, but not many dog owners are aware of the disease, its symptoms, and possible treatment.

Here is everything you need to know about this canine disease.  

What is Ehrlichiosis?

Ehrlichiosis is caused by the bite from Ehrlichia canis, a rickettsial species. It infects the white blood cells. Although there are many species of Ehrlichia, only a few species affect dogs.

Because of its origin in military dogs, it's often referred to as tracker dog disease. Many experts often refer to it is as tropical canine pancytopenia. It is also possible for dogs to become infected through a blood transfusion from an infected dog. Although.

This tick-borne disease also infects humans and other species, including cats. However, dogs do not transmit the bacteria to humans or other animals; instead, ticks transmit to the Ehrlichia organism. Clinical signs of human ehrlichiosis include fever, headache, eye pain, and gastrointestinal upset.

What makes it different from other tick-borne diseases?

Ehrlichiosis is caused by the bite from an infected tick or brown dog tick carrying the bacterium Ehrlichia Canis. It first gained attention when the military canine returning from Vietnam during the 1970s started showing unusual symptoms that made it hard to diagnose.

Ehrlichia Canis was first defined in 1935 and found in the US in 1963. Today, the pathogen is found throughout the US, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

The disease seems to be particularly severe in German Shepherd Dogs and Doberman Pinschers.

Stages of Ehrlichiosis

Dogs mostly appear perfectly normal for one to three weeks after being infected by E.canis. If your dog fails to fight off the infection during this time, it will enter an acute phase of infection when the bacteria start reproducing and spreading throughout the body.

The symptoms last for two to four weeks, after which many dogs appear to get better on their own called a subclinical phase which can last for months to years.

Some dogs never progress out of the subclinical phase, but others eventually enter the chronic phase of the disease.

Ehrlichiosis is divided into three stages

  1. Acute (early disease)
  2. Sub-clinical (no outward signs of disease)
  3. Clinical or chronic (Long-standing infection)

Acute Phase

The acute phase is defined by telltale symptoms including;

  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Respiratory distress
  • Weight loss
  • Bleeding disorders (Hemorrhage or bleeding)
  • Neurological disturbances (Meningitis)

The stage lasts for two to four weeks. If your dog is lucky, they might fight off the infection; otherwise, they'll head into the sub-clinical phase.

Sub-clinical phase

This phase represents the stage of infection with the presence of organism but zero symptoms. It's often called the worst phase because there are no clinical signs, so the disease goes undetected. The only way to address the infection is through a blood test.

Clinical Ehrlichiosis

It only occurs when the dog's immune system fails to eliminate the organism. There are telltale signs of clinical ehrlichiosis, including;

  • Anemia
  • Fever
  • Poor appetite
  • Bleeding episodes
  • Lameness
  • Eye problems
  • Neurological problems
  • Swollen limbs

The failure of bone marrow prevents the manufacture of new blood cells.

Diagnosing Ehrlichiosis in dogs

The diagnosis is often complicated because dogs infected with Ehrlichia may also be infected with other diseases carried by ticks, such as Babesia, Lyme disease, or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

You can only diagnose ehrlichiosis when your dog starts showing symptoms, so you need to be awry about the early signs, including fever, lethargy, poor appetite, and lymph node enlargement.

Whichever form of ehrlichiosis a dog has, it is essential that he be evaluated by a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

As part of the diagnostic process, the vets will collect a complete health history, perform a thorough physical exam, and then run a complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry panel, urinalysis, fecal examination, and specific lab work aimed at diagnosing ehrlichiosis.

Also called serologic testing, the vet will check for the presence of antibodies against the Ehrlichia organism.

Your dog should test positive for exposure to be diagnosed with ehrlichiosis, which is only possible at the sub-clinical phase.

Prognosis

The prognosis is suitable for dogs with acute ehrlichiosis. Your vet will predict possible symptoms in the future and advise regular tests to assess the development of infection.

Treatment

Ehrlichiosis responds well to treatment with the antibiotic Doxycycline. However, a long course of treatment, usually four weeks, is needed. Alternatively, imidocarb can also be used.

If caught before the clinical stage, E. Canis is almost entirely curable.

In severe cases where blood cell counts are very low, blood transfusions may be needed. A dog experiencing anemia or bleeding will require a blood transfusion.

Reinfection is possible, as immunity to Ehrlichia bacteria is not long-lasting.  The prolonged presence of the bacteria leads to hemorrhaging, which typically results in death.

 

Preventing Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

Ehrlichiosis is a recurring disease, and dogs who have been infected once can develop it again. However, there aren't any vaccines currently available to protect dogs against ehrlichiosis.

For now, the best way to prevent your dog from getting ehrlichiosis is to protect them from tick bites.

For More information please check this infographic.

 

 

Talk to your veterinarian in Urbandale to use the best form of tick prevention based on your dog’s health, lifestyle, and the prevalence of ticks and ehrlichiosis in your area. Tick bites are expected during the spring and summer seasons. Use this spring dog care checklist to ensure your furry friend remains flea and tick-free at all times.

 

EHRLICHIOSIS : Everything you need to know about this Canine Disease

Ehrlichiosis is unlike any other canine disease. If you find pronouncing 'Ehrlichiosis' difficult, you can call it 'Canine Typhus.'

Also known as a canine rickettsiosis, canine hemorrhagic fever, or tracker dog disease, Ehrlichiosis is a tick-borne disease common in dogs. While in some cases, it also infects humans and other animals. The news of Ehrlichiosis in dogs comes out every year, but not many dog owners are aware of the disease, its symptoms, and possible treatment.

Here is everything you need to know about this canine disease.  

What is Ehrlichiosis?

Ehrlichiosis is caused by the bite from Ehrlichia canis, a rickettsial species. It infects the white blood cells. Although there are many species of Ehrlichia, only a few species affect dogs.

Because of its origin in military dogs, it's often referred to as tracker dog disease. Many experts often refer to it is as tropical canine pancytopenia. It is also possible for dogs to become infected through a blood transfusion from an infected dog. Although.

This tick-borne disease also infects humans and other species, including cats. However, dogs do not transmit the bacteria to humans or other animals; instead, ticks transmit to the Ehrlichia organism. Clinical signs of human ehrlichiosis include fever, headache, eye pain, and gastrointestinal upset.

What makes it different from other tick-borne diseases?

Ehrlichiosis is caused by the bite from an infected tick or brown dog tick carrying the bacterium Ehrlichia Canis. It first gained attention when the military canine returning from Vietnam during the 1970s started showing unusual symptoms that made it hard to diagnose.

Ehrlichia Canis was first defined in 1935 and found in the US in 1963. Today, the pathogen is found throughout the US, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

The disease seems to be particularly severe in German Shepherd Dogs and Doberman Pinschers.

Stages of Ehrlichiosis

Dogs mostly appear perfectly normal for one to three weeks after being infected by E.canis. If your dog fails to fight off the infection during this time, it will enter an acute phase of infection when the bacteria start reproducing and spreading throughout the body.

The symptoms last for two to four weeks, after which many dogs appear to get better on their own called a subclinical phase which can last for months to years.

Some dogs never progress out of the subclinical phase, but others eventually enter the chronic phase of the disease.

Ehrlichiosis is divided into three stages

  1. Acute (early disease)
  2. Sub-clinical (no outward signs of disease)
  3. Clinical or chronic (Long-standing infection)

Acute Phase

The acute phase is defined by telltale symptoms including;

  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Respiratory distress
  • Weight loss
  • Bleeding disorders (Hemorrhage or bleeding)
  • Neurological disturbances (Meningitis)

The stage lasts for two to four weeks. If your dog is lucky, they might fight off the infection; otherwise, they'll head into the sub-clinical phase.

Sub-clinical phase

This phase represents the stage of infection with the presence of organism but zero symptoms. It's often called the worst phase because there are no clinical signs, so the disease goes undetected. The only way to address the infection is through a blood test.

Clinical Ehrlichiosis

It only occurs when the dog's immune system fails to eliminate the organism. There are telltale signs of clinical ehrlichiosis, including;

  • Anemia
  • Fever
  • Poor appetite
  • Bleeding episodes
  • Lameness
  • Eye problems
  • Neurological problems
  • Swollen limbs

The failure of bone marrow prevents the manufacture of new blood cells.

Diagnosing Ehrlichiosis in dogs

The diagnosis is often complicated because dogs infected with Ehrlichia may also be infected with other diseases carried by ticks, such as Babesia, Lyme disease, or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

You can only diagnose ehrlichiosis when your dog starts showing symptoms, so you need to be awry about the early signs, including fever, lethargy, poor appetite, and lymph node enlargement.

Whichever form of ehrlichiosis a dog has, it is essential that he be evaluated by a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

As part of the diagnostic process, the vets will collect a complete health history, perform a thorough physical exam, and then run a complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry panel, urinalysis, fecal examination, and specific lab work aimed at diagnosing ehrlichiosis.

Also called serologic testing, the vet will check for the presence of antibodies against the Ehrlichia organism.

Your dog should test positive for exposure to be diagnosed with ehrlichiosis, which is only possible at the sub-clinical phase.

Prognosis

The prognosis is suitable for dogs with acute ehrlichiosis. Your vet will predict possible symptoms in the future and advise regular tests to assess the development of infection.

Treatment

Ehrlichiosis responds well to treatment with the antibiotic Doxycycline. However, a long course of treatment, usually four weeks, is needed. Alternatively, imidocarb can also be used.

If caught before the clinical stage, E. Canis is almost entirely curable.

In severe cases where blood cell counts are very low, blood transfusions may be needed. A dog experiencing anemia or bleeding will require a blood transfusion.

Reinfection is possible, as immunity to Ehrlichia bacteria is not long-lasting.  The prolonged presence of the bacteria leads to hemorrhaging, which typically results in death.

 

Preventing Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

Ehrlichiosis is a recurring disease, and dogs who have been infected once can develop it again. However, there aren't any vaccines currently available to protect dogs against ehrlichiosis.

For now, the best way to prevent your dog from getting ehrlichiosis is to protect them from tick bites.

For More information please check this infographic.

 

 

Talk to your veterinarian in Urbandale to use the best form of tick prevention based on your dog’s health, lifestyle, and the prevalence of ticks and ehrlichiosis in your area. Tick bites are expected during the spring and summer seasons. Use this spring dog care checklist to ensure your furry friend remains flea and tick-free at all times.

 

10 Smartest Dog Breeds

Wouldn't you agree that some dog breeds are more accessible to train than others? Although all dog breeds make a perfect companion, few canine breeds excel in learning new commands and are more consistent than others.

DVM Dennis Riordan of Riordan Pet Hospital claims that,

As with any other trait, intelligence will vary from dog to dog, depending on the family tree and other factors. Intelligence is measured in dogs based on how many repetitions of a command it takes for them to figure out what you want them to do and how often they follow learned commands the first or second time you say it.

Smart dog breeds, regardless of origin, have one thing in common: they can quickly comprehend situations and act accordingly. Having a smart pet will also save you from possible dangers.

Pet behavior specialist Sarah Hodgson says,

It's all relative. Some are social and emotionally dependent on people, so they are easier to train and far more receptive to our vision of what they should do.

Here is a list of dog breeds that will probably be easiest to train and condition your lifestyle.

Ten Smartest Dog Breeds

Here is the list of ten dog breeds that are known for their adept behavior and quick learning ability.

Border Collie

Many pet behaviorists and trainers put Border Collie on top of the list of smart dog breeds. So, what makes Border Collie the valedictorians of the canine world?

Originally called "a shepherd dog," Border Collie is a working and herding breed that hails from Anglo-Scottish border regions such as UK, Scotland, England, and Ireland.

They were developed to be excellent shepherd dogs, making them very trained, active, and adaptive canines. They really enjoy the company of other animals and children if introduced well from early on.

In addition to learning cues quickly, they are quick enough to learn and understand routines, handle daily tasks, and take up new activities.

Handling a flock of hundreds or thousands of sheep isn't an easy task, but the Border Collie manages to do it very well.

However, it would be best to be wary about providing enough physical and mental stimulation to Border Collies who can become hyperactive and destructive to satiate their physical and mental energy.

Poodle

We all know Poodles for their fluffy hairdo and occasional movie appearances. But, these elegant dogs are more than just vanity.

Did you know poodles are adept hunters, effective water dogs, and highly trainable?

Poodles were originally bred in Germany for bird hunting and water retrieving. Some were even used for cattle herding and transport medical supplies to the battlefield.

However, they're very remarkable for their loving nature, trainable quality, and consistency inside all of the toughness.

Keep in mind that poodles thrive on attention and can develop bad habits such as nuisance barking if ignored or left alone. The young pups can be aggressive to people outside their families or to other dogs.

German shepherd

We all are familiar with the German shepherds as Police dogs, but did you know they are very hardworking and gentle companions?

With proper training and socialization from an early age, they become the ideal household breed. Their intelligence and protective demeanor make them the perfect pet for families with children.

Their enormous stature, athleticism, and high energy make them the second most popular dog breed in the US. Hence, they are mainly used for military and police work, and sometimes as service dogs such as for the blind.

German Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia when they age, so you should always keep this fact in mind when raising the dog.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever is famously known for its lush, soft coat and hyperactive lifestyle. The medium-large gun dog was initially bred to retrieve shot waterfowl and game birds, hence the name "retriever."

It is one of the most popular dog breeds around the world. Most pet owners take up Golden Retriever because they are competent working dogs, easily trainable, natural athletes, and great family pets. They are also very obedient, making them the perfect family dogs.

Retrievers are also chosen as service and therapy dogs and, in some cases, search and rescue dogs.

As with any purebred dog, Golden Retrievers have their share of health problems. They're prone to Cancer, Hip & Elbow Dysplasia, Cataracts, Epilepsy, Hypothyroidism, Heart Disease, and Skin Conditions.

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher has long been used as a police dog because of its agility, speed, and highly trainable quality. Despite their lean stature, they're solid.

A German tax collector for protection on his rounds originally bred the Doberman pinscher. In WWII, they were trained to guard sleeping troops, lead soldiers through the jungle, and give warning barks if enemies were hiding nearby.

They're very trustworthy and protective of children in the family, as long as they've been socialized and trained appropriately. They're also some of the lowest-maintenance dog breeds.

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog, popularly known as Sheltie, is originally a sheepdog. Don't mistake their small stature for incapability. Shelties are keenly observant and thrive on having a job to do.

They bear a close resemblance to their larger cousin, the collie, and are equally intelligent dog breeds.

As herders, they were required to keep track of many wandering animals for long periods, often without supervision.

They're easy to train if you have a calm voice and a light hand on the leash. They also make great family dogs thanks to their gentle and pleasing personality.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever or Labs is originally a waterdog, long employed as a duck retriever and fisherman's mate. It's a medium-large gun dog most popular in the US.

A hardworking dog breed, they make the best hunting dog. They're excellent at learning new tricks and excel in agility exercises. Thanks to their hyperactive nature, they make a very agile outdoor dog.

Labs make a great dog breed for water rescue, therapy work, and assistance. However, it would help if you were wary of their seldom violent nature to cause bites and injuries to family members.

Papillon

Paillon, also known as Continental Toy Spaniel, is a small-breed dog that has long been a favorite among royals. They're known for their regal appearance and charming personalities.

They've long been conditioned to become family dogs; hence they're very adaptive to training, learning new tricks, and performing for people.

Despite its elegant stature, Papillon is known for its active, athletic, and companionable behavior. They're brilliant and agile at competitions; hence they often become the dog breed to take home most top prizes at agility trials.

Rottweiler

Rottweilers are people dogs and are affectionate towards their families. They also make excellent guard dogs.

They were initially used as herding dogs and cart-puller. They were one of the first breeds used as guide dogs.

It's easier to train Rottweillers because they learn commands quickly compared to other dog breeds. However, thorough training and socialization are an absolute must from an early age. With a good training session, you can train a young Rottweiler within 6-7 weeks.

Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog or Cattle Dog is a famous herding dog originally developed in Australia. They were crossbred between blue merle shepherds from England and native Australian dingo.

They were trained to drive cattle over long distances across rough terrain; hence they make a great pet adapt to training. They're very active dogs; hence you should provide them enough physical and mental stimulation through work, sport, or exercise.

They are fiercely protective when used as a watchdog; hence, proper training and socializing are essential from an early age.

Some of the other popular smart breeds are pembroke Welsh Corgi, Miniature Schnauzer, English Springer Spaniel, Beglian Tervuren, Collie, Keeshond, and Schipperke.

Check this infographic out for more information. 

Please talk with your dog trainer to learn more about your pet's nature and abilities to train them well. Every dog is receptive to training; all they need is the proper conditioning. Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best doggy daycare in Urbandale.