Benefits of being a Cat Owner

Owning a pet is the greatest pleasure in the world. According to a scientific study, owning a pet is linked to better mental health. Along with helping your mental stimulation, keeping a cat ensures a friendly environment at home.

DID YOU KNOW? Cat is the most popular pet in the United States. More people own cats than dogs. 86% of the household owns about 85 million cats according to the National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA).

Let’s take a look at the benefits of owning a pet, especially a cat.

Benefits of Being a Cat Owner

Here are ten of the most essential benefits of owning a cat.

1. Owning a feline is better for the environment

Cats are environment-friendly pets. They account for almost zero carbon emissions. If you're worried about the carbon footprint, it’s better to own a cat than a dog. The resources such as food, shelter, and clothes required for a cat is way much lesser than owning a dog. Resources needed to pet a dog over the course of its lifetime create the same eco-footprint as that of a Land Cruiser.

Cats have smaller appetite compared to dogs and are more likely to eat small choices of food. The pet healthcare cost associated with a cat is lesser than other pets as well.

2. Cope with your emotional stress

We all go down the bad phase of life where we might lose the loved one, get separated with a confidant, lose a lifetime opportunity, or feel in despair. Cats have been shown to help people get over their loss more quickly.

Owning a pet, in general, helps to cope with emotional difficulty. Despite being an animal, they can serve as social support. The best thing about pets is that they do not judge you like a human or leave you at your worst.

3. Help find a partner

A British survey found that 82% of women are more attracted to men who like animals such as dogs and cats.

Many women chose a cat over a dog. Whopping 90 percent of single women said that men with cats as pets are “nicer.” Even if you aren’t able to find a partner, you can always rely on the company of your pet.

4. Survey says, “Cat Owners are Smarter”

It’s isn’t true that owning a cat makes you outright smart, but when you are a dedicated person who delves into longer work and study hours, owning a cat can be the best thing for you.

A 2010 survey of British pet owners by the University of Bristol found that people who owned cats were more likely to have college degrees.

The time spent in caring for other pets like a dog can consume a lot of time. Tending a cat requires way less time compared to other pets, hence giving more time for the pet owner to focus on other important things.

5. A Healthy Heart

Owning a pet is linked to a healthy heart! Cats, in particular, can lower your stress level and lower the amount of anxiety in your life. A scientific study over a 10-year period concluded that the cat owners were 30 percent less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than non-cat owners. Although it may require further scientific research, it is proven that owning a pet can lower your stress level. Time to adopt a new cat now!

6. Fulfill your need for Companionship

Each of us seeks companionship! What better to fulfill that by adopting a cat? Caressing a cat and receiving the same kind of affection back can fulfill your companionship needs.

An Austrian study conducted in 2003 found that having a cat in the house is the emotional equivalent of having a romantic partner.

Unlike dogs, cats are more likely to be demanding and stubborn. An interesting scientific study conluded that:

After thousands of years of domestication, cats have learned how to make a half purr/half howl noise that sounds remarkably like a human baby’s cry. And since our brains are programmed to respond to our children’s distress, it is almost impossible to ignore what a cat wants when it demands it like that.

7. They tell a lot about your personality

Your choice of pet reveals a lot about your personality. As per the study conducted, most dog owners are found to have a more extrovert life, while the cat owners are quieter and more introverted.

Cat owners score highly when it comes to being trustworthy, less manipulative, and modest.

8. Sleep Better

Sleeping with a pet around is linked with quality sleep and healthy pattern. A study in UK found women preferred to sleep with their cats than with their partners. It has to do with a sense of security, companionship, and safety.

A study conducted by Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine indicates that 41 percent of the people in that study told that they slept better because of their pet, while only 20 percent said that it led to disturbances.

9. Fewer Allergies

The National Institutes of Health released a study in 2002 that children under a year old who were exposed to a cat were less likely to develop allergies

High pet exposure early in life can protect against not only pet allergy but also other types of common allergies. Marshall Plaut, M.D., chief of the allergic mechanisms section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases concludes this in his research.

Although there might be a chance of contracting cat-related diseases such as cat parasite Toxoplasma gondii, experts say that by changing your cat’s litter box every day and keeping them indoors, you will remain safe!

10. They can Save Your Life

Cats are infamous for their reputation of remaining aloof and not caring about their humans. But in certain cases, they were known to have saved lives.

A cat in the UK warns her human companion when he’s about to have an epileptic seizure. A cat in Montana woke up its two humans when a gas pipe started leaking. Firefighters told the couple that the house could easily have exploded if not for cat’s intervention.

Throughout history, cats have received the highest medals for their bravery and smartness.

How to keep your cats happy?

Here are five ways you can keep your cats happy.

  • Respect their space
  • Provide entertainment like playthings or toys
  • Feed them right. Feeding right means the right food at a right time.
  • Keep their teeth in check
  • Go outdoor with them

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier pet hospital specializing in pet care services in Des Moines. Get in touch with us to know more about pet care, vaccination and therapies, and diet plans.

Can Dogs Get The COVID-19?

Although there are thousands of cases of COVID-19 infection among humans, there have been fewer or none cases in pets such as dogs and cats. Simply put, your pets are less likely to contract COVID-19, however, they are prone to different types of coronaviruses, but that has nothing to do with the current outbreak of COVID-19.

Coronavirus disease 2019 or popularly known as COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2).

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no animals in the US have been identified with the virus, and there is no evidence that dogs or other pets can spread COVID-19.

How worried should a pet owner when the pet gets infected?

Dr. Andrew Pickerstein from Stamford, Connecticut clarified that,

“Dogs do not get this novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Although a couple of dogs in Asia did test positive on a surface swab, they weren’t actually infected with it.”

There aren’t any concrete cases of COVID-19 infection in pets; hence, until there is any information, the experts suggest that the pet owners can feel confident that the virus won’t spread between pets. However, there is a greater likelihood of certain bacteria on animals spreading between owners and their pets, so diligent hand washing is recommended.

What about the dog in Hong Kong?

The news of a Pomeranian contacting COVID-19 hit the news on February 28. This sent a caution to the pet owners around the world. Hong Kong health authorities announced that a dog belonging to a woman sick with COVID-19 also tested “weakly positive” for the new coronavirus, the virus that causes the disease.

Experts called it a “low-level infection” –suggesting it was surface contamination, with the dog picking up traces of the virus in its nose and mouth rather. Although this was likely to be the first reported case of human-to-animal transmission of the disease, the experts nullified any chances of serious illness in the dog.

What does that test result mean for the pet owners and family members?

Although pets are prone to other types of coronaviruses, pet owners can be relieved that their pets are safe from the novel coronavirus.

Previous experience with SARS suggests that cats and dogs will not become sick or transmit the virus to humans.

Experts from the University of Hong Kong, City University and the World Organization for Animal Health had been consulted, and all “unanimously agreed that these results suggest that the dog has a low level of infection and it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission.”

Pet owners should practice caution whenever around an animal such as regularly washing hands before and after petting the dog, covering mouth with a tissue or a mask, and distancing oneself from the pet if there are any signs of infection.

How Pet owners keep their animals and family’s safe?

The preventive measures for COVID-19 are as follows:

a. Wash your hands frequently

To keep yourself and your pets from contracting COVID-19 or any other form of Coronavirus, you should thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Washing your hand prevents easy transmission of the infection.

b. Maintain Distance

If you have any symptoms such as coughing or sneezing, maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and your dog. Sneezing or coughing often sprays small liquid droplets that may contain the virus.

c. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

To ensure the safety of your family and pets, do not fidget with your eyes, nose, and mouth before or after petting your dog. Most infections occur when a person incessantly touches their nose, mouth, and eyes.

d. Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure to cover your mouth or nose when sneezing or coughing. Use disposable tissue and mask whenever around your pets

e. Seek medical care early

Stay home or indoors if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. It’s essential to quarantine yourself and keep your pets away from you.

f. Stay informed

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow the advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

 

What about the reports that an animal was the source of the virus?

A research team investigating about COVID-19 outbreak said COVID-19 may originate in bats. The genome sequencing of the novel coronavirus is as high as 96 percent identical with a type of coronavirus from bats, the team said, adding that the new coronavirus enters the receptor using the same cells with SARS virus.

Many experts suggested that the COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan’s Seafood market in China. Analysis of genomic data from 93 samples of the novel coronavirus suggests it was imported from elsewhere and the Chinese seafood market boosted its circulation and spread.

What should I do if my animal came in contact with someone who is later diagnosed with COVID -19?

Animals spread viruses between one another that are genetically distinct from human viruses. The genetic distinction makes it extremely difficult for humans and their pets to pass diseases on to one another including COVID-19.

There isn’t evidence that COVID-19 can spread through pets, so don’t worry. If your pet gets sick after interaction with someone with COVID-19, first call your veterinarian.

What if I or someone in my family develops COVID-19 or I am placed in quarantine because of close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19? What should I do about caring for my pet?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend limiting contact with pets or other animals if you develop COVID-19. In such a case, you should appoint someone else in the household to care for your pet if you are sick.

If you are in quarantine, but not sick, technically, your pet is in quarantine also, and you should find some way to care for the animal in the confines of your home, says veterinarian McKenzie.

Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek and the East Bay SPCA recommend that

  • Take precautions similar to common flu prevention.
  • Seek out reliable sources for updated information. The Centers for Disease Control, www.cdc.gov; World Health Organization, www.who.int; and World Small Animal Veterinary Association, www.wsava.org, are good places to go for information on the virus.
  • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, the CDC recommends you minimize contact with your animal companions. Identify a family member or friend who can care for your pet.
  • Have crates, food, and extra supplies, including medications, on hand for quick movement of the pet. Two weeks’ worth of food, medicine, and other supplies is recommended. A pet first-aid kit is also good to have for any unplanned situation.
  • Ensure your animal’s vaccines are up-to-date in case boarding becomes necessary.
  • Document all medications with dosages and administering directions, including prescriptions from your veterinarian if a refill becomes necessary.
  • Pets should have identification such as an ID tag on their collar and a microchip. But remember, a microchip is only as good as the contact information registered to it.
  • Follow CDC and WHO guidelines: Wash your hands with soap and water for the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice; avoid touching your face; stay home if you are sick; cough or sneeze into your elbow; wash your hands before and after handling pets.
  • Pets don’t need masks.
  • If your companion animal has been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, contact the public health worker involved with the patient’s care. They will contact state veterinarians and direct you from there. If you are told to bring your pet to your veterinarian, call first so they can prepare isolation areas.

Choosing a doggy daycare

Doggy Daycare or pet daycare is the one-stop pet care center for canines. Like a nursery for small kids, doggy daycare is designed to cater to pets when the owners are away for work or travel.

Doggy daycare isn’t only a place to board your pets but a place for them to learn essential social skills, enjoy different games and explore different kinds of mental and physical stimulation.

Benefits of choosing a doggy daycare

  • Socialization
  • Exercise
  • Teaching Learning Center
  • Peace of mind for the owner
  • Safety
  • Relieves boredom and anxiety
  • Relieves loneliness
  • Lots of affection
  • Provides routine
  • Affordable

But daycare is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and daycares vary considerably in quality. You must choose the right daycare. But how do you know which daycare is right for your pet? Let’s take a look at how daycare differs from others.

Choosing a Doggy Daycare

How do you choose the best daycare for your pet? The list is endless. Although every doggy daycare may advertise as one of the premier institutions, you must be wary about what’s best for your pet.

Here are some of the criteria that you must seek to fulfill to find the best doggy daycare.

A. Tour the Facilities

The first thing you should do as a concerned pet owner is to look around the facility first-hand. Nothing else can give you’re a better impression of the facility than visiting the place. It's essential to ascertain if the environment your dog will be hanging out in is clean and properly sanitized. You'll also want to learn about the safety precautions the owner has put in place.

Dog Daycare safety features should include:

  1. Ventilation –Ventilation is important in any building. The weather outside can hugely impact the weather inside the building. Make sure fresh air is getting to the dogs, whether it's through open doors or the Air Conditioner.
  2. Proper fencing –Animals are a curious being and can escape the compound without the staff ever noticing. Check the facility for proper fencing that is strong enough to resist the weight of a dog and high enough to keep adventurous dogs from jumping over. Double gating provides a space for the dog to get acclimated to the play area before it joins the other dogs inside, which can improve safety.
  3. Safe floors –Rubber and epoxy floors provide better grip and friction than slick linoleum or cold concrete.

B. Separate units for large and small dogs

A doggy daycare should split the dogs into groups and keep a different unit for large and small dogs. Along with the size, temperament and play style of the dog should be taken into account while splitting the group.

Keeping all the dogs in a single room can be a bad idea as it may cramp the space and create hostility between the dominant and passive canines. Unlike outdoor parks, daycares are the confined space. Dogs should be separated according to their temperament to avoid any trouble.

C. Ask About the Staff-to-Dog Ratio

Some states have a set dog-to-human ratio for dog daycares, and others don't. Ask the dog daycare owner about possible state guidelines. The experts suggest a ratio of 15 dogs per human as a safe standard. The IBPSA also notes that allowances are often made for more active groups, where a ratio of one staffer per 10 dogs is desired, or less active groups, where 20 dogs per staffer are adequate.

D. Pick a Daycare with Guided Activities

The dog owners should ask about the activities the dogs will do throughout the day. The activities can range from training, grooming, socializing, physical and mental stimulation, games, etc. Daycare activities should focus on improving your dog’s behavior. The behavioral skills instilled in your dog will help carry it throughout its lifetime.

E. Check the Toy Policy

Some dogs can be very aggressive with other dogs, particularly when they are protecting a toy they think is theirs. If you know your dog isn't going to get along with another dog or dogs with toys, dog owners should bring the issue to the attention of the daycare managers—they will keep a careful eye on your pup.

F. Ask about the Daycare’s Treat Policy

Some dog daycares use treats to reward good behavior, and some don't. Ask the daycare manager about their use of treats and be sure to tell them if your dog displays aggressive behavior around food or if he’s on a special diet of any kind.

G. Does your daycare provide Boarding?

Sometime, you may need to board your dog overnight in the facility. Ask if the daycare has boarding options available because it's always going to be easier for a dog to acclimate to an environment if he's already been there playing.

H. Affordable

A doggy daycare doesn’t need to expensive to become one of the best daycares. Many dog owners avoid expensive daycare because of the limited pet budget. When you assess a daycare, always ascertain the services and their prices. Depending on your area and how often your dog will attend, the cost of daycare can add up quickly. (Typical rates are around $15 to $30 per day.)

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is the best doggy daycare in Des Moines. One of the premier doggy daycare in Des Moines we specialize in both daycare and boarding facilities.

We offer a home away from home experience. Our luxury suites available with TV/DVD and/or webcams, along with playtime, indoor counter-current pool and daily walking and exercise will guarantee optimum comfort, security, and professional care.

What do we care about?

a. Fun

We offer both indoor and outdoor play area for pets of any age. We focus on interactive games to keep them occupied and mingle with other dogs. Spending time with fellow pet proves to boost oxytocin in animals.

b. Attention

We take a certain number of pets at a time, so we can dedicate needed attention to every pet. Providing special attention helps in preventing solitary and odd behavior in pets.

c. Exercise

An optimum portion of the daycare focuses on physical and creative exercise to keep them healthy and smart. Treating them after every game boosts their spirit.

d. Rest

An average pet sleeps 12-14 hours a day. An active pup may need 18-20 hours of sleep, hence, we ensure that your pet takes enough rest and in a homely environment in the daycare.

e. Socialize

It’s important for pets to learn to socialize with other pets and humans, hence, we encourage the inclusive facilities to let dogs sit with their likes and help them interact with owners.

8 Common Dog Paw Problems

Unlike humans, dogs walk around in their four. The dog paws comprise of a thick layer of pads that help to hold its weight and protect from minor scratches.

Composition of Dog’s paw

Along with bones and cartilages, the dog’s paw includes skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and connective tissue. The digital and metacarpal pads work as shock absorbers and help protect the bones and joints in the foot. The outer layer or carpal pads work like brakes, of sorts, and help the dog navigate slippery or steep slopes.

The feel of their pads differs according to their surrounding. Dogs that are outside a lot and exposed to rough surfaces have thicker and rougher paw skin while those who stay indoors have softer pads.

A dog’s paw isn’t free from problems. Get in touch with doggy daycare in Des Moines to ascertain common dog paw problems.

8 common Dog Paw Problem

A dog’s paw can attract different kinds of problems. The weather and climate, daily diet, lifestyle, and hygiene may determine the condition of dog paws.

a. Allergies

Dogs are prone to allergies. The allergic condition can make their paws very itchy. They will typically bite, lick, or chew on them to attempt to relieve the itching. In some cases, excessive licking of the paw can cause irritation or injury and can make it more susceptible to secondary fungal and bacterial infections.

b. Fungal and Bacterial Infections

The fungal or bacterial infection is common in canines. Many different species of bacteria and fungi normally live on your dog’s paw however they only become an issue when these organisms can grow out of control and cause infection. Signs of an infection include redness, swelling, pain, itching, and drainage. Yeast and ringworm are the most common fungus that may infect your pets’ paws.

c. Nail issues

Long toenails are common and can have a lot of negative consequences for your dog. Long nails can make it more difficult for your dog to walk.

Ingrown nails that those which are not trimmed properly or naturally worn down by walking outside can become painful ingrown toenails.

Torn or fractured nails occur when your dog catches their toenail on something. Fractured nails are generally caused by accidents.

d. Dry and Cracked Paw Pads

Warm weather, exposure to the rough surface, winter, chemicals, dry air, and excessive licking can cause dry and cracked paw pads. Dry and cracked paws can be painful and put your dog at a risk for infection.

e. Burns and Blisters

Dogs can suffer burns or blisters in the hot weather! The hot pavement or asphalt road can cause your dog to suffer a burn. If it is too hot for you to walk outside barefoot, it is too hot for your dogs, too! Always feel the pavement with the bottom of your bare hand before letting your dog walk on it. If you cannot comfortably hold your palm to the asphalt for 10 seconds or more, it is too hot for your dog’s paws.

f. Cuts and Abrasions

Cuts, abrasions, or lacerations are caused by walking on sharper objects such as broken glass, small rocks, and sticks, burrs, etc. You must be careful when you allow your dog to play outdoors. Keep them off of any surface you aren’t familiar with.

g. Parasites

Dogs who roam around outdoors can easily get tick infection. Ticks hideout between a pet’s toes where they can cause all sorts of problems, including pain and infection. You must consult a vet to remove the tick. If you remove it yourself, be prepared to use tweezers or special tick removal tools to grip the tick from the head and gently pull it out.

h. Cysts and Growths

Cysts are the sac of tissues that are filled with another substance, such as air or fluid. Cysts, lumps, and growths can commonly occur on paws or in-between your dog’s toes. Contact your veterinarian if you spot one and they can treat and remove if necessary.

How to protect your Dog’s paws?

Always consult with doggy daycare in Des Moines to diagnose dog paw problems. Here is what you can do to prevent serious paw infections and injuries.

i. Keep your dog's nails trimmed

Long nails for the dog are always problematic. They can unnecessarily spread their toes when they walk and the empty spaces between their toes will accumulate dust or snow. Untrimmed nails can also affect your dog's weight distribution, pushing their overall weight onto the back of their feet. Keep your dog’s nails trimmed and short all the time. If your dog often wanders outside, you must take extra precautions with their nails.

ii. Trim the fur between Toe pads

By trimming the fur between their toe pads you’ll level the pad fur with the pads themselves. This prevents snow, salt, and grit from accumulating between the toes. Compacted snow salt on your dog's feet makes walking difficult for them and can also affect their ability to stay on their feet.

iii. Lubricate paws before heading outdoors

Cold weather, ice, and salt can cause your dog's pads to dry out and crack. You can prevent this by wiping his paws with Vaseline or cooking spray before you take him out for a walk. Be sure to keep him off slick surfaces inside the house, such as tile, and outside the house, such as ice.

iv. Consider dog booties

Dog booties are a great way to keep your dog's feet safe and in good condition, particularly when the ground is hot, wet, or snowy. Dog booties are like human shoes that provide optimum protection dust, heat, snow, and other forms of dust. Wearing booties can be difficult for dogs. Try a gradual approach and let them sink into it for a while. Let them wear booties inside the house for short periods of time and offer them a prize or treats

v. Check your De-icer

De-icer is used during winter to de-ice the icy particles on cars. It can produce salt and other ice-melting granules or chemicals that can irritate your dog's paws when contacted. It can also cause stomach ailments if ingested. When choosing a De-icer you should consider buying non-toxic options, such as sand, gravel, and non-clumping cat litters. If you do use salt or chemical deicers, choose to buy "pet safe" brands. Keep the chemicals inside the shelf all the time.

vi. Wash your dog's paws after walks

After roaming outside, consider washing their feet with warm water. This helps to warm up their cold paws. It will also wash off any salt or deicing chemicals residue formed between their toes.

vii. Apply Vaseline on Dog’s Paws

The snow, ice, and salt can cause your dog's pads to dry out and crack. You should consider wiping their paws with Vaseline or cooking spray before you take them outdoors. Consider keeping them off slick surfaces inside the house, such as tile, and outside the house, such as ice.

 

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier doggy daycare in Des Moines specializing in pet care, pet health, and diet.

Can Dogs be Autistic? Major Symptoms and Treatments

Although autism has been linked to canines, it hasn’t been yet proved that it is the case of autism. Veterinarians prefer to call this condition “canine dysfunctional behavior.”

The study of autism in dogs has been going since 1966. It involved extensive DNA analysis of different dog breeds. Studies like this one indicate that autism could very well occur in dogs. However, nothing can be proved until more research is done.

Can dogs be autistic? Major symptoms and treatments

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication.

A medical condition is always a possible underlier when dogs experience severe behavioral issues like aggression or obsessive licking, however, this can’t be directly linked to autism.

The important fact to understand is that autism is congenital, meaning that dogs or humans cannot suddenly become autistic, they are born with autism.

Early research concludes that these syndromes in dogs could be linked to a genetic condition called fragile X syndrome. Fragile X syndrome is the prevalence of concurrent autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Diagnosing Autism in Dogs

For a dog to be tentatively diagnosed with autism, it should exhibit atypical repetitive behaviors and some degree of impaired social interaction with dogs and people. A veterinarian must rule out every other condition that might be responsible for the observed autistic syndrome.

Dogs with tendencies of autism onset may entail such signs:

a. Challenges with social skills

If dogs tend to avoid socializing with other dogs, animals, or humans, this may be a sign of underlying problems. Dogs are social animals; hence, lacking social skills can be a sign.

b. Repetitive behaviors

Repetitive behavior refers to repeating certain behaviors or actions, such as grinding teeth, chewing, or walking.

c. Speech and nonverbal communication

Due to difficulties in code processing, emotions and interactions, communication and language development is a challenge for animals with autism.

Possible causes of autism in dogs

The two tell-tell causes of autism in dogs are as follows:

  • Scientists believe that it is caused by underdevelopment in certain brain circuits and the over-development of other sensory circuits.
  • It is also suggested that it could be a condition inherited from parents or forebears.

Symptoms of Autism in Dogs

The major symptoms of autism in dogs include:

i. Lack of Social Interaction

Lack of socialization or social interaction is common in dogs showing the signs of autism. The lack of socialization is common with both dogs and humans. Dogs with poor socialization skills will often ignore your call. It doesn’t usually engage in everyday activities such as playing, eating and even going for a walk.

ii. Behavioral Issue

The peculiar behavior exhibited by autistic dogs doesn’t necessarily involve violent behavior but unusual behavioral issues, such as staring at stuff, avoiding people and objects, running or staying still without any reason. They entail a lack of excitement with new places, new toys, or other pets.

iii. Mental condition

The mental condition of an autistic dog can only be diagnosed by an experienced veterinarian. It is important to rule out every other mental issue before you can tell that your dog has autism. Such dogs cannot exhibit emotions correctly; therefore they can get scared randomly, making them avoid places and people that don’t present any threat to them.

iv. Physical

The physical activity and gesture are less or none in dogs with autism. They will not behave normally. Although you may get the signs of illness, they just do not show any interest in physical activity. Autistic dogs can be tagged as lazy as they don’t want to play or do anything fun.

v. Sensorial

Like autistic children, dogs with autism feel everything differently. They link physical and sensorial stimuli to wrong emotions, and that makes them react in off the wall ways as if they were hurt just by the gentle touch of their owners. This behavior can be disheartening as you don’t know the cause of this sad reaction. It’s important to know that the dog is not acting correctly and it doesn’t mean the owner is doing something wrong.

Possible treatment of autism in dogs

The diagnosis of any canine problems should be carried out by an experienced veterinarian. It’s important to ascertain the underlying emotional or physical problem with the dogs before diagnosing any medical condition.

If you think your dog might have autism, one of the most important things you can do is determine what his or her triggers are (what causes atypical behavior to flare-up) and avoid those things.

For instance, if your dog becomes fearful and aggressive when approached by a stranger, you can avoid taking it to the public places

a. Medicine

There is no definite treatment for autism or autism-related issues. The treatment with medications doesn’t mean your dog will stop having autism, but it can help to curb the symptoms and provide relief. The veterinarians may prescribe Fluoxetine which is already being used to treat OCD and autism problems in people and dogs. Medicine would help to tranquilize your dog and prevent aggressive behaviors.

b. Secure and safe environment

Ensuring a safe habitat for dogs with autism-related issues is a must. Autistic dogs might be afraid of almost everything. If your dog gets nervous and anxious around other people, dogs or animals, and an unknown environment then you should ensure to provide a neutral environment for your dog.

Build a quiet, safe space just for them so they can hide every time they need to.

c. Anti-stress life

Avoid situations that may give stress to your dog or that could cause your pet any stress or anxiety. If the dog doesn’t like to be petted, don’t pet it. If she or he doesn’t like to meet people or dogs, let it be. Learn to be gentle with both and humans who are suffering from autism.

d. Exercise

Exercise can be a good idea to preoccupy their mind. If your dog has plenty of exercise, it will have less stress and anxiety. Dogs can also be trained to do “heavy work” such as pulling a loaded wagon or carrying a doggy backpack filled with soft weight. These sorts of activities are known to help many people with autism.

e. Diet

Learn more about the appropriate diet for dogs with behavioral issues. You must consult with your vet about possible changes in their food regime.

f. Positive Reinforcement

Work with trainers or therapists who specialize in positive reinforcement. Find a trainer who has experience working with dogs who have behavioral concerns; a good trainer should be part of the treatment team for any dog who may be exhibiting autism-like behaviors.

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier dog daycare in Des Moines specializing in pet care, pet boarding, training, and therapy services. We are also a reliable veterinary in Des Moines and offer both medical and alternative pet care services.

What is the best food for dogs with sensitive stomach?

Not all dogs are born with a tough gut that can chew on and digest everything. It’s quite common for many dog breeds, small puppies, and older dogs to encounter a sensitive stomach.

Dog bile is stronger than humans when it comes to digesting food and your dog’s digestive system can normally look after itself. The sensitive stomach can be attributed to the lack of a balanced diet and nutrition.

Is a Sensitive Stomach in Dogs Common?

The sensitive stomach is known as Gastrointestinal (GI) upset. It is the most common form of digestive issues faced by canines. The early signs of GI upset include intermittent vomiting; loose stools, bloating, and passing excessive gas can be caused by a variety of things.

Some dogs develop digestive issues because their diet either contains too much fat or lacks sufficient fiber. In other cases, digestive issues may signal the presence of an underlying disorder, such as pancreatitis, bacterial overgrowth or intestinal parasites.

Most dogs suffer from a sensitive stomach because of indigestion caused by improper diet. An improper dog diet is defined by the intake of a type of protein, insufficient fiber, and excess fat. Unknown to most pet owners, commercial food can cause indigestions in few cases. The majority of canine food allergy cases involve a reaction to the protein source, such as chicken, beef or egg.

Symptoms of a sensitive stomach

The signs of GI remain visibly present. To find out if your dog is suffering from the sensitive stomach, check out for these early signs.

  • Dehydration (dry/tacky/pale gums, low skin elasticity)
  • Painful, distended, or hard belly
  • Retching, trying to vomit, or difficulty defecating
  • The appearance of blood in vomit, urine, or feces
  • Lethargy

When you start noticing these serious symptoms, you should immediately call your vet or take your dog to the nearest pet hospital. The symptoms include:

a. Vomiting

Vomiting isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, but if it shows up with other symptoms such as bile vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea, then you should be gravely concerned. In most cases, yellow foam in the vomit indicates that the dog's stomach is relatively empty of food.

Bilious vomiting syndrome may occur when your dog hasn’t eaten in a while or if it has consumed an abnormally large amount of fatty foods.

b. Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a common sign of a sensitive stomach. Loose stool can be a sign of a sensitive stomach, particularly if there was a recent change in diet. Although this isn’t a major cause of concern, if diarrhea becomes persistent, then you must look into your dog’s diet. It’s time to consult your vet and change diet, pattern, or brand of food for your dog.

c. Gas

Dogs suffering from GI often pass gas. Dogs can have flatulence from gulping air when they eat, from a gastrointestinal illness or from eating too fast. To prevent this, you can use an elevated feeder while feeding. Take your dog out for a walk soon after eating if gas is an issue. Avoid certain foods that can cause gas. Soybeans, peas, beans, milk products, high-fat diets, and spicy foods are all commonly associated with flatulence in dogs.

d. Eating grass

The grass is a natural remedy for an upset stomach. A dog may consume grass to improve digestion, treat intestinal worms, or fulfill some unmet nutritional needs. Although a popularly hold though, not every dog vomit after eating grass. Less than 25% of dogs who eat grass vomit regularly after grazing.

Experts believe that dogs need roughage in their diets and grass serves as a good source of fiber.

Is Your Dog’s Food to Blame for Their Sensitive Stomach?

Gastrointestinal upset has a lot to do with your dog’s diet. Common dietary culprits for indigestion in dogs include the type of protein, insufficient fiber, and excess fat. A balanced diet is most important when it comes to a dog’s health.

You should avoid feeding your dog human food. You must prevent them from eating from table scrapes, dustbin, and kitchen residue.

Food to Avoid

  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate and caffeine
  • Citrus
  • coconut
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Milk and dairy
  • Onions and garlic
  • Eggs and undercooked meat
  • Salty food
  • Xylitol

Puppies, older dogs, and certain dog breeds are prone to get a sensitive stomach after eating allergic foods such as chicken, beef or egg.

Most of the time, the ingredients in the food such as commercial food or canned food can cause upset stomachs. Food intolerance is common in dogs when you introduce a new brand of food. Avoid feeding dry food to your dog or based the entire diet on the over-processed canned food. 

How to treat sensitive stomachs in dogs?

Here is how you can treat a sensitive stomach in dogs.

i. Try a Bland Diet as a Short-Term Fix

Switching to a bland diet may be the best option to help resolve your dog’s immediate digestive issues as a short-term fix. A bland diet may include boiled and plain chicken and rice. A small amount of canned pumpkin may help resolve diarrhea.

Probiotic which is usually offered as a powder or liquid supplement can be added to your dog’s food. Probiotics can help to restore healthy bacteria in the intestine in order to improve digestive function. Add a tablespoon of plain, unsweetened yogurt to the food.  This helps soothe the stomach, replace healthy bacteria in the gut, and it can even stimulate the appetite.

ii. Consider Switching to a Dog Food That’s Made for Sensitive Stomachs

For dogs with a sensitive stomach, you should increase the food item rich in fiber while decreasing the use of excessive fat and protein. Have plenty of fiber ingredients, such as psyllium or beet pulp, to help firm up loose stools. It contains low amounts of fat and protein, which is helpful because fat can be difficult for many dogs to digest. Add probiotics to promote beneficial bacteria in the gut

iii. Switch to a reliable brand of food

The food label should state that the diet meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrition standards. These guidelines ensure that the diet was developed under expert supervision and tested to ensure the accuracy, safety, and quality of ingredients.

Ensure to check the label that indicates that the food is nutritionally complete for your dog’s life stage and contains appropriate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, fat, vitamins and minerals.

iv. Try an Elimination Diet

An elimination diet is a prescription diet that is specifically formulated for pets with food allergies. The prescription diet is recommended by your veterinarian.

Most owners try to resolve sensitive stomach by introducing a new diet. Although in many cases the change in the diet improves the digestive issues, the symptoms can somehow persist even after several different diets are attempted. This could be a case of food allergy.

Most dietary trials last eight weeks to allow digestive inflammation and infections to resolve. All other foods and treats are discontinued during the trial to avoid accidental exposure to an allergen. This includes table scraps, which should not be fed to dogs in general.

After the trial is complete, your veterinarian may recommend switching back to the old diet to see if symptoms return, or to a different diet for long-term maintenance.

 

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier veterinary in Des Moines specializing in pet medical care, pet diet, surgery, therapy, boarding, and training. Get in touch with our expert DVMs for the best advice on pet care service in Des Moines.

Water Therapy Service for Dogs

Like humans, a pet is often prone to physical ailments. Arthritis and hip dysplasia are common in many canines, while Obesity remains common in both canines and felines. Therapy has been proven to reduce physical pain and ailments in pets.

Water therapy service for dogs is specially designed to treat obesity and different forms of bone ailments in dogs.

Pet therapy service

Not to be mistaken with Animal Assisted Therapy, Pet therapy service is specifically designed for the pets. Pet therapy is a human-assisted treatment designed for pets as an intensive therapy session for various ailments, weight loss, physiological diagnosis, and treatment.

According to a study by the Association for pet obesity prevention, 56% of the pet dogs in the USA are overweight in 2017. Among them, 19.6% are suffering from obesity. Overweight is not only the problem in itself but also the cause of many problems in both humans and animals. Well planned diet, proper exercise, and regular health checkup is the key to healthy pets.

Every veterinary and pet hospital should be equipped with therapists and water therapy services for dogs.  They should be well prepared to rehabilitate major pet problems such as:

  • Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
  • Obesity
  • Arthritis
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Gait Abnormalities
  • Bone and Joint Injuries

Importance of pet therapy service

Pet Therapy service has both physical and mental benefits for pets. From reducing physical pain to gaining confidence, pet therapy has larger implications on pet health.

  • Depression and anxiety are common in pets with arthritis. The difficulty in movement often reduces endorphin (any of a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system and having a number of physiological functions including happiness). Intensive therapy can help dogs move freely which can certainly improve their mood.
  • Along with increasing endorphin, pet therapy can help decrease feelings of isolation and alienation. They will be encouraged to communicate with other animals and humans.
  • The decrease in anxiety, boredom, and increase in exercise can improve the overall health of the dog.
  • In the case of obesity, water therapy can help reduce the unnecessary weight by intensive underwater exercise. This has proven to be helpful to many overweight dogs and cats.

Water therapy service for dogs

Water therapy, also known as hydrotherapy, is a technique of reducing weight within a short duration. Water therapy implies two different methods of reducing weight: exercising in the swimming pool and the underwater treadmill.

Water induced therapy in the swimming pool helps dogs to play and engage in an exercise in the swimming pool, whereas, the underwater treadmill is a focused therapy applied to reduce weight or treat physical ailments such as hip dysplasia and arthritis.

Hydrotherapy originally began as a treatment for humans in ancient times. It later expanded to include animals too. The first instance of the therapy saw benefits among racehorses as well as racing Greyhounds.

Various therapies used in the present-day treatment employ water jets, underwater massage and mineral baths (e.g. balneotherapy, Iodine-Grine therapy, Kneipp treatments, Scotch hose, Swiss shower, and thalassotherapy)

About pool therapy

The pool tends to be smaller than a human swimming pool and is heated. A dog's muscles benefit from the warming effects of the heated water. Most pools are equipped with a ramp for entry and exit and some have harnessed to maintain the dog in position in the water. Water is chlorinated or treated with an alternative chemical. Some have jets to add resistance and make the dog swim more strongly.

Benefits of Water Therapy Service for Dogs

The many benefits of water therapy service for dogs include:

  • Hydrotherapy helps in relieving pain and strengthen or re-training muscles. The dog is effectively weightless when swimming which helps to minimize pain and enforce the strengthening of muscles or bones.
  • It encourages a full range of joint motion, thus improving muscle tone without imposing unnecessary stress on damaged tissues.
  • It also helps your dog lose unnecessary body weight by encouraging regular exercise.
  • It helps dogs to recover from the injury or surgery.
  • It can be beneficial for dogs who suffer from arthritis due to old age. The water buoyancy helps to reduce joint swelling, stress on muscles and bones, etc.
  • The older dogs tend to experience sadness and fear, especially when their ailing health causes pain. The support of water and relief from pain promotes a sense of safety and well-being in them.

Why you should perform a water therapy service?

The hydrotherapy technique has been applied to animals since the 18th Century. It is one of the most effective forms of alternative treatment.

The water is denser than the air, thus making it 5x more effective for the exercise. The intensive exercise can help lose more weight through water therapy in a very short time. Although water therapy is mostly implemented for weight loss, it has many other health benefits. Regular water therapy helps maintain fitness, strength, and condition of body. Being in shape and good health will help reduce future medical costs.

Water buoyancy makes it possible for dogs with joint problems to exercise without any pressure. It is very useful for joint and limb problems.

Water therapy can help in healing after surgery or injury. It makes it easier for muscle mass development and muscle strength in necessary body parts. Water therapy, usually warm water, improves circulation and lymphatic drainage. It reduces swelling, increases mobility and relaxes the muscle.

It increases the metabolism in the body. It helps to digest the food and absorb all the nutrients and spread throughout the body.

Real news about “water therapy service for dogs”

The news was covered by ABC7 Chicago.

Montana beagle named 'Pearl' weighed 50 pounds. Within one year, she lost 20-25 pounds thanks to hydrotherapy.

Pearl's owner said, "She weighed 50 pounds, unable to walk more than 4 to 5 steps before her legs would give out. She had a dislocated hip that prevented her from being able to walk well."

Initially, she was only able to exercise 45 seconds along with many breaks in between. However, after sessions six days a week, he built up the endurance to swim for 15 minutes.

Pearl has Cushing's disease hence she has to follow a strict diet but enjoys a treat now and again.

Pet Care Service in Des Moines

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier veterinary specializing in pet care service in Des Moines. We offer different forms of pet therapy services such as canine massage, Low-Level Laser Therapy, different range of motion exercise, aqua paws underwater treadmill, magnetic field therapy, hydrotherapy - In the ground endless pool with swim current.

Our therapists perform special weight loss programs. Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort for the best pet care service in Des Moines.

What is Arthritis?

Dogs have a less life span compared to the human. A dog may encounter many medical conditions including early onset of arthritis by the age of eight or nine. Arthritis simply means 'inflammation of the joints' and is, unfortunately, a common problem for many dogs.

Most of you will no doubt know of a dog suffering from arthritis that has shown the textbook signs of pain, discomfort, and stiffness.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a medical condition that causes the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints inside a body. It is also known as the inflammation of the joints. Age, weight, and medical condition play an important factor in the onset of arthritis in pets.

One in four of 77.2 million dogs in the United States is diagnosed with some form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is more common than rheumatoid arthritis and pain is the number one observation among them.

The most common joint areas affected by arthritis in dogs are the hips, elbows, lower back, knees, and wrists.


What are the symptoms of arthritis in dogs?

The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Signs of arthritis may include one or more of the following:

  • Reluctance to indulge in a walk, climb elevated floor, jump or play
  • Limping or lameness
  • Lagging behind on walks
  • Pain or stiffness when getting up or down
  • Yelping when touched
  • A change in personality (aggression when normally good-natured)
  • Licking of the affected joints

Different types of arthritis in a dog

The common forms of arthritis found in dogs are;

a. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is also known as a degenerative joint disease (DJD). It refers to the progressive and permanent long-term deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the joints. It is more common in older dogs and cats. The bulging weight of the body can affect the joints in the legs of pets, which can lead to Osteoarthritis.

The common risks of osteoarthritis in large or giant breeds, such as German Shepherd Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers are;

  • Obesity
  • Repetitive stress from physical activities such as agility, flyball, or dock diving
  • Injuries such as fractures or ligament tears
  • Infections that affect the joints, such as Lyme Disease
  • Improper nutrition
  • Poor conformation
  • Genetics

b. Septic arthritis

Septic arthritis is also known as joint infection or infectious arthritis. It is caused by the invasion of a joint by a bacterial infection that results in joint and cartilage inflammation. It causes the fluid to build-up in the joints. Symptoms of Septic arthritis include redness, heat, and pain in a single joint associated with a decreased ability to move the joint.

Treatment of septic arthritis includes antibiotic therapy and drainage of the infected joint (synovial) fluid from the joint (arthrocentesis).

c. Polyarthritis

In polyarthritis, the dog’s immune system becomes over-activated and it starts to attack the tissues of the multiple joints. It goes into overdrive and attacks the wrong cells.

The immune system can sometimes be ‘tricked’ to over-react in this way when there are diseases going on in other parts of the body, including infections, cancer or gastrointestinal disease.

It can affect five or more joints simultaneously. It is usually associated with autoimmune conditions and may be experienced at any age and is not sex-specific.

dog joints

What causes arthritis in a dog?

Although arthritis is a problem seen in older dogs, the condition can develop from an early age following problems with bone and joint development. Like humans, signs of arthritis can often vary throughout the animal's life and result in the early onset of joint problems in older age.

Some of the major causes of arthritis are;

a. Injury to Ligaments

If a dog has suffered from injury to ligament there are likely chances of encountering arthritis. The most common ligament damage in dogs is the CCL or Cranial Cruciate Ligament in the knee. The damage to the ligament can lead to joint instability and result in excess wear on the cartilage. If treated soon, it can help prevent or minimize arthritis from occurring in the future.

b. Joint Instability

A variety of joint instability is common in many dogs that can lead to arthritis over time. Some of the common joint instability are;

i. Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia in dogs is an abnormal formation of the hip socket that leads to joint instability. It often leads to damage to the cartilage and may lead to arthritis. If hip dysplasia is in its more severe form, it can eventually cause crippling lameness and painful arthritis of the joints. Hip dysplasia is most commonly diagnosed through X-rays and an orthopedic exam.

ii. Elbow dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is a condition causing multiple developmental abnormalities of the elbow. This condition is more seen in large and fast-growing dog breeds. The early sign includes lameness that starts around 6 to 9 months of age. Specialized X-rays are used to make a diagnosis. Surgery can help minimize arthritis but most likely it will get worse over time.

iii. Patellar luxation

Patellar luxation is common in small dog breeds. It results from traumatic injury to the knee such as when the patella (knee cap) pops out of place. In smaller dogs, the kneecaps tend to pop to the inside. A dog may face lameness of a hind leg or skip or hop while walking.

c. Cartilage Issues

Osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) is a joint disorder in dogs which causes thickening of joint cartilage that can lead to injury. OCD can tear the thickened cartilage in the affected joints that lead to the lameness of the joints.

OCD is more commonly seen in large and giant breed dogs. Obesity is one of the major causes of cartilage issues. The first sign of OCD may appear as early as 4 to 8 months of age.

d. Joint Infection

Joint infection in pets mostly occurs from an injury or damage such as wound to a joint. The infection can eventually develop arthritis.

e. Autoimmune Disorders

Although rare, an autoimmune disorder in pets, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can cause the immune system to attack the body's own cells and tissue. It often leads to inflammation of the joints and lameness. It can be life-threating to dogs.

Symptoms of autoimmune disorder such as lupus include;

  • Arthritis in several joints.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Shifting lameness in the legs.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Skin sores.

Vets will prescribe immunosuppressive drugs that can be effective against some autoimmune disorders.

f. Obesity

Obesity is common in dogs with an unhealthy diet or lifestyle. As a pet owner, you must keep their weight in check and offer an optimum quantity of nutritious meals. It’s completely wrong to feed your dog from your plate or dinner table because their meal requirement vastly differs from humans. Osteoarthritis is one of the many risks caused by obesity in dogs.

ideal weight pets

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s (APOP) 2016 clinical survey recently reported that nearly 54% of dogs and 59% of cats are clinically overweight or obese.


Treatment of Arthritis in Dogs

Some of the most sought after treatment for Arthritis in dogs include;

a. Joint Supplements

Vets will prescribe Glucosamine and chondroitin to improve joint function, reduce inflammation, increase water retention in the cartilage, and slow the progression of joint damage.

Green-lipped mussel or GLM is another most prescribed joint supplement ingredient that contains beneficial nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, glycosaminoglycans, and antioxidants.

b. NSAIDs

The treatment of severe arthritis includes prescribing pain control medications such as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs don’t only reduce pain but also decrease inflammation in the joints.

The continued use of NSAIDs has significant side effects such as poor liver or kidney function.

c. Weight Control

Weight control is one of the most effective ways to prevent arthritis in dogs. Often dogs with the problem of obesity may encounter issues with joints and cartilage. The long-term effects of obesity include Osteoarthritis.

Weight control is mainly done through food portion control and hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy is a technique of cutting unnecessary body weight. In pets, the hydrotherapy helps to focus on their body weight and intensely cut fats. The advantage of hydrotherapy is that water is denser than air, hence providing more regression.

 

Various veterinary treatments are available to cure arthritis or joint problems in pets. The best option will depend on many factors involving your dog: such as age, the severity of signs, the progression of the disease process and whether they have any other health problems.

If you see any awkward signs from your dog such as lameness, hopping, agitation, etc. please speak to the best veterinarian in Urbandale. Urban Pet Hospital & Resort specializes in medical and pet therapy services in Des Moines

Hiking or Backpacking with Your Dog

Hiking is an adventure that involves a considerable amount of adventure, adrenaline, and risk. It takes more effort than what you may assume by just looking someone’s Instagram photo with their dog walking through the Rockies.

When you’re taking your pet with you on a day-long hiking activity, you must assure that every safety measure is in place. You wouldn’t want to risk your dog’s life!

Hiking with a dog

Hiking with dog is one of the most undertaken outdoor activities. It can also be taken as a short trek that ends within a day. Walking through the prairie, going up in the Rockies, or trailing through the national park are few of most sought hiking with dogs.

hiking with dog

Not every dog is adapted to walking long distances. The distance they could cover in a day may depend on their breed, activity level, and lifestyle. Here are four major factors that determine their overall hiking ability.

i. Age

Active hiking dogs are experienced in hiking long distances on a regular basis. They can hike 15 to 20 miles per day, whereas, the dogs that aren’t used to long hikes can walk up to 10 miles per day.

Young pups and older dogs aren’t eligible for long hiking. Most vets recommend that you limit their daily walk to about two minutes per week of age. The bones of a young pup are not yet fully developed to take strenuous walking session. Older dogs, on the other hand, have weak joints and hip issues that make them unable to take a long walk.

ii. Breed

Some dog breeds are better suited for long walks. A small dog with short legs aren’t used to walking long distances like most large breeds. Labrador Retrievers and Border Collies are well suited for hiking. The Bernese mountain dog, Siberian husky, and Alaskan malamute are also used to long hiking, especially in the rocky or snowy terrain.

iii. Activity level

Activity level is determined by how much time does your dog spend inside the house or outside playing. You can’t expect your dog to suddenly enjoy long hikes when they are only used to lunging at the comfort of the home.

iv. Overall health

The overall health, fitness, and endurance determine the dog’s ability to go for a long hike. Health issues can slow them down.

Q&A How old does your puppy need to be to go hiking?

The appropriate age for a dog to go on hiking depends on many factors, such as breed, size, and overall health. Young pups are prone to growth plate injuries when they over-exercise. Dogs are vulnerable until they reach the age where they stop growing physically.


How to Train your Dog for Hiking?

A dog wouldn’t start enjoying long hikes suddenly or get up for a long walk through difficult terrain. Although this can be a healthy and fun experience, you would need to train your dog for the hiking. Here is a list of tips to help you get started. 

a. Start slow

Don’t rush the idea of training your dog for hiking. Take time to train it and start with basics! Start with shorter 2 to 5-mile hikes at first. You can do this by walking your dog to the park, forest, and other easy terrains.

b. Increase time gradually

Gradually increase the time or distance your dog covers in a day. Timing the walks every day helps to estimate the progress.

c. Take regular breaks

You can consider taking a break every 20 minutes of walking. Taking a break helps to catch a breath and control heart rate.

d. Dog’s energy level

Notice your dog’s energy level during the walk. The energy level keeps spiking up every day, hence you can walk more each day.

e. Vary the terrain

As a starter, you can walk on flat terrain such as parks. You can start introducing varying terrain as you progress. Take your dog over hills and uneven ground. You can choose difficult terrain when your dog becomes used to walking long distances.

Find the complete dog training list.

Q&A How to prepare a Dog’s Paw for Hiking?

The dog’s paws are naturally tougher and are made up of fat, connective tissue, and very thick skin. However, they are not totally impervious to being injured on a hike. A dog's paws can get blisters, cuts, or burns during a tough walk. 

dog paw protection

You can prevent this by following these preventive tips.

  • Use dog boots for difficult terrains
  • High-Quality paw wax can help protect paws and also promote healing of cracked and damaged paws.
  • Toughen their paws by taking them out more
  • Only hike when it’s cool
  • Keep their nails trimmed
  • Moisturize their paws

Trail Etiquette when hiking with dogs

The dog’s bad etiquette when hiking increases the likelihood of dog restrictions from the trail. More than dogs, the problem lies in the uninformed dog owners. Here are five simple rules to help your dog showcase its best manners.

a. Choose a Dog-Friendly Trail

Before embarking on a hike, check if the trail is dog-friendly. Most trails kept dog restrictions in the past because of unruly dog and their owners. Research the best places to take your dog hiking, and go online or call the ranger station associated with your hiking destination to find out if dogs are allowed on the trails. Most national parks around the country keep dogs and other pets out except in designated areas. Many national and community forests allow pets. Check with the respective authority before heading out.

b. Abide by ‘The Leash Law’

Most designated area put the leash law and you’re required to abide by the law. Your dog must demonstrate excellent leash skills and exceptional recall. Choose the right kind of dog leash, few trails require a non-retractable lead, six or fewer feet in length.

  • A trail-worthy dog should be able to hike easily with a loose lead.
  • A trail-worthy dog should be able to hike at a true heel, at or slightly behind your knee.
  • A leash-yanking dog is not a trail-worthy dog: train it at home before your hike.
  • If your dog will hike off-leash (assuming it’s sanctioned), it should always stay within sight and within earshot of you, and demonstrate excellent voice recalls such as following the commands i.e. No! Sit! Stay! Come! Off! Or Leave it!

If you anticipate heavy traffic on the trail, keep your dog leashed. This will prevent any unwanted confrontation with other animals or humans.

c. Clear Trail for Other Hikers

When you’re sitting idle or waiting for someone, you should get your dog out of the way when other hikers approach the trail. This helps to prevent your dog from chasing other hikers. You should also leash them when other hikers, cyclists, or animals approach. Simply put, this means get your dog out of the way—beyond the “sniffing” range—of other hikers, horses, and cyclists.

Many dogs enjoy giving chase to passerby, even obedient dogs, hence, you must reel it in and leash it when you see cyclists or animals coming.

d. Reduce Environmental Impact

When hiking, leave the surrounding plants and wildlife undisturbed. You should keep your dog stick to the trail to minimize the environmental impact caused by a restless animal. If your final destination lies off-trail, make the most direct path to it in a line that is perpendicular to the trail. When you’re hiking above the tree line, walk on a rock as much as possible.

Keep your dog away from disturbing the local wildlife. It’s common for a dog to chase small animals such as rodents, butterfly, and birds. Letting your dog to bark at wildlife can provoke an attack.

The best rule of thumb: leave all plant and animal life exactly as you found it for others behind you to enjoy.

e. Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace policy basically means to reduce human waste from natural destinations. It helps to protect the local biodiversity by keeping the trail clean. You should always carry a trash bag to carry dog poops. If you do not have a trash bag, you should bury pet waste in a 6 to an 8-inch hole that’s at least 200 feet away from trails, camps, and water sources.

The pollutants left by humans generally end up at water sources or degrade the setting. You can prevent this by taking reasonable measures.

dog backpack


Common Dangers and Threats

Some of the common dangers and form of threats faced by dogs and their companions in hiking are as follows;

a. Bikes and Horses

It’s common for hiking trails to receive cyclists. You cannot wait for a cyclist to notice your dog on the trail, hence it’s recommended to keep your pet by your side or leash it immediately when you notice a cyclist coming.

Many dogs, even obedient dogs, have a tendency to chase the cyclists. It’s always better to keep them on a leash when you approach the cyclist. Likewise, if the trail contains horses, you should be wary of their presence. An unsuspected dog may spook the horse that can lead to fatal accidents.

b. Dehydration

It’s common for animals to easily get dehydrated on hiking due to sun or heat. The momentary pauses are required at every interval to get rehydrated and catch a breath. Skipping the water bowl puts them at risk for dehydration, which can be life-threatening. You should offer them water even though they don’t seem thirsty. Slowing down during the hike is one of the major signs of dehydration.

c. Too much Sun

Dehydration, heatstroke, and sunburns can be fatal during hiking. If you’re too much exposure to the sun, it’s likely to get dehydrated or heat stroke. It is advised only to walk when it’s cool. You can avoid hiking trails that are too hot or provides fewer shades. Ask your veterinarian which sunscreen they would recommend for your dog. Excessive panting and difficulty in breathing are signs of dehydration and heatstroke.

d. Contaminated Water

The important thing to remember in the hike is to avoid drinking from local pond, creeks, rivers, or lakes. Freshwater River and lakes can be a safe source for drinking water, however, you should avoid any still water sources. Contaminated water can be home to diarrhea-inducing parasites, from common Giardia to the more dangerous Leptospirosis, which can cause kidney and liver damage.

The best thing to do is to carry your own water.

e. Open Water

Open water sources around hiking trails can be fearful. It can cause drowning. Lakes and rivers require a higher level of swimming proficiency than the backyard pool.

Waterfalls and hot springs are most sought after hiking destinations, but dog owners don’t always realize how dangerous they can be. Many canine companions have tragically died after going over waterfalls, and in some cases, people have plunged to their deaths while trying to save their pets.

f. Wildlife

The local wildlife poses as big a threat as water, and hiking through areas infested by dangerous animals can be life-threating to both you and your pet. You should review the hiking trails before visiting and ascertain what sort of animals are found entrail. Most national parks may contain wild animals.

To bears and other predators–including mountain lions and coyotes–your beloved pet is just prey. So it’s best to avoid taking dogs into their habitats.


Doggy First Aid Kit

Emergencies can strike at any time! Although you can’t procrastinate that your dog will encounter troubles in hiking, you must be prepared to tackle any emergency.

Carrying a first aid kit during hiking is essential. You can buy a first aid kit or make one yourself. Some of the key tools to carry in your first aid bag are as follows;

Paperwork

Keep a hard copy of your dog’s medical records, vaccination records, any prescriptions, and emergency phone numbers, so you can access it anytime you want.

A canine first aid manual published by the Red Cross suggests “Do you really know, off the top of your head, how to give CPR to dogs?” Whatever you may think, this is one of the key first aid essentials.

Gauze, non-stick bandages, and adhesive tape

To control bleeding and protect wounds, you should have gauze as a makeshift muzzle, non-stick bandages so it doesn’t peel off their fur and adhesive tape. You can control their bleeding until you reach the nearest clinic.

dog first aid

Extra Food

Be sure to pack even more of your dog’s food than you’ll think you’ll need. You would never know what may befall in the hiking. Packing extra food ensures that you will be able to stay full of energy, even if the hike extends for a few more hours.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is used to induce vomiting if your dog eats something toxic. Be familiar with the proper dosage and way to it administer before you need it and check with either poison control or a veterinarian before use. Your dog can accidentally ingest poisonous plants or materials along the trail. This can be prevented by the use of hydrogen peroxide.

Antibiotic spray or ointment

This will help prevent any fatal infection from scratches and cuts. You can use some antibiotic wipes, as well, for cleaning wounds, and styptic in liquid or powder form to control bleeding.

Milk of Magnesia, or activated charcoal

Milk of Magnesia or activated charcoal can be used to absorb poison, but always check with your veterinarian first.

Treats

You can choose to carry treats for any unexpected duration such as emotional support when your dog is injured or playtimes.

An eyedropper or syringe

You can use this to flush wounds or to give oral medications.

An extra leash and collar

Things can get lost when you travel, and in an accident or other emergency situation, his collar may come off or the leash may snap.


Dog food

Your dog will need extra calories than they normally eat when they are hiking. Dogs will need about 25% more calories than they normally eat to keep their energy up on a hike.

You can mix a high-calorie puppy food into your dog's normal food that adds extra calories even in a small amount of food. You can do the exact calorie math or just estimate by replacing 25% of your dog food supply for the trip with the puppy food.

You can also feed your dog freeze-dried food on the trail. Freeze-dried food is more expensive than kibble but it can be worth it. It is often half the weight of kibble.


Dog Backpack for Hiking

You can prepare a hiking backpack for your dog by yourself. It should contain items that remain essential during hiking. The requirement of certain gear may depend on the trail and the duration of the hike.

The list of things required for a Dog’s backpack are as follows;

  • Multi-functional hiking pack
  • Food and water utensils
  • Water bottle
  • Dog tracking gear
    • GPS Tracker
    • LED collar cover
    • Collar light
    • Reflective vest
  • Security
    • Leash
    • harness
  • Protective Gear
    • Jacket
    • Dog Shoes
    • Towel
    • Paw wax
    • Life jacket
  • Sleeping gear
    • Sleeping mat
    • Blanket
  • Health and cleanliness
    • Cooling jacket
    • Tick remover
  • First Aid

In case of emergency contact pet medical service that offers on-site medical attention and evacuation. Contact through phone for fast first aid.

What causes Aggressive Dog Behavior?

dog-behavioral problem

It can be unusual for a canine to suddenly become aggressive and attack the owner or other people. It can be a frightening experience when a docile and friendly dog becomes hostile. In extreme cases, the dog may bite or even maul your family member and other pets.

It is important to understand how to curb the aggression of the dog and try to minimize the harm that it can cause to itself.

According to a recent study, aggression has become the most common and serious behavioral issue among dogs. It’s also the number-one reason why pet parents seek professional help from behaviorists, trainers, and veterinarians.

What causes aggressive Dog Behavior?

Every animal has a wild instinct that makes them aggressive. Among dogs, aggression encompasses a range of behaviors that may give signs of extreme aggression. Dogs that show aggression may exhibit some of the following sequences:

  • Becoming still and rigid
  • Guttural bark that may sound threatening
  • Lunging forward or charging at others
  • “Muzzle punch” (the dog literally punches the person with her nose)
  • Growl or showing teeth
  • Snarl (a combination of growling and showing teeth)
  • Snap or quick nip that leaves no mark
  • A quick bite that tears the skin
  • Bite with enough pressure to cause a bruise
  • Repeated bites in rapid succession
  • Bite and shake

Although a dog may or may not show any of these signs, it is essential to check with your veterinarian to ensure that your companion isn’t suffering from aggression-inducing issues.

Some of the major causes for the sudden aggressive outbreak are as follows;

i. Illness and Injury

Illness or injury can cause dogs to become aggressive. The onset of diseases or illness can cause a dog to show signs of aggression such as growling, snapping, and biting.

The medical condition may cause pain to dogs that are too often stressful. It may make them react to things. Some possible causes of pain include arthritis, bone fractures, internal injuries, various tumors, and lacerations. Injury to the head may also cause a sudden outbreak of aggression among pets.

The best possible way to deal with it is to take your dog to the nearest vet for the assessment.

ii. Fear

Most fearful dog become defensive or aggressive in most cases. It’s natural for dogs to exhibit aggressive behavior if they sense they're in danger.

When animals are afraid of something, they prefer to run away which is called the flight response. But if escaping isn’t an option, most animals will switch to a fight response.

Fear aggression is characterized by rapid nips or bites because a fearful dog is motivated to bite and then run away. Male and female dogs are equally prone to fear aggression.

To prevent this type of aggressive behavior, you should approach unknown dogs carefully, better yet, let them approach you. Training and socializing help to curb fear in the future.

iii. Possessiveness

Possession aggression occurs when a dog becomes possessive about food, a toy, a bed, or any other forms of possession. A dog exhibiting possession aggression will growl if someone approaches its possession.

Dogs evolved from wild predecessors who had to compete for food, shelter, and mates to survive. Even though they do not have to face such harsh situations, many still show the tendency to guard their possessions against others.

iv. Frustration

Aggression induced by frustration is often referred to as redirected aggression or barrier frustration. Over time, a dog can learn to associate restraint with feelings of frustration. This may explain why some dogs become aggressive when put behind a gate or inside a cage.

A dog may often feel frustrated at not being able to get to something. This type of aggression is often seen in dogs that spend a lot of time tied up, restrained on a leash, or behind a chain-link fence.

As a pet owner, it is important to take your dog off the leash and allow it to roam under supervision. Socializing with other pets or park-play time can help a lot.

v. Territorial Aggression

Inhibiting territorial aggression from their wild relatives such as wolf, a dog can show tendencies of defending the territory from other animals or humans. Dogs sometimes show aggression to establish dominance. Territorial possession can induce dominance among pets.

Territorial aggression can occur along the boundary regularly patrolled by a dog. Other dogs show territorial aggression only toward people or other animals coming into the home.


Can an aggressive dog be cured?

Aggressive behavior in dogs can be cured. It will be impossible to say it can be permanently be cured but the behavioral modification can help to prevent any future hostile behavior.

See Your Veterinarian

The first things you can do is call up your veterinarian. Dogs that show sudden aggressive behavior might have an underlying medical problem that can be assessed by veterinarians. Hypothyroidism, painful injuries, and neurological problems such as encephalitis, epilepsy, and brain tumors can cause aggressive behavior in dogs. The treatment or medication differs from one dog to another.

Call in a Professional

If your dog doesn’t have any medical problem, it's time to call in a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist. Many dogs may have behavioral problems that can be curbed by proper training, guidance, or therapy offered by an animal behaviorist.

Behavior modification is the safest and most effective way to treat an aggression problem. Rewarding your dog for good behavior through praise, treats, and toys can help a lot.

Avoid Punishment

Many pet owners resort to Punishments for aggressive behavior in dogs. Physical or mental harm can usually backfire and can escalate the aggression. Hitting, yelling or using some other aversive method should be strictly avoided.

Consider Medication

In some cases when the behavioral modification isn’t enough, dogs that are aggressive will require medical attention. You should consult with your vet regarding administering medicine for your pets to relieve them from fear, stress, or anxiety. Fear in many dogs prevents them from learning.

Counterconditioning

Counterconditioning involves using proactive relaxation techniques that the dog will be in without the presence of offending stimuli. Classical counterconditioning involves pairing experience with something positive so that there is an almost reflexive association between the events.

You can help curb the aggressive behavior in your dogs by taking them to the best doggy daycare in Des Moines.

dog body language

How do you calm an aggressive dog?

You can follow the basic steps provided by your vet or animal trainer to calm down an aggressive dog.

a. Be calm

Keep yourself calm before shouting at your dog! The first instinct is always to shout with your pet, but that can be a terrible idea. Loud scolding can cause your dog to become more defensive which may result in an attack.

You can reduce tension and stay safe by removing social pressure. Pause, slightly turn your head, lower your gaze, and relax your body while remaining still. It’s always better to move away from the dog when off-leash.

b. Practice prevention

It is important to understand what ticked off your dog. Is it because they were fearful of something or someone or did someone tries to meddle with your dog during playtime or while eating?

An animal behaviorist can help you identify what caused your dog to become aggressive, however, it may take them to show up. In the meantime, you must be prepared to calm your dog. Practice management to prevent putting yourself and your dog in a scary situation again.

c. Understand body language

You will get the physical cues when your dog is close to becoming defensive such as hard stare, mouth tightening, pulsating tail (not wagging), and tense body posturing. If your dog positions itself.

Your dog is communicating that it’s uncomfortable. If you try to take away it toy or food or call it out, you’re asking for trouble.

d. Never punish aggressive behavior

As suggested by the experts, you should never scream at your dog, yell, or stick your face in your dog’s face while he’s growling, snarling, or snapping. Adding force and anger to an agitated, uncomfortable, and volatile situation can cause serious injury to both you and your dog.


Can you rehome an aggressive dog?

It can be a bad idea to rehome your dog with a behavioral issue. Rehoming an aggressive dog may sound like an easy option, however, if you are struggling with your dog it is very likely the new owner will too. Re-homing is a very stressful event for most dogs, and this most likely will result in amplified levels of fear and aggression.

Obviously, you can consult a veterinarian or an animal behaviorist before considering to rehome an aggressive dog.

Get the best insight on how to control an aggressive pet from pet medical service in Des Moines. Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier doggy daycare in Des Moines specializing in training, grooming, and curbing behavioral issues.