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

Grooming for Dogs

Although the dog is a favorite pet for many Americans, the animal carries different foreign enzymes that can be harmful to your family members. Dogs are also known to spread different zoonotic diseases.

Pet grooming is a cleansing process that enhances your pet’s appearance and keeps it stay hygienic and clean. The recent study concluded that grooming helps to keep the pets stress free and comfortable, especially those with long or heavy coats.


Importance of pet grooming

Pet grooming becomes necessary to curb the chances of attracting zoonotic diseases and also to provide your dog relief from matted hair, dirt, and enzymes.

Benefits of pet grooming include;

  • Eradicate health problems
  • General cleanliness
  • Keeps vital organs in check
  • Increase physical appeal
  • Ensure a stress-free environment

Here are a few of the major importance of pet grooming.

a. Remove Dirt and Dead Skins

Like humans, dog’s need regular cleansing of the skin to remove external dirt, dead hair, dead skin, and dandruff. Dirt and matted hair can be a home to tick infestation. Brushing of dog’s coat plays a vital role in the pet grooming process. It easily removes the hidden enzymes from coat fur. Another key importance of brushing is the stimulation of the natural oils in the pet’s fur. These oils naturally spread across the entire coat keeping their skin and fur healthy.

b. Avoid Nail Complications

Unlike wild animals, a domesticated pet such as dogs requires regular trimming of nails to avoid nail complications. Indoor pets can often have a problem with overgrown claws that are associated with painful conditions. Overgrown nail can also cause accidents.

Dewclaws on the inner paws of dogs and cats can grow into toe pads, which can lead to a painful infection.

A professional pet groomer can trim your dog’s nails without doing any damage.

c. Avoid Dental Issues

By the age of 3, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have some form of gum disease.

Periodontal disease and bad breath in pets can be linked to dental issues. Periodontal is a dental disease common in pets. The disease starts when bacteria in the mouth combine with food particles to form plaque on the teeth that forms tartar and enter the gum line to create toxins. If your pet remains uncured from dental disease, they are at a higher risk of heart, kidney, and liver disease.

d. Avoid Matting of Hair

Matting of the hair can be an extremely painful experience for dogs. The uncombed hair mixed with moisture and dirt can lead to matting of the fur. Severe fur matting can also restrict the flow of blood and in many ways restrict their body movements resulting in temporary deformity. Regular brushing of hair and occasional professional grooming can help to prevent matted hair.

e. Avoid Intestinal Conditions

Although it’s uncommon among canines, coughing up hairball can sometimes be a problem for dogs with medium to long fur. It is mostly attributed to self-grooming, however, their other reasons for the dogs to ingest their own hair.

Known as tricholith or trichobezoar, hairball is the accumulated animal hair or fur that surrounds a non-digestible item generally stuck inside the stomach of the animal.

Grooming is essential to keep the pet skin cleaner. It prevents excessive licking of fur which may cause hair fall. Bathing cuts down the hairballs, which cats vomit or discard in the litter box.

f. Control Shedding

Shedding is common among many dog breeds and aging dogs. While you cannot change this, you can prevent excessive hair fall by keeping their fur clean. Regular brushing, using the right shampoo, and cleaning tools can help to reduce the level of skin and fur shedding in dogs.


What is generally included in a dog grooming?

The tools for dog grooming include;

  • Grooming Brush
  • Nail Clippers
  • High-quality shampoo
  • Dog drying towel
  • Deshedding tool
  • Dog hair clipper set
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Grooming wipes
  • Ear cleaner


How often should a dog be groomed?

Professional groomers suggest that the general grooming for a dog depends on their coat type.

Short-haired

Short-haired dogs such as German shepherd may require fewer baths and grooming compared to a long-haired dog. Grooming every 5-6 months is generally enough. They can be bathed every 4 months.

Short hair and double coated

Short hair and double-coated dogs typically shed seasonally. They can be groomed four times a year to keep them clean and prevent excessive shedding. They require a bath every 6 weeks to keep their coat clean

Long hair and double coated

They frequently suffer from matted and overweighed hair and require grooming on a frequent basis. You must never shave your double-coated dog, as they are unable to grow their top layer coat back! Akita, Alaskan Husky, Alaskan malamute, American Eskimo, Chinook, Chow Chow, Finnish Spitz and Finnish Lapphund few examples of long-haired double-coated dog.

Thick Undercoated

Thick undercoated dogs require proper grooming to ensure their thick undercoat remains safe. These undercoats must be removed seasonally but never shaved. Shaving may cause severe skin problem, allergy, and sunburn. Golden Retrievers, Huskies, Collies, Shelties, and Shepherds are dogs with a thick undercoat.

Silky coated

The single coat tends to be silkier which grows continuously, hence it must be trimmed periodically. They can be groomed every 2-3 months. Some may require grooming every 4-6 weeks to prevent severe matting such as Afghan hound, Maltese dog, Shih Tzu, Skye terrier, Tibetan terrier, and Yorkshire terrier.

Curvy or Wavy coated

These dogs are the most likely to develop mat because of the excess of hair and chances of entanglement such as curly coated retriever, Pumi, Portuguese water dog, Irish water spaniel, Lagotto Romagnolo, and Poodle. Any hair longer than half an inch should be brushed at least twice a week; and hair longer than an inch should be brushed daily. They require grooming every four to six weeks.


Are human products applicable to dogs?

Although most people are unaware if they should use human products such as soap and shampoo on pets, you as a pet owner must be aware that dogs have an entirely different skin of skin compared to a human.

Did you know that baby shampoo is 150 times too acidic for a dog’s epidermis?

The different in pH level in pets and humans brings a vast contrast in the products to be used. These simple products can severely irritate the dog’s skin because a dog’s skin has a different pH level and thickness.

pH level in Pets ranges 7.0-7.52 compared to humans 5.2-5.5. Pet products are specifically formulated to be pH balanced for their skin as to not cause irritation.


Urban Pet Hospital and Resort

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort offers the premier pet grooming service in Des Moines. We offer best veterinarian care in Des Moines that accounts for highly skilled DVM or Veterinarians, experienced vet professionals, state-of-the-art technology and exam rooms, surgical procedures, grooming, and training.

Some of our most-sought after services include

  • Internal Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Diagnostics & Lab Testing
  • Grooming
  • Training
  • Dermatology
  • Day Care
  • Dental Care
  • Nutrition
  • Pain Management
  • Boarding
  • Preventive Tests

We specialize in pet grooming in Urbandale and offer professional grooming service for all kinds of pets. Our groomers have experience of over 40 years in handling and professional grooming of pets. We use the finest grooming tools and methods, and ensure to clean eyes, ears, teeth, nose, underside, Skin and Coat, Nails, and pads during every grooming session.

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.

How to Train Your Dog to Stay?

It is easy to inhibit basic commands in dogs when they are young. Dog trainers and behaviorists insist on providing basic command training at an early age to prevent any difficulty faced by a dog at later years.

“Stay” is probably the most difficult exercise to teach according to many pet owners because many dogs just hate being still! With persistence and short, frequent training sessions your dog can master this exercise. Get in touch with the best pet training service in Des Moines.


How to train a dog to stay?

Learning to stay is one of the most difficult yet basic commands that all dogs will know eventually. It can be useful in many situations like if you have a guest coming in and you don't want your dog jumping all over them.

Getting Started

  • While being ready to train your dog, keep yourself free in a mood. If you're not feeling well or are too busy, you might not be able to provide the necessary energy to a train your dog.
  • Plan on a short training session to avoid fatigue or boredom. Training sessions should only last a few minutes and be spread evenly throughout a week.
  • Give Rewards to your dog for positive reinforcement. Training will involve a lot of positive feedback which involves giving your dog its favorite treat.
  • Plan on continuing this training for a while before your dog picks up on it because dogs don't speak our language and it’s important for them to learn to associate certain commands with actions.
  • Have your dog sit in a comfortable spot. You'll want to start with your dog sitting a good spot.

How do you train to stay command?

Training your dog to stay follows a series of command. You can find multiple commands prompts to train your dogs. One of the easiest and most followed training is as follows;

Continue the “Sit” command for a while before your dog picks up on it

It’s important that your dog learns to associate certain commands with actions because they don’t understand our language. Some dogs are able to pick up faster than others, however, it’s important to remain persistent and patient with your training until your dog gets it.

dog training

Have your dog sit in a comfortable spot

Make sure the ground isn't wet, cold, or covered with anything that might make your dog uncomfortable. This may result in training a distracted animal.

Use basic commands

  • Place your palm out in front of the dog's face while saying 'stay.' The use of the verbal cue and the hand gesture will help your dog associate the commands with the word.
  • Repeat the word 'stay' a few times before doing anything else so your dog learns the word. Say it in a happy and firm tone to make it assertive to your dog.
  • Be sure to use these same commands every time you tell your dog to stay. Using multiple signals will confuse them
  • Take one or two steps back. Keep your hand out and keep saying 'stay' while you do this. Your dog will probably follow you the first few times. When it starts to move from the sitting position, you can correct it with a 'No' or 'ap ap ap' in a firmer tone.

dog training

Praise it and offer a reward when it sits back down.

Repeat the step as needed. This first few times will probably be the hardest but persistence will eventually pay. Do not offer a treat when your dog makes a mistake.

Give a treat

Remember to give your dog its favorite treat for following each correct command. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train a dog. They will associate the treat with the correct command and will continue to follow each command. Reinforce its obedience with a treat.

Have your dog come to you

Once your dog has become proficient at staying, you can complete the task by having it come to you. Come up with a word, command, or signal that the dog can attend to.

Use a different command for a treat

Whatever word you use to release your dog from the stay, make sure you say it in a different than what you would normally speak. Otherwise, your dog might start expecting a treat every time you say the command.

Increase the distance

When your dog gets proficient at staying start increasing the distance – Go 5 steps back, then 10 and increase the distance. The point is to make sure that the dog stays as long as you continue telling it. Remember to praise the dog and give a treat every time he succeeds.

dog training

What is the best dog training method?

There are many dog training methods an animal trainer may use, however, the most used and reliable dog training remains ‘Positive reinforcement.’

Positive reinforcement is one of the recent methods that was popularized by trainers like Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz. It theorizes that dogs will repeat good behavior when it is followed by a reward. Bad behavior results in zero treat or reward. The punishment is never physical but the form of removal of rewards, like a toy or treat is taken away. Physical punishment often results in a disobedient pet.

Reward the dog immediately or within seconds. This way the dog will associate the behavior with the reward. Positive reinforcement requires consistency, therefore everyone is in the house must use the same commands and reward system. Start with continuous rewards every time your dog does the right thing. You can gradually move to intermittent rewards as the behavior becomes consistent.

If you’re using an edible treat, it is often easy to overfeed your dog during the training, hence you can use small treats when you are rewarding with food.


How do I get my stubborn dog to listen?

It is often a case when the newly brought dog is stubborn. Sometimes, your own pet can become stubborn. This can be curbed by the positive reinforcement method.

Reward your dog with a highly desirable treat when it behaves. This will help it to associate good behavior with a reward.

You can use alternate positive reinforcement method if your dog isn’t fond of edible treats. You can praise it, offer tug toy, ball, or pet it to make it feel good.


At what age should a dog be fully potty trained?

Animal behaviorist and trainers recommend that you begin house training your puppy when it is between 12 weeks and 16 weeks old. At that point, it has enough control of its bladder and bowel movements to learn to hold it.

It may take 4-6 months for a puppy to be fully house trained. For some, it may take up to a year. Smaller breeds have smaller bladders and higher metabolisms that require them to make frequent bathroom trips.

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort for the premier pet training in Des Moines.

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.

How to take care of your dogs?

pet safety infographic

No pet owner ever consider a dog only a pet. For us, they are a family member. Taking care of your pet is as essential as taking care of yourself.

Owning a canine can be the biggest joy in life. It is also a big responsibility. If you are considering bringing a canine into your home, consider seriously about the commitment and responsibility a dog owner entails.

How often do you need to visit Veterinary?

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends for dogs and cats to have check-ups annually, at least.

As a pet owner, it is essential to recognize the signs of common illnesses among dogs. Vaccination is another important thing you should always remember.

Vaccination, the onset of common diseases, and aging factor are few of the reasons to frequent vet clinics.

Wellness Check for Pets

A regular check or wellness examination is a periodic medical test of the pets to assess their overall health. A wellness examination may also be called a 'check-up' or a 'physical examination'. The need for a wellness check is to ensure that your dog remains healthy throughout its life.

A wellness check may also include vaccinations such as regular shots for rabies, flu, etc.

The time and duration for well checks or periodical visits may differ according to the age of the dog.

Puppy

In general, you should take your pup to your vet every 3 to 4 weeks for necessary vaccinations to ensure if it isn’t developing any complications or other physical ailments. The regular-check may include, shots for rabies and distemper-parvo. Your pup might need shots if it’s displaying symptoms of kennel cough, influenza, or Lyme disease.

Adult Dogs

Adult dogs range from the age of 1 to 7 years (depending on breed). These dogs require an annual wellness check, including a heartworm test and other tests your vet recommends based on the results of the check.

A booster shot for rabies and distemper-parvo can be essential, typically every 3 years.

Older Dogs

Older dogs range from the age of 7 to 10 years. These dogs require wellness to check every 6 months or bi-annually. Like humans, older dogs are prone to developing certain diseases and complications as they get older, including arthritis, gum disease, diabetes, vision problems (blindness), kidney disease, cancer, and dementia.

dog different age


7 Common Dog Diseases

Cancer

50% of dogs over the age of 10 develop cancer at some point. Malignant lymphoma (a tumor of the lymph nodes), mast cell tumors (skin cancer), mammary gland tumors, breast cancer, and soft tissue sarcomas are few of the common cancers found in canine.

Some of the common symptoms of cancer include a lump or a bump, an unhealed wound, any kind of swelling, enlarged lymph nodes, a lameness or swelling in the bone, and abnormal bleeding. It is necessary to take your pet to the veterinarian and take immediate medical measures.

Diabetes

Diabetes in dogs is a complex disease caused by either a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to insulin. Diabetes mellitus is more likely to be found in overweight cats and dogs.

It is estimated that anywhere from 1 in 500 to 1 in 100 dogs will develop diabetes in their lifetime.

Symptoms of diabetes in dogs include consistent thirst, urinating too much, a ravenous appetite and rapid or sudden weight loss.

The treatment for diabetes includes diet (diet plan recommended by a veterinarian), exercise (exercise to avoid a spike in glucose level), and insulin injections.

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough (Canine infectious tracheobronchitis) is a term loosely used to describe a complex of respiratory infection (both viral and bacterial) that causes inflammation of a dog’s voice box and windpipe. It’s a form of bronchitis and is similar to a chest cold in humans.

Dogs commonly contract kennel cough at places where large amounts of canines congregate, such as boarding and daycare facilities, dog parks, training groups, and dog shows. Serious cases of kennel cough can lead to pneumonia if left untreated.

Heartworm

Heartworm is one of the common heart diseases among most dogs. Known as Dirofilaria Immitis, the heartworm or dog heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that looks like a small thread-like creature.

It spreads from the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no simple way to tell if the mosquito is infected, hence, every dog must be prevented from heartworm.

Heartworm is a parasitic worm that lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an infected animal. The worms travel through the bloodstream—harming arteries and vital organs as they go—ultimately completing their journey to the vessels of the lung and the heart chamber about six months after the initial infection. Several hundred worms can live in one dog for five to seven years.

How to prevent Heartworm disease in dogs?

7 Symptoms of Heartworm in Dogs

Some of the common symptoms of heartworm disease are as follows;

  • A soft and dry cough
  • Inactivity or lethargy
  • Weight loss or anorexia
  • Rapid or difficulty breathing
  • Bulging chest
  • Allergic reaction
  • Collapse

Canine Coronavirus

Canine Coronavirus is an intestinal infection that affects both feral and domesticated dogs. The virus is limited to the upper two-thirds of the small intestines. A lot of the time the infection will clear up by itself, however, it can be problematic for young pups or adult dogs with other infections such as parvovirus.

Older dogs may not show any symptoms. Some of the rare symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Treatment will involve administering extra fluids and electrolytes. If you suspect your dog has contracted coronavirus, it is important to take it to the bet.

Rabies

Rabies is a viral disease that may affect the brain and spinal cord of all mammals, including cats, dogs, and humans. Vaccination is important to curb the contraction of the disease. Rabies is transmitted to people from animals, with over 99% of cases due to dog bites. It is transmitted through the exchange of blood or saliva from an infected animal.

Ringworm

Dermatophytosis is the fungal infection affecting the skin, hair, and/or nails (claws) that is more commonly referred to as a ringworm. A ringworm infection on a dog may simply look like a bald spot, with very little inflammation or redness. The inflammation isn’t really itchy. This highly contagious disease can lead to patchy areas of hair loss on a dog and can spread to other animals and humans too.

Healthy Food for Dogs

Here is the comprehensive list of foods and supplements that can be provided to a dog on a daily basis.

dog nutrition chart

Homemade Vs. Store Brought

Homemade food is always better than store brought, however, you must give time to prepare a balanced diet. Grains and starchy veggies should make up no more than half the diet. Good choices include oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, barley, and pasta.

You can introduce store brought food into your dog's daily diet along with a homemade meal. Daily Dog Food should contain;

  • 50% of muscle meat
  • 10% organ meat
  • 15% uncooked bone
  • 20% of vegetables
  • 5% fruit

How to Be a Responsible Dog Owner?

Being a responsible dog owner is easy – you must keep your dog’s health first.

Pet-Proof Your Home

Like baby proofing your home, you should pet-proof your dog to keep it away from harm’s place. Many items that are used to baby proof your home can be used for pet-proofing as well. Safety locks for kitchen and bathroom cabinets, power outlet covers, safety lid for toilet seats, etc.

Dogs have a tendency to chew on anything they find, hence it’s important to keep medicines and leftover in an inaccessible place. Valuables like jewelry, designer shoes, and clothes can be kept out of reach.

Microchipping

There are many cases of missing pets mostly around holidays and celebrations. Most pets who wander outside the house are easily lured or distracted. To ensure their safety, make sure your pet is properly identified (microchip, collar and ID tag). This helps to locate them and bring them home quickly.

Basic Obedience Training

Basic obedience training covers basic commands for the safety of the dogs. Basic commands like sitting, look, emergency recall, leave it, drop, lie down can be life-saving in many cases. Basic obedience training also helps in keeping them in check outdoors.

Housetraining, leash training, socializing, and proofing is a few of the other essential training guide for your dogs. These ensure that your dog follows basic manners and keep themselves out of any trouble at home or outside.

Exercise

Just like humans, dogs require exercise on a daily basis for optimal mental and physical health. The amount of exercise your dog needs depending on their breed, age, and level of physical fitness.

Obesity is common in dogs with poor diet and less exercise. Finding time to work out can be difficult for dogs with a busy owner. There's also an increased risk of health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, and arthritis.

If you’re unable to give time for your pet, you can consider dropping them off to daycare.

Check-Ups

Regular checkup or wellness check is essential to keep your dog in a fit condition. Regular checkup ensures that your dog is safe from common diseases, they’ll get vaccination on time, and can enjoy a long life through preventive Medicare.

Golden Retriever or Labrador [Infographic]

Do not confuse these two distinct breeds with their latter name "Retriever." Golden Retriever or Labrador, both are the most loved dog breeds throughout the US.

The basic difference between the two dogs lies in their temperament, skin coat, fur, life-span, and epidemiology.

Golden Retriever Or Labrador

golden retriever or labrador

Appearance

  • Labradors have a sturdy built and well-defined body cuts.
  • Golden Retriever looks more of the goofy kind. They are bigger than labs most of the time and their body is longer than a lab.

Coat

  • Labs are double coated just as the Golden, but they have shorter fur (Hardly an inch long).
  • Goldens have longer, lot more fur and a super fluffy tail.

Temperament

  • Goldens are known to be eager to please their owner when compared to Labs who are mostly food/treat driven. They are very obedient and one of the easiest dogs to train.
  • Labs are mostly couch potatoes - most of the time, all they worry or think of is food and treats.

Major Health Ailments faced by Bulldog [Infographic]

Bulldog, also known as the British Bulldog or English bulldog, is a medium-sized breed of dog. It is a muscular, hefty dog with a wrinkled face and a distinctive pushed-in nose.

According to a study, they are the fifth most popular dog breed found in the US.

Bulldogs are known to be a dependable and gentle dog breed that make great family pets. They are a very sociable animal. A mature male may weigh 50lb (23kg), while mature females can weigh about 40lb (18kg).

The modern bulldogs are genetically modified from their predecessors. The excess modification to fit the boutique model made them prone to many physical ailments that can cause their lives.

What do Most Bulldogs die from?

According to a health study of 180 bulldogs made in 2004, the research found out that 20% died from cardiac-related issues, 18% died of cancer, and 9% died of old age. The dogs who died of old age lived up to 10-11 years.

Allergy

Bulldogs are one of the breeds susceptible to allergies. The symptoms of allergy may include:

  • Itchy and runny eyes
  • Irritated skin
  • Excessive scratching
  • Pawing at eyes

Mast cell tumor

Mast cells tumor generally occur through allergic reactions. The immune cells contain chemicals or granules that are released upon stimulation by an allergen. These cells are located throughout the body and within the skin. This is a more slow-growing cancer in dogs, however, more aggressive mast cell tumors grow faster and may ulcerate.

As reported by Pets.WebMD.com, “Mast cell tumors most commonly occur on the trunk of the body, though they are found on the legs about 25% of the time.”

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

Brachycephalic dogs such as Bulldogs have a short and pushed-in nose. Because of their short nose and narrow nostrils, Bulldogs are prone to breathing problems, panting, chronic discomfort, exercise intolerance and difficulty eating.

Obesity in dogs can worsen the breathing problem, hence you must keep your bulldog lean and healthy.

Cherry Eye

Dogs are gifted with three eyelids, where two are readily visible and third one is faintly visible. It consists of tear-producing glands in dogs. The gland remains hidden from outside until the dogs are affected with congenital weakness in ligaments which causes the glands to pot out of their place. It looks like a ‘cherry’ popping out of their eye.

Dermatitis

Bulldogs mainly suffer from skin fold dermatitis or skin inflammation due to the excessive rubbing of skin and trapping of moisture in the tail, lip and facial folds. It is essential to clean their wrinkles and keep moisture-free frequently to prevent bacterial growth. Skinfold dermatitis is easily identified as hairless (alopecic), reddened, and bad smell areas of folded skin or wrinkles.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Hip and elbow dysplasia are common in bulldogs that cause the malformation of the hip and elbow joints. It can cause pain, lameness, decreased activity, difficulty rising, and reluctance to run, jump, or climb stairs. You can decrease the chances of hip and elbow dysplasia in them by taking them on regular walks. Obesity may also give rise to dysplasia.

Heat Sensitivity

Bulldogs are heat sensitive dog breeds. Their heat intolerance is related to their breathing issues. Although they do not tolerate the rigorous exercise, they can tolerate short daily walks.

bulldog health ailments


What is the life expectancy of a bulldog?

Although the breeders may say that the average bulldog lifespan is 8-10 years. If your bulldog lives 11-12 years, consider yourself lucky!

It's well known that bulldogs suffer from a variety of physical ailments that make them particularly unhealthy. The breeding to the extremes of the physical features makes them prone to diseases and short lifespan.

Bulldog Life Expectancy

  • A healthy English bulldog has an average life expectancy of 10-11 years. The median lifespan is 8.4 years for the English bulldog.
  • The French bulldog’s life expectancy is 10-12 years.
  • The American Bulldog’s life expectancy is 10-15 years. The American Bulldog is the healthiest of the bulldog breeds, hence the longest lifespan.

Are Bulldogs Expensive to Take Care Of?

Bulldog puppies from small-scale breeders are likely to cost between $1,500 and $4,000. Most bulldogs are also sold at just $1000-$1200, however, they are mostly bred at puppy-mill that makes them prone to various physical ailments.

Maintaining a bulldog’s health and lifestyle doesn’t come cheap. The annual bill for the vet, food, supplements, and training can go over $5000.

  • Dog Insurance - $500–$1200/year.
  • Food - $500-$800/year. Bulldogs need a special type of food, so the choice of cheap options may be quite limited.
  • Supplements for joints - $100/year.
  • Anti-parasite/flee etc treatments - $300/year. May be less if you don’t go where ticks are and opt out of that part.
  • These are essentials. Now, regular monthly costs: treats, additional food products, potty bags, toys (they destroy them quickly), chew bones - $300-$500/year. Some things you can buy in dollar stores and online in bulk.
  • Occasional boarding - at least $20–30 a day is dedicated boarding places.

How to take care of an English bulldog puppy?

a. Feeding

You should change their food brands gradually to ensure optimum nutrition is met. Dogs may not immediately accept a new brand, hence, you can introduce it to them slowly. Mix 1/2 and 1/2 for a week, then 1/4 and 3/4 for a week, then full change over.

You should feed your dog (pup) three times a day for the first four months after arrival. After 6 months, you can curb the meal to only 2x times a day. After 12 months you can curb to once a day.

Avoid feeding your dog human food or directly from the kitchen. Examples of popular human-dog toxic to dogs are;

  • Avocados
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Chives, onions, and garlic
  • Nuts
  • Yeast doughs
  • Anything made with the sweetener xylitol especially found in sugar-free gums

b. Caring

Caring and monitoring your pup’s health is essential. Your bulldog may develop diarrhea when a new brand of food is introduced. In such a case, stop all food for 12 hours. If the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, contact your vet immediately.

To prevent infections, provide puppy preventative treatment from local pests. Ticks, fleas, mites, lice, and intestinal worms are a common form of infections.

Heartworm is one of the common heart diseases among most dogs. Known as Dirofilaria Immitis, the heartworm or dog heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that looks like a small thread-like creature.

Symptoms of Heartworm in Dogs

  • A soft and dry cough
  • Inactivity or lethargy
  • Weight loss or anorexia
  • Rapid or difficulty breathing
  • Bulging chest
  • Allergic reaction
  • Collapse

Take your pup for regular veterinary checkups. The veterinarian will examine the puppies to make sure there are no hernias, heart, lung, or eye or ear problems in any of the pups.

At the 12 weeks visit the rabies vaccination will be given—although this may vary depending on local laws. This vaccination is required by many communities.

c. Grooming

Bulldogs need frequent grooming. You should carefully examine each day for signs of infections. The wrinkles should be gently washed and thoroughly dried at least every other day.

The English bulldog’s short hair coat will shed so a thorough brushing once a week with a soft-bristled brush is recommended. While you’re grooming, keep an eye open for any fleas, ticks, or mites, along with any lumps, bumps, or cysts on the skin.

 

National Puppy Day

March 23 is celebrated as the National Puppy Day through the U.S. Puppies are probably the most adorable animals on Earth. Thanks to their undying charm, innocent eyes, and timid limbs, they manage to capture our affection.

National Puppy Day is all about raising adoption awareness. Tons of homeless puppies land in the shelter every year. They are basically stuck in the rescue center throughout their life until they are adopted or euthanized.

National Puppy Day was founded in 2006 by Celebrity Pet & Home Lifestyle Expert and Author, Colleen Paige, who is also the founder of National Dog Day and National Cat Day (among many others).

The benefits of adopting a Puppy

a. Cheaper to Adopt

It's cheaper to adopt a pet than to buy one. Almost 6.5 million pets enter animal shelters every year. Each year 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized, simply because there isn’t enough space for new pets that land up in the shelter.

It costs lesser to adopt a pet than buying a new one from the pet-farm or Puppy mills. Adopt a pet from your local shelter or rescue. There are more than just dogs and cats that need homes, pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, and farm animals need homes too.

b. Prevent Puppy Mill

It helps to prevent puppy mills from producing pets meant for commercial selling. Pet farms are the breeding center of pets that put profit above the welfare of dogs. The pets in farms are generally poorly housed and ill-fed. Most animals from puppy mill land up in the shelter when they aren’t brought by anyone.

c. Awareness about Animal Rights

Adopting a pet raises the concern for shelter animals. People who aren’t aware of shelter animal will learn about them. Those who are unaware about the ill-treatment of animals will learn about the issues faced by innocent animals. This helps to place a new law or legislation for animal rights.

d. Happy Time

You get to spend lots of time playing and cuddling with a puppy. The recent scientific study revealed that spending time with your favorite pet helps to reduce stress and depression. Most old-age homes have started adopting pets to spend time with their elder members.

How to Celebrate National Puppy Day?

  • Adopt a puppy from your local shelter, rescue or pure breed rescue organization.
  • Are you prepared for puppy parenting? Start off on the right paw! Hire a professional that can help you.
  • Donate money, food, and toys to your local shelter.
  • Organize a peaceful demonstration in front of your community pet store that sells puppies.
  • Write your Congressman and ask that he/she support the ban of Puppy Mills in your state.
  • Assist an ill or elderly neighbor by walking their puppy.
  • Have a puppy party and invite all your friends and their puppies!
  • Join a fun, dog-friendly community online and post pics of your puppy for the world to ooh and ahh over!
  • Host a community event to raise money for your local animal shelter.
  • Volunteer at your local shelter and offer to walk a puppy or play with a puppy, clean cages or anything else they need help with.
  • Have a portrait painted of your puppy to suspend the fleeting magic of puppydom.
  • Buy your puppy a fun, new puppy toy.
  • Give your puppy some fun exercise by taking him or her to puppy daycare.
  • Brush your puppy to eliminate excess fur.
  • Give your puppy a massage or holistic spa treatment.
  • Get your puppy some leash training lessons.
  • Buy your puppy a cute new outfit or fashionable collar and leash.
  • Have a tee shirt made with your puppy's photo on it.
  • Take your puppy to the beach.

How to Prevent Pets from Fertilizer Poisoning?

It’s quite common for animals to ingest chemicals sprayed over the fields. Most chemical fertilizers contain varying amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (potash) as indicated by the three numbers on the packaging (i.e., 30-10-10 or 10:0:40).

Most fertilizers contain insecticide used specifically to kill germs, insects, and pests that can be hazardous to home pets when consumed.

As a responsible homeowner, you should prevent your pets from wandering around the lawn for 72 hours or 3 days before the chemicals subside.

fertilizer poisoning

What is Fertilizer Poisoning?

Plant Fertilizer is commonly known as "Plant food." It is commonly used to fertilize plant or vegetation in the garden. The fertilizers keep plants healthy and allow them to grow faster. Most fertilizer comes with a pesticide that is used to kill plant pests from damaging the plants.

When a human or animal ingests these chemical or comes in close contact with it, they act as a poison. The fertilizer poising can range from mild to severe complications. Depending on the length of time of contact and how the fertilizer poisoning occurred, these complications may include oral burns and stomach irritation. Chemicals such as herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides in addition to the compounds such as phosphorous, iron, nitrogen are toxic when consumed in large amounts.

The immediate thing you can do when you notice your pet is suffering from fertilizer poisoning is to take it to the nearest vet or clinic. No fertilizer is hundred percent safe, even advertised as so, hence keep your pets away from the garden, lawn, or plants.

Homeowners often use fertilizers during spring and fall to sprawl up their lawn.


Types of Fertilizers

The fertilizer comes in two types; granular and water-based. These are sprayed over the plants. The chemical residue on plant’s leaves and hangs and soil can remain active for a while.

Inorganic Fertilizer

Inorganic fertilizer is composed of chemicals and chemically produced compounds. They need to more productive and highly nutritious than organic fertilizer.

Some of the popular inorganic fertilizers include Nitrogen fertilizer, phosphate fertilizer, potash fertilizer, micronutrient fertilizer, and compound fertilizer.

 

Organic Fertilizer

Organic fertilizer is known as farmyard manure of natural fertilizers, mainly from animals and plants. When applied, it can supply carbonic materials for plants growth. It contains organic acid and rich nutritions.

Examples of organic fertilizer are such as

a. Agricultural waste

Agricultural waste includes straws, bean pulp, cottonseed meal and the kitchen waste such as cut vegetables.

b. Livestock manure

Livestock manure is a popular form of fertilizer. It comes from livestock's waste such as pig manure, chicken manure, rabbit manure, and cow manure. Although they are very productive they contain hazardous substance such as Escherichia Coli and nematode that can harm seedling. To reduce harm, you should only apply livestock manure after composting.

c. Industrial waste

Industrial waste such as distillers' grain, vinegar residue, and sugar-free grains can be useful to reduce industrial waste and increase agricultural productivity.

d. Municipal sludge

Municipal sludge is produced by sewage treatment plants. It contributes to soil amelioration as well as reducing pollution. The biggest advantage of using municipal sludge is that it repurposes the sewage waste.

What is Mulch?

Mulch is any material that is applied or laid over the surface of the soil as a covering to conserve soil moisture, improve fertility and health of the soil, reduce weed growth, and to enhance the visual appeal.

A mulch may or may not contain organic matters. It may be permanent (e.g. plastic sheeting) or temporary (e.g. bark chips) that are applied to bare soil or around existing plants.

Mulches of manure or compost will be incorporated naturally into the soil by the activity of worms and other organisms.

Cocoa Mulch

Cocoa mulch is made from shells or hulls from the cocoa bean that is often used for home landscaping. It is chosen for its fragrance when first placed in the yard and smells faintly of chocolate. Dogs may be tempted to ingest it because of the smell. Cocoa or chocolate is harmful to dogs. Chocolate contains caffeine, theobromine, and high-fat contents which are toxic for dogs and cats

Signs of cocoa mulch poisoning include:

  • Not eating
  • Drooling/hyper salivating
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Hyperactivity
  • A racing heart rate
  • Constant panting
  • Dark red gums
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

How to Prevent Pet Poisoning

The first step to stop fertilizer poisoning is to prevent poisoning. Here are a few of the steps you can undertake to ensure that your pet remains safe and healthy.

i. Keep Fertilizer Bags out of reach

An open bag of fertilizer will warmly welcome pets to nibble or taste. The direct consumption of fertilizer can cause seizure, trauma, or even death. As a responsible homeowner, you should keep the harmful substance from out of the reach of your pets. The safety of their life can only be ensured by you.

ii. Do not allow pets into the lawn

After spraying the fertilizer into your lawn, leave it for rest for at least 72 hours before you allow pets and family member to step into the lawn. The leaves and soil still consist of the chemical residue which can be harmful if ingested by pets or children. Although mild, the effects of the chemical can be troublesome.

iii. Properly wash your hand before touching your pet

It’s important that you properly wash your hand before touching or grooming your pet after dealing with fertilizer. Most foreign agents or enzymes enter your pet’s skin through touch. Your pets may easily inhale or lick the chemical residue off your hand.

iv. Use hazard-free fertilizer

There is much bio-degradable and non-hazard fertilizer available for sprawling the lawn. Care to buy the bag with least hazard. This can be beneficial for your health, your pet’s health, the quality of soil, and the surrounding environment.

v. Remove debris and dead pests

After spraying the fertilizer, you should check if there are any dead pests, chemical residue, or debris left open. These are mostly digestible and your pet may find it fascinating enough to nibble or eat altogether.


Signs of Fertilizer Poisoning

Some of the common signs of fertilizer poisoning in animals include;

  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting (acute or delayed onset)
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal posture due to abdominal pain
  • “Muddy” colored gums
  • Severe lethargy/collapse
  • Excessive tearing
  • Urination
  • Abnormal heart rates
  • Difficulty breathing (due to bronchoconstriction)
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Death

How to treat fertilizer poisoning in pets?

The treatment of fertilizer poisoning in pets may depend on the size of the dog, the quantity of fertilizer consumed, and how long the fertilizer was on the skin or system.

  • The main therapy involves supportive means as such stabilizing your pet and controlling their breathing and heart rate.
  • Other steps include medication to increase urine output and bowel movements, gastro protectants for stomach issues, poison absorbents, and topical medicines for skin irritation.
  • A vet will try to remove toxins from the body to bring it to normal.

 

If you notice any symptoms of pet poisoning, you should consider visiting the nearest veterinarian in Des Moines. An immediate medical response is important to ensure that your pet remains safe.