At what age do dogs stop growing?

A new dog owner might get surprised when their pet fully grows up within a year, but some get worried when their dog does not become full-sized even after a year.

Well, this isn't unusual. Most small and medium dogs become fully grown in a year, but larger dogs may take at least two years before they become fully-grown.

This stage of life also marks the need for constant care, diet, training, and socialization for pets; hence, pet owners need to be well aware of their physical and mental stimulation to help them grow better.

But, many people still wonder when their pup has fully grown.

How to tell when your Pup is fully-grown

In most cases, dogs stop growing between 6 and 18 months of age, but some pups continue growing until 24 months.

But not all canines grow at the same rate, with smaller breed dogs growing up much faster than their larger counterparts. This is because dogs with more prominent bones and joints need a bit more time to grow and develop.

Giant dogs like Mastiffs, Great Pyrenees, Saint Bernard, and Newfoundland take the longest to reach full size.

Giant breeds like Great Dane reach their physical maturity within 18 months, but they keep adding muscle and reach their total weight only at age two or three.

Let’s take a look at how long it takes for each dog breed to grow fully.

Small Breeds

Small breeds grow up quickly. They finish growing at around half the age of their larger counterparts.

Small breeds such as Boston Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers, Chihuahuas, and Pugs reach their full-sized framework between six and eight months of age, and they'll keep filling weight until twelve months old.

The small breed dogs also enjoy a longer lifespan compared to larger dogs because they age comparatively slower.

Medium Breeds

Medium breed puppies might take just a bit longer to grow than small breed puppies. You can expect your medium breed dog to reach their physical maturity between twelve and fifteen months of age.

Although they get bigger by 15 months, they usually keep adding weight until they are closer to 18 months.

Airedale Terrier, American Pit Bull, Border Collie, and Standard Poodle are considered medium breeds.

Large Breeds

The large breed is a broad category of dogs divided into two categories; large breeds and giant breeds.

Dogs that reach an adult weight of >50 lb (23 kg) are considered large breeds. The average growth period for large breeds is 12 to 18 months, and they reach maturity between 18 to 24 months, much later than smaller-breed dogs.

Some of the typical large breeds include German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Weimaraners.

Giant Breeds

The giant breeds are larger dogs like Great Dance, Mastiffs, Great Pyrenees, and Saint Bernard that reach above 45 kg (99lb).

They take the longest to reach full size. Some giant breeds take at least 18 months to grow the basic framework and continue growing in weight until age two or three.

However, these dogs also age quickly than smaller breeds. Mastiffs live only up to 7 to 8 years, and Dogue de Bordeaux lives only until 5 to 8 years.

 

How to estimate your dog's full size?

One way to estimate their total size is to use an online puppy size calculator.

  • It becomes a bit harder to know how long it takes mixed breeds to become full-sized. You will have to do some guessing by comparing both breed’s weight and size. Not all mixed breeds grow at the same rate.
  • Their gender will determine their adult sizes and weight. Male dogs weigh more and are more significant than female dogs.
  • Puppies experience the most significant growth rate from birth to about six months of age and weigh 30% of their adult weight. You'd know how much your pup will grow at this time.
  • In most pet dogs, sexual maturity occurs between the ages of 6 to 12 months. Smaller breeds reach puberty quicker than large breeds.
  • Smaller breeds tend to have their first estrous cycle (reproductive stage) at an earlier age, while large and giant breeds may not come into heat until they have reached eighteen months to two years of age.

The Stages of Puppy Development

Generally, a pup's development is divided into five stages that start from birth and last until age two.

There are some similarities that all puppies face when growing. This vital info will help you recognize the growth in your pup regardless of breed size.

Neonatal (Newborn - 2 weeks)

Pups at this age sleep most of the day because they need sleep for mental and physical growth. They will wake up mostly to nurse. The birth weight will also double within a week.

Transitional (2 - 4 weeks)

The period between two to four weeks signifies a transitional phase where your pup will open its eyes for the first time, learn to walk, and grow its teeth.

Juvenile (4 - 12 weeks)

Pups aged four to twelve weeks are considered juveniles. Most small breeds will reach their physical maturity within this period. The juvenile period precedes puberty.

Adolescence (6 - 12 months)

Adolescence marks the zenith of their physical and mental growth. Female dogs may begin to go into heat. It also marks the slowing down of physical growth as most breeds are fully grown by this time.

Full maturity (1 - 2 years)

It's the time when your pup entirely becomes an adult dog. They will stop growing bigger but will keep adding weight over time. For giant breeds, this stage marks an important developmental age.

 

What causes a puppy to stop growing?

It may be worrying when your pup isn't growing regularly or is too small for their age.

There are certain instances when your dog may stop growing naturally, and there are several reasons for their stunted growth, ranging from genetics to intestinal worms.

Here's we'll discuss few common reasons for stunted growth in dogs.

Intestinal worm

Pups that are infected with hookworms or roundworms may experience stunted growth.  If a puppy has an extremely heavy worm infection, the worms can steal enough calories from its body; hence, slowing down its growth.

A poor hair coat, diarrhea, and a big potbelly are signs of worm infection.

Malnutrition

Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of stunted growth in dogs. Pups need to eat nutritious food to ensure the healthy growth of tissue cells.

Ensure adequate food and nutrition that supports bones, muscles, and tissue growth in pups. Also, ensure that you don't overfeed your dog or give supplements when they're still growing because too much nutrition can have adverse effects.

 

You can be assured that strenuous exercise or spaying and neutering does not affect their physical growth; however, you must not indulge them in strenuous exercise. It may damage the growth plates of the long bones and cause abnormal development.

There is a rare disease called pituitary dwarfism in German Shepherds. Some Labrador Retrievers have a genetic component, but these conditions are rare and not generally seen in companion animals.

 Check this infographic for more information. 

To learn more about healthy physical and mental growth in dogs, get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best doggy daycare in Urbandale.

July 15 is the Pet Fire Safety Day

Each year many pets get injured in household fire incidents, with over 40,000 deaths. This includes dogs, cats, rabbits, and other small animals.

AmericanHumane.org estimates that more than 500,000 pets are affected by house fires, with over a thousand house fires started by pets themselves.

The National Pet Fires Safety Day is celebrated every July 15 throughout the country to remind us that we need to plan for fire safety at home.

In association with ADT Security Services, the American Kennel Club declared National Pet Fire Safety Day in 2009 to educate pet owners on how to take steps to prevent fires and plan for unexpected emergencies effectively.

Our pets are as much a part of our family and we need to keep them safe from potential hazards. The best way to protect them from the effects of a house fire is to plan beforehand.

The first safety measure is to prevent a fire at home, but how do you do that? Let's take a look.

Preventing a Fire

Here are some tips to prevent accidental fire at home.

Extinguish open flames

Open flame exposure is one of the most common ways that your pet may accidentally start a fire. Pets are curious animals and will investigate open fires, including candles, fireplace, and cooking appliances.

Ensure you've fireproofed your home by using flameless candles and an enclosed fireplace. Additionally, putting covers over stove knobs and discouraging climbing in the kitchen can also help prevent accidental fire outbreaks.

Along with starting an accidental fire, your pet may quickly get burned during fire outbreaks.

Keep Kitchen at bay

The kitchen is the primary place where all the fire appliances are kept. A wandering pet can climb onto stoves to search for food or open the microwave lid. A burning stove knob not only burns your dog's nose but also may start a fire.

Ensure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the kitchen. Also, keep candles and other electrical appliances out of your pet’s reach.

Pet-proof Electrical wires

Many pets enjoy chewing on stuff. Dogs and small animals such as hamsters and rabbits often chew on loose wires, making areas with lamps and plugs potential fire-starting hazards.

To ensure proper safety, you'd need to secure loose wires and ensure they're kept out of their reach. Wires lying on the floor are common prey for these animals. While chewing on the wires, they can get themselves electrocuted as well.

Test your smoke alarms regularly

Many homes are fitted with smoke alarms which often come in handy during a fire outbreak. It's a good idea to check your smoke alarms regularly to ensure it works when needed.

There is a little button on it that you can press to test it. If it beeps weakly, then you need to change the batteries ASAP.

Always check your dryer.

Depending on what type of dryer you have, they need to be inspected every year. We all get in a hurry when we’re doing our chores but, don’t forget to clean out your lint trap every time you put in a new load of laundry.

Keep fire extinguishers around.

Fire extinguishers are always the best defense against fire breakouts. You want to make sure you have one in every room with a potential threat including kitchen and washer room.

Planning for Fire

According to the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team, during a house fire, 99 percent of the time, animals never run out of the fire building. They always go hide somewhere they feel safe.

Hence, the number one step in preparing your pet for fire is to make a safety plan. Ensure to practice this plan with the whole family and pet, so everyone knew whose job it is to grab the pet, emergency supplies.

Here are few ways to plan for fire.

Take basic safety precautions

Fireproof your home by installing necessary safety measures. Install smoke detectors that quickly detect smoke and carbon monoxide.

As a pet owner, consider installing a monitored smoking detectors that will notify the fire department if a fire starts while you're away.

Keep your dog collared.

Frightened animals may act erratically and run away during fire outbreaks from emergency personal and into danger when they feel threatened. Keeping a collar on them and a leash near the door will make it easier for rescuers to grab your pet and get them outside to safety quickly.

As a safety precaution, it's a good to microchip your pet just in case you get separated during an emergency.

Protect your pets when you're away

In an ideal situation, a fire breaks out when the homeowners are away. However, taking few precautions will help your furry friend escape when the fire starts.

If you can, keep your pet near an exit while you’re away so they will have a better chance of getting out.

Plan your escape route

Just like your typical escape route, your pet escape strategy starts with identifying all of the exits and planning their evacuation route.

You can use pet gates to keep them in a designated area close to an exit. Also, know your pet's hideaway spots because they will likely retreat during the chaos.


Emergency Care Tips

Your pet will probably suffer from different kinds of fire injuries, including third-degree burns, smoke inhalation, shock, and loss of consciousness.

Planning for emergency care will help respond to your pet's injuries immediately, hence even saving their life.

Here are some emergency safety tips.

  • If your pet suffers an injury during a fire, take them immediately to a veterinarian.
    Keep safety aid at home, including gauze pads, alcohol wipes, ice packs, antibiotic ointment, and towels.
  • Learn to perform CPR on pets.
  • Incase of external bleeding, apply pressure to the wound and elevate until you patch up the wound using a safety aid.
  • Treatment of oxygen inhalation can only be treated by providing supplemental oxygen with 24hr monitoring. Refer to the nearest hospital or clinic that provides pet-related emergency services.


Pet Oxygen Masks

Here is the list of few nonprofits that provide pet oxygen masks for emergency purposes.

The Project Breathe Program http://www.invisiblefence.com/why-invisible-fence/project-breathe
Project Paws Alive http://projectpawsalive.org/pet-oxygen-recovery-mask-kits
The Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists http://apaws.org/about/support/donate 


An estimated 358,500 home fires occur every year where 50% of these fires start in the kitchen. Preparing your family members and pets for a possible fire outbreak will help save lives in the nick of time.

Check this infographic out for more information. 

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best hospital in Urbandale, to get emergency pet services, mobile emergency response, and veterinary services.

Top 5 Companion Animals

Companion animals make great pets. They take the whole "human's best friend" notion to a whole new level. Unlike other pets, companion pets keep you occupied and help you cope with loneliness, stress, and disabilities.

Why do you need a companion animal?

It’s been medically proven that animals can help lower your blood pressure and beat stress and loneliness. Many people suffer from a lack of companionship, which often leads to the constant feeling of loneliness and depression.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 16.2 million U.S. adults had at least one major depressive episode in a year. This represents 6.7 percent of the U.S. adult population.

In these instances, a companion pet can be beneficial to combat loneliness and depression. They're great listeners and never get sick of spending time with you.

In a recent Human-Animal Bond Research Institute survey, 74% of pet owners said having a pet improved their mental health.

Desiree Wiercyski, a life coach in Fort Wayne, says that "A pet can remind you that you're not alone. Pets offer unconditional love, which can be extraordinarily soothing when feeling isolated."

Although these pets aren't individually trained to perform specific tasks like the service pets, they still make the best companion animals.

So, what are the different types of animals that will become your new companion?

Top 5 Companion Animals

Here is the list of companion pets that might be the right fit for you.

Dog

Dogs are incredibly affectionate and caring animals. They have been with their human companions since they were first domesticated 10,000 years ago. The years of living together have conditioned them to spend significant time with humans.

Dogs' tendency to mercilessly lick their owners is a prime example of their affection. If you're wondering, they love socializing with humans, but if you're not convinced, here are some known facts about keeping a companion dog.

  • They’re scientifically proven to lower stress and blood pressure.
  • They help their owners to conquer anxiety.
  • They boost the sense of self-esteem.
  • They support social connections.
  • They become a close part of your family, often helping in raising small kids.

Here how you can make the best out of your relationship with a dog.

  1. Go for a daily walk with your dog.
  2. Indulge in playtime with them.
  3. Indulge in physical activity together, such as exercising, hiking, running, and throwing Frisbee.
  4. Spend time snuggling and talking

Some of the most preferred companion dog breeds are Papillion, Chihuahua, French bulldog, Golden Retriever, Shih Tzu, Irish Wolfhound, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Pug.

Cat

Cat is one of the most beloved pets in the world. In fact, it is the most kept pet in the US.

According to a national pet owners survey, there was a total of approximately 95.6 million cats living in households in 2017.

  • Although most people describe felines as cold, disinterested, and aloof, they actually make a great companion pet. Dogs and cats show their affection differently, but cats have proven to have been loyal and affectionate animals in most cases.
  • You can find yourself a great companion in a cat or two. Most households own more than one cat, so you too can adopt more than one companion feline.
  • Here are some common ways for cats to show affection: snuggling, hugging, licking, kneading, purring, playing, protecting you, and rubbing against you.
  • If you’re looking for a pet that requires a little less attention and maintenance, a cat might be your best bet. They're slightly cheaper to upkeep than dogs.
  • Animal behaviorists suggest that you should spend at least 20 to 60 minutes daily with your cat. You can spend time playing with them, talking to them, or giving them a treat. Cats also love being brushed and groomed.

Rabbit

While dogs and cats take away the most attention and applause as pets, rabbits often make an unusual companion to people. If you're wondering, rabbits are very friendly and quickly adapt to human companionship. However, they'd need proper housing and upkeep.

  • Rabbits have always been outdoor pets, but many pet owners choose to keep them indoors and outdoor. In general, they need an appropriate kennel, exercise, socialization, and diet.
  • Rabbits are social animals, so ensure to keep them close. Also, make sure they have a place to relax.
  • Don't forget to bunny-proof your house. They will find a way to chew cables, computer wires, couch piping, rug, etc.
  • The staple rabbit diet is fiber. They're also high-maintenance pets.
  • Spend significantly with your pet. You can choose to walk with them for 30 minutes twice a day and play for 10 minutes, six times a day.

Birds

Birds are quite an unusual pet for most people because they lack experience in handling an aviary pet. If you care for them right, they'll become highly loving pets. Many bird species are specially bred to become human companions.

For years, birds have been used as therapy animals, as they can provide many mental health benefits, just like the animals that precede them on this list. Ensure to feed them nutritional meals. Birds love seeds, pelleted foods, vegetables, and small amounts of fruit.

  • Some of the most kept pet birds include Parakeet, Cockatiel, Cockatoo, Lovebird, Finch, Conure, Parrot, and Dove.
  • There are a lot of ways to spend time with pet birds. Some of them include
  • Fetch and retrieve is a game where you toss a small Koosh ball in its direction. If you're lucky, it'll catch and bring it back to you.
  • Birdie Basketball is another game where you design a birdie-sized basketball hoop and teach them to toss a cloth ball.

Hamsters

Hamsters aren't unusual companion pets; instead, many people own hamsters. Around 11 million people keep hamsters as pets in the world.

They don't require constant attention that makes them an ideal pet for busy people. However, make sure to provide them a proper residence, meals, and privacy.

They're incredibly cheap to keep and maintain. A single hamster can survive up to three years. Some common types of pet hamsters include dwarf hamsters, Syrian hamsters, golden hamsters, and teddy bear hamsters.

Here are few things to keep in mind.

  • Choose a habitat with many passages to hide and burrow, like Critter tail tubes connected and a 6-ounce chew-proof water bottle for bedding.
  • Keep them out of sight but not away from the sounds of your family. They enjoy privacy but also love staying close.
  • They can bit when you mishandle them, so be careful. They also need enough sleep.

Make sure you follow this routine each day.

  • Clean the toilet area daily
  • Spot change bedding as needed (when soiled/wet)
  • Wipeout their food dish weekly
  • Change water daily
  • Empty their entire habitat weekly or twice a week
  • Place all new bedding weekly
  • Feed them hamster pellets, small amounts of fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

 

Guinea pigs, horses, fancy rats, and sugar gliders are other popular companion pets to keep. Horses do need a separate kennel and a lot of space and maintenance, so it isn't a usual choice for a companion pet.

When considering exotic pets, it is also essential to examine local regulations and laws to ensure that it is legal to own a particular type of pet.

Having a pet can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience, but you must provide them with a safe and nurturing environment to ensure their safe keep.

Check this infographic out for more information 

 

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Urbandale, to learn more about adopting and raising a companion pet.

What should I do if my dog is in heat?

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

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

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

What is Estrus or Being in Heat?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you know if your dog is in heat?

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

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

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

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

Vaginal discharge is the most common sign of estrus.

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

Proestrus

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

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

Estrus

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

Diestrus

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

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

Anestrus

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

What should you do when your dog is in heat?

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

Caring and cleaning

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

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

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

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

Don't let your dog off-leash

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

Consult a Vet

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

Spay your dog

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

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

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

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

What is the right time to spay?

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

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

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

Check this infographics for more information.

 

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

EHRLICHIOSIS : Everything you need to know about this Canine Disease

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

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

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

What is Ehrlichiosis?

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

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

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

What makes it different from other tick-borne diseases?

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

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

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

Stages of Ehrlichiosis

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

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

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

Ehrlichiosis is divided into three stages

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

Acute Phase

The acute phase is defined by telltale symptoms including;

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

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

Sub-clinical phase

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

Clinical Ehrlichiosis

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

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

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

Diagnosing Ehrlichiosis in dogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prognosis

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

Treatment

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

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

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

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

 

Preventing Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

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

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

For More information please check this infographic.

 

 

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

 

EHRLICHIOSIS : Everything you need to know about this Canine Disease

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

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

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

What is Ehrlichiosis?

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

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

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

What makes it different from other tick-borne diseases?

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

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

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

Stages of Ehrlichiosis

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

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

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

Ehrlichiosis is divided into three stages

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

Acute Phase

The acute phase is defined by telltale symptoms including;

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

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

Sub-clinical phase

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

Clinical Ehrlichiosis

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

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

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

Diagnosing Ehrlichiosis in dogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prognosis

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

Treatment

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

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

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

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

 

Preventing Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

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

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

For More information please check this infographic.

 

 

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

 

10 Smartest Dog Breeds

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

DVM Dennis Riordan of Riordan Pet Hospital claims that,

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

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

Pet behavior specialist Sarah Hodgson says,

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

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

Ten Smartest Dog Breeds

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

Border Collie

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poodle

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

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

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

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

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

German shepherd

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

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

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

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

Golden Retriever

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

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

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

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

Doberman Pinscher

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

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

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

Shetland Sheepdog

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

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

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

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

Labrador Retriever

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

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

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

Papillon

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

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

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

Rottweiler

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

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

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

Australian Cattle Dog

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

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

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

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

Check this infographic out for more information. 

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

Common Fears and Phobias in Dogs

We get fearful of many things in daily life, including someone shouting at us, fighting with someone, and road accidents, so it isn't unusual for dogs to fear similar frightful experiences.

AKC Chief DVM Jerry Klein points out,

Fear is a defense mechanism and isn’t something we can eliminate. Wolves and other wild canids rely on fear to keep them alive.

It only becomes a severe problem when fearful behavior poses dangers to the dog and other family members. Also known as Phobia, the fear culminates into an intense and persistent fear of something. 

Is phobia a problem?

Whether you know it already or not, your canine companion is phobic, and it’s a big problem.

These common phobias can have various causes, including a lack of early socialization, a negative experience, or a sudden frightful experience.  You can tell your dog is under stress by seeing the tell-tale signs, including cowering, trembling, drooling, barking, destructive and aggressive behavior, and, in some cases, aggression.

The additional cause of phobias in dogs includes genetics, but this is very rare. Most of the time, your dog grows phobia for something when they have a frightful experience.

Unlike us humans, dogs can't rationalize their phobia. Hence, it's our responsibility to reduce their stress when they're phobic and assure them that they're safe.

7 Common Fear and Phobias in Dogs

The frightening stimuli listed below are among the most common fears and phobias in dogs.

Thunderstorms

 

The loud thundering noise from the sky often trembles our own feet, so it isn't usual for dogs to fear thunder.

There are a few reasons thunderstorms instill terror in dogs. The most obvious of them is the loud noise. Dogs that are frightful of thunderstorms are also frightful of deafening noises.

There is even research that suggests noise phobias can be inherited.

The other more scientific reason behind the fear of thunder is the release of static electricity into the air. Dogs experience this static as a tingling throughout their hair coat and may even receive multiple shocks before the storm lifts.

This is why many dogs flee to the grounded areas in the home to escape the exposure to static electricity during thunderstorms.

Vetstreet's Dr. Marty Beckers suggests that rubbing your dog's coat with a dryer sheet can help to minimize static.

Fireworks

The fear of fireworks is much similar to thunderstorms. Fireworks instill a fear of loud noise in dogs which often turns into phobias. A sound phobia is common in dogs that are mostly inherited. 

According to Dr. Klein,

Herding breeds are susceptible to noise phobias, perhaps because they are so attuned to their environment.

Not only are fireworks extremely loud, but they also cause frightening odors and visual effects. The vivid display of lights and the smell of gunpowder often make dogs tremble in fear. This may make dogs run away, coil in, or become lost.

Dogs with a severe fireworks phobia may require anti-anxiety medication or sedatives. As an option, you can use preventive measures like Thundershirt, a snug-fitting garment that helps calm dogs by applying gentle, even pressure to the torso.

Car Rides

Fear of riding cars or any other vehicle is common in dogs who have experienced a frightful moment or lack gradual exposure to car rides. 

The traumatic experience often includes road accidents, being stuck inside the car, and a car ride to the veterinarian.

Dogs often become car sick when they aren't used to riding vehicles from an early age. It's similar to young children who get motion sickness from riding cars for the first time.

It's possible to overcome their fear response of car and motion sickness by working up to taking rides in small steps such as opening the door, getting in, spending some time, and then getting out or taking a brief ride around the house or neighborhood. After every successful step, you should reward them with treats or praise to install a positive appreciation.

The Visit to Vet

Most dogs are fearful about visiting veterinarians because they associate it with a past negative experience such as getting injected, surgical treatment, restrained, and strange smells.

Dogs have blood injection phobias, commonly referred to as a fear of needles, a similar experience faced by many people. They don't understand that veterinary visits are in their best interest; hence you should make them feel secure in a strange environment.

The irrational fear of the vet may be dealt with by bringing them to the vet for an occasional social visit that doesn't involve an examination. You can reward them with treats after every visit to instill a positive reaffirmation.

Being Alone

Fear of being alone or separation anxiety is a situational phobia. It often results in destructive behavior such as chewing on stuff, housebreaking accidents, incessant barking, and relieving themselves.

Dogs that aren't used to being left alone often face separation anxiety.

As a treatment, you can make necessary habit changes to alleviate their anxiety. Desensitization, the process of slowly getting the dog used to being left home alone, can also benefit dogs suffering from separation anxiety.

If the separation anxiety is severe, you can consult with the vet to provide medication to your dog.

Fear of strangers and other dogs

Fear of person is common in dogs that lack socialization from an early age. Most dogs fear meeting new people because they had a bad experience with them, such as being abused and abandoned.

Dogs that have not spent much time around other animals will exhibit fear of animal. This is commonly due to a lack of socialization.

For this reason, dog trainers and veterinary professionals recommend socializing your dog early and often. It would be best if you considered taking them to doggy daycare to introduce them to other animals. Interaction with other animals in the park often helps in socializing them at an early age.

Nervousness around strangers can be an inherited trait, but research shows that proper socialization can overcome this problem.

 

What should you do?

Here are few things you should keep in mind.

  • Keep an eye on your dog's body language so you can be more aware when they start exhibiting signs of fear. The standard body languages include pacing, panting, shaking, attempting to hide, salivating, etc.
  • If your dog starts growling at something, you should immediately remove them from that environment.
  • Talk to the behaviorist to develop a desensitization and counter-conditioning program for your dog.
  • Start socializing your dog with other humans and animals at an early age.

Check out this infographic for more information.

 

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best doggy daycare in Urbandale, to start socializing your dog in the presence of expert animal behaviorists and trainers.

 

Tips to build a strong bond with your Furry Friend

It's never too late to strengthen your bond with your furry friend. Whether you've been together for a few days or over ten years, you can always do special things to enrich your closer relationship with your dog. From eye contact to occasional play times, there are hundreds of activities that can bring you two closer.

So, how do you know when you've bonded well with your furry friend?

An article on Rover.com points out that;

If your dog makes regular, visual contact with you in new environments, it means your bond is strong. Similarly, a bonded dog is far less likely to run away. Bonded dogs tend to have a strong recall response and make sure their person is close by in new situations.

If you’re wondering about it, here are some tell-tale signs:

  • They readily make constant eye contact
  • They cling to you when walking or in a new environment
  • They're thrilled to see you when you get back home from work or study.
  • They're relaxed with or around you.
  • They snuggle your stuff like carrying your shoes around in their mouth
  • They listen and respond to you
  • They seek out your affection

10 Best Tips to Build Stronger Bond with Dogs

Here we have compiled a list of ten different activities that will help to build an even stronger bond with your dog.

Exercise Together

 

Exercising together not only helps to shed the fat but also brings you two closer. Indulging in any physical activity together is known to boost Oxytocin, a hormone associated with empathy, trust, and bonding. Here are some ways you can exercise together.

  • Take a hike to the nearby forest, hills, or trails.
  • Go for a trail run if your dog is agile and very athletic.
  • Go for a swim together. Many pools allow dogs to swim.
  • Indulge in catch and let-go, Frisbee, chase and hide & Seek games.
  • Jog or walk together to the park.

Exercising is often the most preferred method of bonding because it stimulates both of you physically and mentally.

Be careful about taking your pup and older dogs for a run. They're often better with occasional, less-strenuous exercises.

Train them every day/Teach them Tricks

Dogs crave mental stimulation, and they love having a job. It's your job to keep them indulged in physical and mental training that boots their neurological development.

If you're wondering, dogs have an aptitude for learning from an early age. This is why trainers always recommend teaching them new commands from an early age.

Learning new tricks and training is an enriching experience for dogs; hence you should use this opportunity to strengthen your bond with them.

Start with teaching basic commands like Sit, Run, Stop, Rollover, etc. Teach new tricks every time after they've learned one. Dogs who have to stay all by themselves often indulge in reenacting tricks; hence, you should teach them new tricks by using positive reinforcement techniques.

Give them a Massage and Brushing.

 

Grooming is equally essential to dogs' health: regular grooming and massaging help combat stress, physical ailments, injuries, and vein blockage.

You can either take them to a professional groomer or even groom them at home using the right brushes and tools. Grooming them by yourself is a great idea to boost your bond. Your dog will always look forward to a brushing session from you.

Consider massaging them on a regular interval. It is incredibly beneficial for your dog’s health, flexibility, and circulation. It will help increases oxygen flow to the blood, relieves pain and muscle tension, alleviates anxiety, and remove the chances of hip or joint dysplasia.

Older dogs will enjoy frequent massages because of bone and joint ailment that is more common in the older age.

Engage in playtime

Schedule a little fun for every day. Playing games will stimulate your dog's mood and body and strengthen your bond with them!

You can indulge in a great many games with them, including playing game of tug, building an obstacle course, catching Frisbee or balls, or other mind-stimulating games.

Experts suggest indulging your dog in mentally stimulating games at home to beat stress and boredom and help for neurological development.

Regular, active play can also help cut down on problem behaviors, according to a study released by Bristol University.

Feed them personally

Your dog will love to eat out of your hand. Although it isn't possible to feed them by hand all the time, you can make sure to feed homemade dog treats occasionally, and a piece of food by hand, like when you go out, after a play, after a bath, and on other occasions.

Hand-feeding your dog is another way to build a special bond with your dog. They'd love to slurp the treat of your palm.

Create and stick to the routine

Your dog will love to hang out with you, play with you, or cuddle when you're home. Creating a daily schedule will keep your dog on its toes at all times. They'd look forward to going for a jog every morning, eat alongside you in the evening, and cuddle together while you're watching a movie.

Dogs are creatures of habit, so creating routines for several different behaviors can help you play a role in their regular habits. This will help you spend more time with them each day.

Pet with Purpose

Petting a dog symbolizes your affection and love towards them. Unlike us, dogs very well know this fact, and they encourage you to brush your hand on their head, neck, and around the belly.

Many pet owners casually brush their hands on their dog's heads, but this isn't enough to get their full attention and affection. You'd need to pet them as you mean it.

Take some time and make an extra effort to pet them every day. Start with gently brushing their head, and then move your hands around their fingers leading down to their neck and under the chin. You can end it with a gentle belly rub. Dogs love a belly rub.

Understand their body language

Dogs' can't tell what they're feeling or suffering; hence it's your job to comprehend their physical cues.

Dogs speak a lot through their body. When they’re afraid, they'll often look for comfort in the corners or under the blanket. When they're joyous, they'll wag their tails. Their ears will point down when they're concerned or sad.

You can take up the challenge and study their behavior to communicate with them more accessible. Sometimes, their eyes would tell you a lot about the state they're in!

Create some Cuddle Time

Dogs love to cuddle! Maybe it's their favorite time pass. It's nicer to show them that you care by cuddling with them.

Let them cuddle with you when you're chilling on the couch, sitting on the bed, meeting your best friend, or just lying around.

Cuddling helps boost the release of dopamine and oxytocin in dogs that helps to prevent an increase in stress and depression. They'll also feel safer when cuddling!

Give them a Quiet Space

It may come as a surprise, but yes, you should give them a quiet space from time to time. Dogs often love to sit by themselves, watching over the chores, peeping out of the window, or lying just lying around. You can preserve your bond by letting them enjoy their private time occasionally.

Make a private space where they retreat to, such as a crate or a dog bed in another room. Let them get away for a while if they feel overwhelmed or want to stay away from loud houseguests.

Check this i

 

Taking the time to be mindful and cater to your dog's needs will help to prosper your bond with them.

Want to learn more about animal wellness and building a stronger bond with your pet? Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best doggy daycare in Urbandale.

 

Your Spring Dog Care Checklist!

Who doesn't love the season of blossoming flowers, butterflies, chirping birds, and green leaves? Spring is probably the most awaited season, especially for your dogs.

Dogs love to wander outdoors in spring. Frolicking on the green grass, jumping into bushes, splashing pond water, and scouring the forest are a few of the many activities dogs love to do in spring.

While it's fun to let them run hither tither outdoors, it can prove to be fatal to their health. Spring is known to bring flea and ticks. The warmer weather also invites heartworm diseases along with other malice.

Your furry friend is likely to attract diseases in spring than another season; hence you should be wary about administering preventive care on time to keep them safe.

Spring Season Dog Care Checklist

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Des Moines, has prepared a thorough checklist for spring dog care. Please download the spring dog care checklist (PDF)or spring dog care checklist (Word)into your device (smartphone, PC, or laptop) to start using it.

Flea and Tick Infestation

 

Flea and tick infestation is rampant during the spring season. These parasites feed on your pet’s blood and cause health problems ranging from allergic reactions to tick-borne severe illnesses.

Fleas are more common during the warmer months that may last until the winter. Female fleas can lay 40 to 50 eggs a day, leading to an infestation within few days. The infected pets can spread illness to their human counterparts as well.

Be wary of these tell-tale signs of fleas and tick infestation:

  • Flea droppings, which look like dark specks, in the fur
  • Flea eggs, which look like white specks, in the fur
  • Excessive licking or scratching
  • Scabs or hot spots on the skin

Flea and tick shampoo, flea collar, medication, and skin treatment are preventive measures for flea and tick infestation.

Say No to Heartworm

Heartworm disease is a common heart disease in dogs. Known as DilofilariaImmitis, heartworm disease spreads from an infected mosquito's bite. It takes about seven months for larvae to mature into adult heartworm that looks like parasitic roundworm. Once it grows bigger, it lodges into the heart, lungs, and blood vessels and starts reproducing.

Adult heartworm can grow up to 12 inches in length and survives for 5-7 years. If not treated in time, heartworm can even cause death.

Check for tell-tale signs for soft and dry cough, inactivity, lethargy, sudden weight loss, bulging chest, difficulty breathing, etc. Administering heartworm preventive drugs will keep your dog safe around the year.

Safety First

Prepare a first-aid kit or purchase a kit, so you have it handy for the spring season. Dogs are more likely to get injuries and infections in the spring because they often spend more time outdoors.

If you regularly indulge in spring hiking, excursions, and a trip to nearby forests and ponds, you better carry the first-aid kit with you at all times. You'd never know if your dog will fall into the bushes or from the rock, injure its paws, get bites or scratches from wild animals, and other common pet-related emergencies.

Also, check with your vet to make sure your dog's rabies vaccination is up to date.

Primp your Dog

Consider getting a thorough spring cleaning to help your dog feel refreshed. It's an excellent idea to groom your dog's fur before it starts getting warmer. Do not entirely shave off your dog because they will need the undercoat to keep them safe from flea and mosquito bites.

Schedule an appointment with the groomer for a wash and trim. You can set up your groomer at home too.

  • Start with giving them a clean wash.
  • Thoroughly clean their ear, under ear, and nose.
  • Give nail trimming
  • Trim off top-four using a proper grooming tool.

Clean your Dog's Bed, Bowl, and toys

While you're in the cleaning mode, consider washing off their bed and mattress and cleaning their toys with disinfectants so they can keep using them year-round.

If you see visible wear and tear in dog beds, mattresses, bowls, and toys, it's time to replace them.  Check the dates on your dog's medications and treats.

Freshen up their wardrobe with a new collar, ID tags, and other accessories.

Take care of your Lawn and Driveway.

Spring is also the time to trim and fertilize your lawn. It’s essential to keep your pet safe from fertilizers, chemicals, and other toxins easily found in the lawn. De-grime your driveway of anti-freeze, lubricants, and salts, so your dog doesn’t accidentally ingest toxins.

Spring Fever

You’d notice a change in your dog’s behavior with the arrival of spring seasons. While most dogs love to wander outside, only a few would choose to stay inside. Dogs love everything about spring; flowers, grass, leaves, woods, squirrels, water, and so on.

It would be best if you allowed your dog to enjoy the spring fever but with proper precautions. It’s a bad idea to let them wander outside alone, burrow the unmarked holes, and scavenge into the woods. Wandering all by themselves in the forest can attract wild animals like raccoons, skunks, chimps, and foxes. It’s a good idea to supervise their outdoor activities.

Help Your Local Shelters

It’s never late to help your local animal shelter with food, cloth, volunteering, and money. To find out what your community shelters need, give them a call and in the meantime, set aside these often requested items: kennels, carriers, cozy pet beds, bedding and blankets, towels, and cleaning supplies such as bleach sponges, and laundry detergent.

 Check this infographic for more information. 

 

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier pet hospital and daycare in Des Moines. We offer pet care consultation, medical and surgical services, daycare, and boarding services. Get in touch with us to learn more about how to keep your pet safe in spring.