Dog Heatstroke – How to Kill Your Dog in Under 30 Minutes

emergency-first-aid-2I read some startling statistics today about how quickly the inside of a parked car can heat up – severe heatstroke is only minutes away, and death not far behind for dogs left in parked cars during warm weather.

Most of us know that we shouldn’t leave dogs in parked cars in the height of summer, but cooler Spring and Autumn temperatures can prove to be as deadly.

Here are some sobering facts, courtesy of the The Humane Society of the United States:

[Read more…]

How Your Dog Hears

wet-dog-2Just like humans, dogs’ ears are vitally important, not only for hearing us calling to them, but also for maintaining their balance.

A dog’s ear can be a nice warm, moist and dirty environment and just the place bacteria, viruses and parasites love. Without routine examination and care, your dog’s ears can easily become infected and, like humans, dogs find ear-ache very uncomfortable and painful.

Today I’m going to explain how the dog’s ear is structured, because that will help you to understand how ear problems can arise, and it will give you a basic understanding of the terminology should your dog need to visit the vet for an ear examination.
[Read more…]

Xylitol – the sweetener that’s poisoning our dogs

emergency-first-aidThe mass pet food recall in the United States is focusing our minds on what we are feeding our dogs, and I for one am looking hard at all food labels before giving any food to Fritz and Zoe.

I read today that Xylitol a sweetener found in many chewing gums, candies and baked goods is extremely [tag-tec]poisonous to dogs[/tag-tec].

The ASPCA has reported that it is treating an increasing numbers of dogs that have eaten products containing the artificial sweetener. Xylitol is a relatively new, but increasingly popular, product to the US marketplace and knowledge of the effects it has on dogs is increasing all the time.

Like [tag-tec]chocolate[/tag-tec], products containing Xylitol can have a sweet smell that dogs find attractive, and given their tendency to rummage and gobble, it only takes a packet of chewing gum left in an open bag for your dog to eat it and become very ill.

Two or three sticks of chewing gum containing Xylitol can prove toxic for a 20 pound dog.

Symptoms of Xylitol poisoning

Within 30 minutes of ingesting Xylitol your dog can become very seriously ill; however the symptoms can take 12 hours to emerge if only a small quantity has been consumed.

Xylitol causes a very quick drop in your dog’s blood sugar level and typically he will start vomiting, which can be followed by a loss of co-ordination (he’ll tend to stagger around), lethargy, collapse and seizures.

If you think your dog has eaten a product containing Xylitol, take him to your vet immediately – this product can prove fatal in a very short space of time if not treated.

Some common products that are known to contain Xylitol include:

  • Jell-O puddings
  • Trident sugar free chewing gum
  • Altoid mints
  • Some brands of toothpaste, nicotine gum and vitamins and dietary supplements.
Read all food labels carefully; your dog is most at risk if it eats a product that has Xylitol listed as the first ingredient.
      Artificial sweeteners

that don’t contain

    Xylitol include: Splenda, Nutrasweet and Sweet N’ Low

Dog Dental Disease – starting a dental care program

dog-teeth-1Yesterday I mentioned how important it was to look after your [tag-ice]dog’s teeth [/tag-ice] and that a dental care program is essential in order to prevent dental disease – click here to read the post.

Dental disease is progressive, your dog won’t just have [tag]tartar[/tag] on his teeth, he will have tartar that progresses to [tag]periodontal disease[/tag]. Each progression of the disease will be more painful for your dog and more costly to treat, so starting regular dental care makes sense.

There are two parts to a dental care program – regular veterinary check-ups and home dental care.

[Read more…]

Dental Disease – why a dental care program is essential for your dog

brushing-teethHow often do you clean your teeth – I bet it’s at least once every day? Remember how awful it feels in the morning when you’ve forgotten to brush your teeth the night before – your teeth are coated in that horrid furry stuff and you’re paranoid your breath smells!

How often do you clean your dog’s teeth? Now, imagine how he feels every day.

Seriously, looking after your dog’s teeth is a very important part of your dog care regime. Studies have shown that by the time they are 3, 80% of dogs show signs of gum disease.

Dogs usually suffer in silence, so the symptoms to watch out for include:
[Read more…]

Does Your Dog Smell – maybe he’s telling you something

wet-dogOne of the good things about owning Schnauzers is that they don’t have that doggy smell that many other breeds, particularly long haired ones, tend to have.

Our first family dog was a Bearded Collie who loved swimming in the sea every day, and she continually smelt like a piece of wet carpet. Though I loved her dearly for it, my Mother wasn’t too happy about the smell and spent a great deal of time squirting air freshener around the house!

We tend to associate a smelly dog with one that has either rolled in something unpleasant or been out in the rain for too long, but it could be a sign that you dog is ill or has a personal hygiene problem that needs attending to.

In his article Why Dogs Stink, small town country veterinarian (his own words) Dr. Everett Mobley covers some of the serious reasons why your dog might smell, and provides a more practical approach to dealing with the problem than just reaching for the air freshener.

Chocolate Toxicity – how much chocolate can your dog eat?

chocolate-easter-eggI don’t know about you, but I tend to over-indulge in chocolate at Easter, but apart from feeling guilty about eating so much, thankfully I don’t suffer any long term consequences. Unfortunately the same may not be true for your dog if he gets stuck into your Easter eggs. [tag-tec] Dog poisoning [/tag-tec] from the ingestion chocolate accounts for many trips to the vet this time of year.

Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine – a natural stimulant found in cocoa beans. Dogs love the flavor of theobromine and even the tiniest taste of chocolate will leave them craving for more, but in large doses chocolate can be fatal.

So how much chocolate is too much? If your dog happens to eat one or two M&Ms then you don’t need to dash off to the vet, but the taste will leave him addicted to chocolate and he’ll take every opportunity to have another taste in the future.

Chocolate toxicity will depend on the type and amount of chocolate eaten, the weight of your dog as well as his age and general health.

White chocolate contains the least amount of theobromine and baking chocolate the most. As a rule of thumb:

  • White chocolate – signs of toxicity can occur when 45 ounces per pound of body weight is eaten; so a 10 pound dog such as a Yorkshire Terrier would need to eat approximately 28 pounds of white chocolate before the chocolate was toxic!
  • Milk Chocolate – signs of toxicity can occur when 1 ounce per pound of body weight is eaten, so our 10 pound Yorkshire Terrier would only need to eat half a pound of chocolate before he became ill.
  • Sweet Cocoa (includes instant cocoa) – only one third of an ounce of chocolate per pound of body weight is needed before symptoms of toxicity would show. Using the Yorkshire Terrier as an example again, that’s just three ounces, or an average chocolate bar.
  • Baking Chocolate – this has the highest incidence of theobromine and just one tenth of an ounce per pound of body weight is enough to be toxic. Our Yorkshire Terrier would be showing signs of poisoning if he ate just one ounce of baking chocolate.

Theobromine affects the central nervous system and when taken in toxic amounts can lead to the following symptoms – hyper activity, restlessness, panting, increased urination, diarrhoea and, in extreme cases, seizures.

If you suspect your dog has eaten a large amount of chocolate then contact your vet immediately. Treatment will usually involve fluid replacement, sedatives and medication to reduce heart rate and blood pressure if the poisoning is severe. Thankfully, most dogs recover within 48 hours of treatment.

So please keep your dog safe this Easter and don’t let him have the taste of chocolate, it could be a fatal mistake.