Archive for the ‘Dog Health Tips’ Category

Preventing Dog Heat Stroke During Summer Walks in Chicago

Monday, May 5th, 2014

The majority of people love the Summer Season, especially in Chicago, however, warm and humid weather can be a threat for your dog’s health by suffering a heat stroke. First of all you should be aware that certain dog breeds are more prone to suffer a heat stroke because of their short-nose, or large dogs because of their wide chests. Then if you own a dog that falls in either of these two categories, you must be even more extra careful! For example, an English Bull-dog is short-nose breed, or a Weimaraner dog is a large wide chested breed. Generally, any breed is very susceptible to heat. Secondly, it is important to understand that dogs do not cool off as easily as human beings because dogs can’t sweat. Dogs do have sweat glands on their feet, but remember that their body is covered entirely with fur. Therefore, the method dogs use to realize the heat from their bodies is by breathing or panting which it is not enough if a dog is exposed to high temperatures. Dogs can easily, in as minimum as 15 to 20 minutes, get a heat stroke.

Here are a few tips to help your dog beat the summer’s heat:

  • Number one rule of thumb: If the temperature is high outside, keep your dog from spending long periods of time outdoors. Take her out just for the necessary amount of time to do her duties. It is just as humans, we avoid exposure to the heat.
  • Even if you are running errands, do not take your dog with you and/or leave her in your car. Keep in mind that the car’s metal can get over heated very quickly, thus the same can happen to your dog in as little as 20 minutes.
  • If you plan to take a long walk at the park or to go to the dog run. It can be difficult to keep your dog under the tree’s shadows. Best advice is to have with you a frozen bottle of water to provide cool water to your dog in time slots of 15 to 20 minutes in between.
  • Do not assume that your dog will be free of suffering a heat stroke if you go swimming with her. During summer time, the water can very well be as warm as 72 degrees, and that temperature is more than enough for a dog to get overheated.
  • If you own a short-nose or a large breed dog. A cooling dog collar can help your dog to keep a normal body temperature while in the outdoors. Truth is, the collar is suitable to any type of breed.
  • Another way to help your dog cool down is to rub alcohol on her paws. Especially after walking on hot pavement.
  • For the dog owner who takes their dog running. The best time to do so is very early in the morning or in the evening by the sunset when temperature is not high.

What are the symptoms of canine heat stroke?

  • The dog has excessive panting.
  • Underneath the ears and neck is super hot.
  • If you can measure her rectal temperature and if it is high at or above 104 degrees; your dog is suffering from a heat stroke.
  • Her saliva is thick, gum are pale and tongue reddish.
  • If your dog vomits or collapses then it is time to seek immediate medical help.

Meanwhile you are taking your dog to the vet. Pour cold water around her neck and underneath her ears. Your dog might not want to drink water, but it is recommendable to make her drink small amounts. Put your dog in a cold environment. For example, turn on your car air conditioner high enough while you arrive at the veterinary office.

Remember immediate emergency measures are essential for a dog who suffers a heat stroke. That can draw the line between death and life. However, it is better to play it safe and preventing a heat stroke is the ultimate way to go.

Dog Health: How to Deal with Vision Problems in Dogs

Friday, March 21st, 2014
Dogs and Cataracts

The conditions that cause a lack of clarity in the lens makes a dogs eye appear cloudy or dark in color, causing him to have blurry vision.  The “eye shine” reflected back to you may have diminished and the cloudiness may have come on gradually.

If the cataract is small, it won’t likely disturb the dog’s vision too much, but cataracts must be monitored because the thicker and denser they become, the more likely it is they will lead to blindness in dogs. Cloudiness in the lens is treatable with cataract surgery to remove the cloudy lens and implant a replacement lens.

Cataracts can develop from disease, old age and trauma to the eye, but inherited conditions are the most common cause. Cataracts may be present at birth or develop when dogs are very young-between one and three years of age. A high-incidence of cataracts is also often attributed to diabetes.

How Can I Tell if My Dog Is Developing Cataracts?

If your dog’s eyes look cloudy or bluish-gray, you should take him to the vet for an exam. Be aware, though, that it’s natural for a dog’s lens to become cloudy, or gray, with age. This condition, called nuclear sclerosis, doesn’t put a dog’s vision in as much danger as cataracts might, and treatment isn’t usually recommended. However, any cloudiness at all in your pet’s eye is a sign for you to take him to the vet.

Cataract surgery has a high rate of success and the surgery is approximately $2,000.00 to $3,000.00.  Glaucoma, Cataracts and Corneal diseases are all treatable if caught in the early stages in dogs.

Retinal Diseases

Conditions that affect the retina, optic nerve or brain may have a more sudden onset.  Retinal diseases are the most common  Most forms of retinal degeneration are inherited and affect both eyes simultaneously, with a gradual loss of vision, with a progression to complete blindness.  Dogs are usually between the ages of 7-9 when conditions are first noticed.  Retinal degeneration has no treatment available and leads to blindness.

Tennis Balls and Your Dog: What you need to know

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Does your dog love to chase after tennis balls? Even, perhaps, a little obsessed about it?

Something you need to keep in mind is that a tennis ball is made of abrasive material that can quickly wear down your dog’s teeth. Some dogs love them so much that their teeth have ground down to little nubs. This is important because a dog must have their teeth last a lifetime and you definately want to protect them whenever you can.

If you want to nip this problem in the bud, change to rubber balls. Rubber does not have the abrasive properties like the green tennis balls you see at all the dog parks. Why do most people not change to rubber? Not all dogs have problems with tennis balls, so just keep an eye on your dog’s teeth to determine if you need to make any adjustments. Also, they are costly, especially if your dog likes to leave them behind in the bushes.

How Can I Protect My Dog’s Feet from Salt in the Winter?

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Winter in Chicago can be a real challenge for your dog.  Some love the cold and snow and can’t wait to get outside.  Some dogs would like to stay inside till Spring.  But we all have to brave the elements at some point.  In addition to lots of snow, temperatures have been scary cold!  And there has been an alarming amount of salt on the sidewalks!

Booties!  So many options!  Below are just a few ideas for keeping your dog healthy and comfortable.

Rubber booties come in a wide range of colors and are inexpensive.  However, even the most placid dog has a hard time adjusting to these things on his feet.  If she sits there long enough for you to get them on…and that’s a big if…she walks very funny and does everything possible to get them off.

There is another doggie bootie…made of felt.  It has a wide opening for your dog’s paw to fit into easily.  And a Velcro wrap to keep it securely on.  These come in a range of colors and prices.

There are also numerous places on the internet that give you instructions on how to make your own booties.

Finally, a good alternative for dogs that absolutely cannot sit still long enough to put on their booties is a thing called Musher’s Secret Wax.  It was originally designed for Canadian sled dogs.  Rub it on the bottom of their paws right before you walk your dog and it keeps out snow and ice and occasional salt particles.

Below are a few Bootie Cuties!