5 Signs Your Dog Could Be Pregnant

Detecting whether your dog is pregnant can be quite hard until you obviously see her belly bulging.

If you’re expecting cute, healthy puppies to be born, it’s important to identify first whether your dog is pregnant so that you don’t end up with false hopes. Most of all, you can prepare for your puppies’ birth ahead of time to ensure safe deliveries.

The following signs will you determine if your beloved dog is pregnant:

Physical changes

Unlike humans whose pregnancy term lasts for nine months, a female dog’s pregnancy lasts for about two months.

For most canines, it’s between 58 to 66 days. During this period, your pooch will display many physical changes in her body.

1. Body changes

When a female dog is pregnant, her body shape doesn’t change until the second half of her pregnancy.

You will notice her tummy start to fill out and her waist begin to thicken at about four to five weeks. In your dog’s final third of her pregnancy, her belly will become rounded and ballooned as her mammary glands start to develop to get ready to produce milk.

A dog’s nipples will also start to change color and size from the beginning of her pregnant period. Usually, nipples will get bigger and appear noticeably darker. At the same time, the hair around the nipples will start to thin out to prepare for nursing puppies.

2. Puppy movement

Place your palm flat against your dog’s side where you can see the rippling to feel the movement of the puppies. You will notice your dog’s flanks moving as the puppies wriggle in her womb during the final third of the gestation period.

Behavioral changes

A sudden change in your dog’s behavior can be an early indicator of pregnancy.

During this time, your furry friend will show irritability and want nothing to do with you in the first half of her pregnancy. If this is the case for your pooch, ease her moodiness by making her comfortable in a cozy pet bed.

3. Drastic and unexpected mood changes

Due to changing hormone levels, your dog’s temperament is affected. Dogs react differently to pregnancy. For instance, your usual happy pooch may be a bit grumpy or quieter than usual.

If you have a hyperactive dog, she will be less energetic when pregnant. You’ll notice her spending more time resting than running or playing.

4. Appetite changes

During early pregnancy, dogs can experience morning sickness and lose their appetite.

If your pooch is three to four weeks pregnant, she may start eating very little. This situation will continue until your pooch gets over her nausea.

There are other dogs who experience an increase in appetite and start gobbling up more food than usual.

5. Nesting

When a dog is near her whelping time, she will start to nest.
In about two to three weeks before giving birth, your canine friend will start to gather clothing or blankets to prepare a safe, warm, and suitable environment for her puppies.

Get a professional diagnosis

Early dog pregnancy signs may be misleading as they can also go through a false pregnancy which also mimics all the signs of a genuine one.

Your best option to confirm or rule out a pregnancy is to consult with your vet. Once you suspect your pooch is pregnant, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to get a reliable pregnancy test.

Until your vet visit, give your pooch moderate exercise and good nutrition. Also, keep her environment stress-free and provide her with a good place to rest.

Different ways the vet can test your dog for pregnancy:

  • As early as 28 days post-breeding, your vet will palpate your dog’s abdomen to feel for possible embryos. An ultrasound may also be used instead as it is more accurate and can help determine how many puppies you’ll be expecting.
  • Relaxin, which is a special substance produced only during pregnancy can be detected as early as 25 to 30 days after breeding by means of an endocrinological test.
  • Through X-ray, your vet can get images of your dog’s insides. At around 45 to 49 days into pregnancy, the puppies’ skeletons will be visible on an X-ray image.
  • Via stethoscope, your vet can hear puppies’ heartbeats 25 days post-breeding.

Caring for a pregnant dog

Once your vet has confirmed that your dog is, indeed, pregnant, here are steps you must take to ensure she stays healthy all throughout her pregnancy:

1. Proper nutrition
The most important thing you can do for your pregnant dog is to make sure that she receives the best proper nutrition.

If your dog is already at a healthy weight and is eating good quality food, you don’t have to make changes to her diet unless directed by your vet. As her weight increases, add to her food intake gradually and feed her frequent meals instead, as large meals may cause discomfort.

2. Vet visits
Making regular trips to the vet can help your pooch stay healthy during her pregnancy. Your vet will examine your canine for any signs of discomfort or illness. While you’re at the vet for a prenatal checkup, ask about what you can do once your dog gives birth.

3. Preparation
As much as possible, you should make your dog’s whelping comfortable and hassle-free.

The best thing to do is to set up a whelping area located in a warm, comfortable, safe, easily cleaned location for your dog to give birth to her puppies. Ideally, set it up away from all other canines and in a quiet area to give your dog some privacy.

Take some time to let your dog get accustomed to the whelping area. Introduce it beforehand so that your dog won’t deliver her puppies someplace else. You will also have to prepare the necessary whelping supplies in advance, which include:

  • Clean and dry towels to clean the puppies
  • Newspaper or scratch papers to line the whelping area during delivery for easy cleanup
  • Non-skid bath mats for bedding after the whelping is done
  • Paper towels
  • Water
  • Thermometer to check your dog’s temperature
  • Unwaxed dental floss for tying puppies’ umbilical cords
  • Clean scissors for cutting puppies’ umbilical cords
  • Iodine for cleaning puppies’ abdomens after cutting the cord
  • Hot water bottle or a heating pad to keep puppies warm
  • Your vet’s phone number in case of an emergency

Your whelping supplies should be clean and stored in an easy-to-access location.

As your dog’s time to give birth approaches, watch out for any signs of her going into labor. Most pregnant dogs will start to pant heavily and experience a temperature drop.

About 24 hours after the temperature drops, your dog will whelp and you’ll be a proud pet parent of new puppies.

Possible labor complications

Sometimes, when a dog is giving birth, things can still go wrong no matter how prepared you may think you and your dog are.

Therefore, it’s crucial that you know the warning signs of labor complications. These are:

  • Uncomfortable labor that causes your dog extreme pain
  • More than two hours have passed in between the delivery of puppies
  • Strong contractions that last more than 45 minutes without delivery
  • Pregnant dog is collapsing, shivering, or trembling
  • Delivery of dark green or bloody fluid before the first puppy
  • No signs of whelping after 64 days of pregnancy

Pregnancy doesn’t have to be a stressful time for both dog and owner.

The more you know about dog pregnancy in advance, the better prepared you’ll be to care for your beloved pooch.

Don’t hesitate to consult your vet whenever your pregnant dog exhibits any signs of pain or discomfort.

About the Author
Andrew Kevan has been the Account Manager at Sandleford Holdings since 2016. He studied at Monash University and completed his Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Zoology. Andrew is the owner of a beautiful Rottweiler named Lady who is constantly spoiled and loves her Fido & Fletch Large Pet Home.

 

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Increase in Dog Urination – Causes and Concerns

An increase in your dog’s urination can mean a lot of things. If you’re someone who is facing this issue and is need of help, then you’ve come to the right place.

There could be a lot of reasons why this is happening. For instance, it could be a new dog food, a sudden environmental change, or medical issues.
In this article, we discuss a number of reasons as to why this happens.

While it’s fine to check up on symptoms on the internet, please make sure you visit the vet as quickly as possible if the situation hasn’t changed or has somehow gotten worse.

On that note, let’s start with the health concerns first. Here is a list of health issues you might need to look out for.

1. Bladder Stones and Infections

An increase in urination can be caused by both bladder stones and infections. There is, however, a way to differentiate.

In case of an infection, only a small amount of urine will pass every time your pup urinates.

Other common symptoms of an infection include pain while urinating, or lethargy or fever, or blood in the urine.

With bladder stones, urination will be frequent but blood-stained. Chances are that your dog will experience pain in their urethra, leading to partial or full blockage.

It’s best not to take chances if you notice these symptoms and take your dog to the vet immediately.

2. Diabetes and Cushing’s Disease

While it’s not uncommon for dogs to have diabetes, a sudden increase in urination may be caused by diabetes.

The most common symptoms to look out for are an increase in appetite, weight loss, frequent thirst, and recurring urination.

Although Cushing’s disease is normally frequent in older dogs, there’s a possibility your dog might have it too.

Usual signs include a saggy stomach, uncurbed panting, hair loss, and drinking water too much. If you notice these symptoms take your dog to the vet straight away!

3. Liver and Kidney Failure

Liver and kidney failure are also common causes for urinating frequently. For liver failure, keep an eye out for signs of diarrhea, vomiting, and a loss of appetite.

Usually, an inflammation or a shunt in the liver may cause your dog to hydrate more than necessary, resulting in frequent urination.

Another reason for excessive water consumption and frequent urination is kidney failure. Dehydration, loss of weight and appetite are imminent, and so is a dry hair coat, and lastly depression.

Check the color of your dog’s urine. If it’s pale it’s again a sign for chronic kidney failure.

4. Tumors and Cancers

A few other serious causes for frequent urination can be bladder and vaginal tumors or a prostate cancer.

The symptoms of a tumor in the bladder is very similar to a bladder infection, but it’s known to be more aggressive than an infection.

Signs of urinating regularly, blood in the urine, and having difficulty urinating are common.

Prostate cancer in dogs is very rare, but when it happens, they’re very vigorous and fast-growing.

It causes the prostate to enlarge which causes an increase in urination. Other common signs are walking in a weird gait, blood-stained urine, fever, and constipation.

Vaginal tumors are known to be associated with older female dogs, but the symptom is the same – recurrent urination.

Some other ways to identify this is looking for vaginal discharge, often licking of the vulva, and a mass sticking out through the vulvar lips.

5. Behavior Issues and Poisons

Other than tumors, kidney failures, and prostate cancer, there might be some other reasons why your dog is urinating too often.

Firstly, it could be Psychogenic Polydipsia – a behavioral problem. A dog with this problem may show an irresistible impulse to drink water regularly and excessively.

There’s no legit reason why dogs do this, but many doctors think it’s because they’re bored or super stressed out. An increased set of physical activities is an easy cure for this as it’ll keep them busy and distracted.

Another reason could be poisoning. Toxins, such as, organophosphates or methylxanthines are present in poison baits and chocolates which can lead to continual urination in dogs.

Other symptoms, such as drooling, vomiting, seizures, or diarrhea are also signs of poisoning.

Concerns Regarding Food

Aside from health-related issues, there are some other reasons why your dog might be being the way they are. Let’s take a look at the list of reasons below.

Food Sensitivities and Allergies

Many dogs are sensitive to certain types of food which may result in allergies and an intolerance towards that kind of food.

A simple definition of food intolerance is the digestive system’s inefficiency to break a particular food down. This intolerance or sensitivity may make your dog thirsty.

Other than an irritated bowel, there are other symptoms that may cause a food allergy or intolerance. For instance, an itchy throat, rashes, and swelled up hive face, diarrhea.

Most times, the lack of a digestive enzyme is the main problem. For instance, a dog that is lactose intolerant doesn’t have the necessary enzymes to digest milk or other dairy products.

An allergy can cause problems in the immune system entirely and that could result in these symptoms to occur. Consult your vet right away and test your dog for any food allergies or sensitivities.

Too Much Salt

Too much salt can make anyone thirsty. It works the same with dogs. If the food you’re providing contains a high amount of sodium, then chances are your dog will be extra thirsty.

There are rules that are set that entail the minimum use of salt in dog foods. It’s recommended to have a 0.3 percent of sodium available in your dog food.

Dogs usually excrete sodium along with their urine and anything higher than that may cause health problems. While it’s true that salt usually makes the body absorb water, but there is a limit.

So, the higher the sodium is in your dog food, chances are they’ll be super thirsty and will urinate regularly. Remember to check the ingredients on the dog food labels before buying one.

Canned Dog Food

If you feed canned food to your dog then that might be reason enough for him to urinate often. Canned food already has a high percentage of water in them.

Not to mention, the moisture that’s in them is enough to cause this slight change. Small breed dogs or puppies may urinate more than larger breed dogs if fed canned food.

A dry kibble for dogs contains less water than any canned food. So, be mindful when you’re buying canned food to feed Fido. It might be the reason why he is urinating more.

Overheating Problems

A change in weather might also be the reason for this messy situation. Many dogs like to be outside, play around all day.

Just like human beings, dogs get tired and thirsty too. Spending time under the sun all day and the warmth from it alone will make them want to drink plenty of water.

Dogs don’t sweat normally, they adjust their body temperature by panting. It’s only natural to crave water in these circumstances. This creates a cycle of consuming more water and urinating repeatedly.

During hot weathers, make sure your dog doesn’t spend a lot of time under the sun. This will expose them to heat much less and thus they’ll consume only a moderate level of water.

Thoughts and Concerns

Often times you may be clueless as to why your dog is urinating more than usual. You may not come to any sort of conclusion, but instead, find yourself looking up symptoms online and freaking out.

There are too many aspects involved regarding this particular case, for instance, old age, weight, size, breed, diet.

If you notice drastic changes and come across any of the symptoms discussed above, then you have to take your dog to see a vet right away. The vet will determine the cause and direct you accordingly.

Don’t be alarmed by the new change, be calm and keep an open mind and do what needs to be done. At the end of the day, all a pet owner wants to see is a happy and healthy dog.

About the Author

Shawn is a content writer at FeedFond. He’s a doting father not only to his two children but also to his two Golden Retrievers. Check out more of his articles at FeedFond.com.

 

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Why Cats Act Like Their Food Bowl Is Empty

Cats love to always keep eating, especially when they sniff their human cooking or have access to food. You will feed them and even after a few minutes, they will still meow for more food. But at some point, you’d expect the cat to be full or at least finish the food in its bowl. Many cat owners have confessed to noticing their kitties exhibiting various odd behaviors. One of the most common is cats digging in their food or water bowls. So why do cat’s act like their food bowl is empty?

Natural Instincts

Digging is a sort of survival technique to ensure that they always have as much food as possible (basically food hoarding); some kind of instinctual trait passed down from their wild ancestors. Wild cats bury their food to protect it from being eaten by others as well as to deter predators or to save it for later. As part of the cat family, cats will thus exhibit this as a behavior out of their nature.

Although indoor cats may not bury their food as they aren’t scavengers like wild cats, they will leave some left over in their bowls to eat later. Cats need small, frequent portion-controlled meals daily so watch the amount your cat consumes and consider reducing the portions of food that you offer him/her accordingly. You can also try placing food in puzzle feeders, so your cat has to “hunt” for its meal. *

Behavioral Issues

When your cat dislikes a particular food or is ill or has a certain discomfort, they will consume less or even cover uneaten food or leave half-consumed food in their bowl. You should monitor your cat for any unusual behavior as cats tend to send messages to their owners through various modes.

How you feed your cat is as essential as what you feed them. With this in mind, developing a feeding schedule entailing regular meals and water will ensure they are healthy.
A cat’s day mostly revolves around eating and napping. Naturally, cats spend more than half of their day looking for something to consume. Feeding cats from food bowls deprives them of their innate need to hunt for their food.

A cat’s brain releases dopamine which increases their arousal and brings about a happy feeling of anticipation rewarded by finding and eating the found food. So there is a need for environmental enrichment which enables them to connect to their natural feeding behaviors.

Security

Cats, especially those that are young may tend to feel like their food supply is threatened. This occurs especially where the food bowls are placed outdoors where there are other cats and pets or in a home where there is more than one cat that is regularly fed.

Insecure cats especially those that have been strays or are young will tend to eat too fast causing them to regurgitate their food when they eat. To curb this, try keeping your cat’s food bowl in a designated area or room on their own. If you have a couple of cats or other pets, you will need to find a way to feed them in different areas. This makes cats feel comfortable that their food won’t be eaten or taken away by other pets or humans.

Size of their food and water bowl

The shape and size of the feeding bowl may discourage cats from eating as much as they should. Although deep and narrow bowls are the most common feeding bowls for pets, they are not particularly ideal for cats. This is because cats are very sensitive to their whiskers touching the side of the bowl and especially those with very long whiskers.

Cats will hence eat food at the center of the bowl and leave the corners or edges untouched. The most suitable bowls are shallow, oval-shaped or bowls with low sides that prevent food or water from going everywhere.
For water bowls, ensure they are wide enough for them to drink out of the middle of the bowl, and avoid whisker fatigue especially for older cats. Some elderly cats digest better when the bowl is in a slightly elevated position so consider the height of their water and food bowls when purchasing one for your cat too.

Location of the food and water bowl

It has also been observed by some cat owners that some cats prefer their water bowl in a separate location from their food bowl because it encourages their natural hunter instincts, while others would prefer their water when it is close to their food.

Due to their instinctual wild nature, cats dislike to consume food near their water because they feel bodily substances from their prey are likely to contaminate their source of water. Such cats will remove food from their food bowl and consume it from a different place if it’s near their water bowl.

Depending on your cat’s preferences, place their water bowl and food bowl at the appropriate place to encourage their feeding.

Hygiene

Cats will also not eat from unclean bowls so they will keep digging around the food rather than eating once they feel the bowl isn’t clean enough. Just like you clean your dishes, ensure your cat’s food and water bowls are always clean.

Cats are quite delicate creatures who love grooming quite a lot especially through licking. With this in mind, keep your cat’s food and water bowls far away from litter bins, trash or just dirty areas in general.

Cats have instinctual disgust over trash or even overstayed food thus will tend to dig into their bowl rather than consume the food.

Avoid overturning food bowls when your cat finishes eating but instead clear the bowl and clean it as well as the environment around. Then you give your cat water thereafter. To maintain a clean food bowl for your cat, stainless steel bowls are considered the best, followed by glass, and then ceramic. One of the causes of vomiting in cats is bacterial infections so avoid plastic as it releases micro-abrasions that allow bacteria to grow.

Dietary changes

Can you eat the same food for a couple of meals or an entire week? No. So can’t your cat. If you notice your cat refusing to eat, playing around with food or just acting like their food bowl is empty, they probably need a change of diet.

Try different pet treats and even gourmet meals to ensure your cat keeps feeding well. You can also give them some supplements as recommended by your vet to boost their appetite.

Your cat may also dislike certain foods due to allergies or they may just simply be disgusted by them. If you notice your cat showing disgust over a particular flavor or addition to their diet, eliminate it.

Fresh food vs Stale Food

Cats have been known to easily identify any spoilt food or drink or even slightly stale human meals. Similarly, they will not eat from their food bowl if the food has been out for a while and they sense it may no longer be fresh. Stale food can also cause vomiting in cats so ensure you always feed your cat fresh food using a wet cat food dispenser if you are away.

Change water in the food bowl at least twice a day. As for food, you can feed your cat more than twice a day depending on the most suitable schedule for you.

Poor Eyesight

Cats are unable to accurately judge where their water is due to their short-sightedness. To see the water in their bowls, they will use their paws to create ripples making it easier for them to see the water.

It is recommended that you use a ceramic water bowl or one that is patterned as opposed to a glass or metal bowl as this aggravates the issue further.

Alternatively, if you have enough room, particularly outdoors, consider putting up a water fountain to make your home really comfortable for the cat. Fountains attract cats as they love drinking from outside water sources.

The cat is not hungry

People tend to think that cats always leave food in their bowls or paw around for other various reasons other than the cat being full. Cats tend to eat a lot throughout the day regardless of whether you feed them or they eat from whatever they come across.

Cats’ stomachs are also relatively small so they can only consume as much.

When we fill their bowls with food that they like, cats will also consume more such that by the next meal, they will eat less or nothing at all. So your cat may actually just eat a small amount, ideally right from the middle of the bowl and leave the rest, basically, because they have had enough.

Cats are quite peculiar creatures. There are many explanations as to why cats will act like their food bowls are empty or paw around their water bowls. However, if you sense your cat continually refusing to eat or unable to consume food or drink from their bowl, seek advice from your vet.

About the Author
Ian Mutuli is a pet enthusiast, keeper of two dogs called Moxy and Metsy, and one lovely cat, Sassy. When he isn’t blogging at Smart Pet  he is sipping coffee, hanging out with Sassy, or designing homes to make the world a better place to live in.

 

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How Is Anesthesia Used In Canine Surgery?

“Just like humans, dogs are often put under anesthesia when receiving surgery. However, since conditions such as gingivitis and periodontal disease require anesthesia to treat, it’s no surprise that dog owners are concerned and desire to learn more about the process.

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Music and Its Effect on Your Dog

Do you ever notice your dog react in a particular way when you play some music?

Well, that’s not entirely surprising as many scientific studies prove that music affects animals in almost the same way as humans. Even with the simplest tone, music affects a distinct group of neurological processes, and it can even influence a dog’s brain.

A puppy begins to hear at two weeks, almost instantly at the time that their eyes open. By four weeks, the dog’s inner ear has fully developed and can hear frequencies twice that of human beings. This enables dogs to react even to the smallest sound and detect intruders that may be entering your home.

The Significance of Sound

Whether it’s a yip, howl or bark, a dog uses sound to communicate.

As one dog starts howling, you’ll probably soon hear a chorus of howls from dogs in the neighborhood. Even if it just sounds like dog pandemonium to you, your pet can tell one dog apart from another by the tone of their howls.

This animal act alone indicates that dogs can differentiate pitches and hear at a much higher register than humans. After all, dogs don’t only use their powerful hearing to communicate with other canines but also to hear sounds from their prey when hunting.

Musical Sound Effects

Since sound is so relevant to a dog, it’s no surprise that music can also affect a canine’s mood. Moreover, dogs respond favorably to a particular type of music over others.

Common music types that elicit reactions from dogs include:

1. Classical Music

In a 2002 study by Dr. Deborah Wells and associates about the influence of auditory stimulation on the behavior of dogs in a shelter, classical music has a soothing effect. As the classical music was playing, dogs were found to be resting more and barking less.

2. Heavy Metal

Dr. Wells’ shelter study also found out that heavy metal music seems to wreak havoc on a dog’s mood. Dogs in the shelter appeared to be restless as they stood up, barked, and slept less. Fascinatingly, the dogs didn’t have the same reaction when exposed earlier to pop music or any other form of auditory stimulation.

3. High-Pitched Music

Sometimes, a dog will start to howl when listening to high-pitched music or sound. Musical compositions that include woodwind instruments such as a flute or clarinet are most likely to provoke a howl from your pooch. A human singing or a long note can also inspire a wail.

Is howling a sign that your dog is in pain?

It’s not always true that a dog howling is a sign of sadness, pain, and agitation. If your pet is listening to dog-approved music and begins to howl, you shouldn’t worry too much as long as it is played at an appropriate volume. Your dog howling may simply be because he or she is trying to sing along.

However, if your pooch begins to bark and appears a little amped up or agitated, your music choice may be too edgy for him or her. Your dog may be anxious about the music you’re playing and, in this case, it’s best to turn off the music or lower the volume.

4. Harp Music

If harp music touches your heart and triggers something deep down your soul, you’re not alone. As it turns out, harp music also has the same effect on the body and soul of many dogs.

According to a study published in the Harp Therapy Journal, several dogs at a veterinary hospital who suffered from anxiety, restlessness, and high respiration rates had a positive response to a harp therapy session.

Further Studies

To take the investigation further, a team of researchers at the University of Glasgow tested 38 dogs at an animal shelter. They measured the dogs’ stress hormone levels, heart rates and behavior while playing various types of music except for heavy metal.

The team played music for six hours a day from the following genres:

  • Soft rock
  • Classical music
  • Pop
  • Reggae
  • Motown

The results showed that any kind of music can give a relaxing effect on canines. Dogs were found spending more time lying down or quietly standing when the music was playing. However, the dogs barked immediately when the researchers turned off the music.

Additionally, the canines’ heart rates showed that reggae and soft rock were the most effective genres of music when reducing dog stress levels. The study was so promising that many shelters decided to install a music system to rotate music that will have a calming effect on shelter animals.

The Benefits

Have you ever noticed that when you’re anxious, good music can relieve your stress?

The same applies to your beloved dog. Stress in dogs can be caused by many things such as thunderstorms, firecrackers, long periods of time alone, and more.

During difficult times, you can integrate a little bit of music to help your pooch relax and make them feel safe. As music affects your dog’s behavior, it can be put to good use to acquire the following benefits in specific settings:

Veterinarians – A vet clinic is a stressful place for dogs. Vets can make use of music to calm canines and help them feel less agitated and frightened.

Dog owners – When firecrackers or other loud noises cause a dog to be anxious, dog owners can play soothing music to help their pet calm down.

Trainers – New experiences accompanied by calming music can help your dog adapt to change. It’s much easier for a pooch to learn new things from training when they are in a relaxed state.

Find Out What Music Your Dog Likes

When you turn on the radio or play a CD, you may notice your pooch respond to the sound. But then again, your pooch may be reacting more to every individual piece than a single style of music.

Like humans, every dog has a distinct character and preference.

Depending on the dog, he or she may respond differently to various types of music. Most people choose to simply leave on the radio for their dog and pick what they think will soothe their pet.

While jazz, lullabies, classical, and environmental sounds will likely fall on the right spot, you still need to do some research on what exact music your pooch loves. Find your dog’s musical preferences by doing the following:

  • Play music of different sounds, sung or performed by different artists, and from various types of instruments.
  • Keep the music tuned to a lower volume level.
  • Observe your pet and see which sound he or she responds to the most by way of falling asleep, settling down or concentrating.

Music with drawn-out notes and speed that is close to the dog’s breathing rate is more likely to be calming. Alternatively, music with repetitive notes and speed that is frantic is more stimulating.

To soothe your dog, try recording a compilation of calming musical pieces and not just from a random radio station; then, observe how your pooch reacts to each piece.

What volume is too loud when playing music for your dog?

Keep in mind that your dog has sensitive ears. He or she can hear the sound of music much louder than you do. If you’re playing music too loud for your ears, then expect that it can be more damaging to your dog’s ears, too.

Even soft classical music that your dog likes can be harmful if played too loud. Instead of calming your pet, music that harms their hearing will cause them unnecessary stress. Make sure to always play music at a certain level for the best comfort on their ears.

The Universality of Music

It’s clear to see that music is universal as it also triggers animal behavior.

If you still believe your dog doesn’t have feelings or opinions about music, why not try to play a song or two and see for yourself? Besides being responsive to music, as a pet owner, you already know that your dog is reactive to other people’s or animals’ feelings.

Next time you play your favorite music, try to consider how it will affect your dog.

About the Author
Andrew Kevan has been the Account Manager at Sandleford Holdings since 2016. He studied at Monash University and completed his Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Zoology. Andrew is the owner of a beautiful Rottweiler named Lady who is constantly spoiled and loves her Fido & Fletch Large Pet Home.

 

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The Dangers of a Dirty Litter Box

At your vet, they will check for worms and give you vaccines for some common kitty ailments, but a great deal of your pet’s health is up to you to maintain. This is important both for the healthy life of your cat and your own.

Most often it is your commitment to cleanliness when it comes to your cat’s litter box that is the most important factor when making sure that both you and your feline friend remain healthy. The litter box is a magnet for bacteria, harsh chemicals, parasites, and disease so make sure you are wary of how you maintain it.

Feline Urinary and Bladder Diseases

If you are not diligent about cleaning a cat’s litter box it can have dire consequences for your cat’s urinary tract. Cats are notoriously finicky and will turn up their nose and their tail at a dirty box (yes, this is the same animal you caught gnawing on a dead chipmunk). Instead, a cat will try to hold in their urine (yes, this is the same cat that marked every cushion in your living room). Holding it in is bad for the feline urinary tract and can cause Feline urinary tract infections, bladder infections, and kidney failure.

While these diseases are usually not fatal, there is some significant cost associated with their cure. Additionally, the pain associated with the condition can cause your cat to abandon the idea of using a litter box altogether. And that’s something we all want to avoid.

Humans are at risk as well. While a dirty litter box is a danger to your pet, it is also a considerable danger to humans.

Risk of Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is a parasite that infects nearly an estimated one-third of the human population according to a study by the University of Chicago. Most healthy immune systems can fend off any effects of this parasite, but it is dangerous for pregnant women who can pass it to their unborn children. In a fetus, toxoplasmosis can do considerable damage including leading to blindness and permanent brain damage.

Cats are the primary host for Toxoplasma Gondii and infected animals can excrete hundreds of millions of infected oocysts per week! Just one can contaminate a human host.

The full effects of the parasite are not known and there is no known cure. Scientists believe that, because of its effect on dopamine and testosterone, the infection even alters human behavior. It may make people impulsive and it has been linked to schizophrenia.

One interesting aspect of the infection is that it might make a host less wary of predators, something that is a pretty good perpetuating strategy for a parasite that wants to live in cats. Accordingly, cats get the infection from hunting and consuming raw animal meat.

Just like most people with the parasite, very few cats that are infected exhibit any symptoms, however for anyone with a compromised immune system, exposure can be deadly. Humans and cats alike can be infected by contact with cat feces. That is why it is so crucial to clean your litter box thoroughly and avoid contact with fecal matter (and why you don’t eat raw meat too).

Solutions

Avoiding contact with cat urine and feces and keeping a clean litter box may seem counterintuitive, but that’s a very good reason to invest in an automatic litter box. If you want to know more about some of the best products on the market, Your Best Digs did a recent study starring their own cats Kit Kat and Jelly Bean. The results speak for themselves. And at the bottom of the review, you can find homemade cat litter recipes with a free label to save money on cat litter costs.

Other Parasites

Giardia is another infection that can be caused by exposure to cat feces and urine. While this is treatable, giardia causes some severe stomach issues that will definitely have you calling in from work – like flatulence and diarrhea.

Exposure to Ammonia

Because of how cats break down their food and drink, their urine and feces gives off a distinctive smell of ammonia. The fumes can become overwhelming if given a chance to build. Cat urine is concentrated with ammonia which can pose risks to anyone with a compromised immune system or pulmonary or respiratory issues like asthma.

A person exposed to concentrated ammonia over time can develop bronchitis and pneumonia. Children and seniors are at the most risk and people have been known to asphyxiate from exposure.

Solutions

Keep your litter box away from carpeted areas so that ammonia does not soak into the fabric. Also, a tray liner can help avoid spills. There are a number of products that break down the ammonia smell in your cats urine, but using one with cedar or pine sawdust can be useful because they have absorbing properties and naturally neutralize ammonia odors.

Bacterial Infection

Cat Scratch fever is caused by a bacterium called Bartonella henselae, which creates a virus that can be contracted by exposure to cat urine and feces. Usually, the symptoms are relatively mild, infection can cause swelling and pain in lymph nodes (as well as a mild fever — thus the moniker). While the initial contact may be minor, the virus may present itself up to 7 weeks after initial exposure. The disease is long lasting and can cause fatigue and headaches for months!

Salmonella poisoning is another potential risk from infected cats which again is contracted from cat stools. This can cause terrible diarrhea, fever and stomach pain for several days.

Solutions

In addition to keeping the litter box clean, try to avoid scratches and bites by not rough-housing with cats or kittens. Also keeping them from hunting raw meat will help avoid salmonella. Make sure you wear gloves or get an automatic litter box.

Wrap Up

The lesson to be learned is a simple one – clean your kitty’s litter box thoroughly every day. Be careful when cleaning and use gloves or an automatic box to lower your risk. Allowing their business to build up causes health risks for your furry friends, for yourself and for your family.

So be as tidy as you can with your cat. No matter how tired you may be, it’s not worth the risk exposing yourself or anyone else you love to potential illness.

About the Author
Sarah is the Content and PR Manager at Your Best Digs. She’s passionate about evaluating everyday home and pet products to help consumers save time and money. When she’s not putting a product’s promise to the test, you’ll find her hiking a local trail or collecting new stamps in her passport.

 

 

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What Dental Conditions Should I Look For In My Dog?

As a responsible dog owner, it’s important to take care of your pup’s teeth. In order to do that properly, pet owners must practice good dental hygiene. If your pup’s teeth are not checked regularly, they can be prone to bad breath and gum disease, also known as periodontal disease.

“In addition to gingivitis and periodontal disease, there are some less commonly seen dental conditions that owners should be aware of, such as tooth fractures, tooth root abscess, and caries.
If you are able to recognize the telltale signs of dental or oral problems, you can get your pet the treatment he needs quickly, before complications arise.” In this article by Dr. James Anthony, you will learn what to look out for in your pet’s teeth and bite. Click here to read the full article.

 

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Dog and Cat Vomiting: When to Worry

It’s a common problem that strikes pet owners everywhere, at any time. Maybe it happens after they eat a meal. Perhaps it happens in the middle of the night. It might occur randomly, frequently, and without any warning at all. You know the signs though; the drooling, the sounds of retching, and the inevitable mess to clean up afterward. However it may occur, pet vomiting is always a nasty surprise. However, when does it change from a mild nuisance and become something a bit more worrying? Knowing the danger signs of pet vomiting can help you know when to pick up the phone and make a vet appointment, or when to just pick up the cleaning supplies. Read below for a definitive guide on the types of vomiting and potential causes.

Types and Contents of Vomit

Not all vomit is considered true “vomit.” When a dog or a cat throws up, the type of contents and the way in which it is thrown up determines whether it’s vomit or just regurgitation. The difference has to do not only with what is being thrown up (digested or undigested food) but also with whether the abdomen is involved and there is heaving that occurs.

To tell the difference between vomit and regurgitation, look at what happens immediately prior to the appearance of the bile or food. If there is no warning (such as if the classic pre-vomit noises are absent, and there is no visible retching motion), and the food is undigested, the dog or cat has merely produced regurgitation. If the food is at least partially digested from the stomach or intestines, and the dog or cat heaves to produce it, it is defined as vomit.

It is important to know the difference because the causes of regurgitation and vomit are completely separate from one another, and knowing which one occurred will greatly affect a potential vet diagnosis.

If your dog or cats’ vomit is partially or almost wholly digested and also has visibile granules in it (sometimes with possible blood present in the vomit). These granules, when vomited, will have texture, consistency, and coloring similar to used coffee grounds. If there is blood present, the vomit might also have a dark brown or reddish tinge to it (be careful to distinguish this from red or brown colored food). Anytime there are signs of possible blood in your pet’s vomit, it’s best to schedule a trip to the vet sooner rather than later. Indicate to the clinic when making the appointment that your pet has possibly vomited blood.

If there is no food at all, and instead your dog is producing just liquid, there might be several different causes. Yellow-colored liquid could be bile and is indicative of a possible irritated stomach. More frequent feedings will help reduce irritation and soothe your pet’s stomach. If your dog or cat is producing white foam or heavy saliva, it might actually be a by-product of coughing, and not vomit at all. This is referred to as an “expectorate”, and has entirely separate potential causes from that which might cause vomit or regurgitation.

Possible Reasons for Vomiting

Ingestion of Bad Food: Dogs and cats may vomit after they’ve consumed something that they probably should not have. Vomit can result from something as simple as getting into the garbage can and eating last night’s leftovers, or vomit might mean that your pet has eaten something toxic (including but not limited to plants, toxic foods, or chemicals). Just like in humans, a pet’s body might react by trying to forcefully eject the contents of the stomach if whatever they’ve consumed is not recognized as a food item. If the cause of vomiting is simply gastric distress from something non-toxic, the vomiting should subside after the pet’s stomach is empty.

Timing and Amount of a Meal: Dogs and cats might vomit up a meal if they eat food too fast, or if they exercise immediately after a meal. In either case, you can slow your pet’s eating pace by
– Using special feeding bowls
– Staggering smaller quantities and feeding more frequently during the day
– Planning play-time for well after your pet has had time to digest
Any or all of these should stop any future episodes and are not a cause for concern.

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus: GDV (often known by the more common name of “bloat”), is an extremely dangerous condition that is caused when a dog’s stomach twists while it is full (of food, liquid or gas). Bloat is a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary intervention. If your dog is repeatedly vomiting but not producing any actual matter (often known as dry heaving), or just vomiting up amounts of foam, consider bloat as a possibility.

Organ disease: Vomiting isn’t always a result of a direct problem with food or eating. It may be a symptom of another disease, injury or anatomical problem. Diseases involving the kidneys, livers or pancreas of your pet may be tied into vomiting. If your pet is vomiting frequently without an obvious cause, consider that it could be a secondary symptom of an organ disease or injury and a trip to the vet is warranted.

Esophageal reflex: If your dog or cat is producing clear or slightly colored fluid (and not vomiting any digested or undigested food), the cause is less likely to be a problem in their stomach or intestines and more likely to be something wrong with another one of their body’s systems. If it happens repeatedly (especially if it seems to occur around mealtimes), it’s possible that it is a result of your pet suffering from possible esophageal reflex. This condition is similar to heartburn in humans, and requires a vet to diagnose and treat, but is not an emergency condition.

Worms: While unsettling, the appearance of worms in your puppy or kittens vomit after deworming is not actually an immediate cause for concern. If your pet begins to display other symptoms (such as lethargy, refusing to eat or drink, or a distended abdomen), an appointment should be made with your veterinarian.
Other conditions: There are a host of other problems that might cause chronic or frequent vomiting, such as food allergies, ulcers, various types of cancer, and canine parvovirus or feline panleukopenia. Any vomiting that cannot be easily explained (or that does not stop) should be further investigated

When to Call the Vet

If the vomiting is a one-time occurrence, there’s no need to schedule a trip to the vet just yet. It’s entirely likely that your pet’s stomach was simply upset that day due to their meal, exercise, or gastrointestinal stress or irritation. If you notice it linked to mealtime or a new food, consider adjusting your pet’s eating and playtime schedule to give them plenty of time to digest their breakfast, lunch or dinner.

If the vomiting happens frequently, there’s something more than just a simple upset stomach going on. Consider making an appointment to see your pet’s veterinarian. If bloating is suspected, immediately seek veterinary help from your veterinarian or a local emergency clinic. Pay attention to the color, consistency, and frequency of the vomit, so you can better describe it to your vet so that they may use the information in their diagnosis.

The best way to determine how your dog or cat is feeling is to let them tell you themselves; if they’re acting tired, dull, uninterested in playing or eating food or treats, these are all notable signs of concern and any one of them may indicate something more serious is going on with your pet’s health.

When you’re unsure of whether to make an appointment or not, remember that if your pet’s vomit is in any way unusual or cannot be easily explained due to stomach upset, it’s better to call your local vet for help.

What to do After an Incident

Other than the inevitable clean-up, after a vomiting event, you’ll want to temporarily limit food and treats to reduce irritation in the stomach and intestines (the likely cause of the vomiting). Consider restricting water for a short time as well, or you’ll risk a repeat incident. Be sure to reintroduce water early on when your pet begins to indicate that they’re feeling better to prevent further problems due to dehydration.

Whatever the reasons for your pet’s vomiting occurrences, knowing the types of vomiting that may occur, as well as some of the potential causes for vomiting will help you determine the severe incidents from the not-so-serious. This will aid you in deciding when to make an appointment or when to visit the emergency clinic. Keeping an eye on your pet’s overall health as a whole will also help you distinguish between the two, as well as provide valuable information to your vet when making a potential diagnosis. Having this knowledge will aid you in knowing if and when it is time to worry about your dog or cat’s vomiting.

About the Author
Michael is a passionate writer and avid dog-lover, being a proud dad to two beagles and a golden retriever. He treasures playtime with his furry best friends. Michael specializes in dog health, and has worked as a volunteer at an animal shelter for two years before becoming a regular content creator for PawLabs.

 

 

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Recognizing Signs of Anxiety in Cats

In this article, I am going to talk about recognizing signs of cat anxiety, and how you can help your cat if he is suffering from anxiety.

Sound good?
Let’s dive in

We often think that cats do not get stressed or suffer from anxiety
But this is not true at all.

Cats are emotional animals and just as how we humans can suffer from anxiety your little feline friend could be hurting too.
The worst part is, if we don’t recognize the signs then this can cause your cat to feel even more stressed and can lead to more complicated behavior problems or health issues.
It is essential as cat parents that we understand the symptoms of anxiety in your cat.

Recognizing Signs of Cat Anxiety

Let’s look out for the signs of anxiety so you can help your kitty stay calm if they are suffering from this.

1. Excessive Grooming
Cats are very clean animals and they spend around 30% of their lives grooming themselves to keep themselves clean!
It can be difficult to notice if your cat is over-grooming due to being stressed.
One thing to look out for is if you start to notice your cat losing some part of their hair on their body.
Are they leaving some patches?
This is over grooming which could be a sign that your cat is stressed.

2. Litter Box Avoidance
If your cat has all of a sudden stopped using the litter box then this could be a sign of anxiety.
Your cat will not just stop using the litter box for no reason.
It can be frustrating when they decide to all of a sudden relieve themselves out of the litter box.
So it’s important not to shout at your cat if he does because it’ll make things worse.

3. Aggression
Your cat won’t just all of a sudden become aggressive unless something is wrong with him.
This could be a sign of anxiety.

4. Excessive meowing
If your cat has started to meow more than normal then this is a way of your cat saying to you something is wrong by getting your attention through meowing. This might mean they are feeling anxious and want your attention
This meow would sound like a distress call to you.

5. Hiding
From seeing your cat every day to now seeing him rarely because he’s hiding can mean your cat is feeling anxious.

6. Changes in eating
Have you noticed a difference in your cats eating habit?
Is he eating too much or just stopped eating altogether? This could be a sign of anxiety.
Before you actually determine this, you should take your cat to the vet to rule out any medical condition.

7. Following you around everywhere
If your cat does not want to leave your sight and starts to follow you everywhere, then this could be a sign of anxiety.
You see, cats can suffer from separation anxiety too.
Although this can make you feel loved because your kitty is following you everywhere, it can also mean your cat is stressed too.
These are signs you should look out for in your cat to ensure your cat is not suffering from anxiety.

What Causes Anxiety in your Cat?

Here are some things that may cause your cat to become anxious:

  • New pet: Cats appreciate company although they can get through the day lounging around. If a new pet has entered his territory (your house) then this will cause your cat to become stressed especially if the introduction is not done correctly. This is a significant change for your cat so it’s important to know how to introduce a new pet to your cat.
  • Changes in the environment or moving homes: Moving can be very stressful for us humans, and it can be stressful for your cat too. Also, changes in the climate can stress your cat out too and this can lead to your cat spraying, especially on new furniture.
  • Visitors: New visitors can cause your cat to become anxious so if you are planning on having friends coming over or a family then make sure your cat has enough space for himself should they become scared and worried. It gives your cat some breathing space too.
  • An absence of the owner: If you are away for some time more than usual due to work or just doing overtime, this can cause stress to your cat. Especially if your cat had unfortunately been abandoned earlier in their lives or been kept in shelter
  • Bad experience: Unfortunately cats that have had a bad experience in their past due to being a stray cat or faced some hard times can be a reason for anxiety. If this is the reason, then it is imperative to show your cat extra love and affection.
  • Cat parent being stressed: In this fast-paced world, we live in where we have so many responsibilities, such as work, family commitments, financial situations, it can get very stressful! And if you are stressed, your cat can get stressed too!

These are some of the reasons for your cat to be anxious

Now that we know what the signs to look out for and what can cause anxiety let’s look at how cat parents can help their cats if they are ever anxious and stressed

How to Treat Cat Anxiety

The wrong way is to shout at your cat and get frustrated
I would really advise cat parents to never take this approach and to have patience
Shouting at your cat will only increase the problem and make things worse

Here are some of the things you can do to help your cat when they are stressed and anxious:

  • Spend quality time together: If your cat is anxious then they need you the most. They want attention, love and affection. Give them all this and go extra! Spend quality time with your kitty. Pet him, stroke him and let him take a cat nap on your lap. By doing this, you are giving your cat reassurances that he is loved and this will make him feel safe and secure and more importantly reduce anxiety!
  • Create a safe space for him: Create a cat environment for your cat. If your cat feels stressed due to visitors coming over or you have nephew and nieces who love running after your cat then provide your cat a safe space in the house. For example you can buy your cat a Cat tree or cat shelves where your cat can overlook everything from a height and a distance. Cats are very territorial and they love to see what is happening from the top.
  • Pheromone sprays: This spray is designed to make your cat feel calm especially if they are stressed
  • Play with your cat: You should spend at least 15 – 20 minutes a day playing with your cat. This creates a bond between you and your kitty. This will help reduce any stress your cat may have. it also shows your cat that you love him as you are giving him attention. Your cat will also get the exercise they need and this exercise releases endorphins in your cat’s brains that will help reduce the stress in your cat
  • Stick with routine: Try and stick to your cats routine. Feed them at the same time every day. This regularity helps with their digestive system too

Wrap Up

It may be difficult to keep your cat completely stress free but it’s very important that you know and understand what the symptoms are of anxiety in your cat.

By having this knowledge, you can help your cat as soon as you recognize any of the symptoms. If you suspect something is wrong with your cat then you should take them to the vets to rule out any health issues.

The main thing is shower your cat with love and affection. Spend time with them and play with them with a variety of toys.

They want attention and love. The misconception that cats are self-reliant and don’t need the love is far from true. Showering them with your love and affection will only help reduce your cat from being stressed and suffering from anxiety.

To find out more on how you can show love to your cat, you can check out my article.
How do you tell your cat you love them

About the Author
Ibrahim Raidhan is a cat parent himself and due to his love for cats has created  Catloverhere.com, which is a website dedicated to cat parents.

 

 

 

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Canine Influenza -Infographic

Also known as dog flu, the canine influenza is spreading its way across the United States and affecting more dogs each day. This is a very contagious respiratory disease caused by Type A influenza virus. To make things even worse, there are two different types of A influenza dog flu virus. The first one is the H3N8 virus and the other the H3N2 virus.

H3N8 Virus

The H3N8 virus made its appearance in 2000, and four years later started affecting the dogs in the United States. The virus originated from horses and got transmitted to racing Grayhounds that raced on the same horse tracks.

H3N2 Virus

The H3N2 virus was initially found in birds, and then it was transmitted to dogs. Now, this virus can be transmitted between dogs and cats. The virus was first detected in 2007 in China and South Korea. In 2015 the H3N2 virus occurred in the United States, and so far it was reported in more than 30 states.

Even though the dog flu is widely spread, the silver lining is: it has a low mortality rate of only 10%. This is probably the silver lining and good news for all dog owners.

Check out this infographic for more facts on the dog flu in order to better help you protect your pooch:

How to Keep them Healthy

The reason why so many dogs get infected with canine influenza is that the virus is easily spread from one dog to another. Your pooch can be infected by being in the direct contact with a carrier, through the air, and through a contaminated object, like a food bowl, toy, leash, or a blanket.

Once a dog gets infected, it takes 2 days for him to develop the first symptoms. The dog will start to cough, sneeze, and develop a fever that is accompanied by the general feeling of lethargy. For both the H3N8 and the H3N2 viruses the first 5 days are the same, and during that time the dog should receive treatment and show signs of recovery.

However, even though the dog seems healthy, he still carries the virus within him and can transmit it to other dogs. It takes 15 days for dogs with H3N8 virus to stop being infectious. On the other hand, the H3N2 stays in a dog’s system for 25 days during which time he can make other dogs sick.

Since dog flu is taking the forms of an epidemic, it is best to take on the preventive measures and keep your pooch protected. The best way you can do that is to vaccinate him for canine influenza. Other methods are less reliable and include isolating infected animals, decontamination, and avoiding contact with potentially ill dogs.

The treatment for the dog flu usually include antimicrobials, anti-inflammatory meds, and IV fluids. Since all dogs are different you should be in touch with your vet and take your dog to regular checkups. This disease also causes loss of appetite; thus it is recommended to feed him with a “dog food to gain weight” diet. These foods have more calories and will help your pooch get back on all four legs a lot faster.

Like with all viruses, the only effective way of protecting your dog from canine influenza is to get him vaccinated. You probably get your flu shots on time every year, why shouldn’t it be the same for your dog?

About the Author

Charles B. Hardy is the founder of pawpawlover.com. Originally a vet, Charle has a tremendous love for dogs and is the owner of a Golden Retriever. He aspires to share his experience with anyone who cares about dogs well-being.