September 2018

Features

Basking in Sunshine

In past articles in WDJ, I have advised people who are thinking about adopting a new dog to develop a list of attributes that they must have, would like to have, would prefer not to have, and really do not want at all – and then to use these lists as search criteria. And yet, here we were, not really sure of what we were looking for. Another herding breed? We already have a Kelpie, so maybe, or maybe not. A Bonnie-type terrier-mix? Maybe, but they didn’t seem easy to come by.

Physical Exams for Senior Dogs

There are a number of ways that we can stay on top of health issues that creep up on our dogs with age. Annual veterinary visits are a staple in every healthy pet’s life. A comprehensive physical exam from nose to tail is step one in picking up clues to underlying concerns at every age, but it becomes even more important in the senior years.

Cloudy Eyes in Dogs

There are many possible ways in a which a dog’s eyes can look clouded. Often, you are seeing the cloudiness in the lens of the eye – an elastic, transparent structure that lies behind the iris (the pigmented part of the eye) and the pupil (the opening in the center of the eye). Tiny muscle fibers inside the eye contract and relax to makes the lens change thickness and shape; these movements help the dog change focus. As dogs age, certain changes cause the lens to turn white and become visible. When this ordinarily transparent structure develops a cloudy spot or section, the dog’s vision is compromised.

How to Teach A Dog to "Leave It"

There are many times in your dog’s life when she needs to be able to control her impulse to engage in a behavior. Last month, we discussed “Wait” and “Stay” – but impulse control goes far beyond these “don’t move” cues. “Leave it” is another impulse-control behavior that is very useful for your dog to know. The cue means, “Whatever you are focused on at this moment, I need you to leave it alone.”

How to Teach Your Dog to Greet Nicely

On any given day, depending on the circumstances, a dog might have a multitude of opportunities to meet and greet a number of other creatures: dogs, cats, horses, a variety of other species, and all sorts of humans. Some dogs seem to do it with aplomb, while others are clearly overexcited and unable to contain themselves. I suspect most if not all of us would far rather have the dog who’s calm, cool, and collected rather than the other option. So how do we get there?

Veterinary Visits: It's Important to Be There for Your Dog

I am going to be blunt; I have a strong opinion about this. There is absolutely no chance that I would allow any of my dogs to be taken “into the back” at a veterinary clinic for anything short of surgery. Our new vet does go above and beyond with her clinic’s degree of owner involvement, but we have never been clients at a clinic that required our dogs to be taken away from us for examinations.

Entropion in Dogs: How to Treat This Common Eye Problem

The signs of entropion in dogs include visualization of rolled inward eyelids, excessive tearing, squinting (called blepharospasm), photosensitivity, rubbing and pawing at the eyes, and in some cases, corneal ulceration and dark brown pigment formation on the cornea. Some breeds do not seem particularly bothered by entropion – particularly the brachycephalic breeds – while it can cause significant discomfort and corneal trauma in others.

Properly Supervising Dogs

I would venture to say that many people think they are great at overseeing their dogs, but in reality, they don’t really have a firm grasp of what ideal supervision means. Further, many people lack information about their dogs’ body language – so, even if they are actually actively watching their dogs, if they can’t recognize their dogs’ stress signals, they won’t be able to help the dogs.

Don’t Skip the Stool Sample

A fresh stool sample is no one’s favorite to collect, but it’s important for a lot of reasons.Parasites are not the only thing that can be seen on a fecal check. Whether done as part of a routine screen or when a pet is sick, poop contains a lot of good information.

Diagnostic Health Testing for Dogs

Basic screening tests, in combination with regular physical exams, are foundation components of a good health care program. In younger dogs, routine tests are done to establish normal baselines, exclude congenital problems, and/or ensure safety for anesthesia. In older pets, these tests often provide the first indication of possible health problems.

Dog Diarrhea Causes and Remedies

The truth is, much like people, sometimes dogs just get diarrhea. Much as we do not see the doctor for every bout of diarrhea, similarly, dogs do not always need medical attention for a short-lived enteritis (inflammation of the intestines). Often, diarrhea can be managed with at-home therapy and convalescent care.

DCM in Dogs: Taurine's Role in the Canine Diet

Further, a significant number of the dogs were found to have reduced levels of circulating taurine in their blood and have responded positively to taurine supplementation. It is speculated that these cases are related to the consumption of foods that negatively affect taurine status, leading to taurine-deficiency DCM. Foods containing high levels of peas, lentils, other legume seeds, and/or potatoes were identified by the FDA as potential risk factors. These ingredients are found commonly in foods that are formulated and promoted as “grain-free.”

Dogs and Carbs: It’s Complicated

The question of how best to feed dogs stimulates great debate and evokes strong emotions among dog folks. (Yes, this an intended understatement.) One of the most contentiously defended viewpoints in recent years is that dogs should not be fed diets that contain digestible carbohydrate (starch). Two primary arguments are used to defend this position.

How to Teach Your Dog to Just “Walk Away!”

Being able to teach your dog to move away from something when asked is an invaluable tool, both for your dog’s safety and for your sanity. Note: Be sure to repeat each step eight to 12 (or more) times, until your dog eagerly responds to the cue before progressing to the next step.

Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the more common problems seen in small-animal veterinary practice. The definition of a UTI is a colonization of pathological bacteria in the normally sterile environment within the urinary tract. There are many medical conditions that make a dog prone to urinary tract infections, some of which can be prevented. Knowing how to recognize the problem is the first step to getting the proper diagnosis and treatment plan for your dog.