How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?
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One reason for sudden limping in dogs could be a paw or leg injury. Superficial injuries can include a cut or scrape caused by a sharp object such as stepping on glass, getting stuck by a thorn, walking on a nail, or running on hot pavement.
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Food allergies are very common in dogs and can present with itching and licking all over the body rather than on just one spot. Common food allergens include ingredients such as wheat, corn and soy products, however dogs can be allergic to almost anything! Starting a food trial of an allergen-friendly diet from your vet or pet store that avoids these common ingredients may help. The food should be switched over a period of 7-9 days and then given about a month to decide if it is helping.
Small skin infections or yeast in the skin can also cause itching, however this itching is often more specific to a certain area of the body (such as the toes, or base of the tail). Your vet can perform a skin scraping of the area to be cultured at a lab to look for any yeast or bacteria. If they are present, a medication given either orally or placed on the affected area can clear up the infection.
In some cases, licking and chewing can actually be due to a boredom or anxiety behavior. Dogs may lick one spot obsessively to the point of creating sores or wounds in the area. Stopping your dog from licking and chewing either through the use of dog booties, no lick strips, T-shirts or even Elizabethan collars can break the habit and give the area time to heal. Licking and chewing can also cause the spread of bacterial infections so should be deterred even if not behaviorally caused.
There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:
1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.
You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.
There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.
2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.
For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.
3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.
5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.
There is a long list of possible causes of this problem. In many dogs this is purely a behavioral issue related to anxiety, boredom or stress. Dogs with joint pain like to lick over the painful area to alleviate pain. Skin allergy or infections, skin foreign bodies predispose dogs to Acral Lick Granuloma as well. Finally, low thyroid hormone level is believed to play a role in developing Lick Granuloma.
Treatment is often long, and close cooperation between the owner and the vet is required. The effort should ultimately be directed to identify and treat the underlying cause.
It is best to have your sister bring her dog in to have the legs looked at. Your vet can check for any signs of infection, allergy or even external parasites and provide treatment for relief. If there is no apparent cause, your vet may also recommend a blood test to check for internal illness as the cause.
Until you can get to the vet, it is best to prevent the dog from licking or scratching at the area. An Elizabethan collar (cone) is best to stop the behavior and allow the legs to rest some until they can be examined. If there is any dirt or debris in the area, a warm clean washcloth can be used to keep the area clean and prevent secondary infection until it can be examined.
While the cone or covering the area with long socks if on the forearm or foot is a traditional method of breaking the habit, there are new products out called “no lick strips” which can be applied onto a bandage over the affected area. These strips utilize a minor form of positive punishment- when the dog licks the strip he gets a minor electrostatic shock or bad taste in his mouth, deterring him from continuing. The strips have had good success with use when compared to just using an Elizabethan collar.
Treating any underlying stress or anxiety can also help to decrease licking behaviors. Calming medications and treats, removing the stressors, providing a safe place for your dog to “hide” during stress or anxiety, or even using calming pheromones can all help with stress reduction.
Remember to never scold your puppy for grabbing these things. They are just curious little cuties, and they don’t chew things up to bother us.. Dogs do not have intentional thought, so they aren’t ever doing anything ON PURPOSE to us.. The most important thing you can do when your puppy is chewing something you don’t want her to be chewing is TRADE her the inappropriate item with a toy of hers, so she understands “no honey, that isn’t what puppies chew on… THIS is what puppies chew on!” and then begin playing with her using her toy to show her that TOYS ARE FUN.. Way more fun than a boring ol’ coat hanger.
Another helpful thing you can do is have two bags of toys. In each bag is many different kinds of toys. Lots of chew toys, lots of soft squeaky toys, lots of rope-type toys, a bunch of balls.. All kinds of things! For one week you have bag#1’s toys out for your puppy to play with.. At the end of the one week, you collect those toys, and you bring out bag#2! The toys will be more interesting/feel like new to your puppy, which will in-turn, make her chew less inappropriate things. Her toys are too fun to care about that dumb Wii-mote that you left laying around.
Hope this helps!