How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?
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One of the foremost causes of dogs biting themselves is a highly itchy and aggravating infection. Although most dogs stick to licking, the frustration of an itch could drive a dog to chew and eventually to biting to stop the irritation if it`s severe enough.
Check for redness or other signs of irritation. Healthy eyes are bright and clear, and the white of the eye is pure white. You can help keep them that way by gently wiping away discharge in the corners with a cotton ball or soft washcloth moistened with warm water.
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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!
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.
The first thing to do is to rule out parasites. Even if you don’t see fleas, treat her for fleas. Use a good product like Frontline – it’s easy to apply (avoid the hairless areas, it should be placed between the shoulderblades. You should also consider that your dog might be getting bitten by mosquitos – a common problem in thin-skinned dogs, and depending on where you live they can still be a problem this time of year.
Your vet also needs to perform a scraping of the skin to rule out mites. And again…even if no mites are found, I would recommend treating for them. They are almost as common as fleas in puppies, and depending on her recent situation (rescued from a shelter?) stress can depress the immune system and cause a mite infestation to take hold.
And finally, ringworm, which is actually a fungal disease, should be ruled out. It’s also almost universally related to conditions, like overcrowded shelters, but it does happen and puppies are more susceptible.
One more note: allergies are possible, but other things are probably more likely at this point. If your vet doesn’t know what to do, I would recommend looking for someone who does.
Have treats on hand that you know she loves, then simply click and treat. She will come to associate the sound with getting a treat. Start putting distance between you so she has to come to you. Call and click and when she comes to you for that treat, treat him and give her lots of praise. Move to hiding somewhere in the house, call and click. When she comes to you reliably inside when you call, click and treat. When this behavior is consistent, move outdoors with a very long leash. Call and click, if she doesn’t respond, give a light tug on the leash. If she takes even a single step toward you, click, treat and lots of praise. Keep doing this until she comes eagerly. Next, try her off-leash in a securely fenced area. Call and click. At this point she should be responding well and coming easily to the call and click. If she does not, go back to the last step she performed reliably and work on that again until she responds well. Eventually, you can start not treating her every time, but still praise her. Gradually lessen the frequency of the treats until she comes just to the click and praise.
Keep training sessions short, ten or fifteen minutes to start, no more than 30 minutes at a time and do it a few times a day. Try not to do it any time she is overly excited so that she can pay attention to you. Always end a training session on a good note, even if it is just getting him to do something she already does well on command. And never, NEVER punish a dog when they come to you, no matter how far they’ve made you chase them, no matter how frustrated and angry you might be. That teaches your dog that coming to you is a bad thing.
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.