y. Help?

Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. If your dog is lethargic and passing dark feaces, not eating , she needs to be checked soon. Dark, tarry, feaces are normally due to the presence of digested blood in the feaces and it’ s a symptom that should never be ignored.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Known as melena, black stool can result from a range of things including cancer, foreign bodies, parasites, and viral or bacterial pathogens, Dr. Spangler adds. As such, black dog poop warrants a call to your veterinarian.
Black or tar coloured faeces indicates that there is blood present in your dog`s digestive tract, this is called `melena`. Black blood tells us that the problem is likely to be in the upper digestive tract (stomach or small intestine) because the body has already worked hard to try to digest this blood.
Although a loss of appetite in dogs doesn`t necessarily indicate serious disease, prompt veterinary attention is important because it could be a sign of significant illness, including cancer, various systemic infections, pain, liver problems, and kidney failure.
In the case of chronic pancreatitis, your dog`s poop may turn light yellow and have a greasy appearance and foul odor.
If the cause of black poop is related to diet, the veterinarian may recommend switching to a different brand of dog food or adding fiber to the dog`s diet. In cases where parasites or bacterial infections are present, the veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics or other medications to clear up the infection.
Some of the signs of parvovirus include lethargy; loss of appetite; abdominal pain and bloating; fever or low body temperature (hypothermia); vomiting; and severe, often bloody, diarrhea. Persistent vomiting and diarrhea can cause rapid dehydration, and damage to the intestines and immune system can cause septic shock.
Melena is a dark, sticky, tarry stool, almost jelly-like. This blood has been digested or swallowed, indicating a problem in the upper digestive tract. You can check whether your dog`s stool contains this kind of blood by wiping it on a paper towel to see if the color is reddish.
Temporarily discontinue all oral liquids and food, especially if the animal is also vomiting. This allows the GI tract to rest and may facilitate healing of the lining of the GI tract. Gradual reintroduction of small amounts of bland food may then be instituted if the clinical signs have subsided.
The clinical signs of more advanced kidney failure include loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and very bad breath. Occasionally, ulcers will be found in the mouth.
Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen.
Grey or yellow dog poo

Both grey and yellow dog poos are signs that your dog may have bile in their poo which is caused by problems in their liver, gallbladder or pancreas.

What are the clinical signs of pancreatitis? The most common clinical signs include nausea, vomiting, fever, lethargy, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. During an attack, dogs may take a `praying position`, with their rear end up in the air and their front legs and head lowered onto the floor.
Black dog poop can be caused by a number of issues, including, indigestion, parasites, internal bleeding, bacterial infections, pancreatitis, or toxic indigestion. Seek veterinarian advice when you dog has black poop because it could result in a severe problem if left untreated.
The biggest concern with black dog poop is that it may indicate digested blood coming from somewhere in the body. If your dog`s stool is black and tarry or sticky, he should be evaluated by a veterinarian right away as this is a serious symptom–called melena.
Symptoms that may be seen with melena vary depending on the amount of blood loss and the source of bleeding. Significant blood loss can lead to symptoms of low blood volume, anemia, or shock, such as weakness, shortness of breath, pale skin, clamminess, dizziness, confusion, and tachycardia or a fast heart rate.
Parvo smell has a unique very bad-smelling poop that is not easy to forget. The smell has been described as metallic, with hints of blood stench since the virus affects the intestinal walls, and a seemingly sweet scent.
Dehydration is very serious; dogs with canine parvovirus refuse water and quickly dehydrate due to their constant vomiting and diarrhea symptoms.
Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract

The most worrying cause of black poop is bleeding in the GI tract. This type of black poop is known as melena. It is normally very sticky with a foul-smelling odor, and it can also be referred to as tar-like.

Foods that cause dark stools are beetroots, dark chocolates, blueberries, blackberries, etc., It is normal if you get black stools after eating these foods. It does not need medical treatment as it will resolve on its own. However, if the cause does not seem to be food, it is a medical emergency.
Melena can sometimes go away on its own, but there are other times when it may need medical attention. For example, if the Melena is caused by a minor irritation in the digestive tract, such as a small tear in the lining of the stomach or esophagus, it may heal on its own within a few days to a week.
Melena usually means bleeding from this location. It takes 50 ml or more of blood in the stomach to turn stools black. One to two liters of blood administered orally will cause bloody or tarry stools for up to 5 days, the first such stool usually appearing within 4 to 20 hours after ingestion.
Hookworms attach to the intestinal wall, and heavy parasite loads can lead to potentially fatal anemia as well as ulceration at the feeding sites. It leads to a dark, bloody stool called melena, which occurs when the digested blood passes through the gastrointestinal tract.
A digital rectal examination is essential to confirm the melena. A full abdominal examination must be performed, importantly to assess for peritonism, hepatomegaly, or stigmata of liver disease.
Some of the earliest signs of kidney disease in dogs may include subtle weight loss, urinating/peeing more often and drinking a lot more water. Therefore, if you notice your dog is peeing on the floor or asking to go out more, or if your dog is always thirsty, it`s time to visit your veterinarian.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Very small appetite dark stool and very tired. She’s 7 and is a black lab. She held down small salmon but it’s the first food since Wednesday. Help?
ANSWER : A. If your dog is lethargic and passing dark feaces, not eating , she needs to be checked soon. Dark, tarry, feaces are normally due to the presence of digested blood in the feaces and it’ s a symptom that should never be ignored.

Q. My cat is excessively scrstching herself., to the point she has sores. She is strictly an indoor cat. Did have flees been treated for 2 months
ANSWER : A. For every flea you see on your pet, there are 100 more in the environment. Get your pet on a good topical or oral flea control through your vet. In flea control, you get what you pay for. Consider asking your vet for a dose of Capstar. It helps get the problem under control by killing the fleas on the pet starting in five minutes but only lasts for 24 hours.

You need to treat your home environment. If you use a pest control service, tell them you are having a flea problem and they can adjust their treatment. Use a premise spray that also contains an IGR, insect growth regulator. This keeps eggs and larvae from maturing into adults and helps break the life cycle. Also, vacuum EVERY DAY, throwing out the bag or emptying the canister every time into an outside receptacle and spraying the contents with insecticide to kill the fleas you’ve vacuumed up.

Treat your yard too, since fleas are opportunistic and will hop a ride into your home on your pant leg without you knowing it. Concentrate on areas under bushes, in the shade. Fleas are less likely to be located in open sunny areas where it gets hot.

If chemicals are a problem, you can use borax. Sprinkle it into rugs, into corners and under furniture, use a broom to work it into the fibers and let it sit for hours, days even. It won’t hurt you or your pet to have it present. Then vacuum it up, reapply as needed. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be gotten from a health food store and worked into the rugs and corners in the same way as borax. These treatments aren’t as fast and effective as chemical insecticides but they can help.

You might want to consider boarding your pet for the day at your vet, to give you the opportunity to flea bomb your house without having to worry about your pet being exposed. They can bathe your pet and give a dose of Capstar while you treat your home.

Be patient, you may have to repeat these steps multiple times 10-14 days apart to help break the flea life cycle.

Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.

If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

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:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

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.

Q. My cats nose is stopped up on antibiotics. She has a loss of appetite, acting normal though. Is 3 ounces of can food enough in 24h? 9 pound cat
ANSWER : A. Cats with stopped up noses tend to eat much less, as you’ve noted, because they can’t smell their food as well. And the smell of food is pretty important to a cat’s appetite. You can start by warming up the food in a microwave – not too hot, test it yourself by putting your finger right in the center, as the temperature of microwave food can vary – as this will intensify the smell and hopefully make your cat more interested.

Saline nose drops, like those that are used on little kids, are safe to use on a cat to clean the discharge that is dried around and in the nose. There’s a brand called Little Noses that’s available in the U.S. That I like. You can put it on a q-tip and try to remove the debris. Humidifying the air with a humidifier can help as well, or you can put the cat in the bathroom and run the shower enough to generate steam. Don’t use “real” nose drops like Neo-synephrine or anything else like that – cats quickly build up resistance to them.

A 3 oz can of food is an OK amount in 24 hours, but do try the techniques above to help your cat get more interested in food. You might also try some baby food – no garlic or onions in the ingredients – as cats usually really like the taste of it.

Q. My 20 month Cavalier doesn’t eat unless I let him eat from my finger, then he eats. Sometimes he will only eat once a day and leave his food.
ANSWER : A. It is possible that your dog is just not satisfied with his current food, or may be a picky eater. There are several things you can try to encourage your dog to eat.

The first step is to remove any additional treats or people food that may be more enticing to your dog than his own meal. If you feel you must give him some form of treat, be sure to place them directly in his food bowl and mixed with his regular diet. This allows him to get some snacks while also “forcing” him to try out his current meal to get the reward.

Enticing your dog to try his food by adding a pet-safe gravy or even a few treats of plain boiled chicken mixed in can help. Be sure to mix the foods thoroughly so he must explore his own food before getting the treat.

Some small breed dogs may also have a hard time with certain bowls and their collars. If there is a metal name tag on the collar and a metal bowl, the clinking sound can sometimes scare off dogs and make them not want to eat from their bowl. Using a bowl of a different material, or removing the collar prior to a meal may help with this issue.

Your dog may also just not be into his current food and may like another variety better. You can try a new variety by gradually switching over a period of 7-9 days, slowly adding in more new food and removing old until it is switched. This change may encourage him to try out meals again, and the slow changeover will allow his body to adjust to the new diet without digestive upset.

Q. Healthy German Shepherd has extremely loose stools once a day. I added 2 spoonfuls of pumpkin puree that hasn’t helped. No diet changes. Any advice?
ANSWER : A. Loose stools can be caused by a number of factors, and the first step is always to bring a stool sample to your local veterinarian to check for anything. Fecal exams can check for common bacteria and parasites in the stool that may cause chronic diarrhea.

Diet problems can also play a factor in loose stool as well as chronic illness. Dogs can be allergic to many different ingredients in the diet, however grains such as corn, wheat and soy products can be the most problematic. Adding a probiotic supplement can sometimes help such as a scoop of plain yogurt ever meal, or commercial product from your vet.

Illnesses and metabolic disorders may also cause chronic loose stools. German Shepherds are prone to a disease called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency which is a problem with the pancreas (the same organ that dysfunctions in diabetes- however that is ENDOCRINE function in that case) producing enough digestive enzymes. This causes stools that may be loose, discolored grey or yellow and appear very fatty in color. Shepherds can also be prone to chronic small intestine infections that cause loose stool as well. Luckily, treatment for these conditions often just involves adding a daily digestive enzyme supplement to the food, or daily anti-biotic designed specifically for chronic bowel issues.

Read Full Q/A … : Veterinarians

Q. My dog has no fleas, but is scratching and licking continually. He has been through a round of prednisone and it hasn’t helped. What can I do?
ANSWER : A. Itching can be caused by more than just external parasites, and if your dog is already on a flea medication, then it is possibly not the case. Itching can indicate anything from allergies to even minor skin infections causing problems. If your dog has been treated with prednisone (a steroid that inhibits the immune system) and it did not help, then looking at other options may help.

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.

Q. My cocker spaniel is 9 years old. He has involuntary bowel movements (little drops) very frequently, especially when he is asleep.
ANSWER : A. Is your dog on a senior dog food? I would get your dog on a high quality high protien dog food. Ask a pet store assosicate or your regular vet for a food recommendation. When you buy a better food the dog will have to eat less to get the same amount of energy from the food. The dog has to eat more of the cheaper foods to get the energy it needs from it. Meaning more poop and buying more food. So the cost really evens out. So the lessen your dogs bowel movements get on a better senior dog food. Next talk to your vet they may have a recommendation. If you switch dogs do it slowly by mixing the foods. Start with 10% new 90% old mixed for at least a week until you have switched to 100% new 0% old. Senior foods have more fiber to help with bowel movements. Take the dog outside to go potty more frequently, right before bed time.

Read Full Q/A … : Symptoms Questions & Answers