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Spring Time Allergies For Pets And What Plants To Look Out For

Spring Time allergies at Paws at PeaceWe all look forward to spring time when the weather is warmer, especially after a cold winter, but with spring time comes the dreaded allergy season, but not just for humans. Pets too can suffer with spring time allergies, and both cats and dogs can have their fair share of allergies during this time, in fact in milder locations, pet allergies can last year round. This article will be discussing what types of allergy our pets could suffer from, how to treat them, and some plants to be wary of planting around your home if you have pets.

When we talk about pet allergies, there are really only two types, food allergies or environmental allergies, for spring allergies we will be discussing environmental allergies, which consist of pollen, dander, dust or mites. There can also be other environmental things that can cause allergies to, but for the most part an allergy in our pet during spring will probably be one of pollen, dust or mites. Once you realize that your pet has developed a spring time allergy, you need to take some steps in order to make him feel better, and there are quite a few things we can do to either cure, or manage the allergy.

First thing, is to look for signs of an allergy, our pets can’t tell us there is something wrong, but there are some obvious signs from allergies. More often than not you will notice your pet scratching an effected area, or licking a spot regularly, maybe even rubbing up against furniture to relieve an itch. These observations should be watched, because once a dog, or cat has developed a spring time allergy it can slowly worsen over time if we do nothing. An irritation or itch, will see the pet constantly scratching, and licking a spot until it becomes red, sore and eventually can lead to broken skin, leading to infection.

Dogs are more prone to spring time allergies than cats, although both can get allergies at this time of year, and the best way to keep their allergies to a minimum is to follow some simple guidelines. Washing paws after a walk will keep down the amount of outside allergens brought into the home, and frequent bathing during these first warmer months will keep the allergens down that he has collected from outdoors. Vacuuming the home regularly serves two purposes, it not only keeps the house clean, but also keeps bugs, mites and pollen down, the worst causes of allergies in the home, even better if you have an air filter.

If you think your pet has a spring time allergy be sure to talk with your vet about it, there are blood tests that can be done to narrow down what causes some allergies, and even diet change can help. Feeding a dog food for a specific breed can help, but only if it has low or no amount of by products. In addition, it can also help if you feed him a food that is low in grain content, as a high carb diet can trigger or worsen inflammation. There are even allergy fighting supplements like Quercetin, which is a bioflavonoid with antioxidant properties as well as being an anti-inflammatory, so it is important to speak with your vet about different options for pet allergy sufferers.

Spring Time Plants That Are Dangerous To Pets

Believe it or not, some of those beautiful, colorful flowers we dream of planting in our garden come spring time can actually be harmful to our pets, some can even cause death. Plants like daffodils and tulips are among the prettiest of flowers, yet the bulb or tubers contain alkaloids that can be toxic to our pets, and if eaten in large quantities can cause irregular heartbeats, convulsions and low blood pressure. Ingesting plants that contain grayanotoxins, also known as andromedotoxins can be highly toxic for both dogs and cats, plants like rhododendrons and azaleas, which happen to be another garden favorite.

Hyacinths are another favorite with gardeners, but pet owners may want to think twice before putting these in their home or garden as they contain dangerous alkaloids, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, tremors and depression in both dogs and cats. Foxgloves and Lilly of the valley are both popular flowers, but can stop a heartbeat if eaten by your pet, and the famous Sago palms that have in recent years become hugely popular in gardens, and used as ornamental plants are one of the most toxic to both dogs, and cats as all parts of the plant are toxic. Keep in mind, that it only takes one or two seeds from this to kill a pet. Moreover, even some fertilizers can harm our pets, so always check for pet friendly fertilizer, and plants before you buy them so you and your pet can enjoy the outside as much as the inside without worrying about these issues mentioned here today.

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Ways To Exercise Senior Pets During The Winter Months

Exercising senior pets dog winter - paws at peace pet hospiceDogs of all ages, and sizes need their exercise, even in the winter months. However, there are times when it’s just too cold outside, especially when we have freak weather conditions, and the wind chill is hazardous both to us and our pets. At times like this we need to think about different ways we can still keep our senior pets active, but comfortable. Having said that, let us take a look at some ways to exercise our senior pets during the winter months, and don’t worry as it’s a lot easier than it sounds.

Most senior pet owners know how crucial it is for exercise, and to keep our pets limbs moving, but sometimes it can be difficult to find ways to exercise our pets when it’s too cold to take them outdoors. However, if you have a long hallway then you can play tug of war games, or indoor games of fetch, just make sure there is nothing in the hallway that can be broken easily, or clear the hallway for winter. In addition, younger, and smaller dogs can enjoy a game of fetch using a stair way, although this is not recommended for larger dogs with potential joint problems, as this can make them worse, for instance if they have arthritis.

Many areas now have indoor pet spas, which are available even in winter, and can be excellent for older larger dogs as well as smaller and younger ones too. Moreover, those with indoor pet pools are excellent for large dogs with joint problems as the water takes pressure of their limbs, and can even help relax them, just be sure they are completely dry before taking them out in the cold, even if it’s just a small way to the vehicle. Not all areas have pet spas, so you would have to research your local area online, or ask other pet owners if they know of any pet spas in your area.

When it comes to exercising your senior pet inside, try to think of something new that you haven’t tried before, like playing hide and seek, or if your senior pet likes following you around the house, take a walk all around the house, including up stairs. Another great option, especially for larger dogs is using a treat ball, or food dispensing ball or toy, although small dogs love these too. These toys, or balls can be stuffed with treats, or dry food and as he plays with it, food is released, giving him more incentive to play for longer when a regular ball may be left alone.

Exercising senior pets during the winter months is not, so big a challenge as you may think, don’t overlook your own exercise equipment like for instance, a treadmill. Treadmills are good for us humans when it’s too cold to go jogging, but dogs can also be quite at home on a treadmill, just make sure you supervise while he’s on it. Treadmills are also good with larger dogs, but make sure you start it off on the lowest setting, so that if he becomes uncomfortable with it he can easily jump off.

Thinking of ways to exercise senior pets during the winter months can be a bit challenging, so we hope we have given you some ideas to help you and your senior pet during these chilly times. However, you may have to consider changing some of your environment in your home if you don’t have much space. Nevertheless, some ideas we’ve mentioned don’t even need a lot of room, although larger residents can create mini obstacle courses and more. Whether you decide to play tug, hide and seek, or take him to your next yoga class, any exercise you can give your senior pet during the winter will keep him active, less anxious, and prevent him from becoming obese, leading to a healthier pet which lives longer.

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The Importance Of Regular Check Ups For Senior Pets

Seniors Pets Check UpsFor many pet owners it is difficult to tell if our pets are getting to the stage where they are slowing down because they are sick, or if it is just old age. To give you a good rule of thumb, a senior dog is around seven to eight years of age, and although many dogs live until they are twelve or even fifteen, you should be taking them for regular check ups from about the age of 8 years. In addition, many conditions and illnesses can start to show signs at this age, but also blood tests can reveal hidden conditions easily that you may not be aware of at this stage, so let us look at the importance of regular check ups, and some signs to look out for as your pet ages.

To give you an idea of the aging process of a dog, for every one of our years a dog would age around 6 to 8 years, so diseases associated with older humans, like diabetes, liver and heart problems can start to begin in a dog as early as six, occasionally earlier. Many health problems with dogs have visible signs to look for while other conditions can only be detected by blood tests, although even hidden diseases may be apparent by watching his behavior change. Having said that, another reason it is important for regular check ups for senior pets is because in many cases, the earlier a condition is detected, the easier it is to treat.

Things To Look Out For In Your Senior Pet

Take some time out each week to give your pet a good check up yourself, look out for any new lumps or bumps on his body as these may not be apparent just by looking, you have to feel for them, and sometimes lumps can turn cancerous, and spread throughout the body. Hip dysplasia is quite common in larger dogs, but can also be a problem for smaller dogs too, or they can suffer from sore and swollen joints. Sometimes there are obvious signs to look for, like his unwillingness to get up too often, or walk long distances due to the pain in the joints, or he may not be willing to climb stairs where before he may have run up them.

Quite a few older dogs can have poor eyesight, and some even end up going blind, and this is more common than you would think. Check on his eyes regularly, and report any abnormalities to your vet, a grey slightly milky look could be a sign of cataracts and if left alone can lead to blindness. Glaucoma can be another eye condition senior pets can develop, and red or sore eyes can be a sign of this. Therefore, in this case you should make an appointment with your vet to get this checked out, and discuss which treatment plan is best for him.

Heart, Lungs, Kidneys And Liver

Senior pets with a cough, breathlessness, decreased stamina, or a bloated stomach can be signs of cardiac issues and should be checked out, because as the heart ages it can develop a heart murmur or even a swollen heart. Similar signs could mean a lung disease like bronchitis or even pneumonia, especially if there is a cough present and there seems to be difficulty in breathing. A lack of appetite, nausea, and sometimes seizures can be a sign of a liver problem, because in senior pets the liver can malfunction and create a build up of toxins in the body.

Problems with kidneys are quite common in both dogs, and cats and there can be several signs to look for as a senior pet owner. Weight loss, excessive thirst, bad smelling breath and/or mouth ulcers can all be signs there is a kidney problem. Having said that, all the aforementioned conditions can be either treated, cured, or manageable for a better quality of life providing they are caught early, which is why it is so important to have regular vet check ups in senior pets.

Many life threatening conditions can plague our senior pets as they move toward their twilight years, and most of them can be detected either by a simple blood test, or urine sample. Early detection can be vital in the course of treatment, and whether or not he can be cured, or just make life easier and more comfortable for him, depending on the ailment or condition. Therefore, getting regular check ups for our senior pets is important, because catching a condition early enough for a cure can save you money further down the line, and lead to him having a much longer life too, so that you both can enjoy more years together easily.

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Making Senior Pets Comfortable In Their Last Year Of Their Lives

Making Senior Pets Comfortable In Their Last Year Of Their Lives - Paws at PeaceAfter spending more than a decade with our best friend, we know the inevitable is going to happen, but really don’t want to think about it. However, we still want what is best for him, and it’s still our job as a pet parent to take care of him the best we can and make him as comfortable as we can during his final year. The bond between a man’s best friend, and his owner often can’t be matched by anything else. Moreover, only you can know his preferences, dislikes, and favorite petting spots, whether it’s his ears or his belly. That being said, let us talk a bit more about other things that can make him more comfortable during this final phase of his life.

Many dogs in their last year of life prefer the quiet, so keeping him away from loud noises, or playing children may make him feel more secure at this time in his life. Also, at this point in time his joints may be aching, and he may even have arthritis, so it is important to make sure he has something soft to lay on, as hard floors will just make it worse. Talking to him in a soft tone, and petting him whenever he allows it will let him know that you still care about him, and that everything is going to be ok.

As he gets closer to his final days he may not be able to walk very far, so another thing you may want to consider is giving him his meals close to where he is most comfortable. Also, hydration is still important at this time of his life, so you should always keep a bowl of water close by, so he can take a drink whenever he needs one. Having said that, he may be at a stage where he can’t eat much solid food. Therefore, you may want to start giving him a liquid food, or mash his food up into a soup for him, so it is easier for him to digest.

Another thing that happens in the last days is he may have accidents, not being able to get outside quick enough for a bathroom break, so be sure to keep him in a place where it is easier to clean up any mess. Moreover, it is also important not to punish him at this late stage in life, it’s not his fault, just let him know everything is ok and don’t make a big thing about it, or it will just cause unnecessary stress. If he has a favorite food, a favorite toy, or even a favorite blanket, make sure all these things are around him or close by, so that he can see them, as this again will make him feel more secure.

It is also important to remember that at this point in their life pets cannot regulate their body temperature as well as they used to, so you may want to place a warm blanket over him if he shows signs of feeling cold. Some owners in the last days decide to sleep with their dog, either putting a makeshift bed by your dogs bed, or letting him sleep on your own bed, this can give him added comfort and security. If you can’t get time off work to be with him in his final days, try to get a good friend to sit with him, and maybe record some of his activity when you’re not there.

Finally, something that can often make senior pets feel more relaxed, and comfortable in their final days is soft music, and you can purchase music with just wildlife sounds, with birds singing and running water. Whatever method you choose to make your senior pet feel comfortable in their final year, it will surely let him know that you still care deeply for him, and that you are there for him just like he has been there for you for many years. Always be sure to take pictures, or video of your best friend, so you can look back and remember all the wonderful times you had together, and that he will always be in your heart, even when he’s passed on.

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Pain Management For Terminally Ill And Senior Dogs

Pain Management For Terminally Ill And Senior Dogs - Paws at PeaceMost pet owners that have had the pleasure of spending many wonderful years with their best friend will tell you how sad, and hurtful it can be when they are diagnosed with a terminally ill condition. We all know that sooner, or later our pet is going to reach the end of his life, but we’d rather not think about it until it is upon us. However, there are things we can do to make our pet feel better in his last days. This article will discuss some of the things we can do to make our terminally ill pet feel a little more comfortable during those last days, and when to consider euthanasia as an option.

End of life care for our beloved pet doesn’t always mean pain and discomfort, because now there are many things we can do to ease their suffering, unlike many years ago when the only option would have been to euthanize him or her. With so much progress being made with medication’s now, pain can be managed much better, so our pet doesn’t need to suffer and feel the discomfort that pain brings. Moreover, this is the time we, as responsible pet owners, can show our pet just how much they are loved by taking extra special care of them in their time of need.

One of the first things we need to do with our elderly pet, or a pet that has been diagnosed with a terminal condition is to make sure we keep appointments with the vet, so that our pet can be monitored and catch signs of any deterioration. In addition, make sure your best friend is surrounded by his, or her favorite things, like a special toy, warm blanket, or maybe a favorite cushion he loves to snuggle into. Pets with very limited mobility can develop sores, so be sure to check this often, especially on the joints, and provide an extra soft pillow for them to lay on.

Many older pets can develop incontinence and lose bladder control, so you should check them often throughout the day for wetness or soiling. Having said that, you can help them when they need to defecate, or urinate by supporting them with a sling, or a alternatively you can use a towel that can support their belly to assist them. Moreover, making them as comfortable as possible in their final days will let them know that you still love them as much as when the day they came into your life, reassuring them by talking to them, and staying in sight as much as you can will help them too.

Another option for terminally ill, and senior dogs is pet hospice care, where your pets final days, or weeks are made much easier with the use of carefully managed pain medications. As well as pain management, hospice care will also include dietary changes, and strategies along with human interaction, allowing your pet to live their final days with dignity. Hospice care generally requires constant supervision, and interaction, with you as the primary carer, and nurse while working together with your vet to make your pets last days as comfortable and pain free as possible.

Euthanasia is clearly a last resort, and not everyone likes to think or talk about it, but in many cases it is wise to at least consider it, especially if your pet is suffering greatly, or pain medication isn’t working. Your vet is specifically trained to enable him to carry out this procedure in a humane manner providing your pet with a pain free, gentle way to go, just like he was falling asleep. Of course this decision lies solely on you as the owner, and sometimes keeping a diary of his final days can allow you to weigh up if it is time to make this decision.

Finally, when it comes to an older pet, or a terminally ill pet, decisions can be extremely hard to make due to the stress, worry and not wanting our best friend to leave us. In the end we have to think of our pet, and his level of suffering, and our job as a responsible pet parent should be to base our decision on what is best for him or her. It is hard to say goodbye to a loved one whether it be human or pet, and there is nothing anyone can say to alleviate the pain we feel when losing a loved one, but we will always have the memories to cherish forever, even after they are gone.

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Nutrition Needs For Senior Dogs

senior dogs nutrition - Paws at Peace Pet HospiceNutrition for older dogs is a very important topic to know for those who own a dog, this is because as your dog gets older his nutrition needs change. Many owners who know little to nothing about an older dogs metabolism can unknowingly be giving their best friend the wrong foods, leading to an overweight dog, which in turn, can lead to unwanted health conditions. However, in this article we will discuss the changes in an older dog, and the necessary changes we need to make to their diet, and exercise routine, so that you can still give your dog the best as he ages.

As a dog gets older, his nutrition requirements can change quite a lot, depending on the breed, and the way the body uses energy as well as the food intake needed to produce energy changes also. This is called the metabolism process, and as a dog gets older the metabolism slows, so their fat and calorie intake doesn’t need to be as much as when they were a pup or in their prime. However, your older dog still needs protein, and fat but not as much, and their diet should consist of more fiber and grain as they get older. That being said, their exercise needs change too.

Some older dogs can stay on the same food they have always had, but less of it, while others may need a completely different type of food. An older dog needs a well balanced diet with an adequate amount of protein and calories, but more fiber to give them the feeling of being full. Lower amounts of fat means lower amounts of calories, and older dogs are better off with a higher fiber diet due to them being more prone to things like constipation, and if you want to stick with your regular food, you can add wheat bran to this, which will add to the amount of fiber.

As your dog gets older it is highly recommended that you visit your vet regularly for checkups on his health, and to get a professional opinion of what your dogs diet should include. Some older dogs have the opposite problem of being obese, and that is being underweight due to them not wanting to eat. This can be due to many different reasons, and this will be the time to take the food challenge, by experimenting with what he will eat, because some older dogs are disinterested in their food for a variety of reasons.

One reason an older dog may not be eating like his old self could be that he has trouble chewing the hard kibble, this could be because his teeth or gums aren’t what they used to be. Having said that, you can try to add water to the dry food to soften it a little, or it may just be the kibble is too large now, so a smaller kibble may work better. Moreover, older dogs that seem to be off their food can often do well on a completely different type of food, like chicken and rice with some vegetables and potato, which is why many dog owners with older dogs will switch to homemade recipes, as their dog ages.

Some older dogs may even need supplements to help them get the nutrients they need, but each dog is different and again, it is recommended to speak with your vet to discuss your individual dog’s needs. Older dogs can be prone to joint problems, so a supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitinnutrition can help support joints. If your older dog cannot eat a complete balanced diet then a vitamin, and mineral supplement may be needed to help with any deficiencies.

Finally, older dogs undergo many physiological changes, and one should keep up with those changes, and change their diet and exercise accordingly. Nutrition for older dogs is important, and so is exercise, although exercise may not be what it used to be, and one may have to make some other changes around the home if he is having joint problems or medical conditions. Making sure your older dog has a well balanced diet, with the right amount of exercise, will prevent him from becoming overweight, and protect him from unwanted health conditions that go along with being obese.

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Dogs And Halloween Candy

Halloween dogs - Paws at peaceHalloween is a great holiday for many families, and an excuse to go out and have fun, with trick, or treat kids knocking on your door, different costumes and plenty of candy. Moreover, many pet owners like to get in on the action too by dressing their dogs in Halloween costumes, but every year many dogs become seriously ill due to consuming candy, and it’s one of the few times during the year dog owners need to be especially careful. Here we will look into the dangers of dogs, and Halloween candy and why dogs eating candy can be so dangerous, some of, which can even kill your dog, so read on to learn more.

Many people have heard that you shouldn’t feed dogs (or cats) chocolate, but not many know the reason why, some people even think it may be a myth, but it’s not. There are two ingredients in chocolate that are extremely dangerous to our best friend, and they are Theobromine and Caffeine and by eating as little as 1/4 oz of chocolate can be extremely toxic for them. Chocolate toxicity in dogs can cause diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and even death, yes it’s that dangerous for them, but chocolate is not the only danger out there on Halloween for your dog.

The chances are quite high that your dog will get into some candy at some point during the Halloween holiday, with so many groups trick or treating, there will be candy dropped in yards, gardens and sidewalks. Having said that, be sure to check your yard next morning for remnants of candy spat out by kids that didn’t like the taste of a specific treat, as these may be picked up by your dog. Also, candy wrappers can be another major threat, and there will probably be a lot, and your dog will be able to smell the chocolate inside the wrapper even if its empty, also keep your own candy bowl out of reach of your dog.

When a dog gets into the candy bowl, he tends not to unwrap the candy to eat it, so he inevitably eats the whole thing, wrapper included, and now you not only have the danger of chocolate toxicity, but also the danger of him getting a blockage due to the wrapper. Moreover, bite sized hard candy can be just as dangerous as chocolate in their own way due to the size of them. In addition, they can be a choking hazard, and we’ve all heard of chocolate covered raisins, these are double danger. Raisins, or any kind of grape can cause liver failure in dogs, and a chocolate covered raisin is almost guaranteed you will have to visit your vet or call poison control.

Another type of candy that you need your dog to stay away from is sugar free candy as these usually have a sugar substitute called Xylitol. Xylitol is safe for people, but a potential killer to a dog, as it can drop their sugar levels very quickly to a dangerous level, and if this happens your dog may become lethargic, unable to walk and could end up having seizures. If a dog survives eating this he could still have liver damage, and even have liver failure, so it is probably a wise move to keep dogs, and cats away from all the human candy, especially at Halloween time.

Many dog owners know about the different foods out there that pose a health risk. Moreover, many have learned this through experience, and had a dog become seriously ill, or even die because they just wasn’t informed. Having said that, some people like to have different nuts out at Halloween as well as other holidays, yet even something as innocent as Macadamia nuts can be lethal to a dog, and it doesn’t take a second for Fido to snatch a tasty looking Macadamia cookie from the table. It can take as little as just a few Macadamia nuts to make your dog very ill, from muscle tremors to paralysis, from elevated body temperature to vomiting and rapid heart rate.

Finally, the best way to keep your dog safe on Halloween is to keep him inside, and have some of his favorite dog treats on hand, so he can enjoy a healthy treat and not get sick. However, if you like to get your dog involved, and dress him in a costume and go trick or treating, be sure to take his favorite treats along, so that when the kids are opening their chocolate candy, he can have a healthy snack. Prevention is better than cure, and when it comes to dogs, and Halloween candy it is much better to be informed, and aware than to finish the happy holiday in the ER. Finally, by taking extra precautions, you can help your pet to stay safe, and have a happy Halloween that both you, and your best friend can easily enjoy together.

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