We 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.
Dogs 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.
Many pet owners, especially first time pet owners, would like to consider taking their pets with them at Christmas, but may not know where to start. This leads to them hiring a professional pet sitter, which can cost a pretty penny, or putting them into kennels for a week or two, which can lead to other problems when you get back home. We will discuss some tips for traveling with your pet this Christmas, whether it be a road trip or something more luxurious, so that you, and your pet get the most out of your vacation.
Probably the main reasons for pet owners not taking their pets with them at Christmas time is, because they think it may be a lot of hassle, and they haven’t researched about it, or they have just been misinformed. The fact is that many pets are really a member of the family, and should be considered when going on vacation, and you’re not as limited as you may think about where you can go. Hotels now have pet friendly rooms, as do many resorts, and many owners choose to rent homes instead of booking a hotel when traveling with their pets.
Preparation is key when traveling with your pet at Christmas time, and a little bit of knowledge can cut the stress down dramatically, like making sure your pet is chipped with identification. Depending on the country you live in, your dog may need a passport, depending on where you are traveling, but even so be sure he has plenty of identification, just in case he wanders off. Taking any medication your pet may need is essential too, and a good sized pet cage, or crate that he has been comfortable with because he may need to spend some time in it.
Making sure he has some favorite toys when he is in his crate, or a favorite blanket that will help him be less stressful, especially if on a flight. In addition, be sure that he is up to date on his inoculations, as some countries will not let you in with a pet unless you can prove this. Therefore, be sure to take any paperwork with you associated with this, especially rabies shots. When traveling with your pet at Christmas time be sure to take a good water bowl, and plenty of water, especially if it is a road trip as you never know how far it will be before the next pit stop.
Leaving your pet at a kennel can end up costing you more in the long run, and you also run the risk of him becoming sick, distressed, or being scared all the time you are away due to other pets in the facility. Moreover, leaving him with a pet sitter means giving access to your home to a stranger, and although they may be a professional things can get misplaced, and doors can be left unlocked by mistake. You wouldn’t leave a child behind when going on holiday, so why leave your pet behind? after all, he is one of the family.
Of course, there are some vacations it is probably not wise to take a pet along, but many owners are choosing holidays based around the whole family, taking their pets into consideration also. Having said that, even though their destination may change to accommodate their pet, it doesn’t mean it will be any less exciting, and in many cases a change can lead to even more fun and enjoyment. When taking a pet along on your next Christmas trip, it’s just like preparing for yourself, be sure you have ID, food, water, some toys to keep him occupied, and feel at home even while he’s away with you, and a nice warm blanket too.
When booking hotels, research, and phone ahead of time to be sure they have pet friendly rooms, and what they actually offer. Ask about other facilities regarding pets, like do they have a dog walking service, or if they have off lead areas in, or around the grounds, and also ask about hidden fees. Finally, with a little research, and preparation, along with asking plenty of questions when booking it will ensure you all enjoy your Christmas holiday, including your best friend who will be, so pleased you took him along this time.
After 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.
Most 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.
Nutrition 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.
As pet owners we all know that sooner, or later our best friend is going to get old, just as we do, but what can we do about giving him the best quality of life in his last few years? Many dogs after the age of about 7, or 8 are classed as senior pets, and depending on their health, there are quite a few things we can do to make life a little easier for him. In this article we will take a closer look at our senior best friends to see what we can do to make things a little more comfortable for him, after all, he’s made our life happier over the years, now let’s see what we can do in return.
One of the first things we need to do when our pet reaches his senior status is to schedule vet visits twice a year instead of once per year. That said, six months is quite a long time in terms of dog years, and a lot can happen in just six months when it comes to their health. Moreover, dental issues, joint issues, and many other conditions can set in, so it’s best to have a check up twice yearly. Any conditions that our best friend has developed can be relieved by medications or even diet, and if it’s a condition that can’t be treated there may be medications that can ease his pain if he is suffering.
Keep in mind, that diet should be one of the things we look at when our dog gets older, because their digestive system may become more sensitive, and their teeth may not be as strong. Therefore, looking at different types of food may be a good thing, because a softer food can make it easier to chew, or even a food that is easier on the digestive system can be better for him too. Having said that, don’t just run out, and buy a softer food, talk with your vet to see what he recommends, because he may even give you supplements to go with the new food or recommend a home made diet.
Another thing that is important in our dogs senior years is keeping up with parasite control, as their immune system isn’t what it used to be. Fleas, ticks and other parasites can spread disease, and our older dog can’t always fight off infection like he used to, so make sure he is taking flea and tick preventatives. Moreover, you should be treating him for heart worm monthly, because heart worm is even more dangerous in older dogs, and can kill any dog if not treated.
Exercise is another thing we need to keep our eye on, because he may not be able to walk for that same hour that he did just six months ago. We know exercise will keep him from becoming overweight, and is good for him, but at the same time he may not be able to walk as far or for as long now. However, you know your dog better than anyone, so paying attention to him when exercising is important, as you may be able to spot when he has had enough, or you may be able to tell if he is having any joint issues.
When it comes to our senior pets you may want to consider looking at your environment to see if you can do anything to make his life a little easier. Senior dogs are more prone to developing joint conditions, so if he is used to going up and down stairs often maybe you can change things so he can stay downstairs. Monitoring him when he is out in the garden could be essential too due to changes in temperatures. Keep in mind, that they can get heat stroke more easily during hot weather, and he is also less likely to defend himself against other animals.
Finally, we never like to discuss the inevitable, our best friend passing away yet we know it will happen, just as it does with family members and relatives. Therefore, the best approach is to treat every day as a golden opportunity to create a lasting memory with him, take a video or some pictures, so you can look back and enjoy the memories and share them with family and friends. Enjoy, and embrace those moments you used to take for granted, and set aside an hour or, so a day to just snuggle up with him, give him a treat, go for a walk, or just talk to him and let him know you love him just as much as you did the day you got him.
Most dog owners want what is best for their best friend, and that includes giving them healthy meals, a good bed, playtime and exercise, but not every owner knows the dangers of heat stroke. Heat stroke in dogs is a killer, and believe it or not thousands of owners lose their best friends each year to this deadly condition, yet it is preventable. Every dog can suffer from heat stroke, but it is especially the older dogs where it can set in much quicker, and if you know the signs to look for you can prevent it before it reaches the deadly stage.
First of all let us explain a little about how heat stroke comes about in our dogs to help our readers to learn what to watch out for. if, a dog’s temperature reaches 104 then it’s way of cooling itself becomes impaired, such as panting. Once his body mechanisms become overwhelmed then heat stroke can set in. That said, during this time as the temperature rises even further, other body functions start to fail, like the neurologic, circulatory, blood clotting and urinary systems, after which there is little chance of saving him. However, if you know the signs to look for early on, then he won’t get to this point, but sometimes without the knowledge we can inadvertently be harming him without even knowing it.
There are many signs of heat stress, or heat exhaustion that we need to pay attention to, especially in the warmer climates, even in the low 80’s dogs can get heat stroke, depending on where they are. If a dog is walking more slower than usual, or seemingly having trouble keeping up with you just walking, or if he is seeking out shady areas, and wanting to stop frequently these can be early signs. Moreover, prolonged and persistent panting as well as loud, or labored breathing can also be a warning sign.
Wide eyes or stressed eyes and increased anxiety in a dog can also be a sign of heat stress, although not all dogs will show all symptoms, any combination of what has been mentioned should be taken seriously. Having said that, if a dog is in a vehicle they can suffer very quickly from heat stroke, and early warning signs here could be barking, pacing, seeking out shelter under a seat or dashboard, and clawing at the windows or seats in an attempt to escape. Many dogs that die of heat stroke are simply because the owner left them in the car too long, even with a window down a couple of inches, this is because the heat in a car can be as much as 20 degrees hotter than outside the car.
Signs of heat stroke are obviously more serious, and immediate medical attention needs to be sort, especially if you notice a dog vomiting or having diarrhea, possibly with blood, drooling, eyes glazed over, staggering, seizures or even collapsing. One study showed that the temperature in a car can rise up to over 40 F in just one hour, the same study revealed that even on a mild day at 72 the temperature inside a car reached 93 F in just ten minutes. Therefore, it is highly recommended that if you have to leave your dog in a vehicle for more than 5 minutes, don’t take him with you, especially if you cannot let him out for a drink of water.
Because dogs do not have sweat glands like us, they can’t sweat to cool off, they only have panting, so they need to be cooled down in other ways, like giving them plenty of cool water to drink. in Addition, on hot days you can fill a child’s paddling pool, and let the dog soak his paws in the cool water, which can help cool him off too. However, make sure there is plenty of shade in the garden or yard area where you plan to set the pool up at. Having said that, if there is no natural shade like trees, then you could put a gazebo up, or a thick sheet or blanket to provide some shade.
The main concern with dog owners in the summer heat should be to keep the dog at a reliably cool temperature, remember he has a fur coat, so if it feels warm to you, then it’s probably hot for him. Taking him for walks early in the morning, or after dark when it’s cooler could work better than midday, and having an air conditioner in the home that he can lay in front of will benefit him greatly. Moreover, one should also remember that hot ashpalt, or paved areas can also add to heat stroke, so a grassy area would be better than a hard surface. Finally, by providing some of these things mentioned, along with what now seems logical solutions for him to cool off with, you may just be saving his life.