Danger In Your Back Yard?

If you live in one of the dozen western states that is home to the Water Hemlock, please keep your dogs away.  A simple nature walk can turn deadly in a second if your pet ingests this plant.  The tiny white flowers bloom in June and July, depending on elevation.  The tubers are the most poisonous but the leaves and stems can be lethal as well.  The plant has a strong carrot like smell which may be attractive to your dog.  A dog poisoned with water hemlock will present with nervousness  and pupil dilatation. This will progress to twitching, drooling, convulsions and seizures.  Even if a tiny amount is eaten and the dog survives the toxic effects, they are often left with permanent heart or skeletal muscle damage.  If you suspect your pet has eaten even just a small amount, induce vomiting immediately and get them to a vet.  Moral of this story, keep an eye on your surroundings when you take those walks.

Lean And Mean

As a Dachshund breeder, I constantly try to educate puppy buyers about keeping their pup lean.  All dogs should maintain a healthy weight, but Dachshunds have the added disadvantage of the long back and short legs that can make extra weight a greater health risk.  Statistics show that about 54% of dogs in the US are overweight.  People tend to care for their pets by overfeeding them with “love”.  Last year I published a  post about how having a dog can get us humans in better shape, but how about them?  There are a whole batch of diseases you can help your dog avoid if you just keep their weight in check.  To learn more, read this article and please, take it to heart.  You will be doing your pet a huge favor.

Beat The Heat

  Last August I posted about the how fast the temperature  can rise in cars with the summer heat.  I can’t believe we are still reading (and seeing on the news) about people who are just not using there brains when it comes to this issue.  Hot cars aren’t the only problems we encounter as part of the summer temperature changes.  Keep in mind that humidity, hydration and exercise are just a few things that should also be monitored when it comes to your pet’s summer health.  And don’t forget about summer storms and possible power outages – are you prepared?  Here are Six Tips for Summer Safety.  Stay cool amigos.

I Don’t Remember

I came across an article on Canine Cognitive Dysfunction and thought it would be good information for everyone to have.  Basically CCD is much like Alzheimers in humans.  After I did some research, I realized that the two older dogs we lost last summer, were probably in the early stages of CCD.  Their’s never progressed far enough to be an issue, but I am glad I have the information in case I need it in in the future.  Like Alzheimers, there are treatments, but there is no cure.  Besides deep sleeping habits and zoning out in a corner, there are several other abnormal behaviors to note.  Take a look at this article from Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice.  As always if you have questions or concerns, be sure to consult your vet.

Do You Smell That?

Did you know that dogs have 25 times more smell receptors than humans?  We use the brain’s visual cortex for smell, but the dog has an olfactory cortex that is 40 times larger

and has 125-220 million smell receptors on it’s bulb.  Holy cow!  Is it any wonder that they can track a scent for miles even after the scent is hours old?  Or how about smelling cancer?  You heard right, dogs can smell cancer.  Let that sink in for a moment and be amazed.

I have a friend, now in remission thankfully, whose dog was letting her know something was very wrong last year so things were caught early.  Not only that, this dog has been alerting her for years to her high blood pressure, blood sugar issues and even a heart attack, with no formal training other than nose work classes.  Medical alert dogs are the most amazing thing.  Check out this article for more information.

Have You Heard Enough?

I say no!  We can never get enough information when it comes to our animal’s health and the canine influenza issue is no different.  With this outbreak, we have chosen to treat it as you would the human flu.  Less time out in crowded places – that means no shows for awhile – washing blankets and crates often and keeping the flow of visitors to our house at a minimum.  Keeping sick pet’s crates covered and separate from those that are still healthy as well as loads of fresh water and healthy food are on the list of dos.  My heart goes out to those in the show community who have been dealing with this is their kennels – some have even lost dogs.

Do not fool yourself, this virus does require veterinary intervention and persistence, so  please, if your dog shows symptoms, take them in right away.  Keep you dog in the car until the vet is ready to see them – why expose others in the waiting room who may still be healthy.  Just use common sense.  The AKC posted a great public service announcement, so if you still have questions, take a look and then talk to your vet if you need to.  When it comes to the vaccine, only you can make those choices for your pet.  But again, it’s like the human version.  The “powers that be” figure out what strains will be forthcoming and make the vaccine accordingly.  Sometimes they get it wrong and if your pet has been exposed before vaccination, they may still get sick.  Here’s wishing you and your pets the best of health.

You’re My Favorite

Have you ever wondered how the canines in your family pick “their person.”   Dogs don’t always choose the person who is the primary care giver.  Sometimes it’s aunt Tina or your neighbor Jim who is always at your house.   Dogs have what’s called a key socialization period which lasts from birth until about 6 months.  This explains why puppies always remember their breeder.  I’ve had puppies come back for a visit  years after they have gone to their forever homes, only to have them jump all over and pee on me because they are so excited.  I’m not sure there is any one way to figure out how dogs choose “their person” but positive association has much to do with it.  This article will explain things a bit more if you are interested.  Have a safe and awesome Memorial Day weekend.