Friday, August 10, 2012

Does Your Dog Need to Go on a Diet?

Insulin Overdose - Feline Diabetes
Article courtesy of Pet Alive

Obesity in adults and children has been said to have reached “epidemic” proportions in recent times– and the same is becoming true for our pets! Overweight canines are at an increased risk for many health issues, such as joint problems and arthritis to heart disease.

What’s to blame?

Similar to humans, the two biggest culprits contributing to overweight pets are lack of exercise and poor diet. Consult your vet before making any major dietary or exercise changes, and start your pet off gradually to avoid digestive upsets and build up fitness levels.

Tapering off treats & setting routine meals

Many processed pet treats are low in nutritional value and high in fat, sugar and other additives. Instead of rewarding your pet with these treats, offer a little more affection and TLC time in the form of a belly rub, thorough brushing or “lap time” while you watch TV.

Meet the nutritional guidelines necessary for your pet’s age and healthy weight, but avoid feeding your pet table scraps or snacks throughout the day. Most pets are adequately suited to eat only twice a day- which is likely less than he or she is eating now!

In addition, keep your pet away from the kitchen during family mealtimes to make feeding less tempting.

Get your pet moving (more)

While not all pets require the same level of activity, it’s important to properly identify the needs of your breed. For instance, high energy dogs such as Airedale Terriers, Dalmatians, Greyhounds, and Weimaraners require more vigorous daily exercise. Again, check with your vet for the best program for your pet.

For starters, increase the duration and intensity of your pet’s walks. Besides aiding weight loss, brisk walking is said to help promote a stronger heart, lower blood pressure, boost energy, and even alleviate behavior problems.

Another great activity for pets is swimming, as it is offers a comprehensive yet low-impact workout that targets many muscle groups, plus builds endurance.  Swimming is also particularly suited for dogs with arthritis for these reasons.

A classic game of fetch can even do wonders for your pet. For more advanced pets, there are even competitive forms of organized play such as Frisbee teams. Dogs that need extra behavior training will greatly benefit from this form of exercise.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Warning: Keep Your Dog Safe in the Summer Heat

Cooling Down Your Canine: Natural Ways to Help Your Dog Beat the Summer Heat
Article courtesy of Pet Alive

There are plenty of do’s and don’ts of dog safety that you are probably familiar with: do make sure you leave your air conditioner on and don’t leave him/her outside too long during the summer months. While these great tips should always be followed, there are times in the summer when family outings take you away from the home and modern conveniences like A/C.

Below are some ways to cool down your furry friend, wherever you go!

This is a great time of year to go on camping; however, you have to keep in mind your dog is covered in fur and it doesn’t take long for him or her to get hot, even at a campground. At your camp, cool Fido down with a nice cool “bath”.

Set up a kiddie pool, fill it up half way, and encourage your pet to lie in the cool water. While this can be used as a pet paradise alone, you can also use it to your advantage if you want to give your dog a bath. Make sure you use cool water; pets don’t need such warm water like we do.

Does your pet hate being submerged in water? Have no fear if there’s an ice chest near. Instead of putting Fido in a pool of water, try freezing one gallon jugs of water and when your pet gets hot, place him outside in the shade and let him cool down next to them. Also, this is a perfect way to make sure your pet has cool water to drink when the ice starts to melt.

Even on the long hot summer days, you still need to exercise, but what about sensitive paws on hot pavement? Just like humans, when puppy paws walk on burning hot pavement, they walk away feeling sore. Try to avoid walking Fido on pavement by allowing him to walk in the grass while you walk or jog on the road. Then again, if you do have to deal with sore paws, give him or her St. John’s Wort, which is completely safe for dogs and has soothing properties for sore pads!

Sunburns are another issue that dogs contend with, especially dogs with a short, fine or light coat. The most prominent spot for Fido to get sunburn in on the ridge of the nose; you can remedy this burn by using oatmeal or cool yogurt, both will soothe the burn naturally. Also, try chamomile tea on burns. Boil chamomile teabags and let them cool. When they become cool enough, using a cotton ball, apply the cool tea to your pet’s skin for soothing relief.

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Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Article courtesy of Pet Alive

While it may be alarming to see Fido nibbling on the front lawn or a houseplant, it shouldn’t be a cause for concern unless the grass or plant was recently treated with pesticide, fertilizer, or another poisonous chemical. Both dogs and cats from time to time may take an interest in grass or similar substances, each for different purposes that can actually benefit their bodies.

Dogs tend to self-medicate their bodies and regulate behavior through occasional ingestion of plants, as the diets they often receive in captivity are vastly different than what they would eat in the wild. Dogs are not simply carnivorous, and can be often seen hunting for roots and fruits. Since dogs evolved from wolves, in the wild, wolves and dogs may eat an herbivore prey that they have killed, and often first go for the stomach area of the carcass where they will find roots, leaves and berries.

In domestication, a dog’s diet often consists of commercial dog food, which contains synthetic preservatives, coloring and fillers. Constant intake of such substances often leads to dog aggression, when the dog’s discomfort exceeds tolerance levels. Over time, this grain-based, high-carbohydrate diet can lead to digestive upset and even diabetes. Again considering the evolutionary perspective, wild dogs consume only minimal quantity of grains, in the shape of already-digested paste and juices in the intestines of a seed-eating prey.

However, even though grass ingestion appears to have some redeeming qualities for any dog, it can sometimes lead to vomiting. Some veterinary experts suspect that ingestion could have been a catalyst for self-induced vomiting to relieve stomach upset. Whether or not it was intentional, it may have detoxifying properties for this very purpose.

Last, it may also be possible that the dog or cat just likes the taste! However, it is important to discourage ingestion of grass or plants directly after a meal, as unintentional regurgitation of dinner may result.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Signs of Diabetes in Dogs

Diabetes mellitus [or simply diabetes] is a common condition in dogs. However it is not the end of the world for your dog because diabetes in canines is manageable if proper care is taken.

Article courtesy of Native Remedies
GlucoEnsure Helps keep blood sugar & insulin levels within normal range

Diet, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels and medication are key aspects of adequate care. Diabetes, however, can cause an early death of the dog if it is not treated. High blood sugar levels produce clinical symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats that can help in early detection.

Diabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels rise due to the inability of the pancreas to produce enough insulin to manage glucose (a primary sugar) in the food that the a dog ingests. In another situation, cells become resistant to the action of insulin, which also results in a high blood sugar level. If not managed within reasonable time, it leads to abnormally high blood sugar levels, a condition known as hyperglycemia.

High blood sugar results when the dog’s body is unable to process and convert glucose to energy for maintaining healthy growth. The excess glucose in the blood has to go somewhere if it is not used by the body’s systems and it leaks over to the urine. This leads to excessive urination (polyuria). As fluids in the body reduce, the dog feels the need to drink more (polydipsia) to compensate the loss due to excessive urination.

Besides these two most prominent symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats some of the other symptoms indicative of diabetes are:
  • Weight loss
  • Poor skin and hair coat
  • Frequent bladder infections
On observing these signs, a veterinarian should be consulted at the first opportunity because untreated diabetes can lead to:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diabetic neuropathy, especially weakness in rear legs
  • Dehydration
Left untreated, diabetes can progress and cause some life threatening disorders like diabetic acidosis, a condition where abnormally high acidity is accompanied by an accumulation of ketone bodies. Some of the other complications arising out of unregulated blood sugar levels include liver and kidney dysfunction and canine blindness.

The cause of diabetes still remains a mystery despite large amounts of research that has been initiated in this area. Chronic inflammation of the pancreas and genetic predisposition are often suspected to be the cause in most of the cases. Breeds like Poodles, Schnauzers, Keeshounds, Cairn Terriers, Dachshunds, Cocker Spaniels and Beagles are more predisposed to developing diabetes.

Once your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes, close monitoring of diet and regular checking of blood sugar levels is necessary. Minor increase in blood sugar can be managed by controlling and regulating diet. Abnormally high levels require insulin injections. Injection of insulin needs to be correlated with the amount, quality and timing of food intake. If you are taking care of your dog at home, make sure you get proper instructions about how and when to inject insulin on your own. Since excess insulin can lead to hypoglycemia or extremely low blood sugar levels, this is another area that you must understand well.

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Holistic Cancer Treatment for Dogs

We all know that cancer is a fatal disease, and a permanent cure is not possible, especially in the case of cancer that metastasizes or spreads to other parts of the body. In that event, cancer becomes a multiple problem of the primary organ where it had originated as well as those it has affected after metastasis.

Article courtesy of Native Remedies
C-Caps Promotes immune system functioning and complete cellular health

Most of the cancers that metastasize ultimately lead to secondary liver cancer in dogs. As the liver is all-important for metabolism and filtering wastes from the body, it is one of those organs whose proper functioning is essential for life.

Benign tumors do not technically fall under the category of cancer and are easily removable, unless they lead to post-surgery complications. For example, some benign tumors can compress neighboring organs or lead to excessive bleeding as in the case of spleen cancer in dogs.

There is an obvious change of opinion among veterinarians with regards to cancer treatments, and many of them are recommending holistic treatment for managing cancer in pets. The three most important aspects of a holistic approach are nutritional and supplemental support, herbal medicine and elimination of potential causes of dog cancer.

Diet is the most essential component of health and healing of your dog. Instead of commercial foods that may contain carcinogenic preservatives, it is better to look for those that are prepared without incorporating inorganic substances like pesticides, herbicides, or hormones. Home-cooked organic food, however, is the best option. You may also consider supplemental support to the pet’s diet by adding therapeutic doses of antioxidants (vitamin A and C), zinc and selenium. A daily dose of Omega 3 fatty acids by simply pouring fish oil or flaxseed oil over the dog’s food will go a long way in improving the overall health of your dog. A healthy dog is more capable of fighting disease and managing symptoms associated with cancer.

Eliminating potential causes of cancer involves proper and complete scrutiny of your pet’s environment. You may have to change it in a manner to restrict his contact with air borne pollutants, herbicides and pesticides, and toxic household chemicals. Avoid plastic and stick to metal or ceramic food bowls. As much as possible, make sure that you give filtered water to your dog.

Herbs provide excellent organ and immune system support. There are herbs that are meant for improving specific organ functioning and general herbs that assist the body in self-healing. Homeopathic remedies are prepared from herbs as well as many other natural substances. Finding a homeopathic remedy that suits the totality of symptoms in your dog is challenging but should not be impossible.

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