Chewing and Destruction

24 Apr 2014 | Filed in Dog Problems

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Chewing is natural. Learn how to control it.Chewing is a normal, natural and necessary canine behavior. Pet parents regularly call trainers to talk about a dog who has chewed their belonging to spite their owner or dogs who will be destructive even though “he knows it’s wrong”. A dogs understanding of right and wrong is vastly different from ours. Most behavior that pet parents perceive to be guilt is simply appeasement gestures. They offer these gestures because they know the chewed object and owners don’t belong in the same place, they are very good at reading our body language and energy. There was nothing “wrong” in the dogs mind with chewing that object until you came home was there? In fact it was probably quite rewarding or else they wouldn’t do it at all.

Let’s first look at why dogs chew. Puppies have sharp little “milk teeth” and not only do puppies enjoy chewing as a means to relieve stress but they need to chew to alleviate aching gums and later to loosen those teeth when it is time to fall out. Some puppies can teethe until they are 9 to 12 months although many will be finished and have a complete set of adult teeth by this time.

Older dogs should have acceptable chew objects to keep those teeth healthy. Certainly not all chew toys are created equal so ask your veterinarian for recommendations for safe and effective chew objects. When adult dogs chew on appropriate items it can be like us flossing. It cleans excessive plaque off the teeth and feels pretty good. They were given strong jaws and teeth to chew through bones. Nature would have these opportunistic scavengers getting nutrition wherever they could find it. So bones have a lot of value to them. It is important to give bones that are suitable for dogs. Consult your veterinarian for ideas on using bones to make sure they are appropriate size and type for your dog. You should never give cooked fowl bones to dogs because of the high risk of choking and splintering.

We now know not only do dogs enjoy chewing but they need to for a number of different reasons. Outside of the desire to chew, dogs explore the world through scent and by using their mouths. We pick up objects, eat and play by using our hands. Dogs use their mouth for all three of these activities. When you bring a new dog into your home whether it is a puppy or adult you should follow a few key steps to make sure they don’t chew on the wrong things.

STEP 1: PROOFING YOUR HOME.

Make sure anything that is valuable or dangerous is put away when you bring a dog home (shoes, electric cords, toxic plants, dish towels, etc). Get down on the ground and look for anything hanging down that looks like it would be fun for a dog to play with or chew.

STEP 2: FIND TOYS.

Find objects that the dog likes to chew on (toys,appropriate sized bones that do not splinter, puzzle and feeder toys) and praise your dog every time he chooses the correct objects to put in his mouth.

STEP 3: EXERCISE.

Alleviate a bored dog and anxious mind by giving your dog a big exercise outlet prior to down time, preferably one where he can use his mouth in a positive way like fetch and structured tug games.

STEP 4: DROP IT.

Teach your dog a solid “drop it” command so when he picks the wrong object he is happy to let it go for another object or treat.

After a few weeks the dog will develop a routine of the objects he likes to put in his mouth. Keep mixing up the routine by adding objects and hide old favorites from time to time so when you bring it back he thinks, “oh yeah, I forgot about that one, I love that”. The best defense against chewing and destruction is a good offensive game plan. Show your dog what kinds of objects are acceptable to chew and you will prevent a lot of destruction and unnecessary frustration.

Do Warts & Moles Affect a Dog’s Health?

19 Apr 2014 | Filed in Dog Health

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Moles and warts can pose a risk to your dog’s health, but in most cases, these skin lesions are harmless. Cancer is the main concern when dealing with skin lesions, but malnourishment and infections are also a concern. Consult with your dog’s veterinarian to determine the risk of your dog’s moles or warts.

Wart Risks

Warts are passed from dog-to-dog when an uninfected dog comes in contact with an infected dog or catches the virus in the infected dog’s environment. Warts, or viral papillomas, usually are harmless with little to no impact on a dog’s health. If your dog has a large number of oral papillomas, eating and drinking can cause significant pain and lead to malnourishment. There are only two published cases where warts have developed into cancer, according to Veterinary Partner. Oral papillomas have an increased risk of infection due to bacteria of the mouth.

Changing Moles

Moles are caused by an uncontrollable development of cells. As with human moles, most moles on dogs are harmless. Cancerous moles often have irregular borders and occasionally bleed, but even benign moles can look suspicious. Some moles have a cauliflower appearance that resembles warts, but actually are skin carcinomas. Melanoma typically develops from an older mole, so it’s important to observe moles for changes on a regular basis.

Handling Warts

Viral papillomas cannot be transferred to humans, so it’s unnecessary to isolate the dog from your family, but do keep the dog separate from uninfected dogs. Warts are most common in young dogs with immature immune systems. The warts usually disappear without treatment as the immune system matures. If the warts resist the immune system, the warts can be removed surgically or frozen. A bacterial infection secondary to oral papillomas usually is treated with a course of antibiotics.

Managing Suspicious Moles

A vet will observe a skin lesion that is changing shape, changing colors or growing larger. The mole is removed through a biopsy and tested by the veterinarian to determine if the mole is cancerous. If cancer is diagnosed, the cancer will be typed and staged to help the veterinarian choose an appropriate path for treatment. In most cases, the cancer is removed, but if organs are involved, chemotherapy is recommended without surgery. Prolonged sun exposure increases your dog’s risk for skin cancer, so be sure there are shaded areas in your dog’s outdoor environment. Although warts turning into cancer is extremely rare, prompt treatment of warts can reduce your dog’s risk for skin cancer.

Liver Dog Treat Recipe

11 Apr 2014 | Filed in Dog Food

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A nutrient-rich organ meat, liver is a good source of protein, fat, and A, B, and C vitamins. Liver also provides dogs with copper, iron, niacin, phosphorus and zinc and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. If fed in moderation liver can be a delicious and nutritious treat for your dog. Most dogs enjoy the flavor of liver, so it’s not difficult to get this nutrient packed snack into their diet.

Although liver is good for humans and dogs, not everyone likes to prepare it. Liver shy? Try out these easy recipes using freeze-dried liver. Make these homemade liver treats for your dog.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup freeze-dried liver

2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped) or 1 tablespoon dried parsley

2 cups whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup wheat germ

1/3 cup water

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 egg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees farenheight

Place the liver in a blender and blend to a powder. Depending on how soft your liver is, you might be able to do this with a fork.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients.

Knead the dough on a floured surface.

Roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thickness, and cut out shapes with a 2-inch cookie cutter.

Put the cookies on a baking sheet, 1/2 inch apart.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes. When done, the treats should be firm to the touch.

Turn the oven off, and leave the treats in for 1 to 2 hours to harden.

House Training Relapse in Adopted Dogs

4 Apr 2014 | Filed in Dog Adopted

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Dogs acquired from an animal shelter, rescue organization or private party can provide you with years of enjoyable companionship, but any new dog can present some initial challenges. Be prepared for Fido to experience some behavior problems, such as temporary anxieties or relapses in house-training, after you bring him home. Have a question? Get an answer from a Vet now!

Manage Expectations

Your adopted dog may have previous house-training, or he may never have been taught the rules of living in a house or apartment. Regardless of training history, all shelter dogs endure a certain amount of stress from being displaced, from being around barking dogs, and from experiences they may have had in the street. Even a previously well-trained dog may revert to inappropriate soiling when he arrives in the new home.

Start at the Beginning

For the first few weeks, proceed as though Fido isn’t house-trained, and take necessary precautions to prevent accidents. Limit the dog’s access to your home until he or she is reliable. Use a crate, baby gate or leash to confine Fido when you can’t supervise his actions. If he was once house-trained, the re-training process should progress quickly; some dogs catch on after just a few days of instruction.

House-training Basics

“House-training your dog or puppy requires far more than a few stacks of old newspapers — it calls for vigilance, patience, plenty of commitment and above all, consistency,” says the Humane Society of the United States on its website. House-training is best when the dog owner helps the dog be successful. The owner watches the dog and looks for signs that needs to go out, such as sniffing and circling. Take Fido outside and reward him for good behavior when he performs the task. HSUS provides instructions for accomplishing house-training goals on its website.

Special Problems

House-training should go smoothly if you follow a solid plan. New dog owners should invest in a dog training class, which is likely to cover house-training topics. However, physical or emotional issues can cause elimination problems. Check with your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist if you encounter prolonged training problems. Although house-training can be frustrating and unpleasant, never take your frustrations out on Fido, or you could make the problem much worse. Kathy Salzberg stress the importance of remaining calm on NetPlaces.com. “Never scream angrily at your dog or hit it with your hand or a newspaper if it has an accident. Rubbing its nose in it doesn’t work either. The dog will become afraid and confused, and it will learn to distrust you as well,” she says in an article about house-training problems.