Monday, August 18, 2008

Dog Illnesses - Don't Let Your Dog Catch Dog Flu, Read More About It

By Kwame Ofori-Atta

Dog flu is an anti-viral viral infection of the upper-lower respiratory and digestive system that gives your canine companion runny stools. It was first diagnosed recently in Greyhounds at a number of racetracks in approximately eleven states, beginning with Florida. It isn't contagious to humans, and it's not as bad for dogs as you might think. It is a fairly new disease and is said to affect almost all canine when they come in contact with the said virus. This illness is not as serious as rabies and other disease which affects dogs. But care should be taken


Symptoms include a low-grade fever, nasal discharge, and a persistent cough that could last up to three weeks. Symptoms include a high fever, increased respiratory rates with difficulty breathing, and other indications of pneumonia. Symptoms generally appear two to five days after a dog is exposed to the virus. Symptoms are often mistaken for kennel cough a common canine illness.

Dog flu actually comes from Asia but is not related to the avian flu. It has become a major dog illness and this due to the relatively new emergence of the virus, there is no vaccine for it leading to 80% of dogs that come in contact with an infected animal also contracting the virus. It is a new, highly contagious and potentially deadly virus that causes respiratory infection only among dogs. It is not easy to diagnose because early symptoms mimic another common canine condition called kennel cough. You can treat dog flu with the proper treatment so for more on the treatment and management visit the website below.

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What to Do If Your Dog Has Gas

By Amy Nutt

Canine flatulence is not a fun thing to experience. Dogs tend to have very smelly gas and, apart from the nasal assault, you'll notice that your pet is rather uncomfortable as well. Gas in dogs can be the result of several different problems and it is best to try and figure out which one is the issue before you attempt to treat your dog.

Possible Causes of Canine Gas

Your dog is most likely suffering from a fairly minor problem, but in some cases, gas can be a sign of something more serious. If your dog appears to be in severe pain or has gone off his food, be sure to see your vet immediately. Anytime you suspect the problem could be serious, call your vet. You know your pet better than anyone else and you should follow your instincts.

Now, let`s look at some of the most common problems that cause gas in dogs.

Eating too fast. This is especially an issue in larger breeds, such as German Shepherds. If your dog is eating too quickly, he is gulping down air, as well, which reaches his intestines quickly and comes out the other end as gas. Try giving your dog smaller amounts of food, a bit at a time, to teach him to eat slower.

Change in food. Some dogs are particularly sensitive to changes in diet and you may find that if you buy another brand of food, your dog will suffer from flatulence. This can also happen when too many table scraps are given. This can be tested by going back to the original food brand for a few days . . . the gas should be gone. The best way to avoid this problem is to make diet changes very gradual, mixing a small amount of the new food with the regular food and slowly increasing it.

Intestinal worms. Worms are notorious for causing gassiness and it can be quite unpleasant for your dog. Check your dog`s stool for signs of worms. It`s also a good idea to de-worm your pet at least once a year, but if you find nasty critters in his feces, you may need to do this more often. Whether you de-worm at home or have the vet do it is up to you.

Poor diet. Not all dog food is the same. Some are made almost entirely out of wheat or other similar grains and this is definitely not friendly for a dog`s stomach. An overabundance of fiber or the wrong type of carbs can wreak havoc on your puppy`s digestive system and result in dog gas. To solve this issue, invest in good quality dog food that is correctly balanced for your animal.

Slow intestinal tract. Dogs get out of shape, just like humans, and this often results in constipation and extra gas. If you want to reduce the chances of this occurring or to fix an existing problem, you will need to help your dog stay fit. A nice long stroll after dinner will help your and the dog`s digestive system function faster.

Bad bacteria in the intestine. Sometimes, when your dog is eating or mouthing things that he shouldn`t, bad bacteria get into his body. These can cause all sorts of problems in the intestines and it`s a good idea to get rid of them. This is possible by adding probiotics (good bacteria) to your dog`s food to reestablish a balance of healthy bacteria.

You don`t have to live with nasty gas and neither does your dog. Check the symptoms and you should be able to diagnose and treat minor problems yourself. However, if you ever have doubts, don`t hesitate to talk to your vet.

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Correlation between Tear Stains and Dog Ear Yeast Infections

By Jacqueline Harris

Do you remember the last time you or your child had an ear or sinus infection? Chances are that you saw an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist for a remedy. These specialized doctors perform medical and surgical procedures and handle diseases of the nasal passages, pharynx, sinuses, etc. Well, like humans, dogs can acquire infections that not only affect one area but affect other areas as well. For instance, let's say that you notice that your dog has watery eyes and a yucky discharge in the corner of his eyes. You may be thinking, "Oh, he probably has an eye infection." Well, in this instance, he may actually have an ear infection and the discharge drainage is a symptom of that illness. In this article, we'll discuss the correlation between tear stains and dog ear yeast infections.

Before we delve to deeply, you may be wondering, what are tear stains and do they occur in all dogs? Tear stains are basically red or brown stains that occur under your dog's eyes. They can occur in any dog, but they are most noticeable in light-colored breeds like Maltese and Poodles. In fact, most tear stains result in red or dark brown streaks and seem to be most visible in the corners of your dog's eyes. In order to treat and prevent such staining, it helps to evaluate when it occurred. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

• Has my dog always had some staining? If not, when did it develop?

• What color is the staining?

• Is the staining mild or excessive?

• Does the tear stains smell bad?

• What color are the tear stains, red or brown?

If the tear stains are mild but have been persistent since she was a puppy, chances are that your dog is genetically inclined to have such discharge and this staining may be normal for your dog. In this instance, the best thing to do is regularly clean the area to stay on top of the discoloration. On the other hand, if you notice that staining has recently become a bigger problem, your dog may have an infection in his ears. Our advice is to take your dog in for a check up right away for medical treatment.

Now that you know what to look out for, you might be wondering what exactly a dog ear yeast infection is? It is basically an infection in the ears caused by an overgrowth of bacteria. In addition to tear staining, you might also find your dog scratching or rubbing her ears, shaking her head, moping around with diminished energy, or a foul odor emanating from her ears. If you notice any of these symptoms in addition to the staining, you should have your dog examined by a vet as she will likely have a dog ear infection.

The good news is that treating your dog's ear infection is the first step toward getting your dog's face back to its shiny best. The bad news is that yeast can be tough to treat, as it is a very tenacious organism. To treat it, your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-fungicide like Otomax to treat the yeast overgrowth. Once the acute situation is conquered, ask your vet about ways to prevent yeast infections. One thing that is very important is to keep the insides of the ears clean and dry. After every bath or swimming session, make sure to dry the inside of the ears. In addition, pluck wayward hairs that are growing in the ears. These can grow downward into the ear canal, and provide a perfect pathway for yeast to the sinuses and eyes. Similarly, burrs or other objects that become lodged in the ears can cause yeast and, therefore, increase tear staining.

To help prevent these infections, you can also ask your vet about using vinegar, both as a dietary supplement to help balance your pet's pH, which will discourage yeast growth, and as a topical application to dry and whiten the skin and hair.

Either way, take heart, tear staining is not uncommon, but if you take steps to treat and prevent its causes, your dog will be rewarded with the clean, beautiful face he was meant to have and you won't have to worry about his having dog ear yeast infections.

For additional information on how to keep your dog healthy and happy, please visit, a website that features helpful dog-related articles, information, resources, and E-books for health-conscious and loving dog owners who want the best for their canine companion.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tips To Eliminate Tear Staining - Shih Tzu

By Connie Limon

Tear staining can be from many different causes. Also consult with your vet first. There are antibiotics the vet can prescribe that will help some cases of tear staining.

Here are a few other tips you can use to help with tear stain removal.

Use filtered or distilled water.

Using air purifiers (such as those you can obtain from EcoQuest) in the rooms with the dogs for air purity.

Ensure good ventilation by using exhaust fans, ceiling fans, open windows etc.

Ensure your Shih Tzu have adequate exposure to sun. Being outside with sunshine and clean fresh air is healthy for you and your pets.

Keeping your dogs clean with their hair out of their eyes is also important.

Keep your dogs environment clean.

Keep the filters in your air conditioning and heating systems clean.

Water and food bowls should be either ceramic, glass or stainless steel. I prefer water bottles.

At least once per month, the bowls can be soaked in a weak bleach solution and then washed with regular dishwashing liquid and air-dried.

Genetically, there are some bloodlines that are more prone to tearing then others. Hair growth on the eyerims.

Ask your vet for the antibiotic, Tylan. Tylan is primarily made to battle microplasma in poultry and swine. This is not a commonly used canine antibiotic so if desensitizing occurs towards Tylan, it is not as damaging as it could be with other more commonly used canine antibiotics.

Ask your vet to run a Culture and Sensitivity test on the tearing residue. Having the tearing cultured almost always is successful because the sensitivity report will tell your veterinarian what exact antibiotics the bacteria will respond to. You will need to consult with your vet about the Tylan and if he/she decides this is an appropriate treatment for your Shih Tzu, he is also able to figure out the correct dosage. Do not try figuring out the dosage yourself. Consult with your vet about the antibiotic, Tylan (or something else he/she may have found useful for tear stains) and follow vet's instructions about dosage and how to administer the drug to your Shih Tzu.

Try first to eliminate the cause by consulting with your vet regarding any issues your Shih Tzu may be experiencing that might be causing the stains. If the cause can be determined and the conditions remedied, the tear staining should slowly fade away.

There are ways to remove the stain once the staining has stopped. Some ways to remove the stain are harsh. Some products work for one Shih Tzu, and then not for another. You can experiment with all the different products on the market to see if any will work for your Shih Tzu. You can also try putting a little corn starch on a toothbrush, moisten the brush, and brush the stained areas daily. You can also cover up the stain with make-up especially for this purpose for dogs (which is what a lot of the Show Dogs end up doing).

Tearing can be related to a medical issue, with environment, care and genetics playing a part in the mix. Try to eliminate as many of the possible causes first. Then proceed to other methods of removing the stain.

Connie Limon publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. A professional newsletter with a focus upon health and wellness for you and your pets. Coupons for shih tzu puppies and other products are offered to subscribers. Updates of available puppies. Sign up at

Dog Hates Baths! What to do?

Many of our fury kids hate a bath with a passion. It can seem like pulling teeth just to get them near the bath tub, let alone the site of a water hose (for outside bathers) may have them wanting to run away from home.

Don't fret! There are several alternatives in dealing with bathing your dog and it doesn't have to be such a dramatic experience for them. Making them feel like this is going to be something fun or a relaxing tasks is the first step.

Setting the mode by using a tone of voice that indicates positive emotions.

For inside bathing, take them into the bathroom. (May require a treat for coaching them in) Have a favorite toy available and a few extra treats. Touching and loving on them sets the mood. Play a few minutes to relax them. Be sure to have towels, shampoo, wash, etc. prepared ahead of time before beginning. After they are a little more at ease, begin coaching them towards the tub area. Wanting them to go freely on their own. (This may apply more to larger dogs, since just lifting them into the tub may not be acceptable) Once in the tub, give them a treat to let them know they have completed a good task. Keeping a positive tone of voice and talking to them while bathing is also very helpful.

A leash my be required for some dogs leading and handling during bathing. A product like Rinse ACE(reg) Bathing Tethers is also helpful for controling during bathing. Begin the water slowly and start bathing. There are spray attachments that make it much easier for rinsing. Keeping the water away from the face and ears is the best way to keep them still. Face, ears and mouth can be done at the end or after the bathing is completed. Again remember the tone of voice and the touch are very important. Playing the Alpha role is necessary, but with a gentle touch. Towel dry and be prepared to have one crazy furry kid for a few minutes after you remove the towel. Towel drying may be all that is required, but be sure they can't get on furniture or the bed until they are dry. The hairdryer can be used also. Be prepared for them to be scared. Towel drying is the easiest option.

If the inside tub is just out the question and there is no getting a stubborn pooch in the tub, then outside bathing is an alternative. There are a few options for tackling this task. One of the simplest ways to bath outside is using a water hose and a tie out. (Please note: weather temperature needs to be above 75 degrees especially if cold water is the only option) Use the tie out and a leash to control. Some dogs may only require the leash. Be sure not to get your feet tangled from them moving around. It is always best to have a helper when choosing this method. The hose nozzle that is used needs to have several spray options. One of the best nozzles is the one with a shower position. This is what is used for watering plants outside. The spray is not hard, but has enough pressure to get the suds off. Keep a good positive tone of voice and try to keep them relaxed as much as possible. Begin washing and follow up with a towel dry. Again remember to have all the necessary towels, shampoo, etc. ready before you begin.

If the above methods are too much of a task, then taking them to the groomers may be the best option. Call around for best pricing and times that meet individual schedules. Talking with other doggy parents for recommendations is always good. Alot of local pet supply stores now have grooming services available.

Another alternative is to use waterless shampoo's and powders. The local pet supply store such as PetSmart has a couple of solutions to solve in between or when a regular bathing schedule can't be accomplished. In winter months this can be very helpful. FURminator(reg) Waterless deShedding Shampoo & Conditioner is a great product if shedding has been a problem. Miraclecorp is another spray on waterless shampoo product offered by PetSmart. There are other products on the internet such as powder shampoo. If using powder option be prepared to have some mess involved. The waterless shampoo spray is very easy to deal with and a towel dry is all that is needed to complete the task.

A few tips in closing. Always consult a vet before using any product. Medicated shampoo's may cause irritations to some pets, so be cautious. Be prepared to spend some time when it comes to bathing the furry kids, especially the first few times until they become more comfortable around water. Some dogs never become friends with the bath time, but there is always other alternatives to get them looking and smelling clean. Doggy deodorants can also be a great way to control oder for in between bathings and new "baby wipes" or "doggy wipes" are very useful to tackle the dirty dog blues. Take time, spend a few minutes to get them in a positive mood and make bath time a good experience each and every time.

R. Elaine Evans operates a website and offers many helpful techniques & personal experiences in the the world of doggy parenting. Areas such as, feeding tips, obedience, housebreaking, and even how to spoil your furry kid.

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