Dogs

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DOGS     

 

Dogs have been our best friends for centuries now. Having a dog in your life enriches you in so many ways - they are also proven stress relievers have a positive impact on your mood and your health.

 

Babies with dogs at home have fewer colds and ear infections during their first year than babies living in pet-free homes. Walking your dog and playing games with your dog also gets you moving - some dogs are great running partners and their enthusiasm is bound to get you off the couch!

 

If you want a loving and loyal friend, someone who is always happy to see you, who will listen to your problems and is always happy just to be with you, a dog is exactly the type of friend that you are looking for!

 

Dogs do not ask much for in return of the unconditional love that they offer - but you owe it to them to learn about about their needs and the ways that you can keep them as healthy and happy as possible.

 

  1. What should you feed your dog?
  2. Why do dogs chew?
  3. Why does my dog have bad breath?
  4. How is periodontal disease treated?
  5. How to tell if my dog has tick bite fever?
  6. What should I do if my dog has ingested poison?
  7. What can I do to prevent my dog from getting worms?
  8. What are the symptoms of rabies?
  9. How many dogs may I keep on my property?
  10. Why should I vaccinate my dog?
  11. What are the core vaccinations that a dog should get?
  12. What are the benefits of neutering and spaying?
  13. My dog has diarrhea. What are the possible causes & treatments?
  14. What types of allergies can be found in dogs?

 

1. What should you feed your dog?


Dogs are carnivores. This fact is hotly debated as dogs are so highly adaptable and have a significant omnivorous ability. Dogs demonstrate similar and noticeable carnivorous traits such as their wolf ancestors - their teeth, their digestive systems and their behaviour clearly confirm this fact. Would it not be best to offer dogs meat-based products knowing that their bodies are optimized for eating meat?

 

Whilst dried dog food strives to offer a balanced meal with all the essential nutrients that a dog needs, many experts now believe that a raw food diet is the best food to feed your canine.

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2. Why do dogs chew?


Apart from being great fun, chewing is a very normal behavior for puppies and dogs. They use their mouths for grasping food, gaining information about the environment, relieving boredom and reducing tension.

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3. Why does my dog have bad breath?


Canine bad breath is usually caused by dental or gum disease. Some dogs are prone to plaque and tartar buildup. Persistent bad breath may also be an indicator of medical conditions such as medical problems in the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract or internal organs. Other conditions could be rhinitis, diabetes, kidney failure or cancer. Ingesting faeces (coprophagia) or bad-smelling foods, such as garbage will also cause a bad breath problem.

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4. How is periodontal disease treated?


Treatment will include cleaning and polishing the teeth (scaling), or extraction of teeth that have greater than 50% loss of the supporting bone and gum tissues around them. Some medications may help to reduce bad odour. Maintain good oral hygiene by regularly brushing and cleaning the dog's mouth and gums.

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5. How to tell if my dog has tick bite fever?


Tick bite fever symptoms are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Listless and lethargic
  • Pale gums (mucous membranes) and insides of the eyelids (conjunctiva) – almost white
  • Heartbeat is rapid

Advanced Symptoms:

  • Dark or red urine
  • Nervous
  • Severe lethargy
  • Deep laboured breathing or panting
  • Rapid and weak pulse
  • Yellowing of faeces

Get your dog to a vet as soon as possible where a blood smear by the veterinarian will make a clear diagnosis. If the dog has biliary, treatment can start immediately. If you catch it early, biliary can be successfully treated with no further medical problems.

If the disease has progressed over 3 days without treatment, the prognosis worsens by the hour and death may occur due to anaemia and liver or kidney failure.

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6. What should I do if my dog has ingested poison?


Call your veterinarian immediately and get your dog there as soon as possible. Do not treat your dog for poisoning unless you have witnessed the incident or are certain what poison is involved. Save the posion container and a sample of the vomit. Do not give your dog anything to drink if it is unconscious.

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7. What can I do to prevent my dog from getting worms?


Your dog can pick up worms and parasites from contaminated water. Roundworms have microscopic eggs which your dog can pick up in his environment. Dogs can become infected by sniffing or licking infected faeces from other infected dogs. Roundworm eggs can be spread by other animals such as rodents, earthworms, roaches and birds.

Puppies can get worms (roundworms and hookworms) from the milk of their mother.

Heartworms are parasites that live in the blood vessels and heart of dogs. Dogs get heartworms when an infected mosquito bites them. The mosquito was infected by biting another dog that had heartworms.

Tapeworms are transmitted to your pets by fleas,  therefore strict flea control is essential.

 

Adult dogs should be given a deworming pill every 3-4 months and puppies, every three months.  

Important to note - do not feed your dog raw offal as it could be infected with tapeworm cysts.  It is important to deworm family members at least twice a year.

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8. What are the symptoms of rabies?


The virus usually incubates from two to eight weeks before signs are noticed.

However, transmission of the virus through saliva can happen as early as ten days before symptoms appear. Initially, a dog that has become infected may show extreme behavioral changes such as restlessness or apprehension, both of which may be compounded by aggression.

Friendly dogs may become irritable, while normally excitable animals may become more docile.

A dog may bite or snap at any form of stimulus, attacking other animals, humans and even inanimate objects.

They may constantly lick, bite and chew at the site where they were bitten. A fever may also be present at this stage.

As the virus progresses, an infected dog may become hypersensitive to touch, light and sound.

They may eat unusual things and hide in dark places. Paralysis of the throat and jaw muscles may follow, resulting in the well-known symptom of foaming at the mouth.

Disorientation, incoordination and staggering may occur, caused by paralysis of the hind legs. Other classic signs of rabies include loss of appetite, weakness, seizures and sudden death.

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9. How many dogs may I keep on my property?


By- laws will vary so it is always best to check with the relevant municipality - generally it is two dogs per dwelling.

In most cases the by-laws or draft by-laws are available on municipality websites.

Below are some of the links to major municipal websites:

 

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10. Why should I vaccinate my dog?


When your dog vaccinated, its immune system produces antibodies. These antibodies work against viruses or bacteria that cause disease and can be regarded as the body’s “fighter pilots”. It is important to note that vaccines are preventative and that vaccinating a sick dog is not going to help it and is not advised. Only a pet with a healthy immune system is able to build these protective antibodies in response to a vaccine.

 

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11. What are the core vaccinations that a dog should get?


Core vaccines for dogs include:

  • Canine distemper
  • Canine adenovirus infections
  • Canine parvovirus infection
  • Rabies

Dogs should usually be vaccinated at 6-8 weeks,  10-12 weeks (combo includes 1st Rabies vaccination), 14-16 weeks (combo includes 2nd Rabies vaccination ),  9-12 months ,  thereafter annually.  After the second Rabies vaccination, Rabies is administered every three years.

 

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12. What are the benefits of neutering and spaying?

 

  • Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life.
    Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.

 

  • Neutering provides major health benefits for your male.
    Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.

 

  • Your spayed female won't go into heat.

 

  • Your male dog won't want to roam away from home.
    An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate! That includes digging his way under the fence and making Houdini-like to escapes from the house. Once he's free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.

 

  • Your neutered male will be much better behaved.
    Neutered dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house.
    Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.

 

  • Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat.
    Don’t use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds - not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.

 

  • It is highly cost-effective. The cost of your dog's spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter.

 

  • Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community.
    Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna and frighten children. Spaying and neutering packs a powerful punch in reducing the number of animals on the streets. There are too many unwanted animals who lead miserable lives.

 

  • Your pet doesn't need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth.
    Letting your pet produce offspring that you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children - especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are tons of books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way.

 

  • Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation.
    Every year, millions of dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.

 

ADOPT, Don't SHOP - YOU CAN SAVE LIVES !!!

 

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13. My dog has diarrhea. What are the possible causes & treatments?

 

Diarrhea is usually not an emergency condition but it can be a sign of serious disease.

If in doubt, it is always best to seek advice from your veterinarian - your dog may become dehydrated if the condition is ongoing and left untreated.

Acute diarrhea is usually caused by bacteria or viruses or canbe brought on by an abrupt change in diet or by inappropriate food.

Infectious causes of diarrhea will require antibiotic treatment.

Chronic diarrhea (lasting more than 3-4 weeks) can be caused by several factors like parasites, food allergy, problems with food absorption from the intestines, pancreatic disease, liver problems or tumours in the gastro-intestinal tract. Chronic diarrhea can be more difficult to treat and may require additional tests and investigation.

 

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14. What types of allergies can be found in dogs?

 

Just as human's can be allergic to certain medication, food and environments, dogs can also develop allergies. Dog Allergies can be grouped as follows:

 

Food Allergy Dermatitis

 

A food allergy occurs when a dog’s immune system mistakenly identifies a particular food ingredient as harmful.
Dogs can be allergic to almost any specific food ingredient - common meats and grains causing allergic reactions can include: Pork, Rabbit, Beef, Chicken, Fish, Lamb, Eggs, Corn, Soy Wheat and Dairy.
To isolate which foods your dog is reacting to, your vet will most likely put your dog on an elimination diet to see which food triggers the allergic reaction.

 

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

 

Flea allergy dermatitis is actually sensitivity to flea saliva and it is a very common condition in dogs. It's not the bite of the flea that causes most of the itching in dogs with FAD, it is the saliva. One flea bite is enough to cause extreme dermatitis and itching.

 

Environmental Allergies / Atopic Allergies

 

Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common causes of chronic itching in dogs. In addition to flea saliva and certain food and / or ingredients, your dog can also be hypersensitive or have an allergic reaction to a variety of irritants in the environment. Outdoor allergens can include grasses and pollens. Indoor irritants can include mould, dust mites, certain fabrics such as cotton or wool and cleaning chemicals.

 

 

 

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