Thursday, 1 September 2011

Dog Food Allergies

Dog food allergies are more common than most people realize, and true allergies (as opposed to sensitivities/intolerances) generally produce skin irritations and problems rather than digestive upsets.

Symptoms of food allergies in dogs can appear within a short time of eating a particular food, or take weeks, months or even years to develop. Contrary to popular belief, most dog food allergies occur as a reaction to a familiar food that your pooch has been eating quite happily for years, rather than to a new food that you've just introduced him to. In fact around 70% of dog food allergies are caused by a food that's been well tolerated for more than two years.

An allergic reaction to a food almost never happens on first exposure, but on second or subsequent ones.

Symptoms of dog food allergies

Food allergies in dogs produce a range of symptoms, the majority of the time they involve skin irritations of some kind, including -
  • Excessive itching, licking or scratching - particularly at the feet, legs, tummy or tail areaHot spots

  • Rashes

  • Red, scaly patches

  • Rubbing or pawing at the face or ears

  • Frequent shaking of the head

Canine food allergies can cause other symptoms, unassociated with skin irritation. These may include -

* Stomach or digestive problems
* Breathing difficulties (similar to allergies/asthma in humans)
* Chronic ear infections
* Eye irritation, inflammation or infections
* Behavior problems such as aggression or hyper-activity

Recognizing allergy triggers

It's not always easy to tell what is causing your dog's allergy symptoms. It could be fleas, seasonal things such as pollen, weeds, dust etc., or even contact allergies. A few clues that point towards dog food allergies are when the symptoms are present all year round (not just seasonally), antihistamine treatment doesn't seem to help and if your dog is still young and has recurrent, chronic ear or skin problems.

A dog can react badly to almost any ingredient, but the ones that tend to cause the most food allergies in dogs include -
  • Beef

  • Dairy Products

  • Chicken

  • Wheat

  • Yeast

  • Preservatives and colorings

This is not a comprehensive list though, and foods that tend to cause problems in humans also tend to cause allergy symptoms in dogs. Things such as egg whites, tomatoes, fermented cheese and so on should be avoided!

For a definitive diagnosis, take your dog to the veterinarian who can do blood tests and other procedures to identify his individual 'triggers'. If a dog food allergy is suspected, an ELIMINATION DIET is recommended. This involves eliminating any food ingredient your dog has eaten, and replacing his food with an entirely new diet. Then reintroducing ingredients one at a time to look for reactions.

Natural dog foods and those specifically designed for dogs with sensitivities and allergies are the best bet for dogs with these kinds of problems. It's important to realize that you need to wait at least a month, probably more, before you can accurately determine whether or not a food is suitable. It takes that long for any remaining allergens from previous foods to leave your dogs system.

Breeds more likely to suffer from allergies

Any dog can suffer from canine allergies, of any type. But some breeds just seem to be genetically pre-disposed to being 'allergic', especially to food ingredients. A few of these breeds are -

  • Terriers

  • Bulldogs

  • Schnauzers

  • Labrador Retrievers

  • Golden Retrievers

Indoor Dog Fence

Dogs are funny animals, they can make your life joyous but at the same time create mass chaos in your home. Consider indoor dog fences as a solution for creating pet free areas in your home.

Links of Interest:
Garage Storage
Geburtstag Sprueche

    Saturday, 9 July 2011

    Puppies and Worms


    The most common type of tapeworm is spread by fleas. You can often see tapeworms (or segments of them) in your puppy's feces. They look like small grains of rice and are white in color. They are generally not easily transmitted to humans but good hygiene is still important.

    In addition to any medication your veterinarian may prescribe to treat a tapeworm problem, using a regular, monthly flea and tick preventative is a good way to avoid an recurrence of the infestation.


    Whipworms may be more common that generally thought, but they are difficult to detect. If your pup has these parasites he may show few symptoms early on, but regular (and often repeated) fecal exams are necessary to make sure he's whipworm-free and to head off any future problems.


    The hookworm is a very, very tiny but still pretty nasty little puppy worm. They do best in warm, moist soil and actually penetrate through your puppy's skin and then travel to his intestines.

    Humans can also pick up hookworms in the same way, so it's best not to run around barefoot if your puppy has hookworms. A fecal exam and the appropriate medication is the answer to a hookworm infestation.


    Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes and they're the most deadly of the puppy worms. Heartworms (as their name suggests), take up residence in your puppy's heart and can cause serious health problems. If a heartworm problem is left untreated, it's quite possible that the puppy or dog will die.

    A preventative medication (such as Heartgard), given regularly in strongly recommended as treatment for heartworms is long, complicated, expensive and not always successful.

    If you have a new puppy be sure to have your veterinarian give him, or her, a fecal exam to check for worms at his first check-up. If at anytime you notice worms in your puppy's feces, or see symptoms that suggest a worm problem, talk to your vet straight away.

    Don't try to treat puppy worms with over-the-counter-medications. They're generally not very effective and can have unwanted, even dangerous, side-effects.

    Sunday, 1 May 2011

    Stop Puppies Biting

    Puppies love to bite. They do it naturally but it is something that they must be taught not to do. This needs to be addressed while they are young because dog bites can lead to all sorts of problems including legal action. It may seem fun and funny to have a puppy biting but a full-grown dog can do a lot of damage, particularly to children if they are in the habit of biting. Dogs have immense strength in their jaws and even a playful nip can do permanent damage to a child.

    Generally, puppies are taught to control their biting from their mothers but in most cases we get puppies as pets that have been taken from their mothers at a very young age and it is up to us to teach them as puppies not to bite.

    By letting your dog socialize with other dogs from a young age they will quickly learn from their elders, provided they have been taught well, that the desire to bite needs to be curbed to avoid retaliation and an ensuing fight.

    The sooner the puppy is taught not to bite by the owner or by interaction with other dogs, the less aggressive they will become as they grow older and the more pleasant they will be to live with.

    Taking a puppy to a dog training school will allow it to interact with other dogs where it will quickly be corrected for any misbehavior. Puppies should generally learn to interact with other dogs within the first three months of their life. The longer this is left the more difficult it becomes for your dog to socialize correctly and they can become dangerous later in life. As with children, the sooner your puppy can learn correct behavior patterns the better they will be in the long term.

    It is also wise to get the puppy to behave correctly in the presence of other animals including cats and any other pets that they might come in contact with over their life.

    There are many items that are available from the pet stores and vets that can give your puppy suitable satisfaction to chew and bite upon. This will allow your puppy to learn what is right and what is not right to bite.


    In case you haven't noticed, quality vet care isn't cheap. But if it wasn't-I'd be worried. Because it would be your pet's health that had to suffer! The cost to run a veteinary clinic is more than what many people expect and most veterinarians retire before their college loans are paid off.

    Of course, you probably could care less about all that! You just want your pet to receive proper health care without breaking the bank. Understood. Let's find out how.

    Tip #1: Be straight up!

    If your pooch is acting sick and you KNOW he ate something out of the garbage-tell the vet! I can't tell you how many times we've gone through a list of expensive (and sometimes unnecessary) diagnostic procedures to find out that the owner knew all along what the problem might be!

    "Oh yeah-I did notice that I had a sock missing . . ." Ugh!

    We had one gentleman who knew his dog ate a pair of panties but didn't want to tell us because, well . . . the panties didn't belong to his wife.

    Fortunately, the dog got better but his pocketbook paid the price. Not sure what happened to the marriage.

    We're not here to judge you-we're here to make your pet feel better!

    Tip #2: Follow your vet's recommendations when it comes to preventative medicine (heartworm preventative, vaccinations, blood tests, etc.). Do you think heartworm pills are expensive? Well, the cost of heartworm preventative is chump-change in comparison to what it costs to treat a heartworm positive dog. Depending on the dog's weight, a month of heartworm preventative can cost $3-8. If your dog tests positive expect to pay $500-$1000 (or more) to have him treated. Egads! That's a mortgage payment for some folks. And by the way, ALL DOGS are at risk for acquiring heartworm disease, even if living indoors. It only takes ONE bite from an infected mosquito. I've seen all kinds of dogs test positive for heartworm. The past few months our clinic treated a Chihuahua, a Bouvier, a Siberian Husky, and a Labrador retriever.

    There has been a lot of discussion lately between the veterinary community and vaccine manufacturers. Thanks to scientific advances the immunity provided by many pet vaccines is lasting longer. Therefore, many veterinarians are recommending giving boosters on certain vaccines every three years instead of yearly. That will save you money! Hopefully your veterinarian has jumped on this bandwagon. Vaccines are essential in protecting our pets against deadly viruses. 

    But the less vaccines we have to give the better. It all depends on your pet's age and lifestyle. Talk to your vet. Blood tests often reveal hidden health problems. If a disease is detected early, it will be both easier and cheaper to treat-for both you and your veterinarian. Treating diseases involving kidney failure and liver disease will cost you lots of money if your pet is in the later stages. Even if your pet's blood tests are normal you will have a baseline of his healthy values if there ever is a problem in the future. Not a bad investment.