All posts in "Pet Health"

Caring for an Abandoned Puppy

Raising an orphaned puppy can be extremely time consuming but very rewarding. Mother’s may abandon their pups for many reasons, including failure to produce milk, an illness in the puppy, or an illness or problem with the mother herself.

What Problems Might I Encounter When Raising an Abandoned Pup?
Hypothermia

Puppies lose heat far more quickly than an adult dog, as such, they rely on their mother for radiant heat to sustain a normal body temperature.

If the mother has abandoned the puppy, that puppy will need an alternate heat source such as an incubator, heat lamp, heating pads, or a warm water bottle. However, heating the pup too rapidly may cause stress on him, so it’s important to heat gradually.

Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the puppy is not getting an adequate source of fluids or when he is in an environment with low humidity. In order to maintain a humid environment for the puppy, place a damp towel near it’s basket.

Two signs that a puppy is dehydrated is the loss of elasticity in the skin as well as dry and sticky gums in the mouth. Hypothermia can also lead to dehydration.

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include severe depression (a “floppy” puppy), muscle twitching, or seizures. Hypoglycemia can be easily treated with a few drops of a sugar solution or honey on the tongue.

How Should I Feed an Abandoned Puppy?

Formula specifically made for puppies will provide all of the puppy’s nutritional requirements until they are 3-4 weeks old. Around this time the puppy will be ready to start eating moistened solid food. Follow the directions listed on the formula for how it should be prepared, the temperature, and how much the puppy should get. It is important not to feed the puppy regular milk because it can cause diarrhea, which can then lead to dehydration.

Bottle feeding will be the easiest way to feed the puppy most of the time, however, if you are having issues, contact your veterinarian. Bottles need to be marked so you know if the puppy is getting enough formula. They should also be sanitized in boiling water between each feeding.

The hole in the nipple of the bottle should allow formula to drip out slowly when you turn the bottle upside down and puppies should be eating every 2-3 hours, even through the night.

How to Get the Puppy to Urinate and Defecate

Puppies will need help to urinate and defecate for the first 2-3 weeks of their lives. To do this, rub a cotton ball or tissue moistened with warm water over the genitals and anus of the puppy after each feeding. This is important or else the puppy could become constipated.

When Does the Puppy Eat From a Bowl?

Around 14 to 16 days, the puppy will open it’s eyes and this is when the weaning process should take place. Place the formula in a flat dish and encourage the puppy to drink by either smearing some around its mouth, or by gently dipping their nose into a small amount. By 4 to 5 weeks, the puppy should be able to eat enough moistened solid food to meet its needs. If your puppy does not want to eat, consult your veterinarian.

When Should I Vaccinate?

It’s recommend that puppies be vaccinated at 8 weeks. However, your vet may recommend a different timeframe if your puppy missed out on colostrum, the first milk feed from the mother that is rich in antibiotics.

 

As always, consult your veterinarian if you find an abandoned puppy or have questions about caring for one.

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Why Dogs Eat Grass

You may have noticed your furry best friend eating a nice fresh salad, and by salad I mean grass. So why is your dog doing this? Is he hungry, bored, sick, could eating grass hurt him?

It’s perfectly natural to to have concerns. The technical term for this disorder is pica, which is characterized by eating things that are not food. Pica can indicate that your dog may have some type of nutritional deficiency, or it could simply be a sign of boredom, especially with puppies.

Dogs eating grass is rather common and this kind of pica does not usually cause a lot of issues. In actuality, the majority of veterinarians consider it a standard dog behavior . 1 small-scale study of 49 pet owners whose dogs had routine access to grass and other plants found that 79 percent of the dogs had eaten plants in some time.

Why is My Dog Snacking on Grass?

There are an assortment of reasons your dog may be grazing on your yard. Some folks suggest that dogs may turn to eating grass when they do not feel well as a means to make themselves vomit, and then feel better. However, some people disagree.

Evidence indicates that most dogs who eat grass are not unwell ahead, or at least they do not seem so. Actually, fewer than 10 percent of dogs appear to be ill before eating grass, in accordance with their owners. And grass-eating does not usually result in throwing up — less than 25 percent of dogs who eat grass vomit regularly after grazing.

Other proposed reasons why your dog may be snacking on some grass include enhancing digestion, treating intestinal worms, or fulfilling some unmet nutritional need, including the demand for fiber.

Should I Quit My Dog from Eating Grass?

If you suspect that your dog is eating grass because he is bored, it may be beneficial to make sure he is getting sufficient exercise.

On the possibility that your pet’s pica behavior is caused by a nutritional deficiency, switching to a greater pet food, particularly a high-fiber selection, could help alleviate the issue.

Although most experts concur that grazing itself is not harmful, 1 thing to bear in mind is that certain herbicides and pesticides used on lawns can be very toxic, particularly if ingested. Additionally, a variety of common garden and house plants are poisonous, which might result in difficulties if your dog munches on them together with the yard. To make sure that the plants in and around the area where your puppy is eating grass are not dangerous, check the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center web site, which maintains a list of poisonous and non-toxic plants.

Speaking from personal experience, you want to make sure your dog or pup isn’t eating an abundance of grass. When enough grass is consumed it can intertwine, making it impossible to pass. This can lead to your best friend having emergency surgery to remove a half pound of grass and let me tell you, it is not fun and quite costly!

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Heat Exhaustion in Dogs

Overheating in dogs isn’t something to take lightly. As the weather warms up, it is important to stay conscious of how the heat affects your puppy. Heat exhaustion in dogs may result in severe and potentially fatal conditions like heat stroke and cardiac arrest.

Unlike people, dogs do not sweat out excess body heat. Instead, they pant, which is rapid, open-mouthed breathing, however panting isn’t sufficient to keep him from becoming overheated.

Heat exhaustion in pups can happen when the body temperature becomes rises above the normal temperature. This varies slightly, based on PetMD.com, but it is generally agreed that temperatures of 103 degrees Fahrenheit are normal. If their temperature rises to 106 degrees or above, your dog is at serious risk for a heat stroke.

Warning Signs

Excessive panting is the initial symptom. A dangerously overheated dog, according to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, may fall or experience convulsions, display nausea or diarrhea, and might also have a tongue which turn blue or bright red. You might want to spot the problem before it gets that acute, though to intervene and stop severe overheating. Early signs are more subtle – it might be as straightforward as your dog looks less responsive to orders than normal. When you call his name, rather than turning to look at you, he might wander away. If there’s any question in any way, get your dog from the heat.

Risk Factors

All dogs are at risk for overheating but some more than others including dogs with thick coats or long hair, very young pups or very old dogs, and brachycephalic breeds–those with short noses and horizontal faces, such as shih-tzus, pugs, boxers, and bulldogs. Overweight dogs and the ones that suffer from medical conditions that cause difficulty breathing or heart problems are particularly vulnerable.

Extremely active puppies and working or searching breeds (like shepherds, retrievers, and spaniels) are also at a greater risk, especially during warm months. You need to be careful to not push these dogs too hard, so make sure that they get tons of breaks to rest in the shade and they are well-hydrated constantly.

Environmental factors may also place a dog in danger. Be aware not only of high temperatures, but also of high humidity, which may increase the possibility of heat exhaustion in puppies. All dogs are at higher risk of overheating if they are not given sufficient shade or another cooler place to unwind inside. And puppies left in a hot automobile are in serious danger of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

What to Do if You Think Your Dog is Overheated

Vetstreet recommends following these measures to treat heat exhaustion in dogs:

  • Immediately move your puppy to a cooler place.
  • Use a rectal thermometer to check your dogs temperature. A temperature above 106 puts him at risk for heat stroke. If he is in the danger zone, then call your vet.
  • If you are close to a body of fresh water, like a pond or a baby pool, let your dog take a dip to cool down. If not, get wet towels to cool him down.
  • If he is conscious and prepared to drink, give him cool, refreshing water. Do not force it, however, as it might wind up in his lungs. If he can not or won’t drink, or can not keep down water, wet his tongue instead. Do not feed him ice cubes, which might cause his temperature to drop too fast, resulting in shock. When you haven’t already done so, call ahead so that they may be prepared to take immediate action after you arrive.
Preventing Heat Exhaustion in Dogs

These include restricting exercise or outdoor activity on overly hot or humid days, providing tons of shade and water once your dog is outside, rather than under any conditions, leaving your pet in a parked car–not even in the shade with the windows rolled down. On mild days with temperatures in the 70s, the interior of a parked car can reach 120 degrees in minutes, making this a very dangerous environment to leave your dog, even for a brief time.

If your pooch has energy to burn and requires some kind of exercise so as to remain calm, take him swimming or let him run and play in the sprinkler before heading back inside. You can even use a cooling body vest or wrap to keep him cool without getting him wet. And if your dog has long hair or a thick coat, then think about getting him a brief haircut to make it through the hot months–just make sure to leave enough fur to protect his skin from sunlight.

Furthermore, if you take your dog on long walks it may be better to take him through the warmer hours of the day such as early in the morning or later in the day (bear in mind hot sidewalks and pavement can burn off his footpads). Make certain to keep water and let him take a rest every once in a while. If you run with your dog make sure not to overdo it. As hotter temperatures make it tougher for you to stay hydrated on a wonderful run, it is even more accurate for your puppy.

If you will be hunting or hiking with your dog, or if he has a job to do such as herding sheep or cows, make certain to provide your dog several breaks in the shade and be sure he has plenty of fresh water. Look at wetting him down or with a cooling vest while he is busy, and maintain a close watch on him for the first signs of overheating. Bear in mind that working dogs have a tendency to become so focused on their tasks they don’t realize when they have to rest and cool down. It’s your responsibility to observe your dog and make sure he gets the breaks he wants to remain healthy.

Lastly, do not forget to set a strategy in place for keeping your pet cool if the electricity goes out or the air conditioner stops working. As uncomfortable as you may be under such circumstances, it is even worse for the dog, whose body temperature is already much greater than yours. If you’re planning to retreat to somewhere cooler, be sure he will also be welcome. Otherwise, think about leaving him in a kennel until it is safe for him to return home to cooler conditions.

Equipped with the knowledge of how to recognize overheating, the way to respond and how to avoid it in the first place, you can look forward to a secure, enjoyable and happy summer with your four-legged buddy.

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