Faqs

MY DOG SEEMS TO BE AFRAID OF EVERYTHING. AS FAR AS I KNOW NOTHING BAD HAS EVER HAPPENED TO THEM BUT, THEY CONTINUE TO BE AFRAID.
This could be a self-esteem problem. Time and patience will be required to fix this problem. You are going to want to challenge the dog physically and mentally with things like obstacle courses, busy environments, and any situation in which the dog can get feedback from other, more confident dogs. The more situations that you can expose your dog to, the better they will learn that there are many things that they do not have to be afraid of. The more that you can mentally stimulate your dog, the better. You can do this with training and other forms of stimulation such as puzzles that your dog needs to figure out how to get a treat from the puzzle. Helping a dog build self-esteem is a very, very long process, and not nearly as fast as other forms of behavioral change. You must build confidence slowly, and the way you build it is by helping the dog to repeatedly accomplish small goals. Practice obedience training, practice obstacle courses; they don’t have to be champions, but they must go out and do it. Take your dog with you to various locations where there is a high level of activity. The more exposure that your dog gets to different situations where they find that there is nothing to worry about, the more their confidence will increase. Do not try to calm your dog when they begin to get anxious. Petting and calming your dog is perceived by the dog as a reward for their timid behavior.
MY DOG SEEMS TO BE PROTECTIVE OF HIS FOOD WHEN OTHERS BOTH, PEOPLE AND DOGS, ARE AROUND.

Food aggression is a form of resource guarding during which time a dog becomes very defensive when eating.  Depending on the degree of aggression which can range from growling to biting, the dog is using threats to force others away.  Resource guarding can be directed towards other animals, humans, or both. This type of behavior can also be shown when guarding other items such as toys and beds. There are three degrees of food aggression:

  • Mild: the dog growls and may show its teeth.
  • Moderate: the dog snaps or lunges when approached.
  • High: the dog bites whatever is approaching the resource that is being protected.

In some cases, resource guarding can be a form of dominance while other cases can be caused by a dog being fearful or anxious.

Body posture of a dog showing signs of resource guarding.

A dog may have the tendency to stand over their bowl when eating or directly over the item being protected.  You may also notice that they seem very rigid and keep their head down and close to the item. This posture is indicative of them trying to protect the food or other resources such as treats or toys. Other signs are that the whites of your dog’s eyes may be visible, their ears are held back, their tail is lowered, or their hackles may rise. A dog may show any, or all of these signs. Finally, other more apparent signs are the growling, showing teeth, barking, and even lunging or biting the perceived threat.

What to do about it

If the behavior isn’t limited to food, then your dog is showing general resource guarding, so you’ll need to use the techniques listed below as appropriate in all cases where your dog is showing aggression using the target object instead of food. You will need to assess your dog’s overall confidence and behavior. If he is naturally a dominant dog, then you will need to assert yourself as the Pack Leader in a calm and assertive way. On the other hand, if he is timid or fearful, you will need to build up his confidence and teach him that his food is safe with humans around. Finally, determine whether your dog’s resource guarding aggression is mild, moderate, or high. For high level cases, start off by consulting a professional until you can get the dog down to a moderate level. Once you’ve completed these steps, you’re ready to start changing the behavior. Here are some of the techniques to use.

You must be consistent

If the source of your dog’s aggression is fear or anxiety over when the next meal is coming, then be sure that you are feeding your dog at the same times every single day. Dogs have a very good internal clock, and with consistency, they quickly learn how to tell when it’s time to get up, time to go for a walk, or time for the people to come home. Mealtime should be no different. Be regular in feeding to take away the anxiety.

Must work for food

Before you even begin to prepare your dog’s food, make her sit or lie down and stay, preferably just outside of the room you feed her in. Train her to stay even after you’ve set the bowl down and, once the bowl is down, stand close to it as you release her from the stay and she begins eating, at which point you can then move away. Always feed your dog after the walk, never before. This fulfills his instinct to hunt for food, so he’ll feel like he’s earned it when you come home. Also, exercising a dog after he eats can be dangerous, even leading to life-threatening conditions like bloat.

Pack leaders eat first

Remember, when a wild pack has a successful hunt, the alpha dogs eat first, before everyone else, and it should be no different in a human/dog pack. Never feed your dog before or while the humans are eating. Humans eat first and then, when they’re finished, the dogs eat. This will reinforce your status as the Pack Leader.

“Win” the bowl

Food aggression can be made worse if you back away from the bowl, because that’s what your dog wants. For every time that you do walk away when the dog is showing food aggression, the dog “wins.” The reward is the food, and this just reinforces the aggression. Of course, you don’t want to come in aggressively yourself, especially with moderate to severe food aggression, because that is a good way to get bitten. However, you can recondition the dog until she learns that she wins when she lets you come near her while eating.

WHAT IS “CANINE COUGH?”

Infectious tracheobronchitis is a highly contagious, upper-respiratory disease that is spread by any one of three infectious agents (parainfluenza, adenovirus, or Bordetella) or any combination thereof—most often passed on through the air, it can also be transmitted on hands or clothing. The incubation period of the disease is roughly three to ten days and an infected pet may be contagious for three weeks after showing the first signs of illness. The main symptom is a hacking cough, sometimes accompanied by sneezing and nasal discharge, which can last from a few days to several weeks. Although this coughing is very annoying, it does not usually develop into anything more serious; however, just as with a common cold, it can lower the dog’s resistance to other diseases making it susceptible to secondary infections, and so the dog must be observed closely to avoid complications. Canine cough can be an especially serious problem for puppies and geriatric dogs whose immune systems may be weaker.

HOW IS IT CURED?

Just as in the case of the common cold, tracheobronchitis is not “cured” but must run its course; however, any animal displaying signs of the illness should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Many times antibiotics will be prescribed to prevent secondary infection, and sometimes cough suppressants will be prescribed to reduce excessive coughing, but these medications do not attack the disease itself. Home remedy treatments for canine cough without the consultation of a veterinarian are not recommended.

DOES TRACHEOBRONCHITIS OCCUR ONLY IN PET CARE FACILITIES?

No. Since these viruses can be present anywhere, and can travel for considerable distances through the air, they can affect any dog, even one that never leaves its own back yard. But tracheobronchitis is more likely to occur when the concentration of dogs is greater such as at dog shows, kennels, dog daycares, veterinarian offices and hospitals as well as pet shops. Dogs can also be exposed while running loose or while being walked near other dogs, or playing in the park.

ARE THESE VIRUSES A CONSTANT PROBLEM?

No. Tracheobronchitis, like the flu, is often seasonal mainly since the busiest seasons for pet care facilities tend to be summertime or over holiday periods. It also tends to be epidemic. When veterinarians begin to see cases, they normally come from every pet care facility in town, as well as from individual dog owners whose dogs did not visit a facility at all. When the outbreak is over, they might not see another case for months.

CAN MY DOG BE VACCINATED TO PROTECT THEM FROM TRACHEOBRONCHITIS?

Yes! Vaccines against parainfluenza and adenovirus type 2 (in combination with other vaccines) are routinely used as part of an adult dog’s yearly checkup. Puppies are usually vaccinated for these in combination with distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus in a series of immunizations. Specific, non-routine vaccines are also available for Bordetella bronchiseptica (another cause of canine cough). Although some veterinary practices do not use this vaccination routinely, it should be considered for pets that board, visit a daycare frequently, or for those whose veterinarian recommends it. It is important to note that the vaccines that are used to prevent this viral disease are made from only one of the over 100 different strains of the virus and therefore are not as effective against some strains as others.  Some strains are not included in any vaccine; therefore, there is no prevention against them. Your veterinarian is in the best position to recommend a program of preventative health care management depending on your pet’s needs. In most cases, veterinarians recommend that you obtain vaccinations for canine cough five to seven days before taking your dog to a pet care facility.

CAN’T THE BOARDING KENNEL OR DAYCARE PREVENT MY DOG FROM CATCHING TRACHEOBRONCHITIS?

While the spread of canine cough can be minimized by proper cleaning, isolating obviously sick animals, and properly ventilating the facility, remember that no amount of supervision, sanitation, or personalized care is guaranteed to be 100% effective against the illness. All that a good pet care facility can do is recommend immunization against tracheobronchitis, refuse to admit an obviously sick dog, follow responsible cleaning and sanitation practices, listen and watch for any signs of sickness, and make sure that any dog requiring veterinary attention receives it as quickly as possible. (Strangely, the dog with parainfluenza alone may not appear ill, yet is contagious) You have a right to expect a pet care facility to provide the best possible care just as that facility has a right to expect you to accept financial responsibility for such care.

Bloat

WHAT IS GDV?

Gastric dilatation-volvulus is an acute swelling of the stomach. The stomach fills rapidly with excessive gas, which distorts and enlarges it. The stomach is not able to rid itself of the excess gas and may twist on its axis, causing obstructions at each end of the stomach (“volvulus’’ refers to the twisting motion). Therefore, both the esophagus and intestines may become twisted shut. A dog may appear uncomfortable, pace or salivate at this time. Some, however, show few signs; it depends upon the severity and rate at which the bloating occurs.

Causes of GDV

Unfortunately, no one thing has been proven to cause bloat. It is normally seen in the large, deep chested breeds (Great Danes, Collies, Dobermans, German Shepherds, or Boxers for example), but may also occur in smaller breeds, like Beagles and Bichons. It appears to run in hereditary lines of certain breeds. Eating or drinking too much or too fast has been thought to be a contributing factor, along with excessive exercising before a meal can be digested. A study published by the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine indicates that raising food bowls off the floor actually doubles the risk of bloat, rather than lowering the incidence at which it occurs. It does not seem to affect one sex more than the other, but is more likely to occur as dogs age. Bloat commonly occurs in dogs between the ages of 7 and 12 years.

Signs and symptoms

Vomiting, dry heaves, salivation and restlessness may all be signs of bloating. They may also just be signs of a stomachache. The most obvious sign is distention and swelling of the abdominal cavity as the stomach expands. Dogs will often assume an unnatural body posture, standing with head and neck extended. A veterinary hospital will confirm the diagnosis with an abdominal x-ray. GDV causes a total collapse. The dog goes into shock, and ultimately can die from cardiac irregularities.

Treatment

A GDV case must be attended to rapidly if the pet is to be saved. Unfortunately, according to statistics, over 50% of GVD cases will die even with veterinary attention. Treatment for shock should be started in early phases, and the stomach decompressed. This may be accomplished by passing a stomach tube, but sometimes surgery will be the only option to try to save the pet. Surgery does not guarantee a happy outcome, unfortunately, and some pets will not recover even with it. After surgery, several days of hospitalized care will be necessary. If your dog is boarding while you travel and requires surgery and depending upon the length of your travel, your dog may still be hospitalized when you return home. A pet that lives through a bloating episode, but does not have corrective surgery, will be at a high risk for another attack. Without “tacking’’ the stomach in place, a dog will most likely bloat again.

DOES BLOATING OCCUR ONLY AT PET CARE FACILITIES

No. Since all the factors that contribute to GDV are not clear, there is no way of predicting when a bloating episode may occur. It can happen in a grooming shop, a veterinary office, a boarding kennel, a dog daycare, or at home. Sometimes owners will notice the signs, but not attribute them to a real problem until the pet collapses.

8 Dog Breeds That Are Prone To Bloat

  • Great Danes. Dane owners should be especially educated on GDV. …
  • Boxers. Between their physical structure and active nature, these spring-loaded pups also tend to be at higher risk. …
  • Doberman Pinschers. …
  • German Shepherds. …
  • Weimaraner. …
  • Irish Setters. …
  • Basset Hounds. …
  • Akitas.
  • This list is not an all-inclusive list of dogs that can suffer from bloat,  however these dogs are more prone to bloat and extra care should be made when making observations of these breeds.
CAN THE PET CARE FACILITY PREVENT MY DOG FROM BLOATING?

Most pet care facilities take precautions to not overfeed or let pets drink excessive amounts of water. If aware of a hereditary problem, special observation notes may be made. Dogs are exercised well before or after meals. Even with careful precautions and diligent observation, GDV may occur. In a boarding environment, bloating seems to occur with a higher frequency at night or in the early morning hours. Even facilities with live-in staff will have dogs suffer from a bloating incidence.

    11 Reasons Your Dog Is Coughing

    By Stephanie Stephens for The Dog Daily

    Your dog makes all sorts of noises, and a lot of them probably sound like human coughs. In fact, a flu-afflicted person is often described as having a “barking” cough. But dogs can actually cough too, often sounding like you do when you’re congested and have a cold, or as though they are sneezing in reverse, since they may try to draw in a lot of air instead of forcing it out in a loud “Ah choo!” There are many possible causes for doggy coughing, according to Lynelle Johnson, DVM. She is an associate professor at the University of California at Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. Here is her canine coughing compendium, which includes some of the primary causes for dog coughs, along with associated conditions.

    • Kennel cough This illness often results from a combination of viral and bacterial intruders in canine airways. If your dog has a dry, hacking cough, sometimes accompanied by a white, foam-like saliva, it could have kennel cough. The most common airborne bacteria linked to kennel cough tend to spread in close quarters, such as dog kennels, boarding facilities, dog parks or other similar areas. This condition generally lasts one to two weeks and is treated with antibiotics and other prescription medications. Confine your dog until it’s recovered to avoid infecting other animals. And if you must go out during your dog’s recovery period, try using a harness instead of a collar and leash to discourage coughing reflexes.
    • Chronic bronchitis This illness is characterized by excessive mucus in the airways that is triggered by inflammation. Smoking can cause canine bronchitis, so if you smoke, never do so near your dog. Pollution, dust and grains in the environment can also lead to inflammation. Ask your vet about corticosteroids to treat symptoms.
    • Tracheal collapse This tends to occur in miniature and toy-size dogs that have a flat trachea, instead of a round or “C-shaped,” one. “When pressure changes within the airway during respiration, it collapses. Sometimes dogs can get infections or bronchitis in addition to airway collapse,” Dr. Johnson says. Treatment may include medication, surgery, or a combination of both.
    • Heart disease Congestive heart failure can cause dogs to accumulate fluid in the lungs, which could lead to coughing, especially at night. Heart enlargement may also cause coughing. Dobermans, Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, and small dogs seem to be more vulnerable to heart disease and related coughing.
    • Fungal infections Fungal infections can cause coughing, breathing difficulty, weight loss and fever. Your dog may require antifungal medications for extended periods, according to Dr. Johnson. Keep canines away from bird coops and droppings, as these can be fungal breeding grounds.
    • Parasites, such as heartworm and roundworms, may also cause your dog to cough. These may be treated with dewormers, preventative pills and topical medications that your vet can provide.
    • Foreign bodies Dogs can ingest a variety of substances and objects, like sticks or foxtails, which can lead to bouts of coughing. These plants may lodge in the gums or rear of your dog’s throat. If that happens, usually a vet’s help is needed to remove them.
    • Lung cancer Coughing can be a symptom of this type of cancer, but it is rare in dogs. Nevertheless, it is good to have your veterinarian rule it out as a possibility. Canine lung cancer frequently will metastasize, or spread, from a tumor elsewhere in the body. If your vet suspects that your dog may have this disease, you could be referred to an oncologist, who can provide more specialized treatment.
    • Pneumonia This serious illness is marked by “soft” coughing, heavy breathing and mucus. Pneumonia requires immediate attention, including antibiotics and fluids.
    • Influenza A virus causes the flu, which is a relatively new disease in dogs. It is a very contagious respiratory infection that in its mild form includes coughing. In severe form, signs of pneumonia are present.
    • Distemper Again, coughing may be a sign of this devastating, highly contagious viral disease that is transmitted from an infected dog’s respiratory secretions, urine or feces. It is easily prevented by vaccination.

    Don’t rely on guesswork. If your dog’s bark sounds more cough than “ruff,” seek an expert’s opinion. Your vet can probably help to clear the cough so that soon both you and your dog may breathe a sigh of relief

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