Archive for the ‘Canine Health’ Category
Monday, January 17th, 2011
Your personal protection dog is like any other animal, and can act curious about practically everything. Dogs often express their curiosity by picking up different things with their mouths. Being that they are low to the ground, this allows them to have numerous opportunities to gobble up objects, that could become choking hazards. It is important for a guard dog owner to know if your dog is actually choking and what to do if this emergency arises. If your protection dog suddenly begins to run around in circles, pawing at their mouth, and is acting wildly and disoriented, they most likely have something lodged in their throat. These behaviors are what your dog does when trying to dislodge the item themselves. However, your protection dog may not be able to remove the object on their own, so it is your responsibility to step in and help them. Below are steps on how to save your choking protection dog.
First, if you think that your dog may be choking or have any doubts that they are able to breathe, call the emergency number for your vet immediately. Note that if your dog cannot breathe, they will not be able to cough or make noise. Once you get ahold of your vet you may be talked through first aid procedures, and asked to bring your pet in immediately. If for some reason you cannot contact your vet or until you get them to help, attempt to save your guard dog by using the following steps.
- Restrain your dog if necessary.
- Approach them slowly, speaking in a reassuring tone.
- Clear their airway by opening the dog’s mouth carefully. Do this by grasping the upper jaw with one hand over the muzzle. Press your thumb on one side of the mouth, and your fingers on the other. Apply firm pressure to force their mouth open. If you can see the object, try removing it with your fingers.
- If you cannot remove the object, large dogs like German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and Dutch Shepherds must be placed on their side on the floor. Place your hand just below the rib cage and press down slightly forward and firmly, then release. Repeat this several times until the object is dislodged.
Friday, January 14th, 2011
As your guard dog gets older they begin to go through different physiological and physical changes. It is your job as a responsible protection dog owner, to make sure that they are provided with the proper nutritional needs to keep them healthy. Senior dogs will require a well balanced diet, which is lower in calories but still containing protein and fat. There are specially formulated senior dog diets that help to create a feeling of fullness. A diet that is higher in fiber, is the type of diet they will benefit from greatly. This is because older dogs are more prone to developing constipation, so they require a diet with 3% to 5% fiber. A tip to help increase fiber in their food is to add wheat bran. Along with their special nutrition needs, senior dogs can be given supplements which will help to supply them with some needed nutrition. A daily supplement like glucosamine and chondroitin, will help to support their joints. Any deficiencies that can develop can be prevented by a vitamin and mineral supplement. Extra antioxidants are also a good way to improve their diet.
Some senior protection dogs may suffer from lack of weight gain and disinterest in food. If you notice your German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, or Dutch Shepherd guard dog not eating well and becoming too thin then you should take them to the vet to be examined. If no signs of any type of diseased come up then you must try to get the dog to eat. Many older dogs have a hard time chewing large hard kibble, so try giving them smaller pieces that is moistened with water. You could also try adding broth to the food, to give it more flavor and become more appetizing to them. Some dogs prefer cat food and will eat it eagerly. However, cat food is high in protein and should be avoided, if possible. Formulating a homemade recipe with milk eggs, boiled, rice, vegetables, chicken, etc could be very beneficial to you dog’s nutrition. Do not try and create one yourself however, because the correct amounts of vitamins and minerals is crucial. Instead have ask your vet which type of homemade diet would be best for your dog. As your personal protection dog grows older, their needs change and it is your responsibility to take care of them properly.
Wednesday, January 12th, 2011
Today, one of the most dangerous health problems facing dogs is obesity. It is your job as a responsible protection dog owner to do something about it. Dogs that are overweight are known to live unhealthy and shorter lives. Extra weight creates a unneeded stress on bones and joints, which could lead to arthritis problems. Dogs that are overweight usually are less able to exercise and do daily activities comfortably, because it becomes much harder for them to breathe. They are less able to resist infections, and they may be at a larger risk for problems during surgery, compared to healthy guard dogs.
There are many health problems that may develop due to obesity. One is Joint or Locomotion difficulties, this is when extra pounds and stress causes the the joints, bones, ligaments and muscles to become aggravated. This could in time lead to larger problems such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, and spinal disc disease. Heart and Respiratory disease is another health problem triggered by obesity. It is when excess fat tissue in the chest cavity and around the heart muscles. This causes the heart and lungs to work harder to simply provide the correct amount oxygen and circulation. Overweight personal protection dogs are also more prone to diabetes, pancreas inflammation, and liver disease. Heat Intolerance is when excess fat makes it more difficult for the dog to tolerate heat, causing them to feel uncomfortable quite often. Also skin problems can occur when rolls of skin build of fat deposits, they can often hold dirt and bacteria.
Your protection dog will most likely become overweight when they are not exercised well enough, and from eating more food than is required. Overeating can cause your dog to become greedy, bored, and overfeed often. If you feed your dog leftovers or give them treats a lot, cut back significantly because this behavior leads to obesity in dogs. You can tell if your guard dog is overweight by a simple procedure. Place a flat palm of your hand and feel their ribs, if you have a difficulty feeling the ribs, then they are most likely overweight.
If you discover that your dog is overweight, start by taking them to the vet to have them set a goal for your dog and recommend how much food he should eat each day. The food that you choose for your dog should satisfy their appetite but also contain the vitamins and minerals they need. Keep in mind that a gradual transition from their old diet to the new one may be needed. Do this by feeding them a mixture of the two and increasing amounts of the new diet, while slowly decreasing. Regular exercise is needed to increase the amount of calories they burn, do this by taking them for a daily walk or run. If your dog is old or in poor health, check with your vet first to make sure increased exercise is safe. Your protection dog may not lose the weight as quickly as you might think, so just be patient and keep sticking with the new routine. Eventually your German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, or Dutch Shepherd will be happier and healthier, and you will have helped them increase their quality of life.
Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
In order to maintain your personal protection dog’s hygiene you need to bathe them when necessary. It is important to know some helpful facts and tips before bathing them, in order to make the process easier, faster, and all around more efficient. Do not bathe your protection dog too often because that will take away healthy oils found in their coat and skin, which will lead to scratching and irritation. Also too much bathing can soften your protection dog’s coat and reduce its insulating qualities. The frequency of bathing your dog is mostly determined by the breed and activities the dog is involved in. Dogs that spend a lot of time outside, engaged in activities that are exposed to dirt and bugs will typically require more bathing. Usually every six weeks or more frequently, if they become overwhelmingly dirty. Other dogs only need to be given a bath every couple of months, or less. Also, to help keep your dog clean between baths, brush them thoroughly and preferably daily. By brushing them daily it will benefit their coat, skin and will lead to your dog looking and smelling good.
Being prepared and knowing what to do will help to make the bath much less stressful for both you and your personal protection dog. The bath will go much more smoothly if you introduce your dog to the idea of bathing first. You can do this by letting them sniff the comb, brush or clippers, and praise them once they become less timid around the tools. Also, let your dog become use to the sound of running water. Most dogs will get scared by being in the bathtub, they usually jump around, slip and fall. You will more than likely spend most of the time trying to get them to stay inside the tub, and in the process get even wetter than them. Instead of going through this miserable task, try bathing your dog outside. Since they are most likely a larger dog breed, such as a German Shepherd, this will make the bath less stressful for them because they are not in a small confined space. Simply hook their leash up somewhere, so they do not have a chance to run off and use a hose and a bucket. If it is colder weather, another place that is better than the tub is the shower. This will work especially well if you have a hand-held shower head. Your personal protection dog will feel much less stressed standing on a firm surface rather than in a tub full of water.
Before you begin to bathe your protection dog, there are also some important things to know. One thing is to carefully brush out any mats, or tangles because it will be harder to do this once the fur is wet. Make sure you wash their face with a wash cloth instead of pouring water over their face, because his the inside of his ears shouldn’t get too wet. If you can, use a good dog shampoo that will benefit their coat and skin. After lathering on the shampoo, and making sure they are completely clean, it is time to rinse. Shampoo residue will lead to itching, so make sure that it is all off, and avoid washing it into their eyes. If your are giving your dog flea bath it is extremely important to start with their face and ears, or else tons of living fleas could end up inside the dog’s ears. When you are finished, try squeezing any excess water from your protection dogs fur and then wrap them in a large towel to gently rub dry.
Friday, December 31st, 2010
There has always been the question of whether or not you can catch a disease from you protection dog. Almost everyone is familiar with stories of rabid dogs and just by hearing the word rabies, they are stricken with fear. Rabies also, referred to as a zoonotic disease, is virus that has the possibility of infecting almost any mammal, including dogs. It lives in the saliva of the animal and is transmitted typically by bite wounds. If the virus is not treated, it will attack the nervous system. Personal protection Dogs infected with rabies begin to show a change in temperament, and act rabidly. Zoonotic diseases can be transmitted from a wild or domesticated animal to a human, and vice versa. Since there is so much concern, it is obvious that there is definitely a potential for you to catch a disease from your protection dog.
There are also other ways for you to catch a disease from your dog besides Zoonotic Disease. Even if the dog does not appear to be rabid, he could still have a disease that you are not aware of. For example a parasite such as hookworms could be present in the saliva or feces of the protection dog, and there’s no way for you to know that before hand. The hookworm could easily spread to you or your child if the dog happens to lick you. This shows how important it is for you to give you protection dog vaccines for worms, and have regular check-ups.
Rabies, hookworms, salmonella, fleas, lime disease, roundworms are all examples of zoonotic diseases that can be caught from your animal. The best solution is to take your protection dog to the vet for regular check-ups and vaccinations. It is a good idea to never handle feces directly. Make sure to always wear gloves when handling your dog’s feces, and make sure to pick up any feces in your home quickly to prevent your child from coming in contact with it. Wash your hands frequently when handling any dog, especially unfamiliar ones. You have very little to worry about concerning catching a disease, just always use caution and common sense when handling protection dogs.
Wednesday, December 29th, 2010
When taking on the responsibility of owning a guard dog, it is important to be educated about their health, especially the different types of health problems they could develop. Dogs have two small glands located on both sides of their rectal opening, they are called anal glands. Each gland is filled with a small amount of sickly smelling brown liquid. Each time your guard dog urinates or defecates, a small amount of pressure is applied to the anal glands, and a tiny amount of the fluid is released. Each dog has their own unique scent that is produced from the anal gland. If you have ever wondered why dogs tend to sniff each others rears, it is because they are smelling the other dog’s scent. It may seem strange, but this is how your protection dog will learn to identify other dogs. This behavior is as normal to dogs as the behavior of humans shaking hands when meeting someone new.
Although it is not common, it is possible for anal glands to form a infection. This happens when the anal gland liquid is not released sufficiently, and bacteria begins to build up. When this infection is left untreated it can turn into an abscess. This abscess can then rupture the skin, which will obviously lead to more complications. It is often believed that dog anal gland problems can be linked back to the quality of pet food that it is given. Cereal fillers are often used in inexpensive dog food brands, and they tend to make the stool soft. If the stool is not able to press firmly on the anal glands, it will not provide enough pressure to release the fluid. That is why you should take the necessary actions to buy a higher quality dog food, that will produce a firmer stool. This will not only help to prevent anal glad problems, but it will more than like be a better food for your guard dog.
If your personal protection dog, for example your German Shepherd does however develop a anal gland infection, there are many signs that you can look for. This infection will make your guard dog very uncomfortable and being able to see the abnormal signs will be simple. One sign is that your dog will be scooting or dragging his rear across the floor. Another sign is if your guard dog keeps licking or chewing near his rectum. Also if your dog’s stool becomes soft and mushy. If you notice a foul or fishy smell from your dog’s rear, this is also a sign that they may have a anal problem. When you notice one or more of these signs, it is a good idea to take the guard dog in for a check up with their vet. If the infection has not progressed too severely, then the vet will most likely manually express the anal glands. This type of procedure is a job that is better to be left to professionals.
Monday, December 27th, 2010
If you make the decision to own a protection dog, it is important to know that it is a important responsibility. With any kind of responsibility you must make a commitment to it. If you make this commitment, you must make sure that everyone in your family is committed as well. The protection dog that you bring into your home must be cared for and loved by each of your family members. There are five important things you can do when caring for a protection dog to ensure they stay happy and healthy.
The first thing to know is that your dog needs water. As any other living thing, your dog always need fresh water to stay healthy. Also most tap water already has harmful chemicals in. These could consist of lead and even low levels of prescription medicine. To solve this problem, it is a good thing to consider getting a water filter. A water filter will help to remove the harmful toxins, making the water much healthier for your protection dog.
Secondly, your protection dog needs food. When you are caring for your dog it is important to choose a health dog food. Many dog foods on the market today are quite deceiving and surprisingly unhealthy. Most if them pass government standard, however they contain things that you would probably not want your dog to eat. So when you choose your dog food look for one with more meat rather than fillers. When you are looking at the package look to see that it actually lists the meat like lamb, beef, or chicken. Also look to see if it contains natural preservatives, these are much healthier for your protection dog.
The third thing you can do is make sure that your protection dog has proper health care. It is very important that you take your dog to the vet regularly for check- ups and vaccinations. Flea control and heart worm control often require the use of strong chemicals. This alarms many people because they feel that it is not healthy for their animal. But the truth is that heart worms are known to kill dogs, so it is more important to treat them. Taking your dog to the vet is necessary to ensure their long term health.
The fourth thing you can do is help your dog exercise. Many people don’t think about this as being one of the most important things to keep your dog healthy, but it is. In the United States 40 percent of dogs are considered to be overweight. Just like humans it is important to keep your dog’s weight under control because it could lead to health problems. Help your dog exercise by doing things like taking them for a walk daily.
Lastly, and probably the most important thing you can do for your protection dog is show them affection. Letting your protection dog know that you care for them has been known to affect their health in the most positive way. Doing simple things like playing with them, including them in family activities or even petting them can make them so much happier and healthier. It may not seem like it but showing your dog that you love them is more important than any other aspect of their life. Similar to humans, why would a healthy life matter if you don’t have loved ones to share it with?
Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
As a dog owner, making sure that your protection dog is healthy should be one of your main priorities and responsibilities. One health problem that may occur for you dog is a cloudy eye or otherwise known as keratitis. Keratitis is the inflammation of the cornea, causing the cornea to become cloudy. The keratitis infection occurs when a bacterial infection complicates the corneal ulcer. The bacteria that most commonly infects the eye is Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Pseudomonas. When this happens the eyelids become swollen and matted. Some dogs are more likely to develop keratitis for example, dogs with short noses and prominent eyes and breeds such as the boxer. This infection covers the iris and pupil and limits light to enter the interior of the eye. The inflammation can also be accompanied by loss of the first layer of the cornea or loss of deep layers. At first, the eye might not be noticeable which could lead to trouble diagnosing your dog’s keratitis. That is why it is very important to be alert and take your protection dog to the vet if there are any signs.
There are many signs that you can look for in your dog to diagnose keratitis. One sign is if your dog’s eye looks red and painful. Another is if the eyes are watery or teary and if the animal squints. Also if they are sensitive to the light or rub at their eyes. The eye might remain closed and discharge could become present on or around the eye and eyelids. And one of the common signs is the eye becoming cloudy. If any of these signs are noticeable, take your protection dog to the vet as soon as possible. Once there the keratitis will be diagnosed through a complete eye examination. The vet will inspect the eye and cornea carefully and a test for the presence of corneal erosions by placing dye into the eye will be done. If keratitis is is diagnosed then certain steps will be taken to treat the infection. The treatment ultimately depends on the cause and severity of the corneal disease. Dogs with deep or rapidly progressive corneal damage may require hospitalization for surgery or frequent medical treatment. If it is not severe then surgery is not needed and antibiotic will be applied. Like any other health problems, be alert for signs of abnormalities in your protection dog, and be prepared to take the necessary steps to keep them healthy.
Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
Consuming food or as many refer to as eating, is something that all living things must do to survive. All animals have different ways of eating, and to some people the eating behavior of a guard dog, or any other dog for that matter may seem a little strange. However, to the dog this is the most comfortable way of getting the food into its stomach. “Bolting”, it the term used to describe the normal swallowing pattern for a guard dog. There are certain steps that a dog goes through while bolting. First, the dog picks up a piece of food with its teeth, and then tosses the piece of food onto the top of its tongue with a short, quick thrust of its head. Next, without being chewed the piece of food is rolled to the back of its mouth. When the food reaches the base of the tongue, the food is upward and backward into the esophagus by a reflex of the tongue. After this, the piece of food is finally carried to the stomach.
If a piece of food is too large to be swallowed, the dog will then make it so that it is a swallowing size. The dog will hold the food with its paws and using its front teeth will tear it into smaller pieces. If it is too tough to be torn by using its paws, the dog will resort to another method. The dog will cut it into small enough pieces by using two specialized jaw teeth, called carnassial teeth. These teeth have large shearing surfaces that act like scissor blades, which can cut through practically anything. The can cut through tough surfaces like hide, gristle, muscle, and even bone. Although dogs have powerful jaw muscles that are useful for cutting food into swallowing size, they are use very little for chewing the pieces. This is because dogs have a small amount of teeth and they are not equipped for mastication.
Many guard dog owners believe that each breed should be fed differently. However this is not true because the eating behavior of a certain dog, is the eating behavior of the whole species. It is simply because all dogs eat the same. When feeding your protection dog there are some general considerations that can be made. Dogs are not required to eat food like humans, because dogs do not have hands. Their jaws are suited for biting and cutting, not chewing. Dogs rarely gag because they have few gag reflex nerves at the back of their mouth. Dogs also have very few taste buds on their tongue, but have an amazing sense of smell. Overall when feeding your guard dog it is important to realize that they eat much differently from us and the way they eat is normal for them.
Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
Most of the time when a owner sees their dog itching or scratching themselves, they they do not think anything of it. However, excessive itching, scratching, or even chewing at the skin could be a response to a skin problem your protection dog has. To know how good of health your dog is in, it is helpful to look at there skin. This is because a dog’s skin is one of the many indications of your dogs health. All dog breeds and ages can be susceptible to skin problems; however, dogs young, elderly and dogs living in unhealthy environments may be more at risk. There are many different types of problems that your protection dog could get such as, hot spots, dry and flaky skin, acral lick granuloma, color or texture changes, shedding an hair loss, impetigo, allergic dermatitis, and yeast infections. These can occur due to a range of different causes, and it is important to find out what has. If you cannot, of course contact your veterinarian. One cause of many skin problems is seasonal allergies, the scratching could be a result common allergens like pollen, weeds, and dust. Some dogs may also develop food allergies to some ingredients found in dog food or fillers and colorings. Grooming products as well have been known to irritate dog’s skin, it is important to make sure that your are using products made specifically for dogs. Metabolic or hormones can cause a change in the skin color, consistency, and thickness. Overall there are many causes of skin problems and it is best to investigate on them before it worsens.
Skin problems are a serious matter and can affect your dogs health very much if not cared for properly. Symptoms of skin problems are usually easy to identify, if you pay attention to your protection dog’s behavior. Scratching, licking, chewing, scabs, redness, scaly patches on face and paws, rashes, swellings and rubbing their face on furniture or carpet are all symptoms of a dog with skin problems. It is not always the most simple thing to realize that your protection dog could have have a skin problem. This means it is important to contact your vet as soon as you see any abnormalities on the skin or witness excessive scratching, licking or biting. The vet will usually diagnose your animal by a skin biopsy, testing for ringworm, microscopic exam of the skin and hair, allergy testing, and blood tests. If your protection dog is diagnosed with a skin problem the ways it will be treated are by shampoos and ointments to treat parasites, a balance diet, dietary supplements, antibiotics, or injections to decrease the dog’s reactions to allergens. Please note that there are ways to prevent your protection dog from ever getting a skin problem, like using hypoallergenic shampoos, brushing your dog regularly, giving them a healthy diet, cleaning your home regularly and mostly providing them with a calm living environment.
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