Dog Care Tips
- Why do dogs eat grass?
- Do dogs have cleaner mouths than humans?
- Cocoa Mulch is Toxic!
- Holiday Hazards
- Antifreeze Poisoning
- Natural Digestion Aid
- “Water Proof” – Not Shampoo Proof!
- Can a Cold Wet Nose Determine Your Dog’s Health?
- Low Calorie Dog Treats
- Removing Skunk Odor
- Things You Shouldn’t Feed Your Dog
- Tea Bags Stop the Bleeding
- Are Pennies Toxic?
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Our furry friend’s ancestors were scavengers and would eat essentially anything. When there wasn’t any prey around they would eat all types of leafy greens. It is also thought that they would consume intestinal tracts of herbivores which contained greens. Yuck! Today, our four legged companions still have a taste for grass. Many believe that dogs eat grass when they have an upset stomach, helping them to vomit.
Do dogs have cleaner mouths than humans?
This is a myth! Dogs do not have cleaner mouths than humans. This myth might have been started based on the fact that dogs often lick their wounds which are rarely infected. However, most humans practice good dental hygiene while our furry pets raid trash cans, eat droppings, and lick rear ends. Think about that next time your pooch gives you a kiss! February is Pet Dental Awareness Month!
Cocoa Mulch is Toxic!
This type of mulch is toxic because of its by-products, mainly being cocoa shells. It is a commonly used mulch because of its rich dark color and chocolate scent. This also makes it very appealing to our four legged friends. If ingested, dogs can show symptomatic signs similar to a chocolate toxicity.
Here is a list of holiday hazards that you may not have considered. Please take extra precautions this season to ensure the safety of your four legged friend during the holiday season.
Electrical cords are sometimes a very appealing chew toy that if bitten or chewed could cause electrocution. Drinking tree water can be toxic, if preservatives are added. Potpourri scents can be attractive, but if licked can cause burns to the muzzle, gums, tongue, and esophagus. Ornaments, hooks, tinsel, string, and ribbons may be mistaken as edible items. If ingested, they can cause major gastrointestinal upset or obstruction. Candles and trees may be knocked over accidentally during play time which could cause burns or house fires.
Antifreeze is a very common poison. It has a sweet taste that is appealing to our pets. Antifreeze poisoning can be fatal if not treated within a few hours of ingestion, and takes as little as three tablespoons to cause major damage such as kidney failure. If you suspect that your pet has ingested antifreeze or is acting “drunk” seek immediate veterinary care.
Natural Digestion Aid
If your dog is having the occasional case of constipation or diarrhea, one thing that might help is canned pumpkin. Canned pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie filling! Canned pumpkin is full of fiber and is a good natural remedy for constipation. On the opposite end of things it absorbs water and can help clear up diarrhea issues. Just add one to two teaspoons of canned pumpkin into your dog’s food, or give directly by mouth, and voila! Please remember that in some cases severe diarrhea can be serious and needs immediate veterinary care. If your dog has had diarrhea lasting more than 24 hours contact your veterinarian.
“Water Proof” – Not Shampoo Proof!
Are you spending a fortune on monthly flea and tick preventions and still having infestation problems? Then you might not know that bathing your dog will strip off the prevention application. Most flea and tick products claim that they are “water proof.” Most are, in fact, water proof against rain, swimming, etc. However they are not fully resistant to cleaning products and shampoos. Topical applications are applied to the skin and dispersed through the oils of the skin. Bathing 48-72 hours before application is not recommended for this reason. Bathing anytime after the application is not recommended. If you insist on bathing your dog anytime after the monthly prevention has been applied, a “soap free” shampoo is best, which is less likely to strip the prevention off.
Can a Cold Wet Nose Determine Your Dog’s Health?
Does a cold, wet nose mean that your dog is healthy? No, this myth is not entirely true! A dog’s nose is often cool and moist; however it does not necessarily indicate your dog’s health. More appropriate measurements of your dog’s health are appetite, energy, and over all comfort levels. If you are concerned about your dog’s temperature, rather than feel his nose, use a thermometer and take a temperature rectally.
Low Calorie Dog Treats
Obesity is a major health concern in dogs. Excessive snacking of doggie treats can lead to weight gain. Want a low calorie treat? Think Veggies! Baby carrots, green beans, celery, and snow peas are great low-cal fillers. However, always remember to feed in moderation!
Removing Skunk Odor
Instead of using tomato juice, try a mixture of 10 parts hydrogen peroxide to 1 part baking soda. Add a small amount of degreasing dishwashing soap and pour into a spray bottle. Spray liberally over dry coat and allow to air dry. Avoid getting it in your eyes! It can work on inanimate objects, too!
Things You Shouldn’t Feed Your Dog
1. Alcoholic Beverages. Ethanol is the component in alcoholic beverages that can be toxic when an excessive amount is ingested. Pets are much smaller than us and can be highly affected by small amounts of alcohol. Exercise caution when drinks and pets are together. Toxicity can cause a wide variety of signs and symptoms, and may result in death. Signs may include odor of alcohol on the animal’s breath, staggering, behavioral changes, excitement, depression, increased urination, slow respiratory rate or cardiac arrest and death.
2. Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Peaches and Plums. Ingestion of large amounts of stems, seeds and leaves of these fruits can be toxic. They contain a cyanide type compound and signs of toxicity include apprehension, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, hyperventilation and shock.
3. Avocados. The leaves, fruit, bark and seeds of avocados have all been reported to be toxic. The toxic component in the avocado is “persin,” which is a fatty acid derivative. Symptoms of toxicity include difficulty breathing; abdominal enlargement; and abnormal fluid accumulations in the chest, abdomen and sac around the heart. The amount that needs to be ingested to cause these symptoms is unknown. Do not feed your pet any component of the avocado.
4. Baking Powder and Baking Soda. Baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents. A leavening agent is a common ingredient in baked goods that produces a gas causing batter and dough to rise. Baking soda is simply sodium bicarbonate. Baking powder consists of baking soda and an acid, usually cream of tartar, calcium acid phosphate, sodium aluminum sulfate or a mixture of the three. Ingestion of large amounts of baking soda or baking powder can lead to electrolyte abnormalities (low potassium, low calcium and/or high sodium), congestive heart failure or muscle spasms.
5. Chocolate. I am sure that most of you are already aware that chocolate is toxic to dogs. Well, here is some information that maybe you didn’t know. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine which are stimulants, and the toxic components of chocolate. The severity of a chocolate toxicity depends on two main factors; type of chocolate ingested and quantity vs. weight. White chocolate is least dangerous with the least amount of stimulants. Baking chocolates are some of the most dangerous and have the highest amounts. The amount of chocolate it takes to poison your dog depends greatly on the dog’s weight. Some signs to look for once toxic levels have been reached are panting, pacing, overall restlessness, muscle tremors, and increased urination. Without treatment seizures and death are likely. As always seek immediate veterinary care.
6. Bread Dough. When bread dough is ingested, it rises in a dog’s stomach and as the dough ferments, alcohol is produced. After ingestion, dogs will act nauseated, vomit, act painful, lethargic or become disoriented. The problem with bread dough ingestion can be from the severe distention of the abdomen as the dough rises in the stomach or from the alcohol produced as the dough ferments, causing alcohol toxicity. If your dog accidentally eats some dough, call your veterinarian or local emergency clinic.
7. Products Containing Artificial Sweetener. Xylitol is toxic to dogs. It is a common ingredient in sugar free gums, candies, and baked goods. Consumption of Xylitol in larger quantities can cause a severe drop in blood sugar levels. Treatment for Xylitol toxicity commonly consists of hospitalization, intravenous fluids, and dextrose.
8. Grapes or Raisins. The consumption of grapes and raisins presents a potential health threat to dogs. Vomiting and diarrhea are often the first symptoms of grape or raisin toxicity. They often develop within a few hours of ingestion. Pieces of grapes or raisins may be present in the vomit or stool. Further symptoms include weakness, not eating, increased drinking, and abdominal pain. Their toxicity to dogs can cause the animal to develop acute renal failure (the sudden development of kidney failure) with anuria (a lack of urine production).
Tea Bags Stop the Bleeding
Have you ever trimmed Fido’s nails too short and caused it to bleed? Next time try applying a wet tea bag to the nail for five minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag will help stop the bleeding!
Are Pennies Toxic?
Did you know that pennies minted after 1983 have a high amount of zinc, which is toxic to dogs? If a penny is ingested, the stomach acid will erode the copper coating and expose the zinc center. The zinc can then be rapidly absorbed into the system. Zinc toxicity results in a potentially fatal blood disorder in which the red blood cells are destroyed and the pet becomes anemic. Zinc toxicity in dogs may result from ingestion of as few as 1 to 3 pennies.