This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
care. To help your canine friend live a healthy life, it helps to know some of the most common health problems dogs face, their signs, and what you can do about them. Common Dog Health Problem: Ear Infections Ear infections are a common canine health problem, and they can be caused by allergies, yeast, ear mites, bacteria, hair growth deep in the ear canal, and more. Symptoms your dog may have with an ear infection include: * Head shaking or head tilting * Ear odor * Vigorous scratching * Lack of balance * Unusual back-and-forth eye movements * Redness * Swelling * Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge A professional cleaning may be all your dog needs to clear up a painful ear infection, though surgery could be necessary if head shaking gets forceful enough to rupture a blood vessel. Ear infections can hurt, so always check with your vet about the best treatment for your pooch. Read more about ear infections in dogs. Common Dog Health Problem: Worms Tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms are common internal parasites in dogs. And although any worm infestation can make your pooch uncomfortable, some, like hookworms, can be fatal in puppies. Signs your dog may have worms include: * Diarrhea (may be bloody) * Weight loss * A change in appetite * A rough, dry coat * Scooting * An overall poor appearance The best way to diagnose a worm problem is with a visit to the vet. Treatment depends on which type of worm your dog has, but generally includes an oral medication and may require follow-up. Don't try treating worms yourself: A medication that kills roundworms, for example, doesn't kill tapeworms. Common Dog Health Problem: Fleas It takes just three weeks for one flea to turn into an infestation of 1,000 biting bugs. A very common canine health problem, fleas are easy for your dog to pick up, but they're also easy to treat. Signs your dog may have fleas include: * Excessive scratching, licking, or biting at the skin * Hair loss * Hot spots * Allergic dermatitis
ALL ABOUPage IIT DOG'S Page 1 II
* Tapeworms (which are caused by fleas) * Flea dirt (looks like small black dots) against your dog's skin Untreated, fleas not only make your dog intensely uncomfortable, they can also cause allergic reactions, infections, and even lead to anemia from blood loss. Talk to your veterinarian about the right flea medicine for your dog, which may include oral medicine, shampoos, sprays, or topical liquids.Read more about flea control and prevention in dogs.v5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health A pet is certainly a great friend. After a difficult day, pet owners quite literally feel the love. In fact, for nearly 25 years, research has shown that living with pets provides certain health benefits. Pets help lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety. They boost our immunity. They can even help you get dates. Allergy Fighters "The old thinking was that if your family had a pet, the children were more likely to become allergic to the pet. And if you came from an allergy-prone family, pets should be avoided," says researcher James E. Gern, MD, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. However, a growing number of studies have suggested that kids growing up in a home with "furred animals" -- whether it's a pet cat or dog, or on a farm and exposed to large animals -- will have less risk of allergies and asthma, he tells WebMD. In one study, Gern analyzed the blood of babies immediately after birth and one year later. He was looking for evidence of an allergic reaction, immunity changes, and for reactions to bacteria in the environment. If a dog lived in the home, infants were less likely to show evidence of pet allergies -- 19% vs. 33%. They also were less likely to have eczema, a common allergy skin condition that causes red patches and itching. In addition, they had higher levels of some immune system chemicals -- a sign of stronger immune system activation. "Dogs are dirty animals, and this suggests that babies who have greater exposure to dirt and allergens have a stronger immune system," Gern says. Date Magnets Dogs are great for making love connections. Forget Internet matchmaking -- a dog is a natural conversation starter. This especially helps ease people out of social isolation or shyness, Nadine Kaslow, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University in Atlanta, tells WebMD. "People ask about breed, they watch the dog's tricks," Kaslow says. "Sometimes the conversation stays at the 'dog level,' sometimes it becomes a real social interchange." Dogs for the Aged
@2010 BOBGULDEN All rights Reserved.
ALL ABOUPage IIIT DOG'S Page 1 III
"Studies have shown that Alzheimer's patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home," says Lynette Hart, PhD, associate professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. "Their caregivers also feel less burdened when there is a pet, particularly if it is a cat, which generally requires less care than a dog," says Hart. Walking a dog or just caring for a pet -- for elderly people who are able -- can provide exercise and companionship. One insurance company, Midland Life Insurance Company of Columbus, Ohio, asks clients over age 75 if they have a pet as part of their medical screening -- which often helps tip the scales in their favor. Good for Mind and Soul Pet owners with AIDS are far less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets. "The benefit is especially pronounced when people are strongly attached to their pets," says researcher Judith Siegel, PhD. In one study, stockbrokers with high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did people without pets. People in stress mode get into a "state of dis-ease," in which harmful chemicals like cortisol and norepinephrine can negatively affect the immune system, says Blair Justice, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health and author of Who Gets Sick: How Beliefs, Moods, and Thoughts Affect Your Health. Studies show a link between these chemicals and plaque buildup in arteries, the red flag for heart disease, says Justice. Like any enjoyable activity, playing with a dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine -- nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties, he tells WebMD. "People take drugs like heroin and cocaine to raise serotonin and dopamine, but the healthy way to do it is to pet your dog, or hug your spouse, watch sunsets, or get around something beautiful in nature," says Justice, who recently hiked the Colorado Rockies with his wife and two dogs. Good for the Heart Heart attack patients who have pets survive longer than those without, according to several studies. Male pet owners have less sign of heart disease -- lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels -- than non-owners, researchers say. 5 Health Mistakes Dog Owners Make You want the best for your dog -- your pooch is your best friend, after all. Yet sometimes, pet owners who mean well make serious mistakes, especially when it comes to the health of their dog. Are you on the right track to keep your dog in top shape? WebMD went to veterinarians to find out the most common health mistakes dog owners make and get their tips on how to avoid them. @2010 BOBGULDEN All rights Reserved.
ALL ABOUPage IVT DOG'S Page 1 IV
Dog Health Mistake 1: Not Getting Preventive Care Neglecting preventive health care is by far the most common mistake dog owners make, according to the veterinarians we interviewed. "Taking your dog in to the vet for regular examinations, giving heartworm prevention, and getting your dog the appropriate vaccinations and dewormings can prevent many diseases," says Adrianne Brode, DVM, CCRP, associate medical director at the Canine Health Institute in Houston. For example, heartworm disease can be difficult to treat and ultimately fatal to dogs, but it's easily preventable. Yearly exams help your vet catch problems early, according to Oregon veterinarian Marla J. McGeorge, DVM. Instead of coping with lengthy treatment of an advanced or chronic condition, your vet can catch issues at their beginning stages, when care may mean cure. And early care saves you money in the long run. Although annual exams may coincide with needed vaccinations, simply getting your dog vaccinated isn't the same as a full physical exam. Among other things, a comprehensive checkup may include: * Blood work * A fecal examination for intestinal parasites * Examination of a dog’s gums, heart, lungs, teeth, eyes, and ears Talk to your veterinarian to learn more. Dog Health Mistake 2: Neglecting Dental Care Neglecting regular dental care is also common, according to Shawn Messonnier, DVM, author of the Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats. Dogs need dental care for the same reason we do: to prevent gum disease. As on human teeth, plaque forms on a dog's teeth after eating. If left alone, the plaque builds, causing inflammation, decay, and eventually bone and tooth loss. And while this silent war goes on in your dog's mouth, she’s probably experiencing pain you don't notice because dogs, like cats, instinctively hide pain. Gum disease is actually five times as common in dogs as in people. But it's easy to prevent and to treat with dental care that includes: * Daily brushings * Good quality food * Regular oral X-rays, exams, and cleanings * Safe, teeth-cleaning treats and chew toys Dog Health Mistake 3: Overfeeding If too much love is ever a bad thing, it is when we show it to our canine companions in the form of too many tasty treats.”Rewarding and loving our dogs with food leads to obesity," Brode says. Overweight or obese dogs are at higher risk for arthritis and other orthopaedic issues, as well as other health problems. It can be difficult enough to balance our own diets, much less that of our dogs. So talk to your vet, who will help you select a good, high-quality food for your dog and give you tips on exercise and treats. That's right -- you don't @2010 BOBGULDEN All rights Reserved.
ALL ABOUPage VT DOG'S Page 1 V
have to stop sharing occasional goodies with your pooch, as long as 90% to 95% of your dog's diet is healthy and well balanced. Dog Health Mistake 4: Sharing Medication Another dangerous health mistake owners make is giving dogs human medications. "Pain medications like Advil or Tylenol can be very toxic to dogs," Brode tells WebMD. In fact, there is a host of seemingly benign human drugs that can pose grave health risks for pets. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, are the most common cause of pet poisoning in small animals, according to the ASPCA. Even small doses can be toxic. Antidepressants, muscle relaxers, decongestants, vitamin D derivatives, oral diabetes treatments, and other common human drugs can all pose risks to pets, from seizures to coma to death. Always keep medication secure -- preferably in a high, locked cabinet -- and never discard medication where pets or children can get to it. If you’re worried that your dog may have gobbled up an over-the-counter or prescription pill you dropped -- or worse, taken an entire bottle from the trash -- don't hesitate. Immediately call the Animal Poison Control Center 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435. Dog Health Mistake 5: Delaying Critical Care We often delay medical care for ourselves, waiting for a bump, pain, or rash to go away. So it may seem natural to do the same thing with our dog. There's a problem with that, however: Dogs don't have the words to let us know exactly what they're feeling. Your canine companion could be in pain, sick, and even gravely ill -- and chances are you wouldn't know it because of dogs’ instinct to hide infirmity. Don't wait to see if a health problem in your dog gets better on its own. Call your vet if your dog isn't eating or is eating less, vomiting, lethargic, has diarrhea or fever, or just doesn't seem well.
By: Bob Gulden
@2010 BOBGULDEN All rights Reserved.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.