If your dog won’t eat, it may be due to a medical problem. If there is a sudden change in eating, contact your veterinarian to be sure your dog is not ill before trying to encourage food. Some medical issues may include cancer, dental disease, a systemic infection, liver problems or kidney failure. Sometimes a dog can’t eat after recent vaccinations. Travel and motion sickness, sometimes this has an effect on a dog’s appetite.
Unfamiliar situations can cause your dog discomfort. Aside from certain situations, a dog may not eat just because it is finicky or feels uncomfortable. Once your veterinarian has ruled out any medical issues, consider feeding your dog in a comfortable area, away from distractions.
VIDEO BY Dr. Sam Meisler Possible causes of dog not eating
Cancer is such a horrible word and something you never want to deal with in your family or pets. However, knowing the common symptoms can help in identifying a problem in its earliest stages which results in a better prognosis. Cancer occurs when the cells in the body grow uncontrollably, invading other good cells and body tissues. Chances of cancer in dogs are as common as it is in humans. It is most common in older pets over the age of 10, and since causes are unknown, it is a difficult disease to prevent. The most common cancer problems and symptoms are –
• Skin tumors which are quite common in dogs. The most frequent tumors are basal cell tumors, melanomas and lipomas. They will be known as lumps or masses anywhere on the body.
• Lymphoma affects a dog’s digestive system as well as the chest, resulting in lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing and coughing. Lymphoma can also affect the liver with additional symptoms of a yellow tinge of the skin and gums.
• Abdominal tumors are difficult to diagnose early on. Some tumors are complicated to note in its early stages such as prostate cancer, hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumors of the stomach. Be aware of any unusual weight loss, pale gums, weakness, protracted vomiting, uncontrollable diarrhea and a notable enlargement of the abdomen.
• Mammary gland tumors can affect the older female dog. These tumors are very common and half of them are malignant. An examination can detect a lump felt in the breast tissue. It happens predominantly to the female dog that was not spayed although spayed animals can be affected as well.
• Male dogs in fact can be prone to testicular tumors and the most common signs and symptoms are an unusually large testicle as well as weakness, weight loss and change in appetite.
If you notice any of these cancer syptoms in your dog please contact your vet immediately to make an appointment for your dog.
If your dog is diabetic, you will want to feed it a special diet which is high in fiber and low in fat. The diet should also be high in complex carbohydrates for better digestion. Be sure the fat is not too low, below ten per cent, or it will affect the pet’s skin and coat. A diabetic dog needs to be feed at least two to three times per day to prevent high blood sugar levels. Twice a day at breakfast and dinner is usually sufficient. Monitor what your dog eats as well to be sure it eats the full portion and prevent hypoglycemia.
Avoid obesity in your diabetic dog as well. Your veterinarian may need to prescribe a specific diet to control the diabetes as well as stabilize its weight. Pet stores also provide specific diets for the diabetic dog. A dry form of diabetic food is preferred since they have a higher fiber content.
Dementia affects many dogs each year and is associated with reduced brain function. Clinical studies have shown that diet has an impact on your Dog with Dementia. Choose a food for your dog that is rich in antioxidants and nutrients. These types of foods have shown positive results in the behavior changes in the dementia canine. Some suggestions are made by Hill’s Science Diet. The Prescription Diet Canine b/d, after feeding your dog for a year, showed a 58 per cent improvement in learning abilities. Speak with your veterinarian about a special diet to help brain function for your dog with dementia.
As soon as you get a dog, it is important to get your pup vaccinated for the prevention of common animal diseases. Puppies usually begin a vaccination regiment by the time they are six weeks old. Your puppy will receive the distemper vaccine, canine adenovirus vaccine as well as parvovirus. These vaccines will be repeated at 12 and 16 weeks of age at which time the rabies vaccine will be administered. Thereafter, your dog will receive a booster shot yearly and the rabies shot is given either annually or once every 3 years, depending on the protection and budget you have.
Some other vaccines are available, dependent upon circumstances in your life. If you frequent heavily infested tick areas like mountains and woody areas, the Lyme disease vaccine may be recommended. If your dog is in close quarters with other pets often, you may want to prevent kennel cough with the bordetella vaccine. Speak with your veterinarian regarding the recommended vaccinations for your dog in your particular area.
Heartworm can be a fatal disease for your dog if they are not protected. Although veterinarians recommend prevention year round, during early spring, it is important to get your dog in for a routine blood test to be sure your dog is heartworm negative. Once the results come in, it is simple to begin a preventative plan for your dog. Your veterinarian will prescribe a once-a-month oral medication for your dog such as Interceptor, Sentinel or HeartGard.
Ask your vet about these particular medications as there are some available that work in multiple ways to repel heartworm, fleas and ticks. A topical medication, Revolution, is also available. More recently a vaccine is offered, ProHeart-6, given once every six months to protect your dog against heartworm disease. Either way, testing is recommended annually to manage the disease and protect your pet.
If you are concerned about what to feed your dog, it is recommended that you choose a high-quality dog food with a specified meat as the number one ingredient. Avoid meat by-products, bone meal, corn, wheat or other fillers. The best dog food is grain-free with high protein and high fiber, it may cost a little more but fills your dog up with lesser amounts. It is important to read labels and provide food with the least amount of ingredients.
Dry food is a better option most times as it helps to keep teeth and gums in better health than a wet food. This does not mean that you cannot give wet food now and then or mix it with dry food for variety. Most high-quality dog foods are found at your local pet store and they can help you with a choice to fit your dog’s particular needs. Your veterinarian can also be able to assist you with a brand of food. Most vets carry dog food products.
As far as how often to feed a dog, it is best to split the recommended amount of food between two feedings a day rather than all at one time. Optimum times are at breakfast time and dinner time with a good chew bone or dental bone prior to bedtime.
You can also watch the video on the best and worst foods for your dog or cat
A puppy usually starts out with dry foods at about three to four weeks of age. At that time you can mix the dry with some water, which is easier for the puppy, and fed three to four times a day. How much you feed your puppy depends on the breed of the dog and should be followed according to the recommendations on the bag of food. Be sure the puppy food you choose is high in nutrients with proper protein, calcium and calories necessary for your dog. Again, the first ingredient on the label should be meat. By the time your puppy is three to four months old, choose a feeding schedule of twice a day, at breakfast and dinner.
What the video on the best and worst pet foods to feed your dog or cat. By Dr. Karen Becker.
Be sure your dog always has their identification on in case it gets lost or stolen. You can choose a microchip or a collar with tags containing up-to-date phone. If your dog has a microchip and you need to find your dog, you can call the microchip provider to report the lost pet. Start searching your neighborhood immediately and talk to anyone you meet about the dog. The more people that know your dog is lost, the more people that will keep an eye out for it. Have a current photo of the dog and how you can be reached.
Make flyers of the lost dog with a photo on it, pet information and a phone number. Post the flyers everywhere on post as well as grocery stores, veterinary offices, community centers and high traffic locations. Place ads in newspapers and with radio stations. The Humane Society suggests filling out a missing pet report in case the dog shows up in a shelter. Also remember to call the police and report your lost pet. Just a note – when someone calls to claim they found your dog, ask the caller to describe your dog in detail to avoid prank calls.
Make sure your animal wasn’t picked up by animal control services.
Though difficult to spot once they're there, it's possible to prevent ticks from ever getting on dogs in the first place. Here are some instructions on how to prevent ticks on dogs. Watch the video as this vet explains.
This veterinarian will discuss what you have to do if your dog develops an ear infection. Watch this dog video and see if this applies to your dog.
Rabies is a deadly disease that is very contagious to all warm-blooded animals and humans. It is most often transmitted through a bite wound. The virus then affects the nerves, the brain and spinal cord, resulting in a fatality within 10 days of reaching the brain.
There is protection from the Rabies virus through vaccination of your pets. The vaccine is available for young pets about the age of 6 months and is given yearly – although specific vaccines can be administered once every three years, if you choose that option. At any rate, the Rabies vaccination is most often required by law depending on where you live – to protect your pet as well as those in close contact with it.
The canine parvovirus known as parvo can be common in puppies. It is an extremely contagious viral infection most often affecting dogs under 6 months of age. It was recently found to be the most serious disease found in animal shelters. Immediate aggressive treatment can result in good prognosis although many fatalities occur.
Vaccinations are available to ward off this deadly disease in young puppies. If the mother dog has been vaccinated, the puppies should be immune from parvo. The best vaccine is the one that contains the modified live virus. The new vaccines stimulates antibody protection in the puppy as young as four weeks old. Otherwise, antibodies in the milk of a vaccinated mom are protected unless they did not receive her milk within 18-24 hours after birth.
A young pup can be tested at 8 weeks of age and receive a booster vaccine at 12 – 16 weeks of age for absolute protection from the disease – and should never be ignored for the life of your dog.
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If you would like to know how to brush your dog's teeth, watch this video as Dr. Murray Matheson walks you through the process.
Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian demonstrates on how to trim your dog's nails. Watch this short and informative video as she does this process with her own dog.
There are several options to get your dog to take its medication. It doesn’t have to be a battle. Most often it is easy to hide a pill or capsule in some type of food product your dog loves – something that will not cause him harm, such as cheese, peanut butter, bologna, hot dog piece of bread, canned dog or cat food rolled into a ball, a big marshmallow or Braunschweiger. Place the medicine in the middle of the treat and place it in the palm of your hand – your dog will usually take it without even chewing.
Some medications actually come in flavored form that the dogs like, making it an easy option for administering the pills. A recent solution is known as pill pockets which can be purchased at the larger pet supply stores. They come in meat flavors and various sizes for pills or capsules. These pockets are soft and pliable so you can place the medicine inside it and roll it into a ball before administering the treat to your dog. Always make sure you use a type of food that is not harmful to your dog, or your dog is allergic to. If you are not sure what to use contact your vet.
Wach the video on how to give pills to your dog by Willard Vets.
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Seizures can be a common problem in pets and sometimes just a symptom that something is wrong with your animal. Seizures are described as a sudden disruption of the nerves in the brain. The seizure is evidenced by involuntary tightening of voluntary muscles, abnormal behaviors and sensations and can last from a few seconds to several minutes. Some causes of a seizure may be liver disease, low blood sugar, tumors, diseases from inflammation or infection, as well as head trauma or a blood vessel disorder within the brain.
Seizures can be genetic with congenital problems from birth such as hydrocephalus or water on the brain. There is no definitive reason for a seizure and they are known as idiopathic. Treating a seizure disorder is all dependent upon the cause and underlying issues. Treating the primary cause of the seizures will cause them to stop.
Watch the video on what causes seizures in pets by Dr. Karen Becker
Choosing a pet insurance most often depends upon your needs and cost. There are pros and cons to consider in making your decision with the first pro being the option to care for your animal in the face of an emergency. There are a variety of insurance companies, policies and coverage options. Some will cover unexpected medical issues as well as annual checkups and immunizations. Of course, the more coverage you get, the higher the premium. The younger the animal, the lower your premiums will be. If your pet is healthy at the time of signing up for the insurance, you have no problem qualifying for coverage. Some policies will let you choose your own vet and some may not. If you can, you can choose extended care for your pet such as dental care and accidental death.
Cons you might think about are the cost of treatments vs. the cost of insurance. Some insurance policies have maximum benefit amounts so you need to consider that when choosing. It is a con when faced with choosing a vet that you are unsure of. Some policies will not let you use your own doctor. Also consider the fact that some policies require pre-authorization before treatment – which can mean the life of your pet in an emergency. Be leery of the policies that require a physical and do not allow pre-existing conditions such as flea problems, past injuries, chronic ailments and oral hygiene. A select few companies will not cover older pets. Read all the fine print before choosing your policy. Most pet insurance companies require out-of-pocket and deductibles. Make sure there are no penalties for cancelling a policy at any time.
Having a pet insurance policy for your animal can give you peace of mind. If you can afford a policy for the health of your animal, it is a good choice and safety net in the event of an emergency.
If your dog has a chewing problem, it is important to get to the root of the problem. If there are certain things the dog favors, try spraying those items or areas with bitter apply, Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper. However, training your dog to stop this behavior and chew the appropriate items is a better, more effective alternative. When you catch the dog chewing, say a firm “No” and replace the inappropriate item with a chew bone or toy. Praise your dog when he chews the toy.
Never give your dog old shoes, slippers or anything you don’t want chewed. A dog has no way to know the difference between a good item and the one you gave him. Maybe your dog needs items with your scent on them – put chew toys in the laundry hamper for a day or two before giving it to your dog. Provide puzzle toys to chew on with special treats inside. If your dog is kept busy with appropriate chew items, it will be too tired to stray. Always remember a lot of praise when the dog chews the correct items. When home with your dog, be sure to provide ample exercise, play and quality time with you.
Researchers are not completely sure why your dog eats grass although it should not be a concern since it is normal behavior. Dogs are ancestors of wild dogs, wolves and foxes that eat both meat and plants, including berries. It is believed that dogs eat the grass to soothe stomach distress by vomiting. Some Vets believe that dogs eat grass because they like it. Others believe it is because the dog’s diet is lacking in specific nutrients. As long as the grass is safe and not recently treated with fertilizers or other chemicals, feel free to let your pup nibble on grass occasionally.
If you need a little more of an explanation watch the the video on why does my dog eat grass?