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37 faqs found.
  • 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...

    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.

  • 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 cont...

    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.

     

    Read more on different breeds of dogs from our about pets library.

  • Rabies is a deadly disease that is very contagious to all warm-blooded animals and humans. It is most often transmitted through a bite wo...

    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.

     

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  • The canine parvovirus known as parvo can be common in puppies. It is an extremely contagious viral infection most often affecting dogs un...

    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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  • Seizures can be a common problem in pets and sometimes just a symptom that something is wrong with your animal. Seizures are described as...

    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 th...

    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.

  • Researchers are not completely sure why your dog eats grass although it should not be a concern since it is normal behavior. Dogs are anc...

    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?

  • Separation anxiety can be a common problem for many pets – more for dogs than cats, since cats can be extremely independent and car...

    Separation anxiety can be a common problem for many pets – more for dogs than cats, since cats can be extremely independent and carefree. Separation anxiety is a behavior condition and affects an animal when most often left alone. It may be evident in dogs through howling and barking as well as destruction of the home, trying to escape and possibly causing self-injury. 

    Cats are not quite as obvious although they may stick to you like glue when you return home. It is a lack of confidence and its insecurity that causes the condition in cats, especially certain breeds such as the Burmese and Siamese

    Helping an animal with separation anxiety may require medical treatment by your veterinarian and/or special training to ease your pet’s transition in your absence. The pet needs to feel more secure that when you leave, for whatever reason, you are indeed going to return home.

     

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  • If you are planning on traveling with your dog, especially by car, there are some tips you need to follow for car safety and pets. First,...

    If you are planning on traveling with your dog, especially by car, there are some tips you need to follow for car safety and pets. First, be sure the dog is safely secured in the car. Car seats are available for the small to medium sized dogs and there are harnesses for the larger dogs, all of which are easily attached to your own car seats. 

    Wherever you travel, be sure the destination is pet-friendly and never leave your dog unattended in your car. In this same respect, be sure you check out hotels along your route to be sure they welcome canines in their facilities. A little time and effort should go into planning your pet-friendly trip for the fun and safety of your dog as well as yourself.

     

    Be sure to read our pet safety tips for the summer. Read more on different breeds of dogs.

  • Glaucoma is an abnormal pressure of the eye in dogs and cats. A normal eye drain of watery fluid and when that process becomes difficult,...

    Glaucoma is an abnormal pressure of the eye in dogs and cats. A normal eye drain of watery fluid and when that process becomes difficult, it causes continual pressure within the eye. The increased pressure can cause harm to the optic nerve, creating vision loss. The primary cause of glaucoma is unknown and occurs without warning, usually later on in life. There are several secondary causes of glaucoma in dogs and cats. 

    Inflammation of the eye occurs because of debris and excess protein in the eye – very common in cats. These particles in the eye can block the normal drainage process of the eye. The fluid can block the pupil area and stick to the iris and lens of the eye, causing chronic inflammation. Dogs are highly affected as well with inflammation of the eye. 

    Lens luxation or dislocation can block fluid flow and drainage. This condition is more common in certain breeds of dogs, especially those with bulging eyes. The pug, Lhasa apso, Shih Tzu, certain other terriers, Border collie and Australian blue heeler are all prone to this condition. Premature breakdown of the fibers of the eye that keeps the lens in place can cause the lens to move around and sometimes pops out. Aside from glaucoma, this can also cause tumor growth and cataracts. Tumors and trauma of the eyes are contributing factors to glaucoma in dogs and cats as well, by preventing fluid from draining.

     

    View the video on What is Glaucoma in dogs and cats?

  • Many dogs are affected with skin infections and most can be treated if detected early. One of the problems affecting a dog is known as py...

    Many dogs are affected with skin infections and most can be treated if detected early. One of the problems affecting a dog is known as pyoderma, a bacterial infection which is visible by the itchy yellow pustules on the skin, as well as reddening and ulceration. As the condition worsens, the sores become crusted and the dog loses its fur. The sores have a foul odor. Any area of the body can be affected. The chin can often have these sores or acne as well as the folds of the face, lips and vulva. 

    Ringworm is a fungal skin infection caused by fungi. It is most often found in younger dogs and the fungi can live in dead skin tissue, hair and nails. The circular patches results in hair loss and can become infected. The head and legs are the predominant locations of the ringworm and they can become dry and crusty, causing itching and discomfort for your dog.

    Other parasite problems may include fleas, mange, ear mites, lice and ticks. If you keep up with grooming and brushing on a regular basis, you will note any invasive pests on your pet. All these pests irritate your dog which can lead to self-mutilation. Mange causes excessive itching and can be either Sarcoptic or Demodectic. 

    Mange may also results in hair loss and crusting of the skin, mostly showing up on the ears, front legs, chest and abdomen. Demodectic mange is more serious and can be the result of an underlying internal disease or a hereditary condition. Ear mites cause severe irritation of your dog’s ears, resulting in discomfort and hair loss. 

    Other skin problems include allergies, dermatitis and hormonal skin diseases. It is important to keep a close eye on your dog’s skin and coat while grooming and bathing the animal often to guarantee good health. If you notice anything unusual with your dog’s skin, coat or ears please consult your vet immediately.

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  • Some dogs are prone to ear infections and other conditions. An infection will be noted by the head shaking as well as redness and a foul ...

    Some dogs are prone to ear infections and other conditions. An infection will be noted by the head shaking as well as redness and a foul odor. Prevent moisture accumulation within the ear to keep the ear canals clean and dry in order to avoid ear infections.

    Dogs with floppy ears are prone to ear infections because air is not allowed to get in the ear canal. These dogs need special attention. In order to avoid any ear infections and conditions, clean your dog’s ears on a regular basis – weekly for the floppy-eared dog or a dog with constant ear problems and monthly for all other breeds. Special ear cleaners can be found at the larger pet supply stores. Use cotton balls or swabs, but be cautious not to go too deep into the ear canal and cause damage. A homemade solution is equal parts of white vinegar and isopropyl alcohol. This is a great preventative and treatment from an early infection. Please consult your vet before doing anything.

     

    Watch the video on how to treat dog ear infections.

     

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  • The most common ear problems that affect dogs are ear infections, debris within the ears, a parasitic problem, and trauma to the ear as w...

    The most common ear problems that affect dogs are ear infections, debris within the ears, a parasitic problem, and trauma to the ear as well as hormone disorders. Ear infections are frequent in dogs, especially those with floppy ears that cannot get air circulation. A moist environment will lead to an infection with a foul odor and can be a yeast or bacterial infection. Each type requires different treatment. 


    Any debris in the ear that does not belong there will cause discomfort and possible damage. If you note your dog favoring the ear, tilting its head or just in discomfort, use a flashlight to see what may be causing the problem.

    Parasites cause pain and itching, resulting in swelling, crusty skin and hair loss. Frequent cleaning of the ears can ward off ticks, mites and fleas. 

    Any type of trauma can cause swelling and a hematoma which is when blood and fluid accumulates between the cartilage and skin of the ear flap. The more the dog irritates the area or shakes its head, the larger and more severe the hematoma will be.

    Some hormone disorders that can cause ear problems are hypothyroidism and adrenal malfunctions. Aside from poor coat quality, you may note redness around the ears, visible discomfort and itchiness.

    Other ear problems noted may be rare but notable as well such as a hereditary disorder known as dermatomyositis and seborrhea. Some cancers may also affect the ears and show up with darkened or scaly patches of skin with hair loss.

     

    Watch the video on how to treat your dog's ear infections or read how to prevent ear infections.

  • One of the most common ear problems in pets is due to allergies. It can be caused by food ingredients, pollen, dust or any other environm...

    One of the most common ear problems in pets is due to allergies. It can be caused by food ingredients, pollen, dust or any other environmental irritants. Common symptoms of an ear infection in your pet due to allergies are inflamed itchy ears and sore paws, since the allergy signs affect more than just the ears. To help your pet, change the diet to a food that does not contain any corn, wheat or soy. Not all environmental pollutants can be avoided but you can provide as clean and dust-free an atmosphere as possible. If you see your pet excessively scratching its ears or biting its paws, contact your vet to have your pet looked at.

     

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  • Care and thought should go into moving when you have a dog. Make several trips to the new home with your dog to introduce the environment...

    Care and thought should go into moving when you have a dog. Make several trips to the new home with your dog to introduce the environment and make him or her feel more comfortable. It will be an easier transition at the time of the actual move. Plan ahead and do all your packing early. 

    Before the actual moving day, provide a crate for your dog (or keep your dog in a bathroom of the old home) until everything has been moved. The commotion can be too stressful for the dog, plus you don’t want to take the chance of the dog running away while the doors are open and everyone else is preoccupied. In the crate or room, be sure to put a lot of your dog’s favorite toys, some food or dog treats and rawhides and water. Be sure to have a leash available to use when you are ready to move your dog to the new home. The dog is the last thing moved from the old home and first thing in the new home. Once there, choose another safe area with the crate or a room, along with all his valuables until everything is moved in. Dogs usually transition very well when you move if you plan ahead, keep him safe and make it as stress-free as possible.

     

    Visit our about pets library to read about different breeds of dogs.

  • Cataracts in pets are most often mistaken for glaucoma and consider a disease of old age. However, this is so far from the truth. Any dog...

    Cataracts in pets are most often mistaken for glaucoma and consider a disease of old age. However, this is so far from the truth. Any dog or cat of any age can be affected with cataracts, just as humans. Cataracts are a cloudy covering over the eye, which is normally clear. As a result of that opacity, it focuses and transmits light onto the retina in the rear of your pet’s eyes. A cataract blocks communication of light to the eye. Common causes of cataracts are genetics, trauma to the eye, metabolic diseases – diabetes and nutritional problems. Cataracts can develop in old age but is often confused with lenticular or nuclear sclerosis. However, this is not a cause for blindness. On rare circumstances, cataracts develop due to toxins, drugs, radiation, concentrated microwaves. This is something to discuss with your veterinarian.

  • Some dogs have the disgusting habit of eating feces and a litter box is an open buffet. If you have dogs and cats, there are things you c...

    Some dogs have the disgusting habit of eating feces and a litter box is an open buffet. If you have dogs and cats, there are things you can do to be sure your dogs do not have access to the cat’s litter box. Prevention is always the best medicine.

    Cats climb while dogs cannot so possibly choosing a higher out-of-the way area accessible to the cats but not the dog can be one of the solutions. While keeping the dog away from the litter box, you have to be sure the spot is agreeable to the cat or you may have to choose another option.

    Put up a baby gate that leads to the room where the litter box is located. The cats have no problem getting over the gate while the dogs do not have access to the litter box. If not using a gate, you can choose a room with a door that you can attach a cat flap to – the cat can get through to use its litter box but not the dog – unless you have a small dog. 

    Litter boxes are now available in special designs such as the covered boxes allowing the cat to get in and do its business without the dog gaining access. Whatever option you go with, be sure it is one that does not disrupt your cat’s use of the litter box. You don’t want to solve one problem by creating another. Keep the dog out with the easiest transition on your cat.

     

    Return to commonly asked dog questions.

  • It is not necessary to allow a dog to have a litter before having it spayed. Too many unwanted pups are born, ending up in abusive situat...

    It is not necessary to allow a dog to have a litter before having it spayed. Too many unwanted pups are born, ending up in abusive situations. A female dog can be spayed as early as eight weeks of age. The procedure is healthy for the pets while eliminating nervous pacing and constant crying of a female in heat. It also rids the messiness of a dog in the heat cycle. Spaying a female prior to its first cycle reduces the risk of breast cancer while totally preventing uterine cancer and infections.

     

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  • The best medications to treat your pet dog or cat are provided through your veterinarian. Many over-the-counter flea and tick treatments ...

    The best medications to treat your pet dog or cat are provided through your veterinarian. Many over-the-counter flea and tick treatments are not as effective. Some of the best options are;


    • Program to prevent fleas by preventing flea eggs – it is available in pill and liquid form for cats and tablet form for dogs. Program is most often used in conjunction with Capstar to kill adult fleas – usually within 30 minutes. 
    • Advantage is a popular choice to kill and prevent fleas in dogs and the liquid formula is applied topically monthly. 
    • Frontline kills and prevents fleas and ticks – and the liquid is also applied topically each month.
    • Revolution – another topical liquid is used to kill fleas while also controlling deer ticks as well as ear mites. 
    • Sentinel comes in a once-a-month tablet form to prevent fleas and heartworm disease as well as kill hookworms, roundworms and whipworms. 
    The products above are not listed as waterproof although that should not apply to pill-form medications. K9Advantix does make topical liquid monthly medications that are indeed waterproof. They are applied once a month. K9Advantix prevents and kills fleas, ticks and the mosquitoes that cause heartworm disease. 
    Medications for cats differ than those for dogs and must clearly state they are for feline use. Some products used on a dog can be toxic for cats. Aside from the Program and Capstar mentioned above, other products that are safe for your cat include:
    • Advantage for the prevention and control of fleas, a liquid formula applied topically once a month.
    • Frontline Top Spot, a topical liquid used monthly to prevent and kill fleas and ticks. Frontline Plus works in much the same way but is also waterproof.
    • Revolution prevents heartworm disease while controlling roundworms, ear mites and hookworm as well as killing fleas.

     

    Please consult your vet to make sure you find a medication suitable for your pet.

  • Flea collars are not that effective on your dog unless the flea only hangs out around the pet’s neck. They are better than nothing ...

    Flea collars are not that effective on your dog unless the flea only hangs out around the pet’s neck. They are better than nothing in a pinch but a medication recommended and prescribed by your veterinarian is best. Using a topical ointment along with a flea collar may be safe as long as they are administered and placed several days apart. Again, be sure you contact your vet before using any of these products together since there could be an interaction between the two. There are too many effective flea and medication products available rather than just using a flea collar along with another medication, causing more harm to your pet rather than the safety of parasite prevention. Once again please consult your vet before doing anything.