Archive for the ‘Seasonal Health Alerts’ Category

Do You Trim Your Nails?

dog-toenailsWe humans regularly trim our finger and toenails, but what about our dog’s toenails?

I’m always finding myself talking to my dog whispering and grooming clients about how important it is to keep their dog’s nails trimmed short. Unfortunately, for most humans, they find the task of clipping their dog’s nails too daunting, so they just leave them long until the next grooming session.

Also, when you do not regularly keep your dog’s nails trimmed short, the vein or quick that grows in the nail will grow longer into the nail, which will then prevent you from trimming the nails as short as they need to be for your dog’s good health.

Nail clipping is really a task that you should not leave only to your groomer because many dogs require their nails to be clipped every week or two, and most full grooming sessions occur every six weeks. This means that many of the smaller dogs that spend much of their time indoors have toenails that are too long for most of their life.

A dog that is not regularly walked on hard surfaces, but spends most of their time playing on a grass covered back lawn or running about inside on carpet or hardwood flooring simply will not naturally wear down their nails. Also, many dog’s have dew claws that never touch the ground, and these will grow until they actually cut into the dog’s leg.

When a dog’s nails are too long, it adversely affects how a dog carries themselves. Toenails that are too long place undue stress upon the dog’s joints, bones and their entire skeleton because long nails cause a misalignment that begins in the bones of the dog’s toes and travels all the way up to the spine.

Conscientious dog guardians really need to begin trimming toenails when their puppy is very young because this way they will not learn to fear it when they get older. If you do not slowly introduce toenail trimming at a young age, you will have set your dog (& yourself) up for a lifetime of stress and trauma every time their nails need trimming, or even worse, because your dog has learned to hate the process, both of you will be so stressed by it, that you may just decide to not do it at all.

If you currently have a dog that is fearful or nervous of having their toenails trimmed, you need to spend the time to slowly desensitize them (& yourself) by working slowly and gradually until your dog no longer fears the process and will calmly allow you to trim their nails every week or two. Start by just holding their paw and giving a treat. Then hold a toenail and give a treat. Next, hold the clipper next to a toenail and give a treat. Once your dog is accepting of this preparation before actual clipping, go online and watch all the videos you can find about the proper way to clip a dog’s toenails. There are many that are very good and will give you the confidence you need.

You will only need to purchase a professional type of nail clipper once, because the best ones never need sharpening and will last you a lifetime. They can be purchased at just about every pet store and are not an expensive item. This is the “Miller’s Forge” or “Plier” type of clipper, which comes in small, medium or large sizes, depending on the size of your dog.

Also, in case of accidentally cutting too short and making the nail bleed, you need to buy a container of Kwik Stop powder. Before beginning the process, tap out a small amount of the powder into the cap and if you accidentally cause a nail to bleed, simply tap the bleeding nail into the Kwik Stop, which will almost instantly stop the bleeding. Alternatively, you can wet the end of your finger, dip it into the powder and apply it to the end of your dog’s toenail with a little pressure.

I also like to use a powered sanding tool or nail file after clipping to round off the sharp edges that are left after clipping, and some dogs actually fuss less when their nails are trimmed with a rotary sander, and this is a perfectly acceptable way to trim a dog’s toenails if you are really nervous about cutting too much nail and causing the quick to bleed. The rotary sander (such as a Dremel 7300-PT designed for dog nails) can be a less stressful alternative for both dog and human. NOTE: do NOT use a regular Dremel from your tool box because these are too high speed and will burn your dog’s nails.

No matter whether your dog tolerates nail clipping or hates it and screams and wails each time it needs to be done, and each time you clip a nail your dog yelps so loudly that you have a minor heart attack, what is most important is that you do not use your dog’s dislike of the process (no dog really likes having their nails trimmed) as your excuse for simply not doing it. If you cannot bring yourself to learning how to do this important grooming task, be kind to your dog and hire someone to regular do this for you every 2-3 weeks.

Regular nail trimming will help to ensure your dog will have a steady, even gait and will eliminate the pain associated with a misaligned skeleton that can also lead to a higher incidence of bone fractures. If you can hear your dog’s nails clicking on hard surfaces when they walk, chances are that their nails are too long.

The nails on the back feet are almost always shorter than the front nails as the back nails push off of surfaces and propel the dog forward when walking or running. Also, many dogs scratch the ground with the back feet to mark territory after they do their business.

Until our canine companions master the skill of speaking English and can tell us when their long nails are causing them shoulder, back, neck or headache pain, it’s up to us humans to make certain that this ongoing grooming maintenance is carried out as often as is necessary for our particular dog to be healthy and pain free.

The left side image in the diagram shows the correct alignment with a short toenail, whereas the image on the right side of the diagram shows the angled misalignment caused because of a toenail that is too long. (Image provided by Dr. Lisa Kluslow)

^..^ Asia Moore
Author, Dog Whisperer, & Groomer
85+ dog breed books and counting!
MustHavePublishing.com
K-9SuperHeroesDogWhispering.com

What is Leptospirosis?

CatLookingThruFishbowlThis is a disease that occurs throughout the world that can affect many different kinds of animals, including dogs, and as it is also a zoonotic disease, this means that it can affect humans, too. There is potential for both dogs and humans to die from this disease.

The disease is always present in the environment, which makes it easy for any dog to pick up. This is because it is found in many common animals, such as rats, and wildlife, as well as domestic livestock.

Veterinarians generally see more cases of Leptospirosis in the late summer and fall, which is probably because that is when more pets and wildlife are out and about.

More cases also occur after heavy rain falls.

The disease is most common in mild or tropical climates around the World, and in the US or Canada, it is more common in states or provinces that receive heavy rainfall.

The good news is that you can protect your dog from leptospirosis by vaccination, and while puppies are not routinely vaccinated against leptospirosis because chances of contracting the disease depends upon the lifestyle of the dog as well as the area in which the dog lives, it makes sense to vaccinate against this disease if you and your dog do live in an area considered a hot spot for leptospirosis, so ask your veterinarian.

City rat populations are a major carrier of leptospirosis.

Cold winter conditions lower the risk because the leptospira organisms do not tolerate the freezing and thawing of near-zero temperatures.

They are killed rapidly by drying, but they persist in standing water, dampness, mud and alkaline conditions.

Most of the infected wild animals and domestic animals that spread leptospirosis do not appear ill.

The leptospira take up residence in the kidneys of infected animals, which can include rats, mice, squirrels, skunks, and raccoons and when these animals void urine, they contaminate their environment with living leptospira.

Dogs usually become infected after sniffing urine or by wading, swimming or drinking contaminated water that has infected urine in it, and this is how the disease passes from animal to animal.

As well, the leptospira can also enter through a bite wound or if a dog eats infected material.

Keep your dog away from mud puddles or stagnant areas of water and certainly do not allow them to drink from these sources and you will help to ensure that your dog never gets Leptospirosis.

Asia Moore
Author & Dog Whisperer
80+ dog breed books & counting!
MustHavePublishing.com
K-9SuperHeroesDogWhispering.com

Pudgy Pups

FattyDogIs your dog a little or a lot on the pudgy side?

Perhaps it’s time to think about an easy way to reduce your dog’s daily calorie intake and help return them to the fit athlete they were always meant to be?

Most dogs that are overweight are bored and often because they just don’t get enough exercise, and when this happens they often become obsessed with eating because this is the highlight of their day.

Try this to help those hungry pups lose excess weight and get healthier…

Replace some of your dog’s regular mealtime portions with crunchy green beans, and if they aren’t too keen on eating them uncooked, try steaming lightly before cutting them into pieces and adding into their food.

Low calorie green beans will give your dog an added burst of healthy plant fibre, plus vitamin C, K and manganese, and the beans will help to fill them up without the calories.

Asia Moore
Author & Dog Whisperer
75+ dog breed books & counting!
MustHavePublishing.com
K-9SuperHeroesDogWhispering.com

Is Your BFF Overweight?

fatbeagleJust like us humans, far too many of our Best Fur Friends are overweight too.

Our canine companions suffer from many of the same health related diseases their human guardians suffer from, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Dogs are natural athletes, not naturally overweight…they get that way because they live with humans who do not take care of them properly and instead of getting them out there walking, running and exercising like dogs are meant to, keep them unnaturally sedentary.

There are only two reasons for a dog to be unhealthily overweight: (1) they are fed terrible, fatty food and/or too much of it; and (2) they do not get any or enough exercise.

Many of these problems can be helped simply by making healthier food choices and increasing daily exercise.

When you have a dog, you’ve always got a reason to exercise more and when you have an overweight dog, you really need to exercise more, if you love them and want them to live as long a life as possible.

There is a simple way to determine if your dog is overweight.

When they are standing, place your hand flat against their ribs and if you cannot feel any of their ribs when you apply a little firm pressure, this means that your dog is spending too much time at the feed bowl and not enough time being outside moving around and enjoying being a dog.

Don’t shorten your dog’s life…instead, help your BFF live a long and healthy life by making sure you are not over-feeding and that you and they are getting out for lots of exercise.

P.S. looking for a breed specific book? Perhaps I’ve written a book all about your favorite canine (67 and counting). All my books are listed, or soon will be listed, at Must Have Publishing.

Annual Vaccinations?

DrMoiraVetTipsBanner

Vaccinations administered annually are not doing your dog or cat any favours.

In fact, you may be creating irreparable harm.

Have your fur friend’s blood checked for antibody levels against Parvo and Distemper, called a titre, and if they have sufficient levels, there is no need to vaccinate.

P.S. download the free DOGALIZE app from your app store or online at www.dogalize.com and get instant access to vet and trainer tips and so much more!