Archive for the ‘Dog Health’ Category

Is Your BFF Overweight?

Posted on: February 26th, 2015 by Asia

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.

Summertime Means Dangerous Spear Grass

Posted on: June 6th, 2014 by Asia

Did you know that there are approximately 60 species of spear grass, commonly known under many different names, including, foxtail grass, porcupine grass, needle grass, silver spike grass, etc. and “spear grass” is the generic term used for any wild grass that has barbed seeds.

There is dangerous foxtail barley grass growing everywhere in the Victoria area (it looks similar to wheat), including the off leash area of Beacon Hill Park, and although this grass is beautiful and graceful in it’s green and purple growing stage, once it dries out, the spears have a Velcro-like texture that easily attach themselves to anything that brushes past, including your best fur friends. Each small piece that attaches itself to a passing dog also has a needle sharp end that can easily pierce your dog’s skin and work it’s way inside your dog’s body.

No matter what name you give this insidious grass, there is no denying that any type of spear grass and your pet are a dangerously unhealthy and treacherous combination that can cause your pet much pain and distress.

Spear grass is most dangerous for dogs once it has become dried out and more easily falls from the stalks and is most often a problem from late spring through to the fall.

Make sure that you keep a vigilant eye during the spear grass season and if you allow your dog to romp through grassy areas, always check between the toes, underbelly, eyes, ears, nose, etc., because if just one of these Velcro-like seeds gets into an ear canal, for instance, your dog will be doing a lot of head shaking and ear scratching and may even whine or cry because he or she is experiencing extreme pain. Once a spear grass has lodged itself in an ear canal or up the dog’s nose, removal will require an expensive trip to your local vet’s office.

The seeds found in the ears, eyes and nose can cause very serious problems, even to the point of becoming life threatening if not discovered and properly treated. Because these seeds literally stick to anything, and are designed to move forward through the hair, to pierce the skin, no body part is immune.

The seeds have been found in the urethra, vagina, anal glands, brain, and spinal cord. In one case a veterinarian found a seed in the lung, even though the original site of entry was through the paw. Spear grass can also gain easy entry through open wounds.

Spring and summertime in the Northwest is a wonderful time for dogs and their guardians to be outside enjoying the sites and sounds and you can make sure that all this fun activity remains a happy memory when you carefully inspect for spear grass after each outing.

Asia Moore ~ Ask a Dog Whisperer
© 2014 – All Rights Reserved
K-9SuperHeroesDogWhispering.com

Are You Making Your Dog Fat?

Posted on: February 26th, 2013 by Asia

dog fatIs your dog fat? Unfortunately, many of our beloved pets are, like their human counterparts, unhealthily overweight.

If your dog is fat, chances are that you could lose a few pounds yourself, because a fat dog doesn’t just happen from over-feeding – it’s also because of under-exercising.

Are You Making Your Dog Fat?

Chances are that if your dog is overweight, it means that you’re not giving your best friend enough daily exercise. Have you taken into consideration the real exercise needs of your dog? Is your best friend naturally energetic, are they a working class of dog, or a breed that requires little exercise to stay healthy?

All dogs are amazing athletes who need to move to be healthy. Interestingly enough, us humans also need to move to be healthy which means for all us dog lovers, that we already have everything we need to shed some excess poundage. Your dog is there, ready and waiting to go walking and help you both accomplish a healthy weight.

How Can You Tell if Fido is Fat?

There’s a simple test you can do to determine whether your dog is overweight and whether he or she needs to shed a few pounds. All you need to do is feel around their ribs and spine. If you are unable to easily locate both with only a thin layer of fat between the skin and bones, you  have an overweight dog.

Fat Like Us Humans

Sadly, our dogs are following in our footsteps as humanity rushes down that unhealthy path of being overweight or obese.

Make sure you know what your dogs optimal weight will be once he or she reaches maturity, and check their weight regularly, because for a dog, just 15% above that ideal weight means your dog is not just fat, it’s obese. Anything up to a 15% increase means your dog is overweight, and sadly,  according to a 2011 study, more than half of our best friends (53%) are overweight or obese.

Of course this is a direct reflection on how little we humans are getting out there to exercise with our dogs, because generally speaking, if Fido or Fifi is overweight, so are you.

Is It Genetic?

While some dog breeds do tend to gain weight more easily, this just means that these breeds require much more exercise in order maintain a healthy weight, and humans should take this into consideration when deciding to share their homes with these breeds. Simply because a certain breed may have tendencies to gain weight more quickly than others, is not a good excuse for allowing this to happen because you are ultimately responsible for making your dog fat.

Which Breeds Can Be Prone to Obesity?

While we know that some breeds are known for being typically slim, such as Yorkshire Terriers, Greyhounds, Whippets, and German Shepherds, there are other breeds that can be prone to obesity, including Cairn Terriers, Bulldogs, Dachshunds, Scottish Terriers, Spaniels, Beagles, Basset Hounds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Shar-Peis, Rottweilers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Newfoundlands and St. Bernards.

If you share your home with one of the breeds that may have a tendency to be overweight or obese, you need to get out there and exercise with your best friend that much more often and/or strenuously. You’ll both be healthier for it.

Are You Overindulging Your Dog?

Many owners, for many reasons may be overindulging their dogs by over-feeding them at meal times, or more likely with treats, snacks or sharing unhealthy people food and these habits have created many a fat dog.

You’ve heard the saying, “Food is love” and many people over-feed their dogs because they believe that it makes them happy. Unfortunately, many of our fur friends just don’t have any natural portion control, are very practiced and fixated on food and appearing to be “starved” all the time, and will literally eat themselves to death if you let them.

Are You Feeding the Right Portions?

It’s important to make sure that you know the correct serving size of food for your dog so that he or she does not become overweight in the first place, or if this has already happened, to know how to exercise the right portion control to help your best friend shed the extra poundage. You need to take into consideration your dog’s age and metabolism, and how much your dog is exercising, not just what it says to feed on the label, because feeding the suggested amount when your dog doesn’t get proper or enough exercise will make your dog fat.

 Obesity Related Problems

Just as being obese can seriously affect our human health, obesity can seriously affect our dog’s health in much the same ways. When your dog is overweight, he or she could suffer from diabetes mellitus, joint damage, bone and ligament damage, heart disease, high blood pressure, eye problems, difficulty breathing, decreased stamina, decreased liver function, digestive disorders, skin and coat problems, increased risk of cancer, reproductive problems and surgical and anesthetic risk.

Just as being overweight and/or obese will shorten our human lives, there is absolutely no doubt that obesity can and will have adverse effects on your best friend’s quality and length of life.

What Causes Dog Obesity?

Of course, just like us humans, the primary causes of a fat dog is simply feeding them too much food and/or the wrong kind of food, combined with a sedentary lifestyle without the exercise they need to be healthy.

If your dog is taking in more calories than he or she are burning up through their daily exercise, they will be overweight.

Something we humans tend to forget as our dogs grow older is that, like us humans, they usually become less active, which means that we need to pay attention and adjust their food intake appropriately so that they can live out their more senior years not as a fat dog, but as a healthy older dog.

Also, when your dog is spayed or neutered, this will also affect their metabolism by slowing it down, which means that they then will require fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight.

Get Moving – Be Healthy

If you’ve been noticing that your best fur friend is getting a little chunky, take a good look at yourself and how sedentary your lifestyle may have become because a fat dog usually means a fat human.

Don’t be cruel to your best friend by shortening their life because you may have allowed him or her to be an unhealthy weight.

You have a dog, which means you have the perfect excuse for keeping both yourself and your dog healthy and fit. Get out there and get moving.

– Asia – Dog Whispering for 40+ years
© K-9SuperHeroesDogWhispering.com [Since 2008]

Dog Poop Bombs

Posted on: January 28th, 2013 by Asia 3 Comments

dogpoopingNow that I’ve got your attention – don’t worry…I’m not about to tell you a story about some evil-intentioned human blowing up dogs, although what I am going to chat about in this article certainly could have it’s own devastating effects.

What I am going to talk about is a problem that is part of all dog ownership and depending on the size of your dog, can be a small, medium or large problem.

Yes, whether we’re talking about dog feces, doggy do-do, doggy poo, scumber (the fancier name), doggy 2’s, or just that plain, old four letter word – s-h-IT…whatever you call IT, if you have a dog, and you’re not out there picking IT up every day, you may be guilty of creating a problem far worse than you may be aware of.

Do You Pick Up?

As conscientious dog people, we’ve all seen the little or not so little dog poop bombs when out walking, and we’ve all most likely silently cursed those who just left it there for us to get all over our shoes.

However, for those of us who are lucky enough to have a lovely back yard for their favourite fur friend to romp about in, this is likely the first place that Fido or Fifi runs to every morning when first waking up, while we’re busy putting on the coffee pot or getting our kids ready for school, or ourselves together for the start of our day.

So, out runs our best friend(s) and what do they do when they get out in the yard and rip around for a few minutes? Yes, that’s right…they leave you a nice doggy poop bomb, water the grass or shrubs, etc., and back they race inside for their breakfast or hopefully a nice walk with you.

What a wonderful life and what could be easier…but wait…this wonderful and easy life is what could be creating a serious problem, because if you’re not being vigilant about taking the time to get out there and pick up the doggy poop bombs every single day, you ARE guilty of creating a health hazard in your own back yard that can eventually have far reaching hazardous consequences.

For instance, you might not be aware that over two decades ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated pet waste as a dangerous pollutant, right next to oil spills and toxic chemicals.

Why Are Dog Poop Bombs so Dangerous?

Even though you may not live near water, if you don’t pick up your yard every day, unscooped dog poop bombs from your yard will be carried by overland water flow which is then washed into storm drains, ending up in far away streams, rivers, oceans and ground water, and if you do live near a water source, this problem is far worse.

Parasitic Infection

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that pet waste can and does spread parasites including hookworm, ringworm, tapeworm and Salmonella.

For those of us living on Vancouver Island, where it rains a lot, the problem is even more quickly spread, because when infected dog poop comes into contact with your lawn, the dog poop will eventually seem to wash away or “disappear”, however, the hazardous parasite eggs can linger for years!

When a human or animal comes into contact with that soil through everyday activities like walking barefoot, gardening or playing, they risk infection from those eggs, even years after the dog poop bomb is no longer visible.

Do you think your dog cares about where it romps when it’s out in your back yard, or carefully makes sure that it doesn’t accidentally walk through some old dog poop bombs? Wishful thinking.

Consequences of Infection

You may not be aware that as much as we love our favourite fur friends, their waste is teaming with E. Coli and other harmful bacteria including fecal coliform bacteria, which causes serious kidney disorders, intestinal illness, cramps and diarrhea in humans and when you don’t religiously pick up, you subject your children and yourself to infection.

Just 1 Gram

A very shocking statistic you may not be aware of is that there are 23 million fecal coliform bacteria in a single gram of pet waste!

As well, dog poop bombs often contain roundworm larvae, which can cause blindness. If a human ingests a roundworm larva, it can migrate through the body causing disease to the brain, lungs, kidneys, liver, heart or eyes. This means that when us humans (especially children) touch soil, dog toys or anything that has been in contact with dog feces and then touch their mouths, they can become infected.

Consider that if your dog is running about in your yard that has many dog poop bombs that were just left to naturally dissolve, that they could be coming back into your home with this on their feet, then pawing you, your bed, their toys, your children’s toys and then you or your children touch your mouth and become infected.

Even a group of teens or adults playing Frisbee or touch football in an open area where someone hasn’t been picking up after their dogs could be putting themselves in danger. Parasitic infections can make humans extremely sick, and for pregnant women, can pose a serious harm to their unborn child.

Further, leaving a yard full of dog poop bombs will also attract rodents, such as rats and mice who can spread Salmonella through their droppings and bring with them other diseases, including murine typhus, infectious jaundice, Weil’s Disease and rat-bite fever.

What About the Condition of Your Lawn?

Beside all the other toxic and smelly health issues dog poop left on lawns can create, dog feces release nitrogen into the soil and can literally ruin your nice, green lawn. While small amounts of feces and urine create dark green patches of grass and noticeably taller grass, large amounts of feces left on the lawn for a long period of time will kill the grass by smothering it as well as leaving “burn” marks on the grass that creates ugly brown spots.

Pick Up Every Day

I think by now you must be really starting to understand that dog poop bombs don’t just “wash away” or disappear and if you’re not disposing of your dog’s waste every day, whether your dog is leaving it’s smelly calling card out in a public park, on the side of a street, or in your own back yard, you’re putting yourself, your family, your dog, your water supply and your environment at risk.

– Asia – Dog Whispering for 40+ years
© K-9SuperHeroesDogWhispering.com [Since 2008]

CPR for Dogs

Posted on: January 22nd, 2013 by Asia

Nobody wants to ever be put in a situation where the life of their precious pet is at risk, however, accidents do happen, and knowing a little bit about how to help save your beloved pet is time well spent. Please familiarize yourself with the simple American Red Cross emergency techniques outlined below so that you may be able to help save a life.

CPR for Dogs