Snake Bites: How to Protect Our Pets

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Guest Post by Rachel Hudson

Cute dog.
Photo by Bruno Cervera from Pexels

Description: When warmer periods arrive, most of us feel way more energetic, and we want to spend every spare moment walking, hiking or simply playing outdoors with our four-legged friends.  But what we rarely think about is that during warm months there is a higher risk for our dog to be exposed to snakes bites. 

You might wonder, why there are more snakes in spring and summer as well as why on earth would a snake bite a dog?  Well for starters, snakes hibernate during winter, so they also feel more energetic as the sun begins to warm up. They are also searching for food to fill their empty stomachs because they have digested all the food they had eaten before hibernation. There are greater chances to encounter a snake in your garden while hiking or anywhere else for that matter.

That wouldn’t be a problem if our pets would have the same sensation regarding snakes as we do. However, no one has told dogs that snakes might pose an immediate danger in some cases as our parents or grandparents told us. For dogs, a snake on the road or in the backyard is just another animal. Dogs are by nature curious and playful creatures, and when they meet other animals, they like to sniff and get to know a potential new friend.  Some dogs can be too persistent in their curiosity or emotionality and won’t leave the snake in peace. This is when snakes bites occur.

 On the other hand, snakes are timid and cautious. Since they have no limbs or claws, the only way they can defend themselves from what they consider to be the dangerous situation is biting. You must know that both venomous and nonvenomous snakes bite. It is crucial that you immediately get your pet to the vet so it can get proper care to prevent any consequences. 

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Providing Mental Stimulation for Your Dog’s Happiness and Well-Being

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Contribution from freelance writer Sally Writes

Adorable dog.

Boredom caused by a lack of stimulation not only creates an unhappy pet, but it can also cause your dog’s brain to shrink. Prompted by distress, this may lead to your dog exhibiting destructive behavior or simply appearing lethargic. We all want what’s best for our pets, and providing plenty of stimulation for your dog should be seen, not simply as an indulgence, but essential to their happiness and health. With just a few simple changes or additions to your dog’s routine, you can provide a stimulating environment that will stop your dog getting bored and anxious.

A Range of Stimulating Toys

For keeping dogs mentally stimulated, toys should be seen as a necessity. This is especially true if you have to leave your dog alone for any period of time. Toys are vital for their well-being, by providing entertainment, distraction and comfort throughout the day. Dogs quickly get fed up with the same toys, so it’s a good idea to routinely rotate and update them to keep your dog stimulated. A regular subscription box is a convenient way to introduce innovative and unusual accessories to your dog. When your dog has a good mix of durable chew toys, interactive games and challenging treat dispensers to choose from, they dog will be happily entertained and stimulated.

A Change to the Routine

Although most dogs enjoy a steady and regular routine, especially those who are particularly vulnerable or anxious, small changes can be exciting and create moments of interest in their day. Try some simple obedience training for a few moments each day in order give your dog a mental workout. Make sure they know how to sit and stay, and teach them when to pick up or leave an object. At the same time as keeping them busy and engaged, you’ll be improving their behavior and teaching them new tricks. As a reward, and to keep them mentally alert, you can hide treats for your dog in interactive toys, or around the garden for them to find.

A New Outdoor Adventure

Even if you have scheduled, regular times for walks and exercise, simply taking a different route can expose your dog to interesting and unusual surroundings, sounds and scents. Your dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than yours, and when they stop to sniff, they are busy acquiring and processing information, often from traces of pheromones from other animals. This means it’s important to give your dog plenty of time to explore stimulating scents in order to make the most out of even a short walk. Meeting other people and their dogs in the park can also be stimulating for a sociable dog. As well as encouraging good physical exercise, playing with other dogs of a similar nature is a fun distraction, and a great way for your dog to let off steam.

As well as physical exercise, dogs need mental stimulation to keep them happy and to prevent undesirable behavior. By mixing up their routine, encouraging them to work for treats, and rewarding them with a selection of interesting and engaging toys, you can be assured that your dog is happily entertained and living a fulfilling life.

What Your Pet’s Sleeping Position Means

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Guest Post: Brigid Ludwig

Most pet owners have developed their own way of communicating with their pets. Your furry friend can often tell by the tone of your voice when you’re praising or reprimanding them, and you know by those big puppy dog eyes that they want a piece of the food you’re eating.

This communicating goes for body language as well. You can tell by a wagging tail or raised hackles that your pet is excited or unhappy. Likewise, they can often tell when you’re angry or upset based on how you move. Take some time to notice how often you’re reading your four-legged friend’s body language, and you may be surprised how clearly their personality comes through. So even if your pet can’t talk to you, there’s an unspoken bond that doesn’t need words.

But did you know that just like their waking body language, there are insights to be gained from how your pets sleep? There are many subtle cues to pay attention for that could reveal whether your furry friend is happy, cold, anxious, or comfortable. If you’re not checking out the signals they’re sending while asleep, you’re missing out on valuable insights into your pet’s state of mind.

For more insight into what your pet’s sleeping position means, Sleep Advisor compiled a list of your pet’s most common sleeping positions and what they mean. Check it out below:

What your pet's sleeping position means infographic

What Every Dog Owner Should Know About Arthritis

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Contribution from freelance writer Sally Writes

dog with arthritis

Photo by Jan Szwagrzyk on Unsplash

Many of us are familiar with arthritis, especially those of us who are getting older. Arthritis is an all-too-common problem for humans, but what about when it comes to our furry friends? As it turns out, as many as one in five dogs have arthritis within the course of their lifetime. Luckily, most dogs who are diagnosed with arthritis are still able to live a healthy and active lifestyle–they just need us to lend a helping hand.

Recognizing the Signs of Arthritis

The signs of arthritis can be hard to spot, even if you’re familiar with your dog’s unique mannerisms. It may be something as subtle as joint stiffness in the morning. If allowed to progress, however, you’ll eventually notice your pup having trouble sitting, laying down, and walking around. Some dogs may even become depressed and change their eating habits.

The only way to know for sure if your pet is experiencing arthritis is by booking an appointment with your vet. By looking at blood tests, X-rays, physical exams, and medical history, your vet should be able to determine the cause of your dog’s joint pain. If it is arthritis, you should also be able to find out whether it’s osteoarthritis, septic arthritis, or immune-mediated polyarthritis.

Making Life Easier for Your Four-Legged Friend

Arthritis can make it difficult for your dog to get around the house. They won’t be able to climb stairs as easily or jump up onto their favorite piece of furniture. Of course, there are plenty of ways that you can modify your home and make things a little bit easier for your pooch. 

  • Keep food and water at a comfortable height instead of on the floor.
  •  Build ramps upstairs and to climb on communal furniture.
  •  Put no-slip paint or runners on slippery surfaces such as tile and hardwood.
  • Provide your dog with a heating pad or hot water bottle in bed to help ease discomfort.
  •  Use a sling to help your pup climb stairs, enter the car, or get into a carrier.

Treating Arthritis in Dogs

After a diagnosis is made, your vet can recommend treatment options that may help your pet. Steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs help to decrease swelling and discomfort around the joints, while dietary supplements strengthen bone and muscle. There are also surgical options that reconstruct damaged joints.

If your furry friend has been diagnosed with arthritis, don’t worry. With your help, your pet can continue to lead an active and fulfilling lifestyle. There are modifications you can make to your home and medical treatments that you can try to give your best friend a better quality of living.

Nipping Dog Food Allergies in the Bud

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Contribution from freelance writer Sally Writes

Dogs have allergies

Photo by Christal Yuen on Unsplash

If you see your dog biting his paws, scratching or obsessively licking, he could have a food allergy – a condition which can take its toll on his digestive system as much as his skin. The very first step to take if you suspect your dog might be allergic to food is to visit your vet. Although dogs only show signs of irritation initially, allergies can cause serious problems and can even be life-threatening. In this post, we discuss the nature of food allergies and offer suggestions to stop them quickly and efficiently. Your dog will still be able to enjoy all his favorite treats, so long as these are allergen-free.

Foods Based Triggers

Like human beings, a plethora of foods can cause dog allergies, though ‘the usual suspects’ are chicken, pork, rabbit, lamb, beef, egg, corn, wheat, soy, and dairy foods. Interestingly, most of these foods are proteins. Your dog could be allergic to one or more ingredient.

In case you wonder how your dog develops a food allergy, the process is as follows: in a healthy dog, any food consumed will be broken down into nutrients and amino acids that pass from the GI tract to the bloodstream. In dogs with leaky gut, however, nutrients which have not been fully broken down make their way into the bloodstream, thus wreaking havoc on the immune system. Food allergies in dogs essentially arise from ‘leaky gut syndrome’,a condition that also affects humans.

Elimination and Experimentation with Novel Proteins

Your vet will usually prescribe a specific diet incorporating just one protein and one carbohydrate – for instance, chicken and rice. Your dog will remain on this simple diet for a couple of months and you can slowly start replacing ingredients, one by one, until you identify an allergen. Some vets recommend sticking to the first combination that works, but eventually your dog could develop an allergy to these two foods as well, so working your way up to a varied diet is a better long-term option.

Dr. Karen Becker of Mercola Pets recommends using new proteins your dog has not consumed before when starting the elimination diet, including “ostrich, beaver, quail, pheasant, rabbit, venison, bison, goat, duck, elk, alligator, and kangaroo.” It is important to feed dogs food from different families than those they are accustomed to, to give the body a chance to detoxify. It is probably best to refrain feeding your dog foods they have been reactive to in the past, since you can undo the good work that the elimination diet has achieved.

To battle common dog food allergies, it is important to create an elimination plan with your vet. You may be recommended a veterinary diet or home-cooked diet designed by a veterinary nutritionist. Remember to keep it basic and be watchful for signs and symptoms of a flare-up. Finally, patience and commitment are key to finding a combination that works for your pooch.

Top Tips for Protecting Your Dog in Winter Weather

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Guest Blogger: Bernie Boxer

Dog in winter

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Winter brings special challenges to dog owners.  When temperatures drop and freezing weather moves in, you’ll need to take extra measures to ensure your dog is safe and comfortable.  Here are some tips for managing hazards the season brings.

Winter wellness.  Chilly weather can aggravate certain medical conditions such as arthritis.  If your dog hasn’t seen your veterinarian prior to winter, it’s important to make an appointment for an exam.  What’s more, as the American Veterinary Medical Association points out, dogs who are in top physical condition fare best facing winter weather.

Know your pooch.  Every dog is different, and just like people some mind the cold more than others.  There are physical factors that can affect how well your dog tolerates colder conditions, such as body fat stores and coat length.  Age and medical conditions can also weigh into your dog’s comfort during winter.  Bear all this in mind and make choices based on your dog’s personal comfort zone.  For example, dogs with shorter coats or who tend to get chilly benefit from a sweater or jacket when they go outside to potty. Continue reading