- I have 3 small dogs and I was told they are fat. I do feed them diet food, but that does'nt seem to be working. I have tried to cut back but then they eat my kitchen chairs and become destructive. - Heather from Torrance, CA
I am so glad that you asked this question because obesity is by far the most common medical problem in dogs. It is also the most commonly ignored medical problem, often b [more]
I am so glad that you asked this question because obesity is by far the most common medical problem in dogs. It is also the most commonly ignored medical problem, often because people think that their dogs are cute when they are a little on the heavy side. Many people don’t realize their dogs should have a waist – a significant narrowing just behind the ribcage. It should also be easy to feel their ribs under a very thin layer of fat. If you cannot feel the ribs at all, there is too much fat there. The extra fat that the dogs carry is also hormonally active, secreting all kinds of inflammatory mediators, which lead to a whole host of other chronic illnesses. These can include heart disease, diabetes, liver problems, kidney problems, arthritis and intervertebral disk disease. In addition, it makes the dogs less active, lethargic and less interactive with the family and significantly shortens their lifespan. In essence, we are literally killing our dogs with kindness!
The problems that you are going through are very common for many dog owners who recognize there is a problem and are trying to do something about it. The dogs are used to eating a certain amount of food, when that amount is cut back, they start to get demanding or destructive. Feeding a diet or weight control food can help because the food is lower in calories than the maintenance diets, however, if they eat enough of the diet food, they can maintain or even gain weight on that food as well. Some people don’t want to change the food their dog is eating, either because they really like a certain dog food or because their dog has certain special dietary needs (such as a food allergy). This can make the problem even more complicated.
But, there is hope! Do not give up. Realize that by helping your dogs reach a healthy weight, you are helping extend not only their quantity of life but also their quality of life.
Start by making all changes VERY SLOWLY. This way the dogs do not get destructive to your poor kitchen chairs. Have your veterinarian calculate how many calories per day each dog needs to reach his or her ideal weight. Start with the amount of food they are currently eating and gradually reduce over a 2 to 4 week period. Remember, these are lifestyle changes so immediate progress is not what we are aiming for. We want these guys to lose the weight and keep it off successfully. If you have to restrict the diet too much on the foods you are currently feeding, consider changing to one of the extremely low calorie prescription diets, which will allow the dogs to eat the largest volume of food, thus helping them to feel fuller. In addition, give them something to do or chew on while you are not home so they do not become destructive. Sometimes just rubbing a small amount of canned dog food or other meat onto a favorite chew toy will encourage the dog to chew on that rather than your kitchen chairs.
Exercise is another vital component of weight loss, just as it is in people. 30 to 60 minutes of heart pumping exercise
5 – 7 times per week is best to help the dogs burn extra calories (in other words a light stroll through the park where they sniff and pee on every tree does not count).
Remember, the more calories they burn with exercise, the more food you can feed them which will help stave off hunger. Also remember to increase their activity slowly, especially if they are extremely obese or if you’ve got serious couch potatoes. The increased activity will also help make them too tired to be so destructive at home and will keep their minds off of the smaller portions in their food bowls.
If you have tried all of these things and are still are at the end of your rope, there is one other option – Slentrol.
This is a new medication, which helps reduce the dogs’
appetite so they only eat the amount of food they need to get to their normal, healthy weight. This is not meant to be a life-long drug, but is merely meant to be a weight loss aid. After the weight has been lost (which can take up to 12 months or more), the drug is weaned off and the dog is maintained on their proper quantity of dog food. Once the drug is stopped, however, the appetite does return and they will gain all the weight back if changes are not instituted at home. [less]
- I have 2 JRTs the male is having an issue. I put them in their crates when I go out and he is licking himself. Raw infact on his hip. I had put them in a crate together ( huge crate) and it got better, but, he pees.. through the bars and it was ruining the carpet. I put him and his sister back in the their little crates (with solid sides) and with in a week his hip is back to raw looking and loss of hair, which is, I believe is going to cause other issues with vomiting if he can not digest the hair. I dont know what to do anymore. He has had an allergy shot, which seemed to help, but I think part of the problem is boredom? I would love to leave them out, but he marks. I got one of those binders for him to try and help with this, but is it safe to leave this on him or her unattended? It would cover the raw area and keep him from further licking it. or is it safe to leave it on him while he is in the crate? One other issue that made me go back to sm crate is he would pull stuff through bars and eat it like the old comforter I had covering the crate to hold in warmth. - lunacane from Dorr, Mi
A lot of the behaviors you are describing could be due to boredom (excessive licking, chewing up the comforter, etc).
Jack Russell Terriers are well known to be very ac [more]
A lot of the behaviors you are describing could be due to boredom (excessive licking, chewing up the comforter, etc).
Jack Russell Terriers are well known to be very active dogs, so lengthy confinement in a crate is bound to cause some destructive behaviors and may lead to separation anxiety.
These dogs have been bred to be very outgoing, active dogs with a strong prey drive to help catch small rodents. When placed in an environment of long term confinement, they do not know what to do with all of their boundless energy and they start to think of things to do which can be destructive (either to themselves or the household). Urine marking behavior is common in intact males, so if he has not been neutered, that is definitely the first step. In addition, all of the spots where he has marked or urinated in the past must be meticulously cleaned with an enzymatic pet cleaner to remove the odor. Keep the confinement periods to a minimum as much as possible and make sure that you provide him with some constructive activity to do in his crate while you are away, such as a chew toy stuffed with treats. There are some toys that you can fill with treats that will deliver the treats only when the toy is rolled around, and then only intermittently delivers the treats (such as a Buster Cube). This will encourage the dog to roll around the toy and think about the treats rather than excessively licking himself. When you are home with him, give him lots of exercise – at least 60 minutes of moderate activity every day. You may also want to consider other activities that encourage him to use his mind as well as his energy such as flyball, agility or obedience. There are many different kennel clubs and training classes in the area you can get involved in which will help ease his boredom and provide a healthy, constructive outlet for his energy. [less]
- we have a puppy and she has a heart murmur, she has a loss of appetite. we were wondering if you know about anything we can give her to bost her appetite. thank you. - Anonymous from england
I would wonder whether the heart condition is the cause of the loss of appetite or if it is something else. There are many different causes for heart murmurs in puppies. [more]
I would wonder whether the heart condition is the cause of the loss of appetite or if it is something else. There are many different causes for heart murmurs in puppies. They can range from very serious, life threatening conditions to those with minimal concerns. A heart murmur is an abnormal sound when listening to the heart. Normally when the doctor listens with the stethoscope, he or she will hear the lub- dub sound. A heart murmur is a whooshing sound that happens between the heart beats (lub-whoosh-dub). An ultrasound of the heart and/or x-rays of the chest can help diagnose the type and severity of the heart condition. If the heart condition is severe and is causing the loss of appetite because the heart is not functioning well, then medications specific for the heart (or possibly even heart surgery) are needed to help the puppy feel better. If the puppy is not feeling good for another reason, such as an upset tummy, you can try to offer her a buffet of different foods (both dry and canned dog foods) as well as some human foods (lean meats such as turkey, chicken, ground beef, etc) to entice her to eat. There are also some newer prescription appetite stimulants that you may be able to get from your veterinarian, however, finding and treating the underlying cause of her unwillingness to eat is the key to getting her on the road to recovery. [less]
- I have an 11 year old beagle he has developed an air bubble in the flappy part of his ear 3 days now what could nit be - Jackie from guttenberg N.J.
Swelling in the pinna (or ear flap) is usually due to a hematoma, which is a collection of blood between the layers of ear cartilage. These can be caused by excessive tra [more]
Swelling in the pinna (or ear flap) is usually due to a hematoma, which is a collection of blood between the layers of ear cartilage. These can be caused by excessive trauma to the ears when the dog is shaking its head due to an ear infection. The constant flapping of the ears against the head is thought to break small blood vessels within the ear resulting the hemorrhage into the ear flap. Sometimes, we see dogs with hematomas that have no ear infection and have had no history of shaking their heads. In these cases, the hematoma may have developed because of an inflammatory disease such as skin allergies.
The treatment for hematomas in the ear is usually surgical repair. This can be done using a variety of different techniques, but most commonly, an incision is made into the ear flap to allow the blood to be drained, then the ear cartilage is stitched together similar to a baseball mitt.
Following surgery, the dog usually has a bandage over the head that must be changed and the sutures stay in place for about 3 weeks. As an alternative to surgery, the blood can be drained from the ear with a small needle to relieve the pressure, however this technique is usually only temporarily successful because often the ear will fill up with blood again in a very short time. Leaving the ear untreated is not only very uncomfortable but will also result in scarring of the ear flap which can be disfiguring and can result in narrowing the opening to the ear canal, which can produce even more ear problems. [less]
- We have an older (probably 13 yrs old) spayed diabetic Russian blue cat that we adopted 4 years ago. She is an indoor cat. In the last year or two, we have noticed that sometimes she will meow loudly (almost howling) several times from another room, almost as if she is searching for us. This happens sometimes right after she eats, and other times seemingly randomly (sometimes in the middle of the night). What could this mean? She is a very affectionate cat and seems otherwise very content. - Nancy from Redondo Beach, CA
Vocalization in older cats can be caused by a variety of different causes. Some more common reasons are elevated thyroid levels (which also usually includes a voracious a [more]
Vocalization in older cats can be caused by a variety of different causes. Some more common reasons are elevated thyroid levels (which also usually includes a voracious appetite and weight loss), pain (either from arthritis or internal pain), high blood pressure, senility, or boredom.
Diabetic cats are especially prone to developing infections, particularly urinary tract infections because of the presence of sugar in their urine. Urinary tract infections can be uncomfortable and may explain the yowling behavior as well. All diabetic cats should have their urine screened periodically for infection even if they are not showing any signs of infection (such as frequent urinating, blood in the urine or urinating outside of the litter box). [less]
- My 7 month old paillon ewas play tug of war with my husband and her incisor tooth became loose and fell out. I cannot tell if it was a baby tooth or not. There was no root. If it was her adult tooth, will she have ant problems? - moubadder from canton, michigan
More than likely this was a baby (or deciduous) tooth. These teeth typically start to fall out between 4 – 6 months of age as the adult teeth are pushing them out. Howeve [more]
More than likely this was a baby (or deciduous) tooth. These teeth typically start to fall out between 4 – 6 months of age as the adult teeth are pushing them out. However, smaller dogs have more problems with their teeth coming in and can be delayed in how long it takes their baby teeth to fall out. When they fall out, it usually looks like just the crown (or the top) of the tooth with no root. However, it could also be a fractured adult tooth with the root of the tooth retained under the gum-line. If it was a deciduous tooth, there is no concern. If it was an adult tooth and the fractured root has been left behind, it should be removed or it could potentially get a root abscess or infection. If it was a fractured tooth, you usually would have also seen some bleeding where the tooth fell out. [less]
- I have a 8 month old vizla mix. We got her from a shelter on Febuary 19. When they spayed her they found out she was two weeks pregnant. So now she's depressed and won't eat. She also has a little cold and is coughing all the time. Is there anything i can do to get her to eat and get ri dof her cold? - Angelique Marrufo from Gardena, California
Unfortunately, many dogs coming from the shelter have picked up kennel cough, which is the doggy version of the common cold. The infection in most dogs is mild, causing a [more]
Unfortunately, many dogs coming from the shelter have picked up kennel cough, which is the doggy version of the common cold. The infection in most dogs is mild, causing a minor irritating cough, but otherwise they are feeling fine (still eating, drinking and acting normally in every other way). In these cases, a week or two of rest and relaxation is all the dog needs to recover (similar to when we humans get a cold).
The problem arises when other things, such as a surgical procedure, the stress of pregnancy, or the stress of moving into a new environment, occur during the time that the disease is just starting or incubating, which can allow the symptoms to become more severe because the dogs’ defenses are down. In addition, during the spay procedure the dogs have a tube placed into their trachea (airway) to help them breathe while they are under anesthesia. This tube can add to an already irritated trachea. All of this creates a much more severe form of the illness or can allow opportunistic bacteria to cause an infection as well, resulting in a very sick little dog.
In addition, there are some much more sinister viruses that can look exactly like kennel cough in the early stages, but can be deadly. These include the distemper virus, which starts as a cough, but develops into pneumonia, and eventually enters the central nervous system resulting in seizures. Also, the canine influenza virus can initially cause a mild cough, but quickly develops into a fulminating pneumonia that can be fatal if not treated aggressively. For this reason, any dog that is suspected of having kennel cough but does not seem to be getting better, has discharge from the eyes or nose, is lethargic or in any other way is not acting normally, should immediately be examined by a veterinarian. The veterinarian will listen to the lungs with a stethoscope to make sure they sound clear. A chest x-ray and a blood test may also be necessary to make sure pneumonia is not developing deep in the lungs if the cough is severe.
The good news is that in most cases of kennel cough, a short course of antibiotics and cough suppressants are often all that is needed to clear up the infection and get the dog on the road to recovery. Just keep in mind that it can take 1 –
2 weeks to completely clear the infection, and during this period, your dog will be contagious to others – so keep her confined at your house until she is feeling all better so she doesn’t share her disease with the neighbors' dogs. [less]
- My dogs have a doggy door but still pee in the house. I have tried everything. If I put them in thier kennel and send them outside, I can turn around and find a puddle on the floor. They refuse to coorperate if it rains or if it's to cold. I'm at the end of my rope here. - Heather from Torrance, CA
Housetraining is almost always a difficult and frustrating time for most households. Having a doggy door is nice because the dogs can go out to do their business without [more]
Housetraining is almost always a difficult and frustrating time for most households. Having a doggy door is nice because the dogs can go out to do their business without you having to be there to open the door. Dogs in the wild live in dens and will not generally soil their dens. However, if they do not recognize that the entire house is the den, they may not realize that outside is where they need to be doing their business. Crate training is often a very effective way to teach dogs that doing their business in the house is unacceptable because the dog stays in a crate that it will not soil while it cannot be monitored. Dogs are also pack animals and want to be with the group, sending them outside to go do their business may seem like a punishment to them and they may be so focused on just getting back into the house, and back to you, that they are not doing their business outside. While they are in the training period, try taking them outside on a leash to the area where you want them to potty. Stand there quietly without talking or interacting with them in any way (this may take a while).
Once they go potty, give them a tasty treat, lots of love and affection and then go back into the house, or let them off leash to have some outdoor playtime. If they have an accident in the house, do not punish them because it will just teach them not to potty in front of you. They won’t get the connection that they are not supposed to potty in the house and instead may just look for a quiet place in the house away from you to do their duty. If you stay consistent and keep it positive, you should start seeing results and eventually you won’t have to go outside with them anymore (or at least not as often). [less]
- My friends Pomeranian who is 11 yrs. old eats cat poo out of the cat box and the garden where another cat does his duty. Is this normal? I can't seem to let this dog near me now especially when I see cat litter on her nose!
Thank you! - Maria C. from Redondo Beach, CA
Coprophagia, or eating feces, is a very common problem in dogs. Some dogs just love to eat either their own, or another animal’s feces, often to the shock and horror of t [more]
Coprophagia, or eating feces, is a very common problem in dogs. Some dogs just love to eat either their own, or another animal’s feces, often to the shock and horror of their owners. If this is a newly developed problem, I would consider some kind of underlying medical or nutritional problem. Consultation with the family veterinarian for a routine senior dog testing would be recommended first to rule out any underlying medical problems. Adjusting the diet and adding a good quality vitamin/mineral supplement has also helped some dogs.
Most often we find that this is a behavioral issue. The dogs like the taste of the feces and every time they eat a piece, it is like getting a reward so it is very difficult to get them to stop once they have been doing it for a long time.
In puppies, sometimes it is a habit they will grow out of (thankfully), but in older dogs that have been doing it for years, the behavior is far more challenging to stop. There are some additives that can be placed into the food (of the animal whose feces is being eaten), which impart a bitter taste to the stool and make it less desirable or rewarding for the dog. These are not foolproof, however, and results are mixed – with some dogs responding well, and others not at all.
In the situation such as yours where the dog is eating the cat’s feces, physically blocking the dogs’ access to the litterbox is probably going to be the most successful. This can be done by placing the litterbox high enough that she cannot reach it, placing the litterbox in another room behind a baby gate that the cat can jump over but the dog cannot, or getting one of the self-cleaning automated cat boxes that cleans the feces immediately after the cat uses the box. [less]
- I have a 14 year old poodle who was just put on meds for breathing problems and coughing. His Vet informed me that if this does not work, he needs to see a Cardiologist for his heart murmer. Is their any way I can get him proper heart medication without a Cardiologist. He is coughing much less in just three days of having a shot and the meds. I would like him on heart medication, but lost my job and cannot afford a Cardiologist for him. Please help, he's very well otherwise. Loves his walks, eats well, etc. The coughing gets very bad at times. - Maria Bennett from Philadelphia, Pa
Heart murmurs in dogs can range from nothing to be concerned about to a very serious condition. In an older dog, heart murmurs are much more of a concern especially when [more]
Heart murmurs in dogs can range from nothing to be concerned about to a very serious condition. In an older dog, heart murmurs are much more of a concern especially when combined with a cough as this can indicate that he is in heart failure. Heart failure means that the heart is not pumping the blood well enough and pressure builds up in the blood vessels as the blood gets backed up causing fluid to leak out of the blood vessels and go either into the lungs, into the belly or both, depending on which side of the heart is affected. Coughing from heart disease can be caused because fluid is starting to build up inside the lungs from heart failure or because the heart has become enlarged and is pressing on the trachea (airway). The treatment for a dog in heart failure involves medications to help keep the fluid from building up in the lungs and/or belly as well as medications to improve the function of the heart. The medications for the fluid can usually be prescribed by your family veterinarian, however, special tests such as an ultrasound of the heart is often needed to diagnose the underlying reason for the heart failure to determine which medication should be used to help the heart function better.
Some general practitioners can determine this information for you, especially if they have a special interest in cardiology, however, often a referral to a cardiologist is recommended to make sure your pet gets the correct diagnosis and medications he needs to manage his condition. [less]