February 11, 2010

How to Get Pet Urine Smell out of Furniture

Filed under: odor neutralizer,pet urine smell,smell from furniture,urine smell — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:50 am

Any pet lover will know that having pets urinate indoors is just a part of the pet-owning experience. Unfortunately, anybody who has ever tried to remove pet urine smell from furniture also knows that it can be a fairly difficult task. Odor neutralizers are a quick solution to the problem but they are not usually very effective. In fact, with in a couple of days, the smell often returns. Indeed, odor neutralizers are a superficial solution that may remove the smell from the fabric of your furniture but not from the cushioning below.

The most effective way to remove pet urine smell from your furniture is to thoroughly clean the affected area. This means removing the outer fabric and washing it as well as trying to clean the foam cushioning inside. You could soak the foam in odor neutralizer and then squeeze out the remaining liquid after a few moments. This should effectively eliminate the smell but some pet owners will want to be more thorough in their cleaning.

Wash the outer fabric according to the washing instructions. Most people should be able to put the upholstery in the washing machine and this will remove urine contaminants. To clean the foam, we recommend using a steam cleaner. Let the foam dry after steam cleaning and then treat it with an odor neutralizer. This way, you can rest easy knowing that your furniture is clean throughout and you can also enjoy the fresh scent of your favorite deodorant.

Some pet owners will be dealing with very stubborn stains and in this case you’ll need to repeat the above process a few times. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to remove the worst stains but with a bit of effort you can get your furniture in like-new condition again!

February 10, 2010

There is a Lump on My Dog’s Neck

Filed under: dog lumps,lump on dogs,neck lumps — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:12 am

If you’ve found a lump on your dog’s neck, you’re likely concerned and justifiably so. Lumps can appear for a wide variety of reasons, not the least scary of which is cancer. However, the frequency with which lumps turn out to be cancer is statistically very low, much lower than you would expect. So, chances are that a lump on your dog’s neck is not cancer but there could be some reason for concern.

Unfortunately, there’s no possible way to diagnose a lump on your dog’s neck without visiting your veterinarian. Indeed, different kinds of lumps will be associated with different symptoms. Some lumps, when associated with infection, for example, will cause a substantial amount of pain for your dog and may continue to grow larger if left untreated. And while infection is probably the most common cause for a lump in your dog’s neck, it is not the only cause.

Lymphoma, a type of cancer, can also lead to lumps. Surprisingly, in the early stages there may be few other symptoms that your dog is suffering from a serious health problem. Some lymphomas will cause pain but many will not which is why it is important to visit a veterinarian. Lymphomas left untreated will certainly result in your dog’s death.

Sometimes lumps may even be a benign mass. These lumps may appear and disappear for no obvious reason and will probably cause little or no discomfort for your dog. Still, you cannot accurately diagnose a lump on your dog’s neck just by looking at it. You should take your dog to the vet to have the problem properly diagnosed and treated to ensure the long term health and happiness of your pet. If it turns out to be a harmless condition, you’ll still feel better knowing for sure.

February 9, 2010

What are dog years?

Filed under: age of dogs,dog age,dog years,human years — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:26 am

Dog years. We’ve all heard people talk about them or tried to figure out our dog’s age in “dog years” but do we really know what dog years are? One of the oldest rules of thumb is that one dog year is equivalent to seven human years, although this isn’t exactly accurate. The idea behind talking about dog years is to recognize that the stages of a dog’s life including childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, will occur at different periods because their life spans are much shorter than humans. Imagine talking about a 2 year old human going through puberty. The idea is ridiculous; but, strictly speaking, dogs tend to experience the hormonal changes we associate with puberty somewhere between 8 months and 2 years depending on the breed.

dog yearsYet converting from dog years to human years and vice versa isn’t a direct ratio as the one human year is seven dog years theory. In fact, the ratio is slightly skewed with the figure being higher in youth and decreases as your dog’s age. Nevertheless, since a dog’s lifespan is a fraction of a human lifespan we try to determine dog years so we can predict the kinds of life changes that will occur.

So, how can you calculate your dog’s age in dog years? Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer to that question. In fact, calculations of dog age will require a different formula depending on the age and breed of your dog. A medium-sized dog of 2 months old is said to be about 2 years in human age while a 14 year old dog of the same breed would be 82. For all intents and purposes then, we use “dog years” to understand the developmental stage of our dogs but the term really has very little validity in the world of veterinarians.

February 8, 2010

What do I do when my Dog Refuses to Walk on a Leash?

Filed under: dog walking,dog walks,leash,walking on a leash — Dr. Amber Reed @ 11:55 am

canine arthritis dog leash training Dogs are curious, enthusiastic creatures and they want to be able to roam free. Often the biggest dogs, or the most intelligent dogs, can be very difficult to walk on a leash. They may pull or sniff around aimlessly making walk time much more frustrating. My own dog, a border collie, is not accustomed to being on a leash so in the early days it was extremely difficult to get her to cooperate. If this sounds like a familiar story, rest easy because there are some simple solutions to the problem.

First of all, you need to always be patient with your dog. Every dog will learn at a different pace but as the owner it’s your duty to show your dog the ropes calmly. Also, it is much easier to leash train young dogs than older dogs so if at all possible, start early. Young dogs are being molded by their experiences whereas old dogs are set in their ways. Leash training an independent older dog will usually require more patience and perseverance.

Now, here are some practical tips to help you with leash training. In the beginning, if you have difficulty even getting the leash on your dog, try putting it on during meal time. When eating, dogs are distracted so they won`t be as bothered by the leash but they`ll also start to associate the leash with food which is a positive thing. When you`re actually walking your dog, stop walking or even stop and walk the opposite direction whenever your dog pulls. Eventually, your dog will learn that pulling is not effective. Also, give your dog plenty of praise when he is walking appropriately. Dogs quickly learn to modify their behavior when they anticipate praise. Be consistent with your expectations and praise and your dog will be leash trained in no time!

February 5, 2010

What happens if my dog ate too much chocolate?

can dogs eat chocolateThe notion that the consumption of any quantity of chocolate will kill your dog isn’t exactly accurate but it is true that chocolate can have serious health consequences for dogs. Obviously, humans only need to worry about extra inches on their hips when they eat chocolate but dogs are affected in a much more serious way. Not only is chocolate high in fat and sugar, which are not healthy for your dog in large quantities, there are two other substances in chocolate that have an impact on your dog’s health.

Caffeine and theobromine are two stimulants that are commonly found in chocolate. There is not enough caffeine or theobromine in chocolate to affect human behavior; but for dogs, these substances affect the central nervous system as well as the cardiovascular system. A small dose of chocolate will likely have little effect on your dog but if your pet consumes toxic levels of chocolate you will notice some serious side effects. Common symptoms of chocolate poisoning include restlessness, muscle twitching, increased urination, hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive panting.

Depending on the type of chocolate eaten and the size of your dog, different quantities of chocolate may or may not be toxic. White chocolate becomes toxic in dogs when 45 ounces per pound of body weight is consumed while severe toxicity comes about when 90 ounces per pound is consumed. As you can see, there is very little toxicity in white chocolate. Milk chocolate toxicity begins when your dog consumes 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight and severe toxicity at 2 ounces per pound. Semi-sweet and baking chocolate are the most toxic with symptoms occurring at 0.33 ounces and 0.1 ounces consumed per pound of body weight respectively. So, keep your cooking chocolate safely stored, where none of your pets can get access.

February 4, 2010

When is it Too Late to get a Dog Fixed?

canine cancer Getting your dog fixed is one of the key responsibilities of dog owners. Not only does spaying or neutering your dog prevent unwanted puppies, fixing can also prevent certain illnesses, especially in female dogs. Female dogs are around seven times as likely to suffer from mammary tumors if they are not spayed and various cancers are also less likely in spayed females.

Fixing your dog involves removing its reproductive organs. This ultimately affects the level of certain hormones in dogs and as a result is not recommended in adult animals unless there is a valid medical concern. Moreover, because spaying and neutering are surgical procedures, your dog must be of sufficient age to easily recover from the procedure.

getting my dog fixedGenerally speaking, veterinarians will neuter a pet as early as six weeks. Removing the testicles from a male dog is less invasive than removing the ovaries and uterus of a female dog so spaying procedures are usually not performed before 8 weeks of age. While your vet will strictly adhere to the younger limits for fixing your dog, there is no upper age limit that prevents dogs from being spayed or neutered. Depending on the overall health of your dog and whether spaying or neutering will be beneficial in the long run, a vet may agree to fix even older dogs.

It is important to realize, that spaying or neutering your pet is not cruel. Many dog owners think it’s unfair to perform these surgical procedures but considering the long term health benefits, fixing your dog is usually the right thing to do. Dogs, unlike humans, do not have the ability to judge their behavior and when their hormones tell them to mate they’ll go to great lengths to do so. Every year, thousands of animals are put down because they do not have safe homes; so, we don’t want to add to the problem.

February 3, 2010

How do I know if my dog has arthritis?

Not only is arthritis a very painful condition, it can also be debilitating. While we often associate our older relatives with the disease, the truth is anybody and any pet can suffer from arthritis. Indeed, arthritis in dogs is one of the most commonly diagnosed physical conditions and since none of us want to see our dogs in pain, it is important to recognize the symptoms early so treatment can be started. Luckily, dog arthritis is also one of the most treatable medical diagnoses.

To recognize dog arthritis, you should familiarize yourself with the symptoms. One of the most obvious symptoms of arthritis in dogs is limping. If your dog appears to be favoring one of its limbs, this is an indication of arthritis. However, it could also indicate that your dog has had some kind of accident so it’s important to visit the veterinarian. dog arthritisStill, if you notice limping or lameness in the limbs with a gradual onset, then you are more likely dealing with a case of arthritis. Moreover, pain associated with arthritis is often worse in the morning and you may notice your dog having difficulty getting up from a resting position.

Arthritic dogs also have problems sitting or standing for long periods and in the more advanced stages of the disease your pet will not be able to get in and out of the car without assistance and stairs pose a much bigger challenge. One of the worst problems with dog arthritis is that the pain experienced by your dog prevents it from enjoying regular activities. Dogs with arthritis cannot keep up as easily on walks or runs and your dog may seem depressed or lethargic. There are many viable treatments for arthritis in dogs, so if you suspect your dog is suffering, visit a veterinarian to discuss your best plan of attack.

February 2, 2010

Is Dry Food Better than Wet Food for my Dog?

canine gum disease The debate of wet food versus dry food for our dogs rages on. Dog owners take the responsibility of feeding very seriously as the overall healthy of any animal starts with their diet. Small dogs, big dogs, healthy dogs, and sick dogs all need to have a balanced diet but whether to feed them dry or wet food isn’t always an easy question to answer. Some dogs will require canned food for physical reasons. For example, dogs that are missing teeth cannot chew dry food and dogs that have always been fed canned food will not likely accept dry food. Nevertheless, the differences between these foods are not so straightforward.

Dogs will almost always prefer canned or wet dog food. Many wet dog foods have higher caloric contents and can contain some kinds of less healthy foods that dogs love, even if it’s not good for them. But not all wet dog foods are less healthy and depending on the brand of food you buy, there will be different nutritional values. But dry dog food has some advantages. types of dog foodGenerally speaking, dry dog foods are more nutritionally balanced, though this is not always the case. Also, dry dog foods are great for your dog’s teeth and gums as chewing crunchy foods helps remove plaque and prevent gum disease. Moreover, dry dog foods are more convenient as they come in larger quantities and can be stored for weeks at a time.

Still, some dry dog foods are rich in fillers and may not offer the balanced diet your dog needs. All dog foods, whether wet or dry, are not created equal. Cheap alternatives do not usually offer the nutritional advantages of organic, veterinarian developed dog foods so you should always carefully select food to provide the most vitamins and protein for your dog. Dry organic natural dog food is a great option and wet foods can be a great treat but it is entirely possible to get wet foods that are healthier than dry foods and vice versa.

February 1, 2010

How do I clean my gerbils cage?

clean gerbil cageUsually, we like to live in a clean environment and so do gerbils. In fact, having a clean cage is important for the health and well-being of your gerbil and taking a few minutes every week to ensure the job is done right is easy and effective. Gerbil cages also have a tendency to start stinking if they’re not cleaned regularly which is an important motivator for gerbil owners. This article will discuss some of the elements of cage cleaning so that you know your gerbil is always happy and healthy.crctofpn-canine-cancer

You should always remove your gerbil from the cage before you clean it. Make sure to put them in a safe place so they can’t escape. A running ball, playpen, or even your bathtub or sink can be a great place to keep your gerbil while cleaning the cage. Next, remove and save a small handful of the gerbil’s bedding; this will be used later in the cleaning process. Begin cleaning the cage with warm, soapy water. Wipe all the surfaces of the cage as well as toys and play equipment. It’s best to use unscented soap. Dry the cage with a paper towel or clean, dry cloth. Finally, put new bedding in the bottom of the cage in addition to the handful of bedding that you saved before the cleaning began. The old bedding helps your gerbil acclimatize to the newly cleaned cage as they will recognize the smell of the bedding.

Cleaning your gerbil’s cage should take no more than 20 minutes but can create a safe, clean environment for your gerbil. Though the effort is small, the rewards are considerable and your gerbil will certainly be happier when you take the time to maintain their living quarters. All animals prefer to be clean, and gerbils are no exception.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.