April 6, 2010

My Dog is a Picky Eater, What can I do?

Filed under: dog refuse to eat,picky eater — Dr. Amber Reed @ 1:44 pm

First of all, you need to understand why your dog may refuse to eat his regular food. In most cases, pet owners create this problem by feeding their dogs table scraps. In fact, dogs are almost never born picky eaters but when they become accustomed to eating human food they may not want to return to the store bought stuff that comes in a bag. There are other reasons that dogs refuse to eat, to be sure, and if you notice a sudden loss of appetite in your beloved companion you should consider a visit to the vet; loss of appetite is a symptom of many illnesses in dogs.

my dog is a picky eaterNevertheless, dogs will learn to be picky eaters under the right circumstances. You always need to be the one in control of your dog’s diet. Changing their food often is a big no-no. When you are always giving them different brands or types of dog food, your dog learns that they can have some control over what they eat. Instead, keep a steady diet to maintain regular eating habits.

The next big mistake that pet owners make is feeding their dogs table scraps. In fact, this is the biggest problem that leads to picky eating. Not only does your dog get to enjoy a richer, more variable diet when you feed him table scraps, he also learns to eat like the rest of the family. Also remember that many human foods are dangerous for your dog. If you want to feed your dog some left-over food always make sure it’s healthy for dogs and feed your dog out of his regular feeding dish.

Overcoming your dog’s picky eating will require routine and commitment. You’ll have to gradually stop feeding him table scraps so they don’t starve.

April 5, 2010

Does My Dog have Hip Dysplasia?

Filed under: arthritic disease,hip arthritis,hip dysplasia — Dr. Amber Reed @ 5:46 pm

Hip dysplasia is a relative common hereditary disease that affects the hip joints in dogs. This arthritic disease is more prevalent in particular breeds like rottweilers, German shepherds, and golden retrievers. Characterized by mild to severe pain and discomfort, hip dysplasia can have a significant impact on the quality of life of your dog. While the early stages of this condition are often manageable by dogs, as the disease progresses the pain associated with the dog hip dysplasia can be so severe that it is debilitating.

Logic would have it that hip dysplasia, being a kind of arthritis, is only seen in older dogs but symptoms of this condition can even appear in dogs less than a year old. Still, the disease is progressive and serious symptoms are usually seen in middle-aged and older dogs. Most pet owners will notice changes in their dog’s behavior due to the pain associated with hip dysplasia. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Stiffness
  • Pain when moving after a period of rest
  • Abnormal gate
  • Abnormal stance
  • Avoidance of stairs/climbing

symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogsIf you’re concerned that your dog might be suffering from hip dysplasia, you’ll want to make an appointment with your veterinarian. Diagnosis usually involves some x-rays and simple observance of your dog’s behavior.

Currently, there are a range of hip dysplasia treatments which focus on ameliorating pain or even reconstructing the joint. Analgesic drugs, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) control the pain but surgical procedures like total hip replacement are becoming more common. Moreover, veterinarians today are impressed by the benefits of nutritional supplements that contain glucosamine which is a vital component of joint healing. Not only can glucosamine supplements promote joint healing but they also seem to prevent damage while reducing the severity of the arthritic symptoms. Finally, ensure that your dog leads a healthy lifestyle including appropriate diet and exercise as joints in overweight dogs tend to degenerate more quickly.

April 1, 2010

What is Feline Immunodeficiency Virus?

Filed under: feline immunodeficiency virus,FIV,FIV positive cats — Dr. Amber Reed @ 3:59 pm

feline immunodeficiency virus symptomsApproximately 2% of cats in the United States are infected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) which is a retrovirus that is very similar to the human AIDS virus. Cats that are diagnosed with FIV need to receive special care because the disease is ultimately fatal. Nevertheless, cat owners needn’t view FIV as an automatic death sentence for their cat. In fact, with proper diet and treatment, FIV positive cats can live a relatively normal life.

First let’s take some time to understand how FIV is transmitted. In most cases, this virus is passed from the host through saliva to blood contact. This means that cat fights tend to be the main method through which FIV is spread; however, there are other methods. While unlikely, cats can contract FIV by sharing food or water with previously infected cats and the mother cat can pass FIV to her kittens during gestation, birth, or nursing. As a cat owner, it is your responsibility to protect your cat from this virus. Because the main method of transmission is biting, many veterinarians recommend keeping your cat indoors, especially if your cat is infected with FIV.

If your cat has been infected with FIV, you’ll need to visit a veterinarian and work out a program to control the symptoms of the illness. Usually, your veterinarian will suggest an aggressive treatment that includes a high protein diet and constant monitoring of secondary infections. Indeed, since FIV doesn’t lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome as often as HIV does with humans, the biggest risk for FIV positive cats are infections of the bladder, skin, and respiratory system. Generally speaking, your vet will recommend foods for your cat that are rich with vitamins, antioxidants, and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Be careful not to give foods unsafe foods to your cat. Flea control is another important element of treatment as fleas can also carry the FIV virus. Most importantly, remember that your FIV positive cat is no risk to your family and that with careful treatment your cat will life a happy, healthy life.

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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.