March 12, 2010

What does it mean when my dog is shaking?

Filed under: dog chills,dog shaking,dog shivering,Uncategorized — Dr. Amber Reed @ 8:26 am

Dog shaking is actually relatively common. Most dogs will shake when they are wet or cold, and this is as normal a response to weather as human shivering. Obviously, exposure to extreme cold for prolonged periods is hazardous to health, but shaking can indicate a variety of medical conditions in dogs as well. To ensure that your dog is not ill or injured, it is important to take shaking seriously. If there is no obvious reason for your dog’s shaking, you need to visit a veterinarian.

Among the top causes of shaking in dogs is hypoglycemia. Commonly known as low blood sugar, hypoglycemia occurs when your dog has not eaten for an extended length of time. In addition, hypoglycemia is related to a number of metabolic conditions and digestive problems like vomiting that prevent dogs from eating. Low blood sugar causes muscle weakness and trembling and can be treated by giving your dog a quick dose of sugar. A teaspoon of honey or maple syrup for small dogs or two to three teaspoons for medium and large sized dogs can help restore blood sugar. Usually, dogs will be happy to lick this sweet treat off a spoon.

Another cause of dog shaking is an increased body temperature. Your dog’s normal body temperature is between 100.5 and 102.5°F. Viruses, infection, and other illnesses can cause fever increasing body temperature and just like humans, dogs will experience “chills.” The resulting shaking is cause for concern as fevers can be very dangerous. Visit a veterinarian immediately as medical conditions can go from stable to critical very quickly. For this reason, any time you cannot identify the cause of shaking, you need to get to the vet. Trying to self-diagnose your pet’s illnesses is never a good idea.

February 18, 2010

Top 10 Popular Cat Names

popular cat namesYou’ve just brought home a new kitten and it’s time to pick a name. Some people know a name, even before they get the cat. They had a beloved pet die with the same name or they heard a name sometime and thought it would be a great name for a cat. I had a friend who liked to dance and she’d always wanted to get a black cat and name it Disco. But, you want to choose a name that matches your cat’s personality, so that makes the choice a little more difficult. Perhaps this is your first cat, or maybe you just really like to get a sense of your kitty before you choose a name. Whatever the reason, you’re here because you’re trying to think of some different cat names.

While making the popular choice is always a sure bet, you can’t go wrong with a name that everybody immediately associates with cats, you may want to be more creative. Personally, I like naming my cats with regular names. Tom is the obvious one (do you need a reminder or did you get it right away…I’ll only give you a hint – think of the most famous cat and mouse rivals); but I also like to pick older, relatively normal names that are not commonly used like Homer, Zeke, Amelia or Polly.

popular cat namesNaming your cat after one of your favorite TV characters or movie characters is also fun. Or perhaps you could name your cat after a character (even a cat) in a book. I have a friend who named his cat Azrael after Gargamel’s cat in The Smurfs.

Still, if you prefer to pick something a little more popular, here is a list of the most popular male and female cat names from the last year:

popular cat namesMale 1.)Max 2.)Tigger 3.)Tiger 4.)Smokey 5.)Oliver 6.)Buddy 7.)Charlie 8.)Simba 9.)Sammy 10.)Oscar Female 1.)Chloe 2.)Lucy 3.)Molly 4.)Bella 5.)Sophie 6.)Princess 7.)Cleo 8.)Angel 9.)Lily 10.)Maggie

February 17, 2010

What do I do if my hamster bites me?

Filed under: biting hamster,hamster bit me,hamster biting,Uncategorized — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:32 am

feline stressLike many other animals, hamsters will bite from time to time. That’s just a fact of life. Furthermore, hamsters are notoriously difficult to train because they’re often bought as adults. It is always more difficult to train an adult animal than a young one and this is true of hamsters as well. Especially when they have not been handled much, hamsters will bite out of fear. Typically, hamsters are not aggressive, but they will bite to defend themselves. Since many pet store hamsters are not accustomed to being handled by humans, they feel a lot of anxiety when they’re first held; consequently, they bite.

hamster biteIf your hamster bites, you need to be patient and calm. A strong reaction to bites can induce more fear in your hamster and make biting more likely in the future. What you need to do is build a trusting relationship with your hamster. Be gentle and relaxed and let your hamster get to know you. Before handling your hamster, try reading or singing to your hamster so it becomes familiar with your presence. Let your hamster sniff your hand while you hold it in your hamster’s cage. Your goal is to gradually acclimatize your hamster to being held.

When your hamster seems to be comfortable with your hand, you can begin gently stroking it. Provide positive reinforcement, like treats, when your hamster doesn’t bite. Sunflower seeds can be fed in moderation and are a great assistance during training. When your hamster seems calm and totally comfortable with your presence, it’s time to pick it up. Remember to be careful, and always begin by stroking the hamster. You can even put a sunflower seed in your palm to try and encourage the hamster to willingly walk onto your hand without biting.

January 15, 2010

10 Foods You Should Not Feed Your Dog

Let’s be honest, a dog will eat pretty much anything. And while in most cases food that is edible for humans is also edible for your dog, this is not always true. In fact, some foods that we consume can actually kill your dog. Most pet owners have heard that chocolate can be very bad for dogs but might be surprised to learn that there is a long list of foods that are unhealthy for your dog. Some of these foods may cause relatively mild symptoms like an upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting, but others can lead to very severe complications and even death. The following foods should never be fed to dogs and you should always check that a food is safe for your dog before feeding it to him.foods bad for dogs

  1. Cat Food. One surprising food that you should not give your dog is cat food. Cat food is higher in proteins and fats and can be unhealthy for your dog.
  2. Drugs. Not surprisingly, you should never give your dog any kind of drug, including tobacco, marijuana or caffeine.
  3. Chocolate. The main reason you should never give your dogs chocolate is because of the presence of caffeine which can be toxic to dogs especially for their heart and nervous systems.
  4. Grapes, raisins, citrus fruits and certain vegetables like onions, potatoes, mushrooms, onions, and garlic. These foods should also not be given to dogs because mushrooms can be highly toxic and cause death while potatoes, rhubarb, and onions are not lethal but can damage body systems.
  5. Raw fish and hops. Raw fish and hops can also be deadly for dogs because it can cause thiamine deficiency where you will notice a loss of appetite, seizures, and even death.
  6. Alcohol beverages. Alcohol can cause intoxication, coma, and death.
  7. Baby Food. There may be onion powder in baby food which is toxic for dogs. If fed in large amounts, your dog may develop nutritional deficiencies.
  8. Bones from meat, poultry and fish. The bones from meat, poultry and fish can cause laceration or obstruction in your dogs digestive system.
  9. Human vitamin supplements that has iron. The iron in the supplements are toxic to the liver and kidney and can also damage the digestive system lining.
  10. Raw Eggs. Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin. This enzyme decreases the absorption of a B vitamin called biotin which can lead to problems with the skin and hair coat. There will also be a risk of Salmonella.

 

As you can see, different foods have a wide arrange of effects on your dog. For this reason, it is advisable never to feed your dog anything but specifically formulated dog food. If you want to reward your dog with a treat, make sure to do your research first and only feed him foods that you are totally confident are safe.

January 7, 2010

Why is your dog throwing up?

Filed under: Dog health,dog puking,dog throwing up,puking dog,throwing up dog,Uncategorized — Dr. Amber Reed @ 11:11 am

canine pill delivery As with humans, dog vomiting is usually a symptom of an underlying condition. This may include flu or infection or something even more disconcerting. While most cases are the result of your dog eating something that doesn’t agree with him, prolonged vomiting can lead to dehydration or intestinal obstruction; in fact, left untreated, vomiting can be life threatening to your dog and as such should be taken very seriously. Dogs will put almost anything in their mouth and if they ingest it, this could lead to throwing up. Still, you should always make sure to keep a watchful eye on a dog that’s throwing up.

why is my dog throwing upGastritis is the main factor behind vomiting and this can be caused in a number of ways. As mentioned, ingesting an unfamiliar food or non-food item can cause the stomach lining to become inflamed resulting in vomiting. Moreover, dog vomiting may be the result of a bacterial or viral infection. In such cases, some antibiotic or antiviral medication will likely need to be prescribed by your veterinarian. Another common factor that causes dogs to throw up is excess stomach acid or bile. If you see that your dog is vomiting a yellowish brown fluid (often just before meals), this suggests that there is excess bile or stomach acid causing the vomiting. Excess bile or acids is the result of having an empty stomach so the solution is quite simple: Feed your dog more frequent, smaller meals to prevent the build up of digestive fluids.

Likewise, unfamiliar foods can cause your dog to throw up. Imagine you eat a new cuisine that you’ve never tried before. This experience often causes human stomachs to become upset and unfortunately for dogs this often results in throwing up. Suddenly changing your dog’s diet may be the factor causing the vomiting so reverting to his old diet will likely clear up the problem. Introduce new foods gradually so your dog can adapt.

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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.