March 15, 2013

Kidney Disease Awareness for Cats and Dogs

Did you know that it is National Kidney Awareness Month? Similar to how kidney disease can affect humans, it can also develop in pets. As a matter of fact, kidney disease is the second leading cause of death in cats. This is pretty scary if you’re a cat owner, right?

What do kidneys even do? Well, they are organs that have two main jobs:

1. Remove waste/toxins from the blood
2. Maintain bodily fluids

The job that kidneys perform is just as important as the job of our hearts. Without kidneys, animals, as well as humans, would die.

The problem with kidney disease is that it is hard to detect until it is too late. When you begin to see symptoms of the disease in your cat or dog, it is likely that 75% of their kidneys are already damaged. Such symptoms include:

• Increased thirst
• Increased urination
• Cloudy urine
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Bad breath
• Ulcers in the mouth and on the tongue
• Dull coats with heavy shedding

Since kidney disease is hard to detect until most of the damage is done, you have to take care of your pet’s kidney health (and all aspects of their health) the moment you become a pet owner. In order to do this, make sure that you take your furry friend for yearly check-ups with your vet, and ensure that your vet is doing yearly blood work. It is easier to detect illnesses, like kidney disease, through blood tests than relying on symptoms.

If your cat, dog, or any other pet has kidney disease, it is likely that your doctor will recommend the following treatment options:

1. Diet change
2. Fluid therapy
3. Various medications

Make sure you do the research regarding the pros and cons of all treatments. There are even natural options to help with kidney disease that you may find more suitable for your pet.

Below is a list of cat and dog breeds that are the most susceptible to kidney disease:


• Abyssinian
• Persian
• Siamese


• Beagles
• Bull and Cairn Terriers
• Chow Chows
• Dalmations
• Doberman Pinchers
• English Cocker Spaniels
• German Sheperds
• Minature Schnauzers
• Poodles
• Shar-Peis
• Samoyeds
• Shih Tzus

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January 4, 2013

The Dog Weight Loss Mealtime Secret

Filed under: dog weight loss — Tags: , , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 4:10 pm

Mealtime is often about socialization; going out to lunch with friends, eating dinner with your family or even business dinner dates.

When families sit down at the table for dinner at night, they use that time to catch up on that day’s events. But this doesn’t only include the humans in the family.

Fido is in on the meal time socialization, too. And it changes things.

Socializing over food can cause both people and dogs to overeat.

Think about the common interactions that you have with your pet every day. During your dinner time, your pet probably hangs around the table either eating his own food or begging for yours.

Maybe you slip him a piece of food here or there. Or maybe you serve him his own dinner at this time.

When you feed him snacks, you usually use them as rewards, praising him, petting him and showering him with affection. This changes things psychologically, for your dog. Your dog will do things that he thinks will cause you to give him the good stuff: treats and praise.

Just like humans, this relationship between food and socialization can cause dogs to overeat. That can cause weight gain.


The Science Behind the Dog Weight Loss Secret

Scientists studies cat and dog eating patterns. They found that when allowed to eat as much food as they choose with minimal human interaction, the animals ate only what was physically necessary.

However, when socialization was added to the mix, the animals ate to fulfill their social needs and not just their energy needs.

The conclusion? Animals will overeat if they relate it to praise, rewards or other human interaction.

In addition to praise, humans often provide their dogs with high calorie treats: dog snacks and human foods. These can be to encourage a finicky eater or as a symbol of guilt for leaving their dog alone.

The result is overfeeding, and dogs that are overeating because of it.


The Simple Dog Weight Loss Secret

Since dogs overeat because of bad social eating habits, the easiest thing to do is to introduce non-social eating.

Just like humans, weight loss in dogs happens when food is used as nourishment and not to fulfill any other purposes. Start by setting up standard meal times where your dog eats completely alone.

Don’t give praise while preparing or feeding your dog and don’t treat it as a reward. When trying to teach your dog a new behavior, avoid using treats when possible.

Use dog snacks sparingly. These have a lot of calories.

A majority of human food should be off limits to pets because of the high calorie count. After all, dog food is designed to fit the daily caloric and energy needs of your pooch.

If using a treat reward is necessary, consider using raw vegetables or berries. These are still tasty, but are a lot healthier.

However, as rewards, you should use petting, patting, sweet talk and even hair brushing. This way, your dog will still get the socialization that they crave from you without the extra fat.


November 21, 2012

Homemade Dog Food Diet Important Warning

With dogs being more like family than pets, more and more owners are taking extra steps to ensure the health of their dogs. Dedicated dog owners are choosing natural, homemade food for their pooch instead of the regular run-of-the-mill dog food.

While their intentions are good, creating a homemade dog food diet isn’t as easy as it seems.

Many people believe that if they themselves are eating a healthy diet that it is okay to serve their dogs the same foods that they are eating. They may even go as far to buy their dog fresh meat and produce to prepare their meals.

Dogs just aren’t the same as humans, when it comes to food. They have very different nutritional requirements.

If you don’t know exactly what constitutes a healthy diet for your dog, a homemade dog food diet can do more harm than good.

A Homemade Dog Food Diet: What You Need to Know

The nutritional requirements for all types of dog foods, from canned to dry to raw, have been established by The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). If you choose not to buy manufactured dog food then the same nutritional guidelines should be followed as a homemade dog food recipe.

Certain vitamins and minerals must be present in specific amounts within a dog’s daily diet.

However, finding the right sources for these vitamins can be difficult. For example, different cuts of meat can contain different amounts of phosphorus per ounce. So giving your dog 3 ounces of steak isn’t the same as 3 ounces of chicken.

Every vegetable will have a different nutritional content, too. You can’t just swap out a cup of green beans for a cup of carrots.

The same is true for fruits, carbohydrates and any other food group. So, simply adding a cut of lamb with a few scoops of broccoli won’t necessarily create a balanced meal for your dog.

By choosing foods based on what is healthy for humans, you can leave your dog deficient in many vitamins and minerals. You might even mistakenly feed them foods that our poisonous. In addition, you could also end up feeding them too much of a nutrient.

Either way, poor nutritional balance could mean health problems, suffering, and costly vet bills.

Take a Homemade Dog Food Diet Seriously

The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association recently published a research study that showed when people use a homemade dog food recipe online, it is often deficient in the correct daily nutrients required.

In fact, some recipes created by Board Certified Vet Nutritionists but still deficient. It’s not easy to feed a dog right.

The best way to make sure that your pet is eating a nutritional homemade dog food diet is by taking the time to specify the foods that you are feeding your dog. That way, you can compare your homemade dog food diet to the expert research on dog nutrition.

You can also add nutritional supplements into a dog’s homemade diet to make sure they are receiving the right amounts of what they need. However, supplements can also range in different amounts.

Compare your supplement to what you are already feeding your dog.

When you choose a homemade dog food diet, take the time to choose right. This not only shows how much you care, but that you’re willing to take the time to do it right, for real health benefits.

July 19, 2010

Understanding Dog Diarrhea

Filed under: dog diarrhea — Tags: , , , , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 11:29 am

dogs with diarrhea
Like humans, dogs and puppies experience illnesses too. It’s wonderful when a dog’s health is good, but sometimes they tend to slip out of sight and ingest harmful substances.  The result is often dog diarrhea – a common problem for many pet owners.

Diarrhea in dogs can be mild or severe.  You will know if your dog is suffering from diarrhea if they are frequently having bowel movements and if the excretions are watery.  This could mean they are having stomach problems that must be tended to. Severe cases of diarrhea in dogs can require a visit to the veterinarian and a medical solution. Usually dog diarrhea goes away within a day, but in severe cases it can last more than 3 days.  Less serious cases can be treated at home with prescribed medications or natural remedies.

If you notice you dog is having diarrhea,  determine the cause.  One of the main reasons that dogs get sick is that pet owners can’t help but feed their dogs human food.  Pet owners are discouraged from doing this because they can affect a dog’s health.

Stress can also cause a dog to have diarrhea- or your dog might have gotten into the rotting food in the garbage or the cleaning products under the sink.   If you believe your dog has ingested toxic substances, take him or her to a veterinarian immediately.

If your dog has not ingested a toxic substance and he or she does not seem to be suffering from a serious medical condition, the diarrhea can be treated at home

How to relieve your dog of diarrhea:

  • The first thing to do is to make sure your dog is properly hydrated and is drinking water regularly.
  • Fast your dog for 12 hours or until he or she is no longer having bowel movements.  If the stools are voluminous and continue even when the dog has an empty system, see your vet as if could be a bacterial infection.  Allow your dog to have plenty of water to drink during his or her fasting.
  • After fasting, slowly start your dog on food.  First feed him or her 100% pure canned pumpkin (not the kind with added sugar and spices). The fiber in the pumpkin helps to regulate the bowel and should help lessen his or her diarrhea symptoms.
  • Feed your dog plain boiled chicken (without skin, oil, or seasoning).  This is a gentle food for your dogs stomach.
  • In a few days, start your dog on his or her regular food.  If the diarrhea returns, see your veterinarian right away

There are also medicines that can help relieve your dog’s diarrhea symptoms.  Talk to your veterinarian about your treatment options.

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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.