Is Your Pet Facing The “dry Eye” Issue? Here’s What You Need To Do

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Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or dry eye syndrome is defined as aqueous tear film deficiency over the eye surface. This is also seen in the lid lining. The result is inflammation and severe drying of cornea and conjunctiva. Dry eye is quite common in canines, especially cocker spaniels, Lhasa Apsos, Shih-Tzus, bulldogs, and West Highland white terriers. It is a widely kept belief that females are susceptible to dry eyes than males of the species.

Symptoms

That your dog suffers from dry eye syndrome is a possibility when it blinks excessively and the conjunctival blood vessels get swollen. There could also be a prominent nictitans or third eyelid or chemosis. The eye could discharge pus or mucus and there may be changes in the cornea. This is a chronic disease in the blood cells. There could be ulceration and pigmentation. The incidence of severe disease may lead to complete vision loss, or at best an impaired one.

Causes

KCS may occur due to immune-mediated adenitis. This is the most common and it is frequently linked with a number of other immune-mediated diseases. The dry eye syndrome is a congenital defect in Yorkshire Terriers and Pugs. It is also occasionally observed in a number of other breeds. The disease is also observed if the pet suffers traumatic proptosis, a condition which the eyes are displaced from sockets. This happens to post a neurologic disease which interrupts the tear gland nerves.

It is frequently observed that a dry nose is seen on the same side as dry eyes. The condition could be drug induced like the application of atropine and general anesthesia. Toxicity of drugs could also be a cause. A few drugs containing sulfa or etodolac may cause a transient or permanent condition. KCS may also be induced by the physician if the third eyelid is removed. The chances of this occurring rise in the case of susceptible breeds.

Any X-ray machine may also cause dry eye in pets. This happens if the eye comes in close contact with any primary beam that has its origination from a radiology device. Canine distemper virus or chlamydia conjunctivitis due to bacteria could also lead to KCS. The incidence of chronic blepharoconjunctivitis or breed linked predisposition could also be the cause.

Diagnosis

The veterinarian will conduct a complete ophthalmological and physical examination on the dog. The doctor will include the background symptoms history and the possible incidents which may have led to such a condition. A non-invasive dye like the fluorescent stain could be used to analyze your pet’s eye for ulcerations and abrasions.

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Here’s What Long-Term Diarrhea in Dogs Could Mean

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Dogs can have short term loose stools or diarrhea due to many causes, ranging from parasitic, bacterial or viral infection, change in diet, stress or anxiety, certain medications or other health conditions.

Long-term diarrhea or chronic diarrhea in dogs refers to change in the consistency, frequency, and volume of feces that lasts for longer than three weeks. Diarrhea originates from either the large or the small intestine and can be watery or non-watery.

When the diarrhea originates from the small intestine, these are the symptoms that are found:

Symptoms found when it originates in the small intestine may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Abnormally huge feces volume
  • Vomiting
  • Increased frequency of stools that could be anywhere between two to four times in a day
  • Flatulence or gaseous sounds in the gut
  • Black and tarry stools
  • Poor digestion or absorption can lead to an increase in appetite

The following are the symptoms of long-term diarrhea that begin in the large intestine:

  • An unusually small volume of feces
  • Increased frequency of stools of more than four times in a day
  • Bright, red blood and mucus in the stools
  • Straining to defecate
  • Urgency to defecate
  • Pain during defecation
  • Gaseous sounds in the gut

Causes of long term diarrhea
If you have noticed any of these symptoms in your dog for more than two weeks, it is important to consult a vet immediately. Apart from noting down changes in your dog’s diet if any, food allergies, medications and if the stools contain blood or mucus, the vet might also perform various diagnostic tests. These can include electrolyte panel, complete blood count, stool and urinalysis. These tests can indicate the presence of fungal, viral or bacterial infection which can then be treated with a course of antibiotics.

Radiographs and barium contrast test can show up any abnormalities in the gastrointestinal system. The vet may also perform diagnostic imaging such as endoscopy or ultrasound that can show any signs of damage like ulcers, cancers, polyps or obstruction if any. A biopsy can also be taken to determine if growth or tumor is cancerous.

Some of the causes of chronic diarrhea include:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Bacterial, viral or fungal infections
  • Parasites or worms
  • Cancer
  • Stomach or intestinal ulcers
  • Partial blockage
  • Short small intestine
  • Pancreatic disease
  • Liver or gallbladder disease
  • Gluten allergy or sensitivity
  • Changes in diet, low fiber in diet

Managing the diarrhea
The most important factor in chronic diarrhea is preventing dehydration. If your dog is very ill and dehydrated, intravenous fluids are given at the vet’s clinic. A bland, low-fat diet that is easy to digest such as rice, potato, cottage cheese or chicken along with plenty of water along with the prescribed medication or treatment can help your dog recover faster.

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All You Need To Know About Whisker Stress In Cats

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Does your pet appear extremely fussy around food? Have you noticed him spilling excessive food onto the ground and leaving a huge mess for you to clean up? Has your cat ever rejected an entire bowl of food after a few mouthfuls, only to beg you for more food again? If you have wondered if this is a behavioral issue, you’re right. But it’s not one to get annoyed about. Your cat isn’t making your life harder, he’s suffering from whisker stress.

What exactly is whisker stress in cats?
To fully understand what whisker stress means, you need to look closely at your cat’s whiskers. What is their function? Whiskers, in most animals, function as feelers that capture information about the surfaces they contact. Most cats have whiskers so sensitive that they pick up on subtle vibrations in the air. Whiskers may appear to be hair, but they’re far more complex. They’re cells rich in blood vessels and nerve endings, which enhance a cat’s vision and senses.

So, what does this have to do with your cat’s eating habits? Well, if your cat is eating out of a bowl that can’t accommodate his whiskers, he is likely to feel a lot of pain. The pressure of being forced to fit a narrow bowl can send pain waves through your cat’s nerve-rich whiskers.

To really understand how painful this can be, imagine this. A single whisker shoots out a stress signal if it moves 1/200th the width of a human hair. Now picture how strong this signal would be if a cat had to squeeze his entire face into the narrow walls of a bowl. Cats’ whiskers have evolved over time to be able to gauge spaces and send signals so the cat can respond accordingly. This means that the whiskers are constantly screaming to the cat that the bowl is too narrow for his head and that he should stop forcing it to fit. Now you know why your cat behaves funnily when you try to serve meals in bowls that are way too narrow.

How to save your cat from whisker stress?
The great news about whisker stress is that saving your cat from it requires a simple fix. All you have to do is switch out your cat’s feeding and water bowls for bigger ones that comfortably accommodate his whiskers. Ensure that the bowls are wide and shallow so there’s no chance of your pet’s whiskers touching the sides even if he bends to reach the very bottom.

Many cat owners don’t understand why their pets choose to go hungry over eating from certain bowls. They mistake this behavior for their pet being fussy or finicky. This certainly isn’t the case. As you now know, whisker stress causes severe pain in cats causing them to react very dramatically. The good news is that you can use the simple fixes on this post to solve this painful problem.

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Do Mixed Breed Dogs Have an Advantage Over Purebred Dogs?

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If there’s a debate that has no strong conclusion, it’s this one. Dog lovers and experts have extensively argued about which dogs are better – mixed breed dogs or purebred dogs. Some experts recommend mixed breed dogs because of their disposition to adapt easily to their surroundings. Further, mixed breed dogs are typically sold at a much lower rate than purebred dogs, especially when bought from a dog shelter.

However, this may not always be the case. Some mix breeds can be incredibly expensive. This is usually the case when two breeds are intentionally mixed, which is how it is with Puggles (Pug + Beagles) and Labradoodles (Labrador + Poodle). Even when adopting from a shelter, you have to consider the extra costs associated with spay/neuter and vaccination fees, and other such small fees. But most dog owners overlook this additional cost because it can never compare to the warm satisfaction of having saved a dog’s life.

Many canine experts recommend mix breeds because they have very low chances of being born with congenital defects. This is because the breeding process naturally excludes defective genes, leaving you with a mostly healthy pet.

However, there are experts who suggest that adopting a mix breed isn’t the best of ideas. It could affect logistics. For instance, you can’t always recognize the ancestry of a mix breed. In this case, you can’t be certain if the pup you adopt will stay small or grow much larger. You may live in an apartment building that doesn’t have enough space for a large dog, in which case you may have to give away your mix breed after he’s grown too big for the space.

On the other hand, you can tell exactly how big a purebred is going to get. You can also predict its health requirements and defects if any, and what it’s behavior may be like. This predictability is exploited even more by responsible breeders who pair purebreds based their temperament and physical stature. Some breeders even go as far as to get genetic test results when choosing suitable mating pairs. If this is the level of pre-mating prep, the purebred you get is likely to grow into a healthy, well behaved and intelligent dog without major hiccups.

Either way, you can control the temperament and health of any breed, pure or mixed, using today’s technology. Mixed breeds do not automatically guarantee better health and behavior. They may require genetic screening and selecting mating too.

So, when choosing to bring a dog into your life, ask yourself what type of companion you want. Based on the answer to this question, you can narrow down the breeds (pure or mixed) that could be the right match for you.

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The Pet Foods That Cause Heart Diseases in Dogs

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Pets and their owners are spoilt for choice when it comes to pet food options. Although there is a wide array of pet foods to choose from, not all pet foods are created equal. In July of 2018, the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) began investigating the possible link between heart disease and certain grain free foods that contain potatoes, lentils, peas or other legumes as the main ingredients.

Although some breeds are genetically predisposed to heart disease, the FDA had been receiving reports of a heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM in dogs that are not genetically prone to the condition. Canine DCM is a condition where the heart muscle of the dog is affected and eventually leads to congestive heart failure.

Which breeds are at risk?

Giant and large breed dogs like Saint Bernards, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Newfoundlands, and Doberman Pinschers have a genetic predisposition to DCM. The heart condition is not usually seen in smaller or medium breeds. The FDA had received reports of atypical cases of DCM in breeds like Shih Tzu, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, Bulldog, Miniature Schnauzers, Whippet and mixed breeds.

Which foods are dangerous?

Grain free foods: The diet of these dogs had carbohydrates from potatoes, lentils or peas instead of grains. Blood tests in some dogs that had DCM on grain free diet revealed low levels of an amino acid called taurine which is important for normal functioning of heart muscle. Organ meats and raw meats contain taurine naturally while it is not present in plant based proteins.

Exotic proteins: Veterinarians suggest dog owners to select pet foods that have high-quality ingredients and are made by reputed manufacturers who have nutritional expertise along with quality control systems in place. They also suggest caution with exotic proteins like kangaroo and alligator that have not fully been evaluated as compared to the tried and tested beef and chicken proteins.

Coffee and Chocolates: Dark chocolates contain ‘theobromine’ a substance that can be toxic to your dog, causing vomiting, diarrhea and irregular heart rhythms. If not treated immediately, chocolates could also be fatal. Coffee can lead to palpitations and muscle tremors in your dog because of the high amounts of caffeine.

Signs of heart disease

Early signs of DCM may be hard to detect but you could watch out for these symptoms in your dog:

  • Faster breathing rate
  • Excessive panting
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Coughing
  • No interest in exercise
  • Reduced exercise tolerance
  • fainting episodes

Consulting a vet as soon as you notice any of these symptoms is important. DCM can be reversed by making the required changes in the pet’s diet. Including a mix of high quality, validated proteins and grains is the best way to keep your furry pal healthy.

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Is Imodium A Good Idea For Dogs?

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What do you do when your canine gets a runny stomach? Many pet owners are not sure what to do when something like this happens, but that’s common. It’s not a crime not to know what to do when your canine is suffering from a disorder that doesn’t seem very serious. Does a non-serious symptom require a visit to the vet? Many people prefer dealing with such issues by using the over the counter drugs that they use on themselves. Imodium is one such drug used to treat dogs with a bad stomach. But is it safe? That is the big question. Let’s explore the viability and possible side effects of Imodium.

How do you recognize when Imodium is necessary?
The biggest sign that your pooch has a stomach upset is abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. This usually indicates that the gastrointestinal tract of your pup is inflamed and possibly infected. However, there’s no reason to be extremely worried unless it’s chronic diarrhea, which can be spotted when you see blood in your dog’s stools.

There are several ways for canines to get diarrhea. It could be the result of a diet change, consuming non-edible items, and intolerance to certain food items. These are the less serious causes. However, diarrhea in dogs could also be the result of more serious disorders such as Crohn’s disease, or parasites, inflammatory bowel disease.

What exactly is Imodium for dogs?
Loperamide is the chemical name of the drug commonly referred to as Imodium. A synthetic opioid, much like morphine and oxycodone, Loperamide has a few side effects among which constipation is one. This side effect is what makes Imodium a great way to counteract diarrhea. It does this by hindering intestinal motility and essentially putting a stopper in the flow of diarrhea. However, this drug does nothing to address the stomach pain that is sometimes a side effect of diarrhea and treated with other medication.

Is Imodium bad for dogs?
A few breeds of dogs keep Imodium down easily, but others face severe side effects that make you want to question its necessity. Unwanted side effects of Imodium include constipation, severe sedation (lethargy and sleepiness), bloating, and even pancreatitis. Herding breeds such as the Australian Shepherds and Shetland Sheepdogs cannot take Imodium as they have a mutation called MDR-1 which influences the process of production of P-glycoprotein. Imodium is also a P-GP substrate, which makes it impossible for a dog with this mutation to digest the drug.

Dogs with other health disorders such as Kidney disease, liver disease, Addison’s disease, labored breathing, hypothyroidism, head injuries can’t take Imodium either, as the drug would worsen the condition of their disorder. However, if you do visit a vet and clear your dog for Imodium consumption, you can use it safely. Read more about pet risks and tips on PetPlus blog.

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Here Are Holiday Events to Enjoy with Your Pet

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From wearing ugly Christmas sweaters to posing in the family picture, pets participate in almost all holiday traditions. But apart from typical holiday activities, what else can cat and dog lovers do with their pets during holidays? If you have some time on your hands soon and want to spend quality time with your pet friends, here is a list of ideas with which you can experiment.

  1. Let them enjoy holiday feasts
    The internet is full of pet-friendly holiday recipes that you could try preparing. You could bake canine cookies or cake with catnip for your dear canine and feline friends. Alternatively, you could dine out at pet-friendly restaurants. Even if you aren’t cooking something special, consider making a special plate or slip extra scraps to your four-legged friends during holiday dinners.
  2. Plan snow outings with your pets
    Snow outings are super fun with making snowmen and snow angels, and participating in exhilarating snow fights. By including your pets in your snow outing plans, you not only give them the opportunity to be playful and have some fun while also making your snow outings more fun. There’s nothing like a playing with a canine who loves being goofy in the snow and chasing you through paths filled with it.
  3. Create special decorations for them
    Who says pets can’t have their own Christmas and Thanksgiving decorations? Pinterest and other social media platforms are full of fun, creative ideas for pet decorations. Make your canine friend a Christmas stocking or include your pet in the gifting tradition during the holidays. You could even have fun decorating the tree with your dog or cat in tow.
  4. Order fun gifts that they would appreciate
    There are so many fun gifts that you could get your canine or feline during the holidays. Consider shopping for a new chew toy for your teething pup, or a cozy catnapper for your feline friend this holiday season. You could get plenty of other gifting ideas by reading posts on PetPlus. There are many cute pet and owner combination gifts on the internet too that you might want to consider purchasing.
  5. Get exercise playing fun games
    No cat or dog owner needs to be sold on the fun of playing games with their pets. This holiday season, consider taking your pet to a destination where you can get some sun and play fun games. Even if you’re not traveling this holiday season, you could visit that pet park across town that you had always planned to visit. You could also make a pet date with a neighbor to get a bunch of pets together for a fun event.

There’s a lot of fun that you can have with your pets this holiday season. This post describes a few activities that can make your holidays a lot more happening and memorable.

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Here Are Diy Hacks To Make A Cat Perch

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Any cat owner would know that felines require a lot of stimulation, exercise, and high places from where they can perch and jump to keep their muscles active. Cats do sleep for many hours each day, but they are by nature agile hunters who need to activate their feline hunting tendencies by leading and prancing about in their majestic but graceful manner. That’s where cat perches and furniture come in. Working on DIY cat projects can be a fun way to keep you and your cat engaged for a couple of hours. Here are a few DIY hacks to make a perch for your cat.

  1. Recycle throwaway materials like trays and cushion stuffing
    When you have old articles like trays or worn out cushions or mattresses to throw out, ensure that you keep parts of them for DIY projects. For instance, old trays and the stuffing of worn out cushions and mattresses are exactly what you need to put together a cat perch. These materials along with a few shelf brackets and screws available in hardware stores are all you need to run DIY projects for your pet cat or dog.
  2. Use extra bits of papers and ribbons to make the decoration
    When you shop for gift wrappers or craft material, buy one or two extra papers for your cat perch project. You could even use torn wallpaper and plaster it on the bottom of your perch, or turn old ribbons into bows to adorn the finished porch. If your children have leftover glitter and glue, you could use that to make your cat perch look more appealing. Stickers, marker pens, and wrapper can also be used to decorate your DIY cat perch.
  3. Don’t shy away from using a power drill and screws to create extra compartments
    Pre-mark the spot that you want to drill through to make sure your target lands perfectly. You could drill and screw a small plastic or metal box to the perch to store catnip. You could also use ribbons to attach catnip infused chew toys or other edibles for your four-legged friend to enjoy. Finally, you could add a headboard or a scratch pad to make the cat perch even more inviting. Based on where you want to attach the cat perch, you will have to fix placeholders. Create holes for screws and use small metal pieces to hold the cat perch in place.

Before planning your cat perch design, decide where you want to place it. Also decide on what accessories you want to attach to the cat perch and how you want to decorate it. Once you have done all of the above, use the hacks on this post to create a DIY cat perch for your feline friend. You can get more ideas for DIY cat projects on the PetPlus blog.

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Why Dogs Sleep In The Sun

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Dogs love to sunbathe. To them, lying in the sun means more than getting warm. If you observe carefully, you will notice that your dog has a favorite spot to sleep. It may be in front of the window or a little far away. Your dog instinctively knows where she will get the best Vitamin D. If you have an indoor dog, it will snooze on the carpet at a point where the sun streams in through the window.

Vitamin D production

The warm sun helps your dog to regulate its temperature. Other than getting comfortable, it is also enjoying the production of Vitamin D in the body. The latter is important as it is regarded as a pro-hormone and not simply a kind of vitamin. Without vitamin D, the dog cannot absorb calcium. The animal can only make it in direct sunlight. The generated Vitamin D is kept in the hair and in fatty tissues. It assists to regulate the phosphorus and calcium balance of the body. This vitamin is a must for bone formation. It also helps in controlling the nerves and the muscles. A majority of the Vitamin D used in the body is obtained through the diet. A substantial portion is created with the help of direct sunlight as similar to humans.

The processing of Vitamin D is not the same for dogs and humans. This is as dogs have fur. The canines cannot efficiently absorb the Vitamin D3 back into the body. The vitamin remains below the fur. The dogs eat it orally when they lick and groom themselves. It is apparent that the absorption of Vitamin D in dogs via sunlight is inefficient. Majority of this vitamin comes through the diet. This is the reason your dog likes to groom itself.

No excess sunbathe

Do not allow your dog to sunbathe too much in the sun. An excess amount of sunlight leads to skin cancer and sunburn. Some dog breeds are more vulnerable to sunburn compared to others. At highest risk are the breeds with minimal or fewer hairs. Dogs having light colored or white hair are susceptible too. To stop this, make sure that your dog has access to cooling shade at any given point in time. The dog will naturally want shade when the sun becomes too intense. If you and your dog like to roam around, it makes sense to purchase a few dog-safe sunscreens. Some human sunscreen contains zinc oxide, a chemical lethal to animals.

A majority of logs love nothing more than to lie in the sun. Every dog has picked its own special spot in the sun. Most dogs love to enjoy a good nap and have their own preferences when it comes to selecting a sunny spot to relax.

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Designing The Perfect Kennel For Your Pooch

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The kennel is a dog’s castle, so it’s understandable if a canine owner wants to put real thought into designing the perfect one. Build a sturdy, reliable kennel and you can be sure that your dog has a safe haven from bad weather and pollution. Designing the perfect kennel doesn’t require prior knowledge or experience in building. Anybody can complete it with less than $100. Before starting to design or build any dog kennel, you have to be sure of where you want to put it and what size it should be. Once you have a sense of those specifications, you are all set to begin.

  1. Ensure that you have the right dimensions and materials
    The standard dog kennel run should be 48 by 12 inches, which allows the canine room to urinate and defecate in the far end, making it easier for the owner to clean. Kennel floors should be created on a slope, so the water can run and not stagnate. You could also plan a dry well at the end of the slope to collect any water that might flow through the kennel. Use concrete, which is more likely to withstand bad weather for longer. You could use gravel as well, as it’s a cheaper alternative, but gravel makes cleaning the kennel very hard.
  2. Consider fencing and other protection to keep your pooch safe
    Wire and fencing are important to keep your pet safe from other ferocious stray animals. The fencing protects your pup from being poisoned during the night or when you can’t keep track of its movements. The most affordable, but the efficient type of fencing is chain-link fencing. This type of fencing is also incredibly easy to find and install. However, some dog owners don’t prefer chain-link fencing as it does not appear very appealing. Other alternatives that you could consider are welded wire and treated lumber.
  3. Choose the location of the kennel wisely
    Some people recommend building the kennel a few yards away from your home so you can reduce the barking, odor and flies that may appear around your canine. However, this isn’t the best idea if you have a more vocal canine that barks a lot. If neighbors complain about the barking, you will have to travel a distance for bark control. Keeping the kennel dry and clean for your pooch will also be difficult and more time-consuming if the kennel is built at a great distance from the house. Feeding your dog and making water available through the day is easier when the kennel is more accessible.

When designing a kennel for your pooch, ensure that you have the right materials and location to set up the kennel. Once you have, you should also consider setting-up wires or fencing for protection, and an easy way to provide food and water for your canine. For more ideas on building kennels, visit PetPlus.

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