How to treat mange in dogs

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Mange is a contagious skin condition caused my mites. It can spread by direct skin-to-skin contact or by indirect contact. While many kinds of mites can cause mange, the symptoms are generally the same. Dry skin, dandruff, lesions, skin irritation, red rash, itching and fur loss are commonly experienced.

If you suspect your dog has mange, rush him for treatment. Untreated mange can become resistant to treatment over time. When mange is severe, it can cause permanent scarring or even thicken the skin. Persistent itching can prevent fur from growing back by damaging hair follicles.

Of course the longer you let mites go untreated, the more you stand a risk of contagion.

Dog Mange Treatments

Most dogs with mange get better by themselves in about 2 months. However, it is best to administer anti-biotic shampoo so your dog doesn’t catch an infection from all that itching.

The only way to treat a dog with stubborn mange is to figure out which kind of mite is causing the mange. A diagnosis is crucial, as a result.

Dog mange is treated with spot-on treatments or insecticide shampoos. Your vet may also prescribe a lime-sulfur treatment or an oral medication called Amitraz.

One must be careful when using Amitraz as it can be toxic to certain dog breeds, pregnant/nursing dogs and pups under 4 months. Lime-sulfur treatment makes for a much better alternative.

Apple Cider Vinegar has antibacterial and antiseptic properties which help heal a dog with mange by creating the necessary pH balance.

Honey can be applied onto the sore spots on your dog’s skin to clean the bacteria from it as also the dirt and grime that comes from mange. Its antioxidant and antiseptic properties builds immunity and helps heal sore and tender skin.

Olive oil is another effective natural remedy. It can soothe tender skin and cleanse the area off mange.

A solution of Borax and hydrogen peroxide can be used to heal skin sores and kill mange.

Apply the natural remedies for mange mentioned above and you will be helping rid your dog of mange. Reapplication on a weekly basis would prevent mange from reoccurring.

Now, mange treatment is long drawn out. It can take weeks before your dog is cured of mange. Even longer, for the fur to grow back. Good hygiene and maintaining cleanliness can help dogs who have a genetic disposition towards developing mange.

Try to keep feeding your dog healthy meals so they can gain immune strength to fight off mange.

Keep their bedding clean so they don’t stand potential risk of catching mange. Mange in dogs is treatable and nothing to worry about. A little time and patience and your dog will be cured in no time.

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How to have a merry Christmas with pets

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Christmas is that wonderful time of the year when friends and family gather around and share meals over hearty conversation. Despite the all-pervading Christmas cheer, Christmas can be stressful too what with all the additional duties and responsibilities that one takes on. If you have a pet at your home, this is yet another being to look after. A little planning and preparation can go a long way. You want to make your festivities as merry for your pet, as it is for you. Here are a few steps that will help you have a merry Christmas with your pets right beside you –

  • Get them a collection of Christmas treats – When you get them their own Christmas treat, they’ll no longer be interested in stealing scraps off your plate. Infact, a lot of human food can be toxic to cats and dogs. Make sure your pet doesn’t munch on something that could harm their digestive system.
  • Put the decorations out of reach – You don’t want your pet chewing up the fresh bunch of flowers you just arranged or gobbling down the fairy lights you took so much pain to hang over the porch. If you don’t want your pets to involve themselves in such accidents, simply ensure that the decorations are out of reach from them.
  • Spend time playing with them – Take some time out to indulge in playtime with your furbaby. You don’t want your darling pet to feel lonesome and unhappy, do you? You’ll get all the time to spend with your relatives and acquaintances. A couple minutes now and then with your pet won’t hurt.
  • Create a safe space for them – It’s not just humans, pets feel anxious too. If there are a lot of unknown houseguests over suddenly, your pet will need to retreat for a little while and calm himself/herself down if they are feeling overwhelmed. Place their favorite toys and blankets in a quiet room away from the crowd for them to escape to when things get too much.
  • Exercise them – When you exercise your pet, you are not only keeping them content but also tiring them out. So they will be satisfied and less energetic to stir up trouble around the house. You can continue with the Christmas celebrations comfortably without having a bored/disgruntled pet giving you a hard time.
  • Don’t leave them alone – Christmas means a lot of housecalls. Some households may be more pet-friendly than others. Whatever be the case, try not to leave your pet alone and unattended back home for a long time if you were unable to bring them with you.

The abovementioned steps should help you make the most of Christmas with your four-legged friends.

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What You Should Know About Lymphoma in Dogs

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Lymphoma is something that most of us have heard about. It’s a form of cancer that affects many people across the globe. However, it’s not just limited to people. Even dogs can develop lymphoma.

For a dog owner, it can be terrifying to find out that their dog has lymphoma.  However, panic isn’t going to help the situation and neither will pity. If you want to extend his/her life and ensure that he/she enjoys the remainder of her/his days, it is best to get informed about the disease.

Introduction to Lymphoma

Lymphoma is the name given to a collection of blood cell tumors that develop from lymphatic cells. Now, there are 5 kinds of lymphomas that affect dogs, the most common one being multi-centric lymphoma.

This type of lymphoma targets the external lymph nodes and will, typically, spread to other organs thereafter.

Alimentary lymphoma is another type of lymphoma. It accounts for about 10% of all lymphomas that affect dogs. This particular form of lymphoma develops in the gastrointestinal tract and can become fatal if the tumor shows up near the large or small intestine. If it does, it can restrict the bowel.

Like a lot of cancer varieties, there is no exact known cause for lymphoma. There is very little information that we have. All we know is that it affects mostly older dogs and certain breeds are more prone to it, like Basset Hounds, Scottish Terriers, Bull Dogs, and Boxers etc.

Some theories suggest that environmental triggers, such as exposure to industrial areas, chemicals, and herbicides may have a role to play. Other than that, experts have stated that weak immune systems can also lead to lymphoma.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Multi-centric lymphoma, which is the most common, is characterized by the swelling of the lymph nodes, including the liver and spleen. There is very little to minor pain associated with this swelling. Now, not all dogs show explicit signs of such swelling. This is why dog owners need to be watchful. Watch out for signs such as stressed breathing, excessive urination, anemia, fever, sudden weight loss, abnormal thirst etc.

In the case of alimentary lymphoma, diagnosis is more complex. However, keep an eye out for signs such as excessive urination, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. These are red flags in any case and you need to rush your dog to the vet if he/she is showing these symptoms

To confirm lymphoma, your doctor will carry out a urinalysis and a blood count. The final diagnosis is done via the aspiration of lymph nodes using fine needles. Other tissues may be aspirated as well. An ultrasound scan may be ordered too.

Treatment

There is no cure for lymphoma. However, therapy, via chemotherapy or radiotherapy, can help slow down progress and help your dog live longer. Your veterinarian will help you make the best decision possible. Talk to him/her to know more.

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The most common pet fears and how to help your pet overcome them

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There are many ways in which our pets express certain fears or phobias regarding the different elements of the environment around them. These phobias may be caused due to a variety of different underlying reasons such as any negative past experiences, genetic orientation, lack of proper socialization and so on. Your pet friend might typically exhibit certain behaviours such as aggression, barking, drooling, trembling or cowering when faced with a fearful situation. To help better manage your four-legged friend’s anxiety, we have created a list of the most common pet fears and what you can do about them.

Fear of riding in the car

While in most cases, a dog might have the tendency to get car sick to the point of vomiting, at times your pet might just refuse to accompany you on your car trip because he is simply not used to of the idea. It can be an overwhelming experience for your dog to be seated in a moving car and watch everything outside racing by. You can make your car trips more comfortable for your dog by using treats to appreciate his effort and taking him out for short distances at first.

Fear of thunderstorms

Another very common phobia among dogs is the astraphobia or the fear of thunderstorms that can range from mild to severe in different cases. Your dog might respond to a thunderstorm by tucking his tail between his legs, flattening his ears, trembling or whimpering lightly. In the more severe cases, a pet can end up becoming very destructive or lose control of their bladder during a thunderstorm. The idea here is to desensitize your dog to thunderstorms by training them with recorded lightening sounds and using camera flashes, while keeping the general environment around light-hearted and fun.

Fear of separation

Leaving for office every morning can be a real ordeal with a pet around the house. Most dogs experience a sort of separation anxiety, with the fear that their master will not return. One of the best ways of dealing with this problem is not responding at all to his hyperactive behaviour when you are going out. Acknowledging his antics would only reinforce his fear and do very little to comfort him. Instead, you might want to desensitize your pal to your comings and goings by offering them treats before leaving the home. Doing this, will help your dog associate your leaving with something positive. If this doesn’t help, then you can ask your vet to prescribe some pacifier drugs such as Xanax for controlling your dog’s anxiety.

Helping your dog overcome his fears is imperative for ensuring his physical and emotional health and making the world around a happier and more comfortable place for him to live in.

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How to Help Your Cat Satisfy Its Hunting Instincts

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That cat of yours might be a cute little furball, but hiding inside is a skilled hunter. Cats are, at the end of the day, predators. They are born to hunt, but that might be a problem once you’ve domesticated him/her.

According to veterinary experts, the predatory instinct in cats doesn’t disappear once they’re domesticated. You might be providing them with all the nutrition and comfort possible, but natural instinct is natural instinct.

Therefore, it is necessary to provide your cat with the necessary amount of stimulation and environmental enrichment. Though it’s possible that your cat might not let his/her instincts take over, it is still possible that a threshold may be crossed at some point in the future. The animal in your cat cannot be caged in for long and any forceful attempt to do so will only make him/her more frustrated.

So, the right thing to do is engage your cat’s hunting instinct. Here are a few tips to help you with that.

Let Your Cat Outdoors

Don’t let your cat be indoors all the time. There are ways in which you can bring him/her outside without risking the safety of other animals in the area. For instance, you can set up a cat enclosure with a fine mesh cover.

This will help your cat enjoy the outdoors, while also protecting his/her typical prey from being harmed.

Train Your Cat

You can also try training your cat with a leash and harness. Take him/her for walks like you would do with a dog. However, make sure you’ve got an eye on him/her. You must supervise. Leaving a tied cat unsupervised can lead to several problems.

For starters, your cat might end up becoming prey to a larger animal.

Interactive Tools

Cats are hunters and hunters love to move. So, how do you get your cat to make the most of his/her hunting instincts within a domesticated environment? Well, you can engage in what is called “Interactive Play” using certain toys.

There are remote controlled mice and other unique toys that move. Your cat might find such toys engaging. You can also try hiding such toys and making your cat hunt for it. This can help satiate his/her inner hunter/huntress instinct.

Keep it Natural

Once the above-mentioned steps stop working, you should actually consider setting your cat free to do his/her hunting. It is part of a cat’s natural biological programming and not letting him/her satisfy those killer instincts is actually cruel.

So, let your cat out of the house once in a while for a real hunt. This will help your cat satiate his need to follow the natural script.

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Best Tips to Ensure Your Dog’s Dental Hygiene

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We’ve all heard of how a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s. Yes, dogs are at lesser risk of developing cavities than their owners. However, oral and dental complaints in a dog can spiral into much graver health risks which can impact the functioning of other vital organs like the heart, kidney and liver. No dog parent wants their son/daughter to go through that. So, what is the solution? Well, here are some dental tips for your doggy which will keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy –

  • Brush their teeth as often as you can – Dentists recommend brushing their teeth daily. It is understandable how this may not be possible. But do make sure that you brush your dog’s teeth as often as you can to prevent a buildup of food and bacteria which may cause infections, plaque or gum irritation.
  • Pick dry food over soft food – Soft food is prone to sticking to their teeth and leading to decay. Meat, fruits and vegetables are good whole food options which will not only make your dog’s teeth stronger but also much easier to clean.
  • Provide a soft chew toy for them – If you give them a hard bone, they may injure their teeth. A soft chew makes for a better alternative. It will clean away bits of food from their mouth and is healthier for their teeth and gums.
  • Choose the right tooth paste – Never use your toothpaste on your dog. It contains fluoride and is harmful for your dogs. They also produce froth which the dog may swallow. Pick a toothpaste i.e. specially formulated for your four-legged friend, from a good pet store.
  • Visit the vet – Atleast, make an annual appointment with the pet to have your dog’s teeth examined. You will be preventing any forthcoming risk of bacterial infection this way.
  • Chew bones made of starches are a strict no-no – Chew bones made of corn, potato or rice flours are much more stickier than the variants made from vegetables or dried meat. So stay away from commercial chew bones whenever possible.
  • Look out for warning signs – If you notice bad breath, excessive drooling, depression, misaligned teeth, bumps within the mouth, red/swollen gums, a change in their regular chewing habit, crust along their gum line – take your dog to the vet. It may be sign of a dental problem.

Dogs need dental health care as much as humans. While their oral hygiene may be better in comparison to humans, it cannot be denied that the implication of bad oral hygiene for them is much more dangerous. Follow the tips provided above to ensure your dog maintains good dental hygiene.

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Here’s how to have a safe and fun Thanksgiving with your dog

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Thanksgiving can be a stressful time, what with cooking the turkey just right to entertaining a more than usual number of house-guests. It can be easy to overlook your pet’s needs what with all of these other things demanding your attention. However, in order to prevent any untoward incident involving your pet, it is necessary that you keep an eye out for your dog. Make sure he/she doesn’t swallow any food i.e. harmful for them or get too worked up about all of these new people crowding your house. Here, we share some tips and suggestions on how to have a fun Thanksgiving with your dog –

  • Play with him – Take him out for a walk, play fetch, spend his energy somehow. A tired dog is calm and peaceful. He/she won’t be much trouble for your guests.
  • Keep his water bowl full – Make sure your dog is hydrated. Check the level of water in his bowl and refill it from time to time. If there are other dogs slated to come over, set up multiple hydrating stations so none of them run out of water to drink.
  • Don’t feed him Thanksgiving food – You may be tempted to share scraps from your plate with your four-legged buddy, don’t. Your dogs stomach is not equipped to digest your Thanksgiving turkey well. It will only lead to gastrointestinal complications for him/her.
  • Try to keep him relaxed – Dogs can develop constipation due to all the holiday stress. Travelling magnifies this. So if you don’t absolutely have to drive your dog with you to your relatives, leave them at home. If your dog is not fond of strangers, let him be by himself and don’t force him to interact with your guests. Also, keep your own stress level down. Your mood can affect your canine’s mood. If you’re stressed out, they will be too.
  • Keep your dog safe – With your guests constantly coming in and out the door, it might be a good idea to secure your dog in his space. He may decide to slip out unsuspected and get hit by traffic. Most dog-related incidents during Thanksgiving involve road accidents which occur when dogs escape their homes.
  • Keep your Thanksgiving meal refuse out of your trash bins – Your dog may reach it and find him/herself leftover turkey bone to chew on. It may splinter/puncture their digestive tract.

Conclusion

Sure, Thanksgiving is a busy time. However, don’t neglect your dog. Make sure he feels safe and comforted. Keep away food i.e. poisonous for him and allow him space to retreat to if he feels overwhelmed. Follow these steps and you’re sure to have a happy thanksgiving!

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Preparing your dog for a vet visit

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The prospect of a visit to the vet clinic can make your dog anxious, scared and even aggressive. It is possible to condition them to feeling positively about their vet check-ups, if you are successful in making their first ever visit to the vet a relaxing experience. A dog who hasn’t had a negative experience their first time to the vet’s is unlikely to feel anxious about revisiting. Keep in mind, that dogs are not comfortable with having their feet, nails, tail and belly touched and moved around. So find a time when they are calm and at ease to take them for their veterinary appointment.

Tips that will make your vet visit easier

These are some ways in which you can make your and your dog’s visit to the vet’s office much less painful –

  • Find a good vet – It is important to find a vet sensitive to the needs of your dog. The vet and staff at the clinic should be experienced in handling nervous and restless dogs.
  • Don’t be anxious – If you’re anxious at having to take your dog to the vet’s, your pet will pick up on your anxiety and feel anxious too. Pretend, if you have to but cloak your anxiety if it’s not possible to calm yourself down.
  • Give your dog a massage – Accustom your dog to a massage that soothes his nerves. Practice this at home and then try it at the vet’s clinic before you have to go in for the check-up. Your dog should be much more relaxed.
  • Add incentives – If you’re taking the dog to a vet, follow the vet visit with a pleasurable activity. So maybe give him a treat, walk him in the park or take him for a swim. If he/she knows that the visit to the vet will be followed by an activity they like, they will be less anxious at the vet’s.
  • Try aromatherapy – Dogs tend to think with their noses. Use the calming scent of lavender and other such stress-relieving scents to relax your dog before a trip to the vet’s office. Spray it in the car or light a candle at home before taking your dog to the vet’s.
  • Provide him with his favorite treats – A good way to distract an anxious dog is to feed him his favorite treats. He will be too occupied with the treats at hand to worry himself about the vet check-up. He is a dog afterall, you can’t expect him to multitask.

So, follow these handful of steps before your vet visit and you and your dog should be fine. Remember, an occasional visit to the vet is important for your dog’s health and should be skipped at no cost.

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Everything you need to know about catnip

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Catnip or Nepeta Cataria is a herb that belongs to the same plant family as mint. It releases a feline attractant oil, nepetalactone, the scent of which produces a mild euphoric effect on cats. Cats bite the leaves of the plant to release more of this oil. The effects last about fifteen minutes. The plant is found all over the Middle East, Europe, Central Asia and regions of China. It is a mid-sized green leafy plant with white flowers. A pet store visit could yield you “raw” catnip i.e. essentially a dried and processed version of the actual plant. It is often found as an ingredient in cat toys or infused into sprays. The plant’s effect on a cat can be likened to ours when introduced to a mind-altering drug.

History of catnip

Catnip has a long history. It is thought that Ancient Egyptians used it, as they domesticated cats. The Romans used it in medicines. It was introduced in America sometime around the 18th century.

Uses

Some lions, tigers and other members of the cat family are susceptible to the effects of catnip too. Then again, there are some cats that don’t register the same effects. Catnip affects different cats differently.
It is mostly used as a sedative or a training tool where catnip is given as reward to a well-behaved cat. It can be used as an alternative for a traditional food treat.

Catnip can be used to calm down cats when hyperactive, scared or overwhelmed.
Word of caution – only use catnip in sparing amounts as it can weaken or entirely kill your cat’s sensitivity to the chemical.

How safe is catnip?

Catnip is quite harmless and not addictive in nature, contrary to popular belief. However, excess usage can cause diarrhea and vomiting, Since catnip can work as an aphrodisiac, it has the ability to make male cats aggressive. Monitor your cat for any change in behavior and stop giving them catnip, if this happens. The best practice is to introduce a small amount of catnip to your cat, see how they react and then introduce more accordingly.

How to administer catnip?

Buy a refillable toy which you can fill yourself with catnip instead of sealed toys which use sharp stems which could injure your pet if bitten. You may also choose to buy loose leaves. You could choose to grow it yourself too.

Conclusion

Catnip only affects kittens over the age of six months. Cats use their extraordinary sense of smell to sniff in the reactive oil that sedates them/makes them euphoric. It can be used as a wonderful training tool but cat owners should be careful of using it in excess.

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How To Tell If Your Cat Is Stressed

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To see a furry friend in distress is enough to set off any feline lover. Worry not dear, because help is at hand.

Cats can be particularly sensitive creatures and their stress triggers could be any one or more of the following; changes in the usual brand of pet food, filthy litter box, relocating homes, newcomers or new additions, presence of strange animals in the vicinity of the house, loud sounds, repair work being carried out in the house, inability to find a safe spot in the house. These stressors could be enough to trigger anxiety or stress symptoms in some humans as well.

Cats are mistakenly thought of as reclusive creatures, however the incidence of stress can be deciphered by watching out for the following symptoms:

1. Urinating outside the litter box: Cats are pretty clean creatures, however if they start literally “messing” around, it should ring warning bells. Instead of freaking out, try to understand the underlying factors triggering the said reaction, such as change in the orientation of furniture in the house etc.

2. Decrease in appetite: Cats don’t usually go crash dieting and prefer to be a little curvaceous than a size zero. If they start picking on the food and start rejecting the stuff they once gorged on, it could be a symptom of an underlying health condition or stress.

3. Isolation: Cats are playful, jolly creatures as opposed to being introverts. If your happy ball of fur, refuses to come out of hiding and fetch that yarn of wool, it could be an indication of its inability to adjust to some stressor.

4. Excessive grooming: Licking away to feline glory is a characteristic feature of kitties however, grooming to the extent of insane, unstoppable licking or going bald is a sure shot indication of an underlying problem.

5. Aggression towards people or other animals: Amiable kitty turning into a disguised little tigress? Chances are that all the incidences of taking unkindly to even friendly petting, growling away at your pet dog could be reflective of unresolved issues gnawing away at your kitty.

Once you spot the any of the above symptoms are a combination of them, make haste and book that appointment with the vet. Rule out any medical condition and spend some time playing with your kitty, do some vertical thinking and give your kitty a small vertical plant or tree to climb on. Set up a safe zone in the premises of your home, where your cat can feel at home. Happy tummy, happy kitty! Invest in a good brand of cat food that provides a balanced intake of nutrients along with being taste bud friendly. Last but not the least, look after your kitty, notice any change from the usual behaviour and take corrective action.

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