Is your dog doing something weird? Learn about their body language

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You and your loving dog, unfortunately, do not speak the same language. For you it means that comprehending what your dog is trying to say can be exhausting. These miscommunications can be frustrating and funny,

The problem arises when miscommunication leads to serious training or behavioral problems. This makes life difficult both for you and also your dog. Do note that canine behavior is a wide topic. A lot remains to be learned. We still do not understand why dogs behave in specific ways or do specific things.

Canine body language

Your dog could try to please another dog by seeking attention. It could do one or multiple of behaviors like ear or muzzle licking or both. It could curve or lower its body, or jump up and down. It could also blink its eyes. Its teeth could be exposed or lick the lips. Your dog could lower the ears and the head for appeasement. It could also bow. These are all examples of active appeasement.

The list of passive submission tactics include body freeze and cowering. These are done as a response to increased fear due to perceived threat. Other than appeasement, your dog could also use displacement signs so that it can avoid a confrontation. The body signals are actually a distraction to cover up what the dog is really feeling. Licking, yawning, sniffing and scratching can be regarded as active behaviors which keep your dog calm. These activities offer a distraction to make sure that attention towards him from others gets refocused on someone else.

Discomfort and nervousness

Stressed dogs exhibit a number of behaviors which help to relieve their stress. These are also made to appease perceived threat. Your dog will yawn when it gets nervous. Licking the lips does not mean your best friend is hungry. This behavior means it is afraid.

Curious and anticipation

Your dog is naturally curious. More confident dogs can deal with change more effectively. Your dog will measure up any situation using a few behavioral traits. These reassure your dog that it is safe. The list of mannerisms include head cocked only to one side or to the other. Its front paw can be lifted. This means it is anticipating what will happen, and what your canine must do next. If its mouth is closed, it means your dog is sizing up the situation to prepare for action.

There are times when your dog chases its tail. For puppies this is a method to expend the excess energy. However, if this is done constantly, there could be a chance that your dog may have flea allergy dermatitis or even anal gland problems.

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These Are The Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat

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As a responsible dog parent, it is your duty to ensure your pet’s utmost health and well being. And a well balanced diet forms a major part of ensuring that your four legged friend stays strong and happy for years on end. In addition to providing your ‘doggo’ with adequate portions of nutritious meals every day, you must also stay extra cautious of any food items that might prove to be toxic for their systems if ingested. Have a look at our list of all such foods that are downright dangerous for your pet.

Chocolate

With the exception of a few ignorant individuals, most pet owners are well aware of the toxicity of chocolate for a dog’s system. Chocolate comprises two basic ingredients called caffeine and theobromine, both of which are extremely harmful for dogs. That being said, dark chocolate with higher cocoa content is even more dangerous than sweetened milk chocolate. Since the aforementioned ingredients of chocolate can even prove to be lethal in large concentrations, you must immediately take your dog to a vet in case he ingests some.

Garlic, Chives and Onions

Regardless of whatever form (cooked, raw or powdered) they are ingested in, garlic, chives and onions have been associated with blood cell damage in cats and dogs, and can end up terribly irritating and inflaming your furry little friend’s GI tract.

Xylitol

A major sweetening agent in all kinds of baked goods, candies, gums and even toothpaste, xylitol has been known to cause excessive drop in the blood sugar levels when ingested by a dog. Larger concentrations can even end up causing liver failure! Some of the common tell tale signs that your dog might have ingested xylitol in some form include coordination issues, lethargy, vomiting and eventually seizures.

Alcohol

While alcohol is not good for us humans either, its negative impact is fairly amplified in case of dogs, so much so that even a little wine, beer, liquor or a food item with an alcoholic ingredient can cause considerable discomfort to the animal. Starting off as common symptoms such as lack of muscle coordination, vomiting, breathing problems and diarrhea, the effects of alcohol can even lead to coma and an eventual death of your canine friend.

If you suspect that your dog might have accidentally or intentionally ingested any of the aforementioned food items, you must immediately take him to the vet for examination and ensure adequate treatment.

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Why Are Young Kittens Prone to Upper Respiratory Infections?

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If you have pets, you love them like family and want the best for them. But just like human babies, young kittens tend to fall sick often. What is one of the most common infections that affects kittens? Upper respiratory infections seem to be extremely common among kittens, especially those under 6 months of age. What are upper respiratory infections and why are young kittens prone to them?

What are feline upper respiratory infections?

Feline upper respiratory infections are similar to common cold and flu in humans. However, you have to be vigilant to know that your kitten is unwell because cats have a tendency to hide illness. Various bacteria and viruses affect different parts of your kitten’s respiratory system, causing a range of infections. Most of these infections are species-specific and only affect cats, although a handful of these infections can spread to humans with weak immune systems.

Reasons for upper respiratory infections in young kittens

There are a number of reasons your kitten might an upper respiratory infection. At time, it is preventable, and at times, there is not much you can do but treat the infection and ensure your kitten in comfortable. Here are a few reasons your kitten might be more susceptible than an adult cat to these infections.

  • Weak immune system: Kittens are very similar to human babies during the first few weeks of their lives and may have weak immunity during this time. If your kitten has been unwell or has been on medication, then it might be at a greater risk of these infections.
  • Sick cat in close vicinity: If there is another cat r kitten close to your kitten that is unwell and has an upper respiratory infection, it may pass on the infection to your kitten. These infections spread through bodily fluids – eye secretions, saliva, and mucus discharge from the nose – and through shared things such as toys, water bowls, and litter trays.
  • Imbalanced nutrition: If your kitten is not getting all the required nutrients from its food, it will be at a greater risk of upper respiratory infections. You can check with your vet for the best balanced diet for your kitten for its age to avoid deficiencies.
  • Inadequate vaccination: If you do not get your kitten vaccinated in time or do not get all the mandatory vaccinations, you might be putting it at a high risk for upper respiratory infections.

You should try and take as many precautions as possible without hampering the freedom your kitten enjoys. Get the vaccinations done on time, keep an eye out for symptoms, and keep other sick cats away from your young kitten to prevent upper respiratory infections as much as possible.

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4 Benefits of Sterilizing Your Cat

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If you have a cat that is older than six months, then it is time to get it sterilized. The procedure is known as spaying in female cats and neutering in male cats. The procedure is simpler in male cats and the incision heals completely within a few days. For female cats, the healing process can take up to 10 days as the procedure is slightly more complex.

Benefits of sterilizing your cat

There are a number of benefits of sterilizing your cat. Here are a few of the important ones.

  • Aggression is reduced. Sterilization causes a change in the level of hormones in your cat’s body. The change in hormones leads to temperamental changes and can help make your cat docile and calm.
  • Keeping the cat indoors is easy. If you have a female cat that is in heat, she will meow incessantly, try to run out of the house every time the door opens, and can get aggressive. She may stop eating or eat very less and will be very agitated. If you have a male cat who smells a female cat in heat, he will get aggressive and try to run out of the house. Sterilization prevents such occurrences.
  • Reproductive cancers can be prevented. Removal of reproductive organs ensures that cats do not contract reproductive cancers, which are very common in older, unsterilized cats.
  • Unwanted pregnancies can be avoided. You will avoid pregnancies, especially when you do not have the space or time for kittens in your house. It can be extremely difficult and expensive to care for newborn kittens and to get them adopted.

Female cats can go into heat about four times a year or more. If there is a virile male cat around, the female cat will have litter at least a few times every year. Many of these kittens will die, get killed, or land up at shelters for lack of permanent homes for them, where they will most likely be put down.

Preparing your cat for sterilization

  • Ensure you do not feed your cat 6–12 hours before the procedure, depending on the age of the cat.
  • Do not give drinking water to your cat about 4 hours before the procedure.
  • Have an empty room ready with mats, warm blankets, and water, as your cat will experience uncontrolled vomiting and urination for a few hours after the procedure.
  • Stay with your cat before, during, and after the procedure, as your presence will help keep your cat calm.

Your vet will be able to give you the exact requirements before the procedure. An empty stomach is mandatory as anesthesia leads to nausea and vomiting in cats. If the stomach is not empty before the procedure and the cat vomits once unconscious, it could choke your cat and cause medical complications.

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Everything You Need to Know About Neutering Male Dogs

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Also known as castration, neutering is the removal of the male canine’s reproductive organs. When you neuter your male canine, it won’t be able to reproduce. Also, any breeding related behavior will cease after neutering.

Why should you neuter your male dog?

Throughout the country, animal shelters have large amounts of dogs and puppies. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), there are at least 10,000 organizations in the United States to rescue animals. However, millions of those dogs and puppies get euthanized on a yearly basis. When pet owners neuter their male canines, the number of unwanted puppies reduces significantly.

There are various health benefits when you spay your male canine, which will help reduce behavior problems and live a healthier and longer life. Your male canine won’t suffer from testicular cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia. When you neuter your male canine, there are lesser chances of it leaving your house. Also, it will make them less aggressive than before.

When should you neuter your male dog?

Vets recommend male canine owners to neuter them when they are between the age of six to nine months, even though clinics are capable of neutering them when they are two months of age. However, before you take your canine for neutering, you should consult your vet to make sure he doesn’t have any health problems.

Recovering from neuter surgery

By following these recommendations by American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), your male canine will have a comfortable and safe recovery from neuter surgery:

  • During recovery period, keep your canine away from animals
  • For at least two weeks, your canine shouldn’t jump or run around
  • Use an Elizabethan collar to prevent your canine from licking the incision area
  • Regularly check the area of incision. If there is any discharge, swelling or redness, visit the vet immediately
  • For 10 days, avoid giving a bath to your canine
  • If your canine is vomiting, barely eating, lethargic, has diarrhea or is uncomfortable, contact the vet

Talk to your vet if your canine will need medications to manage pain. Even though it isn’t necessary, it will be helpful to have them with you. You will know if your canine is recovering well if it is comfortable and has energy to play.

Is it safe to neuter male canines?

Neutering is a common procedure performed on male canines. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), there is a certain amount of risk for surgery with anesthesia. Vets will ensure that your canine is okay for the surgery by doing a thorough health checkup.

If you have queries regarding this topic, please leave a comment below!

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Signs Your Cat May Be Suffering From Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases (FLUTD)

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Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases or FLUTD are one of the most common diseases among cats. It refers to a bunch of diseases that attack the lower urinary tracts, which are the bladder and the urethra, making it difficult and painful to urinate. There are various causes like bladder stones, infection or inflammation, diabetes or crystalline blockage to name a few.

If left untreated, this condition can be dangerous and can even lead to life-threatening consequences. For vocal cats, it may be easier to recognize when they are in pain. If you have a quiet cat that hides signs of discomfort, it is of utmost importance that you know your cat well to identify any symptoms that could point to this.

So if you notice any of these signs, it is recommended that you take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.

Is the stomach bloated?

If your cat has a bloated or tightened stomach, and cries out in pain when pressure is applied, it is likely that he has difficulty urinating. But make sure to get diagnosis from a vet, as bloating is a common symptom for many other illnesses too.

Is the litter box empty frequently?

If the litter box is unusually empty, it means that your cat does not urinate as frequently as he is supposed to. If you suspect your cat is suffering from FLUTD, make sure to check his litter box regularly to keep track of his urination. He may be experiencing a condition called “dysuria”, which simply means a painful passing of urine. He will feel the need to urinate, but may strain or cry out in pain as it will be difficult.

Does your cat pass out bloody urine?

“Haematuria” or a condition where your cat passes out bloody urine is another indicator that he is suffering from FLUTD. If you see that your cat’s urine is red in colour, you need to take him to the vet immediately. Sometimes, the blood may not be so visible and obvious. The blood content may be microscopic, which means it can only be seen through tests by your vet.

Does your cat lick itself excessively?

Sometimes cats who find it difficult to urinate lick their urinary areas excessively, often in an attempt to soothe the pain. This is mostly due to the pain, irritation or infection in the urethra and bladder. This excessive licking or over-grooming can lead to loss of hair if it is severe enough.

Does your cat urinate in odd places?

“Periuria” is a condition where your cat keeps urinating in other places except where he is trained to – his litter box. If you find that your cat passes urine in odd or inappropriate places like his bed, on the couch or on the floor, it means that he cannot get to his litter box in time due to urethral or bladder irritations.

 

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Tips On Caring For A Pregnant Dog

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If you have decided to breed your dog, there are many requirements to be fulfilled. It is not a simple task taking care for a pregnant dog. They are usually pregnant for 58 to 68 days, and during this period, there are many points you have to ensure while looking after your dog. Remember that proper caring is important for successful breeding.

Here are a few important tips to keep in mind while caring for a pregnant dog.

Feed high quality food

The diet of a pregnant dog has to be monitored carefully. Make sure that you feed only commercial dog food of high quality for the first four weeks. These contain all the necessary nutrients. Then in the fifth or sixth week, increase the amount by 20 – 25%. In the sixth week, increase it by another 25%. Pregnant dogs need more food. They eat not only for themselves, but for their puppies too. Feed her frequently in small amounts.

Maintain low-intensity exercises

You can carry on low-intensity physical activities like walking and light jogging. Avoid exercises that are strenuous and take a lot of energy that could overtire her. You need to be even more careful after the first month of pregnancy. Your dog needs to be fit and in a good shape to help her babies when the time comes.

Do not vaccinate

Make sure that your dog does not receive vaccinations of any kind during pregnancy. A vaccination right before pregnancy though, is a great idea. This will ensure that her puppies receive a good quantity of antibodies during lactation. In the case of medication, although most medicines are safe, it is always best to seek advice from a vet to guarantee safety of the puppies and the mother too.

Remember to deworm

Deworming is a crucial measure to take for pregnant dogs. It makes sure that worm infestations of any kind like roundworm, hookworm or tapeworm are not passed on to her babies. Wormers like Fenbendazole are suitable and safe, but always visit the vet first to ensure the correct dosage and products are administered.

Get a whelping box

It is recommended that you either buy or make a whelping box that will be a safe place for delivering puppies. Make sure that it is wide enough so that your dog can stretch fully without any constriction, and still have space for the puppies. The walls need to high, strong and secure so the puppies will not be able to climb out. Remember to make it comfortable and cosy by throwing in bedding so the new family can relax.

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Dealing With Cognitive Dysfunction In Cats

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Cats are prone to cognitive dysfunction or feline senility, an aging condition that resembles Alzheimer’s in humans. In fact, a recent study by Danielle Gunn-Moore, a veterinary surgeon from Scotland, has revealed that 28 percent of cats who are 11-14 years old are affected by this condition, while a huge 50 percent are affected in cats above 15 years of age.

If your geriatric cat exhibits sudden behavioral changes, confusion and disorientation in familiar places or with familiar people, or changes in the sleep cycle, it is possible that they may be suffering from cognitive dysfunction. But it is best to visit a vet as all these are also symptoms of other diseases like arthritis and diabetes.

In case your cat is diagnosed, here are the things to keep in mind while caring for them.

Stick to a routine

Maintaining a routine reduces disorientation and confusion in your cats. If their schedule keeps changing, it will only leave them more stressed and confused. So remember to keep things as steady and predictable as possible. Keep food bowls and litter boxes in the same places, feed them at the same time every day, play with them regularly at the same time daily. If possible, avoid switching rooms and rearranging furniture.

Regular physical and brain exercises

Keeping cats stimulated physically and mentally is a great way to prevent or reduce cognitive dysfunction. Play with them daily to engage them in physical activities that are also mentally stimulating like fetch or treasure hunts. For example, hide their treats under their meal or place toys on shelves. Train them to respond to various commands like ‘sit’, ‘stand’, ‘roll’ or handshakes. Give them treats every time they play well or learn something new.

Create a friendly living space

Create or redo your house in small ways that could make things easier for your cat. Cats with senility may find it difficult to navigate around the house due to their disorientation. Keep extra litter boxes around the house in areas that are easy to access. They often have trouble sleeping at night, or wake up in the middle of the night. Leave your nightlights on so that your cat can easily navigate around, to find their bowls or litter boxes at such times. Being able to see and sense reduces their anxiety and confusion. Also, remember to restrict access to places that might be dangerous for your cat like the laundry room.

Know your cat’s limits

Lastly, you should always keep in mind that your geriatric cat suffering from cognitive dysfunction is not as swift or strong or sharp as it once was. Just like humans when they age, cats also face a lot of limitations as they get older. Understand this and be gentle and patient with them. Never overwork them even during play. They should never be forced or threatened, but instead, encourage them and teach them what they have to know with reinforcement of treats and affection.

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The Effect Of Aging On Your Cat

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As much as we love to play or laze around with our cats, they do not stay young forever. You may not like to admit it, but cats, like everything else, are not immune to aging. Generally, they have a life span of up to 16 – 18 years, and as they grow older bodily and mental changes accompany. These can change their functioning negatively, so it is always good to know what effects aging has on your feline friend.

It is true that some cats age gracefully, with little to no problems, but this may not always be the case. The aging experience may be different from one cat to another, but below are the most common and general effects of aging in cats.

Impairment of kidney functions

With old age, blood supply to the kidneys lessens leading to a decrease in the number of filtering cells. The kidneys, as a result, are not able to concentrate urine. This means that aging cats have to drink more water and pass out more dilute and watered down urine. Make sure that these cats always have access to fresh clean water.

Liver problems

In some aging cats, the liver accumulates a lot of fat, leading to a bigger liver size and a higher level of liver enzymes in the bloodstream. This may lead to a number of health problems.

Weaker bones and muscles

Inter-vertebral disc diseases and arthritis are common among older cats. They are not strong and swift as they once were. They may get hurt or be bruised easily and get tired in no time. Many cats are susceptible to muscle wasting.

Eyesight and hearing deterioration

With old age, most cats have weaker senses. Their eyesight may be impaired, as in the case of cataract, which is common among older cats. Sense of hearing also diminishes greatly. This may be due to standalone changes in the ear or perhaps related to poor eyesight.

Heart diseases and breathing problems

aging cats commonly suffer from heart diseases and breathing problems related to poor lung functioning. The heart walls often thicken, leading to insufficiency and poor functioning in a condition called cardiomyopathy. The walls of small airways in the lungs also thicken, which could lead to numerous breathing problems.

Behavioral changes

There is a huge change in the central nervous system of cats as they age. This leads to a number of cognitive and behavioral changes. They may lead to a lesser amount of sleep and restlessness. As they have poor vision and hearing, they find it hard to go into deep sleep.

Their mental decline is somewhat like Alzheimer’s in humans. They seem disoriented and confused, and are less reactive to their surroundings. They may even become very distant physically and emotionally or grow to be extremely needy and attention seeking.

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Tips to House-Train Your Adult Dog

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There are times when canines reach adulthood without any house-training. As a result of this, you will find your canine soiling your house on a regular basis. Luckily, you can train your adult canine and teach it new habits. With patience, time and dedication, you will be able to house-train your canine. Before you start house-training, clean the area your canine has been using previously to answer nature’s call.

Now that your house doesn’t have any traces of your canine’s urine and feces, you can start house-training. Here are three tips on how to house-train your adult dog:

  1. Take your canine out at least six times a dayWhen you start house-training your canine, make sure you take it out at least six times every day. The first thing you should do when you get up is to take your canine out. If you have to go out to work, you should take it out before you step out. During the day, your canine should go out twice. If you can’t take it out, ask someone else to do it. After you give your canine dinner, you should take it out. The last one should be just before you go to sleep. Once your adult canine takes six toilet breaks, you can change it four a day.
  2. Use a crate 

    The easiest way to house-train your canine is to use a crate. You can easily house-train your canine with a crate because dogs don’t like dirtying their eating and sleeping areas. The crate you get for your canine should be big enough for it to stand, turn, and lie down. However, the crate shouldn’t be too big because it will relieve itself in one corner and sleep in the other. Make sure you keep the crate in the busiest part of your house so that it doesn’t feel alone. Also, ensure you take your canine out regularly so that it can exercise and bond with you.

  3. Praise your canine when it answers nature’s call outside your house 

    Every time your canine relieves itself outside your house, you should give it treats and praises. By doing this, you are telling your canine that it is a good thing to eliminate outside. Also, give it the treat and praise right after it eliminated. If you praise your canine after you take it home, it won’t be able to understand why you are praising it.

Also, avoid punishing your canine if it eliminates inside the house when you are not at home. Follow these three tips to house-train your canine. If you have any queries, feel free to leave a comment below.

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