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Revealed – common household substances which are Poisonous for your pooch

Common household substances can be hazardous for your canine. Stack them away and make your home pooch-friendly.

 

Household products for specific uses may be hazardous to pets with accidental exposure. Exposure of the household substances may be dermal, oral, ocular or inhalational. Some of the important indoor substances with higher toxic potentiality are described.

Dr. Vijay Kumar M

Dr. Vijay Kumar M


Soaps and detergents

Products: This class includes soaps, shampoos, spray cleaners, dishwash liquids, powders, laundry products, disinfectants, fabric softeners and sanitisers. Bath soaps and bar soaps usually have low toxic potential, causing mild gastroenteritis with vomition on ingestion. In case your pet accidentally ingests such products, use demulcents and diluents like milk, rinsing with water for dermal and ocular/eye exposure and induction of emesis if soap is non-alkaline (non-corrosive). If there is no spontaneous vomition within thirty minutes of ingestion, then give fluid and electrolyte therapy with assistance of your local veterinarian.
Symptoms: Toxicity related clinical signs are vomition, diarrhoea, gastrointestinal discomfort, intravascular haemolysis in impaired liver condition, dermal irritation, corneal damage; oral-corrosive damage, salivation, muscle weakness, respiratory and CNS depression, seizures, collapse, coma predominantly seen with cationic detergents.

 

Corrosives
Products: Product examples are toilet bowl cleaners, automobile batteries, gun barrel cleaning fluid and swimming pool cleaning agents. Other examples are drain cleaners, washing products, liquid cleansers, etc.
Symptoms: On dermal and ocular/eye exposure: serious burns, extremely painful, corneal/conjuctival necrosis, perforation and opacity. On ingestion: corrosive burns of mucosal membranes (milky white/grey, turning to wrinkled black). Vocalisation, depression, panting, inability to swallow, vomition with blood, abdominal pain, polydypsia, respiratory distress, shock, secondary pneumonia from aspiration of vapours, gastrointestinal bleeding, perforation and fistula are the other signs observed depending on the severity.

 

Disinfectants
Phenols: Sources of phenolic compounds include flooring materials, coal tar, creosote, tar paper, etc.
Symptoms: It results in intense pain and skin of exposed area of pet becomes black. Also may cause corrosive burns of mouth, oropharynx, and oesophagus. Vomition, salivation, ataxia, panting, weakness, tremour, coma, seizures, methhaemoglobinaemia, respiratory alkalosis, severe liver and kidney damage. Ocular exposure is treated by sterile saline wash.

Bleaches

Symptoms: Generally, the toxicity of bleaches is of lower degree, resulting in irritation of ropharynx, salivation, vomition and abdominal pain. Bleaching of hairs, pulmonary irritation- coughing, dyspnoea and retching on inhalation may also be seen. Non-chlorine bleach products (sodium perborate, sodium peroxide) are alkaline and severe gastric irritants cause renal damage and CNS (Central Nervous System) excitation, depending on the amount ingested.

Deodorants

They are composed of aluminium chloride and aluminium chlorohydrate which have moderate toxicity potential.
Symptoms: Ingestion can cause oral irritation, necrosis, gastroenteritis (diarrhoea) and nephrosis (urine voiding problems).

Solvents and alcohols
Products: The most commonly encountered solvent (acetone: sources: nail polish remover, varnishes, glues) and alcohols include isopropanol        (perfumes, cologne, grooming products), methanol (antifreeze products, automotive wind shield cleanser, consumer products) and alcohol (alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, mouthwashes, common baker’s and brewer’s yeast).
Symptoms: Clinical signs noticed are CNS and respiratory depression acidosis, ataxia, hypothermia, cardiac arrest, coma, etc.


Petroleum distillates

Sources: Gasoline (petrol), kerosene, motor fuels, solvent paints and vehicles for pesticides. Because of low surface tension, chance of aspiration is most common.
Symptoms: Dermal exposure may result in dermatitis. Oral exposure results in aspiration pneumonia, cough, hyperthermia, cyanosis, CNS depression and pulmonary oedema.
Note: Do not make the pet to vomit using Emetics (saline solution) and oily purgatives (liquid paraffin) are contraindicated, as they increase the risk of aspiration.

 

Batteries
Products: Automotive or dry cell batteries contain sulfuric acid that can be irritating on contact with eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract, which is treated accordingly as with acid exposure. The sources of small disc/button batteries include batteries used in calculators, cameras, hearing aids, watches, the content being mainly mercuric oxide. The dry cell batteries commonly used in toy flash lights, may contain alkaline (NaOH, KOH; alkaline batteries) or acidic compounds (ammonium chloride, manganese dioxide, heavy metals- Li, Ni, Zn, Ag, Cd) in them.
Symptoms: On ingestion, most of the intact batteries pass through digestive tract within 24 to 36 hours without producing any major adverse effects, except for mechanical obstruction occasionally. Gastrointestinal distress (off feed, dull and depressed) may occur resulting from retention and obstruction, which has to be diagnosed by radiography and has to be corrected by endoscopy and surgery. If battery is chewed and split apart, it may cause corrosive damage depending on the chemical content in it. Timely surgical intervention together with the administration of saline cathartics, enemas and appropriate chelation therapy with specific chelating agents if any (e.g. DMSA or D-Penicillamine as for Pb), can minimise the corrosive damage caused. Lead is the major source of toxicity among the metals, resulting in acute or chronic toxicity upon ingestion. The sources of lead are paints, batteries, solder, plumbing supplies, lubricating material, ceramic containers, Pb pipes, toys, inks, dyes, used oil from vehicles that burn leaded gasoline. The clinical signs noticed are: acute-CNS excitability signs, convulsions, behavioural changes, ataxia, tremour, blindness; chronic-gastrointestinal disturbance signs, vomition, pica, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

 

Cyanoacrylate adhesives (superglue)
Uncured cyanoacrylate adhesives form an almost instantaneous bond on contact with hair/skin resulting in annoyance and frustration of the animal. Cured ones are nontoxic upon ingestion. Dermal exposed areas are soaked with warm soapy water as quickly as possible and with acetone for several minutes, if area is away from face or eye. The hair may be clipped to reduce the tension on skin. The surfaces should not be pulled apart, with direct opposing actions. Ocular: Eyelid/eyeball is thoroughly washed with warm water and Elizabethan Collar is applied to prevent self trauma. The animal will be able to open eyes on his own with no residual tissue damage within 2-3 days and hence forceful manipulation should not be done.

 

Methylxanthines
Products:  Coffee, tea, chocolates, cola/soft drinks, asthma, analgesic and cold medications. Caffeine, oxicoses and theobromine are the primary toxic agents.
Symptoms: Clinical signs manifested by vomition, diarrhoea, polyuria, weakness, hyperexcitability, tremours, seizures, coma and death resulting from cardiac tachyarrhythmias.
Paracetamol
Symptoms: Dirty brown coloured gums, dyspnoea (difficulty in respiration), haematuria (blood in urine), jaundice, facial and paw edema, cyanosis, hypothermia and vomiting. Less common signs include coma, generalised weakness and death.

 

Xylitol
Products: It is a sweetener used in sugar-free products/chewing gums.
Symptoms: It induces hypoglycaemia by stimulating insulin secretion, resulting in weakness, ataxia, seizures and collapse.

 

Amitraz
Poisoning occurs commonly from ingestion of a tick collar.
Symptoms: Clinical signs include ataxia (unable to walk), bradycardia (dull and depressed), CNS depression, vomition, diarrhoea, and seizures.
Caution: All the pet parents are requested to ensure that poisonous substances mentioned above should be used carefully in presence of pets. Kindly contact the nearest local veterinarian for assistance at the earliest as the condition of your pet could
be extremely critical.
*The best first aid during any of the above mentioned poisonous conditions for your pet is to give/use concentrated salt solution (more salt and less water to give orally to your pet) to induce vomition within two hours after  ingestion of suspected poison.
(Dr Vijay Kumar M is assistant professor at Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Veterinary College, Bidar).

Caution of common errors made by pet parents

Sometimes, pet parents with the best of intentions still make serious mistakes when it comes to the health of their dog. Here are a few common mistakes pet parents make.

Dr. Geeta Sharma

Dr. Geeta Sharma

Not getting preventive care: Taking your dog to the vet for regular examinations and getting her the appropriate vaccinations and deworming can prevent many diseases. Instead of coping with lengthy treatment of an advanced or chronic condition, your vet can catch such issues in their beginning stages. Early care saves you heartburn and money in the long run. Simply getting your dog vaccinated isn’t the same as a full physical examination. Your pet should be examined at regular intervals to keep a check on any change in the normal appearance.
Neglecting dental care: Dogs need dental care for the same reason we do i.e. to prevent teeth and gum diseases. Like human teeth, plaque forms on a dog’s teeth after eating. If left unattended, the plaque builds, causing inflammation, decay, and eventually bone and tooth loss. And while this silent war goes on in your dog’s mouth, he’s probably experiencing pain you don’t notice because dog instinctively hides pain. Gum disease is five times more common in dogs than it is in humans. But it’s easy to prevent by following a dental care regimen that includes daily brushings, good quality dog food, safe teeth-cleaning treats and chew toys.
Overfeeding: Rewarding and loving dogs with food may lead to obesity. Overweight or obese dogs are at higher risk for arthritis and other orthopaedic issues as well as other health problems. Select a good quality dog food and take tips on exercise and treats from your veterinarian.
Sharing medication: Another dangerous health mistake pet parents make is giving dogs human medications. Some of the medications can be very toxic to dogs. Pain killers such as ibuprofen can be the most common cause of pet poisoning. Even small doses can be toxic. Antidepressants, muscle relaxants, decongestants, vitamin D derivatives, oral diabetes medicines, and other common human drugs can lead to complications ranging from seizures to coma to death. Always keep medication secure in a high, locked cabinet and never discard medication where pets or children can get to it. If you’re worried that your dog may have eaten an over-the-counter or prescription pill you dropped from the trash, immediately seek vet’s advice.
Delaying critical care: Dogs don’t have the words to let us know exactly what they’re feeling. Your dog could be in pain, sick, and even gravely ill – and chances are you wouldn’t know it because of dog’s instinct to hide infirmity. Don’t wait to see if a health problem in your dog gets better on its own. Call your vet if your dog isn’t eating or is eating less, is vomiting, seems lethargic, has diarrhoea or fever, or just doesn’t seem well.
Car ride without securing: A loose dog can be a distraction to a driver, and in an accident, the dog can injure himself or others in the car. There are plenty of canine restraint products in the market, choose one made of hard, high-impact plastic and secure it to the frame of the vehicle in the middle, if possible.
Dog off leash in open areas: If you’re walking your dog along the road or letting him be off leash with you, there are chances of accidents or hit by vehicles.  While it’s possible to teach a dog to come when called under nearly any circumstances, it’s unlikely that most pet parent will do so. That’s OK; that’s why there are leashes. If your dog won’t walk on leash without pulling, get a trainer’s help.
Young children and pets without proper supervision: Adult’s supervision is necessary to prevent any mishap. Make children understand that dogs should not be disturbed while eating and sleeping. Parents should ensure that younger children don’t tug on sensitive areas of a dog – such as ears, tail, etc. Always keep children and pets under adult’s supervision.
Not following directions: Your family vet gives you directions for a reason. Always give medications as prescribed (in amount, in frequency and in duration). Always take food away after 8 pm the night before anaesthesia or surgery. Allow your pet to drink water until the morning of anaesthesia or surgery. Come back for rechecks or x-rays or bandage changes as directed. Keep your pet confined after surgery. Keep the plastic cone on round the clock to prevent licking or chewing at the stitches.
Let’s avoid these mistakes and let’s not compromise with the health of our canine buddies.
(Dr Geeta Sharma, MVSc (surgery), MBA is based in New Delhi and she is author of two books – ‘Dog Care’ and ‘Cat Care’. She is acclaimed by Limca Book of Records and India Book of Records as youngest vet to do spay in shortest span of time).

Understanding common ear problems

Ears are a vital part of the body – they not only help in hearing, they also maintain the balance. Hence, it is very important to take care of your
pooch’s ears.

Kritika Manchanda

Kritika Manchanda

The canine ear is divided into three parts – the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. The most common ear problems in dogs are caused by parasites, foreign bodies, climatic conditions and allergies.
Causes of ear problems…
Parasites cause extreme irritation and itching in dogs. Fleas are havoc for pets and indirectly for pet parents. Some fleas live on the outside of a dog’s ear flap and cause tissue erosion, in addition to intense itchiness, which leads to scratching and self-inflicted wounds.
Mites, such as otodectic, demodectic and/or sarcoptic mange mites, have a special fondness for the ear of your pet. They thrive in the warm moist area where the air flow is restricted, usually in the ear canals. They feed on epidermal debris and ear wax. In most cases, these are visible to the naked eye in the form of dark reddish brown or black debris throughout the ear canal. Ear mite infections can be serious, if left untreated, resulting in damage to the ear canals and eardrums. In extreme conditions, it can lead to deformity of the ears and even deafness.
Some ear problems occur due to excessively high temperature and high level of humidity. The inside area of the ear proves to be a perfect setting for the growth of yeast and bacteria. This can cause a number of adverse symptoms, including ears that are itchy, swollen, smelly, sore and painful.
Other causes of canine ear inflammation/infection can be fly or other insect bites, wounds from animal fights, ticks, polyps, tumours of the wax-producing glands in the ear canal or other forms of cancer of the ear. Ear tissues can also be damaged by a dog’s nails, as they try to relieve itching by vigorous scratching. The main symptom of any kind of ear infection is frequent head shaking and constant itching.

Dr. Aradhana

Dr. Aradhana

Breed-specific ear problems…
Dogs with long, low-set and low-hanging ears such as the Cocker Spaniel, Bassett Hound and Bloodhound tend to develop various types of ear infections. Dr Aradhana Pandey, a specialist in canine clinical medicine, pet grooming, pet nutrition and behaviour, adds that ear infections and inflammations are also common in dogs with narrow ear canal like Pugs. For breeds who have erect ears like German Shepherd, getting water in their ears while bathing is a common problem which can later lead to discomfort.
While, Dr Pavan Kumar from Cessna Lifeline Veterinary Hospital, Bengaluru, adds that German Shepherd has a higher risk of ‘otitis externa’ as compared to other breeds; Basset Hound and Cocker Spaniel have higher risk of ear haematoma, whereas White Boxer and Dalmatian
are seen in a large number of incidences of deafness.
Ear problems…
Apart from these parasitic and allergic infections, the other ear problems include: canine vestibular syndrome, masses within the ear, haematoma
and otitis.
Canine Vestibular Syndrome: This disorder usually occurs in old dogs, but there can be cases where

Dr Neelima

Dr Neelima

even the young and middle-aged dogs can get affected by it. Canine Vestibular Syndrome (CVS) is a condition which develops due to inflammation of the nerves connecting the cerebellum (part of the brain) to the inner ear. According to Dr Aradhana, the dogs suffering from this disorder tilt their head in one direction that may vary from a slight tilt to complete head bending that can lead to sudden loss of balance. The main symptoms include balance problems, vomiting and difficulty in eating or drinking.
As cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls balance, some dogs are unable to stand properly due to loss of balance. Nausea and Nystagmus (rhythmic eye motion) are also common symptoms. Some dogs can also face problem in eating and drinking from their bowls because of balancing problems.
Dr Neelima Paranjpe, surgeon, and leading vet consultant from Mumbai, adds that CVS can occur in two ways. First being the peripheral way, which is more common and the second being the central. Since this problem affects a nerve, the effect can be seen at either ends of the nerve. If it is peripheral, it affects the inner and the middle ear and if it is central then the effect is mainly seen at the other end of the nerve. Talking about the detection procedure, Dr Neelima suggested that MRI (Magnetic Resonant Imaging) is the best way to detect this problem as it gives effective results and the accuracy
is also high.
On asking upon how severely does it affect the canine and what are the chances of a dog to fully recover from CVS, Dr Aradhana replies that the recovery totally depends on the severity of the damage that has been done to the brain. If the damage to the brain is minimal then recovery may occur quickly. If the damage is severe, recovery may not occur at all. In cases when dogs do not recover fully from vestibular syndrome, they normally have a good life. They adjust to residual problems like head tilts and do not seem to be bothered at all by them. She also says that in her practice she has most commonly encountered CVS in Pugs.
Masses Within the Ear: This disorder can be caused by a benign or cancerous growth within the ear. The cause of the development of the mass is generally not known. Often these masses can lead to impaired hearing, irritation, infection, or neurological problems.
Haematoma: It usually occurs when a dog continually shakes his ears to try to get rid of the itching and irritation caused by mites. Due to excessive head shaking, sometimes the tissues get damaged, blood leaks into the tissues and a haematoma type bubble appears on the ear. Speaking to Dr Neelima Paranjpe, we found that Haematoma is nothing but collection of blood within the ear. She explained that there is a layer of cartilage which is made up of a number of capillaries, between the external layer of the skin and the internal layer. Due to extensive shaking of head or constant rigorous movement these capillaries break and as a result blood starts oozing out. The blood starts collecting between the skin and the cartilage, which cannot be seen by the pet parent. In simple words it can also be termed as haemorrhage.
Dr Neelima suggests two ways to treat the problem of Haematoma. The first one being surgery, wherein the internal wound is cut open in a surgical process. The healing takes about 10 to 15 days. The problem with the surgery is that the pet parent has to take extra care of the pet post surgery. Dogs tend to shake their head and get irritated with the stitches and as a result keep itching or scratching their ears. The second option is homeopathy treatment. The treatment takes up to two months to completely heal the ear but the best part is that this method of treatment is totally pain free. The patients who adjust to the extra weight in the ear due to collection of blood are given this form of treatment whereas the ones who tend to become uncomfortable with the added weight are treated surgically.
Otitis: Otitis means inflammation of ear (redness, pain, swelling, heat and loss of function). It causes the ear to become inflamed as a result of a food allergy, plant allergy or an allergic reaction to a parasite such as an ear mite or sarcoptic mange mite. The most common causes of Otitis inflammation are allergies, yeast/bacterial/fungal infections, parasites and stenosis. Depending on which part of the ear is affected it is referred as Otitis Externa (external ear), Otitis Media (middle ear) and Otitis Interna (internal ear).

Easy ear care tips…

  • Make sure you take extra care while cleaning your dog’s ears and do not insert any foreign body or any sharp object into their ears.
  • Do not pour any solution into the ear canal without consulting the vet.
  • If you want to clean the ears at home, always use a cotton ball and the solution suggested by the vet.
  • Be very patient and gentle, because even a little carelessness can lead to serious damage to your pet’s ears.
  • It is a good option to get some help if your pet is really active and is not cooperating.
  • You can also get your pooch’s ears cleaned by a professional.
  • Keep the sessions short so as not to stress out the pet.
  • Treat your pet after he cooperates with you in the cleaning session.
  • If the ear drops are prescribed, learn the technique to put them from your vet.
  • After you give ear drops you should always give some treats to your pet, so that he does not fear the next session and cooperates with you.

(With inputs from Dr Aradhana Pandey, Doggy World, New Delhi; Dr Pavan Kumar, Cessna Lifeline Veterinary Hospital, Bengaluru and Dr Neelima Paranjpe, Pluto Pet Clinic, Mumbai.)

dog health

Beware of common pooch diseases

What are the common pooch diseases? Does a particular breed have any specific problem? How can we keep our pooch healthy? These are just a few of the questions that plague a pet parent’s mind. Read on to know more about them.

Skin diseases are by far the most common diseases in dogs. Let’s see why. “It’s mainly due to ticks, fleas, dog healthfungal, bacterial and mange. Well, these come single as well as in mixed infections. Most common dog diseases indications for all these vary from hair loss, bald patches, scaling, dandruff and itching,” tells Dr Gaurav Pardeshi.

Other common diseases of dogs include ear infections, limping, anorexia and pyrexia, as observed by Dr Ramesh P Bopaiah.

Diseases on the rise…

Over the years, vets have seen remarkable increase in a number of diseases in dogs. For example, as per Dr Ramesh, diseases like Leptospirosis, Ehrlichiosis have shown a rise, due to improper garbage disposal in Bengaluru, which has resulted in a rise in the population of rats, bandicoots and also ticks and fleas.

While, Dr Gaurav has seen a rise in the number of lameness in forelimbs in puppies ranging from 4-12 months. “These dogs have a condition called DJD (developmental joint disease) where the joint show signs of some kind of arthritis which was limited to older dogs earlier. The reason behind DJD can be inbreeding and management problems (the way the pet parents keep their pets at puppy stage),” he adds. However, Dr Nagarajan has seen increasing cases of dermatological, urological and nephrological problems.

“This is mainly due to unawareness or complications related to severity of the problems or inability to identify the cause (especially, in kidney diseases). Sometimes, the reason can be simply due to delay in treatment,” he explains.

Season-specific ailments…

According to Dr Gaurav, “Though pooches can suffer from diseases in any part of the year but there are a few health problems which are specifically prevalent in a particular season. For example, the summer season attracts skin diseases and viral infections. Infestation of ticks, fleas and mange is very common in this season and some outbreak of gastroenteritis is also encountered.” He added, “Though winter is the healthiest season of the year, cases of Bronchitis and watering of eyes are common. While, rainy season is the season of Gastroenteritis and at times respiratory tract affections.” And Dr Ramesh treats more pooch patients suffering from Anorexia and Pyrexia in this time of the year.

Breed-specific ailments

Dr Guarav explained that each breed is unique and so are its problems. For example, breeds like Labrador, Golden Retrievers, German shepherd and Great Dane are more prone to hip dysplasia, while, giant breeds like Great Danes, Mastiff and Saint Bernard can suffer due to abnormal bone growth.

(With inputs from Dr (Capt) Ramesh P Bopaiah, private practitioner at Saras Veterinary Clinic, Cox Town, Bengaluru and served with the Indian Army (Remount Veterinary Corps) between 1992-97; Dr Gaurav Pardeshi runs Fur N’ Feather pet clinic and shop, Pune; and Dr B Nagarajan¸ PhD, Professor, Department of Clinical Medicine, Madras Veterinary College, Chennai.)


Breed specific ailments

Here’s a list of a few breed-specific ailments for the benefit of our readers

Basset Hounds – Slip disk
Boxer- Mitral valvular heart disease, colitis
Cocker Spaniel – Scaling disorders, otitis, warts, immune mediated haemolytic anaemia, kidney disease, slip disc.
Dachshund – Hormonal dermatoses, intervertebral disc compression, jaw abnormality, slip disc
Dalmatian – Urolithiasis, cutaneous adverse food reaction, deafness
Doberman – skin- bacterial folliculitis, dilated cardio myopathy, hepatitis, E canis, bleeding disorders.
German Shepherd- From mouth to anus all gastro enteric problems (dental problems, Mega oesophagus, oesophageal diverticulum, gastric dilatation & volvulus, inflammatory bowel disease, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, pancreatitis, hepatitis, colitis), GSD pyoderma, atopy, malassezia, otitis, perianal fistula, maggot infestations, flea allergy, E.canis, nasal bleeding(bleeding disorders), Hip dysplasia, Bone disorders, hematoma, Epilepsy, Paralysis, Congestive heart failure, spleenic tumours
Golden Retriever- Cutaneous adverse food reaction, malassezia dermatitis, congestive heart failure, Hip dysplasia, atopy
Great Dane – Hip dysplasia, gastric dilatation & volvulus (bloat), bone disorders, vasculitis, Callous, Bursitis
Labrador – Allergic skin diseases (atopy, chemical contact dermatitis, cutaneous adverse food reaction),
Malassezia dermatitis, duodenal ulcers, dilated cardiomyopathy, hepatitis, otitis, hip dysplasia.
Pug – Cornal ulcers, pigmentary keratitis, cutaneous adverse food reaction, intertrigo (mucosal fold dermatitis), demodicosis, hypertropic pyloric stenosis
Rajapalayam – Cutaneous adverse food reaction

Tips to keep your pooch healthy…Dr Gaurav advises all pet parents as well as ones who want to get pets that it’s a huge responsibility of having and keeping a pet. “So, take very good care of them. The pet parents who are planning to get pets should meet a vet before bringing home a pooch as they can advise on the breed and age of the pet. Besides, they can guide on how to take proper care of your pet,” he adds.The best way to avoid health problems in your dog is to be prepared for every season. Consult your vet for advise and ensure that you pooch gets regular vaccinations and deworming as it help to keep the dog healthy and avoids many problems. Once the dog gets in to geriatric stage (old age), get a thorough veterinary check up. Remember, prevention is always better than cure!
Nutrition

Common food myths busted!

There is no room for improvisation in feeding your dog or cat. Pet health requires daily care with a balanced diet that provides all the essential nutrients (the elements of food that are essential for the organism to function: proteins, carbohydrates, fat, fibre, vitamins, minerals and trace elements).

Production of nutritional food is like completing a complex jigsaw puzzle with more than 50 pieces, each nutritionrepresenting an essential nutrient. Cheap food contains only about 15 nutrients. For 40 years, Royal Canin has been placing the animal at the centre of its research process. Every nutritional innovation is a real improvement for your dog or cat’s health.

Common misconceptions about digestion and nutrition

“My dog eats what I do.”

False. Dogs do not have the same eating habits as humans. Their digestive system works in a totally different way, so, unlike humans, they can digest larger quantities of fat (provided it is good quality fat!). They cannot digest starch (for example, rice) unless it is perfectly cooked. “Kibbles cause calcium stones in urine.” False. In fact, some kibbles are actually formulated to prevent the formation of calculus. Remember to leave a dish of water constantly accessible for your pet.

“My dog needs variety in its diet.”

False. Ideally, your dog should have the same food in the same dish, in the same place, at the same time every day! Dogs are perfectly happy eating the same complete, balanced food and do not get fed up! We sometimes imagine such things by putting ourselves in their place, but remember that any sudden change in their diet can cause digestive disorders….

Common misconceptions on the choice of food

“Homemade food is more balanced than kibbles.”

False. What does your dog or cat actually need in terms of nutrients? How much energy does he need every day? How much protein is in the food you give? To provide a truly balanced diet, you need to know the answers to these questions and many others! Pet food manufacturers have these answers. “Homemade food is cheaper!” False. If you want to prepare a balanced meal for your pet, you would need about fifty ingredients, making it far more expensive than top quality industrial food.

“Dry food is not enough.”
False. Kibbles are manufactured from carefully selected ingredients and developed to produce a perfectly balanced diet. “My pet might break his teeth on kibbles.” False. Dogs and cats do not chew their food; they tear or crunch it. The shape and texture of kibbles are carefully designed to suit each breed, age and morphological particularities… every difference counts!

(Royal Canin products are available exclusively in pet shops & veterinary clinics. Visit: www.royalcanin.in or email at: feedback@royalcanin.in to know more.)

Dog Health Problems – Common Health Problems of Dog

Your dog may live a long and healthy life, and never experience any health problems. However, it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with the more common canine health concerns so that if he should develop a problem, you will know what to do. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common complaints your dog may face, and what you can do about them.

Allergies: Dogs can be allergic to a variety of things including grass, flea bites and, less commonly, food. Allergies in dogs usually cause skin problems – although food allergies can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. If you see your dog scratching, licking, and biting himself, take him to your vet to diagnose the problem. Your vet can recommend treatment products and procedures, and you may also need to keep your dog away from allergy-causing substances.

Diarrhoea: There are two types of diarrhoea that dogs experience: acute and chronic. Acute diarrhoea strikes suddenly and doesn’t last long. It is often caused by food allergies, infection, or if your dog eats food from the garbage can. Acute diarrhoea can be managed without too much trouble. However, with diarrhoea, there is always a risk of dehydration, so you will have to ensure that your dog takes in enough water, even if he’s not eating. A day of fasting, followed by a special, bland diet should restore his health. Call your vet if the diarrhoea continues, or if your dog has a fever, abdominal pain, starts vomiting or seems depressed.

Chronic diarrhoea is a longer-term problem that is often caused by an illness such as Colitis or pancreatic problems. Your vet will need to diagnose the problem and direct the treatment.

Ear problems: Ear mites are parasites that live in the ear canals of dogs and they can cause a bacterial infection or inflammation. If your dog has ear mites, he may excessively shake or tilt his head. Your vet can easily diagnose ear mites – they leave behind a distinctive brown discharge – and prescribe anti-mite eardrops. You will have to administer the drops at home for four-to-six weeks. It takes some persistence to get rid of these parasites.

Ear infections are also common in dogs, especially dogs with floppy ears. If your dog has an ear infection, he may scratch his ears or shake his head. Treatment consists of a visit to your vet, who will clean out his ears with a special solution, and may prescribe antibiotics.

Fleas: Fleas can cause a range of health problems in both dogs and humans. They are difficult to spot and are usually diagnosed by the presence of flea dirt – black flakes or specks. Your dog may scratch and bite himself if he has fleas. However, even if he doesn’t scratch, the presence of fleas should still be of concern. To rid your dog of fleas, treatment will consist of a flea control program that includes treating his environment -your vet can recommend the appropriate flea control program.

Obesity: Excess weight creates a high risk for medical problems and can shorten a dog’s life. Obesity is probably the most common nutritional disease among adult dogs. It is estimated that 40% are overweight. A quick way to tell if your dog is overweight is to feel his ribs with the flat of your hand. If you can only feel the ribs with difficulty, your dog probably needs to lose weight.

Occasionally, underlying dog health problems can make a dog overweight. But overfeeding and under exercising are much more common causes of excess weight. If your dog is overweight, take him to the vet to rule out any medical problems. Your vet will set a target weight for your dog and select a proper diet. You will also need to give your dog regular exercise.

Worms: They are a common problem for dogs health and must be controlled for his safety and yours. The most common worms are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Although they may not seem to cause your dog problems, worms can stress his immune system, cause diarrhoea and vomiting, and, in rare cases, spread to people. A preventive program of regular worming should be a part of your dog’s health routine.

The good news is that there are more ways than ever to eliminate worms and other internal parasites, and your vet is your best resource for treatment. A thorough worming program includes flea control because fleas may carry tapeworm eggs. Some heartworm medications also prevent intestinal parasites.

The road to health Don’t be overwhelmed by all of this information on common health concerns in dogs. Your dog may never experience any of these conditions – and he certainly won’t experience them all at once. However, if you are prepared, you will be better able to give your dog the care and attention he will need. After all, he deserves your help in achieving the best health possible because of all the warmth and companionship he brings to your life. And if your dog is healthier and happier, both of you will have more time together – and that makes it all worthwhile!

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/1111-common-health-concerns

Is salt really bad for dogs?

It is assumed that salt products are bad for dogs, causing problems such as high blood pressure or kidney failure or even skin diseases and hair fall. But, is salt really bad for dogs?

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/764-is-salt-really-bad-for-dogs

Diet for the moms-to-be and new moms

Diet during pregnancy…

The average duration of pregnancy in the she-dog is 63 days, but her energy requirements do not increase appreciably until the last third of gestation when most foetal weight gain occurs. It is important, therefore, to avoid overfeeding in early pregnancy, since this will lead to the deposition of unwanted fat and may predispose her to problems at whelping. A gradual increase in food allowance over the second half of gestation is all that is required and a satisfactory regimen would be to increase the amount of food by 15 percent of the dog’s maintenance ration each week from the fifth week onwards. At the time of whelping, she will be eating 60 percent more than when she was mated.

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/177-diet-for-the-moms-to-be-and-new-moms-

Caring for the pearly whites

Just like people, dogs need to have their teeth brushed and cleaned. But the fact is, probably the number one health problem for dogs, apart from being overweight, is periodontal disease. Regular veterinary dental cleaning along with specially designed pet toothbrushes and toothpaste and chew snacks designed to eliminate plaque, can help reduce build-up.

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/75-caring-for-the-pearly-whites

Unquestionable benefits of neutering

Changes in sexual behaviour – About twice a year, when females come on heat, males and females are strongly attracted to each other and show great ingenuity in finding ways to get together and mate. This behaviour is highly likely to lead to an unwanted pregnancy. Figures also show increased risks of straying and car traffic accidents at this time. Neutering a female dog stops her having seasons and so rules out the risk of her having a litter. Remember that some can have over 10 puppies! As for castrated males, they will no longer be attracted by surrounding on-heat females and will tend to display less territorial urine marking.

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/299-unquestionable-benefits-of-neutering

Common signs of aging

Your eight-year-old Toy Poodle is still hyper, fit, and happy, while your six-year-old St. Bernard is beginning to lag. Why? A dog’s breed and many other lifestyle factors affect whether or not your dog is actually a senior.

There are common signs of aging to look for, to determine whether your dog is a senior:

Moving more slowly: Like humans, dogs can develop orthopaedic problems, like arthritis, that are more common in older pets. If your dog is taking longer to get up or has problems with stairs, take him to the vet to determine the cause and talk about medications that can make him more comfortable.

Your dog is thinner or fatter: A dog’s metabolism will naturally slow down as he ages, and he may be exercising less now. Dental problems can cause weight loss if it’s painful for your dog to eat. In either case, see your vet to rule out serious problems and to find out how to adjust his diet and exercise schedule to something more age-appropriate.

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/556-common-signs-of-aging

Obesity in the Dog

What is obesity?

Obesity is an excessive accumulation of fat at the adipose storage areas of the body leading to increased body weight above the optimal physiological weight. Dogs weighing 15-20% or more than his optimal physiological weight are overweight; over 30% they are obese. Unfortunately, one dog in four is overweight and obesity is a rapidly growing phenomenon.

We have to be particularly careful with neutered dogs whose energetic need reduce by 30% as soon as the day after the surgery. We also need to be careful with very sedentary dogs and with some breeds known for their tendency to put on weight, like the Labrador Retriever for instance.

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/604-obesity-in-the-dog

Taking Care of your Dog’s Ears..

Dogs have great ears. Your dog can hear sounds over a wider range of frequencies and at a greater distance than you. Unfortunately, dogs pay a price for their superior hearing abilities. A dog’s ear design contributes both to his advanced hearing and to many ear problems he may experience. Ear mites, infections and aural hematoma are the most common conditions. Read on to discover the symptoms of ear disorders in dogs and how to prevent and treat them.

Ear mites

Also called ear mange, ear mites (otodectes cynotis) are tiny crab-like parasites that live in the ear canals, and sometimes on the body of dogs. They feed on earwax and other secretions in the ear canal. Ear mites do not usually bite, but they can cause a bacterial infection or severe inflammation in your dog’s ears.

Symptoms: If your dog is suffering from ear mites, you may find he excessively shakes or tilts his head; or rubs and scratches his ears. You may also notice hair loss around his ears or odor emanating from within his ear canal. To check for ear mites, look inside your dog’s ears for a thick, dark brown substance. Mites can sometimes be seen as small, white moving dots.

http://www.dogsandpups.net/advertorials/608-taking-care-of-your-dogs-ears

Common signs of aging

Your eight-year-old Toy Poodle is still hyper, fit, and happy, while your six-year-old St. Bernard is beginning to lag. Why? A dog’s breed and many other lifestyle factors affect whether or not your dog is actually a senior.

 

There are common signs of aging to look for, to determine whether your dog is a senior:

Moving more slowly: Like humans, dogs can develop orthopaedic problems, like arthritis, that are more common in older pets. If your dog is taking longer to get up or has problems with stairs, take him to the vet to determine the cause and talk about medications that can make him more comfortable.

Your dog is thinner or fatter: A dog’s metabolism will naturally slow down as he ages, and he may be exercising less now. Dental problems can cause weight loss if it’s painful for your dog to eat. In either case, see your vet to rule out serious problems and to find out how to adjust his diet and exercise schedule to something more age-appropriate.

A haze over the eyes: A bluish haze over your dog’s eyes does not affect his sight and is a harmless sign of aging. However, a white haze over his eyes could be a symptom of cataract. See your vet immediately.

Unexplained barking or a slower response to commands: If you find you need to repeat commands to your dog, when you didn’t have to previously, or if he barks or appears startled for no reason, he may have hearing problems.

Problems with vision: You may not even notice that your dog’s vision is changing if it happens slowly. Sight-impaired or blind dogs generally adjust well to the loss of their vision. However, quickly or slowly it may happen, once you notice, take your dog to the vet to make sure it’s not a sign of anything serious. Also, as with hearing loss, be more attentive when walking your dog. He may become disoriented or afraid more easily now in unfamiliar environments.

Lumpy fatty deposits: These may or may not be harmless. It’s important to see your vet to find out if they are lipomas, which are benign fatty tumors that come with age.

A change in coat texture and colour: Dogs lose the lustre and colour of their coats as they age. Brushing and grooming your dog often can help him maintain the shine in his coat. However, if you notice a darkening and dryness in his skin that doesn’t improve with treatment, see your vet, as it may be a sign of hypothyroidism, which is treatable.

A heavier sleep: Older dogs sleep more soundly and more hours than young dogs. Make sure you don’t use this as an excuse not to walk him! Older dogs still need to exercise, albeit in smaller but more frequent sessions.

Canine confusion: Dogs sometimes develop age-related dementia, as humans do. He may be more short-tempered, confused, or appear not to know familiar people or places. See your vet if your dog is behaving differently than he used to behave.

Slowing the aging process

You can ease your dog into a happy old age, where he needn’t feel any different than he did before. Here are important tips on keeping your elderly dog in young-dog shape:

 

  • Safety is most important: Your dog can hurt himself more easily now, as he may not be able to move, see or hear as well as he used to. Watch for hazards in your yard and home, and if you let your dog run free at dog parks, make sure he doesn’t get knocked over by a rambunctious pup.
  • Watch your dog’s weight: Your dog should always have a noticeable waist.
  • Take care of his teeth: Be sure to brush his teeth regularly, and give him snacks that are specifically designed to keep his teeth clean while he chews. Consult your vet for a thorough oral care regimen.
  • Feed him the appropriate dog food, and only dog food: (Unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian.) A balanced diet is vital for a dog to stay healthy. Also, measure his food to make sure you’re not feeding him too much or too little.
  • Get your dog vaccinated and visit the veterinarian regularly: When your dog starts exhibiting the signs of aging, it’s time to start seeing the vet every six months. (However, he does not need to be vaccinated every six months.)
  • Give supplements and medication only as prescribed by your vet: Some supplements may help him stay alert and healthy, but don’t take guesses about your dog’s health. Your vet will know what’s appropriate in the right doses for his age and breed.
  • Exercise your dog regularly: The amount and type of exercise he requires depends on the size and/or breed of dog. It helps him stay limber and also gives him a chance to relieve himself, which he needs to do more often now that he’s older. Try shorter, more frequent walks.
  • Stimulate your dog’s intellect: New toys, new walking routes, and new training challenges all help him exercise his brain and stay interested.

If we’re lucky, all our dogs will become happy, healthy old dogs. With the right care, you can make sure your dog has many happy days ahead!

Common emergency cases and first aid for dogs

Though it is always advised to rush your pet to a vet in any emergency case, still a little knowledge of first aid can go a long way in helping your furry family member cope with the situation before she gets proper medical treatment. First aid in time can save the life of your paw buddy.

 

Emergency situations

dog health

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When do you know your dog requires emergency medical aid? It is the duty of a pet parent to be alert about the health of their paw members. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine. Here are some common diseases (conditions) which when you spot any one of them, call your vet immediately for further examination and instant treatment.

  • Haematuria and haemoglobin uria: Haematuria is the appearance of blood in urine while haemoglobinuria is another condition in which oxygen transport protein haemoglobin is found in abnormally high concentration.
  • Persistent or acute gastroenteritis with severe dehydration: Persistent (constant) or acute (short & severe) inflammation of gastrointestinal tracts involving both stomach and small intestine generally results in diarrhoea.
  • Acute abdominal colic: Severe abdominal pain could be serious or may due only to dietary indiscretion.
  • Acute respiratory distress (dysponea): This is a syndrome with the symptom of inability to adequately breathe.
  • Rupture of the urinary bladder: In this case, the urinary bladder is torn and urine releases into abdominal cavity.

In addition, every pet parent should be aware about other common diseases including persistent paroxymal cough; haemorrhage; cardiac failure; fi ts and abnormal behaviour; muscular injury and fracture; dystocia; poisoning; comma or collapse; heat stroke; snakebite; scorpion, wasp and bee stings; and burns and scalds.

For pet parents

Every pet parent should be careful about any emergency situation that could be fatal to your fur buddy. In order to tackle such life-threatening situation, we have some important points to be shared with every pet parent.

  • Keep emergency number(s) of your vet and ensure all family members are aware of it.
  • Take immediate help from a qualifi ed veterinary clinician and follow his advice.
  • Report precisely the incident and symptoms of your pet to the vet.

Things that vets do

Depending on different cases, following are some common activities done by vets in emergency situations.

  • Attempts would be made to regularise heart rate, blood circulation, respiration and abnormality of temperature (neither too hot nor too cold).
  • In case of foreign body, it would be removed fi rst and bleeding stopped by tourniquet and styptics.
  • The patient will be sedated when she shows excitability, epileptic seizure or colic.
  • Take the help of surgical intervention (if necessary).
  • To overcome shock, critical evaluation of the state of health is to be done through fl uid therapy, blood transfusion, etc.
  • In case of poisoning, specifi c antidote should be given if the poison is identified.
  • If the poison cannot be identified, symptomatic treatment as per the advise of clinician should be done and universal antidote may be tried.

First aid

First aid treatments for some emergency cases commonly faced by our fur friends are listed as under:

Epistaxis (nose bleeding): Taking proper rest is a very important aspect in the management of epistaxis or nose bleeding. The patient should be kept in a cool place. Ice pack, ice water or cold water should be applied on her. Other measures include alum solution spray, adrenaline plug and administration of vitamin K and calcium therapy. If the bleeding persists, haemostastic drugs should be administered under the strict supervision of a qualifi ed vet.

Heat stroke (heat prostration): Factors responsible for this common cause include physical exercise, environmental heat, humidity, dehydration, confi nement in a room, limited water supply, obesity and heat tolerance of individual. In case of heat stroke, the patient should be kept comfortably under an electrical fan. And apply ice bath or cold-water bath to reduce her body temperature. Fluid and electrolyte therapy may be used to check dehydration. Tranquillisers or Paracetamol tablets may also be given.

Wasp and bee stings: Wasp and bee stings produce urticarial wheels on the skin, which are quite painful and irritating to the pet. Through such stings, formic acid causing the irritation is being deposited on the skin. Attempt should be made to remove the sting as far as possible. The infected area may be washed with washing soda. In this situation, antihistamic preparations are useful.

Snakebite: Normally snakes are classifi ed into poisonous and non-poisonous types. Poisonous snakes possess three types of venom, namely, Cytotoxin, Neurotoxin and Haemotoxin. A fl at tourniquet should be applied on the bitten area. The bitten area may be incised to drain out venom as far as possible. The patient should be brought under the treatment of a veterinary clinician. If the snake is identified whether poisonous or non-poisonous, it is easy to treat with the exact antidote of the venom.

Common poisoning: It is advisable to inform vet immediately in case of your pet dog has consumed a poisonous substance. And attempts should be made to keep the patient viable by giving oxygen, artifi cial respiration or fresh air. Care should be taken to maintain the vital capacity of cardio respiratory systems. In case of ingested poisoning, attempts should be extended to evacuating the toxin from the bowel (intestine). Gastric ravage my be restored by introducing 10ml of fl uid per 10kg body weight into the stomach and then aspirating the fluid through a stomach tube fi tted with syringe. The process of aspiration may be repeated for several times.

Wounds: There may be different types of wounds, such as open wound (cut wound), closed wound (contusions), lacerated wound and abraded wound. An open wound is the one where there is a breach in the continuity of skin. Whereas in a closed wound there is no such breach and the part remains as a hot and painful swelling. Sometimes blood may accumulate inside the tissue and the condition is known as haematoma.

In case of wound caused by any sharp objects like nails, hook, glass, wire twig, girder etc, it should be removed fi rst before further treatment. Open wound should be cleaned with normal saline dressed with antiseptic or antibiotic lotion or ointment. It should also be bandaged with sterile gauze and cotton. Bandage should be changed and fresh dressings should be made on alternate day. Ignore tight bandage as it may interfere blood circulation, retard healing and invite complications.

Haemorrhage (bleeding): Bleeding may originate from an artery, vein or capillaries. In case of capillary bleeding, it may be easily controlled by applying pressure bandage over the injured area. A tourniquet with rubber bands may apply firm pressure and help in reducing the bleeding.

Primary haemorrhage denotes bleeding at the time of injury or operation. And other forms of bleeding include reactionary haemorrhage occurs within 24 hours of injury or operation. And secondary haemorrhage occurs within 7-10 days of injury or operation.

Burns & scalds: Burns are broadly classifi ed into three categories as per different degrees. They are 1st degree: the damage to epithelial cells; 2nd degree: the injury involves both epidermal and dermal layer; 3rd degree: the lesions extend into deeper structure involving destruction of subcutaneous tissues.

Burns may produce pathological changes in liver, kidney and cardiovascular systems. The affected area should be flushed with cold normal saline or water. Analgesic tablets should be given to reduce pain. However, in case of extensive burn, sedatives must be used. Soothing and protective preparations like Burnol may be used while dressing the burns.

Bone fracture

A breach in the continuity of a bone is known as fracture. It may be simple with no communications with external air. Comminuted fracture is when the bone breaks into several pieces and Complicated is the kind of injury to surrounding structures. Restriction of movement is an important aspect in the management of bone fracture. It is quite important to keep the fractured portion immobile while you inform your vet for an immediate action. As they say prevention is better that cure, so go ahead and take best care of your furry canine.

(Dr N Anbuchezhian is Managing Director of Chezhian Pet Care Hospital, Chennai and Secretary, Animal Health Awareness Trust, Tamil Nadu).

Common Health Concerns

Your dog may live a long and healthy life, and never experience any health problems. However, it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with the more common canine health concerns so that if he should develop a problem, you will know what to do. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common complaints your dog may face, and what you can do about them.

Allergies: Dogs can be allergic to a variety of things including grass, flea bites and, less commonly, food. Allergies in dogs usually cause skin problems – although food allergies can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. If you see your dog scratching, licking, and biting himself, take him to your vet to diagnose the problem. Your vet can recommend treatment products and procedures, and you may also need to keep your dog away from allergy-causing substances.

Diarrhoea: There are two types of diarrhoea that dogs experience: acute and chronic. Acute diarrhoea strikes suddenly and doesn’t last long. It is often caused by food allergies, infection, or if your dog eats food from the garbage can. Acute diarrhoea can be managed without too much trouble. However, with diarrhoea, there is always a risk of dehydration, so you will have to ensure that your dog takes in enough water, even if he’s not eating. A day of fasting, followed by a special, bland diet should restore his health. Call your vet if the diarrhoea continues, or if your dog has a fever, abdominal pain, starts vomiting or seems depressed.

Chronic diarrhoea is a longer-term problem that is often caused by an illness such as Colitis or pancreatic problems. Your vet will need to diagnose the problem and direct the treatment.

Ear problems: Ear mites are parasites that live in the ear canals of dogs and they can cause a bacterial infection or inflammation. If your dog has ear mites, he may excessively shake or tilt his head. Your vet can easily diagnose ear mites – they leave behind a distinctive brown discharge – and prescribe anti-mite eardrops. You will have to administer the drops at home for four-to-six weeks. It takes some persistence to get rid of these parasites.

Ear infections are also common in dogs, especially dogs with floppy ears. If your dog has an ear infection, he may scratch his ears or shake his head. Treatment consists of a visit to your vet, who will clean out his ears with a special solution, and may prescribe antibiotics.

Fleas: Fleas can cause a range of health problems in both dogs and humans. They are difficult to spot and are usually diagnosed by the presence of flea dirt – black flakes or specks. Your dog may scratch and bite himself if he has fleas. However, even if he doesn’t scratch, the presence of fleas should still be of concern. To rid your dog of fleas, treatment will consist of a flea control program that includes treating his environment -your vet can recommend the appropriate flea control program.

Obesity: Excess weight creates a high risk for medical problems and can shorten a dog’s life. Obesity is probably the most common nutritional disease among adult dogs. It is estimated that 40% are overweight. A quick way to tell if your dog is overweight is to feel his ribs with the flat of your hand. If you can only feel the ribs with difficulty, your dog probably needs to lose weight.

Occasionally, underlying health problems can make a dog overweight. But overfeeding and under exercising are much more common causes of excess weight. If your dog is overweight, take him to the vet to rule out any medical problems. Your vet will set a target weight for your dog and select a proper diet. You will also need to give your dog regular exercise.

Worms: They are a common problem for dogs and must be controlled for his safety and yours. The most common worms are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Although they may not seem to cause your dog problems, worms can stress his immune system, cause diarrhoea and vomiting, and, in rare cases, spread to people. A preventive program of regular worming should be a part of your dog’s health routine.

The good news is that there are more ways than ever to eliminate worms and other internal parasites, and your vet is your best resource for treatment. A thorough worming program includes flea control because fleas may carry tapeworm eggs. Some heartworm medications also prevent intestinal parasites.

The road to health

Don’t be overwhelmed by all of this information on common health concerns in dogs. Your dog may never experience any of these conditions – and he certainly won’t experience them all at once. However, if you are prepared, you will be better able to give your dog the care and attention he will need. After all, he deserves your help in achieving the best health possible because of all the warmth and companionship he brings to your life. And if your dog is healthier and happier, both of you will have more time together – and that makes it all worthwhile!