Improving the Quality of Life for Dogs, Dog Lovers and Dog Owners

The Dog Daily delivers useful and relevant information about improving the quality of life for dogs and their owners. The site is the trusted source for practical, innovative and human solutions for today’s busy dog owners and their canine companions. Readers of The Dog Daily cherish their pets as the family members they are.

How do You Keep A Dog's Heart Healthy?

Most all dog owners will swear their pup has a huge heart but of course they mean only metaphorically. This is hugely important because dogs can suffer an array of heart conditions. Generally described as affectionate and loving creatures, it is vital to take care of a dog’s heart to keep him/her healthy and happy.

Different heart problems that can affect canines include congestive heart failure (CHF), heart disease in dogs, and hypertension. These issues are a concern in aging dogs but can also develop at any time in a dog’s life. Although certain breeds are more likely to be affected, any breed of dog can develop a heart problem in their lifetime.

There are various ways of ensuring a healthy heart for your four-legged friend. However, before making any changes in your dog’s lifestyle or diet, it is fundamental that you consult with your vet. Take a look at these major factors that determine canine heart health and prepare to talk to a specialist if you’re worried about anything.

Diet

Nutrition is extremely important for your dog. A balanced diet is necessary to develop a healthy, strong heart and ensure a long life. Dogs with a poor diet will suffer the consequences.

Firstly, it is vital to purchase high-quality dog food that includes the right nutrients and minerals that are essential for the growth of a fit functional heart. Many low-cost options will not include the required vitamins for your dog to develop a strong heart muscle. It is better to invest in premium dog food from the beginning to save on possible consequences later on.

Do not overdo it with treats. If your dog is in training, use the specially designed training treats. These are small and do not take away from their normal eating regime.

Finally, if you think your dog could be overweight, they could be at a higher risk of developing a heart problem. It would be advantageous to speak to a vet about establishing a diet plan to reduce their size.

Lifestyle

Exercise is indispensable in your pet’s life. Dogs need daily activity that helps maintain a healthy weight and bodily functioning. Generally dogs love to take part in frequent cardio exercises, such as running, walking, hiking, swimming, and even agility training. These types of activities help your dog to maintain a healthy heart.

 

Additionally, it is vital that you schedule regular check-ups at the vet with your furry friend. Dogs age faster than humans and that includes their heart. This is why it is paramount to take your pet to the vet’s clinic at least twice a year. This way the vet can make sure that s/he is in optimum fitness.

Prevention and Care

It may seem odd to mention dental care when talking about heart health, but it is much more important than you might think. Dental infections and plaque can enter the bloodstream from the mouth and make their way to the heart, causing more debilitating illnesses. Actively check out your dog’s teeth and gums from time to time. Keep an eye out for anything unusual, such as bleeding, bad breath, or excess drooling.

Heartworm is a very serious disease spread through mosquito bites. It is very important to use vet-approved products to prevent infection because this disease can have dire consequences. Heartworm can lead to inflammation, restricted blood flow, pulmonary embolism, lung disease, and ultimately heart failure.

Watch Out for Symptoms

There are several symptoms that dog-owners should be aware of to look out for heart problems. There are some breeds that are predisposed to having heart disease and others who may be more likely to develop one type or another. It is important to research the breed of your pet to stay informed on any heart issues they might have.

The following is a list of common symptoms of heart problems in dogs:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Coughing
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Lack of appetite or ability to exercise

Early detection of heart problems is ideal, so it’s important to look out for these signs in your dog. If your dog is suffering from any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your vet straight away. In order to find out what is going on with your dog’s heart, the vet will run certain tests. These tests can include a physical exam to listen to the heart and lungs or an ultrasound or x-ray to physically see the heart muscle. They could also check their blood pressure check or do an EKG to discover any arrhythmias. Finally, they may do blood or urine analysis to find out what levels of chemicals are in their system that could be negatively affecting heart function.

How to Cure Dog Breath

Let's face it, no one like the smell of dog breath. Not even dogs. But knowing what causes bad breath in your dog will help you understand how to control it.

Canine Oral Hygiene

The most common causes of bad breath in dogs are bad oral hygiene and periodontal disease. As in humans, the build-up of plaque and tartar in a dog's mouth can lead to the development of the bacteria that can cause bad breath. If your dog doesn't chew on thins and you do not brush its teeth or have his teeth cleaned, then chances are the build-up of plaque is the culprit. Poor canine oral hygiene can lead to periodontal or gum disease, and too much plaque and tartar build-up can pull the gums away from teeth, exposing areas for bacteria to grow. This can harm your dog's gums and can lead to cavities, tooth decay, infection and tissue damage. It also leads to very bad dog breath.

Dog Diet

Some dogs are wonderful, well-behaved canines, but others have bad habits, and those bad habits can translate directly into bad breath. Dogs that regularly get into the garbage, or likes to eat dead animal remains will be more prone to developing bad breath. Dogs also like to eat cat poop, so if you also have cats in your home, then you might have a separate, systemic problem. Not only is this unhealthy, but it is also unhygienic. And, if cat poop weren't bad enough, some dogs eat their own poop or the poop of other dogs, a condition called coprophagia. This obviously will contribute to bad breath problems and can make your life very unpleasant.

Treating Bad Dog Breath

As important as it is to understand the underlying causes behind bad dog breath, what we really want to know is how to get rid of it. Curing bad dog breath depends on the cause, but luckily there are quite a few treatment options out there.

If plaque, tartar, and periodontal disease are behind your dog’s bad breath, then the best thing you can do is to take your dog to a veterinarian to get their teeth cleaned. Your veterinarian will run bloodwork to make sure your dog can handle anesthesia, and this appointment is also a great time to rule out any other potential causes for your dog’s bad breath. During the cleaning, your veterinarian may have to remove loose or damaged teeth, depending on the scope of the periodontal disease.

When it comes to unsupervised snacking, securing the trash and limiting your dog’s access to unpleasant outdoor finds, like roadkill, will resolve this issue. Placing the litter box outside of his reach is a simple solution that eliminates cat feces consumption, unless the cats are also pooping outside, and cleaning up directly after your dog can help prevent coprophagia.

Diabetes, kidney, and liver disease are all conditions that require treatment from a veterinarian. Once the underlying issue is resolved, your dog’s bad breath should go away, too.

 

Are Christmas Tree Needles Bad for Dogs?

Your Christmas Tree bring Joy During the Holidays, but it can also bring danger to your Dogs and other pets.  Apart from you, your dog may think that your Christmas tree is her friend during the holidays and cannot see the perils that tree can represent. Most dogs are instinctively drawn to its inviting smell, but beware; that natural curiosity can lead to the risk of serious injury or worse. Your dog's temperament and demeanor will play a role in how much mischief she might find herself in. Even the most well behaved canine will find it hard to resist the temptation of a Christmas tree and its trimmings. Short of 24/7 supervision, the next best line of defense to ensure her safety is to take precautions that could eliminate or at least minimize risk to your dog's health.

Christmas tree needles are not digestible, and if your dog tries to eat them, she'll likely get sick and vomit, and that is if you're lucky. They are mildly toxic, and if she does manage to ingest them, can cause damage to, obstruct or even puncture to her digestive tract. Oils from the fir tree can also irritate your dog’s mouth and stomach and cause her to vomit or drool excessively. Daily sweeping and vacuuming are the best ways to keep tree needles out of your dog's reach. Toddler gates are also a good way to keep your dog away.

Be extra careful with artificial trees as the small pieces are plastic and not organic. These small pieces of plastic can get lodged in her digestive tract and lead to illness, large veterinary bills and even death in extreme cases. You can spray an organic dog repellent on your tree to try and minimize the risks.

 

 

Is Christmas Tree Water Safe for Dogs?

Back in the old days, Christmas trees were usually sold with just a basic wooden base nailed to the bottom for balance. You’d go down to the hardware store, pay them $30 and haul the tree home and stick it in a corner. After a few days the needles would start to dry out and eventually shortly after Christmas Day you would put it out onto the sidewalk for removal or recycling.

But, as appetites for larger trees grew (and house and ceiling heights too!), people began spending more money and buying taller trees, which need a stronger base. They also buy them earlier and leave them up past New Years. Along with these new preferences came a need for a base that could hold water and give your Christmas tree a little more shelf life. So, those of us with curious pets inevitably discovered that dogs love drinking water straight from the Christmas Tree water holder. It tastes different and smells different, so it is bad for our canine friends? As Charla Dawson, owner of Dapper Dog and Classy Cat, points out, “The water itself is not poisonous, but if a fertilizer was added to the water, it may be poisonous. This fertilizer may cause the pet to suffer with diarrhea and vomiting.” (Tree preservatives may also be added to the water, helping to keep the tree fresh during transport.) Dawson therefore advises that you cover the base.

A quick and easy remedy is to make sure your dog’s water bowl is full to discourage exploration of the pine scented water under your tree. But if that won’t work, try covering the tree bowl with some well-secured foil or plastic wrap to prevent your water lapping loved one. Or, if you’re one to accessorize this kind of thing, you could take on a more decorative approach and make a Christmas themed cover for reuse next year. One impressive example is a pretty cover made out of burlap, as seen on the DIY Showoff blog. With some imagination, you can probably come up with other clever solutions.

Even if you just put plain water in the stand, I would advise covering the exposed base. The tree, which may have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals, will leach compounds into the water. It’s better to be ultra-safe than sorry when it comes to the holidays and your dog.

For more tips and ideas on keeping your cat safe this Holiday, click here.