Autoimmune Disease in Dogs: Why GME Awareness is Vital

Autoimmune Disease in Dogs Autoimmune disease in dogs may attack different parts of your dog’s body, however, when it strikes your dog’s central nervous system, this condition can be life-threatening and some symptoms of Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis (GME) often cause severe suffering like chronic migraines that require high doses of medication to help lower your dog’s threshold of pain.

This article gives you a heart wrenching account of a dog named Cricket Ditty and her challenges with GME told by her pet parent and our guest blogger, Margaret Ditty.  When Dog Health News read about Cricket’s condition, we decided that her story needs to be heard far and wide to spread awareness about this disease.

Autoimmune Disease in Dogs: Cricket Ditty – One Dog’s Fight Against GME & NME

Margaret Ditty has kindly shared Cricket’s story so you can understand all aspects of GME & NME.

Cricket was born in January 2009 and just turned 7 years old.   She’s a  fawn colored, female, Applehead Toy Chihuahua with papers.  One weekend I had wandered into a local pet store when I saw this precious little furbaby in her pet store cage.  She looked at me, wagged her tail and woofed at me.  She had me at “woof”. 

Pet store dogs aren’t cheap and her going price was $1,300.00.  I asked the pet store worker if I could visit with her in their visiting area and she brought her to me.  She was a mere 2-½ pounds of sheer cuteness.  She was loaded with personality and spunk and not shaky like most Chihuahuas.  So I called the hubby and begged him to let me purchase her.  She could be every present for the entire year that he would have to purchase for me.  Finally my husband caved in to my pleas, even though we already have a Miniature Pinscher with heart problems at home.  I never purchased pet insurance as I always put away funds in a special pet account for my dogs figuring that my monthly contribution would be enough to cover shots and annual exams myself. Big mistake.

Autoimmune Disease in DogsCricket’s first 7 years of life were wonderful.  No health issues whatsoever.  Then poof, in October of 2015 she started showing some unusual health symptoms that we were concerned about.  She seemed to be having some vision loss and she was walking a bit differently.  We took Cricket to our vet and he thought it might be a middle ear infection, prescribed ear drops and told us to use as needed.  Just two weeks later she received her annual shots, but no rabies vaccination due yet.  Another big mistake. 

From that moment on we saw a decline in Cricket’s health.  Reports say that GME, an autoimmune disease in dogs, is idiopathic in nature which means no known reason it occurs, but they are finding that toy breeds are more susceptible to this disease but not sure why.  In December, Cricket could still walk up and down the stairs, but by January she refused to go up or down the stairs.  She wasn’t as spunky and she was bumping into things that she normally would not bump into before. 

We thought Cricket might have diabetes as she wasn’t seeing very well.  This time I took her to the Animal Hospital that ran a CBC blood panel and specifically checked for diabetes.  They noted that Cricket could not walk very well, definitely could not see very well, and said she was almost blind.  After the blood work came back they found that Cricket had a severe bladder infection and put her on antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory medication.  She seemed to be getting better as apparently the anti-inflammatory medication was helping with the inflammation in her brain from the undiagnosed GME, an autoimmune disease in dogs.  Then a week later, after she had finished this medication, Cricket started getting worse. 

We took Cricket back to our local Animal Hospital who determined she indeed was having neurological problems and referred us to a canine neurologist located in Richmond, Virginia, the only one in our entire state.  We made the 2-½ hour trip one way as soon as they could fit us in. 

Cricket was in bad shape by the time we visited the neurologist at as she had been fighting this disease since October of 2015, unbeknownst to us and our educated vets!   Dr. Michael Higginbotham DVM DACVIM, with Bush Veterinary Neurology Service in Richmond, Virginia, examined her and determined she needed an MRI and possibly a spinal tap which cost us $3,200.00 .  After he completed the MRI he determined, due to the Chiari-like malformation in the back of her brain, she could not undergo a spinal tap as it would kill her. 

Autoimmune Disease in DogsThe MRI showed that Cricket had massive necrosis in the brain and Dr. Higginbotham determined she not only had GME but NME, which was due to her delayed diagnosis and treatment of this autoimmune disease in dogs.  Necrosis is when the white cells eat up parts of the brain, leave lesions and empty cavities in the brain that then are filled up with fluids, which in turn cause even more inflammation in the brain.  To save her life he had to hospitalize her overnight with Chemo Treatments via IV.  So that’s exactly what we did.  We hospitalized her to get her better and took her home the next day.

Cricket looked extremely weak and tired, not because of the Chemo as dogs react differently than humans when receiving this treatment, but due to the debilitating migraines which can be the most painful effects of this disease in the brain. 

We came home and gave Cricket the high dose of prednisone they told us to give her every 12 hours.   Although this drug helps bring down the inflammation in your dog’s brain, it has many side effects including weight gain, excessive thirst and a pot belly.  Then about a week later she was reduced to 2.5 mg twice a day and put on Cyclosporine, which is a drug used for humans to keep them from rejecting transplanted organs. Cyclosporine helps reduce your dog’s white blood cells from attacking your dog’s brain any further.  This med costs $156.00 per month! 

Autoimmune Disease in DogsA month later, Cricket did not seem to be getting any better so we had to drive up to Richmond for yet another $175.00 visit.  Dr. Higginbotham wanted to hospitalize Cricket for 4 days that would have run another $2,200.00 which we did not have.  After I broke down and cried in front of the neurologist, he cut us a break.  For an additional $156.00, he sent her home with a two day supply of Chemo that my local vet would have to give to Cricket. 

I just cried all the way home holding that Chemo in my hand like it was gold since it was apparently life saving for my precious Cricket.  My local vet administered the Chemo and Cricket seemed to start getting better.  In about 10 days, we had to bring her back for another CBC to check her white cells. 

Since Cricket was not stable on any type of wood or tile flooring throughout my home; we put down all kinds of throw rugs in the family room and put up gates to the entrance and exits.  My husband also made Cricket a doggy walker out of PVC pipe and I sewed the body support to her walker so she could walk on the kitchen tile floors without falling.  This worked and it gave her greater mobility and security on the floors. 

To help Cricket regain some strength, I bought a doggy life jacket and proceeded to do water therapy in our bathtub which seems to help control her weight gain from the prednisone and gives her more muscle strength.  Our vet thought it was an excellent idea, so I continue doing this to help rehabilitate her with hope that Cricket’s brain can re-channel the neurological damage she’s suffered from this autoimmune disease in dogs and learn to walk on floors without slipping. 

Unfortunately, Cricket didn’t seem like she was getting any better, meaning her old self, and we had to take her back to the neurologist. Dr. Higginbotham gave her 10 mg of Lomustine, a very strong Chemo Therapy in pill form.  This treatment was $456.00.  Needless to say we are hemorrhaging vet bills to save her precious little life!  This does not include the checkups with our local vet and all the additional blood work to check her white blood cell counts and to check for liver problems from the prednisone!    She seems to be doing better since this last treatment, however she still slips on floors and has good and bad days due to the neurological damage to her brain from the delayed diagnosis and treatment of this autoimmune disease in dogs.

During this whole journey I joined a support group on Facebook to learn more about GME, and then I created my own group.  I personally created a GME Awareness Pamphlet that I am passing out to every person I meet at drive-thru windows, inside local pet stores and veterinarian practices, at stores or to dog owners out walking their dog.  Members of my site are passing my GME Awareness Pamphlets out as well, and some members live outside of the US!  I also created a GME & NME Awareness Video that features many dogs on these sites that are going through this horrible disease, and the pet parents who are shelling out thousands and thousands of dollars to help treat and save their pets lives. We are sharing this video with every doggy website on Facebook. 

Autoimmune Disease in Dogs

It’s been an amazing but heart breaking journey.  I’ve learned a lot about autoimmune disease in dogs and made many precious friends on these sites who are going through the same health crisis with their beloved furbabys!  They’re amazing to know and truly an inspiration of commitment and courage towards the love of their precious furbabys. 

I want to spread awareness about GME and NME to other pet parents to help save them the pain that they and their dogs could go through if not treated early.  Some dogs can die within 24 to 48 hours of diagnosis because many vets are unfamiliar with this disease to the central nervous system.  Your dog may have some or all of these symptoms.

Symptoms of GME 

•Head Pressing: Dog will press their head against things

Autoimmune Disease in Dogs•Weakness in legs

•Behavior changes

•Circling

•Seizures

•Blindness

•Drowsiness

•Head tilting

•Unsteady walk or gait

I want to bring awareness about GME and NME to pet parents of toy breeds because your dogs are at greater risk of this autoimmune disease.  Annual vaccine shots given to toy breeds at the same dose for a 125 pound dog cause your toy breed’s autoimmune system to “melt down”. This high vaccine dose is like throwing fuel on embers of an already slow burning fire existing in toy breeds!  After your initial puppy shots in the first year of your dog’s life, I recommend you have your local vet administer a titer test prior to any additional annual shots!  A titer test will determine if your dog has sufficient antibodies against current dog diseases and if they do, you DO NOT have to perform an annual shot with the exception of Rabies, which is required every three years per state law.   If you currently have a GME or NME dog, remember that your dog must be healthy enough to receive further vaccinations, which they usually are not and are EXEMPT from further annual shots to include rabies.  Ask your vet to use a big red marker on your pets file that says “NO FURTHER SHOTS REQUIRED.”  A re-vaccination of a GME & NME dog would mean certain death!

My biggest advice to any pet parent today is, “If you own a pet, be sure to sign up for pet insurance immediately!”  You cannot possibly imagine how much you will pay when trying to help your dog with a life threatening autoimmune disease in dogs like GME or NME.  It’s horrific, and you feel like you are at your VET’s mercy because the other option of putting down your beloved furbaby is not an option if they are a member of your family.  Pets, to some people, are just as much a part of your family as your own biological children.  Some of us commit to them for life as they mean that much to us as they truly are man’s best friend, full of love and devotion for you.  Do they deserve any less than the best medical care that anybody else in your family would deserve?  I say “No they don’t” and for loves sake I will fight the fight and bring awareness with every ounce of my being and with all my heart!  Thank you for allowing me to share Cricket’s story and bring awareness! 

Autoimmune Disease in DogsWarmest Regards,

Margaret Ditty

Pet Parent to Cricket Ditty

Remember to always, “Educate, Encourage and Share”

You can find Margaret Ditty on Facebook and at Pet Parents Fighting NME & GME “Educate, Encourage, Share”.  You can also join her group to stay up to date with Cricket’s condition and learn more from other members of her group.  All photos in this article are of Cricket Ditty and were provided by Margaret Ditty.

This article gives you a full disclosure about Cricket Ditty’s fight against GME and NME, an autoimmune disease in dogs, so you can take better care of your dog. Dog Health News is honored to have Margaret Ditty’s trust to share Cricket’s story and acknowledges the incredible strength Cricket has while she deals with the effects of this disease.  Margaret Ditty’s passion to spread awareness about GME and NME is unstoppable.

Share Cricket Ditty’s story with your friends and family so they understand the symptoms and challenges of this potentially deadly disease with no known cause.  You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

By the way… claim your FREE “How NOT to Overpay to Keep Your Dog Well” video news.  Just go HERE now to get your Dog Health and Wellness Video News.

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Dog Anatomy: 9 Key Differences Between You and Your Dog

Dog AnatomyDog anatomy quizzes for dog owners could sound like a fun game or a good test of your knowledge, however you may be surprised when you discover how much you don’t know about your dog’s body and the way your dog metabolizes her food, so you might want to brush up on your dog’s physiology before you put your dog at risk in case you think your dog is built just like you.

This news brief gives you 9 main contrasts that separate you from your dog so you can take better care of your dog.

Dog Anatomy 101: 9 Ways Your Dog Differs from You

  1. Body, Skin and Fur – This characteristic may be obvious, however your dog’s size and shape makes her quite different than you.  Your dog’s weight can go from a tiny toy poodle at 5 pounds to a Great Dane that stands as high as 4 feet and hits the scale at 200 pounds.  Even if you and your dog match in weight, your dog’s other body characteristics are strictly canine. Your dog’s skin is layered and much thinner than yours.  Shedding is another big difference in dog anatomy and is common to most dogs.  Fur helps insulate your dog in cold weather.  If your dog has hair, she’s better suited for warmer climates because her hair acts as a sunshade.
  2. Mobility – Your dog is more like a horse because she can change her pace from a walk to a full gallop on all four legs.  If your dog loves to swim like a Golden Retriever, you can see the difference in the dog paddle technique she uses to move through the water.
  3. Life Span – Your dog’s metabolism runs much faster than yours which shortens her life span.  This means that your dog breathes faster at 20 – 30 breaths per minute, her blood pumps faster at 65 – 120 beats per minute, and her body temperature is higher at an average of 102 degrees Fahrenheit.  Your dog sweats by panting and through her paw pads, but not through her skin. It’s important for you to understand the dangers of dehydration and heat stroke based on dog anatomy and the high rate of your dog’s metabolism.
  4. Sight – Your dog has better night vision, and sees motion much better than you because of a reflective layer in your dog’s eyes.  You can see this layer, called the Tapetum Lucidum, at night Dog Anatomywhen car headlights shine into your dog’s eyes and show a greenish glimmer.  Your dog has fewer cones in her retina which cuts down on her ability to see detail and colors as well as you.  For protection in dog anatomy, your dog also has a third eyelid called the nicitating membrane.
  5. Hearing – Your dog’s sense of hearing is 4 times better than yours because of her extra long ear canal.  Some of the health challenges are ear infections, wax buildup and lack of ventilation to your dog’s ear canal if your dog has long floppy ears.
  6. Taste and Smell – Believe it or not, your dog’s taste buds are much weaker than yours, so you don’t really have to worry about variety in her food.  Your dog’s sense of smell is about a million times better than yours and that’s why your dog’s nose is so sensitive.  Take care to remember dog anatomy characteristics for your dog when you cook, clean your home and use fragrances of any kind.
  7. Teeth – Your dog has 42 teeth compared to your 32 teeth.  The front teeth are incisors and canines used to grasp and tear food.  The back molars and premolars are used to grind your dog’s food.
  8. Urinary Tract and Digestion – Because your dog is less Dog Anatomydiscriminating about what she eats, it can affect her digestion and elimination process and be hard for you to detect.  Watch for straining, vomiting, diarrhea and discolored urine.  Bring your dog to your veterinarian if you see blood in your dog’s urine or feces. 
  9. Anal Gland – Your dog has 2 anal glands that often fill up and put pressure on your dog’s body and may become infected.  You may notice your dog scoot along the ground from time to time.  Be sure to have your veterinarian look at these glands on your dog to see if they need to be emptied.

This news brief on dog anatomy highlights the differences between you and your dog so you can better understand your dog’s behavior and physiology.

Share this article with your friends and family so they have the information they need to take better care of their dog.  You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

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Dog Saliva: Is There Anything You Can Do About Drool?

Dog Saliva Dog saliva and puddles of drool left by your dog could result in a messy love/hate relationship unless you completely understand that certain dog breeds drool more than others even though they cover you with slobbering affection and have a lovable personality, so you may need to be prepared for your dog’s slippery saliva in your home before you your dog ruins your furniture, hard wood floors and soaks your bed.

This news brief gives you 3 suggestions to handle your dog’s saliva that may save your furniture  and ease your frustration with your dog’s drool.

Dog Saliva: 3 Ways to Control Your Dog’s Slobber

  1. Towels – You may want to keep fresh clean towels available in every room that your dog has access to so you can control your dog’s drool.  All dogs drool, however the breeds that drool the most can be high maintenance in this area.
  2. Bibs – You may want to try a bib on your dog to catch his saliva when he’s indoors or when guests come over.  A bib may not really be the perfect solution because your dog’s slobber might just slide off and not stick to the bib.
  3. Tiles – You may want to restrict your drooling dog to an area in your home with tile floors that are easy to mop up dog saliva and keep clean. This seemingly simple strategy will be difficult to implement because your drooling dog most likely wants to be right by your side.

Dog Drool: Normal and Excessive Symptoms

  • Normal dog drool helps your dog digest his food.  Your dog’s saliva is rich with enzymes and antibacterial agents that lubricate your dog’s mouth and food. If your dog is a big drooler he Dog Salivaprobably falls into the breeds that have deep lips where saliva collects. And, as soon as your dog thinks about food he starts drooling.
  • Excessive drool, or ptyalism, may be caused by the following:
  1. Dental issues – Your dog may have an abscessed or broken tooth, gingivitis, an infection or inflammation in his mouth that will increase the production of dog saliva.
  2. Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GVD) – Your dog may have a twisted stomach and distended abdomen.  If your dog shows these symptoms, immediately take him to your local animal emergency hospital.
  3. Flu – Your dog may have a cold or respiratory infection that gives him a stuffed nose and sore throat which can cause excessive drooling.
  4. Heat Stroke – If your dog is panting and drooling excessively on a hot day, he may be suffering from heat stroke.  Take your dog to your veterinarian right away because heat stroke and dehydration can be deadly for your dog.
  5. Injuries – You may notice more dog saliva if your dog has an injury in his mouth, throat or lungs.  You can check your dog’s mouth for blood stains with a small cotton face cloth.  An internal injury may be bleeding ulcers.
  6. Kidney and liver disease – If your dog has damage to his liver or kidney, he may start to drool more than usual.
  7. Pain – Your dog may have stomach or joint pain that causes him to be stressed which may result in excessive drooling.
  8. Toxic poisoning – Your dog may have ingested a toxic substance that irritates his intestines and affects your dog’s ability to swallow.  Bring your dog to your local animal emergency hospital right away if you suspect your dog may have eaten or swallowed anything toxic.
  9. Tumors – Check your dog for lumps and bumps all over his body.  Excessive dog saliva can be one of the symptoms when dogs have benign and cancerous tumors.

10 Dog Breeds that Drool the Most

  1. Bernese Mountain Dog
  2. Black and Tan Coon Hound
  3. Dog SalivaBloodhound
  4. Bull Terrier
  5. Bulldog
  6. Great Dane
  7. Great Pyrenees
  8. Mastiff
  9. Newfoundland
  10. Saint Bernard

10 Dog Breeds that Drool the Least

  1. Australian Cattle Dog
  2. Dog SalivaBasenji
  3. Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  4. Chihuahua
  5. Dachshund
  6. Doberman
  7. Greyhound
  8. Old English Sheepdog
  9. Papillon
  10. Standard Poodle

This news brief gives you the facts about dog drool so you can be prepared to mop up after a big drooler and also be aware of the symptoms for excessive drooling that may be a sign your dog has health problems.

Share this article with your friends and family so they know how to handle their dog’s saliva before they drown in their dog’s drool.  You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

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Doggy Doo: 3 Vital Dog Poop Health Tips for Our Times

Doggy DooDoggy doo might not seem important when you fall in love with your cuddly pup, however your dog owner tasks always include daily dog poop management in all kinds of weather even if you’re as sick as dog, in a mad rush to get to an appointment or even worse, you just had fight with your best friend, so you may want to have a foolproof system to pick up your dog’s poop that won’t allow you to shirk your responsibility and suffer the guilt of leaving your dog’s poop where it landed.

This news brief gives you 3 rules of conduct to guide you in your daily dog waste removal routine for your dog’s welfare, community health and common courtesy.

Doggy Doo: 3 Powerful Points about Dog Poop Disposal

  1. Bag It – There are no exceptions when it comes to dog poop pick up unless your dog poops when you’re not looking.  Your dog usually needs to relieve himself after he eats, so you may want to walk your dog about 30 minutes after every meal.  You can choose any method you like from plastic bags to pooper scoopers Doggie Dooto pick up your dog’s waste.  Your dog’s feces could contain parasites and diseases like roundworm, salmonella and E.coli.  Watch for these symptoms in dogs and people: high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and rashes.  The bacteria in doggy doo can infect anyone in your household including children and pets.
  2. Dispose It – You want to find the closest trash can and deposit your dog’s waste after pick up or bring it home with you and toss it in your trash.  Dog poop pollutes your city or town’s sewer system which leads to streams, rivers and creeks.  Rats are attracted to your dog’s feces if left out in your yard, streets, parks and beaches.  Flies lay their eggs in dog poop and can easily spread diseases after contact with infected feces.
  3. Respect It – Your community and your neighbor’s property deserve your respect when it comes to your doggy doo.  The best strategy would be to train your dog to poop in an area that’s easy to monitor and does not jeopardize your neighbor’s lawn or Doggy Doopublic properties.  Dog ownership definitely includes responsibility for your dog’s health and his behavior outdoors in your community. 

Benefits of Your Dog Poop Disposal

  • Reduced water pollution
  • Reduced transmission of harmful organisms like Giardia, E.coli and Salmonella
  • Reduction of nitrogen from animal waste in water increases oxygen for fish, wildlife and grasses.
  • Reduction of roundworms and hookworms in your soil that can be transmitted to animals and people.

This news brief gives you the most important reasons for the meticulous job of doggy doo disposal so you can make a difference to prevent pollution and health issues for your dog, your family and your community.

Share this article with your friends and family to spread awareness about the benefits of picking up dog waste.  You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

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Dog Walker Risks: Are You Distracted by These 4 Things?

Dog WalkerDog walker distractions without warning can cause complicated challenges when you have one or more dogs who pull you from side to side while you try to avoid obstacles like dips in the pavement, people with dogs or friendly pedestrians, so you may want to focus more on your dog’s safety to prevent accidents or injuries from a fall or even worse, you or your dog could get hit by a car because you weren’t paying 100% attention to your environment and your dog.

This news brief gives you 4 simple things you can stop doing when you’re out for a walk with your dog that will help keep you and your dog safer and out of harms way.

4 Dog Walker Distractions That Put Your Dog at Risk

  1. Food and Beverages – Even if you’re good at balancing, it’s really hard to control your dog with one hand on his leash and your other hand on a cup of coffee, sandwich or ice cream cone.  Your dog could easily get burned by a hot drink, grab your sandwich or take a bite off your ice cream before you even blink an eye.  The best solution is to sit with your dog when you have a beverage or food and leave your cups and wrappers in the trash before you resume your walk.
  2. Texting – As a dog walker, you may suffer from separation anxiety if you can’t see your smart phone in your hand, however your dog will be 20 times safer if you put your phone in your pocket, leave it home, or only text when you’re not walking with Dog Walkeryour dog.  In the 5 seconds it takes to send a text message, your eyes are not on your dog and you could easily miss dangers like oncoming traffic or a driver who runs a red light as you’re crossing the street with your dog.
  3. Smoking – Second hand smoke can affect your dog’s lungs or asthma condition and make it hard for your dog to breathe.  Your cigarette, cigar or pipe smoke gets absorbed in your dog’s fur and skin like it does on your clothes.  If you’re a smoker and a dog walker, you might be putting your dog at risk for health issues like cancer and lung disease.  When you hold a lit cigarette in your free hand, it also takes your attention away from your dog.  Consider your dog’s health and avoid smoking inside your home and when you walk your dog.
  4. Detachment – If you’re extremely distraught and preoccupied with something that’s going on in your life, don’t take your dog for a walk until you can really focus on your dog’s safety.  Your thoughts can be a powerful distraction and capture your attention so completely that you won’t hear noises like car horns and you may not notice a red light when you are at a crosswalk.  Detachment means you are not totally present with your senses.  The dangers for you and your dog increase if your reflexes aren’t quick enough to save you and your dog from an accident or injury.

4 Ways to Reduce Dog Walker Distraction

  1. Focus – Keep your eyes on your dog and don’t attempt to multi-task when you walk with your dog. Look straight ahead of you and watch for approaching traffic so you can avoid bumping into people, other dogs, objects and cars that may pull into or out of parking lots.
  2. Crosswalks – Use the buttons that change the traffic light to red before you cross the street with your dog.
  3. Headphones – Lower the volume so you can also hear traffic and voices around you.
  4. Relax – Plan your walks with your dog so you have everything you need to pick up after your dog and enjoy the time you have outdoors. 

Dog WalkerThe information in this short news brief is based on observations of dog walker behavior when people are distracted by their phone, food, beverage, cigarette or they are in deep  thought and unfocused.  These distractions can pose risks for your dog’s well being.

Share this article with your friends and family so they understand the importance of removing distractions when they walk their dog.  You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

Hope you took some great value out of this post today! I’d love to hear your feedback, so make sure you leave a comment with your thoughts or questions. Also, you can click on the social media links below to share this article… Thank you!

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Baby Puppies: How Is Motherhood Different for Your Dog?

Baby PuppiesBaby puppies arrive after a short 63 day pregnancy and are completely dependent on your new mother dog who may be exhausted after giving birth, so don’t expect your proud new dog parent to spend much time with you over the first 3 – 5 weeks of motherhood because your dog will be totally wrapped up with the care and feeding of her new puppies and may not have the same playful personality your dog had before giving birth.

This news brief gives you an idea of what to expect when your dog experiences motherhood so you can take better care of your dog and let her take care of her puppies.

Baby Puppies: 5 Dog Behavior Changes for Your Mother Dog

  1. Restlessness – Your pregnant dog goes through a complete pregnancy in 3 trimesters of 20 days before she gives birth.  Compared to the 9 month term for humans, your dog fast forwards through her pregnancy at lightning speed.  You may notice that your dog seems more anxious and restless as her belly expands and she copes with these changes in her body. 
  2. Impatience – Just before your dog gives birth, she may be snippy and impatient.  Your dog will be experiencing labor pains and contractions that can cause moderate to severe pain.  If your dog gives birth at home, be sure that she has a quiet, protected space to give birth to her baby puppies.  Keep other pets and small children away from your dog at this time so your mother dog isn’t stressed giving birth. 
  3. Anti-Social Behavior – While your dog cares for her newborn puppies, she may only pay attention to her litter and ignore you completely.  As a new mother, your dog will be extremely tired due to her recovery after giving birth and the energy she needs to feed and care for her new puppies, who keep her from getting a good night sleep.  Humans are a bit more tolerant because of their social needs to share their new baby.
  4. Aggressiveness – Watch out for your dog’s behavior while she’s nursing her baby puppies. Your mother dog may be a bit on edge and won’t tolerate people when she’s feeding and cleaning her pups.  You may see your dog start to snarl, or even worse, your dog may be ready to attack if she feels that her litter is in danger.  Humans are similar in this behavior when others want to handle their new baby.
  5. Disciplinary Behavior – After the first 3 weeks, your mother dog may encourage her puppies to play with others and be more independent, however your dog is also using motherly discipline to correct her puppies behavior.  It’s normal if you hear your dog bark at her baby puppies, nip at one of her puppies who wants to nurse, or pick up one of her puppies by the scruff of the puppy’s neck and shake them.  Humans are much more gentle and tolerant with their newborn child.

Baby PuppiesKey Differences of Motherhood for Your Dog

  • Short Pregnancy –  Your pregnant dog can give birth to a litter of 5 or 6 puppies after only 2 months.  This short timeframe may have a huge impact on your dog’s behavior.  The good news is that your dog usually reverts back to her usual behavior once her baby puppies are on their own.
  • Short Weening Period – The first 3 weeks of motherhood are all about your dog’s new litter.  Between feeding, caring and cleaning her puppies, your dog may only have time to sleep.  Your new mother dog will spend the following few weeks teaching her puppies to eat food and explore so they can be independent.
  • Behavior Changes – Your mother dog will go through a series of behavior changes through her pregnancy and weening her puppies.  Be aware that she may not allow you to get close to her litter.  This is quite different from humans who love to share their babies with family and friends.
  • Letting Go –  After about 8 weeks, your mother dog is ready to let her baby puppies go which is the biggest difference between dogs Baby Puppiesand humans.  The amount of work and development that occurs during your dog’s pregnancy and weening period should be acknowledged with respect for your mother dog.

What to Feed Your Dog After She Gives Birth

  • High Quality Food – Your veterinarian can recommend the right food for your new mother dog.  Here are the main types of food to consider:  Puppy Food, Yogurt, Cheese, Protein, Fat, Calcium, and Carbonate.  Although your dog may not want to eat immediately after giving birth, you can tempt her with some of her favorite treats.  Your mother dog needs to continue to produce milk to feed her baby puppies.  The best plan is to feed your dog several small meals every day.
  • Water – Liquids are important for your new mother dog to produce milk and stay hydrated. Be sure to have plenty of clean, fresh water available for your dog.

This news brief gives you a clear picture of motherhood for your dog and how it differs from humans so you can take better care of your dog.

Share this article with your friends and family so they will understand the behavior changes for their mother dog.  You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

You can also listen to our new Dog Health News podcast series, Sit.Stay.Listen. on iTunes.

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Dog Rescue: 4 Compelling Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog

SeniorRescueDogDaisyMariaKangasDog Rescue: That’s a phrase that brings a smile to your face. To rescue a dog means you’re saving a life and you’re also adding happiness to your own life. To rescue a puppy is extremely important, however let’s not forget about older dogs who need the same love. Senior dogs may not be puppies, and still, they have those adorable puppy eyes you instantly fall in love with.  Older dogs deserve your care and love, and they will return the same love back to you and more. Older dogs even give you more kisses! You, along with your senior dog, will cherish your companionship and love.

This news brief gives you facts about the benefits of rescuing and welcoming an older dog into your home.

Dog Rescue: 4 Huge Benefits about Adopting Older Dogs

  1. The More Information—The Better!   Janet Burt, a Hamilton, MA resident, has rescued older dogs. Currently, she owns four older rescue dogs. She enthused, “I rescue older dogs because I simply know more about them. I know about their medical history, their personality, if they can fit into my lifestyle, and how they act towards people.”

          SeniorRescueDogMariaKangasTuckerJanet has even made a photo of one of her rescue dogs her cell phone background! Older dogs show their true personalities the moment you meet them, which will help you know if you and the dog are compatible.

2. Instant Dog Rescue Companions – An older dog just wants a companion and someone to love. You most likely want the same thing. Older dogs will probably be ready to take on any activity with you, such as hiking, car rides, or just hanging out on the couch watching television. They want to be your number one buddy as much as you want to be theirs!

3. Minimal Training – Never say there will be no training, because you just can’t count on it. However, an older rescue dog is very likely to be house trained and well behaved outdoors. Unlike a puppy from a dog rescue, you won’t have to worry constantly about your older dog destroying your couch or peeing in your home. Your older rescue dog probably knows a lot of the basic rules already. That being said, don’t forget that some training might be required. Don’t let your dog off that easy!

4. Save a Dog’s Life –  The reality for older rescue dogs is not a happy ending if they are not adopted.  Most of these dogs that remain for too long in a shelter may be euthanized before they have reached their full life expectancy.  If this reason alone doesn’t help you make a decision to choose an older dog from a dog rescue, nothing else will.

This news brief gives you 4 compelling reasons to adopt an older rescue dog so you can save a dog’s life and feel good about being a dog owner.

Maria Kangas is a senior at Endicott College currently majoring in Marketing Communications and a guest blogger on Dog Health News. She thoroughly enjoys creative writing, and in her free time, she loves to run outside and be with her family. 

The photos shared by Maria on this page are of special friends and their beloved senior rescue dogs, Daisy and Tucker, which was why Maria is passionate about older rescue dogs.

Share this article with your friends and family so they know the benefits of adopting an older dog from a dog rescue.  You can depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

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Dog Body Language: 5 Ways You Know Your Dog is Happy

IMG_0623Dog body language can’t be ignored because you see every square inch of your dog’s body, from the tip of her nose all the way to her tail, however some of the joyful looking signs your dog gives you, like when she wants to jump into your arms, may not mean your dog is happy so you want to know the subtle differences in your dog’s behavior to prevent an accident or growl that could result in an unhappy visit to your local emergency animal hospital.

This news brief gives you 5 ways your dog shows you that she’s happy so you can understand your dog’s moods better and recognize a warning sign that something’s wrong with your dog.

Dog Body Language and 5 Ways Your Dog Shows Happiness

Your dog’s description of happiness may not be the same as yours because she’s not thinking about fame or wealth to make her tail wag faster or slower.  Most likely, your dog simply wants to feel safe, have a full stomach and have something fun to play with.  Here’s 5 ways you can tell your dog is happy:

  1. Face – Your dog’s face gives you the quickest indicator of happiness.  If your dog’s eyes, ears and mouth are relaxed, your dog is in a happy state.  Similar to humans, dog body language like a warm and open expression on your dog’s face tells you all is well.  When you look at your dog’s eyes, check to see that they are Dog Health News™wide open in their normal shape.  If your dog looks away or squints and seems on edge, check with your veterinarian.  Your dog’s ears usually lay flat on your dog’s head and your dog’s mouth is relaxed when your dog is in a good mood.
  2. Body – Your dog’s body and posture, including her tail expresses your dog’s sense of well-being.  If you see your dog’s tail sweeping back and forth slowly, that’s a good sign.  Check to see if your dog’s muscles are relaxed.  Your dog will romp around, act playful and be eager to socialize when she’s in a good mood.  Dog body language is an authentic representation of your dog’s mood. You may not see a smile, but you will feel your dog’s love in her body language.
  3. Appetite – Your dog is a happy and healthy dog if she eats her meals and drinks enough water to stay hydrated.  If you notice any bad habits like your dog constantly begs for treats or walks away from her food, it’s a good idea to ask your veterinarian for advice so your dog doesn’t get sick or put on weight.  The best strategy for your dog’s happiness is to keep your dog occupied with enough exercise, play and healthy food.
  4. Sleep – Your dog is happy when you see her taking a few naps during the day and when she falls asleep naturally at night.  If your dog wakes up often in the middle of the night, she may not be getting enough exercise to burn off energy during the day.  Dog Health News™Dog body language like sleeplessness may be the result of a health issue. Talk to your veterinarian if your dog does not have a regular sleep pattern or if your dog sleeps all day and seems lethargic and unhappy.
  5. Activity – Your dog is happy if she’s excited to see you in the morning, afternoon, and evening or basically any time of the day.  If your dog is destructive, barks excessively or has bad behavioral habits, you may want to consult with a professional dog trainer and see what you can change in your dog’s activities to make her happier.

This news brief gives you basic clues about dog body language to help you know whether your dog is happy so you can take better care of your dog.

Share this article with your friends and family so they have the information they need to make sure they know their dog’s moods and whether or not their dog is happy.

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Separation Anxiety in Dogs: What’s Your Dog Afraid Of?

IMG_9834Separation anxiety in dogs might seem over the top as a real fear for your dog, however your dog may not develop mentally beyond the age of 3, which means that your dog might act like a toddler most of his life and could have the same feelings of worry, unease and pure fear that a baby has so you don’t want to put your dog in a noisy environment like your child’s birthday party where your dog can get agitated and blame your dog because he can’t handle strangers in party hats.

This news brief gives you the 10 top fears your dog may have that is surprisingly matched to the fears of a young child so you can keep your dog safe and calm.

Separation Anxiety in Dogs Plus 9 Top Things Your Dog May Be Afraid Of

  1. Darkness – Believe it or not, your dog might need a night light to keep him relaxed at night in his crate as a puppy, or in the room where he sleeps.  You may think that your dog understands the concept of light and dark, however that may not be the case when all the light in the room disappears and your dog has trouble seeing.  Not all dogs have this problem, so check with your veterinarian if your dog seems on edge in the darkness.  Separation anxiety in dogs can be increased if your dog is alone in a dark room so you may want to leave the door open if your dog sleeps in a separate part of your home.
  2. Unknown –  Sometimes it’s a lot of fun to play games with your dog and surprise him and see what your dog does that makes you laugh.  Other times, you may cause your dog real harm by scaring him over and over which will make your dog anxious just like a child would be if he wasn’t prepared for images coming around the corner or mysterious objects in your closet.  If your dog seems like he’s enjoying the game of hide and seek, that’s fine.  If you notice that your dog is nervous and barks incessantly during these activities, you may want to stop and try a calmer approach. Once again, separation anxiety in dogs can make your dog even more afraid of the unknown.
  3. Weather – Rain, snow, thunder and wind may be normal weather conditions for adults, however your dog may not fully understand what’s going on, especially if you live in areas that are prone to hurricanes and wild weather.  Just be aware that your dog could need extra love and attention to cope with the sounds, temperature and elements that could be scary for your dog.
  4. Dreams – Yes, your dog has dreams and he may be frightened enough to bark and jump up in the middle of a deep sleep.  Think how much a toddler struggles with reality and fantasy.  That could be how your dog struggles with reality and his dreams.  Separation anxiety in dogs  could also result Sad Dog - Dog Health News™from being scared after waking from a bad dream.  The best thing to do is not to act nervous around your dog when he wakes up agitated from a bad dream.  Usually your dog will get over the discomfort quickly and go back to his normal activities.
  5. Strangers – Your dog uses his strong natural ability to sniff out unfamiliar scents and may need extra time to get to know strangers in your home and outside on walks.  This means that you can’t always depend on your dog’s reaction to new people he meets so it’s important for you to keep your dog at a safe distance from strangers.  A good way to introduce a stranger to your dog is if you play a game together as a group after you’ve given your dog a chance to warm up to any new person in your dog’s company.  The fear of strangers is often a protective fear so dogs, like children, don’t go to people they don’t know.
  6. Separation – When you leave your dog alone, he may go through the same thought patterns as a toddler and wonder if you’re ever coming back.  This separation anxiety in dogs can add tremendous stress to your dog and your entire family.  The best proven strategies are a routine for goodbyes that include positive reinforcement like leaving your dog with a trusted dog sitter or always giving your dog a toy or game to play with before you leave your dog alone. 
  7. Being Alone – Your dog feels safe when he’s with you and may not feel the same security if he can’t see you.  A good strategy to help your dog cope with the fear of being alone is to give your dog a quiet place in your home that he feels safe in when you are home.  This experience will help your dog feel Dog Health News™relaxed when you’re not home because your dog is used to being separated visually when you’re home.  Separation anxiety in dogs may be reduced if you leave a radio or television on so your dog will have the comfort of noise or music when he’s home alone.
  8. Costumes – Just like a child, your dog might be scared easily when he sees oddly shaped objects he can’t understand.  Humans know the difference between a person’s face and a mask, however your dog may feel threatened or frightened by the shapes, colors and expressions in a mask or costume. 
  9. Toilets – Your dog could have a bit of curiosity about the water and noise in your bathroom which includes your toilet. Separation anxiety in dogs and the fear of toilets and bathrooms for dogs is often exhibited by your dog’s compulsive need to be with you in your bathroom because you go in and out of this room many times during the day and your dog doesn’t want to be alone.
  10. Doctors – For some strange reason, dogs, like children,  have anxiety in the waiting room whenever they go to your veterinarian for a routine visit.  Your dog may associate your vet’s office with pain or discomfort and be afraid of what might happen to him.  To help with separation anxiety in dogs, you may want to bring a toy or a Kong stuffed with peanut butter to keep your dog happy and occupied the next time you go to your vet and see if that makes a difference.

You now have a list of 10 fears your dog may have that are similar to those of a toddler so you can take action to reduce your dog’s separation anxiety and keep your dog calm.

Share this article with your friends and family so they will have a better understanding of their dog’s fears.  You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

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Toxic Foods for Dogs: Could Aloe Help or Hurt Your Dog?

Toxic Foods for DogsToxic foods for dogs include certain plants that are perfectly safe for humans like the common jade and heartleaf philodendron plants found in your home, however you may not know that the aloe vera plant belongs to the lily family and even though the inner fillet juice of your aloe plant has anti-inflammatory qualities for you, it’s a good idea to know the facts about how to use  aloe gel or juice for your dog so you don’t hurt your dog instead of healing him.

This news brief gives you facts about aloe vera that will help you keep your dog healthy and prevent you from dangerous toxins for your dog in this plant.

Toxic Foods For Dogs: Safe Ways to Use Aloe Vera for Your Dog’s Health

  1. Outside of your dog – Aloe Vera can be used on your dog as an anti-inflammatory substance to sooth your dog’s skin from irritations like scratches, hot spots or flea bites.  Other benefits for your dog can be antibacterial and anti fungal when your dog has an infection on his skin.  The prostaglandins in aloe may Toxic Foods for Dogsreduce inflammation, promote healing and help with your dog’s allergic reactions. You can apply aloe vera on your dog twice daily if your dog has a wound, burn, bite, sting or any type of irritation.  Always consult with your veterinarian before you use aloe vera on your dog to be certain your dog is safe. The aloe plant is on the list of toxic foods for dogs.
  2. Inside your dog – Aloe vera juice can be given to your dog with your veterinarian’s approval for these reasons:
        • Internal infections like fungi, urinary tract, dry cough and chronic respiratory problems
        • Detoxification
        • Immune system stimulation
        • Constipation
        • Allergies, metabolism and joint pain

Important Facts About Aloe Vera for Your Dog

  • Never allow your dog to eat the aloe vera leaf or rind.
  • Remove the saponins, yellow or orange sticky residue of the aloe vera rind before use for your dog’s health. Saponins have a powerful laxative effect on humans and dogs.
  • Aloe Vera plants should be at least 3 years old for the best results.
  • Avoid the use of aloe if your dog has liver or kidney disease and if your dog is pregnant or lactating.
  • If you think your dog has ingested any part of your aloe vera Toxic Foods for Dogsplant in your home, bring your dog to your local veterinarian immediately.  Toxic foods for dogs may result in symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhea, change in your dog’s urine color and tremors in rare cases.
  • Do not give your dog any flavored Aloe Vera products.  The best plan is to put a small amount that is approved by your vet in your dog’s food as needed.

This news brief gives you facts about aloe vera for your dog’s health so you have the information you need to take better care of your dog.

Share this article with your friends and family so they know how to use aloe vera for their dog’s health without the danger of toxic foods for dogs.  You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from Dog Health News.

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