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Pets

Good Solid Advice About Dogs That Anyone Can Use

Whether you’re an experienced dog owner or considering getting your first puppy, you probably have a lot of questions. Dogs may not be the most mysterious of creatures, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to understand. In the following paragraphs, you’ll find some excellent advice that will help you take care of your dog.

If your puppy or dog is constantly chewing up your furniture, invest in some chew-toys. Scatter them around the floor, especially around the legs of the sofa and end-tables. Be enthusiastic about your offers to play with the chewies with your dog to encourage frequent use. This should eventually deter him from chomping your furniture.

Your dog can not tell you what is wrong, so just listen to his body language. If your dog seems hesitant when meeting another person or dog, do not force them to interact. This could cause the dog to bite. Keep eye on non-verbal clues and look toward your dog for your next move.

Giving your dog a bath is essential to his health. Depending on his size and activity level, toss him in the tub weekly or monthly and always use a shampoo that is made for dogs and is pH balanced. Pets have different pH levels than humans and a good dog shampoo will leave your canine clean with a beautiful shiny coat.

If training has become routine and boring with your dog, consider introducing agility exercises into the mix. These will still teach your dog to obey and be challenging, but they tend to be a lot more fun than the regular commands. Get the whole family involved by making an obstacle course and working the dog through it frequently.

Unless you’re okay with your dog playing with your shoes and other things around your home, buy him some toys. He will enjoy having things of his own, particularly if they are interactive like pull-toys you can use together. Also buy him things he can use to occupy himself and stay out of trouble!

Dogs love to eat grass and other plants. When you’re outside, this may not be much of a problem, but if you maintain houseplants indoors, chances are they are poisonous to dogs. Before bringing a dog into the home, make sure all your houseplants are well out of reach of a dog who may be tempted by a green tasty treat.

Check and double check your fenced in yard for spots your dog could escape through before letting him roam. The most secure method of keeping your dog outside is on a long run with a strong collar, but if you are comfortable that your fence can hold him, he’ll enjoy that even more. Just make sure there’s no room for error!

Prevent matting on your dogs paws by keeping the area well trimmed. A comb should be used first to straighten it before you do any cutting. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, then you’d probably have to hire a groomer who knows what they’re doing.

Remember that dogs are creatures of habit and anything you start with him will be expected in the future. If you’re not keen on him sleeping with you, don’t let him do it only on occasion. Likewise, if you don’t want him begging at the table, never offer him a bite of people food. He will learn and accept things if you are consistent.

Dogs need a great deal of attention on a daily basis. If you have a hard time making time for your dog you will soon notice that there are behavioral problems that were not there before. In the least, you should try to set aside an hour each day just to love your dog.

If your dog has been playing outside, take the time to inspect its ears and neck for ticks. These parasites are very common and could make your dog sick if you do not take action right away. Take your dog to the vet if you do not know how to remove the ticks yourself.

Do you have a hard time keeping your dog from barking? You might be encouraging this behavior without even realizing it. Your dog will keep barking if you acknowledge this behavior. It is best to ignore your dog until it stops barking, even if your dog wants to come inside.

Invest in a separate tub if your dog gets frequent baths. Buy a large metal basin where you will have plenty of room to scrub, but won’t risk clogging the pipes in your bathroom. Giving him a bath outside and away from the slipperiness of a porcelain tub is also safer for you

If you are trying to teach your dog some basic commands, one of your first ones should be a recall. Everyone wants their dog to return to them when called for. If you have a solid recall for your dog, you will not have to worry about chasing your dog down it manages to get outside. It should come back to you when you use your recall word.

Every dog needs to have a good amount of exercise in order to stay healthy and fit. It is a good idea for you to take your dog out for a walk at least once a day if you do not have a yard he can use to run around freely.

Make sure you and your dog are prepared for hot summer weather. It’s easy for a dog to get overheated. Provide them with a cool, shady area to hang out in during the summer months. Provide your dog with some cool water too. You should also look into doggie sunscreens, as the sun affects dogs too.

You should check your dog regularly to make sure that he does not have any ticks or fleas on him. There are combs you can purchase that can be used to help you locate them. To prevent fleas and ticks, you can purchase special collars from the pet supply store.

Whatever type of dog you have, and whether or not you are a novice owner or a pro, the advice you have read here should be able to help you out. When you take the time to learn, as you have today, you really are working hard to make your dog as happy as possible. Great job!

The Surefire Way To Find Dog Ownership Success

Dogs may make motions towards the bowl when they are ready to eat. When your dog must use the facilities, he may scratch at the back door. A plaintive look from your dog might mean a little petting and hugging is in order. A dog cannot easily communicate all of his needs, so you need to keep reading to find out more about them.

Look into subsidized health care for your dog if money is tight. Many local communities, in cooperation with groups like the SPCA offer discounted services that have proven invaluable to dog owners. Look into getting your dog spayed or neutered and vaccinated for a fraction of veterinary costs at a sponsored event probably close-by to you. Just contact the SPCA or an animal shelter in your town.

Start training your dog as soon as you bring them home. Create a vocabulary list that all your family members will use to command the dog and stick to it. Dogs can become confused if the same words are not used to give them directions. The dog will see “get over here”u009d and “come”u009d as two different commands.

If your dog is still getting used to the grooming process, only work with him or her in short bursts. Groom for about five minutes and then stop and move on to another activity. Eventually, start adding on two or three minutes to your total grooming time until your pet is able to handle a full session.

Never lose your temper or punish your dog if you find that they did something wrong. Negative reinforcement will simply make your dog scared, which will make it difficult for you to train them. Use positive reinforcement at all times to get your dog to cooperate when teaching him new things.

You should never give table scraps to your dog. If you feed from the table, he’ll become a beggar and stop eating his own food. Scraps from the table obesity, digestive problems, or other health issues in dogs. You can keep your dog healthy and avoid any temptation to feed it from the table by teaching it to spend dinnertime well away from your family.

When it comes to buying food for your dog, don’t skimp by buying the cheap stuff. It will benefit your dog greatly if he is fed food that is nutritious and high in quality. Even though you are paying more, it will save on health bills down the road.

Give your dog a great place to sleep. Every dog needs a bed to call his own that is temperature controlled and comfortable. If not, the dog may alternate sleeping locations between undesirable locations, such as your sofa when you’re not watching. A bed also gives him a great sense of security and belonging.

Dogs love to eat grass and other plants. When you’re outside, this may not be much of a problem, but if you maintain houseplants indoors, chances are they are poisonous to dogs. Before bringing a dog into the home, make sure all your houseplants are well out of reach of a dog who may be tempted by a green tasty treat.

If you are not allowed to place a fence in your yard but want your dog to run freely there, consider an electric fence. Electric fences are easy and inexpensive to install, and they can help to keep your free roaming pet safely contained. Using them will require a little training, but they are quite effective if you put the work in.

Be clear with your pet during training. The word “no” does not explain anything to your dog, other than that you are unhappy with something. Instead, explain which behavior you do want to see. For example, if your dog jumps on the furniture, tell him to get down instead of just saying the word no.

If you have a smaller breed dog, make sure everyone who touches him knows the proper way to hold him. Small dogs can be easily injured by inappropriate handling and many owners find this out the hard way. Gently lift at the belly from under his front legs and secure him with both hands.

Attention exercises must be practiced daily. These exercises will help you gain your dog’s attention when they are barking or being disruptive or destructive. Once you can gain your dog’s attention, you will have less to worry about when you have him out of the house or when there is company over.

Make sure that you’re feeding your dog a good quality food. Most dog foods available at your grocery store are mainly made up of grains or corn. Instead of this, you should try to find a dog food that is mostly made of meat. Foods that are high quality can provide you with many benefits, such as having a healthy pup, less vet visits, and your dog’s coat will shine more.

Keep in mind that some behavioral problems in your dog could be connected to health issues, especially if your dog is displaying a new behavior. Your dog might become aggressive when you touch it because of a pain and it might have a hard time with house-training because of an infection.

Never give someone a dog as a present. Most animals that are given as gifts eventually wind up in a shelter. This is due to the fact that many people can not handle the responsibilities that come with having a pet. If someone wants a dog bad enough they should be the one to make that purchase.

If your dog makes messes in the house or chews when you are away, consider crate training. Crate training involves providing your pet with an appropriate sized crate to,stay in while you’re out of the house. It can keep your pet and belongings safe. Just make sure to never leave him in the crate for a very lengthly period of time.

It is natural to want to get your dog trained as quickly as possible. However, remember that there is a limit as to how fast this process is going to go. If you are not realistic, you are much more likely to get frustrated with your pet, which could damage your relationship. Your pet will learn over time, but it may not happen as fast as you would like.

Nothing can match the unconditional love of a loyal dog. However, you have to learn a lot about dogs in order to have the best relationship with them. What you learned here offered some excellent tips on bringing you up to speed on becoming well-versed about dogs. Put these tips into practice; they will help you enjoy your life with your dog.

Pets

Best Advice for Dogs with Skin Issues

I still need to publish a real post about Mr. Stix’s full backstory, but this feels more pressing. For nearly 18 months, Mr. Stix’s permanent nakey spot (from unknown injuries before he was rescued, including 15 fractures and this big patch of coat missing) has featured several inflamed, peeling areas. Initially I tried to fix it myself at home with things like aloe vera, vaseline, a veterinary ointment called animax that the shelter had give us while we fostered him most of 2019, etc. It’s sort of a combination of steroids, antibacterial, and antifungal stuff. I took him to see our main veterinarian in spring 2020, when there was a 2-month wait to get into see a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. It has been quite a journey since then, and it’s nowhere near over. Here’s my best advice for dogs with skin issues.

Before I tell the ongoing saga with Mr. Stix’s skin. Here is my best advice for dogs with skin problems.

See a board-certified veterinary dermatologist as soon as you can. Yes, your main veterinarian can probably help, but it’s honestly best to go right to the top experts.

Agree to whatever skin scrapings / cytology the veterinary dermatologist recommends. This provides information about what types of secondary infections currently grow on your dog’s damaged skin.

Do NOT assume every skin issue is allergies. It often is some sort of allergic process, but NOT always and assuming so (and acting accordingly may only delay real solutions and subject your dog to all kinds of quack advice and home remedies).

Buy the best quality fish oil and Vitamin E supplements you can afford, if it’s recommended for your particular case of a dog with skin issues.

When necessary, agree to the skin biopsies (yes, like minor surgery) and have them reviewed by a veterinary pathologist that specializes in dogs with skin issues. The one we used is at Texas A&M.

Follow your veterinary dermatologist’s advice and plans, and keep the faith. These dogs with skin problems often don’t improve quickly. (I need to take my own advise. See below.)

Mr. Stix’s Story as a Dog with Skin Problems

This is what Mr. Stix’s nakey spot looks like when it’s normal. Photo from May 2019 soon after his hip surgery. The bald patch is permanent. That’s not the issue.

This is how bad the red / peeling areas got in mid-2020 when we saw our main veterinarian, who added a low-dose of oral Vitamin E and some topical too and told me to keep using the animax.

This is how it looked when Mr. Stix first saw the board-certified veterinary dermatologist in early August 2020, but the specialist had me STOP the animax and instead use a prescription anti-bacterial ointment (mupirocin) … as well as add a better quality oral fish oil and continue both topical and oral Vitamin E (but at a higher dose twice a day). We knew from the skin scrapings / cytology they did onsite that Mr. Stix had a bacterial infection.

But, without the daily topical steroids (which long term are a bad idea), Mr. Stix’s skin got much, much worse — even breaking open and scabbing over.

Our veterinary dermatologist had recommended doing the skin biopsies right away in August 2020, and I *almost agreed to it then, but I was VERY worried about the cuts resulting in skin that would NOT heal. And, I figured it was at least worth a try to use the prescription antibiotic ointment and other supplements and stuff.

But, by around Thanksgiving, it was clear we had to do the biopsy. That photo is kind of gruesome, so you can see it here, if you want. I wish I had done the biopsy sooner. I feel like I wasted time from August through November.

Post-Biopsy Diagnosis

As I expected, despite all the know-it-alls trying to tell me it was an allergic issue, it turns out that Mr. Stix instead has an autoimmune condition called erythema multiforme. They believe it was triggered by the trauma of his earlier injuries. They don’t think it is life-threatening. They don’t think it will spread to other areas of his skin. Just the already damaged, permanent nakey spot.

With that information in hand, we updated the treatment plan to include a topical, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory ointment (tacrolimus — often pricey, but we used a Good RX coupon at Costco to get the cost down). They use a version of this medication orally for people who have had various kinds of transplants. It’s the smallest / safest option for treatment, and that’s where we started.

I was so hopeful it would work at the once-daily application, but the skin still didn’t heal completely.

So, in early 2021, we started applying it twice daily on the advice of our veterinary dermatologist.

But, it still hasn’t healed completely. It often improves a lot and then comes roaring back, so we had another appointment to see the specialist last week. We had to try something new.

Enter the Big Immune-Suppressing Drug

Despite my concerns and form of veterinary PTSD about major immune suppression drugs (after our experiences with Lilly), I agreed last week to add oral cyclosporine, which is also a drug that people get after various transplants. Mr. Stix would need to take it daily for life.

It smells like it’s made from skunk butts, so each gel-cap pill is individually packaged, and you keep them in the freezer because that can help with nausea it can cause (since it’s recommended you give on an empty stomach).

I found some good info on this med, and our veterinary dermatologist assured me that it has been safely used in veterinary medicine for like 20+ years, etc.

The med only comes in doses of 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg, and at his size Mr. Stix’s ideal dose is around 88 mg once a day. So we went with 75 mg (25+50) to err on the lower side.

It takes like 3-7 days for the med to build up in the blood to therapeutic levels, but it takes more like 4-6 weeks to know if it’s going to help the skin (or not).

We made it to day 4, then the barfing started.

Anxiety

I wish I could say that this is all going to be fine, but I just don’t know. I feel like I just have to accept that the skin will never fully heal, even though seeing his raw spots up close while applying the topical med twice a day and topical Vitamin E once a day causes me so much angst and anxiety.

I supposed to check in with our veterinary dermatology team next week to confirm that Mr. Stix’s weirdness and apparent suffering has improved.

It took a lot of convincing to get Mr. Champion of My Heart to agree to try the cyclosporine, so even if the specialist comes back and recommends maybe a lower dose, I doubt we’ll want to risk it … because Mr. Stix sure seemed to be having some neurologist issues to me, and after the Lilly situation, I just cannot do that again.

He is only 3 years old. I don’t want to make anything worse. It honestly felt like I’d poisoned him.

The good news is that most of the time his skin doesn’t seem to hurt or itch or anything — though I do have pain meds, if he needs them. It mostly just looks bad, and he has to wear a no-lick collar for about 20 minutes after I apply his meds so that he doesn’t lick it off.

His nakey spot is prone to sunburn anyway, and the topical tacrolimus increases the risk of burning, so I used his earlier sun-reflecting coat (which started to look ragged) as a pattern and sewed him a new / light sun protection coat. He looks very cute in it.

https://championofmyheart.com/2021/08/05/dogs-with-skin-issues/

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