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WELLNESS

DOG TRAINING TIPS: WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR DOG BARKS

Toronto-pet-photographer-dog-barking-tipsHave you ever been annoyed because your dog barks — and barks and barks and barks? It’s a question most pet parents would answer ‘yes’ to (including myself!) No matter how much we train a dog not to bark there will always be those occasions when they yip and yap away. However, I’ve discovered a new way to approach this matter…

Instead of scolding your furry friend when they bark at the mailman, the garbage truck or someone at the door, tell your dog “Thank you.” Actually say thank you out loud and then redirect your little minions to their bed for a cookie.

The reason is this; if you raise your voice at a dog who is barking, the dog picks up on that energy and interprets that extra sound as ‘Well everyone is on alert now! Yay!’ By saying thank you instead, you keep your energy calm and composed which translates better to redirecting a dog’s attention.

Remember a dog barks to raise awareness of what they perceive to be a danger to the group. So acknowledge their bark as a positive thing and literally thank them for their safety tip. I’ve been doing this lately with Rory and Lucy and it is proving to be a great training tactic!

PAWSH PERK:  What does a dog’s bark really mean?

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DOG HEALTH: CARING FOR DOGS WITH ARTHRITIS

Dogs-and-Arthritis-Toronto-dog-wellness-2Aging is a part of any canine life, but sometimes with those precious golden years there also comes the challenge of coping with arthritis.

This condition, which is often referred to as degenerative joint disease, subjects a dog to pain and inflammation of the joints. Just like in humans, arthritis is defined as “the breaking down of smooth cartilage that protects the bones that make up a joint” (source). Once that healthy cartilage disappears or diminishes, a joint becomes aggravated, inflamed and generally painful from the constant friction of bone rubbing against bone.

Sometimes there are additional factors at play besides genetics that can cause arthritis to present in canines. These factors can include (but aren’t limited to) broken bones, dislocation, torn ligaments or preexisting medical conditions.

For a dog suffering from arthritis their mobility can be greatly limited. Sitting and even walking can become uncomfortable, which as you can imagine is no fun at all. However, there are a few things a pet parent can do to make a dog’s life with arthritis more comfortable.

GENTLE EXERCISE
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Dogs who suffer from arthritis will find movement a challenge, but they will still need to exercise in order to keep fit and keep their joints functioning. Two highly recommended low-impact therapies are hydrotherapy (aka supervised swimming) and canine massage, as both activities allow a dog to stretch, tone muscle and limit the risk of falling.

Depending upon the case, you may also consider short, slow walks. Just be sure to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t topple over.

SMART FOOD
Researchers have found that some human foods possess vitamins and minerals that can help soothe arthritis symptoms, such as celery, papaya and mango. Some experts believe that excessive grains in a diet can aggravate the condition, so you may want to consider removing such elements from your dog’s diet.

Eating smart and avoiding excess weight will also help alleviate some joint stress for dogs, as the more pounds they have to carry, the harder it may be to walk.

MEDICATION
Some cases of canine arthritis are so severe they may require medication and supplements from a certified vet to alleviate their symptoms.

PREVENTION IS THE BEST MEDICINE
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Of course, nobody can predict what conditions a senior dog may develop, but encouraging a healthy, active lifestyle can help to prevent the risk of developing arthritis; although avoiding this condition entirely cannot be guaranteed.

Make sure your dog exercises regularly to keep excess weight off and be mindful of their diet, especially as they age. Sometimes a dog’s food will need to be changed as they get older — and keep track of how many and what kind of treats you are spoiling them with.

(Note: Be sure to consult with your veterinarian when addressing arthritis in your dog.)

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This article was made possible by DogTrot Fitness — Canada’s exclusive distributor of the PetRun line of dog treadmills — the ideal solution if your dog doesn’t love dog parks.
dog-treadmills-dogtrot-fitness-pawsh-magazineAdequate exercise is equally important to your dog’s wellness as a healthy diet. Even if you can’t run WITH your dog, we can help you meet his exercise needs, regardless of weather. With running decks scaled to suit any stride, there’s a PetRun treadmill for every size of dog! WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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DOG TREAT RECIPE: SWEET POTATO STRIPS

Dog Treat Recipe: Sweet Potato StripsFor a hearty, wholesome snack that really works your dog’s chompers, Sweet Potato Strips are the best! Extremely easy to make and a delight for dogs of all shapes and sizes! This is a treat I made quite by accident after forgetting to put away some leftover sweet potato fries and realizing how ‘tough’ they got. I hope your pups enjoy! (more…)

DOG WELLNESS: THE DANGERS OF IMPACTED DOG ANAL GLANDS

Pawsh-Magazine-impacted-dog-anal-glands-1In February while out for a walk with Rory I noticed a small lump on her rear end. Upon closer inspection I decided it looked like an unfortunate spider bite so thought nothing of it. Then later that same day while giving her a bath I noticed that the small lump had swollen up at an alarming rate to the size of a golf ball!

Not sure what to make of it, my guy and I rushed her to the 24-hour emergency vet clinic. The vet told us that she had an impacted anal gland and that if we hadn’t brought her in when we did it would have ruptured.

The vet had to take Rory in for a procedure to lance the glands (yes, both, because by this time the second one was also swelling) and listening from the waiting room to my sweet little dog yelp and scream as it was done* I cried. I felt so guilty, so helpless – why did this happen? Could it have been prevented? (*despite numbing the surrounding area, draining an impacted gland is still quite uncomfortable and scary for a dog.)
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Impacted anal glands were something I was completely unaware of, so once Rory was completely recovered and off her medication, I reached out to Dr. Aleksandra Milaszewska MS, DVM of Queen West Animal Hospital in Toronto for an interview about this condition. Here are her professional thoughts and advice:

1) What are the dangers of an impacted or infected anal gland?
Anal glands can get big enough to literally block the stool from coming out. While they won’t be able to render the dog not being able to defecate completely, it makes for a painful and a very unpleasant experience for them. Once the glands get very full, the contents are thick and cannot empty themselves, so anal glands will physically rupture through the skin, which is extremely painful and often bleeds.
Pawsh-Magazine-impacted-dog-anal-glands-32) What are some common causes of this ailment?
No one seems to know for sure and there is no scientific proof of any theories out there as to what causes impacted anal glands. We suspect diet and genetic predisposition, but nothing has been definitively proven right or wrong. I do tend to see this more commonly and to a more serious extent in obese dogs, but that is just what I am personally seeing in my practice. This in no way means that impacted anal glands do not effect dogs of normal body condition.

3) What are the signs of an impacted anal gland?
Signs can be scooting on the floor, chewing, licking, defecating soft and ribbon like stools. However, sometimes there are no signs until the glands swell, rupture and are bleeding.
Pawsh-Magazine-impacted-dog-anal-glands-44) What are the dangers of an anal gland that erupts?
Ruptured anal glands are painful, infected and swollen. Usually the hole in the skin that the glands make while rupturing is large and may need surgical cleaning and closure. If an infection goes on too long, I have seen them getting necrosis all the way into the muscle layer which requires a major surgery. Difficulty defecating is another problem as it may be too painful to poo.

5) What can owners do to prevent this condition?
Since we don’t know what causes it, it is hard to say what to do to prevent it. There is some anecdotal evidence that increasing fiber in a dog’s diet helps. I have seen it work, but not in all dogs. The best thing to do is to be vigilant as to signs of a problem and check the glands regularly if you think something may be wrong or you know that your dog is prone to this problem.

With Rory, we still don’t know what caused her impacted anal glands. But in an effort to prevent a recurrence, I have boosted her daily fiber intake and I take her to the vet about once a month just to have her glands checked out – it’s a quick two minute exam and helps to keep my mind at ease.
Pawsh-Magazine-impacted-dog-anal-glands-5I would also recommend that you specifically ask your vet to check your dog’s anal glands whenever you take them in for their yearly checkup, as some vets do not automatically check during the physical.

Needless to say, it was an extremely scary experience and one that I do not wish for anyone, so please keep an eye on your dog’s rear end. It sounds funny, but it is actually a serious issue.

{Special thanks to Dr. Aleksandra Milaszewska for speaking with Pawsh about this ailment and to the wonderful Tonya Pet Photography for the adorable photography,}

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This article was made possible by DogTrot Fitness — Canada’s exclusive distributor of the PetRun line of dog treadmills — the ideal solution for exercising your dog no matter what the weather is like outside.
dog-treadmills-dogtrot-fitness-pawsh-magazineAdequate exercise is equally important to your dog’s wellness as a healthy diet. Even if you can’t run WITH your dog, we can help you meet his exercise needs, regardless of weather. With running decks scaled to suit any stride, there’s a PetRun treadmill for every size of dog! WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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