Exercise is Key for Dog Health

In an article from Dog Training Central titled “The Importance of Exercising Your Dog,” the author notes that exercise helps dog and humans alike.

Exercise is beneficial for dogs of all ages, as long as you adjust the amount of exercise to suit your dog’s age and fitness level. Not only are the physical benefits, but also mental.

“A dog that doesn’t get enough exercise will not only run the risk of developing health issues such as obesity, heart disease and arthritis, he will also develop various behavioral issues. Lack of exercise results in boredom and frustration, the dog may try to deal with these feelings by developing destructive patterns of behavior such as aggression and destructive behaviors such as excessive barking, digging and escaping.”

The author notes that a dog that isn’t allowed to work off excess energy and tension through exercise may develop aggressive tendencies and goes on to say that boredom will lead the dog to try to entertain himself with stress relieving behavior such as chewing.

Regular exercise is key for a happy, healthy and long life. A backyard can be helpful for activity, though you should ideally take your dog out for daily walks. Walking your dog daily will benefit both you and your dog. This also helps dogs to become more socialized and accepting of new situations and environments which helps build confidence.

Some pet owners can jog with their dog or train their dogs to jog next to them while they’re cycling. You should only attempt to do this if your dog is physically fit enough to handle vigorous exercise. Swimming is another activity you can do with your dog; most dogs love to swim once they’ve tried it a few times. Dogs are natural swimmers and it shouldn’t take long for your dog to enjoy regular swims with you. There are special life jackets for safety designed just for dogs that you can purchase.  And of course, a good ol’ game of fetch is another great way to exercise your dog.

“The key to an effective exercise program is regularity; try to maintain aregular exercise schedule for your dog. Giving your dog regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for him and will help him live a healthier and happier life. Remember to make sure you consider your dog’s fur coat and the hot sun too. Your vet will be able to give you the best advice on how much exercise and temperature changes your dog can handle according to his age, breed and level of health.”

The Best Breeds for Busy Families

You’re busy. Between you, your spouse and the kids, it seems there’s always something going on, or somewhere to be. But if you’re ready to add a dog to your family, you’ll want to make sure to pick the right breed. An adaptable, laid back pup that’s willing to learn from (and connect with) each family member can ensure your dog gets the proper care it needs while giving kids a wonderful chance to learn some responsibility.

Spokesperson Lisa Peterson of the American Kennel Club says, “Dogs require care 24/7, so there are many opportunities for families to get involved in their dog’s life, from family walks to learning how to teach different behaviors at a training class. They benefit from consistent and patient involvement from all family members.”

Here are Peterson’s breed picks for busy families:

  • French Bulldog
  • Pug
  • Basset Hound
  • Golden Retriever
  • Corgi
  • Boston Terrier
  • Clumber Spaniel
  • Greyhound
  • Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Toy Fox Terrier

You can read more about each specific breed by clicking here

 

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Is Your Cat Allergic to Her Food?

Your cat has developed a red sore on her back – could food could be causing it?

Cat Channel guest author Arnold Plotnick, DVM, notes that, “Many cats with skin allergies will develop a large circular red sore on their back, often right in the middle of their back in the shoulder blade area. Often, the sore will ooze a little serum, and it can sometimes become infected. These are similar to “hot spots” that commonly develop in dogs.”

A few things can cause them:

  • Inflammatory or Auto-Immune Condition Anti-inflammatory medication — steroids such as prednisolone, a synthetic version of cortisone — often cause the sore to resolve. I personally prefer to prescribe tablets rather a steroid injection, as I feel it is safer. Steroids didn’t work, so an inflammatory or an auto-immune condition seems unlikely.
  • Bacterial Infection If a secondary bacterial infection develops, it might need antibiotics. Antibiotics didn’t work, so an infection is unlikely.
  • Flea Allergy Cat flea allergy can certainly cause scabs throughout your cat’s skin, but usually doesn’t cause a persistent open sore. Flea treatment didn’t help, so fleas are unlikely to be the cause.
  • Food Allergy Cat food allergy can present in a variety of ways, although a persistent sore is not your typical presentation. I’m surprised that the steroid injections had no effect. The next step is to determine whether your cat has a food allergy.

How to Determine Whether Your Cat Has Food Allergies
•    Start a hypoallergenic diet. A hypoallergenic diet contains a protein source that your cat has not been exposed to before, such as rabbit, venison or duck. (Most veterinarians carry prescription diets designed for this purpose.)
•    Feed this food, and ONLY this diet, for up to 10 weeks, before concluding whether or not food allergy is the culprit.
•    Alternatively, you may opt for a skin biopsy. This simple procedure will very likely reveal the diagnosis.

Read more from this article by clicking here

Control Excessive Barking

When enough is enough, how to effectively manage an excessive barker

Discipline

According to Pet 360, “punishment is seldom effective for the correction of a dog’s barking problems. Punishment can increase the dog’s anxiety and further aggravate many of the causes behind the barking. Even mild punishment can cause the problem to worsen, as the attention may be associated as a reward by the barking dog.”

Instead of punishment, try devices that distract the dog from the stimuli to break the behavioral patterns that cause the dog to bark.

What kind of products?

Owner-Activated Products

“These products are useful for getting the dog’s attention (disrupting the behavior) during stimuli induced quiet-command training. Ultrasonic devices, audible devices, water sprayers, shake cans (an empty soda can or plastic bottle with a few coins sealed inside), or even a favored squeaky toy might be used to get the dog’s attention and temporarily stop the barking.  Keep in mind that unless you are also using re-training techniques simultaneously and consistently with the distraction, your dog, like many dogs, will soon begin to ignore the distraction devices.”

If used consistently to interrupt the barking, the quiet behavior is reinforced.

“As your dog comes to associate praise and reward with obeying your command for quiet, he may become less anxious and less likely to bark in the presence of the stimulus, or at the very least will quiet much faster on command.”

Bark-Activated Products

What about dogs who don’t start up until you’re leaving home?

“For barking that occurs in the owner’s absence, bark activated products (in conjunction with environmental modification and re-training) are often the most practical means for deterring inappropriate barking.”

Bark-activated products may also be a better choice than owner-activated devices, since they ensure immediate and accurate responses to the barking.

“Off-collar (not worn on collar) devices are useful for training the dog to stop barking in selected areas, such as near doorways or windows (or for dogs that bark in their crate or pen). This type of device is made to emit an audible alarm that causes the dog to stop barking. On-collar devices/bark-activated collars are useful for when barking does not occur in a predictable location. Audible and ultrasonic training collars are occasionally effective but they have the drawback of being neither sufficiently unpleasant enough to deter the dog’s continued problem barking, nor consistent enough in their response to be a reliable deterrent.”

There are even collars that emit either a citronella or unscented odor each time the dog barks, which is sufficiently unpleasant to deter most dogs. Although these may be effective in the owner’s absence, they may soon become ineffective in the absence of concurrent behavior training.

“In this way, the quiet behavior is reinforced, and any anxiety about the stimulus (people coming to the door, people coming to the yard, other dogs) can be gradually reduced. In fact, in time your dog may begin to associate the arrival of new people or dogs with a positive reaction from you, a response that is referred to as counter-conditioning.”

We hope these tips can help with your noisy four-legged friend! Read more by clicking here.

What is Distemper?

It’s that time of year again: time to update your dog or cat’s shots. You’ve likely heard or seen the term “Distemper” during your visit to the vet, and maybe have even assumed it to mean something about your dog’s mood or behavior. But this is not the case!

Distemper is actually a contagious viral disease that affects animals.

Some fast facts about Distemper from Pet 360:

• Canine distemper is separate and unrelated to feline distemper.

• Feline distemper is also called epanleukopenia.

• Distemper cannot be passed from a cat to a dog, or vice versa, but ferrets are extremely prone to contracting canine distemper.

• The disease is an air-borne virus, so even if your dog or cat never comes in physical contact with another dog or cat it is still susceptible to infection. You can bring the disease home on your shoes or clothing.

How is it diagnosed?

• Distemper may be difficult to differentiate from other diseases, largely because it is less common today due to the effectiveness of regular preventative vaccination programs.

• In dogs, symptoms may affect the respiratory, gastro-intestinal or nervous system, and any combination of these.

• In cats, feline distemper causes vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness. Feline fetuses infected with distemper may have life-long problems with coordination.

• A vaccination program against distemper should be started when your kitten or puppy is six weeks old. Your veterinarian will then advise you on the regularity of booster shots, which are generally given on an annual basis throughout the animalšs entire life span. In the future, blood levels of antibody protection will tell how often a pet is vaccinated.

• Immunity to distemper or other contagious diseases does not build up with age.

• Canine and feline distemper is often a fatal disease.

Needless to say, as with all infectious diseases, prevention through regular annual vaccinations is the best medicine. Click here.

Video: Best Day of My Life

At the Barkery, we can’t tell you how much we love to meet newly adopted dogs and cats – and neither can they tell you how happy they are to be adopted!

But we think this video is pretty close…

[youtube id=”8J4k32LhTNw” width=”600″ height=”350″]

 

Are we Spaying and Neutering too Early?

According to research from Animal Wellness Magazine, spay and neuter procedures are often done too early in life, and may cause health issues later on.

Pet overpopulation is definitely an issue in the United States, but are we spaying and neutering too soon?

“Conventional veterinary wisdom recommends that dogs be spayed or neutered between six and nine months of age, and preferably before the first estrus cycle in females. But this recommendation is based less on scientific fact and more on practicalities; younger puppies can be riskier candidates for anesthesia, though current drugs and methods are safer than they used to be. In other words, there is no scientific evidence for spaying or neutering at an early age.

Opponents of early spay/neuter (especially younger than five-and- a-half months) contend that a variety of orthopedic and other issues can result from these procedures. Deprivation of sexual hormones and development through puberty may create long-lasting physical and psychological harm.”

There are also some side effects that can become very problematic:

  • Higher risk of certain types of cancer
  • Orthopedic issues
  • Obesity
  • Urinary issues

Of course there are also benefits:

  • Reduce behavioral problems
  • Prevent some cancers
  • Additional benefits

Click hear to read more in detail