Life Threating Condition in Dogs. Know the Signs

GDV (Gastric dilatation-volvulus) also known as bloat, stomach torsion or twisted stomach, is not commonly recognized by pet owners but is very dangerous and can be deadly if not treated right away. Before getting into the pet sitting business, I had not heard of bloat in dogs let alone knew that it could be life threatening. Not too long ago, a fellow pet sitter wrote a heartbreaking post in a pet sitting Facebook group about a 7 years old English Bulldog client who died of bloat. When she left him after her last evening visit he was fine; however, the family came home later in the evening and observed the dog taking a large drink of water and panting and pacing. Unfortunately the owners were not aware of bloat and its signs and before they could take their dog to the vet, he passed away.

Bloat Bloat imagewhich is a rapid accumulation of gas in the stomach is often seen in large, giant breeds and deep chested breeds (deep chested are those that when viewed from the side, their chest cavity is significantly longer from spine to sternum when compared to the width of the chest cavity viewed from the front). These breeds include Great Danes, standard Poodles, Doberman Pinschers, Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Dachshunds, Rottweilers and many more. Bloat can be caused by excessive and/or eating or drinking too often, often doing so too close to exercise. Age, gender, diet and genetics also play a role.

There are many signs to look for in a dog if you think they are experiencing bloat. The most obvious signs are abdominal distention (swollen belly) and nonproductive vomiting (dog appears to be
vomiting, but nothing comes up) and pacing or restlessness. Other signs include labored or rapid shallow breathing, whining, pale gums, vomiting saliva, lethargy and excessive drooling. If you notice any of these signs, it is extremely important to get the dog to a vet immediately. Remember do not administer any medication prior to consulting with a veterinarian.

Some ways to prevent bloat include:
• Large dogs should be fed two or three times daily, rather than once a day.
• Water should be available at all times, but should be limited immediately after feeding and exercising.
• Vigorous exercise, excitement, and stress should be avoided one hour before and two hours after meals.
• Diet changes should be made gradually over a period of three to five days.
• Susceptible dogs should be fed individually and, if possible in a quiet, stress free location.

To learn more about symptoms and prevention, consult your veterinarian.

Also, a good article to read is

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Let Fido Romp all Day but in a Safe Way!

dogs at playIt’s that time of year. The weather in many parts of the country is perfect, not too hot or too cold, making for a great time for a romp in the park for your four legged friend.  A dog park can be a great place to give your socialized pup exercise together with a change of scenery and exposure to what we can only hope are other well socialized dogs. Of course we know that not all dogs are well behaved, even those at the dog park. With that being said, your pup’s safety should always be paramount when going to a dog park. Before venturing out here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Check out the dog parks in your area to see which is best suited for you and your dog. It is always safest to bring small dogs to the small dogs’ only section of the dog park. In the local Union County area, you can go to Dogwood Park in Wesley Chapel, North Carolina and Crooked Creek Park in Indian Trail, North Carolina.
  • Remember your dog will most likely be running around and get heated easily so plan your adventure for the cooler part of the day. For those of you with flat faced (brachyechaplic) dogs like pugs and pomeranians, you may want to keep them home because they are not well equipped to handle heat.
  • Make sure you have fresh water for you and your pup and you may want to bring a towel and sanitizing wipes for any messes. And don’t forget poop bags. All that exercise makes Fido have to go!
  • Your dog should obey your come command for those times when it may be necessary for safety reasons to call your dog to you.
  • Finally it’s a good idea to exercise your dog before taking him to the dog park. I know this sounds counterintuitive; however, exercised dogs are well behaved, and you definitely want to make sure your dog is on his best behavior before joining the others in the park.

[Read more…]

Simple Steps You Can Take that May Save on Vet Care and Improve Your Pets Health

We all know that a lot of pets just don’t like to cooperate with us when we are trying to take a picture. They shy away or turn their backsides which isn’t always the most flattering photo. But maybe there is another reason.  Could your pet be embarrassed that he doesn’t have nice clean pretty teeth? Okay obviously I am using humor here to make a point about the importance of dental care for our pets. Our furry friends are susceptible to gum disease. And gum disease comes with a host of issues which could lead to lower quality of life and maybe even shorten the life of your furry friend. There are a few simple, quick steps you can take today to keep pet’s teeth healthy, leading to less trips to the vet and less money spent. Here are a few steps to help your pets win the fight against plague and gum disease. The earlier you establish these habits with your pet the better; however they are beneficial habits to start no matter what age.Dog with Toothpaste canstockphoto12290167

1 – Brush your pets’ teeth on a regular basis (at least 3x a week or daily is even better) to get rid of plague.  And don’t forget to make teeth brushing time fun and rewarding by giving treats afterwards (preferably healthy treats like carrots or green beans but it should be a high value treat that your pet loves). I have three dogs and it only takes about 5 minutes out of my day to brush their teeth. [Read more…]

Lost and Alone: How to Raise the Chances that Your Lost Pet Will Be Found

As a pet lover and member of my local pet community, I follow many lost pet facebook pages. Everyday I see heartbreaking posts from owners of missing dogs and cats pleading for help in finding their loved one. It is extremely important to take preventive steps to ensure that your pet does not escape (make sure fence is secure, don’t leave pet unattended while outside, keep your pet leashed whenever outside of a fenced area), but accidents still can and do happen that result in our furry friends escaping.  This is why it is imperative to keep a collar with identification tags including your contact phone number, purchase a gps tracking monitor, and one of the easiest steps to take is to have your pets microchipped. Microchipping is simple and inexpensive and can be a very effective tool for bringing loved one back home. All it takes is a trip to your vet’s office and registration with a microchip registration service which links to a national database. If your pet ever gets lost, the finder can bring the pet to any vet and have him scanned for a microchip. The microchip includes all of the owner’s contact information including name, address, phone number(s) as well as pet information. It is extremely important to remember to keep your contact information updated, especially after a move or getting a new phone number. [Read more…]

Better Safe than Sorry: Foods and Household Items Our Pets Need to Avoid

We eat a variety of foods and use common household items every day without thinking about it and without cause for concern. For the safety of our furry friends, we must be aware that many of these things are harmful, some even deadly. So pet parents be vigilant about keeping your pets away from these sources of danger: [Read more…]

Heartworms: How can they harm my pet and what can I do to keep my pet safe?

Several years ago, my husband and I adopted a lab/terrier mix who we named Rylee.  A sweet shy girl who had been at the rescue for a couple of years and was heartworm positive.  At the time we, like a lot of people, were not fully aware of the dangers of heartworms but knew it was a concern. So after treatment to kill the heartworms, she tested negative and has at every annual exam since. We make sure to give her the monthly heartworm prevention because we do not want her to be re-infected. Since this is a devastating disease with possible long term effects that could cause health issues and/or decrease quality of life, I find it extremely important to inform my friends, family and clients who are pet parents of how this infection is contracted and how easily preventable it is. I asked my veterinarian, Dr. Katherine Wolfe with Indian Trail Animal Hospital, for input on this topic and she was more than willing to share her knowledge and experience. Dr. Wolfe stated that “heartworms can live 5-7 years in a dog, if the dog survives the infection.” “Preventing heartworm disease is EASY because we have a number of effective and affordable products to fit any lifestyle and budget.” Below are the responses to the questions posed to Dr. Wolfe.  [Read more…]

Who will take care of Fido & Fluffy when you are away for a week or a day? Reasons to Hire a Professional Pet Sitter.

Dog and Cat cartoon canstockphoto10014169Many of us think of our pets as members of our family and, as such, we care for them and want what is best for them.  But who takes care of them when you can’t be there? Though you may want to take your pet on vacation, during business travel or when you are working long hours at the office, it is not always possible or practical.  In these instances, a professional pet sitter/dog walker may be just what you need. There are many advantages to you and your pets when you hire a professional pet sitting company: [Read more…]