pet health |

Acid Reflux in Dogs

Just like us, dogs can also get acid reflux. The condition in dogs is referred to Gastroesopogeal Reflux which is a condition that has gastric and intestinal fluids that connect the throat and the stomach. That means that the condition may show up when there is a relaxation of the base of the esophagus and also this may cause chronic vomiting. The reflux is very common in dogs, it can occur at any time and it seems that younger dogs are at a greater risk than older dogs.

This gastro intestinal acid, is called pepsin, bile salts, and there are other kinds of juices as well as mucus that can lead to the inflammation and the swelling of the esophagus as well when they come into contact with the throat.

The condition is able to happen in dogs and also in cats and is important to make sure that it is treated as quickly as possible in the event that it is seen in all dogs.

What Are the Symptoms of This Condition?

This condition can cause all kinds of damage and also may be the source of different levels of damage. What that means is that it can actually erode the lining as well of the esophagus, it can damage the internal layers and cause many problems.

The issues with the dog can cause many symptoms such as vomiting, pain, as well as swallowing, lack of appetite, and also many issues with weight loss. An exam will not show any findings but it may also lead to other problems like fever and also salivation and drooling.

What is the Cause of This Condition?

The causes of acid reflux can also happen any time when there is an anesthetic that is administered, that happens because there is then an opening that happens between the stomach and the esophagus. This happens when there is an improper positioning that happens with the pet during the process and that means the dog may not have the proper process of anesthesia. This will cause acid reflux in the dog.

There is also a congenital condition that causes this situation as well that is called a hiatal hernia and it is the reason of the reflux as well. Younger dogs are always at a greater risk than older ones to get the condition because they are still developing the proper closing and functions as well. This will also lead to long term vomiting as well as other risk factors.

What is the Diagnosis for This Condition?

The best way to diagnose the condition is by an esophagostomy which is an examination with a camera that will look at the inside of the esophagus. That also means that this is the best way to determine what is happening in the throat as well as look at the reflux issues that are happening. There is also an exam that may look at the surface of the throat and look at the mucus. There also can be a lot of issues as see that there is bleeding in the throat.

There are many other diagnoses that also can come from a caustic agent as well as a foreign problem that can appear as well as or a hiatal hernia. There are also many other issues as well that are in the throat and in the mouth, there is also another condition that happens in the muscles when they are not working properly and they are not able to push food into the stomach.

What is The Treatment for This Condition?

There are many treatments that are able to be done at home such as getting rid of food for one or two days and also allowing there to be a healthy regimen for the pet. You want to make sure that you are working with your vet to know what you should be doing and that means that you need to be making sure that you listening to the advice of your vet and that you are able to ensure that you have to reduce the amount of fat that is in the middle of the muscle and also that you reduce the amount of protein as this is what will stimulate the production of acid.

There are many medications that are also available that can be administered with the assistance of your vet. It is very important to make sure that you are able to have access to the best solutions out there and work with your vet.

Is it Possible Your Furry Friend Has a Food Allergy?

dog and fleas iStock_000019001636SmallWe hear about children having nut allergies, and it seems more commonplace for people to suffer from wheat, shellfish, milk and soy allergies, but did you realize your pet can also be prone to food allergies? A food allergy occurs when a pet’s immune system mistakenly identifies a particular food ingredient as harmful, and then creates defensive antibodies to fight the invading enemy (the food). While they can be difficult to diagnose, and even harder to treat, there are a few things you should know about food allergies in pets.

Symptoms Vary

While some cats and dogs may have tummy issues, such as diarrhea and weight loss, others can experience itchy skin. They may get ear infections, have anal gland problems or simply scratch all over, with symptoms worsening over time as the reaction to the food builds up.

Pets Aren’t Born with Food Allergies

Food allergies typically don’t begin until around one year of age, and they tend to develop after your pet has been eating a certain food for a long period of time.

Do a Food Trail

Some pet parents automatically assume grain is to blame, but that isn’t always the case, as red meats, chicken and corn are the more common allergens. In an effort to find a solution to your pet’s food allergies, try a hypoallergenic food for at least eight weeks. During the food trial, avoid giving your pet treats, flavored worming supplements, bones and table scraps, and keep him away from the kitchen while you are cooking. If you drop food and your pet eats it, it can skew the food trial.

At the end of eight weeks, reintroduce your pet’s old food and see if the symptoms recur. This step is important, since many allergies will fluctuate, or you may get a partial improvement. Either of these will only be obvious once your reintroduce the old food again.

It Could Be More Than Just a Food Allergy

cat fleas iStock_000001607683SmallUnfortunately, many pets who suffer from food allergies may also be allergic to pollens, dust mites or environmental allergens. While changing your pet’s food may help, it may not solve the problem entirely.

Nutritional Balance is Important

When deciding on a new food for your pet, be sure to choose one that is perfectly balanced and healthy for your furry friend. If you’re unsure which brand is best, seek consult from your veterinarian.

If you suspect your pet does have a food allergy, start with a visit to your pet’s vet, who can assist you in working out what will best suit your pet, as well as check for any other diseases that cause similar symptoms to a food allergy.

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Did you know cats yodel?

G-QGSUUbSoUY7Mre7KO79FKhsci6JfFb-XGNNuPj8nIOur pets are very vocal and cats make noises that are very expressive as they are very complex and they vocalize to us to let us know when there is something that needs our attention or that they want to communicate with us.

Cats know how to yodel and it sounds very mournful when they do it. If it is in the middle of the night, do not be surprised if you think that you now have banshees who are wandering about your house.  This is something that many cat owners think that it means that their cat is in distress; however this is not the case. This is usually a way that cats advertise that they are ready to mate. Female cats lets the males know that they are ready, and males do it to get the attention of the females.

There are a few sounds that only cats make. One of them is called the chortle, this is a happy and a greeting sound, and this is an upbeat sound that only cats know how to make. Another chirping noise which has been dubbed the wacka-wacka happens when cats look out the window and when they look at birds that are nearby. Of course, the best sound that you can ever hear is a cat is the purr.

We are not really sure how cats make the purring wound. What is very clear is that almost all wild cats purr as well as the domestic ones. What that means is that it is a sound that we all love to hear and that means that a cat is content.  Sometimes, however, people debate about whether the purr is a noise that cats make when they are happy or if it is a sound that is made when they are distressed. What is clear is that it is an unusual noise and not one that we are accustomed to hearing in other animals.  Cats are the only animals, and specifically domestic cats that purr on inhale and exhale. This is something else that large cats cannot do.

Understanding Your Cats Body Language

The movements of a cat that are silent are also as important as the vocal ones which are very different from the way that we humans are used to communicating. Cats are very defensive and typically will not attack unless they are provoked. However, once they are provoked, there is no telling what a cornered cat will do. Cats will attack and go on the offensive if they are feeling threatened but this is something that almost never happens.

Cats are introspective but are also very in touch with the outer world and that is one thing that is always a mystery for an owner when you look at them you have to wonder what they are thinking. However if the ears are pinned back you can definitely tell what they are thinking. This means that they are anxious or they are about to go into attack mode. If you notice that your cat has very open eyes as well that it is relaxed, this will indicate that your kitty is relaxed. You will also see the eyes wide open and the ears pinned back when the cat is scared.

When you look at a cat and you see that their pupils are dilated this is a warning that they may be able to strike. You need to back up and look at him. The way that the cat is using his or her mouth is also an indication of how he or she is feeling as well. When you see that the teeth are shown, this is a warning that the cat is about to strike. When you hear a hiss, this means that you are being warned and that the kitty is not about to be so cute anymore. Cat’s use their tail for many reasons and it shows you how they are feeling and thinking. When you see a cat with a straight tail, it is the indication that the cat is leading you somewhere. If you see a cat with a tail that is swishing back and forth, it could indicate that they are about to attack you. When a cat is almost wagging their tail like a dog, it is an indication of love, happiness, and affection.

Cats do not speak but they are able to communicate in so many more ways, is it any wonder that we are so in love with our pets who keep us so mystified.

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Do You Have A Safe Place To Take Your Pets In A Disaster? 5 Tips for Readiness

In a disaster, are you ready_ #petsThe sirens go off, warning you that danger is eminent. In a perfect world, you gather your family around you and make an orderly exit out of your home and into your waiting vehicle, taking, of course, all the necessary supplies, food, and important paper documents that you need. But this isn’t a perfect world. And when disaster strikes, it comes fast and sometimes without warning. Are you ready to take care of yourself, your family, and your pets?

    5 Readiness Tips

  1. Find Pet-Friendly hotels along the evacuation route.
  2. Keep This List in Your Ready Kit – Names, Address, Phone Numbers.
  3. Call Ahead For Reservations – Trust Me Better To Book Days and not use them to be told you have to move on.
  4. Arrange Care with Family, Friends, Your Pet Sitter, Boarding Kennels, Veterinary Clinics.
  5. Be Sure Your Pet Is Current On Their Vaccinations.

Pets are often the most variable factors in an emergency situation. When their world is suddenly thrown into chaos, they have no way of understanding what is going on. You cannot explain to them that, although everything is in commotion, there is no real danger. Or, if there is danger, you cannot expect them to follow your directions that would remove them from danger. One of the most basic instincts in animals in the face of danger is to flee and seek safety in hiding. This instinct can complicate things quite a bit if you are trying to quickly evacuate your home. There are some things that you can do to ameliorate this situation, and there are many more things you can do to control or eliminate all the other chaos that comes with sudden disasters. If you have the details squared away, you will be able to better focus on quickly locating your pets and removing them from danger, rather than worrying about other factors at the expense of your pet’s safety.
Although you cannot sit down and talk your pet through your family’s emergency plan, you can prepare them for a situation if it arises. First, select a safe room for your pet or pets. Keep back up stocks of food and litter in this room. It should also have access to running water or a large enough supply of water. Help your pet get comfortable with spending time in this room. You can allow them to play there, leave treats there from time to time, and shut them in for short periods of time to help them get used to it. Pay attention to your pet’s favorite hiding places. If you can align a hiding place with your safe room, half your work will already be done since your pet will naturally retreat to that spot if they sense danger. A safe room is to be used in cases where a disaster is coming that is not serious enough to evacuate for, such as a less-serious weather event that you intend to ride out. Other low-profile events could include things like the 4th of July if your pet is particularly disturbed by fireworks going off in your neighborhood. It could also be an influx of visitors in your home, such as for a party. Safe rooms also work well if your pet naturally goes there when they sense danger. This will allow you to locate them quickly in case you need to leave.
If it becomes necessary to leave your home, always take your pets with you. In disaster situations, it is impossible to predict how long it will be before the danger passes. You don’t want to find yourself barred from re-entering your home or neighborhood and unable to access pets that were left behind. In order to better ensure that you’ll be able to leave with your pets, prepare or buy proper pet carriers that can keep your pet secure. Cat owners will know that a cat that doesn’t want to stay in a cardboard box usually won’t stay in that cardboard box. Pets can be pretty good escape artists when fueled by uncertainty and worry. Don’t allow your pets a chance to bolt. Get them good carriers. The next step is to acclimate them to their carriers. Try to use the carrier for positive experiences so they don’t bolt the moment it appears. Some pet owners leave the carriers out all the time as an extra bed or resting place. This is a great way to provide your pet a piece of home should the need to leave arrive.
When your pet is used to their carrier, run them through a practice drill. This is a great thing for any family to do. Make assignments for who will take what. Which family member will be in charge of securing which pet? Pretend that this will be a three-day evacuation. Do you have enough food, litter, and supplies for your pet? If not, make a supplies bag specifically for your pet. You should also include any paperwork that may be needed to show your pet’s vaccinations and your ownership, if necessary. When you have the carrier, supplies, and paperwork in order and ready to go, you can focus on the most important thing—your pet—when an emergency arises.

As an Adult or Child have you built your own bird feeder?

Bird CanvaWhen I first moved to Georgia, I was immediately delighted by the number and variety of birds living in our area. Where I grew up, we usually saw robins and magpies but not much else. I was so excited the first time I saw a cardinal. Eager to lure more birds into view, I began setting out bird feed and it led to quite the show of birds stopping by our back porch.

I quickly learned, however, that there are some trial and error that goes into feeding birds. A few of my homemade bird feeders quickly went missing, thanks to the squirrels, while other feeders remained virtually untouched by birds and squirrels alike. If you are thinking about setting up your own bird feeder, here are a few good things to know and keep in mind:

Location
Locate the feeder in a sheltered area, away from the wind. There should be trees or bushes nearby where birds can land and survey the area to determine if they feel comfortable there. The area around the feeder should be open enough for the birds to feel that they have space to survey the area and keep an eye out for attackers.

Placement
Different placements of feeders will attract different kinds of birds. A feeder that is located on or near to the ground will attract birds that are accustomed to foraging on the ground. A fixed feeder on a pole or tree with plenty of perching places will attract a different group of birds. Finally, a free-hanging feeder or one without perches will attract only those birds that are able to cling to it while they eat.

In my experience, I had some free hanging cakes of bird seed that I left out on the tree. They stayed untouched for a week. When I took them down and placed them out on our porch banister, however, the birds were suddenly very interested. If your seed doesn’t seem to be working, try moving it around first in different locations. Sometimes birds just need a more convenient place to land and feast.

In the end, you’ll want to strike the balance between finding a place where the birds are comfortable and having the feeder where you will be most likely to see it, since half the fun is being able to see what feathered visitors you get in your yard.

Seed
In addition to placement, the type of birds that you attract will be determined largely by what kind of seed you provide. Certain species will favor certain seeds. Most seed packaging will identify the types of birds it is intended to attract. Beware of some types of seed that include filler seed, meaning extra seeds that the birds are not likely to eat. Watch for which types of seeds the birds prefer and pay attention to what seed end up untouched on the ground.

As a side note, the type of bird feed that you use will sometimes determine what kind of feeder you buy. Suet is a common variety of bird feed. It comes in bricks or tablets and has its own kind of holders. Do some research to decide if this is the type of food you would like to provide for the birds in your yard.

Consistency
A big part of successful bird feeding is being able to make birds feel welcome in your environment and enticing them to return. Once you have set out birdseed, your feathered neighbors will take note, but only as long as there is food available. Once the food it was gone, they will have not reason to linger in your area and will instead seek elsewhere for food. If you have “regulars,” keep them coming back with the same seed and consistent availability. If you want to make changes to the seed you put out, do so over a gradual period of time. If you are transitioning to a winter diet, this is also a good idea to keep in mind. If you will be out of town, try to find someone who will be willing to refill the bird seed. If not, taper the amounts off, especially during the winter, so the birds will have time to adjust to finding their food elsewhere.

Involvement
A final step you can take is to interest and involve your neighbors in setting out birdseed. This is especially helpful if you take frequent or long trips because it keeps your regular bird visitors close and content and ready to return once you begin setting out seed again.

Did you know we even take care of birds?  All kinds of birds from feeding outdoor birds to feeding a Macaw.  If you would like to learn more call us at 770-695-3096.  We would love to answer any questions you may have about pet sitting, or dog walking. What we can’t help you with regarding pets we will sure try to find out.

This Pooch Was Made For Walkin’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are some who think that walking dogs on leashes constrains dogs and suppresses their natural behaviors. Just imagine, however, a world where everyone just let their dogs loose and free to roam; free-range dogs if you will. As you’re walking, reward your dog frequently for staying next to you or slightly ahead and for looking up at you. If you do this consistently, he’ll learn that 1) if he stays near you or looks at you, he gets treats and gets to keep moving, and 2) if he pulls on the leash, the fun stops because he doesn’t get to keep walking and he has to come back to you and sit.
Consistency is the key to teaching your dog to heel, thus not to pull. Think about it, is consistency not the key to teaching children how to and how not to behave? In upper dog circles like show dogs and such, the focus is on extensive precision heel training. Basically this means, getting your dog’s front paws to match your stride, match your movement and pivot as you turn.

 

Another very important thing to keep in mind is that until your dog is precision heel trained, all walks must be seen as learning experiences and used as teachable moments. You can’t just train inside and on agility courses and then let your pooch go wild when you walk. This is not consistent. Tire you furry friend out before the walk so that you can focus on the task at hand which is precision heeling, and not on the smells and sights around you and your dog. Walk at a swift pace to prevent the lingering dog to smell everything in sight thus creating a jerky, less fluid experience. Make yourself more interesting than the surroundings. Bring small, bite-size treats to aid in this process. Your walks should be frequent, short and fun! Always reward your little friend frequently for staying next to or slightly ahead of you, and for looking up.

 

So, why do they pull? A common myth is that dogs pull because they are trying to be “dominant” and leader of the pack. There is another myth that a dog should always walk behind his owner and that if he chances to forge ahead because he does not respect the handler or is somehow challenging their authority. But, no, they do it because it works, they are faster and they are untrained.

 

As mentioned above, dogs gravitate toward things that are interesting. You are advised to find ways to become very interesting to your dog. This may involve the use of yummy treats, favorite toys, and other rewards like the opportunity to sniff, chase, and/or roll in the grass. A consistently strong reinforcement history makes owners very interesting to dogs. Once you’ve established a strong reinforcement history then practice your loose leash walking skills.

 

In the lured walking exercise, start with your dog standing at your left side. Having several treats enclosed in your left hand, hold your left hand within 1 inch of your dog’s nose. Command, “Let’s walk,” and walk in your intended direction while every few seconds popping a small treat into your dog’s mouth, and praising her for walking along at your pace. Lured walking is a gradual increase in the number of steps taken between highly desirable treats given, starting with one treat per step.
Red light, green light is an exercise in which your dog needs to have the sit and come commands already mastered. Basically, if your dog pulls then you stop, wait until there is slack on the leash then call your dog back. If they maintain eye contact and stay near you, give them a treat.
In closing, patience, time and lots of yummy treats are what it takes to conquer this task of peaceably walking with your pet.

 

Remember when you learned to walk the level of care and patience that your parents showed you. This is what you need to do to make sure that you are able to give your pets the same level of care and love that you would want to give to a child. This will ensure that you are able to keep your pet happy and healthy for the long term. After all who are our pets if they are not members of our family? Whether you realize it or not, you will spend more time with your pet than you will in many ways with any one else, be patient and kind.