***Edited March 20 to add CDC guidelines.
Something that many pet owners have wondered this week is, “Can my dog get coronavirus? Can they transmit it to me? Can they get it from me? What are the symptoms? What do I do to keep them healthy if I get it? We love our pets and would do anything to keep them healthy and safe. Much is still not known for certain about this virus. Here are the basics that we know so far.
This post was not written to alarm anyone. I hope this information is helpful and will help calm some of the fear around this unprecedented event. Stay safe and healthy. . I will update this post as more information becomes available.
There are several reasons that dogs lick their paws to the point of irritation. The fancy medical term for this is Canine Acral Lick Dermatitis and it is a very common ailments that veterinarians encounter. It can be very frustrating and stubborn to treat. Here are some of the most common culprits.
Yeast/Fungal infections The easiest way to tell if your dog has a yeast infection on their paws is the smell. Yeast on dog paws can smell like Fritos chips and can be a very pungent strong smell. It is most common in the summertime and can make their paws itchy and irritated which can make your dog want to lick their paws excessively. Allergies can cause this too and some dogs can be allergic to yeast but they are not the same thing.
Yeast and fungus can grow anywhere moist and warm on your dog. It is most common on feet, ear canals, armpits and other skin folds (think about a bulldog’s facial folds). If your pet is shaking their head a lot or pawing at their ears, this can be the cause. Having a little bit of yeast on your dog is normal and may not produce a strong odor. It becomes a problem when the yeast grows out of control and causes irritation, redness, or swelling. When this happens it is called Malassezia Dermatitis or more commonly as a yeast infection. This can be especially irritating if your dog becomes allergic to the yeast. If they become allergic, their biological response can be much more severe as they become hypersensitive to the yeast. This will make even the smallest amount of yeast very irritating. This research article goes into greater detail here. https://europepmc.org/article/med/9659547
If I was stuck on a deserted island and there wasn’t a veterinarian on the island with me… but I had some homemade vinegar… I would rinse my dogs itchy paws with vinegar -if I thought they had a yeast infection that was making them chew their paws. Vinegar can be effective on yeast or fungus on the skin and it is non-toxic to dogs. But, if you can get to a veterinarian, that is better of course.
Do you love to take road trips? Here is what I do to take my dogs and make it fun and enjoyable for all of us. Betty has been on many multi-day road trips with me and she is a great traveling companion. Here are some things that I did with Betty from the beginning that helped ensure that she loved car rides.
I will also post the gear that I use on my resources page.
Make car rides fun and safe. I started by taking Betty on shorter trips. I took her hiking, Home Depot, dog friendly restaurants, and to visit family and friends whenever possible. This helped get her accustomed to riding in the car and she looked forward to going places with me. Most dogs love to go wherever you go so this is pretty easy. I have a special seat belt for her to keep her safe and she always rode in the backseat where she was safest away from airbags. I also have a waterproof pet cover for my rear seat to keep my car nice. I also recommend rubber washable floor mats and a silicone detail brush to clean hair. The one I keep in my car has a pointed edge and reaches in all kinds of places. It comes in really handy to swipe up dog hair.
We started with shorter rides to make sure she wouldn’t get car sick as some dogs get car sick just like some people do. I keep a water bowl and a large jug of water in the car so if its hot or we have been out for a while, I can offer water. I also keep poo bags on hand for potty breaks and I even have a poo vault for when I have full bags and no trash can handy. It seals in the stickiness so your car won’t smell like poo. I’m a pro though so I take poo very seriously.
Obedience training and socializing your dog ahead of time help make them much more enjoyable around other people and other dogs too. Before traveling with a dog, having them understand basic commands like sit, down, stay, leave it, and good walking leash manners will make the trip a lot more successful.
Check with your vet if your dog is due to get their regular check up or vaccinations are due. If you have a dog that gets car sick, check with your vet for recommendations. Bring a copy of their vaccination records with you. If your pet is a service dog or emotional support animal, bring the documentation for this as well.
Practice with longer trips once you know your dog is comfortable with shorter trips. There are a few things that I take on longer or overnight trips. I will bring dog bowls and their current food. I never switch food unnecessarily as this is a recipe for stomach upset. I bring their dog bed. Whenever I need a potty break, I stop somewhere that I can take the dog out for a potty break as well. Plan your trip so that you never leave the dog in the car alone.
I had a dog that got "bloat" which is a stomach that twists internally. It can be fatal if not treated by a veterinarian immediately. This is what happened that day. It was a day like any other in the summer of 2007. I got home early (around 7;30p.m.) and was greeted by my dog with her same happy attitude that she always had. She was a happy, healthy Labrador retriever of about 3 years old at the time. I loved coming home to her. I poured her dinner from the kibble bag and went to check the mailbox. She always ate her food like it was a race so she was gobbling up her food when I went to check the mail. Something odd caught my attention when I came back and looked at my dog. She seemed uncomfortable and really BIG. All of a sudden she had bloated in size to that of a fully pregnant dog. I was shocked.
Dogs can get diabetes just like humans do. Here I will go over what diabetes is, what causes it, the symptoms, diagnosis and care of a dog with diabetes.
First, what is diabetes and how does it affects dogs? Diabetes in dogs is a common condition that affects the amount of glucose, (sugar,) in your dog's blood. Diabetes occurs when your dog's body doesn’t make enough insulin, stops making it entirely, or has an abnormal reaction to insulin. Insulin affects how your dog's body uses food
When your dog eats, carbohydrates are converted into several types of simple sugars, including glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the blood, where it travels to cells throughout the body. Insulin is required for the transfer of glucose from the blood into the cells so it can be used for energy. If there's too little insulin available, glucose can't enter cells, and instead builds up to a high concentration in the bloodstream. This is known as hyperglycemia. As a result, there is not enough energy for the cells to work normally and they are "starved." Over time, weight loss happens despite an increased appetite. The build-up of glucose in the blood spills over into the urine and utilizes large amounts of water, resulting in increased thirst and more frequent urination. A common side effect of diabetes in dogs is cataracts and can lead to blindness if left untreated. I am not a veterinarian. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, please take your dog to your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. Left untreated, diabetes can cause blindness, and death.
Most dogs are diagnosed with diabetes between the ages of 4 and 14 years of age. Younger dogs can get diabetes though. This is just the average age of diagnosis.
How Common is Pet Diabetes? Canine diabetes is more common in middle-age and older dogs, but it is also seen in young dogs. While believed to be under-diagnosed, diabetes affects approximately one in 1 in 300 dogs. Unspayed female dogs are twice as likely to get diabetes. The primary cause of canine diabetes is unknown, but many suggest that genetics may play a role. This is why some breeds are more prone to diabetes because of genetics. Female dogs are also more prone to diabetes than male dogs.
Many people wonder why dogs eat grass and, more importantly, if it is safe to allow them to eat grass. The short answer regarding the why could be a variety of reasons that are covered below. It is usually safe as long as the grass is untreated and clean.
If you have a dog that behaves differently than usual, always check to make sure the dog is not sick. If eating grass is unusual for your dog and they start eating and vomiting, it is always wise to rule out any underlying health issues. Do they have a bloated stomach? This can be worms. This can be life threatening to older dogs and puppies. A bloated hard stomach that seems to happen suddenly can also be a twisted stomach also known as bloat. It can kill a dog in a short amount of time. It is a medical emergency that needs to be handled by a veterinarian immediately. I had a dog several years ago that had this happen and I talk about it more here. Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian. If your dogs seems sick, always check with your veterinarian.
Healthy dogs eat grass for several reasons.
There are several types of worms that can infect dogs.
Tapeworms, round worms, and hookworms are the most common. The adult worms and their eggs can be ingested by coming in contact with contaminated soil, sand, feces, fleas, and rodents. Hookworms can enter through the skin and the paw pads. Dogs can get them from grooming and shared spaces with other dogs like dog parks, kennels, and doggy daycares. Puppies can get worms from their mothers with fatal consequences. It is actually pretty easy for dogs to get them. So, now what?!
I have a very pretty and smart dog, Betty. I have had Betty for four years now and bathroom accidents were mostly non-existent until this year. We had an occasional accident while traveling or in unfamiliar places when she would get anxious. She can be a high maintenance tightly wound dog at times. In our family, we call her “extra”. But, at home with her regular routine, she’s been a great dog. Around June of this year, Betty got a urinary tract infection. She had accidents daily while suffering from this infection. The bacteria was resistant to antibiotics so she would seem to improve and then several weeks after the medication had been taken the infection would recur. This cycle happened a couple times: bloody urine, trip to the vet, antibiotics, improvement, 3-4 weeks would go by, repeat the cycle. The accidents were the worst during the active infection stage. But, even during the “healthy” weeks in between, there were accidents. So, after this cycle recurred for several months, my dog didn’t act like she was potty trained anymore. An ultrasound was done during the active infection stage to rule out tumors or bladder crystals. She didn’t show signs of anything other than an infection that was antibiotic resistant - which was great news.
So, this is what I did. It took three rounds of antibiotics before Betty was clear of infection. The final course of antibiotics was twice as long as the first two rounds. I cleaned accidents with an enzymatic cleaner to remove the scent of urine. I closed off every room with a door. Basically, if a room had a door, it was a closed door. She got four good long walks daily on a set schedule. Prior to the infections, she was fine with three short walks daily. Now, she needed longer and more frequent walks. At night, I didn’t allow her to roam the house freely anymore. She slept in the bedroom with me and I closed the door. Initially, she slept in her crate. After several days of no accidents, I allowed her to sleep outside the crate successfully. Betty was already crate trained when I rescued her. She is comfortable in her crate and seeks it out for refuge on her own regularly. The first few weeks after her infection cleared, she was fine if I was home. But, when I left for a few hours, if she was uncrated, she would have a big accident. So, I crated her at first when I would leave. That kept her from having accidents. Because my work schedule was light at the time, I could come home every few hours and let her out and hang out with her.
There are also a few things that I tried that didn’t work. I put down pee pads everywhere that she had accidents. She didn’t always use the pee pads. I cleaned up the accidents with regular cleaners and she kept going back to the same spots. Then my little chihuahua started joining her in the same spots. I had never used pee pads in the past so she wasn’t really sure what to do with them initially. I also tried some holistic supplements that had probiotics and pre-biotics to help prevent future infections. I didn’t really see any lasting change or improvements using those. I thought they helped at first but then she would get sick again. However, she was still in the infection cycle when I tried those. I can’t really give an accurate review about them.
It was never determined what caused the infection in the first place. So far, so good though. I can’t help but wonder if she just needed longer more frequent walks? That gives me pangs of the “dog mom” guilt.
I am not a trainer or a veterinarian. I walk and take care of dogs during the day and I love my Betty and Eddie. That is what my perspective is based upon.
Apps have definitely changed the way we live and share information. How we take care of our dogs is certainly easier with apps. Here are a few of my favorite apps to help you to be a better dog mama or papa. They are listed in the order that they appear on my phone: