Dog Day Friday

 Hope your weekend is relaxing!

Happy Friday!

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What You Should Know About Obesity in Dogs

obese-dog-on-scalesObesity in dogs is a growing concern in North America and it can lead to several diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. As you take time to give thanks and gather with friends and family to enjoy Thanksgiving feasts and festivities, please take a moment to consider your dog’s weight and how it impacts their health…before you spoil them with all those leftovers.

How can you tell if your dog is obese?

Your dog is generally described as obese if he weighs 30% more than the ideal weight for his breed. With people, we typically use our height and weight to determine if we’re obese, but in dogs it’s a little different. Since there are so many different breeds and body types in dogs, “body scoring” is often used, in combination with weight charts, for determining obesity in dogs.

Here’s a simplified body scoring chart you can use to help you assess your dog’s weight:

body scoring chart

What causes obesity in dogs?

Basically, obesity is an accumulation of excess energy that is stored in the body as fat. This happens when your dog takes in more calories than he expends, and it’s a bit of a vicious cycle. The more overweight or obese your dog is, the less active they tend to be and the less energy (calories) they’ll expend.

If you only feed your dog small amounts of food every day and you’re wondering why he’s overweight or obese, don’t forget about treats and table scraps. These treats can mean a lot of additional calories over time which can cause weight gain.

Hypothyroidism, a disorder in which the thyroid glands (which regular metabolism) are underactive, could also predispose your dog to obesity. If your dog is overweight, contact your veterinarian to test for hypothyroidism before starting a weight loss program.

What can you do to control your dog’s weight?

Thankfully, there are a lot of nutritional options and simple activities you can introduce to your dog to get their weight under control.

First things first, talk to your veterinarian. They’ll help you design a safe and effective weight loss program to meet your dog’s lifestyle.

With a nutritional plan established, it’s up to you to help your dog burn more calories. These activities can be simple – consider a brisk, 30 minute walk twice a day. The bonus here is that you’re also benefiting from the extra activity, too!

Weight reduction is typically 60% diet and 40% activity, and on both accounts it’s diligence and persistence that pay off. So be strong – while those cute puppy eyes are begging for treats, you need to remember that sticking to their nutritional plan is best for their health. Ask your veterinarian which treats you can use to spoil your dog, and how much you can give them. Just like people, portion control is important!

Source: http://algonquinanimalhospital.org/news/what-you-should-know-about-obesity-in-dogs

How to Safely Walk Your Dogs during a Polar Vortex

walking-winter-dogIt’s a winter task that many pet owners come to dread: convincing reluctant dogs to leave a cozy home for a walk in the polar vortex. With temperatures across Canada dropping below -20°C, it’s a dilemma that needs to be addressed.Of course, there’s an app for that! WonderWoof helps pet owners stay connected to their dogs by tracking exercise, mapping favourite walking routes and keeping track of grooming, food and medical reminders.

But when we finally get off the couch and to the door, is it actually safe to head outside?

Joshua Taylor, a trainer and behaviourist at Canine Education in Montreal, shared some advice on how to care for our furry friends during subzero weather.

Take a walk!

Walking the dog is not just good physical exercise, it’s also an exercise in bonding.

“I can guarantee that there is really one big thing your dog loves, and it’s to walk with you!”

While you could just put your dog outside in the yard for a quick play outside, Taylor is a strong advocate of getting out and about with your pet.

“The biggest positive to taking your dog outside for a walk is the energy being burned,” he said.

“A lack of exercise is one of the main factors to many behaviour issues that we deal with on a daily basis.”

What if it’s -40°C and you really can’t face the cold?

Taylor suggests a dog walker or an indoor workout.

“If you have a treadmill, it’s a great way to burn some energy.”

If you’re cold outside, so is your dog

Although it’s rare for animals get frostbite, it is possible.

“If you’re paying attention while outside with your furry friend, they will tend to let you know when they have had enough.”

Try to limit the amount of time outdoors during very cold temperatures and consider a doggie sweater or coat for warmth, especially for the sick and short haired, as well as young pups and older dogs.

“Cold all depends on the size of the dog,” said Taylor.

“The smaller the dog, the shorter the time.”

Icy streets mean salty sidewalks

One of the most common cold-weather issues is irritated dog paw pads caused by the salt sprinkled on icy sidewalks.

“Avoiding salted streets is a big must,” said Taylor.

“I let the dogs walk on the side, where there is fresh or white snow.”

When back at home, take a minute to wipe off your dog’s paws with a clean, wet cloth.

“Buying little boots for your dogs is not such a bad idea,” Taylor said.

“Plus you will get a good laugh out of it when they go walking in them for the first time.”

Amanda is the web producer for Global News in Montreal, covering local and provincial stories for GlobalNews.ca. Source : http://globalnews.ca/news/1064915/how-to-safely-walk-your-dog-during-a-polar-vortex/

Schipperke!

WaveJewelPawsitively Pawsh loves to groom our gorgeous Schipperke dogs that are VERY uncommon and RARE these days to see. There are very few breeders left and we believe none in Canada. We thought we’d share some information about this breed 🙂
Known for a stubborn, mischievous, and headstrong temperament. The Schipperke is sometimes referred to as the “little black fox”, the “Tasmanian black devil”. They are naturally curious and high-energy dogs. Schipperkes are very smart and independent; and sometimes debate listening to owners, instead choosing to do whatever benefits them the most, They can excel at obedience and agility competitions.
The Schipperke was bred smaller and smaller and eventually became a different breed entirely. The dogs became a favorite choice to guard canal barges in Belgium. The breed was used for herding livestock, hunting game or simply guarding his domain. In Flemish the word “schip” means boat, hence where they got their name “Schipperke.” They earned the nickname “Little Captain” and “Little Skipper” because the dogs were the “ratters,” a very important function on a canal barge, and also usually the captain’s dog. The breed became very popular in Belgian households by the late 1800s. It first appeared at a dog show in 1880. From that point on it was exported throughout the world. Schipperkes do very well on boats and people often get this breed to come along with them on boating and fishing trips. It makes a great guard dog when the boat anchors for the night, alerting of anything out of the ordinary and the dog thoroughly enjoys its trip. The Schipperke was recognized by the AKC in 1904.
In World War II, the Belgian Resistance used the dogs to run messages between various resistance hideouts and cells, and the Nazis never caught on.
A Schipperke is intermittently featured in the tiger-centric movie Two Brothers (2004).

Facts on Fatal Foods for Dogs

photolibrary_rf_photo_of_sad_dog_and_guacamoleMost of us know better than to give human food to our dogs as treats, but it would be naive to think this doesn’t happen at one point or another for most pet owners. You probably already know some table foods that appeal to your dog. What you may not know is how many common foods pose potentially fatal health threats to pets. We encourage you to review this list which highlights just a few of the many foods that carry real danger for your dog.
1. Chocolate: Very widely understood as being poisonous to dogs, chocolate poses a major health risk because it contains something called theobromine, an alkaloid that is fatally harmful to dogs. While humans consume theobromine without many problems, dogs absorb it at a much slower rate and often present with toxicity when it’s ingested in small to moderate doses. Theobromine can accelerate your dog’s heart rate, over-stimulate the central nervous system, cause vomiting, diarrhea, and in some cases result in death. Make sure that chocolate treats are stored far out of reach in your kitchen, and that your dog never licks your hands or face after you’ve eaten chocolate.
2. Grapes and raisins: Many pet owners are unaware of this food risk to dogs. In fact, some think of grapes and raisins as a natural, healthy treat for their pet. However, studies have shown a significant connection between grape consumption and kidney failure in dogs. Worst still, there doesn’t seem to be a difference in the reaction for different types of grapes, or for different quantities. This means that even a small handful of grapes or raisins has the potential to make your dog very sick- so save these snacks for humans only in your household! 
3. Chewy candy or gum: These aren’t foods that you’re likely to feed your dog intentionally, but it is important to know why they are toxic. Xilotyl is a sweetener found in many brands of chewing gum and sweets that can also be found in some baked goods and cereals. Its canine toxicity is well documented -it causes dogs to become hypoglycemic and has been known to result in long-term liver failure. Be careful when walking your dog outside at Halloween or on playgrounds at recess- there may be discarded or misplaced candy littering the ground.
4. Avocado: Avocados are a delicious source of healthy fats for humans, but contain a toxin called persin, once thought to affect cats, dogs and birds alike. For this reason avocados have long been affiliated with pet poisoning. New research suggests that persin does not poison cats and dogs to the degree it was believed to. However, swallowing an avocado pit can result in a very serious intestinal blockage in your dog. Keep those avocados safely stored high in your fridge or in a secure crisper drawer.
As mentioned, there are many different dangers and fatal foods for dogs. We urge you to learn more about pet poisoning by visiting an accredited website such as the Pet Poison Helpline’s Poison List . For specific questions or concerns about lethal foods and your pet, speak to your veterinarian immediately.
Source : http://www.westernanimalclinic.ca/index.php?view=pageView&docid=100051810

Winter Pet Care: Honey, it’s cold outside!

freezing dogWith winter here, many parts of the country will experience weather conditions that are “not fit for man nor beast.” Many pets resist going outdoors into the cold, wet weather, but despite these conditions, our dogs must go outside for two basic reasons:
  1. They need to exercise.
  2. They need to eliminate.
So how do pet owners deal with these icy conditions? How do we walk our pets when we don’t even want to venture outdoors ourselves? How do we tear ourselves away from warm fires and snuggly blankets to face arctic blasts that greet us when we open the back door?
Here are some winter pet care tips to help you and your pet weather the winter.
  1. Bring your pet in for a pre-winter exam. Your veterinarian should see your dog twice yearly for well-health check-ups. It’s good time of year to visit your dog’s doctor and make sure he doesn’t have any underlying medical problems that would make him more vulnerable to winter weather. For example, arthritic dogs suffer more in cold weather and can benefit from anti-inflammatory medications. Dogs with pre-existing urinary problems also fare worse in the winter months as the cold weather tends to trigger more bladder infections. Your veterinarian can detect problems like these early on, or prevent them altogether, with an exam and lab work.
  2. Pay special attention to older pets and those with medical problems. It makes sense that a pet with less body fat cannot endure low temperatures as well as one in good body condition. Since older pets lose muscle mass and body fat (like we do as we age), they cannot tolerate the cold as well as their younger friends. Also, pets with medical problems like diabetes, heart conditions, or thyroid deficiencies have more difficulty regulating their body temperature. Take special care with pets that are at higher risk of temperature induced problems.
  3. Dress your pet for the weather. Regardless of age or health status, it’s important to dress your pet warmly for winter weather. During dry, cold weather, protect your pet from the elements with warm outerwear such as a sweater. When snow or ice is on the ground, consider putting canine boots on your dog to protect their foot pads from chemicals and salt products used on slippery ice. It can take some time before your dog gets used to wearing winter clothing, so dress your dog in her winter wear before winter actually arrives to get her accustomed to her new duds.
  4. Umbrellas are great in the winter, too. Keep a large golf umbrella handy to protect you and your dog from winter precipitation – the dryer the walk, the better.
  5. Increase your pet’s blood circulation. Towel-dry your dog as soon as you get back indoors. Even if his coat isn’t wet, brisk rubbing with the towel increases his circulation and warms him up more quickly.
  6. Have a designated indoor elimination area. If the weather is simply too bad to get outside, provide puppy pads for emergency use. It’s not healthy for your dog to go too long without urinating or defecating. Holding urine in the bladder for extended periods can lead to urinary tract infections (see tip #1). Delayed bowel movements can result in constipation, or the opposite problem….diarrhea from stress-induced colitis. Regular elimination is key to the comfort and health of your pet.
  7. Stay with your dog when he is outside. Staying with your dog while they’re outside can help you determine when enough is enough. If you get too cold to stay outdoors, you know it’s time to bring your dog inside. If you absolutely must leave your dog outside, make sure he has shelter against the wind and rain. Keep them warm with thick bedding inside their shelter with hot water bottles wrapped in a towel to avoid skin burns, and/or place an electric heat lamp near the shelter. Avoid electric heating pads that can cause skin burns, and check the water bowl frequently to make sure the water is not frozen.
  8. Don’t make false assumptions. Many people think that a dog with a long coat is adequately protected from cold weather. While it makes sense that a Huskie is better equipped than a Labrador for winter temperatures, even dogs with thicker coats are at risk. Keep all pets warm, even those with good winter hair coats.
With a little common sense you and your pet will withstand the frosty winter months safely. And you may enjoy a little extra time with your pet as you snuggle inside where it’s warm and inviting.
LifelearnAdmin | Lifelearn News
Source : http://www.westernanimalclinic.ca/index.php?view=pageView&docid=100051884