The Wet Nose Press Pet Blog

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May 24, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Four Ways in Which You Can Unwittingly Break the Spirit of Your Dog

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None of us like to be told off day in and day out. Our spirits sink and we feel discouraged from ever doing anything. We all know that dogs also feel sorrow, get depressed and feel threatened by their most common predator – man. Here are a few things that pet owners do on a daily basis that destroys the spirit of their spirited pup:

  1. Yell/scold/rub his nose in waste – One of the biggest myths is that dogs know whenever we get mad at them for pooping or peeing inside the house. Coming across a puddle of piss in the middle of your living room might not be pleasant for you, but you need to understand that your dog does not feel any guilt when you disapprove. As a matter of fact, they react fearfully to their owner’s emotional response, irrespective of when the incident occurred. Yelling or screaming just reinforces bullying and since it happens long after the incident, your dog will just be afraid and confused. Most importantly, never rub their nose in pee or poo as it reflects a disgusting mentality and is plain mean.
  2. Hitting your dog – We are well past the days of dominance and submission. Hitting your dog is an outdated training method. All it does is teach your dog that he needs to be afraid of you. If you really want to hit something, use the punching bag at your local gym or go for an anger management course. Don’t bring a dog into your house. They don’t deserve such treatment.
  3. Kennel time out – If a pup is being uncooperative and not behaving the way you desire while you are training him, that does not mean that he is defiant or spiteful. It just means that he is a puppy. You need to modify your behavior first. Stop for a minute and think about your method of training. There are good chances that your pup is distracted or not developmentally ready for the task. This applies to adult dogs too. If they do something that you disapprove of, don’t punish them or banish them to the kennel.
  4. Taking their food away while they are eating – This is just plain ridiculous and it just goes to show your dog that you are a grand bully. Although having a pack leader is important, dogs must be left to their own devices when they are eating. If a dog is loving, kind and welcoming of strangers when he is not eating, there is no reason to believe that their aggressive behavior around their food is anything out of the ordinary. A lot of people tend to view a growling dog as a greedy one, but it is important to understand that this is just a dog being a dog.
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May 23, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

A Clean and Green Home For Your Pet

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Pets are exposed to a number of toxic environments in their lifetime. However, the place you think is the safest is often the one that is most dangerous to the health of your pet. The modern home has more gases, chemicals and natural toxins than any other place your pet is likely to come across in the neighborhood. In spite of that, most pet owners are blissfully unaware of the health hazard posed by innocuous products like furniture polishes and air fresheners.

Just like humans, animals also fall ill due to physical reactions to most of the chemicals which are used to manufacture textiles and furniture in the home, and also cleaning products which leave residual films. On the other hand, air fresheners can irritate the mucus membranes and breathing passages – particularly in brachycephalic breeds. Damp carpets can also pose a health risk to your pet, considering the fact that they are so close to the source. To top it all, a lot of the plants that are used to keep the air clean in your house can be toxic to your pet as well. Luckily, there are things you can do to make sure that your pet stays protected from chemical overload.

Keep a tab on the chemicals

You need to exercise a lot of care with volatile organic compounds. They are carbon based chemicals and tend to evaporate at room temperature. Most of them stay around in the air for a long time especially if the ventilation is poor. These are often found in furniture manufactured out of composite wood products, disinfecting solutions (citrus-scented or pine-lemon cleaners and bleach). Prolonged exposure to these products can cause cancer, kidney or liver damage, and affect the central nervous system. Short term exposure can lead to vomiting, dizziness, breathing problems and irritate the mucus membranes in the eyes, nose and mouth.

New carpeting also has a lot of chemicals associated with their manufacture and installation. Along with benzene, formaldehyde and acetone, carpets are usually treated with moth proofing, stain protectors and fire retardants. Finally, they are attached to the floor with the help of volatile adhesives. So, if you are planning to buy a new carpet, make sure that the carpet is “gassed off” before the installation. If it is possible, use staples to install them instead of adhesives and make sure that the room is well-aired for the brief period after the installation.

When it comes to new furniture, manufacturers use a lot of chemicals to protect the fabric, wood and all the other components. Make sure that you air out the new pieces before you let your pet stretch out on them. That will drastically lower the risk of an adverse chemical reaction.

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May 20, 2016
by Lynn Merton
0 comments

Signs of Gum Disease in Your Dog

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Bacteria are present everywhere on canine bodies. When they get under the gums of your dog in the form of a plaque, it can lead to gum disease which is one of the most common dental conditions that assails dogs. A lot of people think that tartar, the brown colored coating on teeth is the cause of gum disease. However, that is not exactly true. Tartar is just hardened, calcified plaque which provides hiding places where the bacteria can thrive. Let us look at some of the most common signs of gum disease:

  1. Gingivitis – Symptoms of this condition include swelling and redness of the gums. If you notice that your dog’s gums are more swollen or redder than usual, it is time to take him to the vet.
  2. Bad breath – Even before you notice any signs of gingivitis, pet owners may notice that their dog has really bad breath. A lot of pet owners think that dog breath is common, but it really isn’t. It is common only because most of the dogs have some form of gum disease. Dental disease is the most frequent cause behind bad breath.
  3. Receding gums – If the gums of your dog look like they have separated from the teeth, that is a sure fire sign of gum disease. Once the disease becomes advanced, the tissue will recede all the way and expose the roots of your dog’s teeth.
  4. Bleeding – If the gums of your dog bleed whenever he chews, or when you probe his mouth or brush his teeth, it is a sign that your dog has advancing periodontal disease.
  5. Loose teeth – In the later stages of periodontal disease, the teeth will start becoming loose and will easily fall off.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If gingivitis is caught and treated early on, it can be treated before it snowballs into periodontal disease. The key is to clean out the bacteria before they advance. If you let the gingivitis advance, it can lead to serious health consequences. A lot of the dogs, especially those that weight under twenty pounds, develop gum disease and based on their genetics, it can begin as early as 24 months old.

As the gingivitis worsens, your dog will start to lose tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. Your vet might be forced to extract the teeth.

Gum disease prevention

Brush the teeth of your dog regularly. Once a day would be ideal, but if you cannot, at least brush them twice during the week. Products like water additives and chews can help in maintaining gum health. However, they should not be used as a substitute for proper brushing. Also, take your dog for scheduled dental cleaning sessions with the veterinarian. The vet will administer general anesthesia to scale and polish your pet’s teeth.

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May 19, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Exercises that You and Your Dog Can Do Together

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Your dog might be your best workout partner. According to recent research, dog owners who take their dogs regularly for walks meet the national standards for moderate, regular, or vigorous exercise. On an average, dog walkers tend to exercise for half an hour more per week compared to people who do not have pets. It is like having your own personal motivation trainer. Here are a few exercises you can do with your dog that will benefit both of you:

  1. Warmup – Go for a back and forth power walk with your dog in two minute bursts while holding him on a short leash. Once you feel warmed up, you can switch over to a sprint or a light jog. But remember that if this is the first time you are going to do this with your dog, he will not know what to expect. So make sure you reward him for his good actions.
  2. Wall sit – This is a great exercise for conditioning your glutes, quads and hamstrings. Your back should be to the wall and your feet must be shoulder width apart. Once you are in position, push the hips, shoulders and lower back to the wall. Slowly, walk out the feet as you let the upper body sink to the floor. After that, bend the knees till your legs form a right angle and stay in this position for a minute. If you want added assistance, you can place the paw of your dog on your knee.
  3. Leaping Labrador – Make your dog stand to your left about a foot apart. Bend your knees slightly and ensure that your chest is over the toes. Move sideways while you shift all weight to your left as you slowly raise the right foot off the ground. Hop sideways and land on the right foot, followed by your left leg. Repeat this thrice and encourage your canine companion to join you. Once you are done, lead with the left and let the right leg follow in a hopping motion. Repeat this thrice and make sure you praise your dog in between.
  4. Reverse lunge – Compared to basic lunges, reverse lunges do not stress your knee that much while still helping with conditioning the leg. Ask your dog to sit while you face him. Take a large step backward and lower the hips till the front thigh is parallel to the ground and the front knee is over the ankle. Use the front leg to push back. Now repeat it on the opposite side. The movement should be controlled and slow.
  5. Butt exercise – Lie on the back with bent knees and your feet all flat on the floor. You can also rest the feet on a bosu ball or any other available short surface. Make your dog lie down to your side, or sit on the bosu ball. Let your lower back and hips sink to the floor. Take a deep breath as you do it. Engage the abdominal muscles as you exhale and life the hips off the floor. Make sure you press the heels to the floor for extra stability. Inhale as you lower the hips back to the original position.
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May 18, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

All You Need to Know About Hot Spots

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Hot spots are one of the least desirable skin irritations that can affect your pet. Vets refer to them as moist eczema. They occur when dogs itch, scratch or lick themselves excessively, leading to a wet scab on their fur. But what can you do with a hot spot?

Hot spots can appear anywhere on your dog’s body. It can cause the surrounding area to deteriorate rapidly too. The raw, moist skin disorder has a number of causes but bacteria are the most consistent factor. Anything that breaks or irritates the skin can create the right breeding ground for bacterial contamination.

All it takes is a bit of moisture. The incidences of moisture can be anything from a recent bath or a swim to wet and crazy playtime. In fact, an oozing sore can provide enough moisture or nutrients for bacterial infections to take hold.

Although there are a number of bacteria which can cause hot spots, most of them respond to topical and oral antibiotics. Cats rarely get any hot spots.

How to treat them

  1. Trim out the area around the area with the help of animal clippers. If the affected area is a little too big, shave it off. Exposing the skin to the air will help in drying out all the moisture and help speed up the healing process.
  2. Clean the area nicely with a light water-based antiseptic or astringent spray, or a specialized shampoo. Once you are done, pat the area dry.
  3. Apply hydrocortisone cream or spray (with the prescription of the veterinarian) to stop all itching and help promote full healing.
  4. Make sure your dog does not bite, lick or scratch the affected area. If it is difficult to control him, you can place a plastic cone around the neck of your dog. It will keep him from licking or biting it.
  5. Monitor the area continuously to make sure that it heals. If it worsens or spreads, you need to take your dog to the vet. It is actually safer to take your dog to the vet if you see an infection. He will prescribe medication in the form of a Betamethasone/Gentamicin spray or cream along with oral antibiotics. The vet might also give a cortisone injection to your dog to kick start the process of healing.

Most of the dermatological problems can be avoided altogether if your dog is on a well-balanced and nutritious diet. In certain cases, adding supplements like omega fatty acids can help greatly in avoiding hot spots and other such skin afflictions. If your dog’s skin or coat does not look that healthy, you should switch his diet to a meat-based ingredient formula.