The Wet Nose Press Pet Blog

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April 20, 2016
by Lynn Merton
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Alternative Therapy for Dogs – Massage Therapy, Pet Acupuncture and More

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Just like humans, pets suffer from a lot of degenerative and chronic health conditions. Although a lot of the conditions have targeted medication, some of them just have palliative treatment and they focus mainly on alleviating the symptoms through narcotics and painkillers. Alternative therapies are a good option if your pet is suffering from disc injuries, hip dysplasia, ligament injuries or a degenerative spine. Alternative therapies aim for a more holistic approach to curing the body. The dog and horse racing industries have been intimately familiar with it for years. Let us take a look at some of the most common alternative therapies.

  • Hydrotherapy – If your dog has a chronic bone disease or a serious injury like hip dysplasia or ligament trauma, hydrotherapy would be extremely beneficial. The method consists of assisting the dog to a pool to lower possible injuries and body stress. The therapist then uses a harness to make sure that the body of the dog stays above water. Some therapists also heat the pool to relieve the dog’s body of muscular strains. More advanced methods include creating underwater currents that your dog can swim against.
  • Massage therapy and chiropractic treatment – In most of the cases, you can relive your pet of the pain by realigning their body and achieving a better balance. But make sure you go to a practitioner who has an in-depth understanding of the dog’s anatomy. An experienced vet uses manipulation to adjust and realign the bones. You will begin to see an immediate change in your pet. Chiropractors balance the energy flow and circulation of the body. It strengthens the body’s ability to heal, making it a logical conclusion to manipulation therapy.
  • Acupuncture – In this ancient Chinese system of medicine, the practitioner uses a needle to release blocked energy or reduce excess energy. The basic principle is to balance meridians which go across the body. The needle is used for stimulating pressure points. Once they have it inserted into the right place, they interrupt the supply to the nerves and switch it over to another channel to relieve the body of the pain signals. It is extremely helpful for arthritis, but is also used for neurological problems, thyroid imbalances, skin problems and heart conditions.

If your dog is suffering from a chronic condition, there are a variety of alternative treatment options which can assist in speeding up their recovery after an operation, help them in regaining lost mobility and cure the underlying problem that is causing the disease. However, before you decide to go that route make sure than conventional medication doesn’t work. Your vet will recommend the best form of alternative therapy for your pet’s condition.

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April 19, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Dealing With Flatulence in Your Pet

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It sounds innocuous, but vets and animal trainers will tell you that uncontrollable flatulence in your dog or cat is serious business. When it comes to gastrointestinal ailments, the flashier vomiting and diarrhea always overshadow the problem of excessive gas production. While that is understandable, you should never make the mistake of underestimating the problem of flatulence. Pets suffering from the condition are a nuisance to the people around them. More importantly, excess gas production is a sign that their bodies aren’t digesting food properly.

Why does your cat or dog have gas?

Why exactly is there excess gas in one of the most effective composters in nature? Here are a few common possibilities:

  • Quick ingestion of food causes pets to ingest substantial quantities of air with it.
  • Chewing rawhide or certain toys leads to inappropriate and chronic air ingestion.

Excessive gas production in the digestive tract

The gut bacteria are the accomplices of the stomach acids. They act on the food and release gaseous by products, which are responsible for flatulence. Factors that can exacerbate this include:

  • Dietary intolerance
  • Bacterial overgrowth resulting from an dietary indiscretion (eating garbage, for instance)
  • Food allergies
  • Acute bowel diseases (ranging from cancer to parasitism)
  • Pancreatic disorders

To determine the exact cause, you need to take your dog to your vet. He/she will perform bloodwork, stool check, ultrasound and X-rays to pinpoint the cause. In certain rare cases, endoscopy, CT scans and exploratory surgery is needed to diagnose the underlying condition. It might seem a bit too much to use invasive methods to diagnose excess gas production, but it is important to remember that in a lot of the cases they are just a relatively harmless manifestation of a much serious systemic disorder. As a rule of thumb, if the gas problem is acute and keeps worsening, you need to deal with it aggressively. However, if it is just a case of run-of-the-mill flatulence, you can try the following methods to bring it under control.

Approved tips to allay gas problems in pets

  • Change the diet – There could be an ingredient in your dog’s pet food that is causing their digestive tract to produce excess gas. Just like humans, pets can also be intolerant to carbohydrates and proteins. You can try eliminating one ingredient every week to figure out where the problem lies. Alternatively, if you are pressed for time, you can switch over to a low-residue diet. But consult your vet before you decide to go that route. If your pet is allergic to common foods, there are special diets that are formulated using novel carbohydrates and proteins. You can gradually switch over to a diet that has none of the current carbohydrates and proteins.
  • Smaller and more regular meals – In a lot of the cases, your gluttonous pets end up gulping in a large amount of air along with every mouthful. You can slow down the eating process by switching to smaller and more frequent feedings. Alternatively, you can go for specially designed food bowls meant to slow down the eating speed.

April 18, 2016
by Lynn Merton
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Does the Dog Food You Choose Need to Be Breed-Specific?

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Choosing the right food for your canine companion can be quite overwhelming. Almost every pet store is stocked to its brim with a wide selection of food brands, and each one of them claims to be the best. A lot of dog food manufacturers have formulated breed-specific foods that are meant to address health needs of a specific breed of cat or dog. It is easy to understand why dog owners tend to gravitate towards foods that claim to be tailor-made to the genetic makeup of their dog. But the important question you need to ask is, “Are you making the right choice?”

The problem with breed-specific foods is that they are usually just a marketing gimmick and don’t have the backing of solid nutritional science. We still lack thorough research on the differing nutritional requirements of different breeds. The metabolism of a small breed, for instance, is different from that of a large breed. However, it is highly unlikely that the dietary needs of a Great Dane vary from that of a Chihuahua’s.

Do breed-specific foods help your pup?

In general, breed-specific foods are not harmful. But, they are redundant if your assessment of your dog’s nutritional requirements (based on size, life stage, and specific needs) is already correct. Take, for instance, a large breed like a Labrador Retriever. He can end up developing serious joint problems if he is given a diet rich in calcium or calories. It is essential that you give him the appropriate diet so that his bones grow properly. That being said, there is no benefit to giving him specially formulated foods compared to regular high quality foods. After all, there are no critical differences in the dietary requirements between a Labrador Retriever and a Golden Retriever.

Daschund-specific diets are another great example. Those diets claim to contain ingredients that promote a lean body mass and prevent instances of back disease. Although this sounds like a good idea in theory, since their elongated structure predisposes them to back injuries which cause paralysis, there is nothing in the diets themselves that accomplish this particular goal. As long as the pet owners choose a good quality diet for small breeds and do not let their dogs get obese, they have nothing to worry about.

They also pose a problem for veterinarians. Let us say you have a Shih Tzu which develops G.I issues on a special Shih Tzu diet, necessitating the requirement for a new therapeutic diet meant to address the gastric trouble. As an owner, you might be reluctant to change the diet if you mistakenly believe that the Shih Tzu-specific food has special ingredients which will keep your dog healthy. You need to discuss your concerns with the vet so that you can work together to make sure that you address all the nutritional needs of your dog.

What criteria should you go by?

When selecting pet foods, make sure you choose a high quality diet made by a trusted brand. It should suit the size, life stage and the lifestyle needs of your dog. These are the three most important factors in determining the nutritional needs of your dog. If you are unsure about where to begin, ask your vet. He or she will suggest a diet plan suited to the specific health needs and genetic concerns of your dog. That is the only way to ensure that your dog lives a long, healthy and happy life.

Pet care 1

April 15, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Diseases Related to the Joints in Dogs

Image courtesy: Pixabay

A majority of pets develop a kind of joint disease in their lifetime. These may be mild and thus, may not be noticed by the pet owner. It can also severely affect the quality of life of the pet, and may even lead to complete lameness. Most cases come in-between.

Even though a few pets develop joint diseases during the younger part of their lives, most dogs develop the tell-tale signs during the older part of their lives. These, however, depends on the breed of the pet. Dogs are more vulnerable to arthritis compared to cats, and bigger dog breeds are much more vulnerable compared to smaller ones.

Common signs of disease in the joints include stiffness or favoring a particular limb. This is particularly observed post resting or sleep. It can also manifest itself of the dog’s inability to rise. It will be unwilling to climb stairs or jump. There will also be noticeable pain.

Arthritis causes

There could be many diseases which may affect the joints of your dog. In fact, there is a total of 10 important classifications.

Diseases of the joint can be due to:

  • A disease in the ligament, muscle or tendon
  • Joint fractures
  • Developmental disorders
  • Congenital disorders
  • Hormonal and dietary disease
  • Cancer
  • Metabolic diseases
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Disease due to degenerative spinal joints
  • Inflammatory joint disease

Arthritis management

Medical treatment concerning osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia have markedly improved during the past few years due to introduction and consequent approval of a number of new drugs and supplements. As hip dysplasia (along with the other dysplasias) are mostly an inherited condition, no products exist in the market which could prevent these negative developments. Only through giving your dog a proper diet, supplements, pain relief, and anti-inflammatories, it is possible to decrease the progression of such a disease. However, the bony changes or looseness in joints will not vary significantly.

Both younger and older dogs should be subjected to medical management. This is particularly applicable for dogs with chronic osteoarthritis. Due to the high expense involved with such surgeries, the medical management is the only possible option for a majority of pet owners. Medical management, in this case, is a multifaceted one. To obtain best results, modalities like weight management, exercise, good sleeping areas, physical therapy, and taking oral osteoarthritis agents.

Oral osteoarthritis agents

Chondroitin and glucosamine are the two ingredients in supplements which are widely utilized in the treatment of both humans and animals for osteoarthritis. Thanks to the stupendous success of treating patients afflicted with osteoarthritis, such products have been pushed to the forefront of therapy. This is the reason these products have become extremely popular now.

How Does Flea Medication Work

April 14, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

How Does Flea Medication Work?

Image Credit – Pixabay

Treating your dog for fleas, and keeping them away from flea infestations can be a little confusing thanks to all the different medication options and their different working methods.

Pyrethroids / Pyrethrins

Certain varieties of the chrysanthemum have been used for centuries as repellants and insecticides. The chemicals that are obtained from them are referred to as pyrethrins. They are one of the most commonly used ingredients in tick and flea control products for dogs and cats.

Pyrethrins disrupt the insect’s nerve cell function and make it fire non-stop impulses, which eventually causes the death of the insect. Their toxicity is low and they are safe for use on mammals. They are directly applied to the hair or skin to control ticks, fleas, mites, lice and mosquitoes. However, they cannot stand extended exposure to air, light or moisture. Because of their unstable nature, they are combined with chemicals that will keep them from breaking down.

Pyrethroids are the synthetic counterparts of pyrethrins. They work similarly, but are much more stable, and also more a little more toxic. They tend to last for quite some time and are usually the main component of tropical products that are meant to cover the body of the animal. You can also find them in sprays which are used to treat households for insects. You cannot use them on kittens or cats.

Other plant-based extracts

Some of the other flea deterrents that are derived from plants include D-limonene, rotenone, and linalool. Rotenone is extracted from subtropical and tropical plants, and it works by paralyzing the insect and preventing the uptake of oxygen to the cells. It is safe to use in small quantities on mammals.

Linalool and D-limonene are obtained from the pulp of citrus fruits. They soften the outer shell of the insects and cause them to dry up. Citrus products are used in flea dips and shampoos. You must exercise care when treating a cat, as they can be really sensitive to citrus oils. Citrus also helps in repelling fleas, but might not be good for a full-on flea infestation in your home and your pet. In the case of an infestation, you need to use citrus along with more powerful chemicals to launch an attack on a scale big enough to eradicate all the insects.

Don’t forget that all drugs come with a small amount of risk. No matter what product you use for controlling the infestation of parasites, read the label from top to bottom carefully and consult the vet if your pet is very old or young, is debilitated, or is sick. Additionally, if your pet has behavioral or mood changes after being given medication, or if he becomes ill, contact the vet immediately.