The Wet Nose Press Pet Blog

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May 10, 2016
by Lynn Merton
2 Comments

Tips to Lengthen the Lifespan of Your Pet

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All pet owners want their pets to have a long and healthy life. With a little bit of regular care and attention, you can make the most of their natural immunity. Here are a few tips to help you do that:

  1. Feed your pet a high quality and nutritious diet – Pets who are on a high quality and balanced diet have shiny coats, bright eyes and healthy skin. Diet is the most important factor when it comes to strengthening the immune system of your pet. They are also the best way to maintain their intestinal health, increase their mental acuity and keep their muscles and joints healthy.
  1. Keep them lean – Obese pets are at risk for a number of health issues. Recent surveys have revealed that, much like humans, obesity is the leading nutritional disease in pets across the United States. It can shorten their lifespans by over two years, which is a lot for a dog or a cat. From joint disease and diabetes to heart disease and shortness of breath, excess weight affects your pet’s entire body in a number of ways.
  1. Take them to the vet regularly – Every pet needs regular vet care. However, it is important to bear in mind that pet visits go far beyond the routine vaccinations. Regular examinations by the vet can uncover a lot of health issues which owners are unaware of. In a lot of the cases, early diagnosis raises the odds of the treatment being more successful. It will also cost less as you will catch the disease in its early stages. Never wait till a condition gets serious. It will cost you and your pet a lot of time, health and money.
  1. Keep their mouths clean – One of the most commonly encountered problems among cats and dogs is bad oral hygiene. A dental disease or an oral problem can cause a lot of pain and make it extremely difficult for your pet to eat. If it is left untreated, they can even cause kidney and heart disease. Apart from the regular checkups, make sure you brush the teeth of your pets at home regularly. If your pet is not a fan of the toothbrush, you have a lot of other alternatives like dental treats, diets and toys. If you are in doubt, ask the vet for recommendations.
  1. Don’t let them roam unsupervised – It might seem like you are doing a favor by letting your cat or dog roam around as he/she likes. However, it exposes them to a lot of unforeseen dangers like automobile accidents, contagious diseases, predation, toxins and a lot more. It can also cause a lot of problems with your neighbors, especially if your pets happen to relieve themselves in their lawn and dig out their gardens.
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May 9, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

How to Deal With Your Dog’s Upset Stomach

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When our stomach is upset, we reach for the crackers, pepto-bismol or ginger ale. But how many of us know what to do when our dogs have an upset stomach? Read on to know more about the symptoms and causes of an upset stomach in dogs and learn how to make them feel better.

Common causes

Although there could be many reasons for an upset stomach, the most common cause is the ingestion of a food item that he should not have. Dogs are extremely curious and they like putting the things they see lying around them in their mouth. Diarrhea and vomiting are indicators of their bodies trying to expel things that have no right to be there in the first place. So, if you see either of the two symptoms, it means that your dog’s body is reacting the way it is supposed to and he is healthy.

Environmental stress can also be a trigger, as can an imbalance of digestive bacteria in the stomach. Food sensitivities, although rare, can also act as a trigger. You may see your dog trying to gulp quite frequently to combat the reflux, lick random objects, his lips or even the air. If he is feeling nauseous, he might eat grass to soothe the stomach or induce vomiting.

Remedies

While it is better to take the pup to the vet before you administer any home remedies, you could try the following methods:

  • Do nothing – If your dog is trying to expel things out of his system, it would help if you don’t add more to his stomach for the next twelve hours. If the gastrointestinal tract is not doing so well, you do not want to add more pressure on top by forcing it to digest things. A twelve hour fasting period is completely fine as long as you do not feel the need to feed him something.
  • Ice cubes – If your dog has diarrhea or is vomiting a lot, ensure that he remains hydrated. But it is important to keep in mind that giving your dog a lot of water might worsen his stomach. Take away his water bowl and give him some ice chips every three hours. If he is able to keep it down, give him a few more cubes along with a tablespoon of water.
  • Bone broth/canned pumpkin – Simmer some meat with the bone along with some water and apple cider vinegar. Continue simmering the bones even after the meat comes off. This will release all the marrow and minerals into the water. If you make it ahead of time, you can actually freeze the broth and give your dog broth ice cubes. You can also buy bone broth if you do not have the time to make it. Canned pumpkin also works wonders for an upset stomach. Since it has a low GI, it absorbs slowly and is perfect for an upset stomach.
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May 6, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Benefits of Feeding Oats to Dogs

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Oats are among the best herbs on the planet. Avena sativa is readily available, inexpensive and has a number of benefits, from curative to nutritional. Here are a few benefits you should acquaint yourself with:

  • There are a number of ready-made, natural products which contain oats. Some of the more popular ones include conditioners, shampoos, topical skin creams, tinctures and capsules.
  • Apart from their nutritional benefits, oaten poultices and teas can also be directly applied to the skin as they have demonstrated excellent healing powers.
  • To utilize the benefits of oats, just cook some of it and add it the pet food. If you want a more concentrated dose, there are plenty of capsules and tinctures available.
  • Oats are also great for disease and nervine treatment.
    Nutritive benefits
    Oats are rich in:
  • Protein – According to a WHO report, oat proteins are as good as soy proteins. Wild oats have even more protein than the cultivated varieties.
  • Soluble fiber – This helps in keeping the cholesterol levels in check.
  • High levels of manganese, iron, zinc, pantothenic acid, folate, B5 and B9.

Nervine benefits

Oats are excellent nerve tonics (nervines), alternatively soothing and stimulating the nerves as required. They are clinically used to treat a number of nervous disorders.

Herbal benefits

They benefit a number of systems and organs including the nervous system, skin, spleen, stomach, lungs as well as the reproductive and urinary systems. Their herbal qualities include:

  • Cardiac
  • Antispasmodic
  • Emollient
  • Diuretic
  • Stimulant
  • Nervine

Antitumor, digestive and hormonal benefits

Oats contain b-sitosterol which is an antitumor compound. They are also excellent digestives due to their high fiber content and are perfect for calming the intestinal tract. The have also been used for achieving hormonal balance, and as an effective uterine tonic.

Topical use

  • Shampoos – There are plenty of oatmeal shampoos on the market and a lot of them have additional healing herbs as well. They are calming, mild and have anti-itch and anti-inflammatory properties. You can make it yourself if you want. Soak the oats in water till they form a colloidal suspension and add something in it to cleanse the hair and moisturize the skin.
  • Soak – If you want a more direct anti-inflammatory or anti-itch action, go for a soak. You can buy a commercial soak or make your own. Grab a handful of oats and stuff them in a porous nylon sock. Hang the sock under the tap of the bathtub. Let the water get filtered through the sock. Have your dog soak in it for about 15 minutes. Make sure that the water is lukewarm.
  • Oat poultice – If you dog has a localized irritation on his skin or a hot spot, mix water and ground oats into a slurry and wrap it in a tea bag or cheese cloth. Alternatively, you can apply the poultice to the affected area with a clean cloth. Leave it on for 20 minutes and repeat it a few times through the day. You can also add chamomile, lavender or calendula to enhance the healing properties of the mixture.
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May 5, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Fatty Acids for a Better Haircoat and Skin

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You might have heard that the correct amount of omega fatty acids can make for really healthy haircoat and skin. But do you know what they are? Do you know the ones that your pet needs? Do commercially sold foods have enough of them? Let’s take a look.

Dietary fats can be divided into three categories:

  • Oils – liquid lipids at room temperature
  • Fats – solid lipids at room temperature
  • Fatty acids – dietary fats with a specific chemical structure.

There are certain fatty acids that the body cannot make from other food sources. These are called essential fatty acids as you have to include them in the diet.

  • Omega-3 acids – Eicosapentaenoic acid, alpha-linoleic acid as well as docosahexaenoic acid come under this bracket. Fish oils, particularly coldwater fish like salmon, halibut, herring and mackerel are rich in omega-3 acids. They can also be found in the oils of plants like flax. Soybeans, wheat germ and walnuts also carry significant amounts.
  • Omega-6 acids – Linoleic acid, as well as arachidonic acid, come under this umbrella. It is usually found in sunflower, safflower, corn as well as Borage and evening primrose oils. Pork and poultry fat also have lot of omega-6 acids although you will not find it in butterfat or beef fat. Arachidonic acid is quite possible the most important essential acid for cats and is found exclusively in animal sources like fish oils, poultry fat and pork fat.

Most of the commercially found pet foods have plenty of omega-6 acids. Although omega-3 is harder to come by, the therapeutic effects of it are well recorded. If taken in the correct ration, these acids can help prevent:

  • Dull, dry, itchy, brittle haircoat and skin
  • Inflammatory processes
  • Allergies and autoimmune diseases like IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), arthritis, asthma, ulcerative colitis and diabetes
  • respond to omega-3s.
  • Yeast infections
  • Heart conditions and visual acuity might improve
  • Omega-3s slow down the growth of certain cancers
  • Fish oils lower the blood triglyceride and cholesterol level.
  • A variety of mental ailments responds highly favorable to omega-3s.

If your pet is one a commercial diet, you can help him along with a daily dose of flax seed or fish oil to give him omega-3s. Unless the pet food explicitly cites the omega-3 content, you can add a tablespoon of flaxseed or fish oil per pound of their food. If you have any doubts about the dosage, contact the vet instead of blindly following your instinct. Remember that fresh oil sources are always better. Keep them refrigerated as any kind of heat can diminish its bioactivity. The last thing you want to be doing is mixing rancid oil to your pet’s food. In some cases, vitamin E is added to the pet food to make sure that the fatty acids do not turn rancid.

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May 4, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

How to Take Care of a Blind Dog?

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Just like humans, dogs tend to experience failing vision as they grow older. Caring for dogs who are losing their vision (or are already blind) poses special challenges for everyone else in the family. It is important to keep in mind that failing vision does not mean that the quality of their lives has to be poorer. If you are ready to adjust your routine, it will make things easy for both you and your dog.

The usual suspects

From old age to disease, there are a number of causes of blindness in dogs. The most prevalent causes include glaucoma, cataracts, retinal atrophy, and acquired degeneration of the retinas (SARDS).

Certain sexes and breeds are more vulnerable to blindness. For instance, female dogs are more susceptible to SARDS, leading to sudden blindness. Miniature schnauzers, mutts and dachshunds tend to have a greater proclivity to get affected by the disease according to a research study. Cataracts, on the other hand, commonly affect cocker spaniels, miniature poodles, golden retrievers, miniature schnauzers, Siberian huskies and Boston terriers.

Beta carotene

It is important to feed your dog a healthy and balanced diet if you want them to have healthy vision, although there are certain conditions like SARDS which don’t have prevention or treatment methods.

Beta carotene is excellent for the vision. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of food items that are healthy for both you and your dog’s vision, including cantaloupe and carrots. These food items strengthen the vision and lower the risk of cataracts. When buying pet food, check the ingredient list to see if it has beta carotene.

The degree of veterinary care required will change depending on the cause and severity of the blindness. Your veterinarian may suggest visiting a veterinary ophthalmologist along with beta carotene. Visiting an eye specialist might cost a bit more than standard care. When looking for the specialist, refer to an online directory or ask your vet for a recommendation.

Living with blindness

If you have a visually impaired or a blind dog, there are a lot of voluntary organizations who offer training advice and professional help. Meanwhile, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Put bells or tags on the other animals in your house to let your dog know of their presence. You can wear one yourself so that he knows where his blind companion is.
  • Teach him commands like “watch” and “step” so that he is aware of hindrances and knows how to climb stairs.
  • Get rid of objects that can harm your dog. For instance, if there are sharp and jagged corners to a table in the house, it is probably not a good idea to keep it there as your dog may find himself in harm’s way at any moment.
  • Set up a routine for him and keep his pathways clear so that he does not have to struggle to do the daily activities. His other senses will strengthen progressively and he will learn to keep the routine all on his own.