The Wet Nose Press Pet Blog

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September 23, 2016
by Lynn Merton
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The Best Dog Pain Medication in the Market

Image credits – Pixabay
As a pet owner, you obviously want your dog to lead a happy and healthy life. However, that isn’t going to be completely possible. There are bound to be issues in a dog’s lifetime. He or she is going to get ill or injured and the only thing you can do is help the little one out.

Speaking of helping out, pain is obviously one of those things that you can’t see your dog in. But, like we said earlier, your dog is going to experience it at some point in time, especially as he/she gets older. Fortunately, there are solutions to help your dog deal with pain.

In fact, most of the pain medications available today for dogs are far more effective than they used to be.

Here are the various types of pain medication you can currently get your hands on.

NSAIDS

NSAID refers to Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflamatory Drug. These are the most common type of pain medications for dogs. NSAIDs work by inhibiting the production of enzymes responsible for tissue swelling. Currently available NSAIDs are far safer than what they used to be. With these medications, helping your dog through the pain is a much easier task now. Plus, there are no major side effects.

Typical examples of NSAIDS are Rimadyl, Novox, Metacam and Previcox etc.

Nutraceuticals

Nutraceuticals include nutrients such as MSM, Omega-3 Fatty acids, and Glucosamine. These are basically supplements used along with the prescribed pain medications. They help your dog deal with chronic pain, especially in the case of arthritis.

Opiates

Opiates function by inhibiting the dog’s ability to sense pain. These medications are actually classified as narcotics and can be very strong, which is why they are prescribed only for severe pain.

Most veterinarians will choose NSAIDs over opiates any day, but, their use is still warranted in extreme cases. Opiates are also regulated by the D.E.A.

There is also the problem of side effects such as your dog developing a tolerance for this kind of pain medication.

Opiate examples include Morphine, Codeine, and Buprenorphine.

Alternative Treatments

Alternative treatment here refers to the use of herbal medication or altering the dog’s environment to ease the sensation of pain.

For example, a lot of pet owners prefer to avoid medications altogether. In this case, they may choose “non-medication” strategies such as massaging the arthritic joints, creating a low stress environment by filtering out disturbances such as noise, and generally leaving the dog at peace to help the healing process.

Apart from altering the environment, herbal or natural treatments may be provided. For example, traditional Chinese veterinary medicine or acupuncture may be used. A lot of pet owners have reported positive results with such treatment.

However, do discuss with your vet about what pain treatment or medication may be suitable for your dog.

 

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September 22, 2016
by Lynn Merton
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The Different Classes of Steroids Administered to Dogs

Image: Pixabay.com/

There are 7 types of steroids that are given to dogs. Most commonly given as medications, they perform different functions in the body Although they perform important functions in the body, steroids are the source of many side effects. To better understand the effects of steroids, you have to know how each type functions and what it’s used for. Let’s take a look at 3 of the main types of steroids.

Mineralocorticoids
Commonly used for dogs with Addison’s disease, their body lacks Mineralocorticoids which is used to balance out the water and electrolytes in the body Addison’s diseases also leads to a lack of glucocorticoids which dictates how your dog responds to stressful situations. To treat dogs with this disease, steroids are injected or orally ingested. Desoxycorticosterone and fludrocortisone are popular Mineralocorticoids that are administered. The only side effect observed for this medication is increased urination and thirst. Serious side effects are only observed if medication is suddenly stopped or if an overdose is given.

Glucocorticoids
This is one of the most commonly used kind of steroids. Fludrocortisone, hydrocortisone, triamcinolone, betamethasone, and other popular medications are glucocorticoids. They are used to reduce inflammation and are used to treat allergies, Addison’s disease, immune-mediated diseases and some forms of cancer. These medications can be administered through injections, orally and topically. If this class of steroids are provided at high doses at high frequencies, side effects include abnormal behaviors, muscular weakness, and Cushing’s disease. Serious side effects are more common if the drug is injected rather than orally or topically administered.

Estrogens
Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a synthetic form of a naturally occuring hormone, Estrogen. It is used to treat female dogs with urinary incontinence. Ideally, a safer drug known as phenylpropanolamine (PPA) is given but if it is not producing the desired results then stronger drugs are given. The drugs are also used to induce female dogs to go into heat. These kind of steroids have serious side effects like fatal uterine infections, blood disorders and sometimes even increase the likelihood of cancer.

Androgens
Similarly to estrogens, androgens are naturally occuring hormones in male dogs. This class of steroid includes testosterone, mibolerone, and danazol. They are used to treat urinary incontinence in male dogs and alleviate fake pregnancies in female dogs. Some of them are also used to suppress the heat cycles of male dogs. Potential serious side effects include liver problems, and some types of cancer.

There are 3 more classes of steroids – Anabolic Steroids, Adrenal Cortical Steroids and Progestins. While steroids are a must for some dogs, they do have high incidences of side effects, especially when high doses are administered. It is recommended to give the lowest possible dose for the shortest time periods to avoid side effects. Always consult a vet before administering any steroid or medication.

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September 21, 2016
by Lynn Merton
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Pet Food Nutrients That Can Harm Dogs

Image Source: Wikimedia

As a pet owner, you are obviously concerned about your dog’s nutritional requirements, which is not unwarranted.

According to Dr. Tony Buffington, a Professor of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center, dogs, like all animals, require their necessary share of carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and water.

These nutrients allow your dog to grow and remain nourished. However, the scary truth is that some of these essential nutrients can actually cause your dog harm. So, keep an eye on these nutrients the next time you decide what to feed your furry friend.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an important nutrient. But, it can also cause medical complications, some of which can be life threatening too. Excess magnesium creates negative consequences that can affect your dog’s heart and nervous system. This can lead to problems that include cardiac arrest, paralysis, weakness, coma, respiratory depression and also, death.

Magnesium has also been known to cause the development of bladder stones. While cats can also experience these problems, dogs still remain the most affected.

Protein

Dogs, like humans, are omnivores, but, they do require their fair share of protein, on account of their smaller intestines. So, it would be good to include an optimal amount of protein into their diet. More importantly, make sure the protein comes from a source that is easily digestible. This is especially important for dogs that already have renal disease.

If the protein is of low quality, your dog can end up with digestive and metabolic issues, along with diarrhea, vomiting, excessive weight loss, and nausea.

Calcium & Phosphorus

Phosphorus and calcium are also needed by dogs, but, excessive amounts can cause problems, just like other nutrients. In fact, it is very important to look at the calcium to phosphorus ratio as well. If either of these nutrients is fed in high amounts, your dog could end up with bone related issues.

Growing large dogs are even more sensitive than small dogs to excessive phosphorus and calcium intake.

You need to be extra careful if your dog has kidney disease. Such dogs have very specific requirements, which can vary depending on which stage of the disease they are in. Excess calcium or phosphorus can worsen their condition and even cause bladder stones to form.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D in excess causes calcium levels to go up and we’ve already read about what too much calcium can do. Apart from that, too much vitamin D can also lead to the development of nervous system problems, problems in the gastrointestinal tract, and cardiovascular problems.

Salt (Sodium)

Sodium is needed by your dog to maintain the acid-base balance, regulate blood pressure, and help transmit nerve impulses. But, too much sodium can affect the kidneys, heart, and nervous system. It can also lead to dehydration, especially if your dog doesn’t drink enough water to counter the effects of the excess sodium.

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September 20, 2016
by Lynn Merton
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Everything You Need to Know About Flea Larvae

Image Source: Wikimedia

As a pet owner, you’ve likely come across flea problems before and if you haven’t, you’re sure to experience the issue at some point in time. In fact, you don’t even have to be a pet owner to come across a flea problem.

You’re probably wondering what fleas actually are. Well, fleas are basically insects. They are extremely small in size, which is exactly why detecting them seems like a herculean task. Most pet owners find out about flea infestations only after watching their dog/cat scratch profusely or by coming across bite marks.

A close inspection of a flea will present you with a creature that measures only one-fourth of an inch with an almost flat structure. You will also notice that they have extended hind legs. These extended hind legs function like springs. They are designed to help the flea jump great distances (for its size).
Their diet consists of blood, which is why they feed on your cat or dog. The blood they consume is essential to their reproductive process. After successful mating, a female flea hatches eggs into the blood of the host animal. From there, the eggs go through 3 stages as larvae, pupae, and adult. In this write up, we’re going to go through some interesting facts about the larvae stage.

Flea larvae don’t stay in one spot

After the eggs turn into larvae, they don’t remain in the same spot. They fall off because of the host’s movement. The larvae function like little balls that bounce. Once the host moves, the larvae practically bounce of the host’s body and end up in places nearby. That’s when they hatch and become pupae.

Flea larvae avoid light

Once the eggs are laid by the female flea, it takes the eggs about 2 days to almost a week to hatch into larvae. The larvae are known to be phototaxic i.e. they are not comfortable with light and will try to get away from a light source. In fact, they’ll try their best to occupy tiny crevices and cracks that are free of light.

Flea larvae eat dirt

Larvae survive by consuming flea dirt. Flea dirt here refers to organic debris and dried blood, which is excreted by adult fleas as feces. This process continues for about 2 weeks, after which, they enter the pupae stage. This is characterized by the spinning of the cocoon. Fleas remain in the cocoon stage for extended periods of time and come out only when they sense a host.

Getting rid of larvae isn’t the same as getting rid of adult fleas

Adult fleas can be eliminated using chemicals and medicated applications. However, getting rid of larvae requires a different approach. For starters, you must vacuum your home completely to get rid of the larvae. Using an attachment known as a beater bar with your vacuum cleaner can be of great help.
Also, makes sure the vacuum bag is disposed of immediately.

Secondly, there are sprays and foggers developed to get rid of flea larvae. However, not all products boast of the same effectiveness. So, talk to your vet. Your vet understands your requirements better because he/she has been to your home, seen your pet, and has a basic idea of how you live.
Even with all these remedies, it might take a couple of months to be 100% flea larvae free. The next step is to prevent a repeat infestation. So, keep your pets indoors as often as possible and make sure your home is prepared to fend off other animals such as raccoons and possums etc. As mentioned earlier, flea larvae like being in dark spaces, so, seal of areas such as crawl spaces, and attics.

Finally, do make sure you treat your pet for fleas. You will need to exercise permanent flea control to prevent an infestation or re-infestation.

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September 19, 2016
by Lynn Merton
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Air Travel With Your Dog

Image credits: Staticflickr.com/

Planning to travel with your pooch on the plane? It isn’t as easy as it sounds! Dogs are naturally restless animals and containing them in a crate for long journeys is not an easy task. Sometimes, it can even be traumatizing for them as they have to stay in a new environment with other animals for long periods of time and little comfort. On the other hand, many owners do not want to leave their pets behind when they go for long holidays. To make sure that your pooch is more comfortable and calm, there are quite a few things that you could do:

  • Pick the right airlines: Different airlines have different rules for pets. Some airlines allow pets in the cabin; others require them to be kept in a crate in a separate compartment. To keep your pooch comfortable, look up the right airlines and book ahead so that they can fit him/her in. Airlines will charge extra for this.
  • Airlines have rules that your pet must have gotten all the latest vaccinations. This is to make sure that the other pets and passengers on the plane do not get infected. This is especially true for international flights so make sure you take your dog to the vet before traveling.
  • When preparing for the journey, exercise your dog adequately. Tire them out so that they aren’t overly energetic and will most likely sleep on the plane. This can also help reduce restlessness.
  • For air travel, it is necessary to put your dog in a crate. To do this successfully, present the crate as a positive thing. It is recommended to do this before entering the airport to reduce the chaos.
  • Make sure that your dog does not have a full bladder or a full stomach before traveling. No one wants to be greeted at the end of a journey with pee or poop all over the crate. Dirty environments will also make the dog more uneasy. Water needs to be accessible to your dog at all times; just enough to keep him/her hydrated but not full.
  • Be calm when you say goodbye to him/her in the crate. The more upset you are, he or she will also likely get upset.
  • When putting your dog in a crate, make sure there is at least one item to make him/her feel more comfortable. This could be a blanket, a stuffed toy or a toy bone.
  • Remove leashes and collars before putting your dog in the crate to avoid choking while moving.
  • Dogs can also be medicated to keep them calm during long journeys but that may or may not be a good idea. Do your research before administering them.