Tag Archives: dog

Think You Know the Symptoms of K9 Urinary Tract Infections? Think again!

“My dog is acting nuts,” I told the vet’s office lady over the phone.

“What do you mean?”

“She’s not behaving normal – just crazy,” I responded.

“What’s going on?” the lady asked in a tone that suggested I was the crazy one.

I know my dog . . .

If you have owned a dog for a while, you know their personality, their quirks, and their behaviors. I knew she wasn’t behaving normally (for her). I made an appointment for the next afternoon.

 

So, What Was the Crazy Behavior?

My 12-year-old pitbull, Lacey, doesn’t like to go out in the rain. She’s a big baby.

The weather was sleeting, and it was cold. Lacey wandered through the doggy door to the outside, down the steps and laid down. She wouldn’t come back in. I’d call her and she seemed confused. She’d start to walk to the deck stairs, pace back and forth, then turn around and lay back down.

She was now cold and completely soaked.

I hustled outside and brought her indoors. I wondered if she was getting dementia. Later, I found her standing with her head in the corner – again very weird.

Later that evening, she sat next to me on the couch and pressed her head into my chest rubbing up and down. I thought, “Aww, how sweet.” But then, as I ran my hand down her side,  I could feel it tightening like contractions. Instantly, I knew my dog was in pain.

 

Urinary Tract Infections: Common Symptoms

The typical UTI symptoms usually include:

  • blood in the urine
  • cloudy urine
  • strong urine odor
  • trying to pee, but not able to get much out
  • dribbling urine in the house – can’t control it
  • excessive licking of the genital area
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • fever
  • nausea/vomiting
  • crying in pain while urinating
  • drinking more than usual

 

Know the Quirkier Symptoms

Symptoms including:

  • confusion
  • off-balance, dizzy, possible falling or tripping
  • agitation
  • shaking/chills
  • unusual behavior
  • walking with an arched back
  • sleeping in unusual postures

 

How Does a UTI Get Diagnosed?

First, you’ll need a clean urine sample; ask your vet for a collection container.

Take the sample to your vet to run a:

  • urinalysis; or
  • urine culture (this takes a couple of days).

This will tell the veterinarian what kind of bacteria or fungi your dog may have contracted, and which antibiotic to use (should you choose that route). You want to eradicate the infection the first time because having to use additional rounds of antibiotics can cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria which you really don’t want.

(I prefer the urine culture because it determines the specific cause of the UTI infection, bacterial or fungal. The treatment can then be targeted for that particular cause.)

 

Do NOT Let a UTI Go Untreated!

If left untreated, a UTI can turn into a serious and possibly life-threatening problem (once it travels to the kidneys). At a minimum, get a urinalysis or culture to see what your dog is dealing with and then treat it with prescribed antibiotics or holistic alternatives.

 

Holistic Alternatives

Once you know whether you’re dealing with a bacterial or fungal UTI infection, get your canine on an appropriate treatment immediately.

If you decide to use holistic options, only use organic, pesticide-free herbs on an empty stomach.

Couch Grass

Effective herbs for addressing UTIs include:

  1. cranberry extract or powder;
  2. marshmallow root, and/or
  3. couch grass.

You could also use amino acid methionine. When used along with cranberry extract, it can be as effective as an antibiotic. Consult with a holistic vet versed in herbal treatments for proper dosing.

 

A Final Note

Whether you choose traditional or holistic treatments, the idea is to properly diagnose and treat your dog quickly.

I believe that holistic treatments and traditional treatments can work harmoniously. I use holistic treatment options on a regular basis with my dogs. But at times, you may opt for a traditional approach with antibiotics.

If your vet doesn’t offer holistic veterinarian services, search online for a holistic veterinarian near you. You can use the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) to search.

Whether you have access to a traditional or holistic vet, you must make the best decision for your dog.

No judgment here.

 


Sources:

Top Remedies for UTI in Dogs

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Dogs & Puppies

Lower Urinary Tract Problems and Infections in Dogs

Herbs for Your Pet’s Urinary Tract Health

 

Image Credits (In Order of Appearance)

Photo by Pamela Morrison

Photo by Igor Ferreira from Pexels

Image by fernando zhiminaicela from Pixabay

Image by Free-Images.com

Photo by Pamela Morrison

 


Meet our Guest Blogger

Pamela Morrison is a professional copywriter for the pet industry including marketers, pet product and service providers, veterinarians and holistic pet practitioners. She does home visits for a local rescue when she can and has been a dog foster mom. She lives in western Michigan with her husband and two dogs, Lacey and Zadie. Pam enjoys walking her dogs, reading, and drinking lots of coffee!

Click here to learn more about Pamela on her LinkedIn page.

 


 

Antler Chews: Are They Safe for Your Dog?

Should you give your dog antlers to chew?
Are antlers a safer option to other chews on the market?
Are all antlers the same?
How are antlers “graded” and what does it mean?

Dogs are natural chewers. Whether it’s a puppy exploring his new world through his mouth, or adult dogs chewing to release pent-up energy and/or stress, most dogs enjoy this instinctive behavior.

While almost anything is better than your K9 destroying your expensive leather shoes or couch to indulge their need to chew, are all chew treats created equal (and safe)?

Are all Chews Created Equal?

After the shocking revelation in 2007 about the toxic, Chinese-made dog treats sickening and even killing pets (dogs and cats); dog owners everywhere became more concerned and vigilant about the treats they were offering to their dogs.

When even more information came out about all the potentially deadly chemicals used to mass-produce rawhide in China, “safe” choices became even further limited for canine guardians. (Not to mention numerous horror studies about rawhide pieces becoming stuck or causing obstructions requiring surgery to save a dog.) Click here to learn the harmful truth behind making rawhide.

Are Antlers a Safer Option?

So, what about something more “natural,” like antlers from wild deer or elk?

Like most subjects about dog health, “expert” opinions about whether antlers are a completely safe chewing option falls between both ends of the spectrum. From slick marketing campaigns raving about the wonders of antlers for your dog’s chewing pleasure to so-called dog experts decrying even the thought of offering an antler to your dog to chew. While the controversy rages on, educate yourself on the pros and cons of antler chews for your dog.

Factors to Consider

Deciding whether an antler chew is good (or not) for your dog involves a number of factors, including:

  • What kind of chewer your dog is;
  • Your dog’s current dental health;
  • The “grade” of antler you are planning to give your dog to chew; and
  • The supplier/distributor of the antler chews and whether they sell cheaper, low-grade or inferior products.

When you know better, you can make better choices for what to safely offer your dog to chew. Knowing your own dog is the first place to start. Is your dog a heavy or aggressive chewer? The chewing needs or habits are vastly different for a Chihuahua versus a Rottweiler. Smaller teeth and jaws cannot stand up to extremely hard objects like antlers.

Also, consider your dog’s current dental health. Have they suffered from dental issues that would rule out giving them hard items to chew?

Not sure if your dog’s teeth are healthy? Click here to learn more.

If you have determined your dog’s dental health and chewing needs can tolerate hard chewing, keep reading to learn more about antler chews.

What IS an Antler?

Antlers come from moose, caribou, elk, reindeer and deer. Typically, elk antlers are the easiest ones to find.

It’s also believed that antlers do not splinter or chip as easily as some other bones or toys. While antlers may seem similar to “horns” … they are actually different. Cow horns are made from a substance call keratin; similar to our nails and hair. They also have a lining of bone inside them.

Antlers, on the other hand, are made from real bone and cartilage with a marrow core. They are actually a bony outgrowth of the animal’s skull. Since they are actual bone, they are also very hard. Antlers are typically shed each year allowing a new set to grow in their place. Antlers (unlike processed bones or rawhides) also offer nutritional value in the form of:

  • Calcium
  • Protein
  • Chondroitin Sulfate
  • Glucosamine
  • Collagen
  • Magnesium
  • Iron and Zinc

For dogs fed a raw diet, bones are important to their diet. But, it is not necessary for them to eat very hard bones (like antlers or weight-bearing leg bones).

Grading Antlers: What it all Means

Antlers are “graded” on five different levels. Before you buy any kind of antler for your dog to chew, below is what you need to know first.

Grade A+ Antlers

These are the highest quality and most pristine antlers, previously reserved for high-end craft and artisan use. They constitute less than 5% of all antlers each year. Only a few stores and distributors are focused on selling antlers of this caliber.

Grade A Antlers

These antlers comprise the top 10-15% of all antlers each year. They have been shed during the current – or previous – year. These antlers will appear a little more on the light-brown side; as they have been freshly shed and have had only minimal exposure to the elements.

Grade B Antlers

This grade of antler comprises the bulk of all antlers sold online by the “high-end” brands. These antlers are easily recognized as they will be white from sun bleaching which also means they are dried out. They may also show visible marks of rodent chewing. These antlers are approximately one to two years old. While they may be sold by well-established brands, it does not mean they are “safe dog chews.” While they are not the worst of the antlers, they are definitely not the safest for your dog based on their age and being dried out which means they could splinter or chip much more easily.

Grades C and D

The final two grades are combined together because, for all intents and purposes, these antlers are “junk” and definitely not safe for your dog. These antlers are not only white from years in the sun and exposure to the elements; but there is also a white powder that can be easily scraped off the surface. In addition, the antler has almost a coral-like porous crystalline structure to it, due to having lost too much moisture. This makes it even more susceptible to breaking, splintering or chipping even with minimal effort. These antlers are commonly sold in the big-box pet stores and outdoor sports stores.

A Few Final Cautions

  • Make sure any antler product you buy and give to your dog is sourced from the USA (preferably from organically raised animals). Note: China does chemically process and ship antlers to the United States.
  • Also, make sure you buy the right size antler for your dog (one that cannot be easily swallowed).
  • Do not give puppies any kind of antlers to chew on. (The high protein content can cause stomach upset and diarrhea.)
  • And finally, if you do decide to give your dog an antler chew (or any other chew as well), always supervise them to keep them safe! No chew product is 100% safe and healthy for every dog. Digestive or dental issues, possible choking (in the mouth or throat) and intestinal obstructions are always a risk.
  • Check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any chew product.

 


Additional Resources:

The Perils of Gum Disease in Dogs

Dogs Love These Chews, But They Fracture Teeth Like Crazy

Are Deer Antlers Safe for Dogs to Chew On?

Antlers for Dogs: Are Deer Antlers Safe for Dogs to Chew On?

Are Antlers Safe for Dogs?

Deer Antlers as a Chew Toy for Dogs

Are Deer Antlers for Dogs a Good Chew Toy?


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Are ALL Healthy Snacks Good for Dogs?

You’re probably just like me, I only want the very best for my dogs!

With the recent upswing in dog treat recalls, many dog owners are turning to healthy and natural dog treat alternatives for their four-legged family members.

But, do you know that not all snacks (even the healthy ones) are good for your dog?

Below is an infographic illustrating which natural foods are good … and not good … for your dog. Print a copy, review with your family and then post on your refrigerator as a simple reminder in keeping your beloved dog safe!

Did You Know that All Natural Snacks are Not Created Equal for Your Dog?

All Natural Snacks are Not Created Equal for Your Dog!

 

Thank You Petco! NO more Chinese Pet Treats!

Petco has finally stepped up to the plate and removed any remaining Chinese-made canine and feline treats from its stores and website due to fears that thousands of pets have been sickened and killed since 2007.

(There have been more than 4,800 complaints of pet illnesses, including deaths, from Chinese-made chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats.)

Read more