Omega-3 and Krill Oil Can Help Your Pup Fight Off Ear Infections
by Karen Tietjenon February 6, 2018

In order to prevent ear infections, it’s helpful to know what causes them. Water can get trapped inside floppy ears, enabling bacteria or yeast to flourish. Ear mites can also lead to this itchy, painful condition, and food or environmental allergies can cause inflammation that results in the growth of these organisms. (If your dog gets chronic ear infections, consult with your vet and ask whether a dietary change may be necessary.)

With so many breeds and mixes being prone to ear infections, it’s an issue that pooch parents should know about. The good news is, it’s mostly preventable with a little awareness and a few tools.

First off, always clean your pup’s ears regularly with a liquid solution or handy cleansing wipes. Make sure you dry them thoroughly, especially after bathing, swimming, or coming inside from the rain. But perhaps the easiest think you can do is add a supplement to your dog’s diet that helps combat infections from the inside out!

Omega-3 and krill oil can help prevent unnecessary pain and itching for your pup. These fish-derived nutrients can significantly decrease the inflammation that’s often associated with infections. They also help support skin, coat, and immune system health, keeping your pup’s ears healthy and resilient in multiple ways.

Statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.
Reverse Sneezing

DogWatch. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Vol.21, No.12, December, 2017

Your dog is walking along and suddenly pauses. He inhales multiple times, making a snorting or gagging sort of noise. You panic thinking he is choking or has inhaled something. Most likely your dog is having a bout of reverse sneezing.

This action is called “reverse” sneezing because it is air going in, not out, as in a typical sneeze. It is generally caused by a spasm of the soft palate on the roof of your dog’s mouth. The spasm makes it temporarily difficult for your dog to bring as much air as normal into his lungs.

What stimulates a reverse sneeze? Lots of things--dust, excitement, or pulling hard on a leash. Actual irritation, such as harsh chemicals, can do this, too, as well as infectious agents like respiratory mites. It is felt that brachycephalic dogs (with short muzzles) like Boxers may be prone to this, but even dogs with longer muzzles may have bouts of reverse sneezing. For example, Corgis are prone to this, too.

Luckily, despite the disconcerting sounds, reverse sneezing is not serious. Most dogs can be stopped by either gently putting your hand over their nose and muzzle or blowing into their nose. Massaging the throat and getting your dog to swallow can also break the sneeze cycle. Most bouts of reverse sneezing last for a few seconds or to a minute.

A reverse sneeze can be differentiated from tracheal collapse by the noise. With tracheal collapse, there tends to be a “honking” noise, not a snorting sound. If your dog makes this noise or has frequent bouts of reverse sneezing with no obvious cause, visit your vet to rule out tracheal issues, soft palate inflammation or an abnormally long soft palate
Drug-Resistant Heartworm

Station WGNO from Metairie, LA, reports that a yellow Labrador retriever is the first US pet infected by a new drug-resistant strain of heartworms. The dog was on monthly heartworm prevention and contracted the heartworms in 2014. The story was just published in Parasites and Vectors.

The Department of Infectious Diseases at University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine confirmed that the heartworms were drug-resistant and named the strain “Metairie-2014.”

The new strain is helping researchers at UGA better understand and help solve the problem of drug-resistance in heartworms.
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Safe Travel with Your Pet…Don’t Leave Home Without it
  • A spare leash
  • Collar with your phone number
  • A current photo and full written description of your pet showing his full body and face
  • First Aid kit with gauze, bandage wraps, artificial tears, and triple antibiotic ointment
  • Food and water bowls
  • Medications
  • Car sickness over-the-counter pills as recommended by your vet
  • Vet info
  • Poop bags
  • Proof of rabies vaccination
  • Water from home
  • Your dog’s normal food
  • Favorite comfort toy or cuddle
Vegetables for Your Dogs or Cats? Absolutely!

17 May, 2017 Abridged

 Adding vegetables to your dog or cat’s daily diet (if they allow it) is healthy and offers variety, minerals and fibers. How many vegetables should you give your dog or cat? Where dogs can eat around 30% of plant foods in their daily diet, cats only require around 5-10%.

Dark green vegetables have chlorophyll which is great for cleansing. Green vegetables contain chlorophyll which is cleansing and detoxifying. Chlorophyll is a great liver ally, assisting in the removal of toxins and heavy metals from the body and also shows anti-carcinogenic potential. 

Vegetable Choices that are safe and encouraged: You can experiment with most vegetables. Try any of the following: carrots, celery, chard, spinach, avocados, kale, squash, watercress, cabbage, turnips, broccoli, peas, green beans, cauliflower and asparagus. And yes, brussel sprouts!

Sweet potatoes are higher in sugar content and should be used in smaller proportion to any above-ground vegetable choices.  Carrots are great for our pets teeth.  And celery is high in fiber, water and low calorie!  Consider steaming or boiling veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, as they are much easier to digest when cooked.

Vegetables that are unsafe your pets: Never feed your pet onions or garlic as they are toxic in all forms. These cause damage to the red blood cells, ultimately causing them to burst. Rhubarb and wild mushrooms also contain toxins.

If you want to change your pet’s diet to a healthy, holistic, species-appropriate diet or are embarking on a natural homemade or raw food diet, consult your veterinarian.
Doggy Scope, Anyone?

DOGWatch, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, January, 2018, Vol. 22, No. 1

You finish a rousing game of fetch and bend down to pet your dog. Phew! A blast of foul air greets you!

Bad breath is not just a socially unpleasant trait in dogscan indicate a health problem. Any abnormal odor is reason to examine the dog’s mouth and/or schedule a veterinary visit. Treatment of the underlying condition will result in better breath and, most important, better health.

Causes for Bad Breath

Conformation: The way your dog is built may be behind the bad breath. Brachycephalic dogswith shortened muzzles and faces like Boxers and Pugsto sleep with their mouths open a bit. As the mouth dries out, the breath becomes less pleasant. Encouraging your dog to sleep with his head on pillows may help. Doggie breath mints only provide temporary relief.

Unsupervised Snacking: Dogs are attracted to goose poop, sheep and deer droppings, and other foul things. Some dogs roll in these “delights” while others eagerly snack on them. These treats can cause bad breath, but it is temporary and usually goes away after a drink or a little time.

Trapped Debris: Foreign bodies, like a piece of wood stuck across the roof of the mouth on the hard palate or a string wrapped around a tooth, can also contribute to poor breath. Your first hint of a problem is often pawing at the mouth, even before bad breath develops. Removing these items may require veterinary assistance.

Cancer: Cancers of the mouth often cause bad breath due to the diseased tissues. You will likely notice other signs firstat the mouth, drool with some blood, and poor appetite. You can look carefully if your dog is tolerant, but sedation may be required for a thorough exam of the mouth.

Disease: Chronic health conditions such as diabetes and kidney failure, can also cause poor breath quality. Diabetic dogs who are poorly regulated will build up substances called ketones. These can cause a “sickly sweet” odor to the breath. Dogs with severe kidney disease may build up toxins that lead to an ammonia-like odor to the breath.

Bad Teeth: By far the most common cause for bad breath in dogs is a dental problem. Puppies who are going through teething may have bouts of mild bad breath but that passes as the adult teeth come in.

Check His Mouth

Most dental problems are more involved than switching over to adult teeth. You should look carfully at your dog’s mouth.

Are gums red and somewhat inflamed? This would mean gingivitis.

Is there a buildup of plaque or tartar on the teeth? The incisors and canine teeth in front may look fine, but the premolars and molars toward the back of the muzzle may have a heavy buildup of plaque.

Plaque provides a medium for bacterial growth. This leads to inflammation and possibly even an abscess along with damage the tooth roots as bacteria invade the gum line. 

The same sequence can occur with broken or cracked teeth as there is  an opening for bacterial growth. As well as bad breath you may notice a swelling by your dog’s eye from an abscessed tooth.

Along with bad breath, most dogs with dental problems will show additional signs. Your dog may paw at his mouth, drool more than usual, and may have some blood in the drool, hesitate to drink, especially if the water is cool, and may avoid eating or just eat soft foods and treats.

Luckily, dental problems leading to bad breath are both treatable and preventable. The first step is a thorough dental examination by your vet. This may include taking some X-rays to look for root problems and abscesses. A dental cleaning and polishing along with removal of any cracked or broken teeth, plus treatment of any abscesses will start your dog off with a clean mouth and relatively fresh breath.

It is then up to you to follow up with preventative care at home. Ideally, that means daily tooth brushing or use of a gauze and gel to clean teeth daily. There are additives you can put in your dog’s water and even dental hygiene oriented diets. You can experiment and find which solution works best for you and your dog. Bad breath can be handled!
Dog Communication

Of the five senses, smell is a dog’s predominant sense. While the human nose is equipped with roughly 5 million olfactory receptors, dogs have many millions morehave roughly 125 million olfactory receptors, beagles have 225 million, and bloodhounds have up to 300 million. Smell is how dogs define their environment.

When another dog comes along and smells feces or sniffs another dog’s rear, the sniffing dog can tell:

  1. If the dog is male or female;
  2. Approximately how old the dog is;
  3. Whether the dog is in good health;
  4. The mood or temperament of the dog;
  5. Diet
  6. Sexual status.

Why Do Cats Leave Their Mouths Open After Smelling?

Cats are interesting pets and do many things that entertain us.  What’s better than seeing your cat jump like an acrobat, roll on her back with her arms up or just give you that meaningful stare?  One of the most adorable expressions is when your cat leaves her mouth open after smelling something.

The actual act is called the “flehmen recation” and occurs when your cat’s mouth opens to draw air to the Jacobson’s organ.

Cats often keep their mouths hanging open to help them check out their surroundings. When cats discover an interesting scent, they open their mouths to try to identify the aroma. The cat wrinkles her nose and her upper lip pulls back, creating a funny face. As your cat considers the scent, she sucks in air and transfers it to a Jacobson’s organ, also known as the vomeronasal sac, which is behind the teeth in the roof of a cat’s mouth. This organ processes the scents and sends signals to the brain.

The intriguing smells are usually related to territoriality issues such as cats smelling urine marks left by other cats. They also kick into gear when a female cat in heat leaves scents in an area. Male cats are more likely to display flehmen, but mother cats depend on it to keep track of their kittens. The behavior may also be used to distinguish certain food they love or even catnip!

The reason cats look dazed for a second or two, after taking in the smell, is because they can learn a lot of information about their surroundings. They mark territory using the scent glands on their cheeks and paws. The glands secrete pheromones, which are chemical substances that stimulate a behavioral response, such as an avoidance or even an aggressive reaction. When cats “spray” it’s another way they are marking their territory.

Cats aren’t alone in investigating with their mouths.Other species perform similar acts to the flehmen, including snakes that stick their tongues out to explore their environment and elephants that reach out with their trunks.