Excessive licking in dogs and cats

Dogs and cats will groom themselves by licking their fur. This is normal. They will lick their owners as a sign of affection as well. Licking can be a form of play and to let you know they are hungry. If the owner pays attention to their pet when they lick, it can reinforce the behavior, encouraging the pet to do it more often.

However, some pets will engage in excessive licking. Only the owner can determine if the pet is licking more than normal. Excessive licking is a compulsive behavior and the pet may lick everything in sight. This is not good for the pet and the family. Do not try to “correct” this behavior, it will only make it worse.

The first thing a pet owner must do is schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Excessive licking can be due to allergies, including food allergies. Other causes are boredom, stress, pain and diseases.

Try to recall if anything in the pet’s environment brought about the excessive licking. Changes are especially suspect, did you move, change the pet’s food, bed, alter the environment such as adding or taking away furniture, someone in the family moving in or out, a new pet, neighbor or any other change that the pet is aware of. Even a family member changing jobs, or a family crisis can affect a pet.

The easiest way to correct excessive licking is to give the pet an alternative activity. If the pet is a dog, give the dog a chew toy when he starts to lick. Praise the dog for chewing the toy. If the pet is a cat offer a toy for the cat to play with and interact with the cat. Be sure to give the pet a good rubdown or petting when they stop licking. If the pet tries to lick family members gently say “no” and give them something to chew or an activity.

If the excessive licking was due to a change in the home environment it may take a few weeks for the pet to adjust to the change. If the behavior does not stop or if it increases, it is best to consult with a certified canine or feline behavior consultant. You can find one at www.iaabc.org  With time and patience, excessive licking can often be cured.

Allergies in Pets

Pets suffer from allergies the same as people do. They can suffer all year long or only at certain times of the year depending upon what they are allergic to.

They can be allergic to many things such as the dander from other pets, mites, fleas, pollen’s, insects and foods. The places on the body that typically show the allergic reaction are: ears, underarms, belly, lower legs and feet. The signs typically are: itching, redness, swelling, pimple like bumps, sores that ooze, reoccurring ear infections and loss of fur. Sometimes a pet will pick at the area that irritates them by frequent licking or biting the area.

If you notice any of these symptoms you should take your pet to the veterinarian where a series of tests may be necessary to rule out other medical issues that could mimic allergic symptoms.

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If the problem is allergy related there are a number of medications, either taken orally or applied topically that can ease your pet’s discomfort.

Allergies are referred to as Atopic Drmatitis and unfortunately there is no cure for it. However, once your veterinarian determines what your pet is allergic to, they can give your pet allergy shots which in many cases reduce the symptoms significantly. Shots along with oral and topical treatment can give a pet quality of life again.

If your pet is allergic to a certain type of food, you can avoid giving your pet that food. Sometimes a low quality food can cause a problem for a pet. You should only give your pet high quality food. Food that is available at discount stores or the supermarket should be avoided.

For an excellent article, go to: http://www.vetdepot.com/in-depth-look-at-atopicdermatitis-dogs.html

Children and dog bites

It is shocking to learn that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that half of all children who are 12 years of age and under, have been bitten by a dog. There are many reasons why this occurs. Some are that children are unsupervised, tease the dog, startle the dog, hurt the dog, wander near a confined dog or try to hug an unfamiliar dog.

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All types and sizes of dogs can bite a child or adult and it is not fair to label certain breeds as more aggressive. In many cases, a small bite from a small dog will go unreported. Because large dogs do more damage, those bites often require medical attention and are reported.

Children are most likely to sustain injuries to their face when bitten because of their small size. They are not strong enough to protect themselves or fight off an attacking dog which can cause more severe injuries than an adult would sustain.

According to a study conducted by by Dr Sarah Rose and Grace Aldridge of Staffordshire University, England, one reason why children are bitten is because they cannot recognize when a dog appears frightened although they do recognize when a dog is angry.

There are a few things adults can do to protect themselves and their children. The adult can learn to read and recognize body language in dogs. This will help them understand the emotional state of the dog. If the child is old enough they too can learn how to read body language. If the child is very young (toddler and older) they should be supervised and not allowed near unfamiliar dogs. Even if the family has a pet dog, the child should be supervised when around the dog. Given the right situation, all dogs will bite.

If the family has a pet dog the child must be taught how to play with the dog. All dogs are different and some become highly excited when playing. Under these conditions a dog could bite. Keep in mind that not all bites are aggressive acts, but unfortunately all types of bites are usually considered aggressive by authorities.

The older child must be taught not to approach strange dogs unless they are assured by the owner that it is safe. Then they must be taught how to safely approach a strange dog.

With a little bit of education on the part of the adult and child, many dog bites can be prevented. Protecting both people and your dog is part of being a responsible dog owner.

www.safetyarounddogs.org/statistics.html

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160914090502.htm

Brominated flame retardants found in cats

This is a short article but important. A recent study found that indoor cats have a high level of brominated flame retardants in their blood as a result of inhaling the dust in homes. Previous studies found that cats who developed Feline Hyperthyroidism had high levels of flame retardants, but now researchers have found it in healthy cats as well.

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As the flame retardant materials age the particles that come from them become part of the dust in a home. What is especially important to be aware of is that other pets, humans, and especially small children also breathe in the dust.

The flame retardants make up part of furniture, electronics, and even various fabrics. So what can we do about it? I have found an air cleaner that can help reduce the dust in a home. I personally have used the Fresh Air Surround air purifier for years and find it helps keep my home allergy free. I picked that model because it kills germs as well, an added benefit, and does a great job of killing household odors, including litter box odor.

I strongly urge everyone to consider this air purifier. You can get more information from David Scharikin, at Finance2@ptd.net or call him at 570-325-2433. There are a number of models to choose from. And no, I do not make a commission for passing this information along. As a pet owner, dogs, cats and birds, and allergic to many indoor and outdoor irritants, it has made my life much better.

FMI: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170224092516.htm

Lady Bugs Can Pose a Threat to Pets

There is a “new” threat that dog owners have to watch out for, Lady Bugs! There have been cases where dogs were foaming at the mouth, drooling, lethargic and refused to eat. Upon examination the dog’s owner and/or veterinarian found Lady Bugs in the dog’s mouth.

Apparently Lady Bugs give off a toxin that causes a chemical burn in the dog’s mouth. There are certain times of the year that Lady Bugs seem to invade homes and some dogs try to eat them.

As a general rule, if there is an infestation of bugs in a home, a pet owner, both dog and cats, should watch carefully to make sure that their pet is not eating the bugs. My own dog became sick after eating a large number of Stink bugs. Fortunately, he only vomited and as a result of the experience never ate a Stink bug again.

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http://thebark.com/content/dogs-mouths-damaged-ladybugs?utm_source=Bark+Newsletter&utm_campaign=16b764efae-BarkNews_11162016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e8c8dbbec1-16b764efae-78310125&mc_cid=16b764efae&mc_eid=7a6c42f027

Canine Parvovirus Mutated from Domestic Cats

Those of us who have been involved with dogs for many years may recall the terrible outbreak of Canine Parvovirus in the 1970’s. Many puppies and dogs died as a result. In some cases, whole litters died.

What most people do not realize is that according to a study conducted by Colin Parrish, the John M. Olin Professor of Virology and director of the Baker Institute for Animal Health at Cornell University and Susan Daniel, associate professor in Cornell’s Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is that the virus most likely was transferred from the feline panueukopenia or a similar virus from domesticated cats.

According to their study the virus can jump from one species to another because of a mutation in its protein shell. As a result, the virus has since infected a variety of wild carnivores including the raccoon.

This is why it is very important to vaccinate pet dogs and cats. This not only protects them from the virus, but can help prevent the virus from spreading to wildlife.

FMI: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160414122007.htm

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Canine Hereditary Disorders Affect More Dogs Than Previously Thought

Good breeders typically do all of the genetic testing on the parents of a litter before they breed. Research has indicated that this is much more important than ever before.

Genoscoper Ltd. (a Finnish company specializing in animal genetics and gene testing) has published the most conclusive study ever on canine hereditary disorders. The study was done with researchers from the University of Helsinki and the University of Pennsylvania and published on PLOS ONE, 8/15/16.

They tested 7000 dogs in about 230 different breeds for a predisposition for about 100 genetic disorders. They found that 1 in 6 dogs carried at least one disease. Additionally, 1 in 6 breeds that never tested positive for one of the diseases had a predisposition for it.

This information will help dog owners understand and identify early signs of inherited disorders which may enable pet owners and veterinarians to better able  identify health issues earlier and perhaps prevent suffering for the dog.

This important study will lead to further research about inherited diseases in dogs that will help the overall health and well-being of both dogs and other pets.

www.sciencedalily.com/releases/2016/08/160822100703.htm

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Transporting Your Nervous Cat to the Veterinarian

The following article is written by and provided courtesy of:

Dr. Daniel Mudrick; B.Sc, D.V.M, Clarkson Village Animal Hospital, 1659 Lakeshore Road West, Mississauga, ON, L5J 1J4

905-855-2100

petcare@clarksonvillagevet.com

www.clarksonvillagevet.com

 

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Transporting Your Nervous Cat to the Vet

As tough as cats can be, a simple car ride to the vet can be very stressful for them. Cats often become nervous or anxious with travel, and then behave in a passive or sometimes aggressive way.

Our goal is to prevent problems for you and your pet. Our simple recommendations will make travel and vet visits much easier for your cat.

Cat Calming Recommendations

Leave your cat carrier out for at least a few days prior to travelling.

Leave the carrier in an easily accessible area of the house where your cat will see it. You should leave the door of the carrier open so your cat may go in and out as she/he pleases. You can place food or treats in the carrier to help build a positive association with it.

Use Feliway 15 minutes prior to putting your cat in the carrier.

15 minutes before you will put your cat in the carrier, you should wipe down the inside with Feliway wipes or Feliway spray. Feliway is a pheromone treatment that helps elicit a calming response in cats.

Learn more at www.feliway.com.

Don’t put your cat in the front seat of the car.

It’s best not to put your cat carrier in the front seat of the car as it can be dangerous if the passenger airbag is deployed. You can secure the carrier in the back seat using one of the rear passenger seatbelts. Try to keep the carrier level, instead of sloping back.

Calming Supplements and Medications 

Some cats will be anxious despite the above measures. If that’s the case, we may recommend the use of a calming supplement or medication to ease your cat through the trip and vet visit.

If we have discussed with you the use of Zylkene (a calming milk protein based supplement) or Gabapentin (a gentle calming medication) to help your cat cope with the anxiety of going for a car ride, please read the following recommendations:

Hunger is your friend!

It is ideal if your cat is hungry before travel time. Feed your cat a small dinner and breakfast the night and morning before your visit. One hour before you are going to put your cat in the carrier, feed a small amount of her/his favorite food with the medication mixed in. Once you get back home, you can feed the remainder of the meal.

If your cat is not willing to eat, you should reschedule for another day.

If you need, please come in to the clinic and pick up an appetite stimulate that you can use to help ensure your cat will eat (and therefore eat the medication) at the appropriate time prior to your next appointment. The appetite stimulant is in the form of a paste that you can apply to the inside of your cat’s ear – no pilling required!

We use Feliway pheromone diffusers at the hospital and we handle cats very gently to minimize nervous behaviour.

Each cat is an individual and we want to make your cat’s car rides, and life, as comfortable as can be. Cats don’t understand what is happening; they are just afraid, and we want to help alleviate those fears.

Our goal is “Stress-Free Visits”.

For more information, visit CATalyst Council’s Cat Friendly Practice to watch a thorough video on this subject.

Please call us if you have any questions at all about helping to take the stress away from your cat.

Welcome!

Thank you for visiting my new blog site!

ID-100373827Check back often (or subscribe via the button on the right) for posts to help pet owners with health, safety and training information; and to share information on dog training, behavior, and search and rescue. Additionally, I look forward to sharing:

  • Behind-the-scenes stories and excerpts from my published books
  • Safety and health tips focused on cats, dogs and parrots
  • Photos and stories about dogs I have trained through the years

Some of the questions I am asked most often revolve around dog training. Some basic tips include:

ID-10041702Remember, dogs do not speak English, therefore you must SHOW your dog what you want. Your actions speak louder than your words. All of your body language speaks to your dog. Therefore, your ATTITUDE, FACIAL EXPRESSION AND TONE OF VOICE communicate to your dog. You cannot try and tell your dog that he is not doing the right thing while you are hiding a laugh because you really think your dog’s behavior is cute or funny. Your dog will laugh right along with you. You cannot ask your dog to obey you if you hesitate in your movements. Your dog will not believe that you are the leader. On the other hand, you cannot bully your dog or physically punish him and expect your dog to respect and trust you. A good working relationship with your dog is built on trust and leadership. This is communicated to your dog by giving commands in a tone of voice that says, “I expect you to do this, no discussion.” Then move in a steady, yet gentle way to convey leadership.

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Never re-command your dog. If your dog knows what the word means, re-commanding him just teaches your dog that a) he does not have to listen to you; b)he can do it when he wants and c)you are not the leader. For every command there should be an action. Either you coax the dog into doing what you want or the dog does it. If your dog does not know the “sit” command, and you tell your dog, “Sit . . . Sit . . . SIT!”, then make the dog sit on the third sit, your dog will learn not to sit until the third command. He will think that the command is “sitsitsit.”

Most people repeat commands to their dog’s because they are being polite (according to human standards) and assume that the dog did not hear the first or second time. I can assure you that if your dog does not respond the fist time, and does not acknowledge you, he DOES HEAR you. He is just IGNORING you. Therefore, politeness to a dog translates into “My owner is wimpy, wimpy, wimpy! Why should I listen?”

So, speak clearly and in a direct manner to your dog. For every command expect or initiate an action. Do not repeat commands. Do not hesitate when you move. Show your dog that you are a leader, not a follower.