Archive for Dog Health
Every weight loss program should include exercise. If you increase the amount of calories your dog uses up, it means there are less to add to his waistline. The difficulty is that it’s often uncomfortable for overweight dogs to run, so you will need to look at alternatives until he has lost a few of those excess kilos.
Just like with people, it’s a great idea to have your dog checked by your veterinarian before you begin, to make sure his body will cope with the extra workload.
Walking is the obvious choice for exercising dogs. You can take your dog further each week, and by doing so, burn up more calories. The main disadvantage of walking is that it is very hard on his legs. They have to carry his excess weight and they can become tired and painful.
When your dog has lost some weight, walking will be more enjoyable for both of you. In the meantime, think about taking him swimming. Water supports his body as he exercises, and this is easier on his joints. There are several ways you can use water to exercise your dog.
Short nosed breeds of dog, like this gorgeous British Bulldog, are popular companions, but the shape of their head and neck makes them totally unsuitable as running buddies. Some other breeds that fall into this category include Boxers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Pugs and French Bulldogs. They’re known as brachycephalic breeds – “brachy” meaning “shortened” and “cephalic” meaning “head”. There are degrees of brachycephalic-ness, for want of a better word – some Staffies and Boxers have a longer nose than others and may be less adversely affected by the shape of their head but owners still need to take a great deal of care with them.
The problem with the short head is that it has adverse effects on a dog’s respiratory tract. Their nostrils are usually narrower and their soft palate is longer than normal which can block the entrance to their windpipe. There are small pouches in the larynx called laryngeal saccules which, in a brachycephalic dog, are everted which means they stick out into the larynx. This means that there are many obstructions that get in the way of air reaching the windpipe and to top it all off, in these breeds the windpipe is often narrower than normal.
It is important that you learn to recognize whether or not your dog needs to lose a few pounds. This isn’t as hard as you might think, but you need to take off those rose colored glasses, and be honest.
Keep in mind that that dogs, much like humans, come in many different shapes and sizes. You should be familiar with what’s normal for for your particular breed of dog. Generally speaking, there are several indicators that you can watch out for to make sure that your dog is not obese or overweight.
First, keep an eye out for increased fat over your dog’s ribcage. If you run your hand over his ribs you should be able to feel each rib distinctly. There should be some fat covering the ribs, but not enough to make it difficult to actually feel them.
After checking the ribcage the next thing you should look at is your dog’s waist. It should be very easy to visualize his waist. Stand above your dog and look down at him while he is standing on all four legs. Look at the area between the ribs and the hips. Your dog’s waist should be easy to see as a narrowing of his body. If you cannot see the waist at all, he is overweight. If the area where the waist should be is actually wider than his ribcage or hips, then he is more than likely obese.
Alternative therapies, or natural therapies, have been used throughout history, and their popularity is on the rise. Many people who rely on natural therapies for their own health care are seeking the same treatment choices for their pets. Because of this increase in demand by their clients, more vets are now offering these treatment options. Natural therapies can be a part of the treatment of many illnesses in your pet. However, some natural therapies can have side effects, so they need to be treated with respect.
How do you define a natural therapy? A natural therapy often uses a whole body approach to healing and tries to avoid the use of surgery or drugs. When given the right conditions, the body is able to heal itself, and this ability is a very important part of the effectiveness of these therapies. Conventional treatments are usually used with in conjunction with natural treatments in pet care, although some people do prefer to use only natural remedies for their pets.
According to a 1997 study by The American Animal Hospital Association, 42% of pet owners had tried alternative therapies on their pets. The main reason people sought this type of therapy was to provide a safer, less invasive natural treatment than everyday conventional drug therapy. Also, some people may have had great success themselves with natural therapy in relation to their own health care, and wanted to give their pets the same benefits.
Some natural therapies that are available to animals are chiropractic, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and homeopathy. However, the boundaries between natural therapies and conventional treatments can be blurred. One example of this is nutritional therapy. When pets have good quality nutrition, they have all the nutrients and energy they need to remain healthy. Good nutrition can also help them recover from illness. Is this common sense or is it therapy? The drug aspirin is another example. The active ingredient in aspirin is derived from willow bark, although it has always been thought of as being a conventional treatment. Does that mean that it is also a herbal remedy?
Your vet or canine physical therapist can help to manage an injury after it occurs but prevention is better than cure. Weight management, stretching and adequate warm ups from a young age are a crucial element of maintaining your dogs mobility and reducing the risk of them getting hurt.
Many dog owners will want to start running with their pet from a very young age. However, dogs should not start intense training routines until the growth plates in their legs are fully closed. This is usually around 14 months but varies depending on breed. Ask your veterinarian when you should start running with your pup and until you have the okay from them, stick to low intensity exercises. After all, you want your running buddy to be out exercising with you for a long time.
Overweight dogs are more prone to problems and keeping your canine running buddy lean is a very important aspect of avoiding injury. It makes sense; if he is overweight, there is more impact on his joints with each step and more potential damage to his joints if he turns quickly.
When you work out, you’re well aware that you need to have a cool down plan to ensure your body can recover efficiently, but do you have a similar routine in place for your dog? When you’re getting fit alongside your dog, and long runs and brisk walks become a part of each of your daily lives, you should always consider your dog’s post-workout plan. Remember, they need to cool down too!
No doubt a water bottle is a vital necessity for you whilst you’re out running, but it’s important to remember that your dog needs to keep hydrated too. If they’re fit and healthy, they may find running far less gruelling than you, but that’s not to say that they don’t need to stop for a drink just like you do. Whether you’re on a long hike or a half an hour run, take a water bottle containing enough fluid to sustain both you and your dog. You can even buy water bottles that feature a detachable water container for your dog to drink from, so you can ensure they’re able to rehydrate efficiently.
Don’t be tempted to encourage your dog to gulp down as much water as possible though, as this can cause stomach upset or bloating when running. Instead, offer small amounts of water at regular intervals. A good time to stop to rehydrate is when your dog is panting more heavily, but you shouldn’t go for more than a mile without letting them have a drink.