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Caring for Your Pup's Paws in the Winter -- Sunday January 19th, 2020

~~Caring for Your Pup’s Paws in the Winter


Article provided by Dogster

Winter can be a tough time for a dog’s paws. Prevent weather-related paw pad injuries by following some basic tips and the use of products designed for paw protection.

Preventing Paw Pad Injuries

Caring for Your Pup's Paws in the Winter
Thinkstock

One of the biggest threats to healthy paw pads is the salt used to melt ice on driveways, roads and sidewalks. Prolonged contact can lead to chemical burns on dog paws. If your dog is limping by end of a walk, deicing products may be hurting his feet. Try to keep your dog off the salty sidewalk (think grass or snow) whenever possible.

Another threat from deicers is ingestion. Dogs may lick their paws or your boots and ingest deicing salts. To prevent your dog from ingesting deicing salts, keep a shallow bowl of warm water and a cloth near the entryway to your home so that you can wipe your boots and your dog’s paws when coming back inside.

Another common cause of sore paws during the cold winter months are the ice balls which form between the pads and toes of hairy-footed dog. To reduce the risk of ice balls, keep inter-pad hair trimmed neatly and short during the winter months. Not only can hairy feet contribute to the development of ice balls on the feet, paw hair can retain a lot of those nasty deicing salts. If your dog has hairy feet, trim them throughout the winter.

Dogs left in the cold for long periods of times are also at risk for frostbite on paws and hypothermia. It is not advised that dogs spend hours in the cold. In winter, frequent short walks are better for your dog than a single long walk

Bag Balm, a product available at nearly every pharmacy, applied in a thin layer daily or every other day should help keep your dog’s paws from cracking and bleeding. Keeping a humidifier in the house should also prevent dry, itchy skin for both you and your pet.

Products For Protecting Dog Paws
 There are many products designed to protect dog paw pads during the winter month, from pet safe deicing products to protective waxes and dog booties. Safe Paw is a common pet-friendly deicer, but sand, small stones, and kitty litter (non-clumping) are also options for deicing while protecting your dog’s pads from injury and chemical burns. Musher’s Secret is one of the most popular paw waxes. Paw wax is applied to the pads of the feet before a walk, forming a protective barrier between the paw and the salty sidewalk or pavement. Paw wax will wear away after extended exercise, and should be reapplied before each walk.

The best protection for your dog’s paws and pads are dog booties. Just as wearing boots in the winter protects your pads, dog booties will prevent injury to your dog’s feet. Dog boots can protect your dog’s paws from salt, ice balls, and cutting his pads on sharp items that may be hidden under the snow or sharp ice. Proper sizing of dog booties is especially important in ensuring that the booties are comfortable for your dog to wear and maximize paw protection.

Dog booties may look silly, but really are the ultimate protection for your dog. Human snowsuits look silly also, but are they not the best for keeping sledding kids warm? Just as your kid may not want to wear a snowsuit, your dog may not initially like wearing booties. With a little time and patience, you can train your dog to love wearing his dog boots!




Nail-Trimming for beginners -- Sunday January 19th, 2020

~~Nail-trimming for beginners

Dog nails that are light

When you trim your dog’s nails, the first thing to do is check to see where the quick inside the nail ends. If your dog has light-colored nails, you can see the soft, pink tissue in the center called the quick.

The quick includes a blood vessel and nerve and is easier to see on light dog nails. Hold your dog’s paw up to the light. The quick is visible through the nail and looks like a nail-within-a-nail. You must avoid cutting into the quick as it will bleed and causes your dog pain.

Dog nails that are dark

Learning how to clip dog nails that are dark is a little different from learning to trim light dog nails. The first thing you’ll notice is that you will not see the blood and nerve that makes up the quick through the nail.

To view the quick of the nail, gently lift your dog’s paw and look at the center of the unclipped nail head-on.  If the nail has a small dark circle at the center, it indicates the beginning of the quick of the nail. Do not clip any nail that has a circle in the center as you’ll be clipping into the quick.

If you do not see the center-circle, snip off the smallest edge of the nail at 45 degrees. Check again to see if there is an exposed center-circle. Once you see the dark circle in the middle of the nail, you have clipped far enough. You must not cut into the quick as it will cause your dog pain and bleed.

What to do if you cut the quick

If you cut a nail too short and it begins to bleed, apply pressure to the tip of the nail to stop the bleeding, or dip the nail in the cornstarch or styptic powder. If the nail has bled, keep your dog calm and quiet so that the nail isn’t further damaged or injured with walking or running. The only other thing you’ll need is lots of treats!

 




Toxic Foods for Dogs -- Monday November 4th, 2019

Chocolate and Caffeine
It’s a pretty well-known fact that chocolate is harmful to dogs. Unlike their feline friends, most dogs don’t have an “off” button when it comes to finding food. The amount and type of chocolate your dog consumes determines the symptoms and toxicity level he will experience. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, abdominal discomfort, lethargy, muscle tremors, irregular heartbeat, high body temperature, seizures and death. The darker the chocolate is (for instance, baker’s chocolate or cocoa powder), the more dangerous it is to your puppy. They contain a higher concentration of caffeine and theobromine, both of which cause toxicosis in dogs. Keep your dog away from caffeinated beverages as well. Learn more about the dangers of your dog consuming chocolate here.

Grapes and Raisins
While grapes and raisins are not harmful to some dogs, they have been associated with kidney failure in others. Simply put, it’s not worth the risk to find out! Vomiting, lethargy and diarrhea can occur within 12 hours of ingestion. If the symptoms are not treated, they can lead to dehydration, decreased appetite and increased urination followed by decreased urination. If your dog has consumed grapes or raisins and these signs occur, take her to a vet immediately. Your dog can develop long-term kidney disease or even die from kidney failure within three to four days.
Alcohol and Raw Bread Dough
Small amounts of alcohol found in drinks, syrups and raw bread dough can be poisonous to dogs. These products contain ethanol, and beer also contains hops, both of which can cause alcohol intoxication. Signs of intoxication include vomiting, disorientation, high body temperature, restlessness, excessive panting, muscle tremors and seizures. Dogs who show signs of alcohol intoxication should be monitored by a vet until they recover, as it can cause failure of the organ systems and even death. The yeast in raw bread dough can also cause stomach expansion, which can result in tissue damage and difficulty breathing.


Xylitol
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in foods like sugarless gum, sugar-free candy and baked goods. It can also be found in toothpaste, mouthwash, chewable vitamins and cough drops. Ingestion can cause a life-threatening drop in your dog’s blood sugar, as well as liver damage. Symptoms include vomiting, seizures and loss of coordination, which can occur anywhere from a few minutes to several hours after ingestion. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, a 10-pound dog would only need to eat a single piece of sugar-free gum to reach a potentially toxic dose. Dogs that ingest large amounts of xylitol can also develop liver failure. If you suspect that your dog has consumed anything that might contain Xylitol it is important that you contact your vet immediately.
Onions and Garlic
Anything in the onion family–from garlic to shallots to scallions to chives–is toxic to dogs. They contain compounds that can cause gastroenteritis, anemia and serious damage to the red blood cells. Garlic is considered to be five times as potent as onions. Signs of onion or garlic poisoning often do not appear for several days after ingestion, but include lethargy, weakness and orange- to dark red-tinged urine. Japanese breeds of dogs such as Akitas and Shiba Inus tend to be more sensitive to garlic and onions.


Other Foods Harmful to Dogs
Dairy products can upset your dog’s digestive system and cause diarrhea as well as food allergies. Ingestion of just a few macadamia nuts can cause weakness, paralysis and lack of coordination. Avocados contain persin, which can cause mild stomach upset in dogs. The bones in meat, chicken and fish can also be very hazardous to your dog. They can splinter and stick in the throat, break teeth or cut the intestines.
If you are unsure if you can feed a food to your dog, always consult your veterinarian first. As a general rule of thumb it is best to avoid feeding your dog human food anyways. While it can be hard to ignore those puppy dog eyes looking at you at the dinner table, feeding your dog can often result in weight gain among other more serious issues. To keep your dog out of harm’s way, it is best to stick to a diet of food specifically formulated to meet your dog’s nutritional needs.




FDA Investigating Potential Link Between Diet and Heart Disease in Dogs -- Tuesday September 17th, 2019

~~Report Updated July 2, 2019

On June 27, 2019, the FDA published its third status report regarding a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of heart disease in dogs known as dilated cardiomyopathy… or DCM.

The Dog Food Advisor initially alerted readers about this issue on July 12, 2018, the day it was first announced by the FDA… and continues to update this report on an ongoing basis.

Link to Grain-Free Dog Food
 Still Not Conclusive — No Recalls

The FDA has still not discovered why certain dog foods may be associated with the development of DCM. In fact, the Agency now believes the connection between diet and DCM is a complex scientific issue involving multiple factors.

Results of the study remain inconclusive… and there have been no recalls.

The FDA writes…


“It’s important to note that the reports include dogs that have eaten grain-free and grain containing foods and also include vegetarian or vegan formulations. They also include all forms of diets: kibble, canned, raw and home-cooked.

“Therefore, we do not think these cases can be explained simply by whether or not they contain grains, or by brand or manufacturer.

“… the FDA has received reports about 560 dogs diagnosed with DCM suspected to be linked to diet. Tens of millions of dogs have been eating dog food without developing DCM.”

About DCM

DCM is a disease of a dog’s heart muscle that results in weakened contractions and poor pumping ability…

Which can lead to an enlarged heart and congestive heart failure.

Although the root cause of DCM remains unknown…

And even though initially the condition appeared to be more common in certain breeds…

The FDA has received reports of DCM in a wide range of breeds, including many not genetically prone to the disease.

 

Link to Diet?

Since announcing its investigation in July 2018…

FDA researchers have observed that most of these DCM cases were associated with animals eating dry dog foods.

However…

Dogs eating raw, semi-moist, and wet diets were also affected.

In addition…

Researchers found that over 90 percent of the reported recipes were grain-free. And yet some dogs consumed diets that contained grain, too.

Which Brands?

Brands named most frequently in these reports are depicted in the graphic. Could the presence of these brands simply be related to their exceptional popularity?

Click here for a more detailed account of all DCM cases reported to the FDA as of April 30, 2019.

FDA Chart of Most Frequently Reported Brands in DCM Cases

The FDA offers the following observation…


“The prevalence of reports in dogs eating a grain-free diet might correlate also to market share: these products have become exceedingly popular over the last several years.”

Taurine Deficiency?

Even though it’s not clear exactly what it is about these diets that may be connected to DCM in dogs, there are a number of possible causes.

For example…

Taurine deficiency is a well-documented, potential cause of some cases of DCM. Yet it’s not likely to be the only cause.

In fact…

According to Dr. Lisa Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist at Tufts University, “most dogs being diagnosed with DCM do not have low taurine levels”.

Which means…

It’s not reasonable to assume a taurine deficiency is the definitive cause of DCM.

A Common Thread

According to the FDA, researchers have uncovered one dietary feature common to a large number of DCM cases…


“The common thread appears to be legumes, pulses (seeds of legumes), and/or potatoes as main ingredients in the food. This also includes protein, starch and fiber derivatives of these ingredients…

“Some reports… indicate that the pets were not eating any other foods for several months to years prior to exhibiting signs of DCM.

8 Things You Can Do Right Now
 to Lower Your Dog’s Risk

Until the FDA completes its study and releases its final report…

The Dog Food Advisor believes it makes sense to apply science and logic to all your feeding decisions.

So, consider these practical tips…
1.Since compared to meat, vegetable protein tends to be incomplete (deficient in certain essential amino acids), you may wish to favor brands that derive most of their protein from animal sources
2.Don’t avoid any brand just because it contains peas, legumes or potatoes. In reasonable amounts, studies have not found these ingredients to be toxic
3.Favor brands that don’t list pea protein or other plant protein concentrates among their first few ingredients
4.Avoid brands that use ingredient splitting to hide the fact that their recipes are dominated by non-meat items… like corn, rice or legumes
5.Confused about grain-free? Consider switching your dog to a quality food that contains grain
6.Focus on the recipe. Not the brand. To satisfy consumer demand, companies sometimes replace the meat in certain products with cheaper, plant protein alternatives. Yet many brands still offer other recipes with superior, meat-rich designs
7.Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify. Since no dog food can ever be perfect, consider using diet rotation to lower the risk of endlessly feeding your pet the same imperfect product
8.Want more choices? Consider switching your dog’s current diet to one of the many found on our best dog foods lists

The Bottom Line

Final results are still not conclusive.

And there’s no way to know how long the FDA’s investigation will take. Yet the Agency is hopeful that as more data becomes known, its scientists will gain a better understanding of the possible connection between diet and DCM.

Until we know the answer…

Be patient.

Don’t overreact.

And don’t be frightened by all the well-meaning yet misguided advice you’ll surely encounter on the Internet.

Or the faulty counsel offered by too many uninformed professionals.

Instead…

Base Your Feeding Decisions
 on Facts… and Science

For the safety and well-being of your pet, the process of choosing dog food must always include…
1.An accurate analysis of the dog food label
2.A careful evaluation of the company that designs and produces it
3.A study of product reviews by real-life users posted at online retailers

In any case…

The Dog Food Advisor has never favored any recipe just because it’s grain free.

Nor should you.

Instead…

Our ratings are heavily weighted in favor of our estimate of each recipe’s apparent meat content.

In fact…

Ratings are automatically reduced anytime we find excessive amounts plant-based protein “boosters” (like peas, legumes or non-meat protein concentrates) too close to the top of any ingredients list.

Finally…

Many of the very best dog foods on the market are grain free…

And they’re made by some of the most respected companies in the USA and Canada.

We’re confident the industry will quickly adapt its recipes to any decisive conclusions reached by the FDA’s future findings.

And of course, we’ll make any relevant adjustments to our content as needed to reflect these scientific findings (once they become available).

In the meantime…

Our Very Best Advice

Since there’s no such thing as a perfect dog food…

And because built-in flaws tend to be magnified when the same food is fed endlessly… day after day for a lifetime.

You may wish to consider diet rotation when feeding your pet.

Most importantly…

Stay informed.

Keep in mind…

We can update you the moment the FDA releases its findings.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.




All About Dog Food -- Tuesday September 17th, 2019

Do you know what you are feeding your beloved dog? Do you want to know?

A website called The Dog Food Advisor is doing that for you everyday.  Have questions about your dog food and star rating it was rewarded? Follow this page and keep up to date on dog food recalls to protect your pet from dog food related illness

The Dog Food Advisor is a public service website designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food. You can find their webpage here :  www.dogfoodadvisor.com/