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Preventing Lymes Disease -- Thursday March 19th, 2020

Prevent Lyme Disease

Family of four outdoors

Before gardening, camping, hiking, or just playing outdoors, make preventing tick bites part of your plans.

Lyme disease is spread by the bite of an infected tick. In the United States, an estimated 300,000 infections occur each year. If you camp, hike, work, or play in wooded or grassy places, you could be bitten by an infected tick.

People living in or visiting New England, the mid-Atlantic states, and the upper Midwest are at greatest risk. Infected ticks can also be found in neighboring states and in some areas of Northern California, Oregon and Washington. But you and your family can prevent tick bites and reduce your risk of Lyme disease.

Protect Yourself from Tick Bites

Know where to expect ticks. Blacklegged ticks (the ticks that cause Lyme disease) live in moist and humid environments, particularly in and near wooded or grassy areas. You may get a tick on you during outdoor activities around your home or when walking through leaves and bushes. To avoid ticks, walk in the center of trails and avoid walking through tall bushes or other vegetation.

Map: Report cases of Lyme Disease, United States 2017

Though Lyme disease cases have been reported in nearly every state, cases are reported from the infected person’s county of residence, not the place where they were infected. More Lyme disease data >

Repel ticks on skin and clothing. Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth. Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.

Perform Daily Tick Checks

Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Search your entire body for ticks when you return from an area that may have ticks. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body and remove any tick you find. Take special care to check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:

Graphic: Tick sizes
  • Under the arms
  • In and around the ears
  • Inside the belly button
  • Back of the knees
  • In and around all head and body hair
  • Between the legs
  • Around the waist

Check your clothing and pets for ticks because they may carry ticks into the house. Check clothes and pets carefully and remove any ticks that are found. Place clothes into a dryer on high heat to kill ticks.

Remove Attached Ticks Quickly and Correctly

Photo of Sign: Prevent lyme disease tips

Remove an attached tick with fine-tipped tweezers as soon as you notice it. If a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, your chance of getting Lyme disease is extremely small; however, other diseases may be transmitted more quickly.

Over the next few weeks, watch for signs or symptoms of Lyme disease such as rash or fever. See a healthcare provider if you have signs or symptoms. For more information, see tick removal.

Be Alert for Fever or Rash

Even if you don’t remember being bitten by a tick, an unexpected summer fever or odd rash may be the first signs of Lyme disease, particularly if you’ve been in tick habitat. See your healthcare provider if you have symptoms.

Prevent Ticks on Animals

Prevent family pets from bringing ticks into the home by limiting their access to tick-infested areas and by using veterinarian-prescribed tick prevention products on your dog.

Create Tick-safe Zones in Your Yard

Modify your landscaping to create “Tick-Safe Zones.” It’s pretty simple. Keep patios, play areas, and playground equipment away from shrubs, bushes, and other vegetation. Regularly remove leaves, clear tall grasses and brush around your home, and place wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to keep ticks away from recreational areas (and away from you).

  • Use a chemical control agent. Use acaricides (tick pesticides) to reduce the number of ticks in treated areas of your yard.  However, you should not rely on spraying to reduce your risk of infection.
  • Discourage deer. Deer are the main food source of adult ticks. Keep deer away from your home by removing plants that attract deer and by constructing barriers (like a fence) to discourage deer from entering your yard and bringing ticks with them. ​



It’s Official: Dog Owners Live Longer, Healthier Lives -- Friday February 7th, 2020

n case you need another reason to snuggle your pup: According to a new study of more than 3.4 million people, owning a dog is linked to a longer life. The research, published in Scientific Reports, is the latest in a growing body of research suggesting that canine companions may be good for human health—especially for people who live alone.

To study the link between dogs and longevity, researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden reviewed national registry records of Swedish men and women, ages 40 to 80. They focused on 3.4 million people who had no history of cardiovascular disease in 2001, and followed their health records—as well as whether they registered as a dog owner—for about 12 years. Dog ownership registries are mandatory in Sweden, and every visit to a hospital is recorded in a national database.

They found that dog owners had a lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease than people who did not report owning a dog, as well as a lower risk of death from other causes. That was true even after adjusting for factors such as smoking, body mass index and socioeconomic status.

The protective effect was especially prominent for people living alone, who have been found to have a higher risk for early death than those who live with other people. People who lived alone with a dog had a 33% reduced risk of death, and an 11% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, than people who lived alone without a dog.

The study—with a sample size hundreds of times larger than any other studies on this topic—was not designed to show a cause-and-effect relationship between dog ownership and reduced risk of death or cardiovascular disease, or to determine why these factors may be related. It’s possible that people who choose to own dogs may simply be more active and in better health to begin with, say the authors.

But it’s also possible—and very likely, says senior author Tove Fall, a veterinarian and associate professor of epidemiology—that taking care of a dog prompts people to stay active and live a healthier lifestyle. “I have met numerous owners that are convinced that their pet has been instrumental for them, often in terms of social support,” says Fall. “As a dog owner, I also notice that the people I meet during walks are often other dog owners, especially in bad weather.”

Another possible explanation, she adds, could be a dog’s effect on its owner’s microbiome. Other studies have suggested that growing up with a dog in the house can decrease allergies and asthma in children, and Fall says that pets may provide immune-boosting benefits for adults as well. Studies have also suggested that dog owners have lower reactivity to stress and faster recovery of blood pressure following stressful events.

The study authors were also surprised to find that people who owned dogs that were originally bred for hunting—like terriers, retrievers and scent hounds—were the most protected from heart disease and death. Because these dogs typically need more exercise than other breeds, their owners may be more likely to meet physical activity guidelines, they say.

Fall says the study’s results can be generalized to the entire Swedish population, and likely to other European countries with similar living standards and culture regarding dog ownership. They also probably apply to the United States, she says.

Scientists can’t say that getting a dog will definitely help a person live longer, but Fall believes it’s not a bad idea. “I think that a pet brings a lot of joy and companionship into a house, so if a person has the capacity to take care of it, they certainly should,” she says. “There are numerous studies showing that dog owners get more physical activity, which could help to prolong a healthy life.”

 

Source : Time Magazine

 




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/