Feeding Your Dog

There are many different products available to feed your dogs. You can pay a lot for some of them, and some can be very cheap. But, even the most expensive foods can be bad for your dog. Since the dog food industry is not regulated very well, you may be feeding something that will eventually be detrimental to the health of your beloved family member.

Even the premium pet brands don’t always have a lot of control over the meats and other products that they get to put into their food. They may be unknowingly be putting euthanized and diseased animal meat into their food. Even road kill. It depends on the company that they are getting their meat from.

What is a dog parent to do? Well, research is the first step. There is plenty of information available. Many people move to making dog food at home. It is certainly a good option. You know what your best friend is getting, and you can customize it to your dog’s needs. Unfortunately, it can be time consuming to making dinner for your human family members and your dog too.

I would love to know what you feed your dog and why. Please complete the survey below. I want gather as much information as possible to educate all dog owners on the proper feeding of their furry kids.

Swine Flu Is Now Available To Even More Mammals

You’ve heard the news over and over about the pandemic of the H1N1 virus, and how many humans are infected with it. Yesterday, a 13-year-old house cat was reported as the first confirmed case in a household animal.

The cat had a loss of appetite, lethargy, coughing, and sneezing. The owners experienced the same symptoms earlier. This led professionals to believe that the cat had contracted the illness from contact with the humans. The cat was treated with fluids for dehydration and antibiotics.

There have been cases of avian flu in household and zoo cats, as well as a similar flu in dogs. But, none have been confirmed as having the human virus. As with any viral infections, the virus mutates rapidly, making it tougher to combat over time. But, that doesn’t mean we should worry. It just means the professionals will be studying yet another strain as usual.

This means that you should limit contact with your pets as well as your other mammals in the house to help slow the spread. No more wiping your nose in the nice soft coat of the smaller mammals in your household.

Pet Euthanasia

Some people would say that euthanasia is wrong, some would say that it is the most humane solution. I am an advocate of euthanasia in many situations. It is never easy, but sometimes it is best.

The decision

We have the option of releasing our friends from their pain and misery. Some may say that their pet is telling them “it’s time.” I don’t necessarily think that is the case. Animals, humans as well, have a survival instinct despite what they may be going through. They don’t want to die, but I am very sure that they do not want to suffer either. It is up to us as caregivers to make that decision. Of course, this can be the most difficult decision a person can make. Reasons for euthanasia vary from severe behavioral issues to terminal disease. The best way to make your decision is discuss it with your veterinarian.

After the decision is made, you will have to decide on how to handle the remains. For your house pet cremation is usually the next step. You may have the option to get the ashes back, which can be expensive. For many, this is the preferred choice.

Most veterinarians will have you sign the legal forms and make payment before the procedure is done. This is mostly a compassionate gesture. After the procedure is done, you probably will want to leave immediately to begin your grieving. At some clinics, you may be able to leave through a private door.

How animals are euthanized

Euthanasia is an overdose of a barbiturate anesthetic which is injected into a vein. The animal will first become unconscious, and will be unaware of anything that follows. Shortly followed will be respiratory arrest, and finally cardiac arrest. Generally, it will all occur within one minute. It may take larger animals longer to achieve cardiac arrest.

Be prepared for that day

The day that you bring your animal to the veterinarian for euthanasia, you will already be very emotional. But, you must be aware of what you may see if you decide to be in the same room as it happens.

After the animal stops breathing and before or after cardiac arrest, it is common to see what appears to be a gasp for breath, twitching, urination, and defecation. These signs should not be taken as suffering in any way. Occasionally, it may be required to give another dose. Anytime I have seen this done, the animal is already unconscious and is not aware of it.

I have been present for many of these procedures (my own animals and other owners), and have hated every one of them. Nearly all of them have gone smoothly, but a couple have been worse than it should be. I have seen an animal fight hard to avoid the procedure, and we were forced to take the animal into another room away from the owner to complete it. This is very stressful for the animal, and not a good way to go. A solution to this may be to give the animal a sedative. You may want to discuss this with your veterinarian if your animal is usually resistant to normal procedures.

Grieving for the loss of your animal

Everyone grieves differently. But, no matter how tough you think you are, your emotions will still show through at some point. Hiding your emotions is not the best option. Your animal has become a part of your life, and grieving for that loss is important. For some people, having a cry in an empty room is enough. Others may need more help. There are forums, hotlines, friends, and family. Your veterinarian may have some suggestions for you. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Best wishes to you and your pets

How do you stop your dog from licking

My greyhound began licking his foot a couple years ago. It started getting very raw, so we would tell him to stop. After a while, he just couldn’t stop. We then started to get concerned. We tried wrapping his foot and sour apple spray, but it didn’t stop him. He would gladly lick the spray, and chew right through the bandage. Finally, we figured out how to cover it with a sock that he couldn’t get through right away. We wrapped the bottom half of the sock in duct tape. It usually took a few days for him to work through that. We thought we found the answer.
Well, it did usually take him a long time get through it, but sometimes he would manage to pull it off. The elastikon tape that we put on would not be tight enough. We had to be careful not to put it on too tight of course. As soon as he got it off, or worked through it, he would lick his foot and ruin three days of healing in a few minutes.
After about a year of this fight, we finally decide to mention it to our veterinarian. He suggested continuing with the plan and see what happens. There was no change after a couple more months. It just seemed like it would not even start healing.
We took him back to the vet and got some antibiotics and a recommendation to soak his foot twice a day in a betadine solution. We decided to try using an e-collar. We were afraid to use that before. We keep that on most of the time so his foot can stay dry.
We have had tremendous improvement in two weeks. His foot looks great, he doesn’t seem to have the same interest in licking it anymore, and we aren’t going through socks so fast.

Update 06/05/09
He has really shown some real progress. You can hardly tell which foot has the problem. When we take the e-collar off, he ignores the foot. After a while, I guess he remembers that he is obsessive about licking it. Then we have to stop him and put the collar back on. I imagine we will be going through this routine for at least another month to ensure that his issue is over. I don’t want to go through it all again.