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Responsible Dog Ownership

dog and owner doing high five

We all love our dogs, but it takes more than love to be a responsible owner. Do you have what it takes? Here's how to be the kind of dog owner who is conscientious and caring about not only your dog, but others in the community.

Doing the Right Thing for Dogs
Dogs Spotlight10

Parvo: a Devastating Disease

Thursday April 24, 2014
chocolate lab puppy photo Last week, I talked about puppy season. While it's adorable to see so many puppies this time of year, veterinary clinics also end up seeing a lot of parvo. This week, I want to talk about a devastating disease called parvo.

Canine parvovirus is a very serious and highly contagious virus that affects dogs. The disease attacks the body's rapidly dividing cells, particularly the cells of the intestines and bone marrow. In some cases, parvo can be fatal. Treatment of parvo typically requires intensive supportive care in a hospital setting. The more advanced the disease, the poorer the prognosis. The best way to manage parvo is to prevent your dog from contracting it in the first place.

Puppies are most susceptible to parvo because of their lack of immunity against the virus. Most puppies have parvo immunity from their mothers for the first few weeks for their lives, but this immunity will fade away somewhere between 6-16 weeks of age. This is why vets recommend several parvo vaccines/boosters during the first few months of a puppy's life. They also recommend keeping puppies away from public areas until vaccines are complete. Though adult dogs are less commonly affected by parvo, it is important to know that they still can contract the disease, particularly if they are not vaccinated or immune-compromised.

Don't let parvo take hold of your dog. Learn all about parvo in dogs, including its transmission, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Most importantly, find out how to protect your dog from parvo. It may be highly contagious, but it is also very preventable.

Photo © Jane Dalelio

Will Your Dog Get Cancer?

Monday April 21, 2014
sad dog

Cancer is one of those diseases that most dog owners fear. When a beloved dog is sick, just hearing that cancer is on the list of possibilities is enough to strike fear in the heart of an owner. Cancer is not an uncommon disease. It may not be among the most the most common illnesses affecting dogs, but it is one of the most serious diseases. In fact, cancer is a leading cause of death in dogs. What is a dog lover to do?

First, don't panic. Your dog might never get cancer. Minimizing the risks can help you get some peace of mind, but sometimes cancer just seems random. You should know that cancer is not necessarily a death sentence. There are many cancer treatment options for dogs these days. Believe it or not, many dogs actually respond really well to treatments and experience minimal side effects. Instead of worrying, here's what you CAN do: Understand the disease. Learn the warning signs of cancer. Know what to expect if your vet needs to run tests. If your dog does end up with cancer, there are people and communities out there that can help. Groups like the National Canine Cancer Foundation and the Veterinary Cancer Society are just two places to start.

Have you ever have a dog with cancer? Please share your story in the comments.

Photo: Thomas Strand/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Puppy Love

Wednesday April 16, 2014

puppies

It's so hard to resist a puppy. If I did not struggle to exercise self-control, I'd have a household full of yapping, piddling furbabies and my house would smell like puppy breath. Puppies are great, but they take dedication. They also grow up. No matter how cute and sweet that little pup is now, before you take her home you should make sure you are ready for a dog, puppy or not. If not, get your babydog fix by checking out some puppy photos.

Think you're ready to take the plunge? Learn all about puppies before you fall in love with one so you can start her life off right.

Photo © Stockbyte/Getty Images

It's Puppy Time!

Monday April 14, 2014

Newborn Puppies

Now that Spring is here, you might start to see more puppies around than usual. In fact, this time of year is sometimes dubbed "puppy season." Of course, plenty of puppies are born year-round, but there seems to be a boom in the Spring. Animal shelters often have a puppy surplus beginning in March or April, so if you are ready for a dog, please consider adoption! And, don't forget that adult dogs need homes too.

Bringing a new puppy into your home will change your life forever. Puppies are definitely a lot of work, but they also bring plenty of joy to your world. Whether you are getting your first puppy or just need a refresher course, there are many things you'll need to know. For starters, socialization is an essential part of raising your puppy. Proper puppy socialization leads to a happy, well-adjusted adult dog.

Want more puppy information? Learn all there is to know about puppies from About.com Puppies Expert Amy Shojai.

Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

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