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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


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

It's Shedding Season Again

Monday April 7, 2014
Picture of Dog Hair and Shedding Dogs

As many dog owners have already noticed, shedding season is here. Some dogs shed more than others, but if you have a dog that sheds at a high rate, you might be starting to see the "hair bunnies" gather in the corners of your home. Sometimes it feels like a waste of time to even bother cleaning the house until July. Unfortunately, the shedding must be managed - not only for our own sanity, but for the health of our dogs. The good news is that there are several ways to handle shedding in dogs.

First of all, you might find it helpful to find out more about why dogs shed in the first place. Then, learn about some basic ways to deal with dog shedding. It's not too bad if you stay on top of it with regular grooming and routine housecleaning. I never said it was fun, but at least it's not that difficult to do.

Part of tackling the shedding is to find the right tool to use on your dog. My personal favorite is the FURminator deShedding tool. Hair be gone! How do you prefer to deal with shedding season at your house?

Photo © tamadhanaval on flickr

Help! Dog Pee is Killing My Lawn

Thursday April 3, 2014
French Bulldog in Grass

Happy Spring! For many of us, this season is synonymous with green grass and beautiful, plush lawns. But many dog owners experience the unsightly spots of yellow and brown grass "burns" that result from dog urine. Personally, I gave up trying to grow grass a long time ago. For me, the problem is not just the dogs, but the set-up of my yard (mostly shade, poor soil condition, etc.) and my general lack of commitment to maintaining grass. I can take care of critters under the most difficult circumstances, but I am bad news for gardens, lawns and even houseplants.

Anyway, back to the dead spots on the lawn. Why does dog pee make the grass turn brown? Can it be stopped? The answer is yes - usually. You don't necessarily need to accept grass burns as an inevitability of living with dogs. You love your dog but you would like a nice lawn too. And that's okay.

There are a few ways to prevent dog urine from damaging your lawn. All require a bit of effort on your part. Personally, I have heard mixed results about supplements you can give your dog to stop grass burns. I think it depends on the dog. Obsessively watering the lawn after each potty break can get exhausting. I think the best option is to dedicate a potty spot and teach your dog to use it.

Have you experienced the frustration of yellow or brown grass spots from pets? How have you dealt with the problem?

Photo by Frank Gaglione/Getty Images

Take Control of Your Dog's Well-Being

Sunday March 30, 2014
sick dog

Most dog owners worry about their dogs' health and safety at one time or another. Even the healthiest of dogs can become sick or injured. What is a good dog owner to do? Rather than worry about our dogs getting harmed or becoming ill, it makes more sense to learn how to prevent these problems in the first place. It also helps to understand the risks. Here are some ways to begin:

While none of the above actions can guarantee your dog's health and safety, they are some great ways to minimize the risks and give you some peace of mind.

Photo: David Young-Wolff/Getty Images

Bugs and Your Dog

Monday March 24, 2014
Photo of Itchy Dog Scratching

Spring is finally here, and depending on where you live, the days are probably getting longer and warmer. But nothing positive comes without some negative; Spring also brings bugs. For dogs, this means parasites like fleas and ticks. Warm weather also bring mosquitos, which are carriers of heartworms. These icky critters are ready to prey upon our beloved companions. Most of us are horrified by the idea of any kinds of bugs on our dogs. These three types of tiny vampires are downright nasty insects that pose health risks. It doesn't help that they are quite annoying to humans too. Fortunately, modern science has made it much easier to control these pests today than 20 years ago.

The key to flea, tick and heartworm control is prevention, and it is helpful if you understand the enemy. Learn all about fleas on dogs and get a jump on these nasty little jumpers. Read about ticks and your dog to find out about these disease-carrying bloodsuckers. Most importantly, educate yourself about heartworm disease and prevention. Heartworms can kill your dog!

What are your favorite forms of heartworm, flea and tick prevention? Has your dog ever had a health issue related to heartworms, fleas or ticks?

Photo © LOLren on flickr

Spring is Here, Time To Play Outside

Thursday March 20, 2014
saint bernard dog smells flowers spring

Today is the first day of Spring, and it can't seem to get here soon enough! Although many parts of the U.S are still chilly, temperatures will be coming up in time. Your dog is probably aching to get outside and enjoy some exercise, and he wants you there with him. Participation in dog sports is a wonderful way to get active and connected with your dog. While many require agreeable weather, other dog sports and activities can be enjoyed indoors. Agility is one of several dog sports can be done indoors or outdoors.

Perhaps you are looking into a sport for you and your dog. Or, maybe you are just curious about canine athletes. Check out today's top dog sports. There is pretty much something fitting for any dog/owner team. Even if you decide it's not the time to get involved in a dog sport, be sure to get out there and play with your dog once the weather is nice. Walk, run, hike, visit the dog park or play fetch. Your dog will thank you!

Photo © Rory

Common Health Issues in Dogs

Monday March 17, 2014

Vomiting. Diarrhea. Skin issues. These are just of few of the most common health problems seen in dogs. Sound familiar? There are a number of health issues that can affect your dog, some more serious than others. Many of us are lucky enough to have healthy dogs that rarely get sick. However, any dog can get sick for a variety of reasons.

As a dog owner, it's a good idea to become familiar with some of the more common health problems that can affect dogs. Learn to recognize signs of illness. Know when to get your dog to the vet. This way, when the time comes, you can be just a little bit more prepared.

Has your dog experienced any of the most common canine health issues? Tell us about it.

Photo: Martin Rogers/Getty Images

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