Kidney Failure, the Leading Cause of Death in Cats. Pet Remedies, Straffordshire Terrier.
September 2013
Pet Circkles.

"I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being." ~ Abe Lincoln.

Canine Bloat is Life Threatening in a Matter of Minutes.
By Redstone Publishing and Promotion / Circkles.com

Also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), canine bloat is becoming more and more common in dogs due to the fact that dogs are eating commercial diets that do not really support their digestive system properly. Bloat used to be most common in specific deep-chested and giant breeds but is now becoming quite common with any breed and can occur with any dog. In addition to becoming an increasing health concern, this condition is compounded by the fact that it is often overlooked, or not taken seriously, by dog owners until it is too late and they lose their pet, which can happen in a matter of minutes. The human stomach can withstand a great deal of bloating without permanent damage or risk of death, but this is not true of our canine companions. In the case of dogs and even ferrets, due to the layout of their anatomy, when the stomach expands too much, it cuts off the blood flow to the heart causing cardiac arrest. In addition, when the circulation is cut off to the stomach cells, they die, causing necrosis - a condition that cannot be reversed and will result in permanent gastrointestinal problems for the life of the animal. If you have a breed you know is susceptible to bloat, it's important to always keep it in mind as a life-threatening potential condition that can manifest quickly and at any time. With susceptible breeds it's best to incorporate a preventative role against possible bloat rather than waiting until your pet gets it and finding out the hard way how quickly it can get out of control.

Know your dog's habits and everyday demeanor. Most of the early symptoms of bloat are behavioral, your dog will start to act differently such as being restless, acting uncomfortable or lethargic, pacing the floor, not being able to find a comfortable position to lie down or they may make sounds of grunting or groaning noises like they are in pain.
Feel the abdomen. It will stretch to many times its normal size due to an increase in gas and will blow up like a hard balloon. However, in some breeds and some cases the actual bloated stomach can’t be seen just by looking at the dog, but you can see the distended abdomen, and when you feel the stomach area just above it, it will feel very hard, like a ball that has been pumped up with too much air.

The most obvious symptom is that the dog appears to be nauseated. He will attempt to vomit and will retch and gag or get the dry heaves, but nothing comes up, or very little, if anything. If he vomits his food right after eating, he may be drinking too much water with it or eating too quickly, or, if he vomits his food 1-2 hours after eating, it is fermenting in his stomach rather than being digested. In the latter case, it's imperative to change the dog's diet because something he is eating is not digestible and is causing serious stomach upset and bloat with it. Try a different protein: if he is eating chicken, try beef. He may also attempt to have a bowel movement, assume the position, but again, nothing comes out. Excessive drooling, trying to clear the throat or coughing are also common symptoms.
IF ANY OF THESE THINGS HAPPEN, RUSH YOUR DOG TO THE NEAREST ANIMAL HOSPITAL. It's better to be safe than sorry. Most vets will put everything else aside to address a dog with bloat because they know how serious it is.

It's a good idea to have some Phazyme, Mylanta Gas (not regular Mylanta) or Gas-X on hand. They contain simethicone which helps reduce gas. This may buy you a little more time to get to a vet and may even remedy the problem if you catch it soon enough.

A natural alternative to Gas-X or over-the-counter gas medicines is fennel seed. Fennel has been used to treat colic in babies, so it's very safe, but it has a strong taste, and you probably won't get your dog to eat it without hiding it in some very appealing food. However, only feed very small amounts of food at this time until your dog's bloating is resolved otherwise you may make the problem worse. Mix 2-3 tsp of crushed fennel seed in a couple bites of hamburger and feed it to your dog. Make sure the fennel seed is crushed into a fine powder because fennel seed is a lot like a grain if left whole and could ferment in your dog's stomach like a grain. Also, dogs have a much shorter digestive tract than humans and cannot break down seeds, grains and vegetables as well as we do, so the fennel will be much more effective if it is ground up or a powder, otherwise it will pass through the dog's system undigested and defeat the purpose. Fennel will dispel gas even if the dog cannot burp or pass gas. Repeat the fennel every 4-6 hours and during meals until you feel they are out of danger and no longer retching, uncomfortable or distended and hard in the stomach area. Use the fennel in conjunction with digestive enzymes to help your canine digest food and prevent further buildup of gas and undigested food particles. Dogs that are prone to bloat benefit a great deal from being given digestive enzymes with every meal for the rest of their lives, and especially when they get older. Enzymes are much cheaper than a trip to the vet.

(Bloating 6x8 quick reference guide- click to download and put it on your frig to keep handy.)

The following factors that can lead to bloat and how to avoid them:

1. Large meals. It is recommended to serve your dog two small meals a day, once in the morning and once before bedtime, rather than just one big meal daily.
2. Rigorous exercise right before a meal or right after one can cause stomach upset. You should wait one hour before feeding after exercise and one hour after eating before you let your dog run around.
3. Dry food that is high in grain, which causes fermentation during digestion causing gas. Dry food should have meat, meat meal and bone meal listed within the first 1-3 ingredients, not grain or corn. In other words, dry food should have more meat than grain in its ingredients.
4. If only dry food is given, some people moisten it with water if it's a high-end dog food. However, with lesser quality foods (less meat-based dog foods that are mostly grains) it is better to NOT wet the food, since water mixed with grain will start fermentation quicker, producing gas. If the dry food is mostly meat, it's OK to add water, and can actually help with digestion.
5. Gulping large amounts of water at one time during meals. If you feed dry dog food, your dog may drink a large amount of water after eating. If this is the case, only give them a small amount at meal time, then when they are done eating, give the bowl back to them that they would normally use throughout the day.
6. Be careful of snacks and biscuits that are high in carbohydrates such as flour and grains and only feed these in very small amounts or finding a meat snack instead would be better.
7. Avoid dog food high in citric acid used as a preservative and also food that is high in fat, which is not well digested by dogs.
8. Food allergies - many dogs today are allergic to chicken products. Food allergies will cause stomach upset and gas, so it's important to be able to recognize the signs of food allergies in your canine: such as excessive scratching, biting at their paws or legs, very dry skin and constant shedding of more than twice a year or seasonal shedding.
9. Many breeds prone to bloat do much better on a raw meat diet with no grain and only a few vegetables. If you suspect your dog is allergic to chicken, try beef,venison or rabbit.
10. Some dogs gulp their food or eat too quickly. If you have a dog that does this, put a small plastic ball in their food dish so they have to slow down and eat around it. Make sure the ball is not so small they can swallow it though and remove it after they eat so they don't take it out and play with it, in which case, you won't be able to find it for the next mealtime.
11. Try to keep your dog on a steady, well-balanced diet. If your dog eats anything that it is not accustomed to, it can cause bloat. When changing the diet of a dog prone to bloat, do so very gradually over the course of 2-3 weeks, or even a couple months, by mixing the new food with the old food gradually increasing the ratio of new food to old food over time.

Basically, there are only two things that a vet can do to treat bloat. They may try to insert a tube down the throat making a passage for the gas to escape. But if the stomach has twisted, surgery is the only solution. The vet will have to make an incision into the stomach and relieve the gas that way. While he has your dog under, the vet may decide to perform what is called gastropexy in which the stomach is actually stapled into its normal position, or anchored into place, so that it cannot twist should there be another episode of bloat, which is highly likely.
Even if the dog has been relieved of the bloat with just a tube and not surgery, he should be thoroughly examined and watched closely regardless, so that the vet may assess the damage done by the episode. Damaged parts of the stomach may need to be removed, or the dog owner may decide to have gastroplexy done anyway since many dogs that experience bloat often go through it again and again.
However, you can avoid expensive and painful surgery if you are diligent in watching your pets behavior to keep an eye out for bloat, follow the above recommendations for avoiding bloat, change your dog's diet and eating patterns to accommodate their special needs, and spring to action with fennel seed or gas remedies the minute you notice any mild symptoms developing.

The following breeds are more prone to bloat and should follow the recommendations above to minimize their risk, but again, any dog can get bloat, so it's a good idea to know what to watch for and what to do since time is of the essence.

Afghan, Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Boxer, Doberman, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, King Shepherd, Kuvasz, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, Shar-pei, Shiloh Shepherd, Standard Poodle, St. Bernard, Weimaraner.

Photos from top: 1.) Dog with bloat in vet's office. 2.) Bloating Quick Reference chart. Click on the image to download a 6x8 pdf copy of the chart that you can print out and tack to your frig or keep handy in some other place for quick reference when needed.

Nature's Answer to Pet Allergies.

What can you do naturally if you are one of the millions of people who can't enjoy pets without suffering for it?

Stinging Nettle Herb: People with cat allergies swear by stinging nettle. Take it in capsule, tea or tincture form when allergy symptoms arise. Nettles have a natural histamine blocking ability. Many people that have used nettles say it works just as good or better than anything over the counter for hay fever or pet allergies. We would say, that nettles is second only to reishi mushroom. If one doesn't work, try the other.

Reishi Mushroom: Is one of the most powerful herbal histamine blockers there is. Tinctures are always the most potent form of an herb and work the quickest and the best. Next, an herbal tea, then capsules. It's getting increasingly more difficult to find reishi in the stores, but you can order the most potent brand there is, Eclectic Institute's reishi from iherb.com. It works in about 20-30 minutes. Reishi will work on any kind of allergic reaction, including anaphylactic allergic reactions. We find it every bit as effective as Benedryl and doesn't have any side effects except that it makes some people so relaxed they want to sleep after taking reishi. Reishi is also an excellent anti-inflammatory and will stop allergic asthma. The effects of reishi last only about 2-3 hours, so keep it handy and take more as needed (this is why tinctures are great, throw them in your purse or keep them in your desk). Reishi is extremely safe and no known side effects or health hazards have been reported with its use. But as with anything, only take what you need, monitor how you react to it, and increase usage or dosage gradually only as needed.

© 2013 Redstone Publishing and Promotion for Circkles.com. All images and articles.

FDA Pet Product Recalls for 2013.

Pets who look like their owners:


Find more pet articles in our Archives and pet home remedies are in The Hangout. But you must be a Circkles.com member to access those pages.

NATURAL PET REMEDIES: Pet Dander / Dry Skin.

Excessive dry skin or dander can be a sign of something more serious. One of the best indication we have as to the health of our animals is to look at the condition of their coat: Is it soft or dry and brittle? Are they shedding more than is normal? Are there patches that are falling out completely? These can all be signs of more serious health issues, but for the purpose of this remedy, we will be referring to average dry coat and dry skin.

The best way to treat dry skin and coat in an animal is internally. Try supplementing their food with a Tbsp of olive oil 2-3 times a week or brewer's yeast which contains biotin- a nutrient very beneficial for healthy hair and nails. When you bathe your pet, use gentle, moisturizing soaps, preferably a bar soap to avoid making any allergies or skin conditions worse with parabens or toxins in plastic bottled soaps and shampoos. Kiss My Face brand makes a very good moisturizing bar soap made with olive oil and aloe. This is perfect. Keep a bar just for your pet (so you don't accidentally use it) and rub it all over their fur. Bar soaps actually works better than liquid soaps on fur anyway.

If your pet scratches excessively, bites at their paws, is shedding a great deal and has dry skin, these are common symptoms of food allergies and need to be addressed as such.

For more pet remedies, follow The Hangout on Circkles.com.

DOG BREEDS- Characteristics and Concerns.
(We will get to cat breeds later.)

American Water Spaniel (AWS).

Developed in the state of Wisconsin during the 19th century from a number of other breeds, including the Irish and English Water Spaniels. Developed in the United States, the American Water Spaniel originated in the areas along the Fox River and its tributary the Wolf River near Green Bay, WI during the early 19th century. Hunters needed a dog that could operate in both land and water for a variety of game whilst being compact enough to be transported in a small rowboat and able to stand the native cold water temperatures.
They are a medium sized dog, with a curly liver, brown, or chocolate colored coat. The average height at the withers for the breed is 15–18 inches (38–46 cm), whilst weighing around 25–45 pounds
The coat of the American Water Spaniel can fall in two different patterns, either tightly curled or in the "marcel pattern" where the fur falls in waves. The coat has a coarse outside layer which keeps water away and protects the dog from foliage such as briers.
In the field, the AWS is less exuberant than the English Springer Spaniel, but is as skilled in retrieval as Labrador or Golden Retriever. It is versatile regardless of the type of terrain, and in the water it is not the fastest swimmer but has a high level of endurance. The breed is also good at agility and flyball, with the first of the breed receiving a flyball championship title in 1993. Members of the breed enjoy being the center of attention, and can be quite vocal at times. It is a one family dog, and will often bond with one particular individual. The AWS has a mind of its own at times and reaches peak performance with the owner who is dedicated to teaching the dog just what is expected of it. The breed takes well to training, and especially excels at training that offers some variety rather than routine training drills. They can be stubborn, and mentally are slow to mature from puppyhood. Some lines of the breed still retain dominant and aggressive temperaments; other than these lines, the AWS gets on well with children and enjoys playing with them. Even though they were originally bred to hunt, due to their size, they are suitable for apartment living as long as they receive enough exercise.

Life Expectancy: Average life span of 10–13 years

Health Concerns: The breed is known to suffer from eye issues including cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy. Additional concerns are hypothyroidism, allergies, epilepsy, diabetes and glandular disorders which may cause baldness. The hair loss occurs at around six months of age, affecting the neck, thighs and tail; however the frequency has been reduced through work conducted by the breed clubs. Hip dysplasia is seen in around 8.3% of the breed, according to surveys conducted by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals over a twenty five year period.

Looking for a Water Spaniel? Use our Petfinder tool below and search for an adoptable dog that needs a home in your area now.

To view breeds we've already written about, view our Dog Breeds on The Hangout. (Must be a Circkles member to view The Hangout.)

 

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