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Are you overvaccinating your dog?


July 12, 2010
Sandor Fagyal

These days, the number of vaccinations given to dogs is enormous. Vaccinations exist for just about every contingency possible. And they’re not restricted to one time pokes. Most of these vaccinations are yearly. But it’s all worth it right?

The Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has come to the conclusion that we might just be overvaccinating our dogs by our persistence in injecting them with 16 different shots a year. Evidence shows that this treatment can lead to a wide variety of side effects including skin rashes, allergies and something called an auto immune disease.

Puppy

No one is suggesting that we should get rid of vaccines. Rather, the article urges readers to rethink the necessity of vaccinating dogs yearly for non life threatening diseases as most vaccines confer protection of longer periods of time – in many cases upto seven years.

So when you take your pooch for his or her next shots, think about what is necessary – and what isn’t.

Catgegory: Dog Tips

How to break up a dog fight


July 12, 2010
Sandor Fagyal

If you’re a dog owner with multiple dogs in the house, you know that they will inevitably fight. This doesn’t have to imply any deep enmity. Animals are after all animals and there will be outbursts of temper. Of course, there may be deep enmity between two dogs and then it’s always dangerous to let them into the same room together.

Dog FightGreything

The situation is much more complex if you have multiple dogs. I once stayed in a house with 10 dogs and when they started to fight, it required many people to break it up. Most of the time, the fight is so fast and furious that you can’t get close enough without being accidentally bitten.

However, if there are just two dogs, then what you can do is to pounce on the stronger one and with a heavy heave, pull them off the weaker one. If you do this early in the fight, there is a chance that the stronger dog wouldn’t have got his teeth into the weaker one. Don’t lift the dog off the ground, as this will tempt the other dog to bite the lifted dog where he or she can’t defend themselves – or you lift them up so high that they can’t be reached.

Sometimes, you can bring out something that your dogs are afraid of like a stick (provided they are afraid of it) and this breaks up the fight. Generally anything that can distract their attention.

Catgegory: Dog Tips

How often I should cut my Dog's Toenails?


July 12, 2010
Sandor Fagyal

Many dog owners ask whether or not they should cut their dog’s toenails (or paw nails). It’s true that cutting the nails of dogs is very common though it requires a little bit of judgment as to how much to cut as it is very easy to cut a bit too deep and cause a lot of pain to your dog.

Dog's toenail

In my experience, dogs that get a lot of exercise on rough surfaces like a terrace or a road will not have claws that need trimming at all. This is because the nails naturally trim down due to rough usage. It makes sense if you think about it – after all, who cuts their nails in the wild? (You may ask the same thing about brushing their teeth as well, but that’s slightly different).

However, if you feel that your dog’s nails do need cutting, you can achieve this with a pair of clippers that you use for gardening. Also, you might want to trim your puppy’s nails from the beginning otherwise they will be not too pleased to have it done to them later on, and keeping them still while you perform this delicate operation isn’t easy.

Catgegory: Dog Tips

Is your dog in pain?


July 12, 2010
Sandor Fagyal

Dogs, just like us can feel pain. Sometimes it’s obvious when they give a little yelp if the pain is sudden. However, when the pain is gradual and constant, like joint pain, or breathing trouble, the poor creatures never express it in any way that immediately alerts the owner.

Dog in pain
Image Credit: reverbca

Nonetheless, owners should need to discern certain signs by means of which they can realize that a dog is in pain and take it from there. Dogs will keep the pain to themselves, and only by subtle changes in behavior will you know that they need care.

For example, a hesitancy to jump over a wall or onto furniture where previously they would have bounded up, or a slight slowness in circling or sitting down. Or even restlessness and heavy breathing – all of these can indicate that your dog is in pain and that it’s time to pay some attention to what could be wrong.

One has to be sensitive to such changes, as your dog is not aware that you can help them and will not try and show it to you. By early detection, you can ensure that your dog is saved from suffering in silence.

Catgegory: Dog Tips

Don't give your dog chocolate!


July 12, 2010
Sandor Fagyal

Did you know that chocolate is toxic to dogs? I wish I knew this when I had my first dog Steffi. She used to love chocolates. And which dog wouldn’t? Dogs have a sweet tooth (unlike cats who don’t have ‘sweet’ taste buds) and any dog would gulp down chocolate immediately given half a chance!

Chocolate
Image Credit: gullevek

But be wary. Chocolates contain theobromine which is toxic to dogs as they metabolize the chemical more slowly than humans. Merely 25 grams of bakers chocolate would be sufficient to bring about toxicity symptoms in your dog. Be wary!

Heart attacks, and arrhythmia are common causes of death in dogs who are subjected to Theobromine poisoning. The initial symptoms though are nausea and vomiting. Note that dark chocolate contains significantly more theobromine than white chocolate.

If you have accidentally fed your dog chocolate, or if your dog has managed to break into the the chocolate box (happens frequently :) ) and you notice any of the symptoms like diarrhea and increased urination, called the vet immediately.

Catgegory: Dog Tips

Looking your dog in the eye!


July 12, 2010
Sandor Fagyal

I’ve had this issue several times before. Looking your dog in the eye always means that it’s a slightly tense time between the two of you. Staring each other down is a means of determining domination. We all know this at some level. We see children trying this game out on each other regularly (I’m sure we’ve done it ourselves with other humans). We instinctively know that whoever looks away first lost somehow lost in some way.

Dog

 If your dog looks at you in the eye and doesn’t back down, it can often mean that your dog doesn’t view you as the alpha person in the house. This isn’t okay, since it can mean that your dog might not obey you and might act in violation of your wishes.

Ideally, a dog can look at you for a while and then drop his or her eyes after a while. Remember however, that you’re not doing this to prove to yourself how powerful you are. You’re just trying to reinforce the message to your dog that you retain the dominant post in your household pack.

If your dog stares at you, you must stare back. Chances are they will take the hint and back off or come and lick you.

Remember though to judge the mood. If you have something in your hand and your dog is just sitting happily, wagging her tail and looking at you, it doesn’t mean that it’s a game of dominance!

Catgegory: Dog Tips

Dealing with Separation Anxiety


July 12, 2010
Sandor Fagyal

One phenomenon that you will be confronted with when you have a dog, is something called separation anxiety. This means that when you leave your dog alone and go out, they engage in unhealthy behavior like biting on furniture, or pushing over garbage cans.

Dogs over the fence
Image Credit: Bill in Ash Vegas

This is caused by the dog’s not being mentally prepared to be left alone. One theory is that if the dog views itself as the alpha dog, then there is anxiety when the others leave because it is either worried for them, or because it’s not acceptable for the followers to leave the leader. So the image that the dog has for itself is challenged.

Another view is that people make too much of a fuss when leaving the house like saying excessive good byes. The dog picks up on this negative emotion and feels that leaving the house is bad. The way to overcome this is to make leaving as normal an activity as possible so that the dog doesn’t see anything great in it.

Another option that is suggested by dog trainers is to keep them busy while they’re gone. Sprinkle some food in such a way that they will have to work to find it! Or get some toy that has a reward mechanism.

Catgegory: Dog Tips

How to Deal with Puppy Biting


July 12, 2010
Sandor Fagyal

If you’ve just bought or adopted a puppy, know that one day, the “Biting Phase” will start. They’re gonna grow sharp little teeth that make you yelp when they chomp down. Don’t worry! They never bite hard, and are just testing their teeth.

Puppy Biting

However, it is very important to know how to react when puppies bite you. Always yelp or cry out if pains and put your puppy down for a few minutes. It’s important that the little fellow realizes that it’s not really acceptable to bite family members hard, and not acceptable to bite non family members at all.

Never whack your puppy if they bite you since I really feel they won’t understand why you’re doing that. If you find that your dog is biting or damaging the furniture, you can get certain non toxic substances from your local pet store that creates a bitter taste that makes furniture unattractive to the puppy.

Puppies will grow out of the biting phase in time. When their teeth are growing, it relieves them to chomp down on something. Till then, try and even enjoy this phase! When your dog is old, you’ll remember the time he used to tug on your jeans with this his wagging.

Catgegory: Dog Tips

Small dogs vs Large Dogs


July 12, 2010
Sandor Fagyal

So how come we find that small dogs are more pushy than large ones? People invariably find that the smaller the dog, the more yappy, and arrogant it is. Of course, small dogs are lovable as much as large ones, but people more or less agree that this difference in behavior is not imaginary.

There are two explanations for this. Mine, and those of some others :)

My personal explanation is that small dogs are more insecure. They feel that unless they assert themselves, they will get left out and will fall behind. I have noticed that this assertion often doesn’t translate into actual aggression. It’s mostly show.

However, there are people who say that small dogs are more yappy because they are allowed to get away with it. The logic goes that big dogs are instantly reprimanded if they show dominant behavior like jumping on top of you, whereas these activities are tolerated and even encouraged. This encourages them to develop behaviors that are aggressive and irritating.

I must say that there is a lot of sense in this line of reasoning.

What do our readers have to say about this?

Catgegory: Dog Tips

Walking your dogs is important to keep them mentally stable


July 12, 2010
Sandor Fagyal

Walking your dog goes way beyond simple exercise. True, that is a factor as well, but more importantly, it gives your dog a chance to unleash it’s instincts to explore and move around. Even if you have a large piece of land to yourself, it isn’t enough. Imagine the plight of dogs who are kept in an apartment!

Walking your dogs

A dog loves to sniff around, walk around, and explore their area. Left to themselves, they would explore all the streets, alleys and roads in your neighborhood :) . However, since this is an impossibility, it is your duty to do as much as you can for them in the way of giving them a bit of adventure.

It’s important to be firm when walking them so that they don’t run off with you. Apart from the inconvenience, it also shows that your dog doesn’t respect you which can lead to behavioral problems later on. On a personal note, my mother takes our dog for a walk late at night without a leash so that no one sees the dog unleashed. I’m not recommending this to anyone though!

Catgegory: Dog Tips
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