Just like humans, domesticated animals like dogs and cats are affected by the hazards of modern living. Bad nutrition, stress and unhealthy lifestyles will lead to a variety of illnesses and conditions that are very similar to humans such as diabetes, arthritis and even depression, in addition to unique conditions such as kennel cough and heartworm
In fact, many, if not most pet health concerns can be addressed by helping your pets to live a healthier lifestyle. A lot of the cheaper pet foods are full of colourings and preservatives. Even if they say " no added preservatives" on the box – please look at the product analysis and there could be a good chance there are still a lot in there. Again with the cheaper brands they say "low in fat" what they mean is lower in fat to their normal products which are grossly fatting so that means their "low in fat" is still high in fat – again please check the label. All this is due to the EU law where only minimum amounts are required by law.
All these added colourings, preservatives and fillers are why so many of our dogs have these problems , the skin is an outlet to release these bad toxins. A simple change in diet with some well guided advice can save you a lot of money at the vets and a lot of stress on your animals. Many pet food manufacturers add the cheapest ingredients to their food, the vitamins and minerals added are often lost during the cooking process during manufacturing. The worst pet foods are full of sugar, chemicals, and additives such as dyes, pigments and iron-oxides. Visual additives are included to make the food more appealing to "us " the people who buy it. the dogs could not care less and really cannot see the range of colours used. sugar, salt, and animal deriveties (liquefied meat by-products) are added to make the food more appealing to dogs.
A high protein content is not necessarily a sign of quality, Protein can come from a variety of sources, including plant matter, so you need to make sure the bulk of the protein is derived from meat and poultry products. If you opt for a cheaper brand of food where you have to feed more it to fill the dog up then there is a good chance that the protein has come from animals that are not for consumption by humans, depending on where these companies source their plant matter, the plants could have been sprayed with many toxins. Many pet foods, especially the economy brands, use corn, wheat, gluten, soy, meat and bone meal as a major source of protein, but these are inferior sources of protein for your pet. The list of ingredients is based on their percentages in the food, from greatest to least. You should feed a commercial food with at least one animal protein source in the first three ingredients; however, the best foods have meat products making up at least 3 or 4 of the first 6 listed ingredients. The food should be preserved naturally with vitamin E , vitamin C, or oils of rosemary, clove, or other spices. Natural preservatives do not provide as long a shelf life but are generally safer
Through media and advertising, these are the images the pet food manufacturers want consumers to believe they are purchasing in their products, but not all manufacturers are the same. Manufacturers have different standards regarding the freshness of ingredients they use to make pet food. Some manufacturers may cut costs by using the cheapest ingredient available at the time food is made.
Stop feeding any food that gives your dog either loose stools or a large volume of stool with an unpleasant odour. Stop feeding any food that is making your dog's coat dull, smelly, or unhealthy appearing, also stop feeding any food that is causing your dog to gain or lose weight or that is making the dog bring up bile.
If your dog will not eat the food, do not doctor it to make it more palatable. If your dog is refusing to eat the food, it probably contains something that he is not able to digest or is allergic to.
What to avoid when you buy dog food or treats:
• Avoid products containing chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, propylene glycol, propylene gallate, or sodium nitrate/nitrite.
• Avoid products containing artificial colourings and flavourings.
• Avoid products containing processed sugars including corn syrup, corn sweeteners, white sugar, glucose, sucrose, and fructose. Also avoid simple carbohydrates such as white flour and white rice.
• Avoid food that lists as an ingredient soy bean meal, soy flour, or cottonseed meal. The nutrients in these are 'bound up' and not available to the dog.
• Avoid food containing iodized salt.
• Avoid food containing a preponderance of grains or such things as peanut hulls.
• Avoid semi-moist foods. They contain the most artificial colours, preservatives, and sweeteners of all foods
The most common dog allergy is itching of the skin. You may even notice a discharge from their eyes and nose. In some cases, the digestive system can be affected which will cause them to vomit or have diarrhoea.
Dermatitis is caused by the dog's immune system hypersensitivity to common things like dust mites or mold.
If over a period of time you can watch your dog to monitor signs for over grooming, licking and chewing anywhere from his back legs, paws and the belly. These might be the first signs of an allergy . If this is left untreated the dog will suffer from sore broken skin which will result in the end to hair loss. Excessively grooming and licking will lead to moist dermatitis which will look like " dandruff"
Another way to check is to see if his ears are reddened and hot to the touch.
Saliva staining is another sign of dermatitis. It appears as a reddish brown stain. If the case becomes severe, the skin may change colour, especially the abdomen.
The flea is not the real allergy, it is the fleas saliva. Your vet can perform a skin allergy test to determine if your dog is allergic to flea saliva.
In The Air
The same allergies that us humans are exposed too , tree, grass, weed, dust mites, molds, and chemicals.
Any dog is susceptible to these allergies, but the most common dogs affected are Terriers, Golden Retrievers, Poodles, Westies , German Shepherds, Shih tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Pugs and Minature Schnauzers.
Inhalant allergies are often associated with recurring ear infections in your dog.
Food that your dog may have eaten for years may become a food allergy. So, this type of allergy is often overlooked.
Dogs usually cannot tolerate eggs, milk, corn, wheat, soy products, chemical preservatives, and artificial sugars in their meal.
It may take a long time to determine the food allergen.. Symptoms of food allergies in your dog may be scratching at ears, shaking of the head, itchy skin, licking and biting their back legs, inflammation in their ears, coughing and in rare cases vomiting, sneezing, and diarrhea.
Fleas, ticks and worms
Flea and Tick Control Tips
Fleas and ticks are very common. Although regular grooming is important to notice such problems and keep the coat clean and smooth, preventative flea/tick treatments are important to keep your dog fit and well. For every single flea living on your dog, there could be 99 more developing in your carpeted, centrally-heated home, however clean it is! The adult flea will feed on your dog and then return to the carpet to lay eggs, before starting the process all over again. Female fleas can lay up to 40 eggs every day, which are white, oval shaped and about half-a-millimetre long.
The following tips may help to prevent, reduce, or eliminate flea infestations:
• Vacuuming on a daily basis to remove eggs, larvae and adults is the best method for initial control of a flea infestation. It is important to vacuum the following areas: carpets, cushioned furniture, cracks and crevices on floors, along baseboards and the basement.
• Steam cleaning carpets may also help as the hot steam and soap can kill fleas in all stages of the life cycle. Pay particular attention to areas where pets sleep.
• Wash all pet bedding and family bedding on which pets lay in hot water every two to three weeks. If an infestation is severe, discard old pet bedding and replace it with fresh, clean material.
• Flea combs are very effective tools in the suppression of adult fleas.
There are many " spot on " treatments available if you do not opt for a natural prevention like " Neem" products then you should consult your vet as the cheaper brands of spot on do not cover all aspects.
Ticks are parasites that bury their mouthparts under a dog's skin and suck blood back into their bodies. Unfed ticks are tiny, have eight legs, and can be black, brown, red or tan in colour. Once they attach themselves to your dog, they can swell up to the size of a pea.
Don't rush to pull a tick out as you may leave the mouthparts behind, causing a sore area of infection/inflammation. Instead get a specially designed tick removal tool that removes the mouthparts as well. When you have removed the tick, check it's head and legs are present and there is nothing left at the level of the skin.
There are many types of worms. If your dog has any of the below signs you should consult your vet.
Symptoms of dog worms and cat worms include
• a dull coat
• loss of appetite
• loss of weight
• development of a pot belly (especially in puppies)
• low energy level
• "butt scooting" along the carpet
Bad breath that comes and goes is probably the result of temporary stomach upset or if it more on going it could be due to bad oral hygiene or dietary indiscretions. Other internal problems can also cause bad breath.
To help control your dog's bad breath, rawhide chews or similar bones can do a great job. Both give the teeth a job to do and rawhide chews work like a sponge to clean the teeth.
Diet can make a huge difference to your dog's teeth and any bad breath problems. The cheaper brands are full of fillers which just sit in the gut giving the dog bad breath.
Do you often see your dog scratching its ears, shaking its head, or are very irritable with its ears? If so, it could be is suffering from a case of ear infection. Ear infection in dogs can be caused by a lot of factors. It could be due to ear mites, bacterial infections, food allergies, unhealthy environments, and improper dog hygiene.
Ear infections in dogs can easily be treated and cured. Oftentimes, antibiotics or ear drops are prescribed. There are also home remedies that can help greatly in the treating this particular dog disease. The right treatment procedure depends on what actually have caused the disease. Some ear infections may even be contagious. So if you have other dogs inside your home, make sure that they don't associate too much with the infected ones.
The anal glands or anal sacs are small glands found near the anus, these glands are occasionally referred to as "scent glands", because they enable the animals to mark their territory and identify other dogs. The glands can spontaneously empty, especially under times of stress, and create a very sudden unpleasant change in the odor of the dog. Dog feces are normally firm, and the anal glands usually empty when the dog defecates, lubricating the anal opening in the process. When the dog's stools are soft they may not exert enough pressure on the glands, which then may fail to empty. This may cause discomfort as the full anal gland pushes on the anus. This is when a dog will need to see a vet to get them emptied.
To avoid this a good diet should be put in place.
A coat of an animal reflects the health of the animal. Coats grow mainly during the Autumn to prepare for winter. The main moult normally takes place in the springtime. If there is a continual moulting this could be a sign of a problem, a revise of the diet or a chat to the vet might be a good idea.
Prevention is the way forward with teeth, if you can provide your dog with a natural healthy chew daily, preferabley after their last meal this will naturally clean the teeth of any residue left over. The "fish for dog" dental chews are fantastic or the burns "fish bites" do a great job. Any natural chew i.e bull's pizzle or stag bar will do a fantastic job too.
Dorwest herbal products have a fantastic range of natural products to help with all the above plus with problems like bladder/kidney disorders, constipation, cystitis, diarrhoea, digestion, epilepsy and phantom pregnancy. Plus we also stock Aloe Vera products and Neem products online and in the shop.