Death of a Pet Dog

The death of a pet dog can be one of the most painful losses that a human will experience.

When your beloved pet develops a disease without a cure, you hope for the best, and if you’re like me, you pray that your cherished companion may die naturally at home rather than having to put yourself through the pain of choosing to euthanize him to stop his suffering.

As your dog’s health slowly begins to decline, you may notice some or possibly all of the following symptoms:

excessive sleeping, limited movement, vomiting, diarrhea, the tail always held between the legs, lethargy, difficulty in swallowing, runny eyes, less coordination, shaking or twitching, a decrease in appetite, slower heartbeat, or incontinence

What You Can Do
Take time to make sure your dog is well taken care of as he dies. Give him a good death. As you continue to watch for the symptoms of a dying dog, call your vet to make sure that what your pet is experiencing is normal. Your vet may prescribe some medications to ease your pet’s distress or alleviate pain.

The following suggestions will help as you prepare for your dog’s final days:
* Keep him well hydrated even if he can’t get to his water bowl. Give him swallows or sips of water using a medicine dropper if necessary. I feed my dog ice cubes by hand which he seems to enjoy.

* If he can’t get to his food bowl to eat, bring the bowl to him. Mixing dry dog food with water will make swallowing it a lot easier.

* If he is unable to go outside to urinate or defecate, surround him with waterproof pads or use doggy diapers.

* Make sure he is comfortable at all times.

* Gently rub his fur and talk to him.

Sudden Death
Sometimes there is not an extended period of time when a dog is dying. Death is sudden and quick. When dogs have heart attacks, death occurs immediately. Although no one wishes to lose a pet, this sudden passing can be easier than having your dog endure months of suffering, eventually ending in putting him to sleep.

When your pet dog does die, you can expect to be sorrowful and probably feel depressed. It is perfectly normal to miss your dog. When you see his leash, water bowl, or favorite chew toy – and knowing he is gone from your life – will often make you sad.

Anticipating Death
Your pet might be very ill, and after countless trips to the vet, it is inevitable that he is going to die. What can you do?

Preparing yourself for the death of a pet dog is never easy. Try to make your pet comfortable. Talk to him often. Let him know how much you appreciate him. Your pet will not understand your words, but he will sense your love.

If you and your vet decide it’s best that your dog to be put to sleep, and even though you know the decision is what is best for your dog, the reality of your choice can be hard to accept.

Burial
After your pet dies, you will need to dispose of his body. Some dog owners choose to bury their pet at specially designated animal cemeteries, designed as quiet, reflective surroundings where you can visit your pet’s grave whenever you wish.

Cremation services are also available in some parts of the United States. Your vet can recommend one and you should also be able to locate one online or in the yellow pages of your phone book. I personally plan to have my dog cremated and his ashes placed in a urn. I want to be reminded of my loving pet and I will proudly display a photo by his urn of the most loving companion I have ever had in my life.

Grieve Well
Know that there is nothing wrong with feeling sorrow when dealing with the death of your pet dog. Pets provide solace, companionship and comfort for humans, and losing one is never easy. A noble relationship has come to an end and there is now an emptiness in your heart that your pet once filled.

Some choose to get another pet as soon as possible after the death of a pet dog, while others cannot bear the thought of “replacing” the one they loved so much. Do what feels right for you. No one else should make that decision for you. It will help to talk to others who have been through what you have just experienced and you may find some comfort knowing you are not alone in your grief.

Kidney Disease in Dogs

Kidney disease in dogs can be caused by several factors; it can be a causal effect of the dog’s age, severe dehydration, a new or past trauma to the kidneys, or even tick borne diseases.

There are a lot of valuable pieces of information your veterinarian will be able to obtain from analyzing your dog’s urine sample if he suspects kidney disease. The vet will interpret the results of the urine test by reviewing the history of your pet, completing a physical exam – sometimes including blood work, and depending on the severity of the kidney disease, further testing may necessitate x-rays or ultrasound.

If obtaining a urine sample from your dog is difficult, try one of these different ways to collect the sample: The most common way to collect a sample from a larger dog is to use a clean, dry container, (you can even use an aluminum pie pan or cake pan, or a deep plastic dish that will hold the urine). After your dog has urinated, pour the sample into a clean container and seal it. Be sure to save the urine sample in a clean, dry container you can easily transport to your vet. The sample should be delivered to your veterinarian’s office immediately. If you are unable to deliver the sample immediately, refrigerate it but never freeze a dogs urine sample.

If your vet requires a sterile sample of urine to test for kidney disease you will need to take your dog to the vet’s clinic to undergo a procedure called “cystocentesis,”. The vet will insert a small needle directly into the dog’s bladder through the body wall. This procedure will not take long and will provide a sample uncontaminated by bacteria from anything outside the dog’s bladder, including its fur.

In addition to checking for kidney disease, a urinalysis will also provide information about your dog’s bladder, liver, pancreas, and other organs.

A complete urinalysis of your dog’s urine involves three steps:
1. Checking and recording the color, cloudiness, and how concentrated the urine is.
2. Completing a chemical analysis of the urine.
3. Centrifuging a small quantity of the urine sample and examining the sediment under a microscope.

Normal urine is amber-yellow in color and clear to slightly cloudy. Concentrated urine will be a darker yellow. White blood cells can also make the urine cloudy. If there is blood in the urine it will have a reddish-brownish shade.

Many of the chemical tests for kidney disease can be done using only a small quantity of urine. A dipstick is used to transfer a small amount of urine to special medical pads containing chemical reagents that test for a particular material in the urine. When the urine comes in contact with one of the reagents a chemical reaction occurs and the color of the pad will change based on how much of the substance is in the urine. The vet will then compare the pad with a color chart to determine approximately how much of the substance is in the urine. Some medications may interfere with the chemical tests causing false results and your veterinarian will need to know about any medications or supplements your dog is taking.

The following substances are just a few of the chemicals that are tested when performing a routine urinalysis to test for kidney disease:
Urine pH – (a reading of how acidic or alkaline the urine is).
Protein – (healthy dogs usually don’t have any protein in their urine, although sometimes trace amounts may be present but that is normal.
Glucose – (sugar in the blood being significantly higher than normal.
Ketones – (substances formed in the body during the breakdown of fats).
Bilirubin – (a pigment made by the liver from dead or dying red blood cells).
Urobilinogen – (Big word for a compound formed from bilirubin by intestinal bacteria).

Blood cells in the urine are normal, but a larger than normal quantity indicates a problem.

An examination of the urine sample under a microscope tests for several problems and larger than normal numbers of white blood cells may indicate inflammation from a bladder or kidney infection.

Kidney disease is a very serious health problem for dogs, just as it is for humans. If you are concerned that something is just not right with your dog, you definitely should make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

 

Why Foster a Senior Dog

There are good reasons to foster a senior dog. Senior dogs are usually scheduled for euthanasia shortly after arrival at an animal shelter. This is truly unfortunate and is by no means discriminatory just because of their age. The reality is that most animal shelters are full on a regular basis and since senior dogs are usually the last to be adopted, they are the first to be scheduled for euthanasia.

A typical animal shelter is a stressful environment for any dog but is especially hard on senior dogs who are less able to deal with this type of stress and they often become disoriented. Also, older dogs find it more difficult to fight diseases at their advanced age and animal shelters often harbor contagious diseases like kennel cough that are very easy to contract.

Senior dogs have a tendency to be less hopeful than younger dogs when they find themselves confined to a shelter and they may become depressed. A depressed dog does not look like a happy dog and most people searching for a dog to adopt won’t consider any dog that doesn’t look and act like it would be happy to have a new home. Most people who visit animal shelters are hoping to find a beautiful puppy or a young dog.

If you choose to foster a senior dog it will be important to help the dog maintain good emotional and physical health. This will make the dog more appealing to someone looking to adopt a dog. By providing a pleasant and supportive home environment while a dog is waiting for adoption increases the odds of finding a new home.

If you decide to foster a senior dog, you should be patient, compassionate, and committed to the dog’s well-being. You’ll need to be flexible and have a practical attitude if you really want to help a senior dog recover from the traumatic experience of being placed in a shelter. Your goal should be to prepare the dog for adjustment to a new home.

You shouldn’t foster a senior dog if you don’t have the time to care for it because you’re often away from home. Plan on caring and exercising the dog at least an hour every day. A senior dog will also want to spend significant time with you each day; time to play and time for you to show it love.

It shouldn’t be an important consideration if you’ve never fostered a dog. If this is the first time you’ve fostered a dog, the shelter will help you choose the right dog that will make the best companion for you during the fostering period.

Remember that during this fostering period you will be responsible for the dog’s food and other needs. Some animal shelters and most dog rescue organizations will pay for any needed medical care.

A leash and collar is often provided by the shelter or rescue organization. If you already have or can buy a comfortable dog bed, your senior dog will be quite happy. You can also use old blankets and towels to make a comfortable place for the dog to sleep.

A reasonable question to ask if you’ve never fostered a dog is, “How long will it take for a senior dog to be adopted?”

Since a lot of senior dogs are adopted by people who are seniors themselves, smaller dogs tend to be adopted more quickly than larger dogs.

Bone Meal For Dogs

Adding bone meal to a dog’s food will help support its digestion and maintain its good health. Bone Meal is a recommended supplement for dogs, puppies, and pregnant or nursing female dogs. It’s an excellent source of naturally balanced calcium and phosphorus.

Bone meal for dogs is packed with the calcium, phosphorous, protein and minerals that a dog needs for optimal health. Bone meal is manufactured from the crushed bones and hooves of slaughtered cattle and other animals used for human foods. The same bone meal is used in fertilizers, animal feed, gelatins, and glue.

Prior to the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalitis – (Mad Cow Disease), bone meal was used extensively as a human nutritional supplement, as well as in the animal feed industry. When Mad Cow Disease became widespread and well-known, it was no longer allowed to be used as an ingredient in human foods. But don’t be worried about feeding it to your dog. Dogs aren’t susceptible to Mad Cow Disease, so your dog can safely eat bone meal and benefit from its storehouse of vitamins and minerals.

Bone meal contains phosphorous and many other beneficial minerals that help your dog absorb substances that provide nourishment, similar to what a plant does when it takes minerals from soil.

Bone Meal also contains calcium, which a dog needs for building strong bones and teeth. In addition to the calcium and other minerals, bone meal contains healthy fats and protein and is easy to mix with a dog’s food as a dietary supplement. Dogs have a greater need for calcium than humans do.

Bone meal can also help dogs with flatulence and diarrhea. Another excellent product for helping with flatulence and diarrhea is Winston’s Digest All, ideal for a dog with gas, bloating, or flatulence. It also works great for weight loss and overweight dogs can expect to lose an average of five pounds within the first two to three months.

When buying Bone Meal there are some precautions to take. Don’t buy Bone Meal from any garden department in big box stores or from any store aisle displaying garden supplies, because those Bone Meals contain toxic fertilizers which can poison your dog. Feed stores and pet stores are the best and safest places to buy Bone Meal intended for consumption by animals.

Check the labels to be sure the Bone Meal is made from USDA approved bovine bone and is certified free from heavy metal contaminants. Look for those guaranteed to be free from lead and other toxic components. There are several bone meals that are high in vitamin D which is a strict no-no for a dog.

Buy only Bone Meal supplements specially designed to fill all the dietary requirements a dog needs to stay healthy and happy.

How To Calculate Your Dog’s Age

Here’s an easy way to calculate your dog’s age in human years. Dogs age faster than people do, but the conventional wisdom that one dog year equals seven human years is an oversimplified method of calculating a dog’s age. You can guess the approximate age of a dog this way but it doesn’t take into account the fact that dogs mature more quickly than children do in their initial years.

Figuring for the difference in maturation between a child and a dog, the first year of a dog’s life would be equal to about 15 human years, not seven.

A dog’s size and breed also influence the rate at which a dog ages. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger dogs but they generally mature more rapidly in the first few years of their life. A large dog will mature more slowly at first but is considered elderly by the age of five.

In contrast, small and toy breeds aren’t considered elderly until they reach 10 years of age. Medium-sized breeds fall between small breeds and large breeds in lifespan.

* A small dog weighs 20 pounds or less
* A medium dog weighs 21 to 50 pounds
* A large dog weighs more than 50 pounds

Here’s How To Calculate Your Dog’s Age in Human Years:
1 Year = 15 human years
2 Years = 24 human years
3 Years = 28 human years
4 Years = 32 human years
5 Years = 36 human years

At 6 years of age the size of a dog begins to determine its age in human years:

6 Years = 40 human years for small breeds; 42 for medium size breeds; 45 for large breeds
7 Years = 44 human years for small breeds; 47 for medium size breeds; 50 for large breeds
8 Years = 48 human years for small breeds; 51 for medium size breeds; 55 for large breeds
9 Years = 52 human years for small breeds; 56 for medium size breeds; 61 for large breeds
10 Years = 56 human years for small breeds; 60 for medium size breeds; 66 for large breeds
11 Years = 60 human years for small breeds; 65 for medium size breeds; 72 for large breeds
12 Years = 64 human years for small breeds; 69 for medium size breeds; 77 for large breeds
13 Years = 68 human years for small breeds; 74 for medium size breeds; 82 for large breeds
14 Years = 72 human years for small breeds; 78 for medium size breeds; 88 for large breeds
15 Years = 76 human years for small breeds; 83 for medium size breeds; 93 for large breeds
16 Years = 80 human years for small breeds; 87 for medium size breeds; 120 for large breeds

If you’ve adopted a puppy or dog from a shelter but the dog’s history is unknown, it’s still possible to estimate how old the dog is. Checking a dog’s teeth can give you a rough indication of its age. The degree of tooth growth helps determine how old a puppy is, and the degree of wear and tartar buildup helps estimate the age of an adult dog.

Here are some general guidelines:
* By 8 weeks: All baby teeth are in
* By 7 months: All permanent teeth are in and are white and clean
* By 1-2 years: Teeth are duller and the back teeth may have some yellowing
* By 3-5 years: All teeth may have tartar build-up and some tooth wear
* By 5-10 years: Teeth show more wear and signs of disease
* By 10-15 years: Teeth are worn, and heavy tartar build-up is likely. Some teeth may be missing.

In older dogs, signs of aging may show up in a variety of ways, including a cloudy appearance in the eyes, graying hair around the muzzle, face, head and body, a lack of elasticity in the skin, and possible stiffness of the joints.

If you’re still not sure of its age and really want to know if your dog’s breed is susceptible to any genetic diseases like hip dysplasia or arthritis, your vet can also estimate your dog’s age based on a complete physical exam or tests by checking its bones, joints, muscles, and internal organs.

Hopefully this information will assist you in figuring out how to calculate your dog’s age.

 

When to Spay or Neuter a Dog

If you’re like most new dog owners who adopt a puppy or a very young dog, you’re probably not sure when is the best time to spay or neuter the new dog in the house. For male dogs the best time for neutering is between 6 and 8 months of age.

This is a fairly common time frame to have your dog neutered, but it’s not a mandatory time frame that works for every dog. The most important thing to consider before scheduling an appointment with the vet to neuter or spay the new addition to your family is the dog’s overall health condition.

The vet will examine your new male puppy to determine if it’s a safe time to neuter the dog. He or she will need to examine it closely to determine if the puppy’s testicles have descended. It usually takes about seven weeks for a puppy’s testicles to drop into the scrotum, after which time the surgery can be safely performed. This examination by your vet is critical to assure that the puppy’s testicles have dropped by that period of time. If the exam takes place within the time frame of 6 to 8 months and the testicles have not yet dropped, the puppy may have a condition called cryptorchidism, which simply means that one or both of the dog’s testicles haven’t descended from the abdomen.

When adopting your new dog from a local animal shelter, early neutering has usually been completed before a dog is ready to be adopted. It’s pretty standard procedure for a puppy to be neutered or spayed before reaching puberty between 8 and 16 weeks old. It has become important for shelters to neuter or spay pets to help in controlling the dog population in a city. One of the reasons so many dogs end up in shelters, or worse, abandoned, is because the owners never had the new dog neutered or spayed. One would expect, that with all the information on neutering and spaying dogs readily available on the internet these days, every dog would be neutered or spayed. But what sometimes happens when a female dog gives birth to several puppies in its owners home, it will depend on what the owner intends to do with the new arrivals. If the new pups are put up for sale most buyers would not want the puppy spayed or neutered in case they wanted to have offspring from the pup in the future. Puppy mills do not neuter or spay for the same reason.

Some male dogs will need to be neutered before they are six months of age due to testosterone level concerns and they will then grow to be a little larger than a dog that is neutered after puberty.

The timing for neutering or spaying is not the same for all breeds. For small breed dogs, puberty usually occurs around 6 months of age. Larger breed dogs take longer to mature, which means you should delay neutering or spaying until the dog is one year old at the minimum.

    Spaying

Spaying a female dog is not important only to prevent the female from becoming pregnant during heat and getting connected with a different breed dog that an owner would not appreciate, but spaying at the proper time is also beneficial for the female dog to help its long term health. One common misconception that still manages to be portrayed as true about spaying is that it will change the dog’s personality and make it less likely to exhibit unwanted behavior during heat cycles such as the urge to mate. Contrary to this kind of misinformation that dog owner’s often receive, spaying will not cause a female dog to gain weight or result in the dog becoming lazy or lethargic its entire life.

It’s important that a female dog be spayed around the age of 6 months before having its first heat cycle. This helps eliminate the risk of mammary tumors developing as the dog ages. Most veterinarians agree that a female dog can also be spayed as early as 8 weeks of age if desired. The surgery is painless and is performed under anesthesia. The vet will remove the dog’s uterus and ovaries. After surgery a female dog will not go into heat or experience the problems of cystic ovaries, false pregnancy, or uterine cancer.

Neutering and spaying your new pet dog is a responsibility you should take seriously. The Humane Society of America estimates that there are between 6 to 8 million dogs and cats euthanized in shelters every year. Please consider neutering or spaying your pet and don’t contribute to the unintentional deaths of our beloved companion animals.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

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