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Is your pet becoming less active, less playful, or desiring shorter walks? The following symptoms could be early signs of OCD, Arthritis or Hip Dysplasia.

  • Moving more slowly
  • Difficulty getting up
  • Weight shift to another leg
  • Personality change
  • Reluctant to walk, jump or play
  • Refuses using stairs or the car
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in behavior
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Lagging behind
  • Yelping when touched
  • Limping
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Archive for the ‘Pregnant dogs’ Category

When A Dog Is Ready To Whelp

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

Is your dog about to give birth? Read this blog for some answers to common questions about whelping.

The first thing to do is talk to your vet. It is important to understand the potential risks and be able to identify signs of complications. Ideally, your vet has been checking on your dog throughout the pregnancy. The vet will talk to you about preparation and may also be able to help you find the right supplies.

Knowing When Your Dog Is Ready to Give Birth

Within about 48 hours of delivery, a pregnant dog typically shows signs of nesting. These signs may include scratching at her bed and looking for a safe place to have the puppies. You should begin to take your dog’s rectal temperature once or twice a day as her due date approaches. When the rectal temperature drops below 100°F (normal body temperature is 100-102°F) this is a good sign that labor will begin within about 24 hours.

During the first stage of labor, your dog will begin to experience uterine contractions. She may also start pacing or digging. Many dogs will pant or shake. Some dogs even vomit. All of this is considered normal behavior and typically lasts for six to 12 hours until the cervix dilates and she is ready to deliver her pups.

What You Can Do to Help

In the beginning, the best thing you can do is keep your distance while quietly observing your dog whelp. It may surprise you to learn that dogs don’t usually need much help giving birth. In fact, it is fascinating to watch a dog’s instincts take over as they whelp and nurse.

When the dog is ready to deliver a puppy, she will typically strain, or push, for about 10-30 minutes before the puppy emerges. Each newborn puppy is covered with a membrane that must be removed in order for the puppy to breathe. Most mothers instinctively do this by biting at the membrane and licking the puppy clean. If the mother does not do this within about two minutes, you will need to assist. Remove the membrane and rub the puppy clean with a towel. Clamp the umbilical cord with a hemostat and tie it with the umbilical tape or string (or, you can tie the actual cord in a knot). Cut the cord with surgical scissors on the side away from the puppy. Note: Never pull on the umbilical cord as it could cause injury.

The puppies are generally born about 45-60 minutes apart. In between pups, the mother may or may not pass the placenta from the previous pup. You might want to prevent your dog from eating the placenta because it often causes vomiting later.

About halfway through delivering the pups, the mother may need to take a break. Up to four hours may pass before she begins straining again. There is no cause for concern unless she goes longer than four hours before beginning to deliver the next pup. Hopefully, you have an idea of the number of pups and their sizes. Your vet may take x-rays around day 45 to determine the number of puppies.

Some puppies may be born tail first. This is not abnormal and is not usually a problem unless the pup seems stuck.

Signs of Complications

Call your veterinarian right away if any of the following occurs:

She does not go into labor within 24 hours of her temperature dropping below 100°F

Your dog is straining/having contractions for more than 30-60 minutes and no puppy is born

A puppy appears to be stuck in the birth canal, or the puppy is halfway out, and the mother cannot push the puppy anymore.

It has been more than four hours since the last pup, and you know there are more inside

She appears to be in extreme pain

The gestation period has reached 70 days

You have other concerns about the mother or her puppies

When in doubt, contact a veterinarian with questions. Ideally, you will already have a relationship with a vet experienced in canine reproduction.

Dog Medications During Pregnancy

Monday, October 12th, 2015


Giving your dog medications during pregnancy may not be a good idea for her unborn puppies. A few medications are considered safe during pregnancy, but any drug not recommended or prescribed by a veterinarian should be avoided as it could result in birth defects to the puppies or harm to the mother.

Your vet may also recommend vaccinations during your dog’s pregnancy to protect the unborn puppies from diseases like canine distemper, parvovirus, and rabies. A pregnant dog exposed to any of these diseases who hasn’t been vaccinated, is risking her life and the lives of her puppies.

The most common drugs considered safe for a female dog during pregnancy are Thryoxine which is used to treat hypothyroidism; Revolution which is a flea, tick and worm preventative; Psyllium; and insulin. Antibiotics and pain medications are sometimes given to a pregnant dog during a difficult delivery but giving a dog antibiotics during pregnancy can be unsafe.

Some antibiotics can be administered during pregnancy but carry the possibility of putting the puppies at risk by causing deformation or death of the puppies. However, allowing your pregnant dog to suffer from bacterial infection without any treatment may be just as dangerous to both puppies and the mother.

Newborn puppies are immunologically suppressed and should not be exposed to bacterial infections. Treating your pregnant dog with safe antibiotics before she delivers removes any risk that the puppies will contract a bacterial infection from her.

A dog’s pregnancy lasts approximately 63 days and for the duration of that time your dog’s diet has to be carefully monitored and so does any medication given her. Monitoring your dog’s diet and medication during pregnancy will ensure that the puppies get the nutrients they need. Being careful that your dog receives only the correct medications during pregnancy is just as important as her diet.

A high-quality, dog food is essential for the health of both the mother and her puppies. Vitamin and calcium supplements aren’t absolutely needed and should not be given without first consulting your vet.

Proper care of the mother during her pregnancy will increase the chances of her giving birth to a litter of healthy puppies.

Female Dogs In Heat

Monday, September 8th, 2014


Female dogs in heat go through different cycles or phases that vary in length. A dog will usually go into heat when she reaches puberty, but the onset of puberty and the length of the heat cycle depends on the breed and size of the dog.

A female dog’s heat cycle generally occurs twice a year, between January and March and again between August and October.

There are four phases a female dog in heat goes through, and the length of these phases can vary between dogs.

The cycles or phases a female dog in heat goes through are:

Proestrus, a 10-day period where she has spotting or bleeding from her vaginal area;

Estrus which lasts for five to nine days. At this stage the dog is ovulating and will accept a male dog as a mate;

Diestrus lasts for six to ten weeks. During this time many hormonal changes take place and her uterine walls will thicken;

The last stage, Anestrus usually lasts for 15 weeks. The female dog won’t have any hormonal activity, produce milk or possess any interest in mating with male dogs.

To determine if your female dog is in heat, watch for these signs: a swelling and enlargement of the vulva and vagina; any vaginal discharge that begins as a pink liquid and progresses to a bloodier fluid; the marking of her scent by leaving small amounts of urine; a preponderance of male dogs trying to get near her.

If you don’t want your female dog to be in heat you need to have her spayed. A spayed dog will not show signs of estrus.

If you want your dog to mate, she can become pregnant during the estrus stage. An owner may have trouble distinguishing between the proestrus and estrus cycles and it can be challenging to determine which stage of the cycle the dog is at just by watching her behavior.

Female dogs don’t experience menopause and will go through heat during their entire lifetime; however, the length of time between heat episodes will increase as she ages.

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