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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.

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  • 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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Posts Tagged ‘Behavior Problems’

Senility and Cognitive Dysfunction in Older Dogs

Monday, July 16th, 2012

If lately you’ve been noticing that your older dog is exhibiting ‘behavior problems’ , your pet may be developing a syndrome called ‘Canine Cognitive Dysfunction’ (CCD) or ‘Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome’ (CDS). This dysfunction or syndrome affects older dogs the same way that Alzheimer’s disease affects humans. Recent medical studies have revealed that many older dogs with behavior problems have lesions in their brains similar to those that are seen in Alzheimer’s patients.

According to Pfizer Pharmaceutical, 62% of dogs who are 10 years of age and older will experience at least some of the following symptoms, which could indicate Canine Cognitive Dysfunction:

* Confusion or disorientation: your dog may get lost in his own back yard, or wander aimlessly in the house and become trapped in corners or behind furniture
* Decreased level of activity
* A decrease in attentiveness or long periods of just staring into space
* Doesn’t seem to recognize family members or old friends
* Pacing during the night, or a change in sleeping patterns, including inability to sleep at night
* Loss of house-trained faculties. A previously house trained dog may begin forgetting to let you know he has to go outside and may urinate or defecate inside the house when he would not have done so before.

Other signs of cognitive dysfunction may include:
* Anxiety and increased irritability
* An increase in barking or howling
* Lethargy or boredom
* Decreased ability to perform certain tasks or respond to commands.

To make a diagnosis of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, your vet will have to first rule out any other possible causes of your dog’s behavior problems. For example, decreased activity may not be caused by Cognitive Canine Disorder but may be due to an advancing arthritic condition or hip dysplasia which can be successfully treated with Winston’s Joint System. Dogs suffering with joint diseases such as arthritis, bursitis, osteochondrosis (OCD), hip dysplasia and other degenerative problems with the shoulders, elbows and hocks can now experience immediate and long-term relief without drugs. Winston’s Joint System is a combination of three, totally-natural whole food supplements developed by a Naturopathic Doctor for his own dog. There are no side-effects because it’s all just good whole food. There are no dosage problems because your dog’s body uses only what it needs.

If your veterinarian determines that your older dog is suffering from Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, a treatment for this disorder will probably be recommended. The drugs Selegiline and Anipryl, although not a cure, can alleviate some of the symptoms of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction in older dogs. If your dog responds to either of these drugs, it will need to be treated daily for the rest of its life. As with all medications, there are side effects. It is important that you ask your vet about any possible side effects before deciding on treatment with these drugs.

Other management techniques may include the use of antioxidants or ‘senior’ diets. An excellent supplement for aging senior dogs is Winston’s Senior Complete Multi vitamin and mineral supplement, a powerful and complete once-daily multi vitamin for dogs 5 years and older. This complete multi vitamin contains almost 50 active ingredients from the healthiest sources available.

It is also important that older dogs with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction continue to receive regular exercise and play. If your older dog is experiencing behavior problems, talk to your veterinarian about ways to help your dog have a more happy and healthy life in his senior years.

How To Read Your Dog’s Body Language

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Reading your dog’s body language is not that difficult and is central to understanding your dog.

Dogs are non-verbal; their body language does the talking for them and vocalization takes second place in their communication skills. As a dog owner you can learn the basic forms of your dog’s body language by spending a little time observing your dog’s interaction with people and other animals in different situations.

Learning to understand dog body language can also help protect you and your dog from dangerous situations and dog pain, as well as aid in training or identification of common behavior problems your dog may have.

Dog body language can be identified by the following behaviors:

A confident dog will stand straight and tall with its head held high and ears perked up. Its mouth may be slightly open, but relaxed. The tail may sway gently, curl loosely or hang in a relaxed position. This means your dog is friendly, non-threatening and at ease in its surroundings.

A happy dog will show the same signs as a confident dog. In addition, it will usually wag its tail and sometimes hold its mouth open a little wider, or even pant mildly. It will appear even more friendly and content, with no signs of anxiety.

A playful dog is happy and excited. The ears are up, the eyes are bright, and the tail wags rapidly. It may also jump and run around. A playful dog will often exhibit the play bow with front legs stretched forward, head straight ahead, and rear end up in the air.

A submissive dog holds its head down, ears down flat and averts its eyes from direct confrontation. It holds its tail low and may sway it slightly, but does not tuck the tail under its body. A submissive dog often rolls on its back and exposes its belly. A submissive dog may also lick the other dog or person to further display passive intent. The submissive dog may also sniff the ground or otherwise divert its attention to show that it does not want to cause any trouble. A submissive dog is meek, gentle and non-threatening.

The anxious dog may act somewhat submissive, but often holds its ears partially back with the neck stretched out. It will stand in a very tense posture and sometimes shudders. Often, an anxious dog whimpers, moans, yawns, or licks its lips. The tail will be held low and may be tucked in. An anxious dog may overreact to stimuli and can become fearful or even aggressive. If you are unfamiliar with a dog that is exhibiting this behavior, try to divert its attention to something else and be cautious not provoke or try to soothe it.

The fearful dog displays both submissive and anxious attitudes with more extreme indicators. A fearful dog will stand tense and low to the ground. The ears are held back flat and the eyes are narrowed and averted. The tail is tucked between its legs and the dog will tremble. A fearful dog often whines or growls and might even bare its teeth in defense. A fearful dog can turn aggressive quickly if it senses a threat. If you are faced with this situation, don’t try to reassure the anxious dog, but separate yourself from the situation quickly and calmly. If the dog is yours, be confident and strong, but don’t comfort or punish it. Immediately move your dog to a less threatening location.

A dominant dog will try to assert itself over other dogs and sometimes over people. It will stand tall and confident and may lean forward slightly. The eyes will be wide and it will make direct eye contact with the other dog or person. The ears are up and alert, and the hair on its back may stand on edge. It will often growl in a low tone. If the behavior is directed at a dog that is submissive, there is little to worry about. But if the other dog also tries to be dominant, a fight could easily break out. If the dominant behavior is not towards another dog but rather towards you, this can pose a serious threat. Absolutely do not make eye contact with the dog and immediately remove yourself from the area. Hopefully your dog will not exhibit this behavior towards people, but if it does, behavior modification is absolutely necessary.

An aggressive dog goes far beyond acting dominant. All four feet are firmly planted on the ground in a territorial manner, and it may lunge toward you or your dog . The dog’s ears will be pinned back, the head straight ahead, and the eyes narrowed and piercing. Its tail will point straight and high. This behavior usually involves baring the teeth, snapping the jaw, and will be accompanied by growls or threatening barking. The hairs along the back may stand up on edge. If you are near a dog exhibiting these signs it is critical that you get away carefully. Don’t run or make eye contact with the dog. Be careful not to show fear and slowly back away to safety.

Learning to read your dog’s body language will help you understand the fundamental dog language signs and will aid in strengthening the bond between you and your dog. This seemingly simple connection may help save both you and your dog from possible serious injury in the future should you encounter an fearful, dominant, or aggressive dog on your daily walks. Safety comes first for you and your pet.

Older Dogs And Separation Anxiety

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Separation anxiety is one of the most common behavior problems seen in older dogs. Although younger dogs often display separation anxiety after their owner leaves the house, an older dog with separation anxiety will become very anxious when it senses its owner is about to leave the house.

When the owner does leave, the dog may become destructive, bark or howl, and possibly even urinate or defecate in the house. An older dog suffering from separation anxiety will often become overly excited when its owner returns home.

Older dogs often have a decreased ability to cope with changes in daily routines. Their vision and/or hearing loss may make them more anxious than normal, especially when they find themselves separated from their owner. Many veterinarians believe that neurological changes also limit an older dog’s ability to adjust to any changes in household routines.

    Treating separation anxiety in an older dog can be handled in several ways:

Don’t make a big deal when you do have to leave home – this only serves to reinforce the behavior.

Determine the length of time you can leave your dog alone before it becomes overly anxious. Start by leaving your home for short periods of time and then gradually increase the time you are gone, always returning before your dog becomes anxious. This may take several departures by you, or possibly as long as a couple weeks, so patience is the key.

Connect leaving the house with something good. When you’re ready to leave, give your dog a small treat. This may take its mind off your leaving. Anxiety can feed on itself, so if you prevent the anxiety from occurring when you leave, your dog may remain calm after you leave.
Make your dog’s environment as cozy as possible during the time you’ll be gone. A comfortable temperature, a soft bed, tuning your TV to Animal Planet, or playing soft, easy-listening music on the radio can have a soothing affect on your dog. Some dogs will be more relaxed if they can see outside, while others may become more anxious if left by a screen door or large window – especially if there happens to be small animals like cats or squirrels cavorting around outside. Only you can discover what’s best for your dog.

Teach your dog to relax. If you can teach your dog to relax by commanding it to “stay” for extended periods while you’re home, learning how to relax while you are gone will become much easier for your dog.

Change your departure signals. Many dogs understand that when the alarm goes off, it means today is a work day and you are going to leave the house. If your dog starts getting anxious as soon as it hears the alarm then it would be wise to introduce some small changes in your workday routine so your dog doesn’t know you’ll be leaving. For instance, pick up the car keys and then go sit on the couch. If it’s a Saturday, try getting up and dressing as if you’re going to work, but stay home. This may confuse your dog at first but should help break its association of the alarm going off with your leaving home.

If you are gone for extended periods during the day, leaving your dog all alone, you might want to have a friend or neighbor come in during the day to let your dog out and give it some exercise. Older dogs often need to go outside more often to urinate and defecate. By letting your dog outside more often, you may decrease its anxiety.

Some older dogs who have been house-trained for years, may start having “accidents” in the house. As with other behavior problems in older dogs, there can be several causes for this change in behavior. Medical conditions like colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, infections of the bladder or prostate, Cushing’s disease, and kidney or liver disease can result in an increased frequency of urination or defecation and could be the cause for these types of “accidents”. Also, degenerative joint diseases like hip dysplasia and arthritis can cause severe pain and make it difficult for the dog to get up and go outside to take care of its bodily functions. Treatment of these degenerative joint diseases with Winston’s Joint System will not only help heal your dog, but also allow it to regain mobility and can resolve any behavioral problems related to these diseases.

If degenerative joint diseases are contributing to the house soiling problem and arthritis or hip dysplasia is the cause, you may want to build a ramp to the outside so your dog won’t have to struggle going up and down stairs. Slick floor surfaces should be covered with non-slip area rugs or other material. If your dog urinates or defecates inside the house, thoroughly clean the area with an enzyme cleaner. And if your dog develops a need to urinate or defecate frequently, you may need to change your daily schedule or else find a friend or pet sitter who can take the dog outside when needed.

Some older dogs will become restless at night and stay awake, pacing through the house, and barking or issuing low, throaty howls. Pain from joint diseases, an increased need to urinate or defecate more often, a loss of vision or hearing, and neurological conditions can contribute to this behavior.

Older dogs need more love and attention than young puppies or young adult dogs. Give your beloved aging companion the love and care it deserves. You will be rewarded with more genuine love than you’ll receive from younger dogs.

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