Diagnosing and Treating Dog Health Problems

When it comes to health problems for your dog, there are many potential issues that can catch you off guard. If not dealt with quickly and effectively the results can be both emotionally devastating and expensive.

If you learn to avoid potential health problems as they occur, you can take the proper steps to avoid them altogether.

Potential Dog Health Problems

Dogs can suffer from any number of health issues. Animals are very good as masking pain and illness and usually by the time the symptoms appear veterinarian care is necessary. Therefore, it is important to pay close attention to your dog if he starts acting “off.”

Infections – Dogs can suffer from a number of potential infections. Most common are ear infections and these often occur due to bacteria or a foreign object getting lodged in the ear. Carefully check your dog’s ears for any foreign substances, redness, swelling, sores, etc.

Allergies – Dogs can have many types of allergies. Flea allergies are by far the most common and they can cause hot spots which may lead to infections. For this reason, it is vital you give your dog flea medication every month. Hot spots could be indicative of a food allergy.

Diabetes – To reduce the risk of diabetes, keep your dog on a strict diet of dog food only and no table scraps. If your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, you will need to change his diet, and possibly need to give him insulin injections. This would be something you and your veterinarian would discuss

Arthritis –Pure breeds have a long history of arthritis problems. Make sure your dog receives daily vitamins and minerals and have your veterinarian check for joint degeneration at least once a year.

Obesity – Obesity is a common problem with dogs. In and of itself it does not lead to mortality, but the higher rates of heart failure, tumors, and liver disease can all be very dangerous if not dealt with immediately. Obesity can be treated with a strict diet and an increase in your dog’s activity levels.

If your dog gets plenty of exercise, eats well every day, and is kept clean and well groomed you may not have to deal with the above issues. Still, you should make sure you visit your veterinarian annually (every six months for a senior dog) to check for any potential issues. As with people, early detection is the best prevention!

Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care
Melanie Lovett

Effective Crate Training for Your Puppy

You just adopted a dog and now you’re wondering how to train him. That’s a great question. Dog owners everywhere have figured out how to keep their dogs in a crate or separate room when they leave the house so they can help reduce the dog’s anxiety, destructive behavior and barking.

The Value of a Crate to a Dog

Most dogs love their crates. When dogs are in the wild, they will seek out a small space to burrow in that will keep them warm and safe. A crate gives them these options that are theirs alone.

How to Crate Train a Dog

It is usually best to crate train your dog as a puppy. A full grown dog may grow anxious if he has never been in a crate and may have a harder time adjusting. A puppy may be upset but will probably adapt much quicker.

The best place to crate your puppy is in a room that will be occupied by members of your family, such as living room or family room. At bedtime, you should put the crate in the same room as you to help alleviate anxiety. After several weeks you should be able to keep the puppy in one room but initially keep them close to you so he can remain calm and feel safe.

Make sure he has a comfortable place to sleep, clean water, and one or two of his favorite toys nearby. The crate only need be big enough for him to sleep in because if he has too much space to wander around he may make a mess. For purposes of crate training, he doesn’t need too much extra space.


When you are learning how to crate train your dog, make sure to leave him in there if he gets upset. Otherwise he will learn that if he cries and makes a fuss, you’ll give him attention. It is suggested not let him out until he has been quiet for at least 5 minutes. At that point, you can greet him with a lot of attention and even a treat to reinforce his good behavior.

When you first begin crate training, try to leave the puppy in the crate for an hour or two at a time. Once he is older, you should be able to increase that time for a full night of sleep.

As long as you learn how to crate train a dog properly, you can have peace of mind knowing your dog will never get too loud, destructive, or anxious when you have to be away from home. A puppy will adapt quicker too, which will make the process much easier for everyone in your family.

Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care
Melanie Lovett

How to Deal With a Puppy that Bites

Many dog owners have to deal with the issue of dogs biting, and it can be very stressful trying to determine what is causing the behavior and how to put a stop to it. While initially obnoxious, biting can become dangerous and you need to take action quickly to stop it.

How to Stop Dogs from Biting as Puppies

It is best to put a stop to this behavior when the dog is still a puppy. If the puppy is under six months of age he is very easy to retrain because he is still in the formative years of his life.

Many people mistakenly assume their puppies are merely playing or teething and not really trying to hurt them. Unfortunately, what is really happening is that your puppy is learning how to assert his position in the pack, and by doing so is using teeth to show who is in charge.

There are several ways to stop your puppy from biting. Most of them will mirror how the puppy would be treated with his litter mates and mother. A light tap on the back of the neck, a crying noise when he bites, and handing the dog a toy instead of your hand are all acceptable ways to teach the dog that biting other people will not be tolerated. If you find your methods to stop biting unsuccessful, there are options of obedience school or working with a certified puppy trainer.

How to Stop Dogs from Biting at One Year

If your puppy is allowed to nip and bite and show that he is in charge of the pack, he will then move on to play biting at around one year of age. There are a number of factors that can contribute to this behavior. You should stop playing physical games the instant he begins biting. Also it is important to avoid wrestling, tug of war or other dominance related games.

Additionally, you need to stop allowing your dog the run of the house. Give him boundaries. Crate if necessary.

How to Stop Dogs from Biting as they Age

If given the opportunity to continue biting, eventually it will evolve into a big problem when the puppy becomes an adult. If allowed to bite through his formative years, the behavior will be a part of his permanent personality.

If the biting is still going on after the puppy turns a year old, it is strongly advised that you seek the help of a qualified trainer immediately because the puppy may suddenly choose to assert its dominance at any time with an attack.

With the exception of disease or mental disorder, dogs who bite as adults had issues as puppies that could have been resolved if properly addressed..

Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care
Melanie Lovett

Pros and Cons of Vaccinations for Your Dog

Vaccinations are very important weapons in the fight against infectious diseases in animals. However, vaccines are not without their limitations and there are failures. In some cases the reactions or side effects can be worse than the disease they are being used to prevent!

Luckily there are vaccines to help prevent many illness that affect your dog. It has long been considered one of the easiest ways to help him live a long, healthy life. There are different vaccines for different diseases, and different types and combinations of vaccines.

Here are answers to some most frequently asked questions regarding vaccines:

What exactly are Vaccines?

They help prepare the body’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. If your dog is ever exposed to the real disease, his immune system is now prepared to recognize it, fight it off entirely or reduce the severity of the illness.

How Important Are Vaccines?

Vaccines are very important in managing the health of your dog. However, not every dog needs to be vaccinated against every disease. While most veterinarians highly recommend administering core vaccines to healthy dogs, factors that should be examined include age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle.

What Are Core Vaccines?

Core vaccines are considered vital to all dogs based on risk of exposure, severity of disease and transmissibility to humans. They include canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies.

Non-core vaccines are given depending on the dogs risk exposure.

What Vaccines Should My Puppy Get?

They must be vaccinated against rabies. They should also receive a series of vaccinations with a combination that protects against parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis.

Are Any Vaccines Required By Law?

Each state has it’s own laws regarding the rabies vaccine. It is a legal requirement to have an up-to-date canine rabies.

How Often Should My Adult Dog Be Vaccinated?

Your veterinarian can best determine a vaccination schedule. It depends on several factors:

  • Type of vaccine
  • Dog’s age
  • Medical History
  • Environment and Lifestyle

Some vaccines are required annually, others every 3 years or longer.

When Should My Puppy be Vaccinated?

Starting at 6-8 weeks of age a puppy should start receiving a series of vaccinations. If the mother has a healthy immune system, a puppy will most likely have antibodies from the mother’s milk while nursing. At 16 weeks the final dose should be administered.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Vaccines?

There is a small chance of side effects with any medical procedure. You must discuss your dog’s medical history before he is vaccinated.

What Symptoms Should I Look For?

  • Fever
  • Sluggishness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Facial swelling and/or hives
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain, swelling, redness, scabbing or hair loss around the injection site
  • Lameness
  • Collapse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

Courtesy of ASPCA.org

Side Effects and Adverse Reactions

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Autoimmune hemoltyic anemia
  • Local reactions
  • Systemic reactions
  • Nervous system problems
  • Reproductive problems
  • Musculoskeletal problems
  • Post vaccination sarcomas
  • Respiratory disease
  • Virus shedding
  • Maternal antibody interference
  • Certain drug therapies
  • Fever or hypothermia
  • Stress

It is best to contact your vet immediately if you suspect your dog is having a reaction to a vaccine.

Disaster Preparedness for Your Pet

Emergency planning is something we all say we are going to do but never seem to get around to completing. “I’ll get an emergency kit ready for my pet tomorrow… or next week. Nothing will happen.” However when you think something isn’t going to happen, that’s usually when the unexpected occurs. You may not live in an area of the country that gets tornadoes, but a fire can occur anywhere at any time. What about a flood or a terrorist attack?

When you are deciding whether or not to stay home during an emergency it can be easy to overlook figuring your pets into that plan.

PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND if you decide to evacuate your home. Chances are they will not be able to survive on their own and you may be unable to find them when you return.

Please keep in mind that many public shelters do not allow animals. It is advisable to consider staying with a friend or loved ones outside of your immediate area who would be able to host you and your pets during an emergency.

Develop a plan with neighbors, etc to make sure someone will be able to care for or even evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.

The APSCA recommends these steps for disaster preparedness: 

  • Get A Rescue Alert Sticker
  • Include the types and number of pets in your household and the name and phone number your veterinarian.
  • Arrange a Safe Haven
  •  Contacting your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities and asking your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
  • Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets

Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits

  • Pet first-aid kit and guide book
  • 3-7 days’ worth of canned or dry food
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
  • Litter
  • Pet feeding dishes
  • Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
  • Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires
  • At least 7 days’ worth of bottled water for each person and pet
  • A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket (for scooping up a fearful pet)
  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters

Choose “Designated Caregivers”

This is a person to whom you are entrusting the care of your pet in the event that something happens to you. Consider people who have successfully cared for animals in the past.

Evacuation Preparation

Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible
Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date information.
Always bring pets indoors at the first sign of warning of a storm or disaster

Never leave your pet chained outside if you have no alternative but to leave them behind, let them loose inside your home. Lift the toilet tank lid and brace the bathroom door open so they can drink.

These valuable tips may help save the life of your pet if an emergency were to unexpectedly occur.

Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care
Melanie Lovett