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How to Identify and Treat Common Dog Skin Problems

How to Identify and Treat Common Dog Skin Problems 0

Dog skin issues are one the most common reasons for vet visits. Dogs are prone to a variety of diseases that cause changes in your dog’s skin, including scaling, pustules, and lesions. Dog skin problems often lead to scratching and excessive licking. Unfortunately, this self-soothing can lead to the spread of skin infections and even self-harm.

Dog skin conditions are no fun and can make your dog very uncomfortable. Keep reading to learn more about common skin and coat problems for dogs and how to treat them. 

Canine Atopic Dermatitis

Canine atopic dermatitis refers to allergens that a dog may inhale. Just like humans, dogs suffer from environmental and seasonal allergies too! When lgE antibodies are exposed to environmental allergens, they can develop pruritic inflammatory skin disease. After inhaling allergens such as dust mites, mold, hair, and pollen, dogs experience discomfort and stress.

Symptoms of Canine Atopic Dermatitis

In the initial stages, dogs rub, scratch, and chew excessively. Depending on the allergen involved, this behavior may be seasonal. The itching and rubbing may occur in certain areas or the entire body. Due to allergic reactions, they may also develop some hot spots.

Canine atopy is different from a flea allergy, which affects the thighs, groin, and tail area. The disease is hereditary and is common in the following breeds;

  • Boston Terrier
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Golden and Labrador Retrievers
  • Fox Terrier
  • White Terrier
  • Dalmatian
  • Boxer
  • Shar-Pei

Usually, this disease occurs between 6 months and 3 years.

How to Treat Canine Atopic Dermatitis

You can treat atopic dermatitis in dogs through avoidance of allergens and regular baths. Ensure your dog stays away from dust, mold, and hair to avoid this disease.

Bathing dogs helps reduce the allergen load. It’s recommended to bathe your dog weekly with a dog shampoo to reduce secondary infections. Be sure to avoid shampoos for humans, as they can harm a dog’s skin and coat.

Seborrhea

Does your dog have dandruff-like flakes or very greasy fur and skin? That may be a sign of dermatitis seborrhea, a common skin disorder.

Seborrhea is a genetic disorder that may occur in young dogs and last for a lifetime. It causes greasiness on the dog’s skin, leading to dandruff. The affected parts develop whitish scales as a result of skin flaking off.

Different dog breeds are predisposed to common health issues. Seborrhea affects a variety of dog breeds, mostly including:

  • Golden retrievers
  • German shepherds
  • Cocker spaniels
  • Dachshunds
  • Labrador

Older dogs may develop seborrhea. However, this is often caused by conditions such as parasites, dietary deficiency, or endocrine disorders.

Seborrhea causes an unpleasant odor in dogs. It affects the sebaceous glands, which then leads to excess sebum on the skin. Dogs with vitamin deficiency may also develop seborrhea.

How to Treat Seborrhea

To treat seborrhea, you have to look at the underlying condition. Call a vet to diagnose the conditions that may be causing seborrhea.

Besides, seborrhea is manageable. These general treatments may help relieve your dog from the disease:

  • Feeding with omega-3 fatty acid supplements
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Use of anti-seborrheic sprays and shampoos

Unless the condition is severe, your dog will quickly recover from seborrhea.

Tips for Keeping a Dog's Skin and Coat Healthy

It’s no doubt that skin and coat problems can be detrimental to your dog’s life. Keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy improves its moods, appearance, and performance. After all, you want to have a dog that looks healthy, smells nice, and has a shiny coat.

Some of the best ways to keep the skin and coat healthy include:

Bathing Regularly

Bathing your dog at least once biweekly keeps skin diseases at bay. When bathing, use dog shampoo to prevent irritations. You can brush to remove dead skin cells and give the coat a shiny look. 

Be sure to use a good dog shampoo and avoid shampoos for humans. The skin of dogs and humans have very different pH balances. Human shampoo can actually harm a dog’s skin and leave them more vulnerable to parasites, viruses, and bacteria. 

Providing the Right Diet

Did you know that diet has a direct impact on your dog’s skin? Dog diet should have sufficient protein to maintain a healthy coat. 75% of a dog’s hair is made up of proteins, and with protein deficiency, your dog may develop skin and coat disorders.

Adding an omega 3 for dogs supplement and multivitamins to your dog’s diet ensures they are receiving the proper vitamins and super nutrients their skin and coat needs. Look for supplements that reduce inflammation and combat allergies.

Regular Checkups

How often do you visit a vet? It’s advisable to visit a vet once every 6 months for a checkup. Even when your vet doesn’t show any symptoms, a checkup may help you spot something you might have missed.

Why Omega 3 for Dogs is Important for Heart Health

Why Omega 3 for Dogs is Important for Heart Health 0

As Valentine’s Day approaches, you might be thinking of some unique ways to show your loved ones your appreciation for them this month. If one of them happens to be furry and plays fetch, the best thing you can do to show your love is to keep him or her healthy. 

In February, not only do we celebrate Valentine’s Day, but we also celebrate American Heart Month. That makes this the perfect time to learn more about the danger of heart disease in dogs—and how to prevent it. Here’s what to know if you want to improve your dog’s heart health.

What are the Symptoms of a Dog with Heart Problems?

Catching a heart issue early is very helpful for improving or managing the condition. It’s important to pay attention to some common signs that there could be a problem with your dog’s heart. Some of the main symptoms to watch for include the following:

  • Coughing that gets worse at night or after exercise
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Fainting spells
  • Depression
  • Pale gums
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Swollen abdomen

If you notice your dog displaying some of these symptoms, you should set up an appointment with the vet. It may turn out that your dog just has allergies or a minor illness, but it’s definitely better to err on the side of caution when it comes to the health of your dog’s heart!

What to Know About Heart Disease in Dogs

Now,  you know the symptoms of dog heart disease. But what exactly is heart disease, and how can you get it diagnosed and treated? To start, it’s important to know that heart disease can fall into two categories.

One is congenital heart disease, which means the dog was born with the condition. The other is acquired heart disease, meaning the dog got the condition at some point during his or her lifetime. 

Some of the most common types of heart disease that affect dogs include the following:

  • Congenital heart defects, such as pulmonic stenosis, ventricular septal defect, and tricuspid valve dysplasia.
  • Cardiomyopathy, which is a disease of the heart muscle that can lead to congestive heart failure in dogs.
  • Pericardial effusion, in which fluid builds up in the heart sac.
  • Cardiac arrhythmias, which are abnormal heart rhythms—whether too fast or too slow.
  • Chronic degenerative valve disease, where the heart valves change and start leaking as a result.

You should also note that certain dog breeds are higher risk for heart problems than others. For instance, Boxers and Doberman Pinschers are at risk of an irregular heartbeat that can result in fainting, weight loss, or even death. Miniature and toy Poodles are at risk of developing a heart murmur, while Dachshunds have a risk of a leaky heart valve. Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, and Bulldogs are some examples of breeds that are susceptible to heart problems, as well. This means knowing the symptoms of heart disease in your dog--and trying to prevent it--is especially important.

To find out if the symptoms your dog has indicate heart problems, you should take him or her to the vet for an exam. If it turns out your dog has heart disease, the next step will be choosing a treatment. In most cases, the vet prescribes medication for the dog. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to treat heart disease. And sometimes, the vet will recommend supplements to slow down the progression of the heart problem.

Best Supplements for Dog Heart Health

Omega 3 fatty acids are one of the most important and essential nutrients for heart health in both dogs and humans. Omega 3 benefits dogs in many ways. improve heart health and reduce the chance of heart failure in the future by reducing cytokines in the body, which are proteins that cause inflammation. Additionally, these essential fatty acids help to reduce muscle loss, improve the appetite, lower blood pressure, and suppress abnormal heart rhythms, helping your dog stay as healthy as possible even after being diagnosed with heart disease. Plus, omega 3 for dogs can boost the health of the brain and immune system overall. 

Just like humans, dogs are unable to produce omega-3 fatty acids, and therefore, must get them from their diet. To ensure your dog is getting enough omega 3s, it’s a great idea to add omega 3 supplements, such as Omega Soft Chews, to improve your dog's health while you await the next vet visit. Additionally, salmon oil for dogs and fish oil for dogs are a great way to supplement omegas in your dog’s diet.

Treatment for your dog’s heart condition might also include more exercise and a better diet, such as a low-sodium eating plan. In general, the right treatment will depend on the type of heart condition your dog has, as well as his or her age and overall health. So be sure to set up a vet appointment for your dog to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.

How to Protect Your Dog's Heart

As with any condition, it’s better to take steps to prevent heart problems than have to treat them after the fact. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce the odds of your dog having heart problems. Here are a few tips for protecting your dog’s heart:

  • Regular vet exams, at least once per year.
  • Good dental care, since infections in the mouth can affect heart health.
  • Frequent cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, running, hiking, or swimming.
  • A balanced diet made up of high-quality dog food.
  • Supplements that support heart health, such as.

Basically, if you want to pay a little extra attention to your dog’s heart health this month, you can start by taking him or her to the park for a fun game of fetch! Then follow up that regular exercise by ensuring your dog eats the right foods, takes quality supplements, and sees the vet for preventative care. Surprising your pet with a fun doggie present for Valentine’s Day wouldn’t hurt, either!

The Microbiome: The Key to Dog Gut Health

The Microbiome: The Key to Dog Gut Health 0

Did you know that owning a dog makes you the caretaker of billions of tiny organisms? This diverse collection of microscopic organisms, known as the gut microbiome, plays a critical role in keeping your dog healthy and happy. If the balance of gut bacteria is disrupted, your dog could suffer from serious side effects.

Scientists once looked at your dog’s gut microbiome (and ours too) as a gathering of freeloaders, and even invaders. But, current research shows that this collection of organisms has a profound impact on canine health. In fact, the gut microbiome is so important to your dog’s health that it is often referred to by experts as the “forgotten organ”.

Let’s take a deep dive into the dog gut microbiome and learn what it is, why it is so important, and how you can help restore and support your dog’s microbiome. 

What is the Microbiome?

The gut microbiome is a complex collection of  different bacteria and other microbes such as viruses and fungi in the gastrointestinal tract. While many different families of bacteria can be found in a dog’s intestinal tract, the vast majority belong to one of five main groups: Firmicutes, Fusobacteria, Bacteroides, Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria. These microorganisms work independently and together in a symbiotic fashion to support and benefit not only each other, but also the host (your dog).

While microbial populations are found in dogs ears, skin, mouth and respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract is home to the largest population. According to the Morris Animal Foundation, estimates suggest there are 10 times more organisms in the intestinal tract than total cells in a dog’s body.

Why is the Microbiome Important?

Your dog’s gut is made up of about 70% of immune cells, making it the biggest immune organ found in the body. A healthy and balanced microbiome is crucial for your dog’s overall health.

When most people think about the gut, they only think about digestion. But, the microbiome impacts so much more than just digestion. It contributes to metabolic functions, helps ward off dangerous pathogens, regulates the immune system, impacts cognitive function, and affects directly or indirectly many physiologic functions.

“A healthy and stable microbiome can simultaneously act as pro- and anti-inflammatory, keeping a balance to prevent excessive inflammation while still being able to promptly respond to infections,” wrote Dr. Rachel Pilla.

Nearly every aspect of your dog’s health is impacted by the microbiome.

Balance is Key!

When the composition of gut bacteria is altered, it changes the way the bacteria interact with each other. As a result, it can have serious consequences to your dog’s overall health. 

Many factors can cause an imbalance that is sometimes temporary and other times chronic. Commonly, gut bacteria is disrupted by antibiotics and other medications, infections, chronic stress, and even sudden diet changes.

Imbalance of gut bacteria can lead to inflammatory bowel disease, digestive issues, immune system reactions, and even behavioral issues. Loose stool and diarrhea is often the first signal that something is wrong with the gut microbiome. Rebalancing dog gut bacteria is the to restore gut health for dogs

Fiber is Your Friend!

A dog’s diet plays a huge role in maintaining a healthy microbiome. When you feed your dog, you’re also feeding their microbiome. A healthy, balanced diet is the first step to restore gut health for dogs, and fiber plays a big role. 

Research shows that high-fiber diets have been associated with increased diversity and number of gut bacteria in people. Since the gut microbiome of a dog is similar to that of a human, dogs can also benefit from high-fiber diets, unless a dog has an underlying disease that precludes the use of a high-fiber diet.

Probiotics for a Healthy Microbiome

In addition to fiber, probiotics help to regulate the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, which helps:

  • Provide protection from viruses, harmful bacteria and pathogens6
  • Form a protective barrier in your dog’s gut, defending against toxins, drugs, allergens, and carcinogens
  • Contribute to overall microbiome health
  • Aid digestion
  • Foster a good mood
  • Boost immune system

Steps to a Healthy Microbiome

There are many steps dog owners can take to keep their pup’s microbiome balanced or to restore balance:

  • Give your dog a probiotic supplement that offers a variety of strains of beneficial bacteria.
  • Nourish those “good guy” bacteria with a prebiotic supplement.
  • Monitor your dog’s weight, the condition of his coat, his energy level, and the quality of his daily stool for signs that his diet needs adjusting. What works well for some dogs may not benefit other dogs in other circumstances.

Wrap up

The gut microbiome plays a critical role in achieving a healthy gut for dogs but also contributes to a healthy immune system, shiny coat, healthy skin, and more. And diet plays a huge part in keeping gut bacteria for dogs balanced.

Feed your dog a healthy, veterinarian-approved diet and boost it with a high-quality dog probiotic supplement, like Doggie Dailies Advanced Probiotics Supplement for Dogs. For specific information on probiotics and their role in your dog’s health, check out the Doggie Dailies blog post on what most dog parents don’t know about probiotics.


References

  1. Pilla, R., & Suchodolski, J. S. (2020). The Role of the Canine Gut Microbiome and Metabolome in Health and Gastrointestinal Disease. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 6(498), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2019.00498
  2. The Amazing World of the Canine Gut Microbiome. (2020, May 26). Morris Animal Foundation. https://www.morrisanimalfoundation.org/article/amazing-world-canine-gut-microbiome
  3. Dodds, W. J., DVM. (2021, January 1). The Gut: The Key to Dog Health. The Bark. https://thebark.com/content/gut-key-health
  4. Coelho, L. P., Kultima, J. R., Costea, P. I., Fournier, C., Pan, Y., Czarnecki-Maulden, G., Hayward, M. R., Forslund, S. K., Schmidt, T. S. B., Descombes, P., Jackson, J. R., Li, Q., & Bork, P. (2018). Similarity of the dog and human gut microbiomes in gene content and response to diet. Microbiome, 6(1), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40168-018-0450-3
  5. Schmitz, S., & Suchodolski, J. (2016). Understanding the canine intestinal microbiota and its modification by pro‐, pre‐ and synbiotics – what is the evidence? Veterinary Medicine and Science, 2(2), 71–94. https://doi.org/10.1002/vms3.17
  6. Manucy, T. D. (2020, November 3). Probiotics for Dogs: Do They Work? PetMD. https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/probiotics-dogs-what-you-need-know
To Eat or Not to Eat: 10 Human Foods that Dogs Can and Cannot Eat

To Eat or Not to Eat: 10 Human Foods that Dogs Can and Cannot Eat 0

It’s no secret that dogs are never satisfied with their own dog food — they want what we’re eating too. More often than not, we happily share some of our snacks and dinner scraps with our furry friends, but sharing isn’t always a good idea.

Some foods can make a dog sick, while others are especially toxic and could cause severe health issues. And then there are foods that are actually very healthy for canines!

Check out these 5 human foods your dog can enjoy and 5 human foods your dog should avoid eating.

5 Human Foods That Are Safe for Dogs to Eat

Salmon

While giving a cat some salmon makes perfect sense, not everyone knows that dogs can enjoy salmon as well. Salmon is a great source of protein, especially for dogs who have problems digesting other animal-based proteins like beef or chicken.

Additionally, salmon is an excellent source of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids help keep your dog’s coat healthy and shine, promote joint and brain health, and give the immune system a boost. Consider adding cooked salmon, cooked fish skins, or a salmon-flavored soft chew to your dog’s diet.

Peanuts / Peanut Butter

Some nuts are bad for dogs, but peanuts are not one of them. Peanuts are packed with protein, vitamin B-3, vitamin B-6, vitamin E, and healthy fats. A small snack of peanuts provides your dog with good fats and proteins. Just make sure to only feed your dog unsalted nuts, and only in moderation. 

If you’re thinking of giving your dog peanut butter, the safest option is homemade peanut butter. However, store bought options can be safe in moderation. Always check the label carefully. You’ll want to avoid brands that are high in sodium or contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that can be toxic to dogs.

Vegetables Such as Peas and Carrots

While many children may turn their nose up at the idea of eating some vegetables, dogs will likely happily gobble them up. Peas and carrots are especially healthy for dogs. Carrots make a great low-calorie snack and are high in fiber and vitamin A. Peas can be mixed with dog food and deliver lots of vitamins, minerals, and protein.

Other vegetables, such as broccoli and brussels sprouts are also good for your dog, but only in moderation, as too much could cause gas. Be sure to consult your veterinarian before adding any new vegetables to a dog's diet.

Eggs

As long as they are fully cooked, eggs are a great source of protein for dogs and can help dogs who suffer from an upset stomach. Eggs are also a good source of linoleic acid and fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, which support skin and coat health.

Yogurt

Not all dogs can easily digest dairy products, but if yours does, yogurt makes a great treat for dogs. The probiotics in yogurt can help strengthen a dogs digestive system. Just be sure to feed your dog only plain yogurt without extra sugar or artificial sweeteners, like xylitol.

Probiotics for dogs also help to maintain a healthy GI tract, support regularity, and minimize allergy symptoms. If your dog isn’t interested in yogurt or doesn’t digest dairy well, Probiotic supplements for dogs are a great alternative. They can make sure your dog is getting the right blend of probiotics and help to alleviate dog diarrhea, as well as aid in recovery from antibiotics. 

Note: All of the above foods should only be fed to your dog in moderation, and should be absent of seasonings such as salt, pepper, garlic, and onion. Some of these can be toxic to dogs and cause kidney failure or other health issues.

5 Human Foods That Dogs Should Not Eat

Almonds

Unlike peanuts, almonds are not healthy for dogs, and salted almonds can cause serious health issues. Because of their size and shape, they can also get stuck in the esophagus if not chewed properly.

Grapes

Both grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs and could be fatal if ingested. If you catch your dog eating either a grape or raisin, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Garlic

We love garlic, but it’s a definite no-no for dogs, as is anything else closely related to garlic, such as onions, leeks, and chives. Dogs who consume garlic can develop anemia or other health issues that may not be readily apparent.

Ice Cream

Who doesn’t like sharing a cold ice cream with their furry friend on a hot summer day? Unfortunately, ice cream is high in sugar, which is very bad for your dog. Purchase specially made ice cream for dogs instead and keep your dog healthy.

Chocolate

You may have already known this, but if not, be aware that chocolate is especially dangerous for dogs. Chocolate can result in immediate vomiting and diarrhea, and too much chocolate can result in more serious health issues such as seizures or unfortunate fatalities.

 

Before feeding your dog anything other than a recommended dog food, it is wise to consult your veterinarian. Always feed your dog new foods just a little at a time to be sure they can digest it without any difficulty.

  • Norie Delgado