Category Archives: dog care

Sick Puppy?

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Common symptoms of illness. Check with your vet:

Decreased appetite
Weight loss
Changes in activity level or behavior
Confusion or disorientation
Changing sleeping patterns
Heightened thirst
Increased urination
Bad breath/red gums
Difficulty chewing
Excessive panting
New lumps or bumps
Poor vision or hearing
Difficulty climbing stairs or jumping up
Shaking episodes
Fainting or signs of weakness

Source: Dog-o-Pedia by Mary Frances Budzik

You can find a comprehensive list of many dog diseases with detailed descriptions and symptoms on


Hot Dogs

Heatstroke in dogs:
Dogs do not sweat through their skin like humans – they release heat primarily by panting and they sweat through the foot pads and nose. If a dog cannot effectively expel heat, the internal body temperature begins to rise. Once the dog’s temperature reaches 106°, damage to the body’s cellular system and organs may become irreversible.
All dogs can get heatstroke, but geriatric dogs and short nosed dogs like English Bulldog, Pekingese, Boston Terrier, Bullmastiff, Shih Tzu, and Pomeranien are more susceptible.

• Vigorous panting
• Dark red gums
• Tacky or dry mucus membranes
• Lying down and unwilling to get up
• Collapse and/or loss of consciousness
• Thick saliva
• Dizziness or disorientation

What to do:
Move your dog out of the heat and away from the sun right away.
Begin cooling your dog by placing cool, wet rags or washcloths on the body – especially the foot pads and around the head. DO NOT use ice or very cold water! When the body temperature reaches 103°, stop cooling.
Offer your dog cool water, but do not force water into your dog’s mouth. He could choke on it.
Call or visit your vet right away – even if your dog seems better. Internal damage might not be obvious to the naked eye.

• NEVER leave your dog alone in the car on a warm day, regardless of whether the windows are open. Even if the weather outside is not extremely hot, the inside of the car acts like an oven – temperatures can rise to dangerously high levels in a matter of minutes.
• Avoid vigorous exercise on warm days. When outside, opt for shady areas.
• Keep fresh cool water available at all times.

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painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Hot weather doggy treat

Drop some of your dogs favorite kibble into each well of an ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze. Watch your dog slurping it up to get to the treat. This is great summer fun and also good for teething puppies

LastDrop_ipaintyourpet                      ‘Last drop’ painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Common Genetic Dog Diseases

Many breeds:
Progressive Retinal Athrophy; progressive degeneration of the retina in both eyes that leads to blindness.

Hypothyroidism; which causes a reduced metabolic rate. Autoimmune destruction of the thyroid.

Hip Dysplasia; painful developmental malformation or subluxation of the hip joints that leads to painful and crippling arthritis. Often seen in German Shepherds and very common in many large breed dogs.

Cairn terriers, West Highland white terriers, Shar peis, Scottish terriers, Lhasa apsos, Wire-hared Fox terriers, Dalmatians, Irish setters, Boston terriers, Pugs, Golden retrievers, Boxers, English setters, Labrador retrievers, and Miniature Schnauzer:
Atropic Dermatitis; common skin disease linked to allergies.

Smooth Fox Terrier, Havanese, Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, Miniature Poodle, Silky Terrier, Toy Poodle, American Cocker Spaniel, Standard Poodle, and Miniature Schnauzer: Cataract;
Cataract formation is one of the most common eye diseases in dogs, which, according to the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, affects about 97 breeds in which inheritance is suspected.

Doberman Pinscher, French Bulldog, Great Danes, Shih Tzu, Poodle (all sizes), German short haired and wire haired pointers, Scottish terriers, Chesapeake Bay retriever, Rottweilers, and Shetland sheepdog:
Von Willebrands Disease; bleeding disorder caused by defective blood platelet function. Some 59 other breeds can be affected by this disease.

Great Danes and Dobermans:
Wobbler Syndrome; weakness starts in the hind legs and progresses to paralysis.

Ruptured Disk; a problem that often occurs in dogs with short legs.

Dalmatians, English setters, bull terriers, and Australian cattle dogs:

Cocker spaniels, beagles, and bloodhounds:
Cherry Eye; prolapsed tear gland, giving the dog a red-eyed appearance and making the eyes susceptible to infection.

Flat-coated retrievers:
Genetic Predisposition to Cancers; about 80 % of death of this breed are caused by cancer. It is thought to be the result of a defect on the p53 gene, which suppresses tumors.

Golden retrievers and Newfoundlands:
Aortic Stenosis; narrowed aorta causes changes in the electrical rhythm of the heart, leading to sudden death.

Bloodhounds, Great Danes, Atika, Weimaraner, Standard Poodle, Setters:
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus; large deep-chested breeds are more likely to experience “bloat.” The dog’s stomach fills up with gas and fluid and then twists upon its long axis, shutting off blood supply to vital organs. It is a medical emergency that kills rapidly if not treated.

Pugs: Pug Dog Encephalitis is one of the inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) which cause seizures in dogs affecting Pug dogs of either sex. The disease used to be considered unique to the Pug breed. However, similar disease has been reported recently in Maltese, Pekingese and Yorkshire Terrier breeds.

Other medical alerts:

Drug toxicity from human medications administered by owners is one of the most common types of canine poisoning. Do not give your dog ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain. They can cause kidney damage or gastric ulcers in dogs. (Also see my blog on food that can poison dogs in -Garlic for dogs- from 4/8/09)

All dogs can get heatstroke, but geriatric dogs and short nosed dogs like English bulldog, Pekingese, Boston terrier, bull mastiff, Shih Tzu, and Pomeranian are more susceptible. Their palates can get sucked into the tracheal opening when they pant heavily, obstructing breathing. These breeds have also trouble swimming because of their breathing difficulties.

Source: Dog-o-Pedia by Mary Frances Budzik and other sources.
I found a comprehensive list of dog diseases with detailed descriptions and symptoms on

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painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Garlic for Dogs

While researching dog food related issues I came across articles that warn about harm from garlic to dogs. Since I wrote a couple of posts about dogs being crazy about garlic taste, I spend some time trying to find out more about the issue. The opinions range widely from warnings about serious health damage, even death to praising health benefits and highly recommending a balanced garlic diet. Garlic is thought to be in the same category as onions because it has thiosulfate (although in much less quantities) that can cause hemolytic anemia, (where circulating red blood cells burst) in dogs if ingested in large quantities.
There are literally thousands of websites discussing the issue. However, I could not find a scientific study on benefits nor harm of garlic for dogs.

My dad who trained hunting dogs in Germany used to give our dogs small amounts of fresh garlic in their food to prevent flees and worms. He also fed them a raw egg every once in a while for a shiny coat. Both, the taste of eggs and garlic were favorites of all our dogs.

Less controversial no no’s for dogs are Avocado; Bread Dough; Coffee; Chocolate; Macadamia Nuts; and Onions in any form or shape.

Here are two opposing opinions I found on the internet about garlic for dogs:

Con: …Garlic is in the same family as onions, meaning it is poisonous to dogs (and cats). Small amounts of it won’t kill your dog, but you should avoid it anyway, as it is not good for them. It causes hemolytic anemia, meaning it destroys your dog’s red blood cells. Many people mistakenly use it to get rid of parasites. Garlic has no effect whatsoever on parasites, internal or external. If your dog has worms, take it to the vet. If your dog has fleas, use a flea product. Dogs do not sweat, therefore garlic cannot be secreted through their skin and ward off fleas. –

Pro: ….garlic is falling victim to mass hysteria spread through the internet.…..There is no doubt that onion, due to its concentration of thiosulphate, will cause Heinz factor anemia. In addition, as stated by Wendy Wallner, DVM, “Onions are only one of the substances which can cause Heinz body anemia. Other substances such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and benzocaine-containing topical preparations can also cause Heinz body anemia in the dog.” ……Every text that I (Dr. Newman) have researched on herbal health which mentions pet care has recommended it, especially for its incredible anti-parasitic and anti-septic properties. In my (Dr. Newman) own experience, garlic has also benefited pets with cancer, diabetes, liver, heart and kidney disease, uncontrollable staph infections and a host of other conditions…. -Dr. Newman on

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Painting by Gabriele Bungardt