Category Archives: Dogs

Kidney Disease in Dogs: What Dog Owners Should Know

Kidney disease is very common in dogs, and protecting your pooch from kidney disease means you should be prepared to look for problems early. Studies show that 1 in 10 dogs suffer from kidney disease, reports Dr. Celeste Clements. Dogs can get kidney disease for any number of underlying reasons, and even worse, it’s often difficult to spot. Some of the earliest signs of kidney disease in dogs may include subtle weight loss, urinating/peeing more often and drinking a lot more water. Therefore, if you notice your dog is peeing on the floor or asking to go out more, or if your dog is always thirsty, it’s time to visit your veterinarian.

However, once these signs are present, there’s typically already been a great deal of kidney damage. Fortunately, new advances in the veterinary world are making it easier to find kidney disease in dogs earlier (even without signs being present).

What is kidney disease in dogs?
Kidney disease in dogs is notoriously hard to catch early and can have devastating effects on our canine friends. In general, kidney disease (sometimes called “kidney failure”) happens when your dog’s kidneys stop doing their job as well as they should.  This damage, once done, is usually permanent and can be caused by a variety of issues.
Kidney disease in dogs is classified in two primary ways, as:

  • Chronic kidney disease in dogs
  • Acute kidney injury in dogs

Learn more about kidney disease in dogs:
Since kidney disease impacts so many dogs and early detection is so critical, it’s a great idea for any dog parent to learn and know everything you can about the disease. We’ve included some in-depth articles about kidney disease in dogs and additional tools below, as well as tips for helping keep your dog’s kidneys as healthy as possible for the long-haul:

  • Chronic Kidney Disease: What Does Kidney Failure in Dogs Really Mean?
  • 10 Common Causes of Kidney Disease in Dogs
  • Kidney Stones in Dogs: What You Need to Know

Kidney disease quick tips:

  • Kidney disease is a leading cause of suffering and death in pets,3 and has been so difficult to combat because it was often not detected until most of the damage was done and permanent.
  • Certain factors like kidney stones, urinary tract infections, or other infections, including Lyme disease, or hereditary conditions could make kidney disease more likely.
  • Treatment options for advanced kidney disease are usually limited to treating the signs because dialysis and kidney transplants are not readily available for dogs.
  • Encouraging your dog to drink more water can help with kidney health
  • As dogs age, the likelihood of developing kidney disease increases.

The IDEXX SDMA test is a breakthrough new blood test that not only screens for kidney disease, but can detect this devastating disease months to years earlier than previously possible.

There’s much more to learn about chronic kidney disease if you want to protect your dog, and having this knowledge is step one in the fight against a disease that has claimed far too many lives. Check out the resources below, and ask your veterinarian what you can be doing to keep your dog healthier, happier and in your life for longer.

Source: Pethealthnetwork.com

Do Dogs Dream?

 

Whether or not dogs dream isn’t known with scientific certainty, but it sure is difficult to imagine that they don’t. We’ve all watched our dogs demonstrate behaviors in their sleep that resemble what they do in a fully awake state. Paddling legs, whining, growling, wagging tails, chewing jowls, and twitching noses inspire us to wonder what our dogs are dreaming about.

What we know about dogs and dreams
While our knowledge on this topic is very limited, the following known information helps us believe that dogs do indeed experience dreams. According to MIT News, Matthew Wilson, a professor of neuroscience at MIT, and Kenway Louie, a graduate student in 2001,  have studied the relationships between memory, sleep and dreams. They found that when rats were trained to run along a circular track for food rewards, their brains created a distinctive firing pattern of neurons (brain cells). The researchers repeated the brain monitoring while the rats were sleeping. Low and behold, they observed the same signature brain activity pattern associated with running whether the rats were awake or asleep. In fact, the memories played at approximately the same speed during sleep as when the rats were awake.

Can we apply this to dogs?
Can we take what is known about dreaming in rats and humans and apply the information to dogs? Wilson believes that we can.”My guess is — unless there is something special about rats and humans — that cats and dogs are doing exactly the same thing,” he said, according to USA Today’s website.

It is known that the hippocampus, the portion of the brain that collects and stores memories, is wired much the same way in all mammals. According to healthday.com, Professor Wilson says, “If you compared a hippocampus in a rat to a dog; in a cat to a human, they contain all of the same pieces.” He believes that as dogs sleep, images of past events replay in their minds, much the same way people recall experiences while dreaming.

In people it is known that most dreams occur during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health. Dogs also experience periods of REM sleep. Psychology Today’s website says that during REM their breathing becomes more irregular and shallow. There may be muscle twitching during REM and, when one looks closely, rapid eye movements behind closed eyelids can often be observed. It is during REM sleep that behaviors thought to be associated with dreaming (legs paddling, twitching, vocalizing, etc.) are most commonly observed.

What we want to believe about dog dreams
When we observe our dogs as they sleep, it’s just about impossible to imagine that they are not dreaming. Just like the rats studied by Wilson and Louie, it is tempting to believe that our four-legged best buddies are reenacting their recent experiences; playing at the dog park, sniffing in the woods, chewing on a treasured bone, and chasing squirrels.

The National Institutes of Health says that Sigmund Freud theorized that dreaming was a “safety valve” for our unconscious desires. Perhaps he is correct, and, when our dogs sleep, they dream about catching the neighbor’s pesky cat, continuous belly rubs in conjunction with unlimited dog treats, and stealing the Thanksgiving turkey from the dining room table.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Source: Pethealthnetwork.com

How can dogs help you cope with depression, anxiety, and stress?

How can dogs help you cope with depression, anxiety, and stress?

More than any other animal, dogs have evolved to become acutely attuned to humans and our behavior and emotions. While dogs are able to understand many of the words we use, they’re even better at interpreting our tone of voice, body language, and gestures. And like any good human friend, a loyal dog will look into your eyes to gauge your emotional state and try to understand what you’re thinking and feeling (and to work out when the next walk or treat might be coming, of course).

While most dog owners are clear about the immediate joys that come with sharing their lives with canine companions, many remain unaware of the physical and mental health benefits that can also accompany the pleasure of playing with or snuggling up to a furry friend. It’s only recently that studies have begun to scientifically explore the benefits of the human-animal bond. The American Heart Association has linked the ownership of pets, especially dogs, with a reduced risk for heart disease and greater longevity.

Studies have also found that:

  • Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
  • People with dogs have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets. One study even found that when people with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure declined significantly within five months.
  • Playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
  • Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.
  • Heart attack patients with dogs survive longer than those without.
  • Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.

One of the reasons for these therapeutic effects is that dogs fulfill the basic human need to touch. Even hardened criminals in prison have shown long-term changes in their behavior after interacting with dogs, many of them experiencing mutual affection for the first time. Stroking, hugging, or otherwise touching a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe us when we’re stressed or anxious. The companionship of a pet can also ease loneliness, and most dogs are a great stimulus for healthy exercise, which can substantially boost your mood and ease depression.

Source: Helpguide.Org

Picasso the dog flooded with adoption offers and will be given surgery after his pictures go viral

Life is looking up for Picasso the dog, a deformed hound who was nearly put down because of his lopsided face.

The 10-month-old pit bull/Corgi mix was saved from being euthanized along with his brother, Pablo, by Luvable Dog Rescue in Oregon.

The dog became an online sensation this week after the shelter posted his pictures and a video online.

They have been inundated with offers to adopt Picasso, who will soon have surgery to correct his deformity.

Vets said his wonky face is being caused by an upper tooth that’s digging into his lower jaw.

Liesl Wilhardt, who owns Luvable Dog Rescue, said there had been a “crazy” amount of interest in adopting the pair of dogs, but that she would “wait a month or so until the buzz about them dies down”.

“He’s so unaware of how different he is,” she said of Picasso.

“He can eat sideways, but he’s a very messy eater,” she explained. “Same with water.”

Laika the Dog & the First Animals in Space

The Soviet Union stunned the world on Nov. 3, 1957, with the launch of Sputnik 2. On board the small satellite was a little dog, Laika, the first animal to orbit Earth. However, Laika was not the first animal in space. The United States and the U.S.S.R. had been putting animals atop rockets since 1947.

In the early days of rocket science, no one knew what the effects of weightlessness would be. Animals — mainly dogs, monkeys and chimps — were used to test the safety and feasibility of launching a living being into space and bringing it back unharmed.

Since then, animals have continued to play an important role in understanding the impact of microgravity on many biological functions. Astronauts have studied all kinds of animals — wasps, beetles, tortoises, flies, worms, fish, spiders, rabbits, bees, ants, frogs, mice, crickets, rats, newts, snails, urchins, moths, brine shrimp, jellyfish, guinea pigs, butterflies, scorpions and cockroaches.

Sputnik and Muttnik

Laika was a young, mostly-Siberian husky. She was rescued from the streets of Moscow. Soviet scientists assumed that a stray dog would have already learned to endure harsh conditions of hunger and cold temperatures. Laika and two other dogs were trained for space travel by being kept in small cages and learning to eat a nutritious gel that would be their food in space.

The dog’s name was originally Kudryavka, or Little Curly, but she became known internationally as Laika, a Russian word for several breeds of dog similar to a husky. American reporters dubbed her Muttnik as a pun on Sputnik.

Unfortunately, Laika’s trip into space was one-way only. A re-entry strategy could not be worked out in time for the launch. It is unknown exactly how long Laika lived in orbit — perhaps a few hours or a few days — until the power to her life-support system gave out. Sputnik 2 burned up in the upper atmosphere in April 1958.

The first animal astronauts

Although there is no distinct boundary between the atmosphere and space, an imaginary line about 68 miles (110 kilometers) from the surface, called the Karman line, is usually where scientists say Earth’s atmosphere meets outer space.

The first animals to reach space — not counting any bacteria that may have hitched a ride on previous rockets — were fruit flies. On Feb. 20, 1947, the United States put fruit flies aboard captured German V-2 rockets to study radiation exposure at high altitudes. In 3 minutes and 10 seconds, the fruit flies reached a distance of 68 miles.

The first mammal in space was Albert II, a Rhesus monkey. Albert I’s mission had been unsuccessful, but the second Albert reached a distance of 83 miles on June 14, 1949. Albert was anesthetized during flight and implanted with sensors to measure his vital signs. Unfortunately, Albert II died upon impact at re-entry.

While the United States was experimenting with monkeys, the Soviet Union was experimenting with dogs. During the 1950s and 1960s, the Soviet Union had slots for at least 57 dogs. However, because some dogs flew more than once, fewer than 57 actually participated.

The first dogs launched, Tsygan and Dezik, were aboard the R-1 IIIA-1. The dogs reached space on July 22, 1951, but did not orbit. They were the first mammals successfully recovered from spaceflight.

After Laika, the Soviet Union sent two more dogs, Belka and Strelka, into space on Aug. 19, 1960. The animals were the first to actually orbit and return alive.

Ham the chimpanzee after his successful suborbital spaceflight of Jan. 31, 1961.

Ham the chimpanzee after his successful suborbital spaceflight of Jan. 31, 1961.

Credit: NASA

Other members of the first space menagerie include:

  • Gordo, a squirrel monkey, launched 600 miles high on Dec. 13, 1958. He died on splashdown when a flotation device failed.
  • Able, a Rhesus monkey, and Baker, a squirrel monkey, were launched together on May 28, 1959. They flew 300 miles high and returned unharmed. However, Able died during an operation to remove an electrode from under her skin. Baker lived until 1984, dying of kidney failure at age 27.
  • Ham, a chimpanzee trained to perform tasks during spaceflight. Ham, named after the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center, became a celebrity after his flight on Jan. 31, 1961. Ham learned to pull levers to receive banana pellets and avoid electric shocks. He successfully became the first animal to actually interact with a space vessel rather than simply ride in it.
  • On Oct. 18, 1963, French scientists launched the first cat into space. Felix was successfully retrieved after a parachute descent.
  • Two Russian dogs, Veterok and Ugolyok were launched into space on Feb. 22, 1966. They orbited for a record-breaking 22 days. Humans did not surpass the record until 1974.

Animals in other space research

Although the early animal astronauts achieved great fame, many other animals have quietly contributed to the body of scientific knowledge about life in space. As humans have grown more accustomed to space travel, fewer animals make the front-page news. Still, their contribution are important.

Some animals have been sent up as part of experiments designed by students, others by NASA and other countries. By 2004, the space shuttle program had flown over two dozen SpaceLab experimental packages. Nearly all of the experiments were designed with one main purpose in mind: to study the effects of microgravity on the biological functions of earth creatures.

Some of the biological functions that have been studied are (to name just a few): brain states, behavioral performance, cardiovascular status, fluid and electrolyte balance, metabolic state, tissue development, and mating in zero gravity.

Here are some examples of specific experiments:

Nov. 9, 1970: Two bullfrogs were launched on a one-way mission to learn more about space motion sickness.

Some water bears eat microscopic animals, while others consume algae.

Some water bears eat microscopic animals, while others consume algae.

Credit: Daiki Horikawa, NASA Ames

July 28, 1973: Two garden spiders named Arabella and Anita were used to study how orbiting earth would impact spiders’ ability to spin webs. Arabella spun a fairly symmetric web even though the thread thickness varied — something that earthbound spiders don’t experience.

July 10, 1985: Ten newts flew on board the Bion 7. Their front limbs were amputated in order to study regeneration in space to better understand how humans might recover from space injuries.

April 17, 1998: More than 2,000 creatures joined in 16 days of neurological testing alongside the seven-member human crew of the shuttle Columbia.

September 2007: Microscopic creatures commonly known as water bears (tardigrades) survived  a 10-day exposure to open space. The creatures are known to have the ability to withstand extreme conditions, including dehydration, and still recover and reproduce. The animals were dried out and re-hydrated after surviving cosmic rays, a near vacuum, and freezing temperatures.

— Elizabeth Dohrer, SPACE.com Contributor

Source: www.space.com

Everything You Need To Know About Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan malamute dogs should be one of the largest anywhere in the world. This tough breed is perfect for use as working dogs, particularly in colder atmospheres. Before embracing or getting one, discover all the more fascinating certainties about this great pooch breed. The unforgiving Arctic scene was its unique environment. Early Arctic adventurers rushed to utilize this current canine’s radiant quality in their campaigns. They were initially used to draw sleds conveying imperative supplies. Its thick coat makes short work of even the hardest frigid climate. In later years, they were utilized for search and safeguard missions. These dogs were additionally utilized for pulling sleds for competitions and racing. Alaskan Malamute training won’t be an issue if you have full insight. This is quite recently consummate since it additionally has the stamina to continue going more distant than other breeds. Keeping this dog breed dynamic surely has its prizes.

These enormous wolf-like pets are a portion of the friendliest pets you could own. There are a couple of Malamutes (Mals) that pull individuals, cargo or substantial items, albeit most malamute breeds are utilized for show or as pets. While this breed can pull weighty stuff, they are for the most part not appropriate for far destination races, in which case, the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Husky or Eskimo Dog would be a better choice, since they are a breed know for their agility.

Alaskan Malamutes are an exceptionally friendly breed that flourishes with human camaraderie. In a perfect world, your pet will have the capacity to parade about as it sees fit through any doggie-entryway, having the flexibility to relax outside in the shade or be spending time with humans and enjoying affection or being ordered around. Talking about “orders,” Mals can be headstrong dogs on the off chance that you don’t set aside the opportunity to prepare them when they’re young.

Try not to stress: they are savvy and brisk learners if you utilize positive prizes. Make sure to tell them who’s the “Alpha Dog” in your home at an opportune time! This breed gets exhausted effortlessly and needs a considerable measure of activity. Your Malamute might be a digger, so it’s best to set up a shaded range where your puppy can delve his paws into the cool earth if need be. In case you’re searching for a watch guard dog, then you are on the wrong path; this breed appreciates people to an extreme degree excessively!

Over feeding will bring about most Alaskan Malamutes to weigh 900 lbs. They love to eat and will eat until there is no nourishment left.  Expect starving frantic looks regardless of the possibility that they have just been fed. They are NOT starving; however, they will endeavor to persuade you they are. You should be intense. When you give a treat, give a TINY piece, not an entire roll. You do your dog no favors getting him fat. Inquisitively, it appears the fatter they get, the more they act like they are hungry.