Canine Cryptorchidism

“Crypto” means “hidden” in Greek. A dog with cryptorchidism (cryptorchid) has testicles that are not in the scrotal sack. A dog can be suspected of cryptorchidism if a male puppy’s testicles have not descended to the scrotal sac by his 18th week. However, some veterinarians say that puppies have to reach puberty (6 months) before the condition is confirmed.

One kind of cryptorchidism is the unilateral cryptorchidism. This is a condition where one testicle is located in the scrotal sac. The other testicle is usually located in the abdominal area, where testicular formation usually begins. In the other kind of cryptorchidism, bilateral cryptorchidism, the two testicles aren’t present in the scrotal sac.

Cryptorchidism is a genetic disorder. If the male pup’s dad went through cryptorchidism, chances are it will happen to him too. There are also some breeds that are more likely to develop cryptorchidism more than other breeds. Breeds that are most likely to be affected are miniature schnauzer, Pomeranian, French poodle, Yorkshire terrier, Chihuahua, dachshunds, and even German shepherds. Male dogs with cryptorchidism look strange but the condition also has health implications that go beyond the appearance. Breeders should be careful not to use male dogs with cryptorchidism for breeding because affected dogs are prone to testicular cancer and testicular torsion. Both conditions are very painful and deadly.

No medication will treat cryptorchidism. If a male dog is diagnosed of cryptorchidism, the testicles must be removed already. Surgical removal should be administered right away, whether the cryptorchidism is unilateral or bilateral. The cryptorchid testicle (undescended testicle) has to be taken out to prevent testicular cancer and torsion. The normal testicle has  to be removed as well to prevent the male dog from producing an offspring with cryptorchidism.

Surgery for cryptorchidism is not a minor surgery in any way. Although some dogs get to go home one day after the surgery, some surgical procedures may take a while because it can take long to locate the undescended testicle.

Both the owner and the dog have to be prepared before surgery. If the veterinarian says that the dog has to stay in the hospital or clinic for several days, the owner has to prepare the dog’s essentials: medication, food, collar, leash, poop bag, dog poop pick up, etc. The clinic may have these essentials but the owners should bring their own just in case.

The surgery is very invasive so it requires a healing period of two weeks. During this time, the dog is nto allowed to move around a lot. The dog should wear a dog cone during the recovery period to prevent the dog from licking the healing wound. The owner should check the wound for infection and swelling every now and then. Of course, the dog has to take the prescribed antibiotics. After two weeks, the owner should take the dog back to the veterinarian for check-up and further instructions.

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Service Dogs to Fight Off Depression and Other Psychological Problems

All dog-lovers claim that they find comfort and refuge in their pets. It’s no surprise that psychologists and psychiatrists recommend service dogs to their patients. Service dogs, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Acts, are defined as “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability[1]”. Therefore, service dogs handle a wide range of functions. Aside from comforting the depressed, they also help the disabled people perform daily tasks. Service dogs who assist the deaf alert them when there are alarming sounds.

Note that service animals are not pets. Service animals go through intensive training (which starts at a very young age) and have to be licensed and registered before they are considered official service animals. Such documentation is very important because they are not the same as pets. In an establishment where pets aren’t allowed, service dogs are granted the right to enter because of their functions and duties.

Service dogs are trained to be extremely responsive to the needs of their humans. As impossible as it may seem, service dogs trained for people with depression know when their humans are lonely and sad. For example, service dogs are trained to “hug” their humans if they feel a sense of despair and helplessness. If the human has suicidal tendencies, the dog can interrupt the human’s suicidal activity. People with memory loss problems can benefit from a service dog that will remind them to take their medication or to find essential items, such as their keys. Some dogs are even trained to encourage their masters with anti-social tendencies to interact with other people. Service dogs go through a lot of training before they can execute these tasks effortlessly. At least one year is required to train a service dog, including six months of public access training with the handler. Public access training is very important so that the dog can integrate itself in public places without starting a commotion.

Patients diagnosed with psychological disorders say that even the mere presence of their service dog is enough to inspire them to live normally. Of course, not everyone is recommended to get a service dog. But if the patient happens to have a soft spot for dogs, then this option is potentially life-changing. Public establishments allow service dogs inside (since, again, they are not normal pets) but handlers are responsible for any possible damage caused by the dog. To be safe, the handler should bring biobag dog waste bags and dog poop scoop. Living a normal life with a service dog as a constant companion is possible.

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[1] Americans With Disabilities Act. http://www.ada.gov/qasrvc.htm.

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Showing Love: When (and when not to) Show Affection to Your Dog

You can buy your dog all material things (food, treats, shampoo, collar, leash, biodegradable pet waste bags, dog poop scooper, flea powder, crate, etc.) but for the dog, the most important thing that matters is the love that you give the dog. Dogs, even the fiercest ones, are naturally affectionate creatures towards their master. The love and affection you can give your dog are priceless.

However, affection should be given at the right time. Think of your dog as your own child. If you shower it too much affection, it might think that it can get affection and approval every time it wants. Affection has to be shown at the right time and in the right amounts if you want your dog to grow up with a healthy disposition.

A perfect example of the need for control in display of affection would be dogs with separation anxiety. At some point, dogs become clingy to their masters when they get used to spending time with them a lot. These dogs suffer from separation anxiety when drastic changes in the schedule occur and they see their masters less. They also tend to get uncontrollably jittery and whiny when they finally see their master. Masters with dogs that have separation anxiety should not show affection to their dogs upon coming home. They should be nonchalant about coming home and wait for their dog to go into a calm state before they play with it.

Most dogs are cuddly and lovable but pet owners should show affection judiciously. There should be no showing of affection right after the dog has committed a boo-boo. That will just send the wrong signals to your dog.

It is also a mistake to coddle your dog when it’s showing signs of aggression or fearfulness. Don’t think that an aggressive or fearful dog will calm down when it receives affection from the master. Instead, it will think that its display of aggression or fear is something that’s worth its master’s approval. Dogs think that way.

Affection should only be shown towards the dog when it is in a calm and obedient state and when it does something that’s worthy praising. Let love and affection be a form of positive reinforcement of good behavior.

Before getting a pet, make sure that you can spend quality time with it. Many pet owners think that they are qualified to have pets just because they can afford it financially. They don’t think of it as an emotional investment. Make sure that you can shower your dog with love and affection. But at the same time, you must have the ability to discipline it. The right amount of discipline is a sign that you truly love your dog. But, too much affection will ruin that discipline. Balance affection and discipline for the sake of your dog’s welfare.

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Helping Your Pet Overcome Separation Anxiety

Dogs with separation anxiety tend to get worked up when the owner is about to leave the place. For example, some dogs with separation anxiety bark incessantly when they hear the jingling keys of their master. One of the biggest frustrations of dog owners is when their dogs urinate on an inappropriate place when the dog is left alone, even if it is toilet trained. Some dogs also chew things to bits and pieces. When the owner is home, it follows its master around. It may cry or whimper when it can’t be near the master. Finally, dogs with separation anxiety get overexcited when their master comes home. It may take a while before the dog calms down. Other symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs include appetite loss, destructive chewing, digging, and even vomiting.

All of these problems have to be addressed immediately, especially if the dog’s owner is a busy fellow. It may be cute to see that the dog is attached to the master but overdependence should certainly not be tolerated. The master cannot be there for the dog all the time so the dog has to be rehabilitated of separation anxiety. Canine separation anxiety is a “lose-lose” situation for the dog and the master.

dog separation anxiety

When dealing with canine separation anxiety, always remember that dogs are creatures of habit. Dog owners that have gone on a long vacation and have spent a lot of time with their dog should be ready to deal with separation anxiety when they get back to work. At this point, the dog is already used to having the master around. Any change in the routine is disconcerting for them.

The owner can start addressing separation anxiety by gradually lowering the dog’s anxiety level before the owner’s departure from the room. Before leaving the room, the owner should not mind the dog for about 15-30 minutes. Leaving the room should be as uneventful as possible to avoid triggering anxiety. For instance, you should take your keys quietly so the dog won’t hear the sound that they make. Leave the room quietly and try leaving the dog for an hour or two. Upon coming back, avoid grand greeting gestures. Ignore your dog when it is jumpy and overexcited. Only attend to it when it has finally regained its composure. This training takes away the predictability of your leaving and departure routine, so the dog no longer associates being alone with certain stimuli.

Keep the dog busy to reduce anxiety during the day. Take it out for a walk in the morning to temper its energy levels (with a dog walking bag and dog poop scooper, of course). Leave ample toys in the room so it can keep itself busy while you are away. You can also take the dog to a “Doggie Day Care Center” if your place is small and there is not much room for the dog to run around and play.

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Dealing with the Issues of Short-Snouted Dogs

Short-snouted dogs, such as English bulldogs, French bulldogs, Boston terriers, and pugs are incredibly cute. Their facial wrinkles account for their adorable expressions. Of course, most owners love to squish them gently. However, their squished-in, wrinkly faces also contribute a lot to their help problems. Short-snouted or brachycephalic dogs have narrow nostrils and a soft palate that’s a little longer than usual. As a result, they are more prone to respiratory problems.

The following paragraphs below will help you deal with the most common issues of short-snouted dogs. You’ll realize that there’s more to canine care than grooming shampoo, nail clippers, dog poop bag, dog poop scooper, kibbles, and collars.

short snout dog issues

Overheating/Heatstroke

Short-snouted dogs tend to succumb to heat stroke more than dogs with longer snouts. They can fall victims to overheating even at relatively lower temperatures. All dogs breathe to keep themselves cool and regulate their temperature. Since short-snouted dogs have smaller airways, they have to exert more effort in keeping themselves cool. Watch out for signs of heatstroke, especially during the summer months.  Lethargy, difficulty in breathing (panting), increased heart rate, and heavy salivation are the most obvious symptoms of a heatstroke. When this happens, spray your dog with water from a garden hose. You can also dip towels in cold water and press them against his head, neck, chest, and belly. If you can’t keep the temperature down, rush the dog to the nearest veterinarian.

To prevent the occurrence of heatstroke, always keep the dog in a place with regulated temperature during the summer months. Keep fresh water available at all times. Make sure that there are shaded areas where the dog can rest. Finally, groom the coat if it is becoming thick.

Snoring

Snoring is typical among short-snouted dogs. Again, you can blame the pushed-in structure of their faces. The loose tissues just flap when they breathe, which results to snoring. Pet owners think it is adorable but seriously, this problem has to be addressed. Keeping the mindset that it is common among short-snouted breeds may make it difficult to distinguish sleep apnea. As early as possible, consider a soft palate resection to unblock his airways. You can also provide the dog with a round bed so it can curl up and snore less. Also try elevating its head a little with a pillow.

Flying

Short-snouted pets should be given extra care when flying and traveling. The U.S. Department of Transportation reveals that short-snouted dogs accounted for almost half of canine deaths on air. English bulldogs top the list, followed by the pug. French bulldogs are victims of airline deaths as well. The short muzzles of the dogs make it difficult for air to circulate. Therefore, traveling with short-snouted dogs is a big risk. Most veterinarians recommend a procedure for short-snouted dogs prior to flying. The soft palate resection procedure is quick and relatively painless. The veterinarian will clip the muscles and tissues by the nasal passage to make the airways bigger. Since it can get stuffy in the cargo, owners are advised not to travel with their dogs during the summer. Short-snouted dogs may have a difficult time keeping themselves cool. Also, do not put thick blankets in the dog’s crate. Thick blankets can worsen his breathing problems. Finally, lessen layovers for the dog if possible.

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Finding the Right Dog School for Your Dog

Do you have a new puppy? Have you just recently adopted a new dog? Dogs are known to be born with innate instincts but these are instincts and abilities that make them able to survive in the wild. They are not naturally gifted with knowledge and behavior that makes them acceptable and likeable to the society. Thus, it is necessary for them to be trained and taught how to behave accordingly.

Although you can choose to train your dog basic obedience tricks at home on your own, it would be best to enroll your pet to an efficient dog school. There are several types of dog schools where you can choose from. While choosing which dog school is good for your dog, there are several things that you must consider. Basically, your dog’s age, breed, innate personality and the things that you want your dog to learn are some of the most important considerations that must be put on your list.

finding the right dog school for your dog

First, what do you want your dog to learn? Do you want your dog to only learn how to respond to basic obedience commands such as “come,” “stay” and “sit”? Or, do you want your dog to learn acceptable behavior such as not eating food that is not meant for him or stop begging for food while you are at the dining table? If you only wish for your dog to learn such basic things, you can opt to enroll it to a local dog training school.

Local dog schools are training facilities that can be normally found in community colleges, local recreation centers, pet stores and some private dog training schools. You may enroll your dog to a class composed of several other dogs. Fees required in such local dog schools are typically less expensive and highly affordable.

Local dog schools may also offer more advanced lessons. However, if you want your dog to learn how to become a service or guide dog, you may need to enroll him to a professional dog training school that offers specific training. These types of dog schools can offer the guidance, support and training that your dog would particularly need. When you enroll your dog to such training schools, all you would need to do at home is continually facilitate the practice of your dog’s knowledge and skills.

Having your dog trained is one of the various things that you should do for your dog. Enrolling your dog at a dog school is one of the best things that you can do for your dog and even for those surrounding him (your family and properties). Besides ensuring that you provide your dog with sufficient supplies of food and vitamins among others, as well as stocking up on items such as doggie poop bags or compostable trash bags, you must also see to it that he learns the tricks that make him favorable to society.

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Bringing Home a Second Dog

bringing home a second dogBringing a second dog home requires serious thinking. You may not give it much focus and attention, but adding another pet in the house may change everything – there are adjustments that everyone should do. Your first dog may also see the newcomer as a competition. Thus, you must know how to introduce the newbie to the veteran well.

Indeed, there are a lot of things to consider when planning to bring home a new dog. It is not as easy as taking the new dog inside your home and everything will stay fine and everyone stays happy – this should be your goal, however.

Before you finally decide whether or not you will buy or adopt a new puppy or dog, take these following questions into consideration first:

  • Do you have enough financial resource that will allow you to take care of another dog? A second dog means another set of expenses. You need to take it to the vet regularly, have it groomed, feed and train it, among others. You need to buy and stock on supplies such as biodegradable poop bags and dog waste bag holders for two.
  • Do you have enough time to play with two dogs (and other pets, if there are any) without compromising your time with your family and yourself? Dogs need attention. They need to be walked, they need to be physically trained. You should have enough time to meet these needs.
  • Do you think your first dog (as well as other pets) can handle the presence of a newcomer? If you observe your current dog as having some behavioral problems, the second dog might be in trouble if you fail to train your current dog to behave accordingly. Dog aggressiveness may become a problem if you are unsure how the dogs will welcome and treat each other.
  • Do you have the patience to learn and practice the rules of a “pack”? Fine, you are the human and you are supposed to be the master. But if you fail to be consistent in being the leader of the pack, your dogs may take over. Learn everything that you need to know about dog packs and how to become the efficient leader.
  • Do you have patience and time to go back to the basics – train the new dog. Taking a new dog home means that you need to start training again. You need to potty train the dog and show him the way – and the rules – of the house.
  • Are you prepared to share your current dog’s attention with the new one? If your current dog happens to love the idea of having a companion dog, you may find that your current dog prefers the company of the new dog more than yours. Make sure that you won’t feel sad when your current dog starts ignoring you during playtime.

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