Managing Your Dog's Health
Establish a relationship with a trusted local veterinarian.
If you have concerns about your dog's health, this is your first point of contact.
The following addresses the most common health questions I receive from clients.
Good Health Starts with a Good Diet
We give all of our dogs/puppies Life's Abundance Wellness Food Supplement (an antioxidant formula which boosts their immunity) and Life's Abundance Agility or NuJoint Plus (supplements for their joints starting at 6 months of age). Because vitamins help to keep them in top health, they are less likely to get sick, have allergies, skin rashes, digestive issues, cancer, tumors, or have hip/joint issues, etc. We would rather spend a little money keeping our puppy’s/dog’s immunity high and health in top condition than spending a lot of money on a vet visit that may be preventable. Click here to read more about our food and supplement recommendations.
Having said that, puppies are mischevious, they explore with their mouths, so they eat a lot of non-nutritional items off the ground that can cause minor to major issues.
Expect to have a loose stool every so often because they explore the world through their mouths and therefore ingest things that affect their immature digestive system. There can be many causes of loose stool, for example, stress of a new environment, foreign food (ie. a cheerio on the floor, sticks, pebbles, tanbark etc.), and parasites (Giardia, Coccydia and Roundworms are all common parasites that puppies get and are effectively treated with dewormers).
Get in the habit of checking your puppy's stool every day to make sure it is firm. If it isn't firm, below are suggestions on how to firm it up:
Feed "soaked kibble" for all meals until the stool is firm for 4 days straight. To prepare soaked kibble, pour hot water over puppy's food (ensuring it is out of reach), wait 45 minutes for food to cool down and bloat up, then feed to the puppy. Soaked food is easier to digest and the ease of digestion on their system can help the immature system to repair itself. Food to water ratio is 1/2 - for example if you feed 1 Cups food add 2 cups hot water. Soaking food also helps with hydration.
Probiotics or Probios for canines is helpful to get your puppy/dog's digestive system back on track if they have loose stool. We use Probiotic Miracle Dog brand. You can order it on Amazon. Add probiotic to soaked kibble once it has cooled.
100% canned pumpkin. Pumpkin is an all natural way to firm up the stool. Dosage: one spoonful
Immodium or Kaopectate anti-diarrheal - dose chart for approved human medications (pintrest) here
Consider dropping off a stool sample to your vet if loose stool persists for longer than 3 days to check if your puppy needs to be dewormed. Also, puppies can easily dehydrate when they have diarrhea so be sure to begin treatment as soon as you notice loose stools. If you are not having success with the home remedies, consult with your veterinarian. Puppies should be dewormed on a regular basis. Here is a link to a dewormer that is effective for treating both roundworms and giardia.
Also, if your dog is showing additional signs of illness such as lethargy, vomiting, fever, weakness, or dry pale gums, consult with your veterinarian.
There are many causes of nonlife-threatening vomiting that are not cause for alarm. Sometimes your puppy may vomit because he ate his food too fast or if he gets motion sickness from a ride in the car or if your puppy ate something that upset their stomach. If this happens, simply keep an eye on your puppy to make sure he is acting normally.
If your puppy is showing additional illness such lethargy, vomiting, fever, weakness, or dry pale gums, consult with your veterinarian.
When your Puppy Ingests a Toxic Substance
If your puppy/dog ever eats anything that is toxic or dangerous, use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. View chart for dosing: Dog-friendly over the counter medications
What are the Top 10 Toxins and Poisons for Dogs?
Insect bait stations
Rodenticides (mouse and rat poison)
Xylitol-containing products such as sugar-free gums and candies
Silica gel packs
Amphetamines, such as ADD/ADHD drugs
**Be sure to check online for a more detailed list
Flea and Tick Control
We use a mint spray flea repellent (in a spray bottle fill with water and add 10 drops of peppermint) we mist the dogs with this each week to repel fleas. We also use Frontline Plus. If you are using this for a puppy, make sure it says "For puppies 8 weeks and older." **Please DO NOT use edible flea control because it can cause seizures.
Watering Eyes/Tear Staining
To prevent tear staining, wipe your puppy's eyes with a wet warm paper towel daily to remove any dust or debris. The product, Clean Eyes, to use as an all natural safe eye rinse.If your puppy's eyes are watering excessively, he may have a low-grade eye infection. In addition to cleaning your puppy's eyes, you can purchase an over-the-counter eye medication such as Pink Eye Relief from your local pharmacy.
If the tear staining is persistent (lasting longer than 45 days), you can try a product called Angel Eyes.
Hydrogen peroxide on a cotton ball works great for cleaning cuts and rashes. For cuts, you may also want to apply a small amount of Neosporin but make sure they cannot lick the area because Neosporin can cause diarrhea.
A vetericyn topical spray is good to have on hand if your puppy/dog gets a cut or scrape or hot spot. It is safe and all natural. Life's Abundance Soothing Mist is also good for skin irritations.
When a dog contracts parvo, they become very ill and experience significant abdominal pain. The virus damages the intestinal lining, causing it to slough.
Most puppies infected with parvo are unable to eat and rapidly become dehydrated. This results in a significant loss of electrolytes, which causes them to become very weak. Often dehydration is the official cause of death in dogs with parvo.
Most dogs that contract the parvovirus are in danger of dying from dehydration and malnutrition, not the parvovirus itself. Parvo most often affects puppies because their immune systems are not as mature as older dogs.
Symptoms may include:
loss of appetite
gastrointestinal distress such as vomiting and bloody, smelly diarrhea
If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that you get help, as parvo spreads quickly.
What Causes Parvo?
Parvo is a highly contagious virus. Dogs usually catch the virus through contact with infected feces, either by touching it directly or through secondary contact (e.g., on other dogs, shoes, dirt, flies, toys, etc.)
Once a puppy is infected, parvo can spread quickly, depending on how strong his immune system is. Many dogs will die within 72 hours of showing symptoms. Most dogs that get the parvovirus will need to be hydrated to survive.
Kennel (K9) Cough
Kennel Cough (also known as K9 cough or canine infectious tracheobronchitis) is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Dogs commonly contract kennel cough at places where large amounts of canines congregate, such as boarding and daycare facilities, dog parks, training groups, and dog shows. Dogs can spread it to one another through airborne droplets, direct contact (e.g., touching noses), or contaminated surfaces (including water/food bowls). It’s highly treatable in most dogs but can be more severe in puppies younger than six months of age and immunocompromised dogs.
What are the Symptoms of Kennel Cough? If your dog is affected with kennel cough, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
a strong cough, often with a “honking” sound - this is the most obvious symptom
loss of appetite
How Is Kennel Cough Treated? Typically, mild cases of kennel cough are treated with a week or two of rest, but a veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection and cough medication to ease the symptoms.
“Nebulizers and vaporizers utilizing inhaled antibiotics or bronchodilators have been reported to be beneficial but are usually not prescribed,” Dr. Fitzgerald said. Speak to your veterinarian for treatment recommendations. Also, it’s important that owners use a harness rather than a collar to walk a dog with kennel cough because irritation of the tracheal can aggravate the cough and possibly even cause damage to the trachea. If you have a household with multiple pets, it may be useful to separate them as much as possible or at least to separate their water and food bowls to prevent the sick dog from infecting the other animals. Humans cannot catch kennel cough.
Can Kennel Cough Be Prevented? A vaccine is available for the bordetella bacterium, which is the most common agent to cause kennel cough. Dogs who are frequently boarded, visit dog day care, compete in canine sports, or otherwise are exposed to large groups of dogs may benefit from the vaccine, and many training, boarding, and daycare facilities require proof of vaccination. The vaccine is available in oral, intranasal, and injectable forms, and depending on the form, it is usually initially given in two doses two to four weeks apart, followed by a booster every six months to a year.
Although most cases of kennel cough are caused by bordetella, some are caused by other agents, including the bacteria bordetella bronchiseptica, canine adenovirus type 2, canine parainfluenza virus, canine respiratory coronavirus, and mycoplasmas, so the vaccine may not prevent your dog from catching the disease.
If you notice your pet coughing or if you plan to introduce your dog to large groups of animals, speak with your veterinarian.
TREATMENT TIPS FROM STOFER'S:
Though some dogs will require antibiotics prescribed by a vet, here is a list of natural remedies we use successfully to help speed recovery of our dogs and puppies.
1. Vitamin C ~ puppy- 250mg 2xper day; dog- 500mg 2x per day
2. Give a bowl of warm water with ¼ teaspoon of coconut oil and ¼ teaspoon of lemon juice several times per day.
3. Vaporizer ~ put a vaporizer in front of their crate at night (the warm steam helps clear their nasal passages) or in front of the crate for 10 minutes a few times a day.
4. Coupage~ pat both sides of your Puppy/Dog’s ribs for several minutes to stimulate their lungs and help them cough out any mucus.
5. They need plenty of rest, but they also need to be moving around for part of the day, especially while they have a cough.
K9 cough is very contagious to other dogs. If you are going to take a recuperating animal to a play date, make sure the other owner is aware that their dog may get your dog's cough, even if both have been vaccinated.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." ~ Ephesians 6:10