I've received several messages this summer from people concerned that their pup my have a case of Ringworm. While it's not impossible, it's more likely the sores they are finding on their pooch are from a fly bite.
First things first; despite the name ringworm is NOT a worm, but rather a really nasty and contagious fungal infection that can be spread from your dog to you or vice versa.
The name simply came about because the infection can someone resemble a worm when found on a person. Ringworm in animals does not present in the same bulls-eye we have become accustom to associating with the fungus. In fact, Ringworm in animals present as more of a grey discoloration, with dry, scaly skin and cover an animals entire body in severe cases.
It's diagnosed using a Wood Lamp, a skin scrape, or by observing the hairs of an infected area under a microscope. Treatment varies depending on the strain and severity.
So, if it's not Ringworm what else could it be? Fly bites.
Fly bites are most common on a dogs tummy as most dogs have exposed skin or less fur there. Fly bites can appear in a red circular shape, about the size of a nickel, and may even have a red center. Hence why so many think their dog has been infected with Ringworm when they have not. Fly bites generally do not require medical treatment and will go away on their own within a few days.
It's always better to be safe than sorry, so set up an appointment with your vet if your dog presents with any new skin lesions or abrasions.
Old dogs are like an old favorite hoodie: comfortable. They might be a little worn around the seams, and a little out of shape, but they bring comfort like no other and they're always there when you need them most.
Many dogs have come and gone from my life, but none have impacted me as profoundly as Gabe.
Gabe was a rescue from South Carolina who spent the first 10+ years of his life tethered in someone's yard. When he arrived to our house he was more than a little worn. He could barely walk, his hair was matted and filthy, plus he wreaked like skunk. WREAKED.
As an experienced foster one of the very first things you prepare yourself for are behavioral issues associated with pain or discomfort, or just anxiety. Not knowing how Gabe would respond to touch, we gingerly walked him into the house with the first stop being the bathroom for a desperately needed tubby. He, with some help, happily plopped himself into the bath tub, and so began the very long process of bathing and shaving his matted coat.
He was SO happy to have hands petting him, rubbing him, washing the filth from his body. Truthfully, I think he would have been happy as long as we were touching him, he wouldn’t have cared if it were a bath or a total shave down. He could have come out of that tub looking like a drowned mole rat and he would have been pleased as punch.
When we were done, the true condition of his body became very apparent. Not only were his hips and elbows riddled with stress sores from laying on concrete for prolonged periods of time, but his skeletal structure was far more visible than it should have been. It was evident that poor old Gabe was starving and so, so very arthritic. But there he stood, happily wagging his tail and smiling up at us as we held back tears.
Even though we were supposed to be his foster home, I knew nearly from the moment Gabe got out of the car that he wasn't going anywhere. We were his forever home, the last stop on his journey. What I didn’t know was how profoundly Gabe would impact our life.
With good quality food, and supplements to help manage the pain and discomfort of arthritic bones, Gabe began to flourish. He gained weight, began to walk more steadily, and even started to initiate play with the other dogs in the house. His play sessions were drastically shorter in comparison, but they were funny and brought him such happiness and that’s all we really cared about. He even had his own orthopedic bed in front of the fireplace. He was no longer someone’s lawn ornament, but rather a cherished member of our family. So much so, the corner of our couch effectively became known as “Gabe’s corner.” If you were sitting there and he gave “the look” you moved and nothing made him happier than being on the couch, next to his humans.
It was shortly before Christmas, about 3 months after his arrival, when he collapsed in our living room. We rushed him to the emergency room, and stroked his aged body while the doctor explained what happened.
Gabe was old, this we already knew, what we didn’t know was that he had a massive abdominal tumor expanding and growing deep within his abdomen. Abdominal tumors are frequently silent, with little to no outward symptoms. That is until they burst, and once they burst, there is nothing that can be done.
Saying 'goodbye' to Gabe was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, but I had to do what I knew his previous owner's never would have done. I had to hold his big gray paws in my hands, kiss the top of his head, and tell him what a good boy he was, and how much I loved him. I had to give Gabe what he always deserved but never received: comfort, peace, and most importantly love.
Gabe was the type of character that came into your life when you were least expecting it. My husband had always referred to him as the smelly, ugly, old dog. It was true. Looking at him wasn’t like looking at a beautiful sunset, but his eyes, and those gray hairs that framed his face. He was old. He was wise, and he gave and received loved like no other dog I have ever known. The appreciation he had for the simplest of gestures is just unexplainable.
My heart may have sank knowing the care and adjustments that would have to be made to accommodate an elder dog into our home. But every adjustment, every little “extra” that was given was returned tenfold. My only regret is not having had the opportunity to show him the true compassion and love a human heart is capable of. Three months simply, by no means, was long enough to give him the life and compassion he deserved.
The point of this post, of these pictures, is to bring awareness to the number of elderly or senior dogs that are dumped in shelters every year and the impact you could make on their life simply by giving them the opportunity to love you. Many families relinquish ownership of their senior companions with the intent to replace them with a puppy, especially around the holidays. This means shelters in your area are likely to have a lot of senior pets looking for homes in the next few weeks. Statistically, most do not find new homes, most spend their final days in a cold kennel, alone.
While it's true taking in an older dog may mean a few more medical expenses, it could also mean less training. Less time spent mopping up pee, or chasing a dog whose stolen a sock. Not to mention older pets have already developed personalities; what you see is what you get. Looking for a cuddly dog who loves to veg on the couch and watch the latest episodes of "the Walking Dead," it'll be a lot easier to find that personality in an older dog. Puppies are still growing and developing, Fido might be cuddly when you met him at the breeder, but he could grow up to hate snuggles on a cold night.
Older dogs are also ideal for homes with small children or toddlers as they likely already know their manners and you won't spend extra time, that you don't have, training them how to behave.
November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, so if you're in the market for a new furry companion, I implore you to consider an older pet. Remember, older pets are never too old to receive love and certainly never too old to give love. You truly will be saving a life, and if your experience is anything like mine with Gabe, your life will forever be changed.
Search for senior pets in your area, click HERE.
Does the above image disturb you? It should. Imagine the pain and discomfort the pup whose tail lies mutilated on the newspaper next to them feels. No choice, no say in what happens to their body, and no understanding of why their tail was just snipped off with a pair of scissors,or maybe even gardening sheers.
The act of shortening or removing a dog's tail is referred to as docking or bobbing. Tails are most frequently docked shortly after birth with the belief that soft tissue, nerve endings are not yet fully developed so less pain will be felt. The tail is an extension of the backbone and houses anywhere between four and seven pairs of nerves and nerve endings. So, the idea that tail docking is painless is absurd, especially since the procedure is performed using absolutely zero anesthetics. Plus, however short lived the pain may be, dogs can suffer from phantom pain and even develop painful neuromas, or nerve tumors, on the end of their tails. Not to mention the possibility of infection, and long lasting socialization handicaps all in the name of owner vanity.
The Truth Is...
The truth is, when I decided to write this article I had no idea what kind of emotions I was opening myself up to. Even just searching the phrase “circus animals” fills your monitor with the horror that is life for the caged and abused. The pit in my stomach was so grave, I couldn’t spend more than a minute or two browsing the images. I don’t think you have to be particularly fond of animals to be disturbed, either.
The truth is, there are more Tigers owned by Americans then left in the wild worldwide. That is truly awful and heartbreaking.
The truth is, tigers, elephants, lions, and any other animal used to entertain a crowd does not jump through hoops, balance on pedestals or perform various other tricks because they want to, they do so because they are afraid of what will happen if they don't. Shocked with electric probes, hit with sharp steel hooks called bullhooks, or whipped, the life of a circus animal, who brings smiles and wonder to the mind of a child, is miserable. Circus animals are even sometimes drugged to make them more manageable, some even have their teeth removed to make them less dangerous while "training."
The truth is, tigers in the wild have territory which they roam spanning anywhere between 7 to 40 square miles depending on gender, food supply and mating availability. Circus cats...well, they are confined to cages, trailers, sometimes even regular trucks with no windows or ventilation for days at a time. Most don't even have access to necessities or basic needs like water, food, and veterinary care. Big cats, like tigers, are imprisoned in cages where they eat, sleep, defecate, urinate and drink within a 35 square foot space. Some might argue that once the circus arrives to its destination, animals are taken out to stretch their legs and get much needed exercise, this is simply a fallacy. Once arriving to a venue animals are kept chained in arena basements or caged in parking lots, there is never any freedom. Never any time or allowance to just be a tiger, or elephant. And lets face it, where do you think they would let a tiger "stretch" it's legs? Through your local grocery store parking lot?
Reality, Shall We...
Lets face another reality; The reality that after years of abuse, neglect and just terrible conditions, it's not uncommon for circus animals to snap putting circus goes, handlers and those in surrounding areas in danger. Elephants go on rampages, tigers and zebras head for the open streets of heavily populated cities when the opportunity presents itself. Take Missouri in 2014 for example when handlers lost control of three circus elephants. After trampling cars and causing destruction to other nearby structures, it took those same handlers 45 minutes to regain control of the animals and situation. The elephants were lucky to not have been brought down in a hail of gunfire and the handlers were lucky to escape without any casualties.
The sad part is many continue to blame the animals. "They should have been better trained", "they knew better", etc. No. They are wild animals. They were not and are not meant to be tamed and trained for our entertainment. We, as humans, a superior breed, are the ones that should know better. Should know that animals like those used in circus acts are not meant to be tamed, not meant to live a life in captivity. Captivity is not and will never be their natural habitat. Please don't live in a delusion that humans have it all figured out and an animal confined to a cage with food and water is better off than it's counterpart roaming free in their natural habitat; the wild. Please don't be that naive.
Banning The Use Of Animals in Circuses...
Thirty-two countries around the world have introduced bans on the use of animals in circuses, including Scotland who most recently introduced legislation to ban the practice of using animals by May 2017. Below is a list of the other countries who already have bans in place.
Notice any countries that you thought might be included that aren't? You know, only the ones who are thought to be leading the way in technological, educational, and humanitarian advances. The top 5 countries in the world are nowhere to be found on this list. Come on Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, United States, and Sweden where's the love and compassion. Now is the time to listen to public outcry and stop forcing magnificent beings to perform ridiculous tricks. It's time to give them respect and some resemblance of a natural life.
For a county that has been called "the world's most dominant player in terms of economic and military might, and has left a significant cultural imprint in the part due to its entertainment industry." by U.S. News and World Report L/P, the US sure is slacking in using that impact to protect some of the worlds most majestic and mistreated animals.
So What Can You Do?
First, and likely the most obvious answer is: STOP ATTENDING CIRCUSES THAT USE ANIMAL ACTS! The circus was recently in my home town and I couldn't believe the number of friends who had purchased tickets without a thought to the safety of their children or the cruelty that goes on behind closed doors and away from the public eye.
Only after the death of 24 elephants in their direct care since 1192 has Ringling Bros & Barnum & Bailey Circus recognized the shift in public opinion regarding animal acts, and have stopped using elephants in their productions. However, they continue to use other wild animals such as tigers and lions in their shows, and even bears. Tigers that leap through hoops of flames only to sometimes get set on fire, or lions who spend 90% of their time chained in small carts while the other 10% of their time is spent balancing on a small pedestal to please ticket purchasers. Eliminating elephant acts is great step in the right direction, but we are far from ending the disaster that is circus abuse and as long as people purchase tickets, they'll be less inclined to make a change.
For other ways you can help and raise awareness, check out “Steps to Take When the Circus Comes to Town.“ You can also check out groups like Animal Defenders Internationals or ADI. They were created in 1990 and their missions is to "educate, create awareness, and promote the interest of humanity in the cause of justice, and the suppression of all forms of cruelty to animals; whenever possible, to alleviate suffering, and to conserve and protect animals and their environments."
If the images in this article upset you, I'm not sorry. They should. If you wouldn't want it done to yourself, how can you justify doing it to another living, breathing being? Animal abuse is alive and sadly well in today's society. That needs to change and the change can only start if you decided to take a stand. One person may not seem like enough, but it only takes one to turn into 10, 20, 100 and eventually millions. Don't be part of the problem, don't remain silent because silence fixes nothing, and silence can be deadly.
Several times now I have been told my dogs can hear little Shelby's cry and heartbeat while in utero. With four dogs in the house, two who’ve taken to acting a bit differently towards me (which is totally expected) I started wondering if there were any validity to these claims.
I mean it shouldn’t come as any surprise that dogs would be more sensitive to such sounds as they're known to have the ability to sense on-coming heart attacks, seizures or even sniff out cancer. Heck, they can even sense weather changes before they occur, so hearing a baby while in the womb doesn't seem like that far fetched of an idea.
Although puppies are born deaf and don't gain the ability to hear until they are roughly 21 days old, when hearing does develop, they can hear a sound at 4 times the distance compared to humans. Not to mention they have eighteen muscles in their ears that allow them to really hone in on a sound or noise, but hearing a baby in the womb?
So, I did a little research.
Dogs can hear sounds within ultrasound range which equates to sound waves between 50,000 to 65,000 cycles per second. Humans can hear, at maximum, 20,000 cycles per second; considerably less than our furry canine companions. So what does this mean? Well, it's believed babies start to cry in the womb at around 28 weeks, and those cries are in fact loud enough for your dog to hear as they fall between 50,000 to 65,000 cycles per second. However, a fetal heart-beat does NOT fall within that range and therefore it's unlikely your pup will pick up on the sound of babies little ticker, at least not until they're born.
Dogs are smart, so even though they can't hear baby's heart- beat they can smell hormonal changes in mom. They may even pick-up on changes in body language, posture, mannerisms, or certainly mood changes. Simple things like caressing your tummy can be enough to tip your dog off to the idea that something is amiss. These changes in mannerisms may even result in a more protective dog, or a dog who spends more time on the opposite end of the couch.
So while you're preparing your heart and home for your new little bundle, don't forget to prepare your pup, too. A dog who feels forgotten could make a transitional period that much more difficult.
If you're looking for a great at home fetal Doppler that doesn't break the bank, but provides a nice clear sound of your baby's ticker, try this one!
More articles HERE.
If you’re a dog lover, you’ve likely heard the expression before, “it’s just a dog.”
Just a dog, aye? Well, I’ve got news for you; dogs are one of the most successful mammals on the planet!
Not only have we come to rely on our furry companions for their unwavering loyalty and devotion, but they've joined the work-force as well. Probably in more ways than most realize. From putting their lives on the line to protect and serve, to finding pesky bedbugs, or detecting cancer, they're very diligent workers and a staple in modern society whether realized or not. Simply put, there are no other candidates like that of our furry friends, the dog.
Dog have not only been integrated into our daily lives as companion pets, but they've also found their place as therapy dogs; serving those who suffer from a wide variety of medical alignments, both physical and mental. What may be viewed as "just a dog" to some is a lifeline to the world for others, a vital and crucial door to living a normal life. For those suffering from disorders like PTSD, extreme anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, the hearing or visually impaired, epilepsy or diabetes a dog means participating in everyday life just like you or I.
Dogs are so amazing, they just couldn't help themselves from finding a new way to help their human companions. They are now being incorporated into routine cancer diagnostics as cancer sniffers using their superior olfactory skills. In fact, research has shown they are just as accurate if not more so, than standard laboratory testing.
Dogs have over 300 million sensors in those little noses of theirs, which is 60 times the number of sensors in the average human nose. They also have a secret weapon called the Jacobson's Organ which allows them to detect chemical stimuli like Alkanes and aromatic compounds which are generated by tumors. The British organization, Medical Detection Dogs, provided 3,000 urine samples from patients with and without cancer, 95% of the time dogs correctly identified samples with cancer cells. Just imagine the number of lives that will be saved just by the single sniff of a dog. Can you do that? I don't think so!
I've always been a little repulsed by the idea of staying in a hotel room. Not really a fan of sprawling out on a comforter that's been soiled by a previous guest. Also not a fan of possibly bringing home creepy crawlers who only want to nest and spawn more creepy crawlers turning my nights rest into an itchy nightmare. No thanks, you can bet your bottom if I have to travel I'm finding a B&B!
But I was pleasantly surprised, recently, to learn at least one of those issues is being eliminated by dogs! Those sniffers are not only amazing at locating lost people, finding bombs, taking down drug dealers, and detecting cancer, but now they are being trained and used to detect bed bugs! That's right, these dogs spend between 800 and 1,000 hours perfecting those little noses to smell out and help eliminate bed bugs, and with a 97% accuracy rate, I'd let a dog sniff my hotel room any day! Especially if it means I don't bring an infestation of the the things nightmares are made of, home with me!
Oh, and I forgot the best part! Most of the dogs trained to sniff out these gross insects are shelter dogs! Saved from death row and given a second chance at life all while helping the very people that put them in that awful situation to begin with. Imagine that.
Dogs have displayed the remarkable ability to evolve and become irreplaceable members of our society. They risk their lives locating bombs, apprehending dangerous suspects, walking through rumble of collapsed buildings looking for survivors, the list goes on and on. They do it all with tail wags and smiles, unwavering love and loyalty. They don't ask for much in return, just food, a warm place to sleep and most importantly, a means to give their life purpose. So the next time you hear someone say "it's just a dog" remind them of all the wonderful things those dogs do for us beyond just emotional support and companionship.
The Working Dog
My favorite season is here!!! Woot Woot!
There's nothing better than walking in the door after a long day, greeted by the smell of diced apples and cinnamon cooking in the crock-pot! Homemade applesauce is the best, and there's always the added adventure of a day spent outdoors climbing trees to snag the best ones.
While prepping those delicious apples for the crock-pot, you know a few pieces are going to end up in your tummy. Heck, you'll probably even slip a few to your dog if you have one, and that's awesome!
Some people are hesitant to feed apples to their dog because of Amygdalin, a form of Cyanide, found in the seeds, but remove the core which is a choking hazard anyway, along with the seeds, and apples make a healthy and nutrition-packed snack for your dog. Plus they're CHEAP and your dog will love them!
Tossing a few apples your dog's way will help to remove residue and plaque build up on their teeth all while keeping their breath fresh and kissable! They are a great alternative to commercially produced dog treats as they are much lower in saturated fat which contributes to heart disease, especially in older dogs. Apples are a high-fiber, low- protein, low calorie, and low sodium SUPER FOOD that you shouldn't hesitate to give to your dog. They're even a great source of Vitamins A and C!
There is a select group of dogs that should avoid sweet snacks, even if naturally sweet, like apples and those are dogs who are diabetic or suffering from kidney disease. The natural sugars in apples are too much for a diabetic dog, and the Omega 6 isn't good for dogs suffering from Kidney disease.
So, if you happen to have apple picking on your Fall bucket list, toss a few extra into your bag or barrel for your pup to enjoy, too!
It's the thing every pet parent dreads, FLEAS.
They can sneak into the house on your clothes, or they can hitch a ride on your dog. Either way, they're a pain to get rid of and their bites can itch for days.
I've posted about flea remedies and preventatives in the past, but they have been especially bad this summer so I thought a more in-depth and thorough post might be in order.
Lets start at the beginning...
Fleas are small, about the size of a pinhead, wingless bugs who use their legs to jump from host to host. They live externally on the skin creating havoc within the fur, and have mouths designed specifically for biting and sucking blood, similar to that of a mosquito.
After feeding, a female will generally lay around 20 eggs directly on the host. Many of the eggs will roll off landing on surfaces your pet frequents regularly, like bedding or other resting areas. Vacuuming and washing blankets and sheets will help to prevent the infestation of fleas, as well as other bugs.
Eggs hatch into larvae which feed off any organic material including dead bugs, feces and vegetable matter. Larvae then turn into pupae and then into adult fleas, though fleas can remain as larvae or pupae for several months often referred to as "overwinter," until optimal conditions for survival are present. This is one of the reason why riding your home of these pesky bugs can be so difficult.
Generally speaking, fleas can live for between one and one and a half years with optimal conditions. Sadly, this means females can lay about 5,000 eggs in their lifetime...that's from ONE female flea!
Above are good reference pictures for just how small fleas are.
Besides being obnoxious and cumbersome to deal with, flea bites can itch for days, sometimes even weeks! They can carry bacterial or viral infections, and even lead to hair loss from repetitive scratching or in extreme cases, anemia. It's also a real possibility that your dog has contracted Tapeworms if they've had fleas as fleas are known to be carriers. Dogs aren't the only ones in danger of getting fleas, either. If your fur baby happens to be a rabbit, ferret, chicken, or even a squirrel or a mouse, they too are perfect hosts for fleas, alongside cats and humans.
If you suspect your dog or cat might have fleas, grab a flash light and take a look at your pets underside, as well as the inner thighs, and base of the tail. This is where fleas like to hide out; especially if you've caught the infestation early.
Also, once we've parted the fur, look for flea dirt. It'll look like pepper flakes. If you find something you think might be flea dirt, use tweezers to remove the flakes and place them on a wet paper towel. If the flakes spread apart to form small blood pools, it's most definitely flea dirt as flea dirt is essentially flea poop and will consist of the blood the flea ate.
So now what? You're fur kid has fleas and you're panicked that your house is going to turn into flea central. Relax! There are several ways to treat them, both naturally and commercially.
My favorite, and most recommend flea remedy is food grade Diatomaceous Earth. It can be purchased online via Amazon or at your local hardware store, such as Lowes or Home Depot.
Diatomaceous Earth is a soft, crumbly, porous deposit formed from the fossil remains of diatoms. In other words, it's a white powder that kills any bug with an exoskeleton, including fleas! It's also natural and kills on contact so, there's virtually no waiting. Just sprinkle it on your pet, rub it in and wowza, dead fleas! You can even sprinkle it onto your carpets and furniture, then vacuum it up killing any fleas that may be chilling out waiting for the perfect snack to come their way.
***While Diatomaceous Earth is safe to use topically, you don't want you or your pet to breath it in as the edges are sharp and inhaling a copious amount could result in lung damage.***
Another awesome and immediate flea remedy is Dawn dish soap. Generic brand will not work, it must be original scent Dawn. Just run a nice warm bath for your pup, plop them into the tub and lather on the Dawn soap. Be sure to really work the Dawn down into the fur and onto the skin. Let sit for a few minutes, rinse, and watch the dead fleas be washed away!
It's also important to know that while fleas may look like they are dead, floating in the water, it actually takes roughly 24 hours for fleas to drown. If you simply empty the wash pan, without making sure all the pesky bugs are rinsed free, they can revive in a couple hours and come back to haunt you! No joke!
There are several over the counter, commercial shampoos geared towards flea removal, but from personal experience Dawn works just as well, if not better and is generally half the cost. it's also less likely your fur kid will have an adverse reaction to Dawn when compared to some other commercial flea shampoos.
Vacuuming and washing linens is going to play a HUGE role in eliminating and controlling a flea infestation. Even if the soap and water during the washing cycle doesn't kill fleas or their eggs, the high heat from the dryer is sure to do the job. Fleas are heat sensitive, and will not be able to withstand temperatures within the dryer.
As mentioned before, be sure to regularly vacuum where your dog sleeps and or rests, especially if these are materials that cannot be washed. It's important to remember to empty the vacuum bag or cartridge after each cleaning as you don't want any fleas crawling back into your home!
Fleas and many other outdoor bugs, including mosquito, have an aversion to the smell of citrus. There's an easy spray you can whip up in your kitchen using lemons, water and a pan!
What you will need:
4-6 whole lemons
1 1/4 cup water
Slice the lemons into halves and place them into the pan with 1 1/4 water.
Bring the water with lemons, to a boil and let sit for 5 to 6 minutes.
Turn the burner off and cover the pot, letting the lemons steep overnight.
This will allow all the juices and oils from the lemons to saturate the water.
Place one or two lemon halves into the spray bottle along with some of the water.
BAM! Flea Spray. Easy peasy!
Lightly spray directly onto your pups fur. Fleas, gnats, mosquito's, etc. will steer clear of your now lemony fresh pooch.
And of course there are your more traditional treatments and preventatives like topical liquids you apply monthly, or oral medications that protect against both internal parasites, as well as fleas and ticks.
So relax! Even though it's no walk in the park, fleas are treatable and your home will return to the nice calm, itch free oasis that you love it to be!
You're sitting in your living room and all of a sudden you hear a ruckus in the next room. It sounds like a wild hog has overtaken your dining room and is in the middle of redecorating your walls with snot.
Nope. It's just your dog...reverse sneezing.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, consider yourself lucky as most dogs suffer from reverse sneezing at some point or another, though there are breeds that are more susceptible to the phenomenon.
First, lets start by defining the difference between a regular old sneeze, and a reverse sneeze.
Reverse sneezing is also known as backwards sneezing, or paroxysmal respiration and is most common in breeds with Brachycephalic skulls, like pugs and bulldogs. Brachycephalic skulls are broad and short. Below is a list of dogs who may suffer from reverse sneezing, though it is possible in any breed.
So what causes reverse sneezing? Reverse sneezing is caused by a spasm of the soft palate and throat likely caused by an irritant, like an allergen. Your pup probably got too close to a dandelion, or inhaled some dust. In rare cases, medication may be required if your dog suffers from severe allergies causing frequent reverse sneezing fits. Otherwise, the fit will pass and the wild hog will transform back into your lovable pooch.
There's an age old question every dog parent has wondered; "Why does my dog eat grass?"
The truth is there are a number of reasons why your pup could be heading outdoors to snack on your freshly mowed lawn, but rarely are the reason serious.
First, lets talk about the misconception that dogs who eat grass always throw up shortly afterwards. Vomiting after grazing is rare and only happens in less than 25% of dogs. If your dog does throw up after munching on some green roughage it's likely because they gulped rather than chewed. If the grass is gulped it can tickle the throat and or stomach during digestion and can therefore result in vomiting.
When dogs have an upset or gassy stomach they often look for the easiest and most readily available treatment, even for just temporary relief, and grass often times is the key to a less gassy or acidic tum tum. Just think of grass as your dogs version of saltine crackers...or tums!
In the wild, the stomach and stomach contents are often the first part of a kill to be digested by wolves and or foxes. When consuming the stomach of an animal, wolves, foxes and therefore dogs (because they are direct descendants of wolves and foxes) are digesting the berries, plants and other roughage consumed by their prey, and it's for this reason that many feel the need for dogs to digest grass has developed over years of evolution.
Having said that, many commercially produced dog foods can lack certain ingredients and therefore your dog is supplementing by grazing. There's really no need to be concerned unless your dog is consuming copious amounts, and throwing up more than once a week. If this is the case, it's time to seek a professionals opinion, and get your dogs overall health assessed. You want to be sure there isn't an underlining medical issue like constant nausea or anxiety related issues that are causing your dog to ravenously eat grass.
It's also imperative to be conscious of what grass your dog is eating. Has it been sprayed with pesticides? If so, it generally takes a large amount to cause lasting problems, but you may want to step in and prevent consumption of this grass.
Long story short, the reason why dogs eat grass is widely misunderstood and the exact reason is unknown, but the behavior is widely practiced and rarely serious!
With over 10 years of experience through ownership and rescue work, I hope to share my knowledge and insight to happier, healthier fur kids. Have a question, feel free to ask!