Parasite Control in Dogs

Fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal worms – for their small size, these parasites pack a lot of misery for you and your pet. Besides driving your faithful companion crazy, they pose a hazard to pets and people.

Fortunately, you’re not without the means to fight back. What follows are guidelines and recommendations to keep your household safe and happy.

Know the Enemy

The first thing is to know what you’re up against:

  • Intestinal Parasites.

    Dogs are victims of several internal parasites including roundworms, coccidia, giardia, hookworms and whipworms and can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and anemia. The most common are roundworms (ascarids) that infest nearly every puppy at some time in his life. Usually they are born with them; they are passed from mother to young.

    Tapeworms can be a big problem when flea infestation is high. Adult dogs typically acquire worms when they lick up microscopic eggs that are ever-present in contaminated soil or grass, or they swallow a flea. Mature dogs usually develop a resistance to most intestinal parasites, but the whipworm (Trichuris vulpis) can still cause problems, leading to colitis (inflammation of the colon) and weight loss.

    Evidence of roundworms and tapeworms can be seen without the aid of a microscope, but other worms are not so easily diagnosed. Early diagnosis is important because all worms do not respond to the same treatment.

    For information on illness caused by these internal creatures, see the articles “Intestinal Parasites” and “Protozoan Parasites.”

  • Fleas.

    Watching a flea-bitten pet scratch herself desperately is a heart-rending sight. Fleas are a common problem for dogs, cats and people, who can also be bitten. As if the bite wasn’t bad enough, many dogs are allergic to fleas.

    When a flea bites your dog, it injects a small amount of saliva into the skin to prevent blood coagulation. Some animals may have fleas without showing discomfort, but an unfortunate number of dogs become sensitized to this saliva. In highly allergic animals, the bite of a single flea can cause severe itching and scratching. Fleas cause the most common skin disease of dogs, which is called Flea Allergy Dermatitis. Other concerns regarding fleas can be found in the article The Dangers of Fleas in Dogs.

  • Ticks.

    These creatures present another set of problems. When ticks are in need of a blood meal, they seek out prey by heat sensors. When a warm object passes by them, they attach themselves by clinging to clothing or fur or falling from trees onto the object and insert pincher-like mouthparts into the skin and begin feeding. These mouthparts are locked in place and will only dislodge when the tick has completed the meal. Once the meal is complete, the adult female falls from the prey and seeks shelter. Eggs are born and the adult female dies.

    Dogs are a common target for ticks. If you live in an area populated with ticks you should keep a sharp eye on these parasites. They can transmit serious diseases (such as rickettsial diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis) to dogs and even to humans. Find out more by reading The Dangers of Ticks in Dogs.

  • Heartworms.

    Heartworms have the potential to cause serious illness. All it takes is one bite from a mosquito carrying a heartworm larva. In time, the larva develops into a full-fledged adult worm, finding a home in the arteries of the lungs. Without treatment, dogs with heartworm disease will become lethargic, lose their appetite and begin to have difficulty breathing. Heart failure can also occur. For more information, read Canine Heartworm Disease.

  • The Battle Plan

  • Preventing Intestinal Parasites.

    Puppies are regularly dewormed for roundworms and hookworms at the time of their “puppy shots.” If your puppy hasn’t been dewormed, talk to your veterinarian about getting this important step taken care of. A stool sample should be collected prior to each puppy vaccination visit, and a follow up sample examined at the appropriate interval after the last deworming medication has been given.

    Worms can affect mature dogs as well. A yearly fecal exam is recommended for most adult dogs unless the dog is taking a heartworm preventative that also controls intestinal parasites. With primarily outdoor dogs, it may be beneficial to evaluate stool samples two or three times a year if the risk of infection is high. Or you may decide to administer a heartworm preventative that also controls intestinal parasites. Some of the newer heartworm combinations fight all three threats: heartworms, intestinal parasites and fleas.

  • Fighting Fleas and Ticks.

    Even minor flea bites can cause severe reactions in some pets. Though the itching component to flea-allergy can be treated with antihistamines or even corticosteriods (prescribed by your veterinarian), the best approach is to kill the flea and prevent its return. There are many products available to treat flea infestations. Some of the over-the-counter powders, sprays and collars (such as those from Hartz® or Sergeants®) contain permethrin, which is moderately effective.

    However, the best flea products are prescription – see your veterinarian for these. Products such as Program® (lufenuron) and Sentinel® (which also prevents heartworm disease) prevent development of fleas that attack your dog. If your dog already has fleas, then you need to kill them first with a product like Capstar® brand of nitenpyram, Frontline® brand of fipronil or Advantage® brand of imidacloprid. Some of these have residual effects that can also control ticks. A new product, Revolution®, is a topical treatment to prevent external parasites, heartworm and intestinal parasites. In addition to these prescription products, a collar tag called Preventic® is also effective in controlling ticks on some dogs. Other ideas can be found in Flea Control and Prevention.

    In tough cases, you may have to wage all-out war to conquer fleas. This means a comprehensive flea control program, requiring treatment of the pet, the pet’s bed, the yard and the house. A variety of sprays, dips, powders, foams and oral products may be recommended.

    Ticks are very difficult to control, but a program of tick prevention and meticulously combing and grooming your dog can keep them at bay. See the related article “How To Remove and Prevent Ticks.”

  • Preventing Heartworm Disease.

    Preventing heartworm disease is easier and much preferred to treating an active heartworm infection. Treatment is easy – just one tablet once a month. Please see “Heartworm Prevention Guidelines for Dogs.”

    Not all parasitic diseases can be prevented but many can be treated. Mites are parasites that can cause serious illness in your dog. For more information, see Ear Mites in Dogs, Sarcoptic Mange, Demodicosis and Cheyletiellosis.

  • How to Do Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on Dogs

    Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for Dogs

    As much as we try to protect our dogs, accidents do happen. So, it is important to be as prepared as reasonably possible. One way to be prepared is to know how to give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

    CPR is an emergency technique used to help someone whose heart and/or breathing has stopped. Although somewhat modified, the same techniques used for people – rescue breathing and chest compressions – can be used to help treat an animal in distress.

    The first lesson to know about CPR is that it doesn’t restart a stopped heart. The purpose of CPR, in both humans and animals, is to keep them alive until the heart begins beating on its own or a cardiac defibrillator can be used. In people, about 15 percent of those getting CPR actually survive. In animals, CPR is frequently unsuccessful, even if performed by a trained veterinarian. Even so, attempting CPR will give your pet a fighting chance.

    The ABCs of CPR for Dogs

    In both humans and dogs, you must follow the ABCs: airway, breathing and circulation, in that order. If you suspect your pet is in distress, immediately look at his posture. Note the presence of blood, vomit or feces; his breathing pattern and other bodily sounds; and any materials, such as possible poisons, around him.

    It is vital to know for sure that your pet isn’t breathing or doesn’t have a pulse before beginning CPR; it is dangerous to apply CPR to an animal (or a person, for that matter) if he is breathing normally and has a pulse.

    Look for the chest rising and falling or place a mirror in front of his nose and watch for condensation. When checking for a pulse, remember that animals do not have a distinct carotid (neck) pulse. To determine if the heart is still beating, place your hand on the left side of the chest.

    How to Do Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on Dogs

    Click on the video below to see the demonstration on how to perform CPR on your dog.


    If your dog has stopped breathing, check to see if the throat and mouth are clear of foreign objects. Be careful about placing your fingers inside the mouth. An unresponsive dog may bite on instinct. If the airway is blocked, do the following:

    • Lay your pet down on his side.
    • Gently tilt the head slightly back to extend the neck and head, but be very careful: Do not overextend the neck in cases of neck trauma.
    • Pull the tongue out of your pet’s mouth.
    • Carefully use your fingers to sweep for any foreign material or vomit from the mouth. Unlike CPR for humans, you can reach into the airway to remove foreign objects.
    • If necessary, perform the Heimlich maneuver.



    If your dog is breathing, allow him to assume the position most comfortable for him. If he isn’t breathing, make sure the airway is open, and begin rescue breathing. Again, remember that even an unresponsive dog may bite on instinct.

    • Make sure the neck is straight without overextending.
    • For medium to large dogs, you will be performing mouth-to-nose breathing. Close the mouth and lips by placing your hand around the lips and holding the muzzle closed.
    • Place your mouth over the dog’s nose. For dogs under 30 pounds, cover the mouth and lips with your mouth. Your mouth will form a seal.
    • Exhale forcefully. Give four or five breaths quickly.
    • Check to see if breathing has resumed normally. If breathing hasn’t begun or is shallow, begin rescue breathing again.
    • For dogs over 30 pounds, give 20 breaths per minute.
    • For dogs less than 30 pounds, give 20 to 30 breathes per minute.

      Now check for a heartbeat. If no heartbeat is detected, begin cardiac compressions with rescue breathing.



    For most dogs, chest compressions are best done with the animal lying on his side on a hard surface. For barrel-chested dogs such as bulldogs and pugs, CPR is best done with the animal on his back.

    Make sure your dog is on a hard surface. The sidewalk or ground should work. If the animal is on a soft area, chest compressions will not be as effective.

    For small dogs (less than 30 pounds)

    • Place your palm or fingertips over the ribs at the point where the raised elbow meets the chest.
    • Kneel down next to the dog with the chest near you.
    • Compress the chest about 1 inch at a rate of twice per second. (Small animals have higher heart rates than people so compressions need to be more rapid.)
    • Begin 5 compressions for each breath. After 1 minute, stop and check for a heartbeat. Continue if the beat has not resumed.

    Bite Wounds in Dogs

    Bite Wounds that Occur to Dogs

    Bite wounds are often the result when two animals engage in a fight or aggressive play. Animal fights most commonly occur when adults are put together for the first time. Other causes of fighting include dominance, hierarchy, fighting over food, owner attention or territory. Of all trauma-related veterinary visits, 10 to 15 percent are related to bite wounds.

    Dog bites can result in significant trauma, like crushing, tearing, puncturing and lacerations of the skin and underlying tissues. Cat bites are typically puncture wounds with possible tearing or laceration. This is due to the small, sharp teeth of cats as compared to dogs.

    Since the mouth is an environment filled with bacteria, all bite wounds are considered contaminated and the possibility of infection is high. In comparison, cat bites have a much greater chance of becoming infected than do dog bites.

    Bite wounds, which may only appear as a small puncture wound in the skin, can actually be quite extensive. Once the tooth penetrates the skin, severe damage can occur to the underlying tissues without major skin damage.

    All bite wounds should receive veterinary attention. Some wounds may appear deceptively minor but may have the potential to be life threatening, depending on the area of the body bitten.

    What to Watch For

    • Bleeding
    • Swelling
    • Drainage
    • Breathing difficulty
    • Limping
    • Weakness
    • Collapse

    Diagnosis of Canine Bite Wounds

    Diagnosing a bite wound is usually a simple task, especially if the owner witnesses a fight. Wounds often have the characteristic appearance of a bite wound. The challenge comes in determining the extent of the underlying damage. Bite wounds are most commonly found on the neck, face and legs.

    Bite wounds of the neck can be serious and may need further examination to determine the extent of the underlying damage. Excessive bleeding from tearing of a major blood vessel, nerve damage, airway trauma and trauma to the esophagus can occur.

    Bite wounds of the face can cause severe damage to the eyes, ears or mouth. Scratches and puncture of the eye is possible. Extensive bleeding can occur if the ears or mouth are bitten.

    Sedation or anesthesia may be required to examine the injured pet.


    Treatment of Canine Bite Wounds

    Treatment for bite wounds depends on the part of the body injured and the severity of the bite. Bite wounds are usually painful and your veterinarian will administer pain medications to relieve the pain. Wounds have the best chance of healing without complication if treated within 12 hours of the injury.

    Sedation or anesthesia may be required to treat some bite wounds. The skin wound may have to be enlarged surgically to allow examination of the underlying tissues.

    The primary goal of treatment is to reduce the risk of infection. Your veterinarian will gently remove dead tissue and clean the wound area thoroughly to remove hair and other debris. Povidone iodine or chlorhexidine are used to disinfect the wound. If extensive damage has occurred and fluid accumulation is expected, a temporary drain may be placed in the wound to assist healing. The edges of the wound are sutured closed.

    Antibiotics are very important in treating infection, although most bite wounds become infected even if the patient is on antibiotics. This is due to the contaminated nature of the injury. The purpose of antibiotics is an attempt to keep the infection under control.

    Bacterial culture and sensitivity may be done to determine the primary bacterial agent involved and help chose the best antibiotic. Frequently, this test is reserved for those bite wounds that do not respond to initial antibiotic treatment.

    Since the vast majority of bite wounds are contaminated with Pasteurella multocida, common antibiotic choices include amoxicillinamoxicillin with clavulanic acid,cephalexin, cefadroxil or enrofloxacin.

    Home Care for Bite Wounds in Dogs

    Initially cleaning of the bite wounds with hydrogen peroxide, povidone iodine or chlorhexidine can help reduce infection. Extreme care must be used since bite wounds are painful and the pet may bite the person caring for him/her out of fear or pain. You may have to muzzle your pet.

    Despite initial home care, all bite wounds should be examined and treated by a veterinarian. Extensive damage can occur even if it appears as though there is only a small, minor puncture wound on the skin.

    Preventative Care

    Preventing bite wounds is done by avoiding situations that may result in animal fights. Do not allow your pet to roam. Keep cats indoors. Keep your dog on a leash, especially when visiting parks and walking through the neighborhood.

    Your Guide to Common Dog Poisonings

    Common Canine Poisons and Toxins

    There are hundreds of items your dog can get access to. Some things are highly toxic and others are non-toxic. This article is a guide to help you determine if a particular item is a problem and provide you with the information you need to best help your pet.

    If you think your dog may have been exposed to a toxin, the best thing to do is to check the label of the item you think your pet ingested. Read the information about toxicity. Often, but not always, the information on packaging regarding children is relevant to dogs and some manufacturers even discuss dog toxicity. If there is an 800 number on the package – call them! It’s also recommended that you call your veterinarian to confirm the recommendations. If you go to your veterinarian, take all packaging and any information you have on the product.

    General Information. For most poisonings, there is not much you can do at home. Consult your veterinarian or veterinary emergency facility if you suspect your pet has been poisoned. For some ingested poisons, your veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting before bringing the pet in for examination and treatment. Inducing vomiting of a toxic substance should never be done unless specifically directed by a veterinarian. For topical exposures, bathing in lukewarm water with a mild dish soap can reduce further toxin absorption before the pet is examined and treated by a veterinarian.

    List of Common Dog Toxins

    Non-toxic Items Commonly Eaten by Dogs. Chewing on things is a normal part of puppyhood so before you rush your pooch to the veterinarian, here is a list of some commonly eaten and, thankfully, non-toxic items. If your pup chews any of these, don’t worry about toxicity. The only real concern is the potential for obstruction if the object or container becomes lodged in the stomach or intestines. Also, you can expect some vomiting and maybe even a little diarrhea from eating a non-food item.

    Amitraz. Amitraz is an insecticide used in some brands of dog tick collars and topical solutions. Toxicity most often affects curious puppies who ingest the poison but can occur from wearing the tick collar or receiving demodectic mange treatment. Typical symptoms begin within about 2 to 6 hours of ingestion and often begin with the pet becoming weak and lethargic. Vomiting, diarrhea and disorientation are also common. Without treatment, coma may result. In severe untreated cases, toxicity may result in death. Call and see your veterinarian for treatment.

    Amphetamines. Amphetamines are human medications that are commonly used as appetite suppressants and mood elevators or for the treatment of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders. Amphetamines must be prescribed by a physician, but because they are popular as appetite suppressants and mood elevators, they are often purchased illegally. Amphetamines are nervous system stimulants that also affect the brain. After ingestion, toxic signs are usually seen within one to two hours. Common signs include restlessness, hyperactivity, agitation, tremors and seizures. Prompt veterinary treatment for amphetamine toxicity is crucial and will give your pet a better chance of full recovery. If left untreated, amphetamine toxicity can be fatal.

    Ant Traps. If an ant trap is ingested, the only real concern is the potential for obstruction if the object or container becomes lodged in the stomach or intestines. Most ant and roach traps are made from either sticky paper or chlorpyrifos, which has a low level of toxicity in mammals but is highly toxic to insects. Also, you can expect some vomiting and maybe even a little diarrhea from eating a non-food item.

    Antifreeze. Ethylene glycol toxicosis is a type of poisoning that occurs after ingestion of antifreeze or other fluids containing the ingredient ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol itself is not toxic, but it is metabolized in the animal’s body to several extremely toxic chemicals that are responsible for its potentially lethal effects. Ethylene glycol poisoning results in nervous system abnormalities and severe kidney failure with almost complete cessation of urine output. Ethylene glycol poisoning can be fatal if not treated soon after ingestion (within 4 to 8 hours). The minimum lethal dose for dogs averages five milliliters per kilogram of body weight. Thus, a little more than three tablespoons (or 45 milliliters) could be lethal for a 22 pound (10 kg) dog. Definitive treatment should be started as soon as possible after consumption of ethylene glycol (within a few hours). If treated promptly and appropriately, pets that have consumed ethylene glycol will not develop kidney failure and have a good chance of survival. Signs to watch for include: nausea, vomiting, increased thirst, lethargy and incoordination progressing to coma. Pets may act as if they are intoxicated. These signs develop within 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion of ethylene glycol depending on the amount ingested.

    Bathing Your Puppy

    Your cute adorable puppy loves new experiences. This is the time to get your pup used to bathing. If you wait too long to introduce him to soap and water, you may end up bathing an unwilling and uncooperative dog – and end up all wet.

    Here are a few tips to make the ritual of the bath more enjoyable, or at least tolerable, for the both of you. With some patience and practice, your dog, rather than you, will get the lion’s share of the bath. As time goes on, your pup will eventually tolerate, and may even enjoy, a periodic dip in the tub.

    To Bathe or Not to Bathe

    The first step is to consult your veterinarian about your particular pooch. Different breeds and lifestyles will dictate when it is safe to begin bathing your pup and what sort of pet shampoos work best. Never wash your dog outside if the weather is cold. This is particularly true for puppies, who have trouble regulating their body temperatures. Puppies should be at least four weeks old before they receive their first bath.

    Start Slowly

    First get your puppy used to the tub or bathing area. Place him in the tub and offer a treat. Make it a fun experience. Don’t start running the water or getting your puppy wet. Let him think this is just a happy place to be.

    Then, begin to wipe your puppy with a wet towel while he is in the tub. Still offer treats and make it a fun experience. If you are getting frustrated, quit and start over later.

    After your pup is used to the wet towel, pour some water over your pup from a pre-filled bucket. Once he is used to this, it is safe to begin bathing as you would an adult dog.

    Be Prepared

    Before you tackle your dog, you’ll want to go through a pre-bath checklist. Prepare the bathing area out of your dog’s presence. There’s no point in warning him ahead of time; he’ll only get anxious. Here are some items you’ll want to have on hand:

  • A veterinarian-approved dog shampoo (people products can cause allergic reactions)
  • Mineral oil and/or cotton balls
  • Washcloth or sponge
  • Towels (the bigger the dog, the more towels you’ll need)
  • A warm, draft-free area
  • A bathing tether if you’re bathing him in a tub. (If you’re bathing him outside, a tether to a fixed point will do.)
  • Brush and comb for his coat
  • A soft brush for between his toes and on his nails
  • A rubber tub mat
  •  Before bathing, comb and brush out all mats. Otherwise, the water will turn the mats into solid masses, which will require clippers to remove. If your dog’s hair is matted with paint, tar or some other sticky material, trim with clippers or soak the area with vegetable or mineral oil for 24 hours. (You may want to speak with a professional groomer if the tangles are difficult.)

  • Now it’s time to prep your dog. Put a drop of mineral oil in the eyes to protect them from suds. Some people use cotton balls in the ears. If you use cotton balls, make sure they’re the right size for your dog’s ears; if they’re too small, they may slip down the ear canal.

    If you’re using a tub, fill the water to the level of your dog’s knees. The water should be about his temperature; around 102 degrees Fahrenheit.


    The Bath

    Bring your dog into the tub. If you have a bathing tether, attach one end to his collar and the suction cup to the bathtub. Ladle the warm water over him. If you use a spray, use it on low and hold it gently against his coat so the spraying action doesn’t scare him. When he’s thoroughly wet, apply the shampoo on his back and work it gently through the coat for about 10 minutes. Be careful not to get soap in his face or mouth. Use the washcloth or sponge to clean and rinse his face, and the soft brush to clean the paws, between toes and on nails.

    When you’re ready to rinse, don’t forget to drain the tub first. The rinsing cycle, by the way, is very important. You want to do it twice to make sure all the soap is rinsed off. Leaving soap on the dog can cause an allergic reaction.

    If necessary, drain the tub again so your dog isn’t standing in water while he dries. Now, you’d better back up; your dog has been waiting to shake off the excess water since you began. 

    Gently squeeze out excess water (don’t forget to remove the cotton from his ears) and finish drying him with the towels. If you use a hair dryer, keep the heat and blow force on low. Remember to dry the ears with cotton balls to prevent infection.

    Keep your dog away from any drafts until his coat is completely dry.

    How to Do the Heimlich on Your Dog

    How to Do the Heimlich on Your Dog

    Before administering any first aid, make absolutely certain your pet is actually choking. Many people confuse difficulty breathing with choking. If you witness your pet ingesting an item and then immediately begin pawing at the face, the throat, acting frantic, trying to cough and having difficulty breathing, only then should the Heimlich maneuver be considered. If your pet is not really choking, the Heimlich can cause serious injury.

    What Happens If a Dog is Choking?

    After determining that your pet is choking, remove any item that may be constricting the neck. Examine inside the mouth and remove any foreign object you see. Do not blindly place your hand down your pet’s throat and pull any object you feel. Dogs have small bones that support the base of their tongues. Owners probing the throat for a foreign object have mistaken these for chicken bones. Do not attempt to remove an object unless you can see and identify it.

    If your pet is small and you cannot easily remove the object, lift and suspend him with the head pointed down. For larger animals, lift the rear legs so the head is tilted down. This can help dislodge an item stuck in the throat.

    Another method is to administer a sharp blow with the palm of your hand between the shoulder blades. This can sometimes dislodge an object. If this does not work, a modified Heimlich maneuver can be attempted.

    • Grasp the animal around the waist so that the rear is nearest to you, similar to a bear hug.
    • Place a fist just behind the ribs.
    • Compress the abdomen several times (usually 3-5 times) with quick pushes.
    • Check the mouth to see if the foreign object has been removed.
    • This maneuver can be repeated one to two times but if not successful on the first attempt, make arrangements to immediately take your pet to the nearest veterinary hospital.

      Even if you are successful in removing a foreign object, veterinary examination is recommended. Internal injury could have occurred that you may not realize.


    How to Perform The Heimlich Maneuver in a Dog

    Click on the video below to see the demonstration on how to perfom the Heimlich Manuver on your dog

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    Should You Supplement Your Dog’s Diet?

    As a general rule, before supplementing your dog’s diet, you should discuss with your veterinarian the available evidence or recommendations supporting the use of nutriceuticals and dietary supplements. Be certain to avoid high levels of supplementation of any single nutrient unless you’re certain that it’s safe and won’t interfere with any other medications your pet may be taking.


    Supplements fall into two general and very large categories: vitamin and mineral supplements and nutriceuticals. Nutriceuticals are nutrient supplements given to obtain a pharmacologic (drug-like) effect or to prevent a specific disease. The overall benefit of vitamin and mineral supplements is hotly debated. According to most feeding studies of healthy dogs, dogs that eat an appropriate balanced diet do not need supplements. Nevertheless, many of us take dietary supplements ourselves and wish to provide our pets with the same potential benefits.

    Of course, dietary supplements can also be dangerous. Excessive supplementation with calcium salts, for example, can lead to significant bone diseases in growing dogs. Vitamin D supplementation can lead to harmful elevations of the blood calcium and damage to the kidneys. Nutriceuticals fall into a different category since they are used to either prevent or treat specific diseases. Examples include: taurine (an amino acid essential to cats) and Cosequin (a protein complex of possible benefit in joint health). There are others, such as L-carnitine (sometimes used for heart conditions), rutin (used for a serious condition called chylothorax) and co-enzyme Q10. Be aware that the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements in the same way that drugs are regulated and controlled. The proof of effectiveness and safety demanded for pharmaceuticals is not required for nutriceuticals or vitamins.


    As a general rule, before supplementing your dog’s diet, you should discuss with your veterinarian the available evidence supporting the use of nutriceuticals and dietary supplements. Be certain to avoid high levels of supplementation of any single nutrient unless you’re certain that it is safe and will not interfere with any other medications your pet may take.


    Footpad Injuries in Dogs

    Injuries to the Canine Footpad

    The footpad is considered the toughest part of the animal’s skin. It is the thick, spongy structure located on each digit and under the metacarpal and metatarsal joints of dogs and cats. This specialized part of the body absorbs the shock and pressure from standing and running. All footpads are made of a thickened layer of skin and a rough surface. In dogs the outer layer is usually pigmented.

    Due to the location and function of footpads, they are often injured. The pads contain many blood vessels and they can bleed a lot when injured. Generally, footpad injuries include lacerations, punctures, abrasions, burns, traumatic pad removal and tumors. Due to the constant pressure and use of the foot, some extensive pad injuries do not heal.

    What to Watch For

    Signs of injuries to the canine footpad may include:

    Diagnosis of Footpad Injuries in Dogs

    Most pad injuries are diagnosed based on physical examination findings. Although lacerations, punctures, and abrasions are evident on examination of the pad, your veterinarian may not be able to determine the cause of the trauma.

    Diagnosing tumors of the footpad requires additional tests. Under local anesthetic or general anesthesia, your veterinarian will surgically remove a biopsy sample of the suspicious mass and submit it to a pathologist for examination. The pathologist will review it and determine whether the mass is infectious, inflammatory or cancerous.

    Treatment of Footpad Injuries in Dogs

    The majority of footpad injuries are related to lacerations, punctures, and abrasions. However, veterinary care will vary, depending on the severity of the injury.

    If your pet has a mild trauma such as a small laceration, abrasion or puncture, your veterinarian will thoroughly clean the wound with povidone iodine or chlorhexidine and apply a light temporary bandage. Your pet might require an Elizabethan collar to prevent him from licking at the feet.

    For any bandaged paw, frequent bandage changes are necessary regardless of the severity of the injury. Your pet sweats from his footpads so moisture develops in the bandage. This can slow healing and result in infections. You will need to change his bandage every 2-3 days.

    More extensive lacerations require proper management in order to heal. If your pet has an extensive laceration, each time he steps down, the pad spreads and the edges of the laceration spread apart. This makes healing difficult. As with minor cuts, your veterinarian will thoroughly clean the wound with povidone iodine or chlorhexidine. Then your veterinarian will suture the wound in an attempt to keep the edges of the laceration together to promote healing. He or she will then place a thick non-adherent bandage or even a splint to help reduce the pressure applied to the pad.

    Some injuries to the pad involve a layer of the pad being torn off. Suturing is not possible in these situations. Your veterinarian will thoroughly clean the pad and apply a non-adherent bandage or splint.

    The splint is used to display the forces of walking to allow the wound to heal and to help prevent infection by keeping the wound clean and dry. Application of Aloe Vera gel early in the course of treatment has also been found to promote healing.

    Occasionally, severe injury to the pads results in a complete loss of the pad, and treatment is determined by which pad is lost. Those pads associated with the middle toes are most important for weight bearing. For cats and small dogs walking on the foot with missing pads may not cause any problems. However, for larger dogs or pets that spend significant time outdoors, a footpad graft may be necessary.

    In this procedure, a nearby pad is grafted onto the area that is missing the vital pad. The pad located just above the primary pads (at the level of the wrist or ankle) can also be transposed to the injured area.

    In severe cases, a toe can be removed and the pad associated with that pad transposed to the weight bearing area of the foot. This is considered a salvage procedure, however, and is only done in extreme cases.

    Home Care of Footpad Injuries in Dogs

    For minor pad injuries, soaking and cleaning with povidone iodine or chlorhexidine should be sufficient. Do not allow your pet to lick at the wound as this could result in infection.

    For more extensive wounds, you should call your veterinarian.

    Preventative Care

    Some pad injuries are true accidents and difficult to prevent. Nevertheless, you can keep your pet’s environment safe by keeping the area free of sharp objects. Also, make sure you do not allow your pet to walk in areas that are littered with trash.

    What to Expect in the First Year After you Adopt a Puppy

    Bringing a new puppy home to your family is an exciting, joyful process.

    It can also be a time that leads to a lot of questions about proper puppy care. Over the next year of your life you’re going to watch your puppy grow from to a teenager to an adult. During this time, your puppy’s sleep schedule will change, what he eats will change and he’ll become the dog your family will have for years to come.

    So, what should you expect over the first year of your puppy’s life? This article will recap some of our most helpful resources on raising your pup up right.

    While this post is for those adopting or rescuing a puppy, we also have resources for those that are caring for newborn puppies from their dog. The first 8 weeks of a new puppies life with his littermates and mother are big determining factors in how his personality will be.

    When to Bring your New Puppy Home

    It is well-established among breeders and canine enthusiasts that puppies will exhibit a number of negative behaviors when taken from their dams and littermates before 8 weeks of age. The effect is sufficient for many breeders to refuse the relocation of puppies to their new home until they reach 8, 10, or even 12 weeks of age. This sentiment is echoed by veterinarians and researchers as well in an increasing number of studies. One such study found a correlation between the development of social anxiety and separation from the litter prior to 60 days of age. Many states even have laws that prohibit adoption before 8 weeks.

    The First 24 Hours at Home with Your New Puppy

    You will need to spend a few days with your puppy when he first comes home. This will help the two of you get to know each other as well as relieve some of his anxiety about being in a new home. It can be beneficial to bring your puppy home on a Friday afternoon if you have the weekend off. Ask his breeder or the rescue to give him a small meal several hours before you pick him up. If his tummy is empty, he’ll be less likely to get carsick. Have him ride home in his crate in your car. You might be tempted to have him ride on your lap, but that isn’t safe and it will give him the idea that this is how he will always ride in the car. He’s safer and will get into significantly less trouble in his crate.

    When you get home, have plans in place to handle introductions to other family members, keep a close eye on him for the first 24 hours and start bonding.

    Before you go to pick up your puppy, check out our checklist of what you’ll need. Make sure you have all the necessities including crate, food, collar, leash, and more.

    What to Feed your New Dog

    Whether you get the new puppy from a breeder or rescued him from a shelter or pound, it is a good idea to find out what the pup is eating there so that you can continue on the same nutritional theme, at least for the first few days.

    Your new puppy is already having to cope with enough change as he transitions from his previous home, or even litter, to his new home environment. The last thing needed is a simultaneous diet change. Keeping the puppy’s food the same is one way to minimize the stress of the move. Before you take your puppy home, ask for a sample off the food he has been eating to get you through the first few days.

    If you plan to change to another brand of food, do so after the first couple days and do it by gradually mixing it the new food into the old food. When choosing a food for your puppy, check the list of ingredients. Ingredients are generally listed in order of amount used, with the ones used most listed near the beginning. The first ingredient in puppy food should be meat. Puppies should be fed food that has a protein content of 25 to 30 percent, depending on the breed.

    Cheaper puppy foods provide less nutrition, with most of the food passing right through the puppy’s body and not being absorbed. Premium brands are more expensive but they contain higher quality ingredients and are better for your puppy. Because premium puppy food has more beneficial ingredients for your puppy, they do not need to eat as much of it. If you are unsure which brand is best for your puppy, consult your veterinarian.

    Alphabetical List of Feline Diseases and Conditions

    Feline Diseases and Conditions

    This article contains a list of common diseases and conditions of cats listed alphabetically. Each link will take you to an article with more information about that specific condition.

    For information about general symptoms (such as vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, lethargy, lack of appetite, etc.), go to Guide to Cat Symptoms. Also, this article may be useful: 16 Symptoms You Should Never Ignore in Your Cat.

    Alphabetical List of Feline Diseases and Conditions


    Acetaminophen Toxicity (Tylenol)
    Acne in Cats
    Acute Moist Dermatitis
    Acute Pancreatitis
    Allergic Dermatitis
    Allergic Reaction ( Insects)
    Allergic Reaction ( Unknown Cause)
    Allergic Reaction (Vaccine)
    Amitraz Toxicity
    Anal Sac Disease
    Angular Limb Deformities
    Animal Attacks
    Anterior Uveitis
    Aortic Thromboembolism
    Aspiration Pneumonia
    Aspirin Toxicity
    Atrial Fibrillation
    Aural Hematoma


    Bacterial Bronchopneumonia
    Bartonellosis (Cat-scratch Disease)
    Basal Cell Tumors
    Bite Wounds
    Black Widow Spider Bites
    Bleeding Disorders
    Brachial Plexus Avulsion
    Bronchial Asthma
    Brown Recluse Spider Bites


    Carbamate & Organophosphate Toxicity
    Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
    Carpal Hyperextension
    Chemical Burns
    Cherry Eye
    Cheyletiellosis (Walking Dandruff Mite)
    Chondrosarcoma (Nasal and Paranasal Sinus)
    Chondrosarcoma (Tumor of the Larynx and Trachea)
    Chronic Bronchitis
    Chronic Ear Problems
    Chronic Valvular Heart Disease
    Coma, Stupor and Decreased Consciousness
    Comminuted Fractures
    Congestive Heart Failure
    Contact Dermatitis
    Corneal Degeneration
    Corneal Laceration
    Corneal Sequestrum
    Corneal Ulceration
    Coxofemoral Hip Luxation
    Cuterebra Infestation
    Cystitis – Recurrent
    Cystitis (Acute)



    Degenerative Arthritis
    Demodicosis (Red Mange)
    Dental Braces
    Diabetes Mellitus
    Diaphragmatic Hernia
    Dietary Related Gastrointestinal Disorder
    Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
    Dystocia ( Difficult Birth)


    Ear Dermatitis
    Ear Mites
    Ear Tumors
    Elbow Luxation
    Electrical Injuries
    Endocrine Alopecia
    Enucleation (Eye Removal)
    Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex
    Esophageal Disease
    Estrogen Toxicity
    Ethanol Toxicity
    Ethylene Glycol Toxicosis
    Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)
    Eye Proptosis
    Eyelid Tumors


    Facial Nerve Paresis (Paralysis)
    Fan Belt Injury
    Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC)
    Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
    Feline Infectious Anemia (Hemobartonellosis)
    Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
    Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
    Feline Panleukopenia
    Feline Resorptive Lesions
    Fibrosarcoma (Bone)
    Fibrosarcoma (Nasal and Paranasal Sinus)
    Flea Allergy Dermatitis
    Flea Infestation
    Flukes: Pancreatic and Liver
    Food Allergy
    Footpad Injury
    Foreign Body: Respiratory
    Fracture Information (General)
    Fracture of the Carpus and Tarsus
    Fracture of the Digit
    Fracture of the Femur
    Fracture of the Humerus
    Fracture of the Mandible
    Fracture of the Maxilla
    Fracture of the Metatarsus and Metacarpus
    Fracture of the Pelvis
    Fracture of the Radius and Ulna
    Fracture of the Rib
    Fracture of the Sacrum
    Fracture of the Skull
    Fracture of the Spine
    Fracture of the Tibia and Fibula
    Fracture Repair
    Fractured Tooth



    Gasoline and Petroleum Toxicity
    Gastric Foreign Body (Stomach Foreign Body)
    Gastric Motility Disorder
    Gastrointestinal Foreign Body
    Gastrointestinal Neoplasia
    Gastrointestinal Ulcerations
    Gunshot Injury


    Head Trauma
    Heartworm Disease
    Helicobacter Infection
    Hemangiosarcoma (Bone)
    Hemolytic Anemia
    Hepatic Encephalopathy
    Hepatic Failure
    Hepatic Lipidosis
    Hepatic Neoplasia (Liver Tumors)
    Hiatal Hernia
    Hip Dysplasia
    Hookworm Infestation
    Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s Syndrome)
    Hyperthyroidism and the Kidney
    Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Cats
    Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s Disease)


    Ibuprofen Toxicity
    Illicit Drug Exposure
    Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA)
    Inflammatory Bowel Disease
    Injection-Site Sarcoma
    Intervertebral Disc Disease – Thoracolumbar Area
    Intestinal Parasites
    Iris Prolapse
    Iron Toxicity



    Joint Injury


    Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS)


    Lead Toxicity
    Lens Luxation
    Lizard Venom Toxicity
    Lymphocytic Plasmacytic Enteritis
    Lymphosarcoma (Lymphoma)


    Malignant Melanoma
    Mammary Gland Tumors
    Mast Cell Tumors (Mastocytoma)
    Medial Patella Luxation
    Metaldehyde Toxicity
    Metastatic Neoplasia (Cancer)
    Metronidazole Toxicity (Flagyl Toxicity)
    Miliary Dermatitis
    Mushroom Poisoning


    Naproxen Toxicity
    Nasopharyngeal Polyps
    Near Drowning
    Neonatal Isoerythrolysis
    Nephrolithiasis (Kidney Stones)
    Nephrotic Syndrome
    Nicotine Toxicity
    Notoedric Mange
    Nutritional Secondary Hyperparathyroidism



    Ocular Trauma (Eye Trauma)
    Ophthalmia Neonatorum
    Otitis Externa
    Otitis Interna and Media
    Ovarian Tumors


    Pancreatic Exocrine Neoplasia
    Patent Ductus Arteriosus
    Pemphigus Foliaceus
    Perinephric Pseudocysts
    Permethrin and Pyrethrin Toxicity
    Pleural Effusion
    Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
    Portosystemic Shunt (Hepatic Shunt)
    Potpourri Exposure
    Pregnancy Termination for Undesired Matings
    Primary Lung Tumors (Lung Cancer, Pulmonary Neoplasia)
    Progressive Retinal Degeneration
    Proprioceptive Deficits
    Protein Losing Enteropathy (PLE)
    Protozoal Infection
    Protozoan Parasites
    Protrusion of Third Eyelid
    Pseudorabies (Aujeszky’s Disease)
    Pulmonary Contusion – Lung Bruising
    Pyoderma (Bacterial Skin Infection, Pus in the Skin)