New Drug Can Help Dogs Afraid of Noises

Pexion Has Just Been Approved By the FDA

Does your dog struggle with loud noises? It’s not rare for dogs to get spooked when they hear noises out of nowhere — like fireworks — but some dogs really can’t handle it and start acting abnormal. Some dogs might howl, others might get destructive on the furniture or your new throw pillows because they just heard something really loud, and it was pretty scary. Dogs afraid of noises are quick to show their discomfort, and a new drug called Pexion can help.

The FDA has just approved Pexion, which is tablets of imepitoin, as medicine to aid dogs who struggle to remain calm when they hear things like fireworks, really noisy traffic, gunshots, or airplanes. In other countries, imepitoin is approved to treat epilepsy, but it can also work similarly to drugs like Valium to treat noise aversion.

Canine noise aversion is a blanket term that’s used to describe the anxiety and fear that dogs exhibit due to sudden noise. It can range from mild to severe cases — we all jump at a sudden loud noise, but the difference lies in how we react. With dogs who are unable to return to their regular behavior, Pexion can step in and give them a way to calm down.

In a study, dogs who suffered from noise aversion were given Pexion in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, and on New Year’s Eve when fireworks were expected to go off. The owners watched and reported on their dog’s behavior, and 66% of dogs were able to maintain their composure when the fireworks started going off. The owners also compared their experience during previous New Year’s Eve celebrations and when their dogs were on Pexion.

With the success of the study, Pexion will soon be widely available to dogs to keep them calm during loud noise events. However, like with any drug, it’s not a perfect solution. A small percentage of owners reported that their dog became aggressive while taking the drug, or experienced increased appetite, lethargy, or vomiting. The specific cases of aggression included growling at a small child and a loss of self-control with other dogs.

So, if you dread New Year’s Eve each year for your dog’s sake, Pexion might just be your saving grace. Just like you would with any drug you give your dog, you’ll obviously want to pay attention to their behavior to see if anything changes. Your vet can help you out with what you should watch for, and will also be able to recommend if Pexion is a good choice.

No one wants to see their dog suffer or have to worry about their home being trashed because their dog is afraid, and a dog that struggles with loud noises might even be putting added stress on you and your family. With the launch of this new drug, you could be able to give your dog a way to stop living in fear and your family peace of mind.

How to Use Better Dog Behavior Training

Did you know that behavioral problems are the number one reason dogs are surrendered to shelters or are euthanized? It’s true. So dog behavior training is a big issue for most dog owners.

In today’s world, a dog’s place has changed. Dogs no longer have duties and jobs. Instead, they spend their entire day waiting in crates, apartments or fenced yards for their owners to return home from work, just to be able to spend some time together and hopefully go for a nice walk. This is one of the biggest issues for dog behavior problems. A dog will find plenty of ways to get into trouble when he is bored or lonely, so make sure your dog has plenty of diversions to prevent boredom.

If you have a dog that is behaving badly, you need to correct the problem; but to do that, you need to understand your dog’s behavior. The most important thing to remember is that a dog is a pack animal. Your dog sees himself as part of your pack. That’s why it’s so important for you to lead him and make him understand that you are the leader of the pack. If you allow your dog to continue with certain dog behavior problems, he will think that he is the alpha dog, and your dog behavior problems will continue.

The Dos and Don’ts of Dog Behavior Training

When it comes to dog behavior training, the most important thing to remember is that punishment doesn’t work. In most cases, the dog will not understand what he is being punished for. He will simply try to hide the behavior and your problems will continue.

Changing dog behavior problems isn’t quick and easy – it can take weeks or months of dog behavior training to achieve. The most important thing to remember is that any attention rewards your dog – good or bad. If you are trying to change your dog’s behavior, remember that punishment doesn’t work. To stop bad dog behavior problems, you must respond to the behavior in the right way. If you yell at your dog when he does something bad, you are still giving him the attention he seeks and telling him that his bad behavior paid off.

The key to dog behavior training is not to allow your dog to be rewarded for bad behavior. Instead of yelling, give your dog the chance to succeed and reward him when he does. For instance, if your dog is jumping up, tell him to lie down – and when he does, give him a treat. This is the type of positive reinforcement that will eventually stop bad dog behavior. Your dog wants to understand what you want him to do, but it will take patience and time to make your wishes clear to your dog.

The longer you let a problem behavior continue, the harder it will be to correct. With dog behavior training, never ignore the problem. It is important that you be aware of the problem and address it right away, every time you see it. If you occasionally let the dog perform the undesired activity without addressing it, the training will take longer and it will be more difficult to stop the behavior. Be persistent. Be patient. Be consistent. This is the way that you will change problem behavior issues in dogs.

How to Deal With The Most Common Dog Behavior Issues

Here are some dog behavior training tips on how to deal with the most common dog behavior issues.

Inappropriate Chewing – Dogs explore their environment with their mouths, so chewing is a very natural behavior for dogs. Chewing on its own is not a bad thing. It can help relieve boredom or stress, and it can help keep your dog’s teeth clean. The key is to get your dog to chew appropriate items. So if you find your dog chewing on your shoe, redirect his chewing to an appropriate item, like a stuffed Kong toy or a chew toy. It is also important that you remember to praise your dog for selecting the appropriate chew toy.

Digging in the Yard – The activity of digging is extremely rewarding to dogs. Your dog may be digging because he catches a scent in the area, or he may simply want to release some energy. If you don’t want your dog to dig holes in your yard, redirect his digging activities. Give your dog a sandbox or section off a portion of the yard where it is okay for him to dig. Reward your dog with treats and toys to make this new digging spot more exciting than his previous spot.

What is a Dog Behaviorist?

If you are having issues with your dog’s behavior, maybe you should consult with a dog behaviorist. Do you know what a dog behaviorist is? And did you know that there is a difference between a dog trainer and a dog behaviorist?

To better understand the right option for you and your dog, it’s important to know the difference between a dog trainer and a dog behaviorist.

A dog trainer can help train your dog to be the perfect companion. Some dogs require training in the basics such as sit, stay, come, down and go to your space. Maybe your dog needs to learn how to walk nicely on a leash. A dog trainer may teach a dog not to jump or dig in the trash. And some dog trainers provide more advanced dog training. Before you contact a dog trainer, it is best to know exactly what kind of training you are looking for and to make sure that the trainer is equipped to provide those services.

A dog with behavior problems can be difficult to live with, and a dog behaviorist can help. Today, more and more dog owners are turning to a dog behaviorist to solve their dog behavior issues.

What Does a Dog Behaviorist Do?

A dog behaviorist will work with you to help manage and prevent dog behavior problems. A dog behaviorist is a trained expert in the field of animal behavior and animal learning with a wealth of scientific tools such as behavior modification.

A dog behaviorist loves animals and he studies them to learn about their behavior. A dog behaviorist will try to understand why a dog does the things he does and why he acts in certain ways. They try to find explanations for the dog’s behavior by examining his environment. They look for reasons why the dog is acting out.

Dogs with emotional problems can misbehave in many ways. The first step the dog behaviorist will take will be to do a complete evaluation of your dog. He will help identify the cause of your dog’s problems, then, he will create a customized treatment plan to help your dog deal with his problems. The dog behaviorist will work directly with you to teach you how to carry out the treatment plan successfully, and he will follow up with you if you experience any issues.

There can be many reasons for a dog’s bad behavior. There could be another pet in the home that is making him feel uncomfortable, or the dog may have a medical problem that’s causing him to misbehave. If you’ve adopted a dog that has lived in another home, he may have picked up his problems before coming to you. Or, you may have gotten a dog breed that’s not right for your home environment – some dogs need more one-on-one time with their humans, some need more room to run and play and some may not do well with other pets in the home.

A dog behaviorist will visit the pet owner’s home to personally observe the pet as he interacts with the family. A dog behaviorist isn’t interested in training – he’s interested in finding the cause of the dog behavior problem. Once he has observed the pet in his home environment, he will work with the owner to make the proper changes to the pet’s environment. If medication is needed to manage a medical condition, a dog behaviorist will also work directly with your dog’s veterinarian.

Animal shelters are filled with dogs whose owners didn’t know how to help them. Because of continued dog behavior problems, these dog owners eventually became so frustrated that they gave up. But today many pet shelters work directly with dog behaviorists to help them deal with problem pets who have been surrendered by their owners. By working with a dog behaviorist, many of these surrendered dogs will increase their chances of finding a new home.

Destructive dogs can benefit greatly from a dog behaviorist. There can be many causes to your dog’s destructive behavior, and a dog behaviorist can help to pinpoint the problem so you can deal with it head on. Most dogs become destructive when they are bored, but some dogs become destructive because they suffer from separation anxiety. A good dog behaviorist will know the difference and help you to address the underlying issue.

Puppies that are not properly socialized with human interaction at a young age tend to grow into unstable dogs. If you are living with a dog that cannot be approached by anyone other than you, it is important to get help quickly. Eventually, these puppies become fear biters or they become very aggressive.

How to Choose a Dog Behaviorist

Before choosing a dog behaviorist, you should do your homework. This is an unregulated field, and unfortunately, anyone can call himself a “dog behaviorist” regardless of his actual training. That’s why it’s so important to look for a dog behaviorist with the right education and experience. As a good rule of thumb, look for dog behaviorists who are certified with a respected organization like the Animal Behavior Society (ABS). When choosing a dog behaviorist, remember that there are levels of expertise in the field, from trainers and behavior consultants to certified applied animal behaviorists and board-certified veterinary behaviorists.

How to Become an Animal Behaviorist

Have you ever wondered how to become an animal behaviorist? If this is a career that interests you, it is important to understand the skills that are involved. What skills would make you a good animal behaviorist?

Skills Needed to Become an Animal Behaviorist

Are you a critical thinker with the ability to solve problems and determine diagnoses? Do you have strong observational skills, compassion, and personable character? Do you have the ability to work with a team? These are all important skill sets for an animal behaviorist.

As an animal behaviorist, you’ll need to assess the unique situations with each pet, understanding the issues that are causing the bad behavior. It’s important to analyze the animal to determine the reasons for their behavior, which may be attributed to evolutionary traits or physical environment. You will need to be able to diagnose each condition and work as a team with the animal’s owner and sometimes the veterinarian. You’ll also need to have compassion and a love for animals to work as an animal behaviorist.

An animal behaviorist has to do field work as well as work in laboratories and offices. You should be ready to work long hours when needed and to work in close proximity to the animals.

If you’ve wondered how to become an animal behaviorist, it’s important to note that you will have to familiarize yourself with veterinary medicine databases and analytical and medical software. You’ll have to be able to use stunners, laboratory centrifuges, and other animal testing equipment.

If this sounds like a field that you would enjoy, read on to learn about the educational and licensure requirements for an animal behaviorist.

Education Needed to Become an Animal Behaviorist

So, how do you become an animal behaviorist? Here are the steps as outlined by Study.com.

There are different levels of education required for different kinds of animal behaviorists. At a minimum, it would require a bachelor’s degree, with study in the fields of biology, zoology, psychology, animal behavior or a related field. But most jobs in animal behavior require a graduate degree. You would need to earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree.

If you are wondering how to become an animal behaviorist, start by getting your bachelor’s degree. Some schools offer undergraduate programs specifically in animal behavior. Or, you may want to focus on zoology, biology, science or animal biology.

While you are getting your undergraduate degree, you may want to volunteer at a local animal shelter or veterinary clinic for more hands-on experience with animals. You may also want to think about working as an assistant to a professional animal behaviorist to help you to stand out on graduate school applications.

Next, you must complete your graduate study in animal behavior. Most employers require a doctorate degree, so you must complete a master’s and Ph.D. program in animal behavior. The graduate curriculum involves more in-depth study on animal behavior and graduate students have the opportunity to focus on specific areas of interest.

Another way to become an animal behaviorist is to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and complete a residency program. The DVM program is a four-year program and a residency program lasts for three years. As a resident, you’ll learn to diagnose and treat behavioral problems in dogs and cats. You will also study behavior in lab animals, exotic pets, birds, horses, and livestock.

The Next Step Toward Becoming an Animal Behaviorist

Once you’ve completed all of the educational requirements to become an animal behaviorist, it will be time to choose a career path. Animal behavioral specialists may find jobs at all degree levels. With a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you are most likely to find employment as an educator with a museum, zoo or aquarium. You may also work as a research assistant. If you have a Ph.D., you may work at private research institutes or government laboratories, or as curators or researchers at zoos, museums, and aquariums.

There are levels of expertise in the field, from trainers who work with dogs with behavioral issues to behavior consultants, certified applied animal behaviorists and board-certified veterinary behaviorists.

After completing your degree, you should consider becoming board certified.

Professionals with the official title of “animal behaviorist” are certified by the Animal Behavior Society (ABS). The ABS offers two different levels of certification. An Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist will have a master’s degree in a biological or behavioral science and at least two years of professional experience in the field. A Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist has a doctorate in biological or behavioral science and five years of professional field experience. To become certified on either level, you are required to perform supervised hands-on work with animals. You must also research those animals and become published in scientific journals.

Understanding Bad Dog Behavior

It can be frustrating when you experience dog behavior problems. Dogs are very different than people. A dog’s actions sometimes don’t make sense to us. It’s hard to understand why a dog does what he does. So, what is it that’s behind common dog behavior problems and what can you do to correct these problems?

If you have a dog that is behaving badly, you need to correct the problem; but to do that, you need to understand your dog’s behavior. First and foremost remember that a dog is a pack animal. Your dog sees himself as part of your pack. That’s why it’s so important that you lead him and make him understand that you are the leader of the pack. If you allow your dog to continue with certain dog behavior problems, he will think that he is the alpha dog, and your dog behavior problems will continue.

If you’re curious about why your dog does what he does, you’re not alone. Common dog behavior problems can be easily resolved, as long as you follow the right training methods.

How many times have you uttered the words, “No – bad dog!”, only to find it has no effect on your dog’s behavior? That’s because punishment doesn’t work. Most of the time, dogs don’t understand what they’re being punished for, and the behavior continues.

Changing dog behavior problems isn’t quick and easy – it can take weeks or months to achieve. The most important thing to remember is that any attention rewards your dog – good or bad. If you are trying to change your dog’s behavior, remember that punishment doesn’t work. To stop bad dog behavior problems, you must respond to the behavior in the right way. If you yell at your dog when he does something bad, you are still giving him the attention he seeks and telling him that his bad behavior paid off.

The key to changing bad dog behavior is not to allow him to be rewarded for it. Instead of yelling, give your dog the chance to succeed and reward him when he does. For instance, if your dog is jumping up, tell him to lie down – and when he does, give him a treat. This is the type of positive reinforcement that will eventually stop bad dog behavior. Your dog wants to understand what you want him to do, but it will take patience and time to make your dog learn what you expect of him.

To learn more about the benefits of positive behavior training, go to 5 Benefits of Positive Behavior Reinforcement for Your Dog.

When you are interacting with your dog, you are communicating with an animal that speaks a different language than you do. That’s why training is so important to help improve your dog behavior problems. Try to teach your dog a new command every week, and remember to keep practicing old commands. When your dog understands what you want him to do, you will have a much better relationship.

Also remember the old adage, “a tired dog is a good dog.” It’s true. A tired dog is less likely to exhibit behavioral problems. So make sure that your dog gets plenty of opportunities to run and play. Exercise is important for all dogs. It helps them use up all that pent up energy, so they’re less likely to direct that energy toward unwanted behaviors. If you work outside of the home and your dog is home alone all day, make sure to give him the opportunity to run around outdoors when you come home.

From aggression and barking to destructive chewing, nipping and separation anxiety, dog behavior problems can have a real impact on your life.

What Is a Dog Behaviorist?

If you are having issues with your dog’s behavior, maybe you should consult with a dog behaviorist. Do you know what a dog behaviorist is? And do you know that there is a difference between a dog trainer and a dog behaviorist?

To better understand the right option for you and your dog, it’s important to know the difference between a dog trainer and a dog behaviorist.

A dog trainer can help train your dog to be the perfect companion. Some dogs require training in the basics such as sit, stay, come, down and go to your space. Maybe your dog needs to learn how to walk nicely on a leash. A dog trainer may teach a dog not to jump or dig in the trash. And some dog trainers provide more advanced dog training. Before you contact a dog trainer, it is best to know exactly what kind of training you are looking for and to make sure that the trainer is equipped to provide those services.

What Are the Cutest Dog Breeds?

Here’s Where We Rank Some of the Most Adorable Canines

Every dog is cute, and puppies are even cuter — but how do you rank which one is the cutest? Pointy ears or droopy? Fluffy fur or spots? With more than 150 dog breeds out there and many more that aren’t officially recognized by the AKC or the Kennel Club, it’s a tough decision to make.

We put together a list of what we think are the top cutest dog breeds, and if you’re looking to pick your next best friend based on how cute they are, this list can help! Or if you want to see if your dog made the cut, take a look to see who we chose — if yours is missing, give us a shout in the comments and let us know why they deserve to be one of the cutest.

Golden Retriever

Often pictured as the American dream family dog, the Golden Retriever is a classic when it comes to cute dog breeds. From their puppy stages to adulthood, these friendly dogs are great for families and their adorable faces are difficult to resist. These dogs are as loving as they are smart, and their playful nature makes a great addition to any home.

Dachshund

The wiener dog is often found on people’s favorite dog breed lists. These long dogs come in a variety of colors and hair types, but for what they lack in size they make up for in personality. Dachshunds are quick to become a true forever friend. Whether you have a standard size or miniature, these dogs are stubborn but playful.

Pomeranian

These tiny, fluffy dogs are loved by many and are actually descended from large sled dogs! They typically weigh under 10 pounds, and their small size makes them great for people living in the city or apartments. Pomeranians are social balls of fluff that are known for their intelligent and active personality.

Greyhound

These dogs are often thought of as an oxymoron. As one of the fastest dog breeds, they’re also one of the laziest. Greyhounds can reach a top speed of 45 mph — when they want to. Most of them just prefer to sleep, and on average they’ll snooze for 12 hours a day. These dogs are known for being loving and gentle, and they’ve seen a resurgence in popularity since people have started adopting retired racing greyhounds.

Shiba Inu

Loved in popular culture and families alike, the Shiba Inu is an adorable breed. These loyal dogs are native to Japan, and their fox-like appearance and their soft fur land them on our cutest breeds list. Often referred to as a fiery ball of fur, Shiba Inus are stubborn and independent but are sure to liven up your household.

Goldendoodle

A cross between the popular Golden Retriever and the Poodle, the Goldendoodle is an energetic and friendly dog that’s great for families. Their outgoing nature and intelligent personality also makes them easy to train. Goldendoodles have curly fur and their similarity to teddy bears when they’re puppies has made them a standout as a cute breed.

Corgi

Another dog breed that has risen to fame in popular culture is the Corgi. These cute and funny dogs are loved for their short and stout bodies and fluffy butts. Corgis are known for being bold and outgoing, and their unique behavior is often amusing for bystanders.

Australian Shepherd

The unique colors of an Australian Shepherd’s fur are eye-catching enough to put this breed on the list, but we love how lovable and soft these small herding dogs are most. Contrary to their name, these dogs actually originated on ranches in the Western United States, and have since spread into regular homes due to their affectionate and good-natured temperament.

American Eskimo

These white, fluffy snowballs are unique and lovable dogs that make great companions. American Eskimos are pretty even-tempered and love just about everyone, which makes them perfect for families, young couples, or singles alike. These pups are also smart and easy to train which makes them perfect for someone searching for man’s best friend.

Bichon Frise

These curly-haired cotton balls are made for a cutest dog breeds list, and along with their feisty personality, the Bichon Frise is a cheerful, small breed that’s very affectionate. You’ve probably seen a Bichon Frise on the big screen at least once, as these pups are easy to train and are big fans of the spotlight. If you’re looking for an outgoing dog, the Bichon Frise might be your new best friend.

Cardiac Arrhythmias in Dogs

Overview of Cardiac Arrhythmias in Dogs

Cardiac arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms that can occur in dogs. These disorders are classified based on the area of the heart in which they originate. They originate either in the upper chambers of the heart, the lower chambers of the heart, the area of the heart responsible for creating the heartbeat, or the electrical conduction system within the heart.

Each heartbeat originates as an electrical impulse in the upper right chamber of the heart (sinoatrial [SA] node). The impulse then travels across the upper chambers of the heart (atria), to an intermediate station (atrioventricular [AV] node), and finally to the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). The electrical impulse generates the typical pattern seen on an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). Disturbance in the generation or transmission of the electrical impulse in the heart causes a cardiac arrhythmia. Some cardiac arrhythmias are temporary and do not cause illness. Others are serious and may be life threatening.

Cardiac arrhythmias may affect dogs of any age or sex. They may also affect any breed, but there are some breeds that are more at risk of developing arrhythmias than others. Giant breeds of dog are more prone to a type of arrhythmia known as atrial fibrillation, which is rapid abnormal beat originating in the atria. Labrador retrievers are prone to supraventricular tachycardia, which is a rapid heart rate originating just above the ventricles. Doberman pinschers and boxers are prone to ventricular tachycardia, which is a rapid abnormal heart beat originating in ventricles. Sick sinus syndrome is an abnormality that affects the SA node: It most commonly occurs in miniature schnauzers, dachshunds, cocker spaniels, and West Highland white terriers. Spaniels, German shepherds and Labrador retrievers are predisposed to certain types of heart block.

The prognosis (outlook) for animals with cardiac arrhythmias depends on the type of arrhythmia, the underlying cause of the arrhythmia, and the type and extent of any existing heart disease. Dogs in congestive heart failure have a guarded-to-poor prognosis.

What to Watch For

  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Slow heart rate
  • Fast heart rate
  • Erratic heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lack of appetite

Diagnosis of Cardiac Arrhythmias in Dogs

Blood work, including a complete blood count and biochemical profile, should be performed to look for any underlying abnormalities. Some dogs may be anemic, have an elevated white blood cell count, or have organ dysfunction. Some diseases, such as hypothyroidism, may be the cause of cardiac arrhythmias.

Cardiac arrhythmias are diagnosed with an electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG). The type of arrhythmia can be diagnosed from an ECG oscilloscope or from a printout of the trace.

Thoracic (chest) radiographs (X-rays) may help determine if heart disease or heart failure are present.

A cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram) is sometimes performed to determine evaluate cardiac function and identify any underlying heart disease.

Treatment of Cardiac Arrhythmias in Dogs

Treatment depends on the severity of the arrhythmia and the presence of any underlying disease. There are a variety of cardiac arrhythmias and each is managed differently. Some are serious and require medication or even electric shock treatment. Others are innocuous and do not require any treatment at all.

In addition to treating the cardiac arrhythmia, any underlying heart disease or other disease should also be addressed.

Home Care and Prevention

There is no home care for abnormal heart rhythms, except that you should administer any medications your veterinarian prescribes. If you suspect that your dog has an abnormal heart rate or rhythm, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

Cardiac arrhythmias are difficult to prevent, but early diagnosis and treatment of predisposing causes can reduce the risk of arrhythmias developing.

Information In-depth on Canine Arrhythmias

Normal heart rhythms begin in the sinoatrial (SA or sinus) node, which is located in the right upper chamber (atrium) of the heart. While abnormalities of the sinus node are typically a consequence of a systemic disorder, such as hypo- or hyperthyroidism, primary sinus disease is common and can lead to a type of arrhythmia known as sick sinus syndrome. Other arrhythmias arising outside of the SA node may occur. Among the most serious of these is atrial fibrillation. Arrhythmias arising from the ventricles include premature ventricular contractions and ventricular tachycardia. More serious arrhythmias sometimes lead to cardiac decompensation and acute or chronic heart failure. Some arrhythmias worsen to the point of fibrillation and eventually the absence of any heartbeat (asystole).

Cardiac arrhythmias can lead to a very slow heart rate (potentially as slow at 40 beats per minute), termed bradycardia; very fast heart rate (potentially over 200 beats per minute in a dog), termed tachycardia; or an erratic heart beat. Numerous different types of arrhythmias may occur. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Atrial tachycardia
  • Ventricular escape rhythm
  • Ventricular premature complex
  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Ventricular fibrillation
  • First-degree heart block
  • Second-degree heart block
  • Third-degree heart block

Often, cardiac arrhythmias are associated with underlying heart disease, such as dilated cardiomyopathy, congestive cardiac failure, or cardiac birth defects. In addition, a variety of other diseases or events may cause cardiac arrhythmias including:

  • Hypothyroidism (under active thyroid gland)
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Anemia
  • An overdose of certain medications such as digoxin, narcotics, xylazine
  • Administration of anesthetic agents
  • High or low blood potassium
  • Tumors of the heart
  • Trauma
  • Toxicity, such as chocolate poisoning
  • Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s disease – a disease of the adrenal glands)
  • Urinary obstruction
  • Lyme disease
  • Smoke inhalation
  • Head trauma
  • Hypothermia
  • Fear
  • Excitement
  • Pain
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Gastric dilatation-volvulus
  • Diseases of the spleen
  • Severe infections

Diagnosis In-depth

Cardiac arrhythmias are often detected during physical examination. Your veterinarian will listen to your dog’s heart with a stethoscope to determine if its heart rate is too slow, too fast, or erratic. If an arrhythmia is detected or suspected, it is confirmed by means of an electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG). Your dog will be positioned on his right side and will have clips or pads attached to his arms and legs. This procedure is painless. The ECG is then turned on and a tracing is obtained of the electrical activity of the heart. The tracing is examined to determine if the heart rate and rhythm.

Puppy Diary #12: The Highs, Lows and In-Betweens of Sommer’s First Year

Dear Diary,

Soon we will celebrate Sommer’s first birthday. What a ride this year has been! From the high of picking her up at the trainer’s house and watching her darling littermates tumbling around the pen, to the low of rushing her to the emergency hospital after eating Advil, I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for the world (well, maybe I would trade the Advil incident). But, just because Sommer is a year old doesn’t mean we automatically wake up that morning to a full-grown, fully trained dog. No, I expect Sommer to act like a puppy for a long while to come. Even physically, she might continue to change, as she is still lean, and her vet says she might fill out a bit. At nearly a year old, her energy level is high, although less frenetic as when she was tiny. In some ways, now that she is full grown, she needs more outdoor exercise than when she was smaller and could run around the house and tire herself out in the process.

Even as we wrap up the final official month of puppyhood, Sommer requires huge amounts of my attention: She is not an independent type. I’ve been told that this “people person” tendency is a doodle characteristic. I’m not sure if that’s true of every doodle, but I can attest that Sommer wants to be next to me every minute of the day, under any circumstances. If I get up off the couch and move to a chair five feet away, she gets up off the couch and moves to the chair. She’s no dummy. She’s going to stay close to the pack leader!

That leads me to nighttime, which has been one of our biggest challenges this year. She’s doing better at sleeping on her bed on the floor of our bedroom, but she still jumps up on our bed at 5:45 a.m. And that’s not the only habit we have yet to break. She still gets overly excited when visitors come to our house. She still is timid going for walks. She still goes berserk after a bath, zooming around the house and issuing a series of sharp barks that has me covering my ears while she tears around. There are days when she rings the bell to go outside dozens of times a day. I open the door for her, and she stands at the threshold and sniffs the air for the longest time, which drives me batty! Then she looks at me with those big, expressive brown eyes and it feels like a hug. The first year was indeed a journey from puppy to love.

Sommer was born in a litter of four girls and one boy, and from the first time the breeder emailed photos, I knew she was the one for us. Miraculously, even though we were the last family to pick (meaning we didn’t pick, we took the pup who was left after everyone else picked), we got her. That bond has only grown stronger and more sure since the first time I saw her tiny face in the breeder’s photo. We brought her home at ten weeks old. From that day, our lives were never the same. Those initial weeks were not unlike the two times in our lives when we brought home a new baby. Our sleep was definitely challenged. As it turns out, Sommer would tolerate being in her crate at night, until she wouldn’t. When she would wake in the early morning hours, she would decide she needed to be with her pack members and she would bark and whine plaintively. Unlike a baby, there was no “crying it out” method that ever worked for us. Sommer never gave up barking and fell into an exhausted sleep. Instead, she had the willpower and stamina to bark for seemingly hours on end – not that we had the patience to let her bark for that long. Her barking resulted in the entire household being awakened, an equally unappealing prospect when school and work awaited us in the morning. Sommer’s clear preference was to be on the bed with my husband and I. We didn’t prefer that, though, so when she was about 10 months old, we moved her out of her crate and onto a dog bed on the floor of our bedroom, which we thought was a fair compromise. The arrangement works, until she wakes us up early in the morning by jumping on the bed. Sleep, for sure, continues to be our biggest challenge as we complete the first year.

Marijuana (Pot, Cannabis, THC) Exposure and Toxicity in Dogs

Overview of Marijuana Exposure and Toxicity in Dogs

The recent legalization of marijuana for human medicinal treatments has increased marijuana (pot) exposure and toxicity in dogs. In fact, according to the Pet Poison Helpline, there has been approximately a 450% increase in veterinary visits and calls to animal poison hotlines from marijuana exposure and toxicity.

Marijuana, also known as “pot”, is a psychoactive drug derived from the Cannabis plant that has been around for hundreds of years. The term Marijuana most commonly refers to the tobacco product made from Cannabis leaves. There are two commonly discussed species of the Cannabis plant – Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. Cannabis is used for both recreational and medical purposes.

There are approximately 483 known compounds in the Cannabis plant and over 80 cannabinoids with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being the most potent and psychogenic. The amount and concentration of each cannabinoid varies with the different plants and stains of plants.

THC is present in the leaves and flowering tops of the cannabis plant. Hashish, another THC containing product, is the resin extracted from the plant. The second most commonly recognized cannabinoid is cannabidiol, commonly referred to as “CBD”. The difference between the THC and CBD is that THC causes psychotropic effects (affect mentation) while CBD is felt to have limited toxicity and is not psychotropic.

The Cannabis plant is also known as “hemp” but more commonly refers to strains with less psychogenic properties because of the minimal levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In people, THC is sometimes used to alleviate nausea associated with chemotherapy, help with muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, to treat seizure disorders and much more.

Learn more about the medical use and possible toxicity of CBD oil in Dogs.

Unfortunately, because of the illegal nature of these drugs and the concern over societal stigmas, diagnosis and treatment are sometimes delayed. This brings up the point – what does your vet do if you bring a dog in with an illegal drug exposure? Learn the answer here.

How Does Marijuana Affect Dogs?

Dogs are usually exposed to marijuana by ingestion of the cigarettes, dried leaves, or baked products containing marijuana. There are also reports of second hand smoke causing intoxication. Sometimes, owners may intentionally give marijuana to their pets to “see what happens.”

With the legalization, there are many varieties of marijuana as well as many forms. Cannabis can be used by ingestion of various foods including candy, gummy candy, suckers, baked good, butters, as well as by smoking or vaporizing.

When inhaled or ingested, the THC enters the body and binds with neuroreceptors in the brain including norepinephrine, serotonin dopamine, and/or acetylcholine. This binding alters normal neurotransmitter function.

Signs of Marijuana Toxicity in Dogs

The most common side effects of marijuana intoxication in dogs are depression, lethargy, listlessness, loss of motor coordination or balance (stumbling), incontinence of urine, low heart rate, low blood pressure, respiratory depression, dilated pupils and glazed over eyes, vocalization such as crying or whining, agitation, drooling, vomiting, seizures and coma. Some dogs may experience hallucinations and have increased sensory stimulation to noises or fast movements.

The stereotypical dog that presents to a veterinary clinic for possible marijuana exposure is lethargic, listless, stumbling, glazed over eyes, and may dribble urine.

One danger with marijuana is that vomiting is common, and if the dog is profoundly lethargic and begins vomiting, aspiration of the vomitus into the lungs can lead to severe breathing problems and even death. This is relatively uncommon.

The signs of exposure can begin as quickly as 5 minutes to 12 hours after exposure. The signs can last from a half hour to several days depending on the amount and type ingested.

Marijuana Toxicity in Dogs: How Toxic is Marijuana?

THC is readily stored in the body’s fat tissue including the liver, brain and kidneys. The liver metabolizes it and much of it is excreted in the feces and urine.

The good news is that marijuana exposure or ingestion is rarely deadly and long-term complications are uncommon. Toxicity of marijuana is low. It takes about 1.5 grams of marijuana per pound of body weight to be fatal. Therefore, death from marijuana ingestion is not common.

The most severe problems relating to marijuana exposure or ingestion in dogs have been from high concentrations of medical grade THC.

Diagnosis of Marijuana Toxicity in Dogs

Diagnosis of marijuana ingestion or exposure in dogs is often based on the physical exam findings and history of exposure. There are urine tests to determine the presence of THC. Human tests can be used but are not dependable in dogs.

Treatment of Marijuana Toxicity in Dogs

There is no antidote for marijuana. This means that the treatment of marijuana exposure usually involves trying to eliminate the drug in their system, treat secondary signs, and provide support until the drug is eliminated from their systems.

Why Are People Using CBD Oil for Pets?

Overview of Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil for Pets

Marijuana, also known by the common term “pot”, is a psychoactive drug derived from the Cannabis plant that has been around for thousands of years. The recent legalization of marijuana for human medicinal treatments has increased interest in the properties of the Cannabis plant and has led to a substantial increase in marijuana (pot) exposure and toxicity in pets. In fact, according to the Pet Poison Helpline, there has been approximately a 450% increase in calls to animal poison hotlines due to marijuana exposure or toxicity.

The Cannabis plant contains approximately 483 known chemicals and over 80 cannabinoids. A cannabinoid is a class of chemicals isolated from Cannabis that can cause various effects on the body. The amount and concentration of each cannabinoid varies with the different plant and strain of plant. The two most studied and available cannabinoids are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD), Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being the most potent and psychogenic. It is used medically to treat nausea, muscle spasms, seizures, anxiety as well as other medical problems. Learn more about the ingestion and toxicity of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). (INSERT LINK).

The focus of this article is on ingestion and toxicity of CBD oil in pets.

What is the Difference between Marijuana, Hemp, THC and CBD?

These terms can be confusing and are often mistakenly used in the media. The term Marijuana most commonly refers to the tobacco product made from Cannabis leaves. THC and CBD are both cannabinoids derived from the Cannabis plant. The difference between the THC and CBD is that THC causes psychotropic effects (affects mentation) while CBD is felt to have limited toxicity and is not psychotropic.

Hemp is a type of Cannabis plant that is known to have more CBD than THC. CBD is often extracted from the plant and sold as an “oil”. Cannabidiol is thought to decrease anxiety, decrease nausea and vomiting, decrease seizures and have anti-inflammatory properties. It is increasingly being used in both humans and dogs.

There are HUGE differences in the quality and purity of CBD (more below).

CBD Oil for Pets: Can Dogs Get CBD Toxicity?

CBD is not approved by the FDA for use in dogs. The true safety of CBD in dogs has not been researched. We do not know how it may interact with other medications or treatments.

However, CBD is not psychotropic and appears to have limited toxicity in dogs and cats. As with any supplement or medication, there is a risk of adverse effects. In people, the most common side effects of CBD are a dry mouth, drop in blood pressure, and drowsiness.

Many CBD products are oil based and have the potential to cause nausea and vomiting in some dogs. The risk of toxicity will depend on the dose given to your dog, the quality of the product, preservatives or additives present, and the potency of the product. Overdoses with impure products can lead to symptoms of THC toxicity. Pets may be lethargic, listless, stumble, have glazed over eyes, and be incontinent of urine.

If you are giving your dog CBD oil and you have any concerns, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

Can CBD Oil Help Your Dog?

CBD is most commonly being used in dogs for pain relief, treatment of seizure disorders such as epilepsy, and for anxiety-related issues. There are no formal research studies about the use of CBD in dogs. Much of the use and information is extrapolated from human studies. With that being said, many veterinarians have found positive effects from using CBD in their canine patients.

The most common uses of CBD in dogs include:

  • Allergies
  • Anxiety and fear problems including noise phobia and separation anxiety
  • Cancer treatment (some CBD is thought to have anti-tumor properties)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Glaucoma
  • Immune system stimulation
  • Inflammatory problems such as those associated with inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis
  • Nausea, especially nausea associated with side effects to drug therapy
  • Neurologic diseases such as degenerative myelopathy or canine cognitive dysfunction
  • Pain relief from arthritis
  • Seizures such as epilepsy

The AKC Canine Health Foundation with Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is currently conducting research to determine the usefulness of CBD in dogs with epilepsy.

Is CBD Legal?

CBD is legal in most states however new rulings have changed this in states such as Ohio. As a veterinarian in Ohio at the time of this writing, it is illegal for veterinarians to sell or prescribe CBD oil. However, it is available in some states over-the-counter without a prescription.

How Do You Pick a Good CBD Oil for Your Dog?

Discuss the use of CBD oil with your veterinarian. Because of the popularity in this product, there are many products on the market. Some may have pesticides, some have small levels of THC, and the amount of CBD actually in the product varies greatly and may be as little as none.