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Is a high-protein diet good or bad for dogs?

October 29th, 2014

Dogs, are like people, in that they do best with a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Excessive protein consumption is not necessary for dogs and for some dogs with medical conditions can actually be harmful. Proteins are the building blocks of the body and an absolute necessity for daily function. However, too much protein in a meal it cannot all be utilized at one time, nor can it be stored for later. The body will then excrete the excess protein through the kidneys and out of the body via urine. Thus the quality of the protein actually becomes more important than actual amount of protein.

Overweight dogs, dogs with itchy, flaky skin, dogs with coarse and brittle coats, dogs with poor energy levels and low resistance to infection — can be a result of dogs consuming diets with low quality animal origin tissues and high in grain-based products. Inexpensive, corn-based diets are some of the worst.

It recommended that the average dog’s diets contain high quality protein levels around 30 percent or slightly higher on a dry weight basis.

Some important nutrients that can help you choose an appropriate dog food for your dog:
Protein: High-quality protein provides the building blocks to repair damaged skin. Feeding unique protein sources, such as venison or duck, can also help reduce reaction in dogs with a food allergy or intolerance to more common ingredients.
Essential Fatty Acids: A dog food containing high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, found naturally in fish oil, will help nourish and protect your dog’s skin, prevent dryness and help control inflammation.
Antioxidants: Vitamin E and other antioxidants are vital in helping to maintain your dog’s healthy immune system, and protect it from cellular oxidation caused by free radicals.
Combining these nutrients in a single dog food provides a convenient way to manage your dog’s skin condition.

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Checking for Obesity

October 6th, 2014

PET OBESITY: A GROWING CONCERN

Alarming numbers: about 52% of Dogs and 57% of Cats are obese in the US! This problem affects mainly middle-aged pets.

Just like humans, pets with excessive weight lack energy, see their lifespan shortened and carry the following health risks: Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Cancer etc.

A quick way to check if your dog is obese:
- Ribs are not easily felt
- Sagging stomach
- No Waist can be seen from above

If you think your dog might be overweight check the Ideal Pet Weight Chart and screen him/her for Diabetes with the PawCheck urine home-test. It’s so easy with the UGODOG system for urine collection. Reliable results in 2 minutes. Take action to save your dog’s life!

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Excessive Drooling

September 29th, 2014

mastiff drooling dogWhat is normal vs. excessive drooling in canines?

Excessive drooling is condition characterized by the excessive flow of saliva and is called hypersalivation or ptyalism. While it can be annoying not all drooling is necessarily harmful to you or your BFF. Drooling is caused for 4 main reasons:

1. Emotionally Triggered
A psychological events such as fear, apprehension, nervousness, anxiety, as well as anticipation of food treats can be attributed to excessive drooling. Another common cause of drooling is motion sickness. This should be short lived and based on the duration of the event.

2. Oral or Central Nervous System Pain
Drooling also occurs in response to mouth pain caused by periodontal disease, abscessed teeth, and stomatitis. Lesions involving either the central nervous system or the oral cavity can cause excessive salivation. Check the dogs mouth, gums, throat, tongue for cuts or wounds injuries. Look closely for bleeding or wounds. Other signs of injuries and irritations are indicated by changes in color. The normal healthy pink or pigmented color of your dog’s gums will be an angry red or even purple when those tissues are injured or infected. A veterinarian can examine the throat, tonsil, esophagus if you think this may be the problem.

3. Disease
A dog who drools excessively and acts irrationally should be suspected of having rabies. Distemper, pseudorabies, and heat stroke are other diseases associated with drooling. Ingestion of a toxin, a caustic agent, or a foreign body can also lead to ptyalism.

4. Breed
Yorkshire terriers, Maltese, Australian cattle dogs, miniature schnauzers, and Irish wolfhound breeds have a relatively higher incidence of congenital portosystemic shunts (birth defect in the liver).
German shepherd, Newfoundland, great Dane, Irish setter, Chinese shar-pei, greyhound, and retriever breeds can have enlargement of the esophagus.

Chinese shar-peis have a history of congenital hiatal hernia

Giant breeds, such as the St. Bernard and the mastiff, are known for excessive drooling due to the shape of their jaw structure.

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NORCAL Golden Retriever Event 2014

September 29th, 2014

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Disinfecting Your Dog’s Area

September 24th, 2014

If you are a pet owner, have multiple pets and/or if you allow your pets to frequently socialize in public areas (i.e. dog parks, groomers, day care, overnight boarding, play dates, ect) it is extremely important to disinfect you dog’s area frequently. The Center for Disease and Control (CDC) recommends a bleach solution to disinfect against many viruses. Since viruses such as Parvovirus, Canine Corna Virus and Kennel Cough can be resistant to everyday disinfectants it is important to properly disinfect. However, many pet owners would like to avoid using harsh chemicals for cleaning their home and for good reason. Here is some information to consider when disinfecting:
How to make bleach solution – 1:10 ratio
Most surfaces: mix ¼ cup bleach with 2 ¼ cup water
Toys, food & water bowls, & grooming supplies: mix of 1 teaspoon bleach per 2 cups of cold water

Bleach Hazards
Fumes are toxic always mix bleach solution outside or in well ventalated area
Never mix bleach with any other solutions besides water
Bleach is strongly corrosive and can only be used on certain surfaces
The surface being cleaned must be in contact with bleach for at least 5 minutes to effectively disinfect
Bleach, the disinfected area must be thoroughly rinsed and dried before animals can return

Bleach Alternatives
While bleach is recommended by CDC as the only 100% solution for fighting Parvovirus there are many other alternatives you should consider that are more natural and less harsh.

Homemade Solution for heavy duty floor cleaner: ¼ cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap, ¼ cup baking soda, 2 gallons tap water, very warm to hot.

• Baking Soda – cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.
• Borax – (sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.
• Lemon – one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria.
• Isopropyl Alcohol – is an excellent disinfectant.
• Cornstarch – can be used to shampoo carpets and rugs.

Store Bought Solutions:
Wysiwash
Odoban

Keeping your house clean and disinfected will make it a healthier place for your animals, your family, and yourself.
Use only EPA approved disinfectants in your home.

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Why is my dog biting?

September 17th, 2014

While most dogs do not generally bite humans, it is still not uncommon to be bitten by a dog. There are roughly 4.7 million dog bites in the U.S. each year, so the chances you will be bit are pretty good. However, through training and proper care most bites are avoidable.

Why do dogs bite?
There are extenuating factors that can increase a dog’s propensity to bite. The factors can be related to environmental, condition, past experiences or genetic.
1. Breed – Some dog breeds are more aggressive and have a higher propensity of biting than others. A Cocker Spaniel was the breed that had the most incidents of biting a child. Chow Chows are very protective of their owner and are most likely to bite a stranger. Chihuahuas are most likely to bite their vet. While Pitbulls and Rottweiler’s lead in severe and deathly dog bites in the US.
2. Environment - Puppyhood influence aggressiveness as adults but genetics also plays a key role in this problem. Owner’s temperament highly influences the dog’s behavior. Puppies develop social skills are developed from their 3rd-14th week of life. Negative experiences during this time will affect the dog’s behavior for the rest of its years. Mature dogs do not typically become aggressive unless they are ill or have a sickness.
3. Illness – Many dogs can become aggressive in their older age when if they are suffering from pain or scared from loss of eye sight or other ailments.
4. Territorial/Protective – A large majority of dog bites happen near or on the home property of the dog. It is an innate characteristic for the dog to protect their personal property, home or owner. When are stranger comes in to their territory they can often become aggressive. Additionally dogs my bite to show dominance over another dog or person if they are trying to take away something they own or possess.
5. Fear – Dogs that are uncertain and tentative can become aggressive when put into a new situation. Dogs will also bite out of a fear defense when another dog or person is coming on to attack.

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Dog Bites Happen

September 8th, 2014

dog bite

Let’s face it, dog bites happen, in fact half of the US population will be bitten by a dog or cat during their lifetime. When training a new puppy you are even more likely to get a nip or bite. The important thing is how you handle it. Since certain diseases can be spread through bites from animals it is important to identify the type of bite and treat it accordingly.

Certain diseases can also be spread through bites from various animals. These diseases may cause flu-like symptoms, headache, and fever. To prevent diseases from entering a wound any bite that results in breaking of the skin will require first aid.
First Aid
1. Calm and reassure the person. Wear latex gloves or wash your hands thoroughly before attending to the wound. Wash hands afterwards, too.
2. If the bite is not bleeding severely, wash the wound thoroughly with mild soap and running water for 3 to 5 minutes. Then, cover the bite with antibiotic ointment and a clean dressing.
3. If the bite is actively bleeding, apply direct pressure with a clean, dry cloth until the bleeding stops. Raise the area of the bite.
4. If the bite is on the hand or fingers, call the doctor right away.
5. Over the next 24 to 48 hours, watch the area of the bite for signs of infection (increasing skin redness, swelling, and pain).
6. If the bite becomes infected, call the doctor or take the person to an emergency medical center.

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Dog’s Eye Sight – 3 Things you should know

August 18th, 2014

Are dogs color blind?
Not completely, while humans have the ability to see three different color sensitive cone cells in their retina (red, green and blue) dogs have only two (yellow and blue). This means that if there are 3 objects that are the same shape, size, texture and smell a dog cannot distinguish them by color if they are green, yellow or red objects. However they can still distinguish a red ball from a green one if there is a difference in the perceived brightness of the two.
Dog Color Breakdown
Red, yellow and green are perceived as one hue. Blue and purple are perceived as a second hue. Cyan and magenta are perceived as a neutral hue (grey).

Is a dog’s vision better than a human at night?
Yes, dogs see a lot better than humans do at night. Dogs have many adaptations for low-light vision. A larger pupil lets in more light. The center of the retina has more of the light-sensitive cells (rods), which work better in dim light than the color-detecting cones. You should always take your dog with you when walking at night.

Can dogs watch television?
Yes, 87% of pet owners say that their pets watch TV. However, a dog eyesight is very different than human eyesight, so what your dog is actually “seeing” is quite different from what you’re seeing on the TV screen. Here are some ways what they are seeing is different:
• Dogs see flickering light better than humans do. That means when watching television where we see one solid screen, dogs see each individual frame.

• Dogs cannot see the actual objects on the TV screen. They simply see the movement and the shapes on the television instead.

• Dogs don’t have the same depth perception that humans have, which also explains how little they can actually see on a TV screen.

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What to expect when Spaying or Neutering your pet

August 7th, 2014

Spay or Neuter RecoveryCongratulations you are being a responsible parent and helping control the pet population. While very much worth it, the operation your pet is about to undergo is no picnic or walk in the park. It is serious. Here are some tips to get you and your pup through it:

Preparation for the neutering surgery will begin the night before. The dog should not receive food 10-12 hours before the operation. This will ensure that the dog’s stomach has emptied by the time he’s put under general anesthesia and decrease the chances he will vomit and aspirate it into his lungs.

Here are some ideas to prep your house for a less mobile pet:
1. Raise the dog bowls up off the ground so that the dog can easily access while wearing a cone. (a box turned upside down will do)
2. Line your dog’s bed with plastic, most likely he will vomit after the surgery. You can use a gallon trash back opened and duct tape.
3. Make sure your dog’s bed, food and water is in a quiet room, free of stairs or obstacles, away from other animals and children, and off of any carpeting.
4. Give your dog plenty of love and reinforcement.
Immediately After
Immediately following the operation your pet will typically require 18-24 hours to recover from the general anesthesia. When a dog owner picks up the dog from the veterinarian dog may exhibit symptoms like:
Grogginess, Lethargy and Sleeping (more than usual)
Clumsiness – Your dog will be unsteady and prone to falling after surgery, do to anesthesia, the cone they are wearing and soreness from the operation. Falling can be very dangerous following the operation, as it can easily reopen the wound. Make sure your dog as easy and free access to water, food and bed free from obstacles (no stairs)
Little/No Appetite – Try replacing dog’s normal diet with boiled chicken and rice (this will also help with nausea and vomiting)
Nausea & Vomiting –Provide him with ice chips and electrolytes (i.e. unflavored Pedialyte or Gatorade) to keep hydrated.
Bathroom Accidents – Your dog will need more frequent walks then usual ideally every 2-3 hours especially the first 24 hours due to loss in sensation from the anesthesia.
Aggression (usually toward other pets) – Many dogs get aggressive after spaying surgery due to the pain and unusual physical sensations that can result from the anesthesia. Therefore, we’ll need to isolate the dog from other pets and children.

Most of the symptoms following the dog’s surgery will generally disappear by the following morning.

Days Following the Surgery
Limit activity. The dog’s incision will need time to heal and running and playing can disrupt or even delay healing. Therefore, the dog must be kept quiet with leash walks only for 10 to 14 days after the surgery.
Monitor the incision. The incision will take 10 to 14 days to heal. Dog owners must check the dog’s surgical incision several times a day. Look for swelling, redness or discharge. Often, if a dog’s incision gets infected, the edges of the wound will pull apart, forming a gap – another warning sign. If there are any signs of an infection, return or call your local vet.
Clean the incision. Daily, clean the incision by applying a bit of betadine (applied to a sterile gauze pad or cotton ball) and dab to disinfect the area. Allow the betadine to air dry.

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Dogs get allergies too

August 4th, 2014

Most pet owners have experienced an allergic reaction on their dogs skin, ears, feet, or in their respiratory tract. Allergens can come from food, air, grass, dust, cleaning products, molds or pollen, just to name a few. Here are these main classifications of dog allergies and what to do if your dog exhibits symptoms:

Atopy
Allergens that are inhaled or come into contact with the skin can cause allergies known as atopy. Common sources are pollens, molds, and dust mites.
Symptoms:
• Chewing at the feet
• Constant licking of the flank (side) and groin area
• Rubbing of the face
• Inflamed ears or recurrent ear infections

Treatment: The most effective long-term solution is to change the dog’s living circumstances to avoid the allergen. The atopic dog is usually allergic to many different allergens, however, and often it is not possible to avoid exposure to them all.

Flea allergy
Allergies that result from flea-bites are referred to as flea allergy dermatitis. However the flea allergy is actually sensitivity to flea saliva and is a very common condition in dogs.
Symptoms:
• Red itchy bumps or blisters areas exposed to the allergen such as the belly, feet, or muzzle
• Intense scratching
• Hair loss (in chronic conditions)

Treatment:
• If you suspect or know fleas are a problem for your dog try combing at least once daily.
• Bathe your dog often. A soothing bath will kill any fleas on your dog, help heal skin irritation.
• Make liberal use of an all-natural pest repellent like coconut oil, during flea season.
• For some dogs with a serious case of flea allergy dermatitis, try an oral drug called Comfortis.

Food Allergies
Certain allergies occur from items your pet ingests, and are typically called food allergies.Food allergies account for about 10-15% of all allergies in dogs and cats. Food allergies may show up concurrently with allergies to pollen, dust, etc.
Symptoms:
• Itching, especially face, feet, trunk, limbs and anal area
• Ear problems, often yeast-related
• Skin infections that respond to antibiotics, but then recur as soon as the antibiotic therapy ceases
Treatment: If you suspect your pet has allergies, visit your veterinarian. The type of allergy and severity of the symptoms will determine how your veterinarian decides to treat them.

Allergy-Fighting Supplements
Quercetin. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. I call it ‘nature’s Benadryl’ because it does a great job suppressing histamine release from mast cells and basophiles.

Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help decrease inflammation throughout the body. Adding them into the diet of all pets — particularly pets struggling with seasonal environmental allergies –

Coconut oil. I also recommend coconut oil for allergic pets. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which helps decrease the production of yeast. Using a fish body oil with coconut oil before inflammation flares up in your pet’s body can help moderate or even suppress the inflammatory response.

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