Canada
The most complete and informative Dog Owner Community

Find out more about your dogs

Expert Answers

Community & Tools

Expert Answers

Our expert vet team posts answers to the more common questions. Some questions you may be interested in are:

Halter-type collars will give you the best control over your dog and are the most comfortable to wear. They give you control of your dog's head and when you have control of your dog's head, you have control of your dog. These collars work on the same principle as a horse halter. Even a smaller person can have good control over a large strong dog without hurting them. When you pull on the leash, your dog's head will either be pulled down or to the side - this makes it virtually impossible for your dog to move ahead or pull you forward. This also means you can control who your dog listens to by enabling you to make eye contact with your dog and draw their attention from distractions around them.

Puppies ears should be cleaned regularly to ensure the ears are kept clean and to accustom your puppy to having his/her ears touched and treated.  It is especially important to clean ears if they get very dirty.  The dirt inside the ears can be due to a normal waxy discharge, or abnormal discharges due to an underlying infection (e.g. earmites, bacteria, yeast). If your puppy is shaking its head very frequently, scratching at its ears and appears distressed when you try to touch its ears - it may have an infection. In this case, your puppy will need to see a veterinarian for the appropriate treatment.

Do not wash the ears with water as this can actually lead to an infection. Be careful when you are bathing your puppy as well, to make sure water doesn't get into the ears. If you wish, there are special ear washes available from your veterinarian to ensure that your puppy's ears stay clean and healthy. These can be used after swimming or bathing.

If your puppy has hairy ears, which is common in some breeds (e.g. poodles), plucking the hairs out of those ears is not recommended at all, unless there is already an infection at the time. In a normal ear, if the hairs are plucked out, this will lead to oozing and bleeding (and is painful for your puppy too!). The oozing and bleeding can actually lead to an infection due to the moisture present in the ears. However, if your puppy's ears are infected, then the hairs may be removed to get all the discharge out of the ears and help get the medications into the ears properly. If in doubt, speak to your local veterinarian for advice.

Puppy skin is different to human skin, dog skin has a completely different pH from human skin, as such they are therefore very sensitive to soapy human shampoos that are designed to strip the oils off. As a result, your puppy may develop dry, sensitive skin when human shampoos are used. Ideally, use a shampoo specially designed for puppies or dogs. Dog or puppy conditioners are also available to improve the appearance of their coat.

In some puppies, they are born with what we call vestigial dew claws on the inside of their hindlegs. Not all puppies are born with them, and it can be unpredictable which puppies will have them and which puppies won't.

These vestigial dew claws on their hindlegs don't serve any function, and can range from being very small and unattached, or be well attached to the underlying bone. The main issue that can arise from those dew claws is that they can get caught in things and the claws get torn off, and those claws also often overgrow and grow into itself. Both cause pain and discomfort.

They are usually surgically removed as part of an elective procedure during the puppy's routine spay or neuter procedure, under general anesthetic and with pain relief.

In many fluffy breeds, such as maltese crosses, there is often a lot of fur growing around their face. This may look really cute but their facial fur often rests onto their eyes and causes a lot of weeping. When the weeping becomes excessive, the "gunk" tends to accumulate on the fur on the lower eyelid and nose area, becoming a thick scab that causes an underlying dermatitis - which is very uncomfortable and painful for the puppy.

The fur around the eyes needs to be trimmed regularly so that the fur doesn't get into your dog's eyes. Use blunt-ended kid's scissors and trim slowly and carefully, taking your time to make sure you don't distress your dog and don't accidentally hurt her. If you are still not sure as to how to do this, speak to your local veterinary clinic and they will be able to show you how to do this safely.

Over time, your dog will get used to the trimming procedure and the process gets easier each time. Many groomers will also offer this service as part of the grooming job.
If your dog's eyes are still very weepy and "gunky" in spite of this - there may be other eye conditions that need further veterinary treatment - speak to your local veterinarian about this if you are worried.

Right away! Dogs are never too young or too old to train!

Effective training methods are taught by dog trainers at many dog obedience schools and puppy preschools at veterinary clinics. Lessons range from basic commands such as sit, stay, drop etc. to more advanced classes involving agility training and fun tricks.

Harsh punishments such as hitting and rubbing noses into their poo and urine is often very ineffective and counter-productive; it makes training in the future even more difficult. Positive reinforcement, using treats and praise, is the cornerstone behind successful puppy training. Please ask your veterinarian or dog schools for more details on training classes.

A successful training program will not only help you train your puppy quickly and effectively, but it will also enormously improve and develop the bond between you and your puppy!

Generally, you should only bring your puppy out for a walk at least 2 weeks after it has had its last puppy vaccination. This is because there are many viruses out there that your puppy may pick up while on walks in public areas.

All sorts of dogs are walked in public areas, both vaccinated and unvaccinated. The unvaccinated dogs may shed some viruses that stay in the environment for many years, and these viruses, if exposed to your puppy before it receives its full course of vaccinations, may make your puppy very sick and many do die from these diseases. There is no cure available for these viruses, similar to many childhood viruses in children.

However, it is important to start socializing your puppy, but it should only be done in safe environments - such as puppy preschools at veterinary clinics, friends and relatives' homes with healthy vaccinated dogs etc.

The best diet you can give your puppy is actually premium brand puppy food and water only, once they have been weaned fully. Once your puppy has been fully weaned, they no longer require milk, so you do not have to give them puppy milk at all. The dry form of puppy and dog food is the most economical and is also better for your dog's teeth, compared to the canned foods.

As much as we love to spoil our puppies with table scraps, treats and snacks, and make our own home-cooked meals for them, the nutritional balance in such diets is often not very good and it may lead to nutritional deficiencies in your puppy.

All premium brands of pet foods have been carefully and scientifically prepared to ensure the best nutrition for your puppy, and it may seem bland to eat the same thing day-in and day-out, but rest assured that you are really doing the best for your puppy.

Moreover, if you don't ever feed them human foods, they will not develop a taste for them, and thus may prevent future begging behaviour, obesity, vomiting and diarrhea, anal gland problems etc. And they will be very happy with their dog food for the rest of their lives!

This is a topic that can be discussed on your first visit to the Veterinarian. Use an appropriate puppy shampoo that is specially made for puppies or dogs. The water temperature should be the same water temperature that you would comfortably shower in.

Alternatively, you can also fill a small bath with warm water and some shampoo and drench it over your puppy. If you have used a lot of shampoo, then a final rinse is recommended.

Make sure you don't get any shampoo or water on your puppy's face, eyes and ears. Some shampoos can be irritating to eyes and water-logged ears can lead to ear infections in your dog.

Towel-dry your puppy once it is all done. Leave-in puppy or dog conditioner can now be applied for a nicer shinier coat. In warmer climates, it is often not necessary to blow-dry your puppy. If you need to blow-dry your puppy, make sure the hairdryer is on low heat and is constantly moving, so that you don't accidentally burn your puppy's skin.

Most veterinary clinics are able to offer dentistry services involving tooth extraction/removal. If you are wanting your dog to visit a specialist veterinary dentist, you will need to ask your normal veterinarian for a referral.

This behaviour where your dog is dragging her anal area along the ground is commonly referred to as "scooting". Scooting indicates some sort of bottom irritation.

The most likely cause is an anal gland problem: Every dog has two anal glands or sacs (1 gland on each side of the anus). The secretion from these glands enables your dog to mark its territory and to identify each other. The anal sacs are normally expressed (emptied) during defecation. The secretion from the anal glands is a pungent, brownish liquid, although it can become thick, yellowish or creamy looking. The anal sacs can also be emptied when your dog is frightened. If the anal glands don't empty regularly, they can become impacted - the secretion becomes thicker and more difficult to empty; sometimes an infection in the anal gland will result. This can be irritating for your dog and your dog will scoot in order to relieve the irritation the impacted anal glands are causing. Impacted anal glands can be treated by manually expressing the glands. Your veterinarian can do this for your dog, and if it is a common problem for your dog, you can learn to do this yourself. Occasionally, impacted anal glands can block totally, and surgery is required.

This type of ear infection often involves a yeast called Malassezia. This yeast is part of the normal skin flora, but can under certain conditions, multiply and cause clinical signs of an ear infection - red, itchy ears sometimes with a discharge. Commonly, bacteria are also involved in causing the clinical signs of an ear infection. It should be noted that certain breeds are predisposed to overgrowth of Malassezia.

If you suspect that your dog has any type of ear infection, you should take your dog to the veterinarian to have it diagnosed and appropriately treated. Your veterinarian will determine the extent of the ear infection, work out what is causing it and prescribe treatments that will specifically and appropriately treat the infection. Some products for ear cleaning are available over the counter, but if used when your dog has an ear infection, especially if it involves a ruptured ear drum, can be dangerous.

Dogs are believed to be non-obligate carnivores, meaning that a dog is not dependent on meat-specific protein in order to fulfill its basic dietary requirements. Dogs are able to healthily digest a variety of foods, including vegetables and grains, and in fact dogs can consume a large proportion of these in their diet. In the wild, dogs not only eat available plants to obtain essential amino acids, but also obtain nutrients from vegetable matter from the stomach and intestinal contents of their herbivorous prey, which they usually consume.

As such, I do not think there should be much harm in your dog eating small amounts of bird seed that your cage birds flick onto the floor. (It also saves you having to sweep it up!)

p>While heart disease is usually not curable, as a pet owner you can incorporate some simple dietary changes that when used in combination with medical therapies can ensure your dog has a good quality of life.

Sodium restriction is usually the first dietary change that is recommended for patients with heart failure because the condition tends to lead to salt and water retention. Typically, many commercial brands of pet food have relatively high salt levels. Pet treats can also be high in salt and should be avoided. Other minerals important for heart health include potassium and magnesium. It is important to supply the correct levels of these essential nutrients in the diet for optimal effect.
Protein should not be overly restricted in dogs with heart disease and the calorie content of the food needs to be appropriate to maintain your pet's ideal body weight. Excess body weight results in increased work requirements for the heart, while too little energy is also deleterious.

Omega-3 fatty acids may be useful in some patients with heart disease as they may help to reduce inflammation which may ultimately reduce the risk of muscle wasting and heart rhythm abnormalities.

Whilst there are some important dietary changes you can make for your pet suffering heart disease, it is important that such changes are done in the context of providing an overall palatable and nutritionally balanced food. There are a variety of commercially available therapeutic diets available through your veterinarian, which are specifically formulated to meet all the nutritionally requirements of particular medical conditions. Speak to your veterinarian about any specific dietary changes you may need to undertake to maintain your pet's health.

It's better to visit the dog first; to see it in person so you know what its nature is like first hand. If you don't mind what breed, you may be able to find a dog that suits you through a pound or rescue agency. If you're after a particular breed, you will need to seek out a breeder. Do your homework and use trusted breeders whenever possible.

They definitely can be, so do some checking before you buy a certain breed. It might take some time to discover whether or not you are allergic to a particular breed.
You can be allergic to the shed dog skin, hair, saliva, or even their urine. Some of the reactions include nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, skin rashes, headaches, fatigue, coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and serious asthma attacks.

One way to see if you - or your child - develop a reaction is to visit a breeder. Spend some time petting the dogs, expose your forearms to their coat and see if you get itchy or develop a rash.

There's no definitive answer to this question because almost any dog has the potential to get along well with kids. Saying that, certain breeds do have a reputation as naturally kid-friendly such as Labradors, beagles, terriers and collies.

Ideally, you want an intelligent dog with a good temperament and medium energy level.

You might also want to consider the age and size of both your kids and the dog. Toddlers can be knocked over by a gangly, awkward puppy. Bigger kids could accidentally do damage to a small dog.

For more ideas and help in selecting the perfect breed for you and your family, have a look at our puppy selector.

Any dog can have smelly ears, but especially floppy-ear breeds where the ear flap covers the ear canal and traps moisture inside. On the other hand it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health disorder such as ear mites, a yeast infection or a bacterial infection. You should get your veterinarian to do a check for you. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to clean your dog's ears properly. Using Q tips for example may cause trauma and compact debris in the ear canal, making any underlying infection worse.

It's important to do weekly eye checks on your dog. To give them a good look over, face them in a brightly lit area and look into their eyes. They should be clear and bright, and the area around the eyeball should be white. The pupils should be the same size, and there shouldn't be any discharge, tearing or crust in the corners of his or her eyes.
You'll also want to roll back the lower eyelid with your thumb and look at the lining to make sure it's pink, rather than red or white.

Other things to look out for include a protruding third eyelid, closed eye/s, cloudiness, and change of eye colour and tear stains on their fur around the eye.

Yes, very normal. A Labrador coat is very thick and dense and when they go through their seasonal shed, they lose hair in alarming amounts. If the shed is continuing for a long time or the hair seems dry or brittle, consult your veterinarian about parasite control, appropriate diet and general medical issues. All dogs shed, but not all the time.

Most dogs love food, so when a dog isn't eating, it usually indicates that they are not well. Veterinary attention should be sought.

In most cases the cause of obesity is quite simple: too much food and not enough exercise. That being said, there are a number of factors that can also play a role. Although dogs of any size or breed can become obese, some breeds are more susceptible to weight gain. These breeds include (among others):

  • Labrador retrievers
  • Golden retrievers
  • Beagles
  • Cocker spaniels
  • Daschunds
  • Pugs
  • Chihuahuas
  • Basset hounds

Obesity can also be the result of underlying medical conditions.

If you are asking yourself if your dog is obese? Visit: www.ismydogoverweight.ca

Common symptoms of food allergy are gastrointestinal upset that may include vomiting and/ or diarrhea or even just soft stools, and/or skin problems with rashes and itchiness. You might notice that these signs occur when your dog eats a certain food; but then avoiding this food, the signs might not return. If you are concerned that your dog has food allergy and can't work out why, consult your veterinarian. This can be a very frustrating situation as there are no reliable tests to determine which food ingredient your dog may be reacting to.

Getting angry doesn't usually solve anything. You will get better results and bigger changes using positive reinforcement.

The most common reason is separation anxiety (SA). This simply means they are scared of being apart from their owner and alone. It can also be a result of pure boredom. So keep your dog entertained by placing some of their favourite toys around.

Most dogs are scared of unfamiliar objects/beings (including other species of animals) and loud sounds. Thorough socialization when they are young can minimize this.

The size of your dog usually plays a role in whether or not a joint problem is the real issue. Bigger dogs put more weight on their joints, which can do more long term damage. Treatments such as physical therapy and swimming may help to manage joint problems. If your veterinarian thinks that your dog has a joint problem, they might recommend radiographs to image the joint and see what’s going on. Surgery is usually only required for more serious problems that can’t be managed otherwise.

The most common reason dogs eat grass is because they like it. A common misconception is that they have a nutrient deficiency or are trying to make themselves sick. Grass is an irritant to the stomach in large amounts and can cause vomiting. Large amounts of grass eating can also cause blockages in the stomach and intestine as they form a clump during digestion. It is best to keep your dog away from long grass to eat but keep them on a lead during walks or by keeping gardens well manicured. This will also prevent any problems with grass seeds during the spring/summer seasons. If you feel your dog is vomiting/eating grass excessively please visit your local veterinarian for a check up.

Puppies love to nip a lot in play and their young sharp teeth often hurt and scratch very easily. Aside from the pain factor, a nipping puppy that does not learn to curb this behaviour will often grow into a dog that uses his mouth for rough play. Dogs love to play tug of war and our natural instinct to pull away during nipping emphasizes this type of play. By starting young, you can easily teach your puppy or young adult that mouthing is just not acceptable. Here are a couple of techniques to try:

1. Try and reverse the instinct to pull away from your puppies mouthing and gently pushing into the mouth a little. This isn't designed to hurt your puppy just confuse his play. While the puppy is expecting the usual ‘tug' away, instead the game is broken and they learn that that type of play isn't rewarding.

2. Simply get up and remove yourself from the puppy and cease interaction. Your puppy longs to get attention from you and if a behaviour removes this attention swiftly then they soon learn not to do this again.

In short, you don't. Dogs can be hard to read and little things can change the dynamics between 2 dogs that don't know each other. Generally though, good signs are tails wags, relaxed bodies, smiley faces and no growling. Always try and ask the owner of the other dog how they interact with strange dogs before allowing close play. Walking with leads, meeting dogs you know and watching for problems in advance can really help reduce unwanted interactions. Also, well socialized puppies generally become well socialized adult dogs, so get the training in early. Puppy preschool is a great group to attend at your local veterinarian.

The best rewards for your dog are ones that are palatable, low fat and calorie and can be broken into small pieces. Some dogs can be sensitive or allergic to certain foods so this needs to be taken into consideration. Some common rewards that are appropriate are: dried liver treats, single kibble pieces from their regular food, vegetable pieces such as carrots or even small pieces of chicken, no skin). Rewards are an important part of a dog's training as they reinforce what you have taught them and they learn faster. But remember the best reward is usually a cuddle and praise straight from the one they love the most-YOU!

You're expecting a baby! Congratulations! Many people worry about introducing a baby to the family dog and how your dog will handle it. The majority of the time this is a smooth happy transition and with a little preparation everyone will be ready. Start teaching your dog before the baby arrives which areas are restricted. Spend time with your dog and even do an obedience refresher course to reinforce rules and boundaries. When baby arrives don't leave your dog out so that jealousy isn't a problem that grows. Never leave the two alone even if you are convinced it's safe and remember that your dog is part of the family too and will become an important part of your new arrival's life in time.

Dogs, like people, can suffer from anxiety. Anxiety isn't always a logical thing and can be difficult to understand in your dog. Many dogs who are rehomed once or more often develop some form of anxiety, especially when there has been some neglect or abuse involved. The most common form of anxiety in dogs is called Separation Anxiety (SA). SA can sometimes look like bad behaviour or illness such as excessive barking, destructive behaviour, house soiling, escaping, loss of appetite, excessive coat licking etc. The difference is that for SA the behaviours happen when the owner is not around or is out of reach, such as behind a closed door. SA can often be a hard condition to treat but much success has been gained through using a behaviourist who comes into the home, assesses the situation and offers tips to lessen the anxiety. Sometimes medication is also used. Talk to your local veterinarian if you require this type of intervention.

When dogs are deep in sleep they can look like they are dreaming. They often move their eyes, grunt, softly bark, move their legs and move their whiskers and lips. Some people get scared by this and think their dog is having seizures. The difference is that a dog can be roused from sleep but not from a seizure. Science is unsure as to whether dogs dream or not. They certainly appear to and if Hollywood has anything to say about it then they certainly dream just like us!

Most dogs are scared of unfamiliar objects/beings (including other species of animals) and loud sounds. Thorough socialization when they are young can minimize this.

The most common reason is separation anxiety (SA). This simply means they are scared of being apart from their owner and alone. It can also be a result of pure boredom. So keep your dog entertained by placing some of their favourite toys around.

Getting angry doesn't usually solve anything. You will get better results and bigger changes using positive reinforcement.

Right away! Dogs are never too young or too old to train!
Effective training methods are taught by dog trainers at many dog obedience schools and puppy preschools at veterinary clinics. Lessons range from basic commands such as sit, stay, drop etc. to more advanced classes involving agility training and fun tricks.

Harsh punishments such as hitting and rubbing noses into their poo and urine is often very ineffective and counter-productive; it makes training in the future even more difficult. Positive reinforcement, using treats and praise, is the cornerstone behind successful puppy training. Please ask your veterinarian or dog schools for more details on training classes.

A successful training program will not only help you train your puppy quickly and effectively, but it will also enormously improve and develop the bond between you and your puppy!

Halter-type collars will give you the best control over your dog and are the most comfortable to wear. They give you control of your dog's head and when you have control of your dog's head, you have control of your dog. These collars work on the same principle as a horse halter. Even a smaller person can have good control over a large strong dog without hurting them. When you pull on the leash, your dog's head will either be pulled down or to the side - this makes it virtually impossible for your dog to move ahead or pull you forward. This also means you can control who your dog listens to by enabling you to make eye contact with your dog and draw their attention from distractions around them.

Puppies love to nip a lot in play and their young sharp teeth often hurt and scratch very easily. Aside from the pain factor, a nipping puppy that does not learn to curb this behaviour will often grow into a dog that uses his mouth for rough play. Dogs love to play tug of war and our natural instinct to pull away during nipping emphasizes this type of play. By starting young, you can easily teach your puppy or young adult that mouthing is just not acceptable. Here are a couple of techniques to try:

  1. Try and reverse the instinct to pull away from your puppies mouthing and gently pushing into the mouth a little. This isn't designed to hurt your puppy just confuse his play. While the puppy is expecting the usual ‘tug' away, instead the game is broken and they learn that that type of play isn't rewarding.
  2. Simply get up and remove yourself from the puppy and cease interaction. Your puppy longs to get attention from you and if a behaviour removes this attention swiftly then they soon learn not to do this again.

In short, you don't. Dogs can be hard to read and little things can change the dynamics between 2 dogs that don't know each other. Generally though, good signs are tails wags, relaxed bodies, smiley faces and no growling. Always try and ask the owner of the other dog how they interact with strange dogs before allowing close play. Walking with leads, meeting dogs you know and watching for problems in advance can really help reduce unwanted interactions. Also, well socialized puppies generally become well socialized adult dogs, so get the training in early. Puppy preschool is a great group to attend at your local veterinarian.

The best rewards for your dog are ones that are palatable, low fat and calorie and can be broken into small pieces. Some dogs can be sensitive or allergic to certain foods so this needs to be taken into consideration. Some common rewards that are appropriate are: dried liver treats, single kibble pieces from their regular food, vegetable pieces such as carrots or even small pieces of chicken, no skin). Rewards are an important part of a dog's training as they reinforce what you have taught them and they learn faster. But remember the best reward is usually a cuddle and praise straight from the one they love the most-YOU!

You're expecting a baby! Congratulations! Many people worry about introducing a baby to the family dog and how your dog will handle it. The majority of the time this is a smooth happy transition and with a little preparation everyone will be ready. Start teaching your dog before the baby arrives which areas are restricted. Spend time with your dog and even do an obedience refresher course to reinforce rules and boundaries. When baby arrives don't leave your dog out so that jealousy isn't a problem that grows. Never leave the two alone even if you are convinced it's safe and remember that your dog is part of the family too and will become an important part of your new arrival's life in time.

Dogs, like people, can suffer from anxiety. Anxiety isn't always a logical thing and can be difficult to understand in your dog. Many dogs who are rehomed once or more often develop some form of anxiety, especially when there has been some neglect or abuse involved. The most common form of anxiety in dogs is called Separation Anxiety (SA). SA can sometimes look like bad behaviour or illness such as excessive barking, destructive behaviour, house soiling, escaping, loss of appetite, excessive coat licking etc. The difference is that for SA the behaviours happen when the owner is not around or is out of reach, such as behind a closed door. SA can often be a hard condition to treat but much success has been gained through using a behaviourist who comes into the home, assesses the situation and offers tips to lessen the anxiety. Sometimes medication is also used. Talk to your local veterinarian if you require this type of intervention.

When dogs are deep in sleep they can look like they are dreaming. They often move their eyes, grunt, softly bark, move their legs and move their whiskers and lips. Some people get scared by this and think their dog is having seizures. The difference is that a dog can be roused from sleep but not from a seizure. Science is unsure as to whether dogs dream or not. They certainly appear to and if Hollywood has anything to say about it then they certainly dream just like us!

Most dogs are scared of unfamiliar objects/beings (including other species of animals) and loud sounds. Thorough socialization when they are young can minimize this.

The most common reason is separation anxiety (SA). This simply means they are scared of being apart from their owner and alone. It can also be a result of pure boredom. So keep your dog entertained by placing some of their favourite toys around.

Getting angry doesn't usually solve anything. You will get better results and bigger changes using positive reinforcement.

Any dog can have smelly ears, but especially floppy-ear breeds where the ear flap covers the ear canal and traps moisture inside. On the other hand it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health disorder such as ear mites, a yeast infection or a bacterial infection. You should get your veterinarian to do a check for you. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to clean your dog's ears properly. Using Q tips for example may cause trauma and compact debris in the ear canal, making any underlying infection worse.

There's no definitive answer to this question because almost any dog has the potential to get along well with kids. Saying that, certain breeds do have a reputation as naturally kid-friendly such as Labradors, beagles, terriers and collies.
Ideally, you want an intelligent dog with a good temperament and medium energy level.

You might also want to consider the age and size of both your kids and the dog. Toddlers can be knocked over by a gangly, awkward puppy. Bigger kids could accidentally do damage to a small dog.

For more ideas and help in selecting the perfect breed for you and your family, have a look at our puppy selector.

They definitely can be, so do some checking before you buy a certain breed. It might take some time to discover whether or not you are allergic to a particular breed.

You can be allergic to the shed dog skin, hair, saliva, or even their urine. Some of the reactions include nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, skin rashes, headaches, fatigue, coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and serious asthma attacks.

One way to see if you - or your child - develop a reaction is to visit a breeder. Spend some time petting the dogs, expose your forearms to their coat and see if you get itchy or develop a rash.

It's better to visit the dog first; to see it in person so you know what its nature is like first hand. If you don't mind what breed, you may be able to find a dog that suits you through a pound or rescue agency. If you're after a particular breed, you will need to seek out a breeder. Do your homework and use trusted breeders whenever possible.

This is a topic that can be discussed on your first visit to the Veterinarian. Use an appropriate puppy shampoo that is specially made for puppies or dogs. The water temperature should be the same water temperature that you would comfortably shower in.

You can shampoo your pup just like you shampoo your own hair, and rinse it off after lathering.

Alternatively, you can also fill a small bath with warm water and some shampoo and drench it over your puppy. If you have used a lot of shampoo, then a final rinse is recommended.

Make sure you don't get any shampoo or water on your puppy's face, eyes and ears. Some shampoos can be irritating to eyes and water-logged ears can lead to ear infections in your dog.

Towel-dry your puppy once it is all done. Leave-in puppy or dog conditioner can now be applied for a nicer shinier coat. In warmer climates, it is often not necessary to blow-dry your puppy. If you need to blow-dry your puppy, make sure the hairdryer is on low heat and is constantly moving, so that you don't accidentally burn your puppy's skin.

The best diet you can give your puppy is actually premium brand puppy food and water only, once they have been weaned fully. Once your puppy has been fully weaned, they no longer require milk, so you do not have to give them puppy milk at all. The dry form of puppy and dog food is the most economical and is also better for your dog's teeth, compared to the canned foods.
As much as we love to spoil our puppies with table scraps, treats and snacks, and make our own home-cooked meals for them, the nutritional balance in such diets is often not very good and it may lead to nutritional deficiencies in your puppy.

All premium brands of pet foods have been carefully and scientifically prepared to ensure the best nutrition for your puppy, and it may seem bland to eat the same thing day-in and day-out, but rest assured that you are really doing the best for your puppy.

Moreover, if you don't ever feed them human foods, they will not develop a taste for them, and thus may prevent future begging behaviour, obesity, vomiting and diarrhea, anal gland problems etc. And they will be very happy with their dog food for the rest of their lives!

Generally, you should only bring your puppy out for a walk at least 2 weeks after it has had its last puppy vaccination. This is because there are many viruses out there that your puppy may pick up while on walks in public areas.

All sorts of dogs are walked in public areas, both vaccinated and unvaccinated. The unvaccinated dogs may shed some viruses that stay in the environment for many years, and these viruses, if exposed to your puppy before it receives its full course of vaccinations, may make your puppy very sick and many do die from these diseases. There is no cure available for these viruses, similar to many childhood viruses in children.

However, it is important to start socializing your puppy, but it should only be done in safe environments - such as puppy preschools at veterinary clinics, friends and relatives' homes with healthy vaccinated dogs etc.

Right away! Dogs are never too young or too old to train!
Effective training methods are taught by dog trainers at many dog obedience schools and puppy preschools at veterinary clinics. Lessons range from basic commands such as sit, stay, drop etc. to more advanced classes involving agility training and fun tricks.

Puppy skin is different to human skin, dog skin has a completely different pH from human skin, as such they are therefore very sensitive to soapy human shampoos that are designed to strip the oils off. As a result, your puppy may develop dry, sensitive skin when human shampoos are used. Ideally, use a shampoo specially designed for puppies or dogs. Dog or puppy conditioners are also available to improve the appearance of their coat.

Puppies love to nip a lot in play and their young sharp teeth often hurt and scratch very easily. Aside from the pain factor, a nipping puppy that does not learn to curb this behaviour will often grow into a dog that uses his mouth for rough play. Dogs love to play tug of war and our natural instinct to pull away during nipping emphasizes this type of play. By starting young, you can easily teach your puppy or young adult that mouthing is just not acceptable. Here are a couple of techniques to try:

  1. Try and reverse the instinct to pull away from your puppies mouthing and gently pushing into the mouth a little. This isn't designed to hurt your puppy just confuse his play. While the puppy is expecting the usual 'tug' away, instead the game is broken and they learn that that type of play isn't rewarding.
  2. Simply get up and remove yourself from the puppy and cease interaction. Your puppy longs to get attention from you and if a behaviour removes this attention swiftly then they soon learn not to do this again.

The size of your dog usually plays a role in whether or not a joint problem is the real issue. Bigger dogs put more weight on their joints, which can do more long term damage. Treatments such as physical therapy and swimming may help to manage joint problems. If your veterinarian thinks that your dog has a joint problem, they might recommend radiographs to image the joint and see what's going on. Surgery is usually only required for more serious problems that can't be managed otherwise.

Common symptoms of food allergy are gastrointestinal upset that may include vomiting and/ or diarrhea or even just soft stools, and/or skin problems with rashes and itchiness. You might notice that these signs occur when your dog eats a certain food; but then avoiding this food, the signs might not return. If you are concerned that your dog has food allergy and can't work out why, consult your veterinarian. This can be a very frustrating situation as there are no reliable tests to determine which food ingredient your dog may be reacting to.

In most cases the cause of obesity is quite simple: too much food and not enough exercise.
That being said, there are a number of factors that can also play a role.
Although dogs of any size or breed can become obese, some breeds are more susceptible to weight gain. These breeds include (among others):

  • Labrador retrievers
  • Golden retrievers
  • Beagles
  • Cocker spaniels
  • Daschunds
  • Pugs
  • Chihuahuas
  • Basset hounds

Obesity can also be the result of underlying medical conditions.

If you are asking yourself if your dog is obese? Visit: www.ismydogoverweight.ca

Most dogs love food, so when a dog isn't eating, it usually indicates that they are not well. Veterinary attention should be sought.

Yes, very normal. A Labrador coat is very thick and dense and when they go through their seasonal shed, they lose hair in alarming amounts. If the shed is continuing for a long time or the hair seems dry or brittle, consult your veterinarian about parasite control, appropriate diet and general medical issues. All dogs shed, but not all the time.

It's important to do weekly eye checks on your dog. To give them a good look over, face them in a brightly lit area and look into their eyes. They should be clear and bright, and the area around the eyeball should be white. The pupils should be the same size, and there shouldn't be any discharge, tearing or crust in the corners of his or her eyes.

You'll also want to roll back the lower eyelid with your thumb and look at the lining to make sure it's pink, rather than red or white.

Other things to look out for include a protruding third eyelid, closed eye/s, cloudiness, and change of eye colour and tear stains on their fur around the eye.

Any dog can have smelly ears, but especially floppy-ear breeds where the ear flap covers the ear canal and traps moisture inside. On the other hand it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health disorder such as ear mites, a yeast infection or a bacterial infection. You should get your veterinarian to do a check for you. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to clean your dog's ears properly. Using Q tips for example may cause trauma and compact debris in the ear canal, making any underlying infection worse.

While heart disease is usually not curable, as a pet owner you can incorporate some simple dietary changes that when used in combination with medical therapies can ensure your dog has a good quality of life.
Sodium restriction is usually the first dietary change that is recommended for patients with heart failure because the condition tends to lead to salt and water retention. Typically, many commercial brands of pet food have relatively high salt levels. Pet treats can also be high in salt and should be avoided. Other minerals important for heart health include potassium and magnesium. It is important to supply the correct levels of these essential nutrients in the diet for optimal effect.

Protein should not be overly restricted in dogs with heart disease and the calorie content of the food needs to be appropriate to maintain your pet's ideal body weight. Excess body weight results in increased work requirements for the heart, while too little energy is also deleterious.

Omega-3 fatty acids may be useful in some patients with heart disease as they may help to reduce inflammation which may ultimately reduce the risk of muscle wasting and heart rhythm abnormalities.

Whilst there are some important dietary changes you can make for your pet suffering heart disease, it is important that such changes are done in the context of providing an overall palatable and nutritionally balanced food. There are a variety of commercially available therapeutic diets available through your veterinarian, which are specifically formulated to meet all the nutritionally requirements of particular medical conditions. Speak to your veterinarian about any specific dietary changes you may need to undertake to maintain your pet's health.

This type of ear infection often involves a yeast called Malassezia. This yeast is part of the normal skin flora, but can under certain conditions, multiply and cause clinical signs of an ear infection - red, itchy ears sometimes with a discharge. Commonly, bacteria are also involved in causing the clinical signs of an ear infection. It should be noted that certain breeds are predisposed to overgrowth of Malassezia.

If you suspect that your dog has any type of ear infection, you should take your dog to the veterinarian to have it diagnosed and appropriately treated. Your veterinarian will determine the extent of the ear infection, work out what is causing it and prescribe treatments that will specifically and appropriately treat the infection. Some products for ear cleaning are available over the counter, but if used when your dog has an ear infection, especially if it involves a ruptured ear drum, can be dangerous.

This behaviour where your dog is dragging her anal area along the ground is commonly referred to as "scooting". Scooting indicates some sort of bottom irritation.

The most likely cause is an anal gland problem: Every dog has two anal glands or sacs (1 gland on each side of the anus). The secretion from these glands enables your dog to mark its territory and to identify each other. The anal sacs are normally expressed (emptied) during defecation. The secretion from the anal glands is a pungent, brownish liquid, although it can become thick, yellowish or creamy looking. The anal sacs can also be emptied when your dog is frightened. If the anal glands don't empty regularly, they can become impacted - the secretion becomes thicker and more difficult to empty; sometimes an infection in the anal gland will result. This can be irritating for your dog and your dog will scoot in order to relieve the irritation the impacted anal glands are causing. Impacted anal glands can be treated by manually expressing the glands. Your veterinarian can do this for your dog, and if it is a common problem for your dog, you can learn to do this yourself. Occasionally, impacted anal glands can block totally, and surgery is required.

Most veterinary clinics are able to offer dentistry services involving tooth extraction/removal. If you are wanting your dog to visit a specialist veterinary dentist, you will need to ask your normal veterinarian for a referral.

Common symptoms of food allergy are gastrointestinal upset that may include vomiting and/ or diarrhea or even just soft stools, and/or skin problems with rashes and itchiness. You might notice that these signs occur when your dog eats a certain food; but then avoiding this food, the signs might not return. If you are concerned that your dog has food allergy and can't work out why, consult your veterinarian. This can be a very frustrating situation as there are no reliable tests to determine which food ingredient your dog may be reacting to.

In most cases the cause of obesity is quite simple: too much food and not enough exercise.
That being said, there are a number of factors that can also play a role.
Although dogs of any size or breed can become obese, some breeds are more susceptible to weight gain. These breeds include (among others):

  • Labrador retrievers
  • Golden retrievers
  • Beagles
  • Cocker spaniels
  • Daschunds
  • Pugs
  • Chihuahuas
  • Basset hounds

Obesity can also be the result of underlying medical conditions.

If you are asking yourself if your dog is obese? Visit: www.ismydogoverweight.ca

Most dogs love food, so when a dog isn't eating, it usually indicates that they are not well. Veterinary attention should be sought.

While heart disease is usually not curable, as a pet owner you can incorporate some simple dietary changes that when used in combination with medical therapies can ensure your dog has a good quality of life.
Sodium restriction is usually the first dietary change that is recommended for patients with heart failure because the condition tends to lead to salt and water retention. Typically, many commercial brands of pet food have relatively high salt levels. Pet treats can also be high in salt and should be avoided. Other minerals important for heart health include potassium and magnesium. It is important to supply the correct levels of these essential nutrients in the diet for optimal effect.

Protein should not be overly restricted in dogs with heart disease and the calorie content of the food needs to be appropriate to maintain your pet's ideal body weight. Excess body weight results in increased work requirements for the heart, while too little energy is also deleterious.

Omega-3 fatty acids may be useful in some patients with heart disease as they may help to reduce inflammation which may ultimately reduce the risk of muscle wasting and heart rhythm abnormalities.

Whilst there are some important dietary changes you can make for your pet suffering heart disease, it is important that such changes are done in the context of providing an overall palatable and nutritionally balanced food. There are a variety of commercially available therapeutic diets available through your veterinarian, which are specifically formulated to meet all the nutritionally requirements of particular medical conditions. Speak to your veterinarian about any specific dietary changes you may need to undertake to maintain your pet's health.

Dogs are believed to be non-obligate carnivores, meaning that a dog is not dependent on meat-specific protein in order to fulfill its basic dietary requirements. Dogs are able to healthily digest a variety of foods, including vegetables and grains, and in fact dogs can consume a large proportion of these in their diet. In the wild, dogs not only eat available plants to obtain essential amino acids, but also obtain nutrients from vegetable matter from the stomach and intestinal contents of their herbivorous prey, which they usually consume.

As such, I do not think there should be much harm in your dog eating small amounts of bird seed that your cage birds flick onto the floor. (It also saves you having to sweep it up!)

The best diet you can give your puppy is actually premium brand puppy food and water only, once they have been weaned fully. Once your puppy has been fully weaned, they no longer require milk, so you do not have to give them puppy milk at all. The dry form of puppy and dog food is the most economical and is also better for your dog's teeth, compared to the canned foods.
As much as we love to spoil our puppies with table scraps, treats and snacks, and make our own home-cooked meals for them, the nutritional balance in such diets is often not very good and it may lead to nutritional deficiencies in your puppy.

All premium brands of pet foods have been carefully and scientifically prepared to ensure the best nutrition for your puppy, and it may seem bland to eat the same thing day-in and day-out, but rest assured that you are really doing the best for your puppy.

Moreover, if you don't ever feed them human foods, they will not develop a taste for them, and thus may prevent future begging behaviour, obesity, vomiting and diarrhea, anal gland problems etc. And they will be very happy with their dog food for the rest of their lives!

The most common reason dogs eat grass is because they like it. A common misconception is that they have a nutrient deficiency or are trying to make themselves sick. Grass is an irritant to the stomach in large amounts and can cause vomiting. Large amounts of grass eating can also cause blockages in the stomach and intestine as they form a clump during digestion. It is best to keep your dog away from long grass to eat but keep them on a lead during walks or by keeping gardens well manicured. This will also prevent any problems with grass seeds during the spring/summer seasons. If you feel your dog is vomiting/eating grass excessively please visit your local veterinarian for a check up.

Any dog can have smelly ears, but especially floppy-ear breeds where the ear flap covers the ear canal and traps moisture inside. On the other hand it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health disorder such as ear mites, a yeast infection or a bacterial infection. You should get your veterinarian to do a check for you. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to clean your dog's ears properly. Using Q tips for example may cause trauma and compact debris in the ear canal, making any underlying infection worse.

Generally, you should only bring your puppy out for a walk at least 2 weeks after it has had its last puppy vaccination. This is because there are many viruses out there that your puppy may pick up while on walks in public areas.

All sorts of dogs are walked in public areas, both vaccinated and unvaccinated. The unvaccinated dogs may shed some viruses that stay in the environment for many years, and these viruses, if exposed to your puppy before it receives its full course of vaccinations, may make your puppy very sick and many do die from these diseases. There is no cure available for these viruses, similar to many childhood viruses in children.

However, it is important to start socializing your puppy, but it should only be done in safe environments - such as puppy preschools at veterinary clinics, friends and relatives' homes with healthy vaccinated dogs etc.

Puppies ears should be cleaned regularly to ensure the ears are kept clean and to accustom your puppy to having his/her ears touched and treated. It is especially important to clean ears if they get very dirty. The dirt inside the ears can be due to a normal waxy discharge, or abnormal discharges due to an underlying infection (e.g. earmites, bacteria, yeast). If your puppy is shaking its head very frequently, scratching at its ears and appears distressed when you try to touch its ears - it may have an infection. In this case, your puppy will need to see a veterinarian for the appropriate treatment.

Do not wash the ears with water as this can actually lead to an infection. Be careful when you are bathing your puppy as well, to make sure water doesn't get into the ears. If you wish, there are special ear washes available from your veterinarian to ensure that your puppy's ears stay clean and healthy. These can be used after swimming or bathing.

If your puppy has hairy ears, which is common in some breeds (e.g. poodles), plucking the hairs out of those ears is not recommended at all, unless there is already an infection at the time. In a normal ear, if the hairs are plucked out, this will lead to oozing and bleeding (and is painful for your puppy too!). The oozing and bleeding can actually lead to an infection due to the moisture present in the ears. However, if your puppy's ears are infected, then the hairs may be removed to get all the discharge out of the ears and help get the medications into the ears properly. If in doubt, speak to your local veterinarian for advice.

Share the good news about PawClub with your friends!

Don't forget to like the Paw Club Canada Facebook page, the best place to get all the scoops and insights
e-mail icon