I’m delighted to share these sample excerpts from the more than 200 entries in this 638-page book. I hope these quick tips will intrigue, and help keep your dog happy and safe. Let’s begin!
Acne: Canine acne is common in adolescent dogs, particularly short-coated breeds like Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes and Boxers. Most dogs outgrow the condition. Holistic veterinarians recommend applying a tincture (or tea) of the herb calendula on a cotton ball, used as a compress for five minutes each day to help speed healing.
Bloat: This syndrome affects up to 60,000 dogs each year. All dogs can be affected, but breeds that have a narrow but deep chest have the greatest incidence of the condition. Typically, dogs whine and pace in an effort to get comfortable. The dog may try to vomit or defecate without success. The stomach becomes swollen and painful. Bloat is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate veterinary intervention if your dog is to survive.
Car Sickness: Ginger is a natural remedy that can relieve car sickness. Sprinkle the contents of a capsule n a tablespoon of baby food, and give your dog about 20 minutes before the car ride. Dogs weighing more than 15 pounds can take 500 milligrams of ginger (for smaller dogs, half that amount). Some dog show professionals offer their dogs ginger snap cookies, which may also work, but do tend to stain white fur if the dog slobbers.
Diarrhea: Acute diarrhea is treated by withholding food for at least 24 hours to rest the gastrointestinal tract. As long as there is no vomiting along with the diarrhea, offer small amounts of water or ice cubes during this time. You also can use Kaopectate at a dosage of ½ to 1 teaspoon per five pounds of pet, up to a maximum of 2 tablespoons every eight hours. If diarrhea persists for more than 24 hours, see your veterinarian.
Electrical Shock: Most accidents result from the puppy or dog chewing through an electric cord. Electrical current may cause muscle contractions that make your dog bite down even harder, and prevent her from releasing the cord. If you find your dog in such a situation, shut off the current and disconnect the plug before attempting to touch her or you risk being shocked, too.
Flatulence: Gas is produced naturally in the intestines during digestion. Flatulence can be the sign of a health problem. Gorging allows food to stay in the stomach for extended periods, and tends to make dogs more prone to gas. Feed your dogs separately to cut down on competition. Slow the gulper by placing a large non-swallowable bowl in the bowl so she must eat around it. Invest in a foraging feeder, bowls designed to make dogs work to reach the food.
Grass Eating: Most dogs occasionally eat grass, which may be used as a natural emetic to stimulate vomiting when the dog feels unwell. Some dogs may simply relish the flavor or texture. Some speculation exists that grass grazing may provide trace elements or vitamins.
Hot Spots: A hot spot is a localized area of self-induced trauma that becomes infected. Dogs with heavy double coats like Chow Chows and German Shepherd Dogs seem most prone to developing hot spots immediately prior to shedding. A natural remedy for hot spots is the tannic acid found in black tea. This astringent helps dry out the sores so they heal more quickly. Soak a tea bag in hot water, let it cool, and apply the bag directly to the sore for five minutes. You can do this three or four times a day.
Ibuprofen poisoning: The drug prevents oxygen from being absorbed into the blood, which may result in your dog’s gums turning blue from lack of oxygen, and the dog having difficulty breathing. Induce vomiting using three percent hydrogen peroxide, one tablespoon per 10 pounds of pet, and immediately contact your veterinarian.
Jumping Up: This is a normal greeting behavior for dogs who wish to nuzzle and lick each other’s faces. A submissive dog aims attention at a dominant individual’s eyes and mouth. Therefore, licking the owner’s face is a canine “howdy!” — a way to solicit attention. Teach your dog a conflicting behavior such as “fetch your ball.” She can’t jump up if she’s running to bring you her ball or other favorite toy.
Kneecap Slipping: The condition is considered common in toy breed dogs, but can affect any size or breed of dog. Dogs may show no signs at all, or may suffer intermittent lameness and limping as the kneecap slips in and out of place. Keeping your dog slim and preventing excessive jumping can reduce the risk of repeat injury.
Licking Sores: Acral lick granuloma is a common condition thought to be associated with canine boredom. The affected dog incessantly licks a selected area, usually on a lower leg, which creates a raised, hairless ulcerative plaque. An owner’s interaction — spending more one-on-one time with the dog playing games, walking, or training — is beneficial.
Music Therapy: Music therapy not only blocks out scary sounds, but actually changes the way the brain processes emotion. Soft music with a slow, steady rhythm helps calm agitated dogs and rambunctious puppies. Music with a pulse of about 60 beats per minute slows the brain waves so the listener feels more relaxed and peaceful and shifts the consciousness into a more alert state. This rhythm also slows breathing, which calms the mind and improves the metabolism
Nose: Humans have between five to 20 million scent-analyzing cells, but canine scent sense varies between breeds. For instance, the Dachshund has about 125 million such cells, compared to the German Shepherd Dog’s 200 million. The best sniffer of them all, the Bloodhound, is said to have 300 million olfactory cells.
Obesity: Defined as body fat that exceeds 30 percent beyond the ideal, obesity most often affects middle-aged and older dogs and is the most common nutritional disorder of dogs. According to the 2014 statistics published by Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 52.7 percent of dogs are overweight or obese.
Proptosis of Eyeball: A sharp blow to the head or bite wounds may cause the eyeball to prolapse, or “pop” from the socket. To prevent the surface from drying, place a wet gauze sponge or wet cloth over the eye until you reach veterinary help. Don’t try to manipulate the eyeball back into place yourself; you could cause even more damage. The eyeball will need to be surgically replaced.
Quarantine: A dog incubating a highly contagious disease becomes sick within two to three weeks of exposure. Quarantine the new dog for a minimum of two weeks (a month is better) to reduce risk of exposure for your other pets.
Rolling: Certain pungent scents prompt rolling behavior in dogs. This scent ecstasy is similar to what cats experience when exposed to catnip, however, the canine indulgence is a good bit more noxious, and tends toward offal. Experts theorize that perfuming themselves with such scents may allow the dog to carry the smelly message home, so other dogs can “read” all about it.
Shedding: Light exposure, either to sun or artificial light, determines the amount and timetable of canine shedding. Environmental temperature has a lesser influence. More hair is shed during the greatest exposure to light, which typically coincides with the summer months. In fact, house dogs under constant exposure to artificial light may shed all year long.
Temperature: The adult dog’s normal body temperature ranges from 101 to 102.5 degrees, while a newborn puppy’s temperature is considerably lower at 92 to 97 degrees. A body temperature outside the normal range is an indication of illness. Temperatures higher than normal are referred to as a fever, and can be a sign of infection, or of heat stroke. A drop in body temperature may indicate shock as a result of trauma, or loss of body heat from extreme cold.
Uveitis: Uveitis refers to an inflammation of the iris, the colored portion of the eye, and the ciliary body that supports the lens and produces fluid of the front portion of the eye. The condition is common in dogs, and may affect only one eye or both. Unless diagnosed and treated, the dog may lose her sight in that eye. Dogs may squint, suffer watery eyes, clouding of the cornea or even a change in eye color.
Vestibular Syndrome: Middle-aged and senior dogs sometimes suffer from sudden, unexplained balance problems referred to as vestibular syndrome. The pet commonly begins to suffer from dizzy behavior, head tilt, circling, and falling with difficulty getting up. Often the pet’s eyes will jerk back and forth from side to side. Most cases gradually get better on their own over a period of a week to a month.
Wart: Young dogs may develop a condition called papillomatosis in which warts develop in their mouths, or sometimes on the eyelids, cornea, conjunctiva, or skin in other locations. The condition may be spread to another dog by close contact with an infected dog. Papillomatosis is almost always a transient condition, which cures by itself with a few months.
Xylitol poisoning: The ingested substance may cause vomiting, lack of coordination, seizures and even liver failure. Bleeding may develop in the dog’s gastrointestinal track or abdomen, as well as dark red specks or splotches on his gums. Usually the symptoms happen quickly, within 15 to 30 minutes of ingestion, but some types of sugar-free gum may not cause symptoms for up to 12 hours. If you see your dog eat something containing xylitol, induce vomiting immediately and then get to the veterinarian.
Yellow Skin (Jaundice): Jaundice refers to the abnormal yellow discoloration of bodily tissues and fluids. In dogs, jaundice is most easily seen in thinly furred or light-colored areas of the body, such as the insides of the ears or whites of the eyes. It is a sign of abnormal liver function, and results from the abnormal deposition of bile pigments throughout the body.
Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis: This is a skin disorder caused by a deficiency of zinc in the diet. Alaskan Malamutes, Bull Terriers, Samoyeds and Siberian Huskies may inherit a genetic defect that interferes with the proper absorption of zinc. Signs include thinning of the fur, and a scaly dermatitis especially on the face. The dog’s feet also typically develop thick calluses, and crack and bleed. Correcting the diet, along with short-term zinc supplementation, may reverse the signs of disease.
By Sarah Zumhofe