Monthly Archives: February 2010

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome


By Ruthie Bently

As your pet ages, they may get a little gray around the muzzle, and may walk slower on your daily ramblings. They might prefer sitting on the couch to going out and chasing a ball, and they may even get a bit finicky. Now our pets are even coping with some of the diseases we have been dealing with. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome is one of these; it has been compared to Alzheimer’s, dementia or senility in a human. Also known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (though cats can suffer from it as well), it’s caused by the physiological and chemical changes that occur in a dog’s brain as they age.

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome typically comes on slowly and will gradually get worse. CDS can cause a senior dog to become forgetful or confused about their outside boundaries and even housebreaking. Another symptom is forgetfulness about eating or drinking water. This can be a problem for our senior canines because their bodies do not have a lot of reserves. If you think your dog may have CDS and they seem to be forgetful about eating regularly or seem to have lost interest, it is important to get them to the vet as soon as you can. CDS can become life threatening if not addressed.

A dog with CDS may forget their owner, favorite family member or someone they have just met. They may not meet you at the door when you come home as they used to do. They may walk away while being petted or groomed before you are finished, and they don’t tend to seek out the companionship of human family members. They may even forget other pets they live with or animals they have just met. A dog with CDS can have a personality change, and an outgoing dog may become aggressive or fearful of family members, strange people and other animals.

A dog with CDS can become disoriented in a place that has been familiar for years; this can include your yard or the house. They can even get lost in the corner of a room or behind an open door. They may wander aimlessly or pace through the house without realizing they are doing it. They may begin to bark for no reason and their sleeping patterns will change drastically. They may begin sleeping more during the day and wander the house at night. They may not respond when their name is called or may forget it altogether. Your previously housebroken or obedience-trained dog will forget what they are supposed to do. They won’t remember to tell you they have to go out, or will forget that they even have to.

The FDA has approved the drug Anipryl® for veterinarians to use in improving symptoms and slowing the process of CDS. The human equivalent selegiline hydrochloride is used for patients that are battling Alzheimer’s. While there are alternative therapies that are mentioned in the treatment of human Alzheimer’s, it is cited that there is no conclusive evidence that they work. They can be costly, are not well regulated and as such may not be a safe alternative to chemical medications. As such, Anipryl is the only medication available to help our canine pets with CDS at the present time.

If your dog is diagnosed with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, there are several things you can do to help them. Make sure to go to the vet for regular yearly visits. Keep your dog’s mind and body active by working or training them daily. Teach them tricks or new activities like tracking or scent training. There are many puzzle toys available today that challenge a dog’s mind. Even a simple game of hide-and-seek with a food baited toy will challenge their brain function. Adding more enrichment to your dog’s daily life can help their mental attitude and overall outlook. A dog that is both mentally and physically healthy tends to be more confident and self-assured, and have fewer health issues. By doing these things you can help slow the progress of CDS.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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How to Bathe a Cat, and Live to Tell About It!


By Julia Williams

Do cats even need baths? Yes and no. For the most part, cats are remarkably self cleaning. However, there are times when you might want to give your cat a bath. Cats that are allowed outside can get things like motor oil and grease on them, and should be bathed immediately so they don’t ingest these toxic substances.

Bathing a cat can help with flea infestations, provided you use other flea control methods too. Some cats are highly sensitive to flea bites, and a single flea can cause extreme itching, scratching and skin irritations. One of mine is, and to combat this I bathe him with an herbal flea shampoo with oatmeal and aloe, which does help.

Most cats loathe getting wet, which makes giving them a bath somewhat problematic. They can turn into screeching beasts that bite and claw wildly in a frantic attempt to get out of the water. If possible, have someone help you. When bathing a cat, four hands are better than two if you want kitty to stay put until you’re done instead of dashing for the bedroom closet.

Although I’ve seen videos of cats who sit calmly and unrestrained while getting a bath, most felines are quite the opposite. For those cats, here’s how to make this experience less traumatic for both of you.

Gather Your Supplies

Prior to bathing your cat, you’ll want to obtain:

● Cat shampoo (human shampoo and soap are too harsh for a cat’s skin).
● Ophthalmic ointment, to keep the shampoo from irritating their eyes.
● Rubber anti-slip mat, to keep your cat from sliding around in the sink.
● Grooming comb or brush; cotton balls
● Large unbreakable cup for scooping water
● Soft towel and (optional) blow drier

Before the Bath

Groom your cat to remove any mats and loose fur, and be sure to brush out the thick undercoat of long-haired cats. This is also a good time to check for any lumps, sores or other skin problems. The most crucial pre-bath procedure, however, is clipping your cat’s nails. I don’t recommend ever skipping this step, because there’s a very good chance your skin will be shredded by sharp claws if you do.

Next, assemble the supplies next to your chosen bathing area. I use my kitchen sink because it’s large and at a good height. Make sure the air temperature is comfortably warm and that your cat will also have a warm place to dry after the bath.

Just prior to the bath, place cotton balls in your cat’s ears and apply the eye ointment. Mix a small amount of the cat shampoo in some warm water; this will help you lather up your cat, and isn’t as shocking as cold shampoo.

During the Bath

Fill the sink with lukewarm water – three or four inches should suffice. Hold your cat firmly with both hands and gently lower them into the water. It may help to speak soothing words to your cat, who probably won’t appreciate being put into the water and may try to kick, bite and scratch her way out of the sink. If this happens, try to stay as calm as possible, because your cat will pick up on your anxiety, which will only make the situation worse.

Using the large cup, pour lukewarm water over your cat from the neck down. Cats generally dislike sprays, so I don’t recommend using the sink’s sprayer attachment to wet them down. Next, pour the diluted shampoo over them and gently lather up their back, neck, legs, tail and belly. If needed, a dab of shampoo on a wet washcloth can be used to gently clean their face. Rinse the cloth well and use it to remove soap residue. Be careful not to get shampoo in their eyes, nose, mouth or ears, and never pour water over your cat’s head.

Rinsing thoroughly to remove all traces of soap residue is a vital step in giving a cat a bath. I usually drain the sink and pour lukewarm water over my cat using my large cup, at least five or six times. The longer the hair, the more you will need to rinse.

After the Bath

Wrap your cat in a dry towel and blot their fur. You might want to warm the towel in the dryer first, to make it more soothing. Short-haired cats can get by with a good towel drying, provided they have a nice warm spot to retreat to until fully dry. Long-haired cats should really be completely dried and brushed before being let loose. A low-noise blowdrier with a low-heat setting is useful for finishing the drying process, although many cats find it too frightening.

Because you probably won’t need to give your cat a bath very often, they may never get used to it, and likely won’t enjoy it. But if you follow these suggestions for how to bathe a cat, both of you should be able to survive the experience relatively unscathed!

Photo courtesy of Gayle Lindgren

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

What is Reverse Sneezing, and Is It Dangerous?


By Linda Cole

Reverse sneezing in dogs and cats isn’t really a sneeze. If you’ve ever noticed your pet snorting, honking or gasping for breath, you’ve just witnessed a reverse sneeze. It is something we need to be aware of as pet owners because frequent reverse sneezing can be a symptom of other conditions that would require a vet’s attention.

A reverse sneeze, in more medical terms, is called pharyngeal gag reflex or paroxysmal respiration. This is a condition where a dog or cat will extend their neck and begin making gasping noises that sound like the pet is on their last legs. They may snort or even make honking noises all the while acting like they can’t catch their breath. Many people have done exactly what any responsible pet owner would do if they witness their dog or cat acting like they can’t breathe, and have rushed them to the vet. As life threatening as it sounds, however, a reverse sneeze is not a serious condition, and the pet will recover on its own without medical treatment.

The most common reason for a dog or cat experiencing a reverse sneezing episode is a result of something that irritated their soft palate (the soft, fleshy tissue extension off the roof of their mouth) and throat which in turn causes a spasm. In most cases, it’s nothing to worry about, but it can be upsetting when you see your dog or cat gasping for air. The irritation affects the trachea which then narrows, making it harder for the pet to get air.

To help your pet get through one of these spasms, you can gently massage their throat or cover their nose to make them swallow which should clear out whatever was irritating their throat. If that doesn’t work, you can offer them food or water, or take them outside. Holding down their tongue will help force more air into their nasal passage and can help. Just be careful the dog or cat doesn’t grab your finger in the process. The spasm is over when they stop sneezing. The pet will recover on their own even if they have an episode while no one is home. However, if your dog or cat is having attacks of reverse sneezing on a regular basis, this can indicate something else is going on, and a trip to the vet is advised.

A variety of things can cause your pet to have a spasm which results in a reverse sneeze, but a specific cause cannot always be diagnosed by a vet even for a dog or cat with a chronic problem. A dog who pulls on a leash, becomes overly excited, has been running around while playing, or eats and drinks too fast can be thrown into a reverse sneeze. Other causes include possible allergies, a dog not used to exercise, household cleaners, perfumes, air spray, dust or pollen not related to an allergy, viruses, post nasal drip, nasal cancer, nasal mites or something caught in their throat.

Signs to watch for that could indicate something more serious is causing the reverse sneezing include a discharge from the nose or a bloody nose, any kind of deformity around the nose area that doesn’t look right, a lack of appetite and energy, or any difficulty in breathing.

Boxers, Shih Tzus and dogs with flat faces have a soft palate that is stretched out more, and they can have bouts of reverse sneezing more than other breeds because they can actually suck the palate into their throat when they inhale. Smaller breeds are also more apt to be affected because they have a smaller throat. Cats don’t usually experience reverse sneezing like dogs, and if you have a cat who has bouts, it’s a good idea to have your vet check him out to make sure he doesn’t have asthma which does require treatment.

For most dogs, an attack of reverse sneezing is over in a matter of a minute or two and they will be just fine with no adverse affects at all. It looks and sounds worse than it is. It is important, however, to understand what a reverse sneeze is so you can be aware of other possible conditions that could be causing your dog or cat’s irritation if it becomes chronic. When you know what’s going on and how to deal with it, you can remain calm and help your pet instead of panicking over what appears to be a breathing problem and rushing to the vet’s office. Your vet will appreciate it, and so will your pet.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Meet Scout, an Avalanche Rescue Dog Sponsored by CANIDAE


By Suzanne Alicie

The CANIDAE dog sponsorship program began in 2006 as a way to support extraordinary dogs and the people who love them. Among the many canines chosen for sponsorship are teams who participate in dog sports, therapy dogs, K-9 units, assistance dogs and rescue dogs. These dogs are all fed CANIDAE products to provide them with the energy, strength and nutrition required for their demanding jobs.

One of these CANIDAE-sponsored special achievers is Scout, a Chocolate Labrador retriever who works for Copper Mountain as a Certified Avalanche Rescue Dog. His handler, Rich Silkey CMSP, took time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for me about Scout and the job they do together at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado. What an eye opener it was to learn about this dog and his amazing job.

Rich is not just Scout’s handler, he is his owner. Many places have rescue dogs that are owned by a resort or company and live on site. Scout, however, is a hard working dog that gets to go home at night. Socializing is a big part of Scout’s job. On a typical day, which means a day that an avalanche doesn’t occur, Scout enjoys riding up to the duty station on the chair lift, sleeping in the duty station, patrolling with Rich and interacting with the guests. But don’t assume he’s a lazy dog sleeping the day away. The playful and friendly Scout gets a lot of exercise playing with the kids from ski school when he’s not busy. Sounds like a tough job huh?

Well, when an avalanche happens Scout is all business. He began his training at 8 weeks old. Now at almost 4 years old Scout is a certified and professional avalanche rescue dog who knows when it is time to stop playing and start working. Labradors aren’t the only breed suitable for avalanche rescue. Copper Mountain utilizes 6 avalanche rescue dogs that rotate through each week, including Border Collies, Australian Shepherds and German Shepherds. However, Rich selected a Labrador to train as an avalanche rescue dog and as a pet because of the breed’s agility, work ethic, stamina, loyalty and excellent nose.

Unlike dogs who trail or track a specific person or scent, avalanche rescue dogs are trained to air scent for humans, in and under the snow. Victims buried in the snow as a result of an avalanche are just one type of snow rescue. Youth and elderly that have fallen due to injury or hypothermia can become covered by snowfall. Even a healthy well-prepared hiker or skier who holes up in a snow cave after having become lost or exhausted is another type of rescue for an avalanche rescue dog. Because once a person becomes buried, detection by the naked eye is impossible.

These awe inspiring rescue dogs can detect the human scent more than 15 feet deep. Dogs can cover the dangerous terrain of an avalanche area approximately 8 times faster than a human. This means that Scout is usually the first on the scene and helps make sure that people get rescued in time thanks to his wonderful nose and excellent training.

According to Mr. Silkey, Scout performs his task of air scenting to locate a buried person and does an aggressive double paw dig as an alert. But he doesn’t stop there; Scout continues digging and sometimes has the avalanche victim dug out before his human backup arrives. For performing his job so well, Scout gets to enjoy a good game of tug-of-war with his favorite toy.

To make sure that Scout and the other dogs stay on task and don’t forget valuable training, the crew does a mock search once a week to help them stay sharp and practice their skills. Helping teach and lead younger dogs like the two new dogs that are just beginning their training also keeps Scout and the other avalanche rescue dogs at Copper Mountain on top of their game.

Due to the rigors of their job, the cold and unyielding snow and the pressures of the searches, avalanche rescue dogs usually work until they are between 7 and 12 years of age. CANIDAE dog food helps provide the extra nutrition and energy these dogs need to stay healthy and happy from the beginning of their hard working lives through their retirement and lazy days.

The CANIDAE team is proud to sponsor Scout as he goes about the business of saving lives with his partner Rich in the cold and snow at Copper Mountain.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Why Are Dogs Protective of Children?


By Ruthie Bently

Growing up I had several incredible dogs in my life. We lived on two acres at the end of a gravel road, and I had to walk a quarter of a mile to catch the school bus. The man who lived across from the bus stop had a Saint Bernard, and every morning the dog would come out of the house and walk me to the bus stop. As soon as I was on the bus, he went back home, and every afternoon when I got off the bus he was waiting for me. No matter the weather, he would walk me to the north end of his owner’s property before returning home.

My family owned two boxers, though not at the same time. They were both named Duchess, and were our constant companions. Dutchie (the first) watched over us in the summertime when we went racing across the yard or rambling through the woods that surrounded our property. Whenever I was ill, she would climb on my bed and nestle next to me, keeping me warm with her body heat.

One cold winter day while we were playing inside, Dutchie began whining, barking, growling and pacing the room. We looked out the window and saw a man with no coat on walking across our back yard. The closer he got to the house, the more upset Dutchie became. Mom tried to call the police but the line was busy (this was before 911). The man took off down the drive to the main road. Our neighbor across the street had reached the police and they met the man at the end of our road. We found out later he had walked away from a psychiatric hospital over ten miles away. Dutchie used that innate sixth sense dogs have when danger is near.

Our second boxer (Dutchie II) tried to save me one day while I was swimming. I had swam underwater to see how far I could go on one breath and when I disappeared, she came after me. She caught up to me and began tugging on my hair trying to save me. I wasn’t in any danger of drowning as I was a good swimmer, but Dutchie didn’t know that. After this incident, Dutchie was always watchful when I went swimming, and often swam with me.

I have read several accounts of dogs saving children from drowning or guarding a child during a cold winter night when they accidentally wandered from their home. I even read a story about a pit bull that saved children from a cobra with no apparent thought for its own safety. But why do they do it? Very simply, dogs are pack animals and when we bring one home they accept us as members of their pack. Because we become the alpha dog of the pack, they are bound by their instincts to protect us, and in their eyes our children, as offspring of the alpha, must be protected as well.

All female dogs (wild or not) protect and teach their pups, and although human children are larger than most puppies we are pack members and they accept us into their care. In the wild, the pack must make sure the pups reach adulthood, as they are the continuation of the pack’s lineage. Protectiveness comes to our dogs from their wolf ancestors and the years of breeding we have added to their genealogy. Dogs instinctually know that human children are in need of care.

I heard a story about a boy with seizure issues, and though his dog was not trained could recognize symptoms and would warn his mother when he was about to have one. The school year started and the boy went off without his four-legged companion since dogs were not allowed. One day, the dog began whining, acting strange and looking out the window in the direction the bus had gone. The boy’s mom couldn’t get the dog to settle down and on a hunch called the school to speak with the nurse, who told her that the boy had just had a seizure. The school was ten miles from where the boy lived, and yet his dog knew what was going to happen.

We as humans need to be taught to be wary of potential dangers, but our dogs do not and they act accordingly, whether they are raising puppies or babies. While we as adults can usually see danger coming, our children cannot and our canine companions act to protect our precious two-legged family members.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Dog Parks: What to Know Before You Go


By Linda Cole

Dog parks have been around for a long time. They provide a safe area where dogs can run, play and socialize with other dogs. Knowing what to expect and what you need to know before you go, can make visiting a dog park a happy and safe experience for you and your canine companion.

I’m an advocate for dog parks. Every city should have a designated park just for dogs and their owners. It’s the perfect place for owners to gather and get to know each other, hold dog related activities and give their best friend a safe area to run off leash and meet other dogs. Dogs are social animals, and dog parks give owners and their dogs a chance to interact with each other.

Before your first visit to any dog park, make sure you are not required to obtain a dog park permit and dog tags for the park. It’s best to check out a park for the first time without your dog. This will give you an opportunity to read any posted rules that must be followed. You can observe the dogs and people using the park, see if there is anyone who monitors the park, and find out if there are dog professionals available who can answer questions. It also gives you a chance to talk to people and find out what their opinion is of the park.

Spending time at the dog park without your dog also gives you an opportunity to observe how other owners respond to situations in the park. You can find out if there are any problem dogs that are allowed to run while their owner ignores them, if some owners simply drop their dog off and leave, or if anyone has trouble controlling their dog.

The primary concern at any dog park is to make sure dogs and people stay safe. A dog who is properly socialized will interact and play with other dogs, but even a well mannered dog can and will get into fights. A basic understanding of a dog’s body language can be helpful when an approaching dog and your dog are about to meet each other. Dog parks aren’t for every dog, and knowing your dog’s personality and temperament can help you decide if this is an environment you want to put your dog into.

For a shy dog, your first visit is a good time to find out when there may be fewer dogs at the park. An off time would give your dog a chance to sniff around and get to know the area without a lot of distractions. This gives him time to learn new smells that will help him be more comfortable when it’s time to meet other dogs. It’s best not to take a puppy, a fearful dog or an overly aggressive dog to a dog park. It’s also best to visit the park without the kids.

CANIDAE is a proud sponsor and supporter of dog parks. Their most recent contribution of $15,000 was donated to the city of Redlands, California to help a local organization called R.U.F.F (Redlands Unleashed Fidos and Friends) in their dream of creating a dog park for the city’s estimated 15,000 dogs. Upon completion, the park will have one area for small dogs and one for larger dogs, and plenty of parking available for their owners.

Before entering any dog park, make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. It’s also a good idea to have your dog checked out by a veterinarian to make sure he’s healthy. Never take a sick dog to the park and if you encounter a sick dog while there, keep your dog away from them. Don’t forget to take a leash just in case you need to keep him next to you, and make sure to take plastic bags to pick up any deposits made by your dog.

Take your time when introducing your dog to the park and other dogs. A dog who seems anxious, shy or upset should not be unleashed until he’s had a chance to get to know his surroundings and feels comfortable in them. The best way to ward off possible dog fights is to know your dog, understand a dog’s body language and be ready to leave if you or your dog becomes uncomfortable.

A well run dog park gives your canine companion a safe area to romp freely, and allows them to burn off pent up energy while you socialize with other owners. By observing and asking questions before you go, the experience will be fun and rewarding for you and your best friend.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.