Monthly Archives: March 2012

How to Identify and Treat a Pet’s Minor Eye Injury

By Langley Cornwell

My neighbor was running her errands last week. As always, her dog was along for the ride, hanging out the passenger side window enjoying the wind in his face. They are inseparable; I’ve rarely seen her without her trusty companion at her side. This particular day was mild but very windy. Late in the afternoon I received a panicked phone call. Her dog was pawing at his eyes, pacing the floor and panting. He wouldn’t eat his dog food at all, and was only mildly interested in his CANIDAE TidNips™.

Her dog was in obvious discomfort and she didn’t know why. Not sure what to do next, she wanted me to come over and take a look. After observing her dog’s behavior and discussing how they spent the day, we concluded that her dog had debris in his eye from the car ride. Because her dog was so uncomfortable and it was after hours, we thought she should take him to the emergency veterinarian clinic. When they got there, our layman’s diagnosis was confirmed; he had a corneal abrasion, a scratch on the very outer lens of his eye.

How Will I Know?

According to her vet, minor eye injuries are a common occurrence in dogs and cats. In fact, all types of pets are prone to eye injuries including small animals like guinea pigs and mice. The problem is, when your pet is showing signs of minor eye injury distress, it’s often hard to identify his ailment. Thus, many owners do not know when it’s appropriate to take their pet to the vet.

Dogs and cats get minor eye injuries from many different circumstances including riding in a car, playing with other animals, from pine needles, or even from hay or woodchip kennel flooring.

If your pet is acting uncomfortable and you cannot identify the cause, the source of his distress may be corneal abrasions or another minor eye injury. Look for the signs: if your dog or cat is squinting, blinking rapidly or keeping his eye closed, that may be the problem. Other common indications of an eye problem include tearing, bloodshot eyes, avoiding bright lights and pawing at the eye area.

What Should I Do?

If your dog or cat is squinting, blinking rapidly and/or avoiding bright lights, there is probably a foreign object in his eye. Keep your pet calm and talk in a soothing voice. It’s important for you to remain calm under the circumstances, because your pet will know if you are anxious and your anxiety will add stress to the situation. As you talk soothingly, gently lift the upper eyelid and look for debris lodged underneath. Do the same with the lower eyelid. Be careful not to force or slide your pet’s eyelid open because you don’t want to drag the foreign object over his fragile cornea. Instead, softly pull the eyelid away from the eyeball.

If you see something in there, Pet MD recommends flushing it out with room temperature water. If that doesn’t work, try to gently ease it out with a damp cotton swab. This will be especially difficult with cats and nervous dogs but give it a try; the object may flush out easily. If you can’t remove the object quickly and easily yourself, don’t risk further damage to your pet’s eye. Cover the eye with a bandage and take your pet to your veterinarian immediately.

If your dog or cat has bloodshot eyes, is squinting or tearing up excessively, he may have a scratch on his eye. First lift the lids and check for debris. If you don’t see anything, cover the eye with a clean damp cloth and bandage the cloth to your pet’s head. If you have one, put on an Elizabethan collar. If you don’t have one, bandage the dog or cat’s paws and dewclaws so they cannot continue to scratch at the eye area. Go straight to your veterinarian.

Other indications of a minor eye injury include a watery, green or yellow discharge coming from your pet’s eyes. These symptoms may indicate a foreign object trapped under the eyelid, abnormal eyelash growth, blocked tear ducts, an eyelid defect, an eye infection or allergies. In all cases, seek professional advice. Your vet will be able to treat the problem and tell you how to manage a pet with an injured eye once you get home.

Don’t take chances with your pet’s vision. Even the most minor eye injury can develop into an infected wound which can result in your pet losing his eyesight.

Photo by Robert Degennaro

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell

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 an Abandoned Dog Found Her True Calling

By Linda Cole

Sometimes, life throws even dogs a curve ball and they suddenly find themselves abandoned and alone. And sometimes, life has something special in store for a little homeless dog left all alone. This is a story about an abandoned dog named Antoinette, and how she found her true calling.

When this story began for Annie, it could have had a completely different ending if the right person hadn’t found her. It’s easy to pass judgment on others, especially when it comes to the treatment of a pet, but none of us really knows how we will react to a situation until we’re confronted with one. Sometimes, it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel and we make the decision we feel is right at the time. For Annie, everything turned out better than her owner could have guessed. Her guardian angels were watching over her and placed Annie’s fate in the hands of a stranger who found her in a dog park on a cold Thanksgiving night last year in Springfield, Illinois.

Stormy Edwards was walking her dog when she heard a dog barking from the Stuart Park area. The dog sounded like she was in trouble, so Edwards decided to investigate. As she neared the sound of the barking, she realized it was coming from one of the pens in the dog park. Using a flashlight, Edwards found a scared and confused Cockapoo named Annie that had been left inside one of the pens, along with a dish of lasagna and a bowl of water. A note had been placed under the lasagna that began with “My name is Antoinette, Annie for short.” The note went on to say that Annie’s owner had become too ill to care for her and she had put Annie in the pen in hopes another dog lover would find her and take her home. Annie’s shots were up-to-date and she had been spayed. It ended with a plea to whoever found Annie, “Please take me home. I am a loving dog.” The note was written by a woman.

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How to get your Dog to Calmly Walk Past another Dog

By Langley Cornwell

Our dog is not easy to train. Truth be told, it’s most certainly my fault but when we went to obedience school even the teacher commented (on multiple occasions) that she has a mind of her own. Still, we keep at it and we’re making tremendous progress. Her ‘sit’ is flawless and she’s excellent at ‘down’. She knows what ‘leave it’ is and obeys that one most of the time. She also knows ‘come’ but we’re at about 60% compliance with that one. She walks beautifully on a loose lead; no pulling or lunging after squirrels or rolling acorns.

I tell you all this to say that, while quirky and somewhat stubborn, she’s fairly well behaved. In addition to basic obedience commands, we’ve worked tirelessly on her socialization. This is the area that needs the most work, and we still take steps forwards and backwards with our shy girl.

Rehabilitating this sad rescue dog has been a rewarding journey. I’ve learned a lot and grown right along with her. There is one area, however, that can only be described as an epic failure: walking calmly past another dog. Seriously, we’ve worked on this for three years straight. We’ve tried multiple techniques and still haven’t mastered it. I see other dogs that can do this without giving the passing dog a sideways glance.

Not our girl, she becomes a bundle of energy, bubbling over with enthusiasm. She lunges towards the other dog, all big smiles and wagging tails. I issue a ‘sit’ command, which she usually gets every time, but when another dog is in the mix, no way. It’s as if she can’t even hear me. She likes to greet the other dog nose to nose and do the dance that two dogs do when they first meet. I’ve always managed to eventually get her to look at me and I can usually gain control of the situation, but the next time a new dog passes us, the mayhem begins again.      

In a recent poke around the internet, I ran across a suggestion that I have not tried yet. Adam Katz from dogproblems.com states that when a strong motivation for distraction presents itself, your correction must escalate. I don’t think my correction escalates when a dog passes and my girl goes crazy. If it does escalate, it isn’t very elegant, more like a scramble for order. What Katz suggests sounds a bit unconventional but it can’t be any crazier than the scene my dog and I create under the current circumstances.

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Pets Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

By Linda Cole

I’ve always marveled at how pets never sweat the small stuff. Responsible pet owners who pay attention to their pets see every day how they respond to things going on around them. Sure, dogs bark at things they see or hear, but that’s only because they want to be polite or they’re giving a warning to let a potential intruder know they’ve been seen. But on the whole, pets take life in stride and no matter what comes their way, they deal with it and continue to move on.

When I was a kid, we lived in the country and it was, in my view, the best place to live. My dog Trixie and I would run through cornfields chasing rabbits we flushed out from under a bush. We would stare at the cows, watch deer grazing off in the distance, and do other fun things to entertain ourselves. There was something about animals that always drew my attention and I loved to sit on top of a wooden fence and watch what they were doing. The one thing that’s common with all animals is that they don’t let little things get in their way.

Pets don’t worry about the insignificant things that happen in their day. They don’t ponder the meaning of life; they just live it one day at a time. I had a dog named Mickey who lost his eyesight and hearing when he got older, but it didn’t slow him down one bit. He navigated the basement steps when it was time to go outside as if he could still see each step, and he could smell his CANIDAE dog food a mile away. I’m sure he missed his vision and hearing just like a person would, but he never once gave up. He adapted and moved on with no complaints.

Pets have an amazing ability to deal with disabilities and hide an illness. Letting a potential rival see them in a weakened state can be deadly for a dog or cat living on the street. That’s one reason why it’s so important to know who your pet is as an individual. When you know your pet well, you can tell when they are sick or injured, even when they try to hide it.

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How to Help Your Dog Adjust to Change

By Langley Cornwell

Many dogs don’t respond well to change. Our skittish pup gets knocked out of her frame if we move furniture around, so I dread the day when we move into a new home – for that reason only. I’m really ready to move to a place with a bigger yard, but that’s another story entirely. Back to the dogs… when we do move we will have to take her sensitive nature into consideration. In preparation, I’ve studied up on ways to make the process easier for her. And looking ahead, there will be other changes in store for her as our lives progress. Here are tips for helping your dog adjust to changes that may come your way.

New Home

Before anything else, please remember to have your dog’s tags updated with the new address and telephone number, and keep the tags on them at all times. They may slip out the door and get lost in the new neighborhood. You have to do your part to keep your dog safe.

If it’s possible, take your dog to the new neighborhood before you move, and let them walk around and become familiar with the surroundings. The more you can do this, the better. During the move itself, determine where your dog’s bed or crate will be immediately, ideally before your dog ever enters the new house. Do the same with the food and water dishes. Have your dog’s food dish full of CANIDAE dog food and have their water dish full of clean, fresh water when they arrive. Make sure there are plenty of familiar smells around the new place, things that smell like your dog and things that smell like you and your family. 

When your dog comes to the house for the first time, talk soothingly to them and allow them to explore the place at their own pace. In the past, I’ve ‘seeded’ the house with CANIDAE TidNips treats for my dogs, putting some on the sofa, some in their beds and random other places for them to find. As the dogs explored their new accommodations, they happened upon a treat here and there – and got a sense that this new home was a good place.

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The Life of a Certified Service and Therapy Dog

By Ambassador Doc-Barker

My name is Ambassador Doc-Barker. I’m a 2 year old Chocolate Labrador Retriever and Team CANIDAE Member.  I am a service dog certified through Canine Support Teams, Inc., a therapy dog registered thru Delta Society®, and a Canine Ambassador for the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of America through the Wishes Forever® endowment campaign, as well as my family’s loving pet.  I have eaten CANIDAE dog food my whole life! I started out eating the All Life Stages (ALS) formula, and for the past year I have eaten Grain Free pureSEA, and I love them both.

As a balance and mobility service dog, I help my mama do many things. I pick up items she has dropped like her car keys, money, credit cards, etc. I help her by pulling her wheel chair or scooter and a grocery cart, which is a huge assistance to mama. I also help her get up from chairs and up and down stairs and inclines. Because I am a therapy dog, my fur needs to be soft, shiny and petable for all whom I visit, and my CANIDAE food keeps it that way.

As a canine ambassador, I travel around the country accompanied by my family, bringing awareness about service and therapy dogs and the important jobs they do, and also bringing awareness about a children’s charity through a canine connection. Ambassador Barker, my mentor, was mamas first service and therapy dog as well as a canine ambassador. He ate CANIDAE All Life Stages (ALS) too!

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