In 1928, a Scottish bacteriologist named Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin while tidying up his lab. He was about to toss a moldy petri dish into the trash when he noticed something strange about the bacteria – it wasn’t growing as well as it should have been. However, it would be another twelve years before penicillin would become a lifesaving drug; two Oxford scientists – Howard Florey and Ernst Chain – produced a brown powder capable of retaining the antibacterial properties in 1940.
The new drug was rushed into mass production and sent to the war front during the early years of WWII. Today, penicillin is used to treat anything from minor wounds to tonsillitis and pneumonia. Unfortunately, some people are allergic to penicillin. Is it possible for dogs and cats to have an allergic reaction too?
Penicillin works by inhibiting bacteria from building a sustainable cell wall. Fleming noticed that mold on the petri dish was attacking bacteria surrounding it to get more space and nutrients it needed to grow, by releasing a bacteria killing compound that prevented some bacteria from forming new cell walls. This process is called antibiosis, which is where the word antibiotic comes from. Once Fleming isolated and identified the antibacterial compound, he named it penicillin. The discovery of penicillin was hailed as the first miracle drug, and has saved countless number of human and animal lives over the years.
At one point or another during life with your dog, you’ll likely encounter some type of canine emergency. And if you are fortunate enough to have a dog that behaves well enough to get out and about with you, it may happen more frequently. When minor predicaments occur, it’s good to know what action to take. Here are three common canine emergencies and what you should do when they strike.
Dog bites happen. Sometimes it’s because a new dog acts up at the dog park or because a dog slips his lead during a walk. Regardless of how or why it happened, it’s time for you to take action. Clean the wound thoroughly but gently and investigate it. If the skin is broken but the bite does not seem to require stitches, you can avoid a trip to the vet.
Place sterile cotton pads against the clean wound and wrap it all with sterile gauze. Be careful not to wrap the area too tightly because you don’t want to constrict the blood flow. Then put some type of inflatable or cone recovery collar on your dog so he won’t aggravate the area. Change the bandage every day and scrutinize the area for signs of infection. If you notice additional redness, warmth, swelling, oozing or increased sensitivity, then make an appointment with your vet to get it looked at.
This is one area that I have personal experience with. Well, not me exactly (thankfully) but my dog. When I lived up north, I had a Spitz mix who was an escape artist. Every time she got out, she seemed to head straight to her favorite skunk’s house. I’m telling you, this happened several times a month. At the time I thought tomato juice was the antidote so I soaked her in it. Not only did the smell linger, but she ended up looking like a golden retriever most of the time. That juice stained her white hair orange. It was a constant mess.
Skunk spray contains oils that help it stick, so you need a solution that will cut through it. Bathing your dog with a mixture of one quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, a quarter cup of baking soda, and a teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap (with grease cutting action) is what some “skunk experts” recommend. The recipe may need to be doubled for large or extra-hairy dogs. If your dog gets hit with a blast of skunk spray and you don’t have those ingredients on hand, white vinegar diluted with water will suffice. Whatever solution you choose, take care to protect your dog’s eyes. You’ll also want to follow up with a bath using your dog’s regular shampoo, and everything should be back to normal.
For most dogs, bee stings are uncomfortable but manageable; you should remove the stinger and then apply cold compresses to reduce swelling and inflammation. Be extra cautious if your dog is stung in the face or around the mouth area, especially if your dog happens to be a brachycephalic breed like a Bulldog, Pekingese, Pug, Boston Terrier, etc. These dog’s airways are already restricted, so any additional swelling can be serious. You should seek veterinary care in this instance.
It is widely agreed that administering a low dose of anti-histamine like regular Benadryl (not “non-drowsy”) is okay in a bee sting situation for dogs other than the short-nosed breeds. The recommended dose is 25 mg for smaller dogs and 50 mg for larger dogs, but please call your vet to confirm.
After a bee sting, if your dog acts confused, has labored breathing, excess swelling or hives or if he is vomiting or has diarrhea, then go straight to an animal hospital.
We can provide our dogs love and shelter, and feed them premium pet food like CANIDAE grain free PURE, but sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. Dogs can get into all kinds of mischief, so it’s good to know what steps to take in a common canine emergency.
When we adopted our most recent family dog, Al, he had been stuck in the system for a long time; he’d been transported to several different animal shelters in the hopes of finding him a good home. I applaud the local shelters for recognizing that he had potential despite some behavioral problems. Even so, he was on borrowed time, and when my husband and I met him, we agreed that we were ready for the job.
To help his transition, we started Al in behavioral training classes immediately. We still have a very long way to go with this dog, but he’s part of our family and we’ve pledged to give him a safe, loving and comfortable home for the rest of his life.
As it turns out, Al’s behavioral problems are only half of the picture. Once the adoption was finalized, we took him straight to our veterinarian. His examination revealed that Al was heartworm positive and had a collapsed trachea. The heartworm condition has been corrected, but we have to take special precautions not to aggravate his tracheal collapse.
Zinc is an essential trace element that humans, dogs, cats and other animals need for good health, but only in small amounts. It’s common to find zinc around the house in different products we use, in pet carriers, coins and a host of other sources. Zinc poisoning can occur when we ingest too much of this element, and it can cause serious health issues. The severity depends on how much was consumed, what form the zinc is in, and the size of the person or pet.
Zinc occurs naturally in the environment in soil, rocks, water air, and in the food we eat. It’s the second most common trace metal found naturally in our bodies (iron is the most common). In humans and animals, zinc helps boost the immune system, regulate appetite and heal wounds, and is essential for proper growth and development. It is possible for humans, pets, and other animals to have a zinc deficiency, but before reaching for supplements talk to your doctor or vet first. Most pets who eat a balanced diet don’t need additional zinc, which is why feeding them a quality food like CANIDAE is important.
In the home, zinc can be found in common things like the nuts and bolts in pet carriers, batteries, paint, nails, screws, tacks, staples, automotive parts, board game pieces, some toys, fertilizers, zippers, jewelry, creams or lotions that contain zinc oxide, some prescription medications, herbal supplements, multivitamins, deodorants, fungicides, shampoos, calamine lotion, suppositories, antiseptics, cold lozenges, U.S .pennies minted after 1982 (97.5% zinc) and Canadian pennies minted between 1997 and 2001 (96% zinc).
If you are cold, your pet is cold. It’s that simple. Yes, dogs have a fur coat and it’s true that many of the northern dog breeds seem to thrive in cold weather. However, if you’re sharing your life with any breed other than something like an Alaskan Malamute, an American Eskimo Dog, a Bernese Mountain Dog, a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, a Newfoundland, a Saint Bernard or similar, as a responsible pet owner it’s important to take extra precautions during the colder weather.
All dog breeds are vulnerable to hypothermia and frostbite. Never leave your pet outside in the cold without supervision. As a general rule, it’s best to stay indoors as much as possible during inclement weather. Here are a few additional reminders for protecting your dog during the cold winter months.
Prepare the House
Because you and your companion animal will likely spend more time indoors, prepare your house. Make sure to section off any areas you don’t want your pet to go, especially areas that lead outside. Dogs may get lost easier in the winter because the ice and snow can mask recognizable scents and landmarks, thereby making it harder for your pet to find his way home. Be sure there are no open doors or windows that can let the cold in or your dog out.
If you use space heaters, keep them away from locations where happy, wagging tails can knock them over and potentially start a fire. Moreover, if you build a fire in the fireplace, make sure your pet cannot get too close to the flame. In general, do your best to pet-proof your home.
It’s also important to offer a warm place to which your dog can retreat. A cozy dog bed that’s in a warm area, preferably up off of the floor and away from drafty windows and doors is the best scenario.
Take Shorter Walks
Be aware that cold weather can exacerbate certain physical limitations, especially in older and arthritic dogs. It’s a good idea to take shorter walks during the winter and try to stay away from frozen, icy patches. Some dogs may need a coat or sweater when outdoors in the winter, not to make a fashion statement but for warmth. Dogs with short hair will obviously get colder faster, but many of us don’t give the same consideration to dogs with short legs. Think about it; shorter legs mean his body is closer to the cold ground so he will get chilled more quickly.
Also remember that dogs with conditions like Cushing’s disease, heart or kidney disease, diabetes, or hormonal imbalances have a hard time regulating their body temperatures so they benefit from shorter, more frequent walks during the winter.
Give a Thorough Wipe-Down
After your walk, take the time to wipe off your dog’s paws, legs and belly when you first come inside. Many cities and counties use salt, deicers, antifreeze or some other types of toxic chemicals to help melt the snow and ice. These chemicals can irritate your pet’s feet. Furthermore, you don’t want your dog to lick his paws and ingest these substances. Likewise, it’s important to inspect your pet’s paw pads to make sure he didn’t cut himself on ice shards or broken glass.
Monitor Food and Water
Your dog should maintain a healthy weight throughout the winter. If he is less active than in the warmer months, you may have to adjust the amount of food he consumes. Make sure he has the proper amount of a nutritious, high quality dog food like CANIDAE, as well as plenty of fresh water during the winter months.
Sadly, not everyone is a responsible pet owner. If you happen to see a pet left outside during frigid weather, take action. Document the address, date, time, circumstances, type of animal and anything else you think is pertinent. If possible, take photographs or a video of the situation. Then call the authorities – a local animal control agency, the police or sheriff’s office, etc. – and report the situation.
On another day, go back to the location and see if that poor animal is still out in the cold. If so, respectfully call the agency back and make a second report. Please be the voice of those who cannot speak.
There was an adorable photo circulating on social media that featured a dog sitting in a high-chair eating a meal. The image was endearing but it piqued my curiosity. Were the dog’s owners anthropomorphizing their pup? Was the customized high-chair an attempt at being cute, or did the chair serve a purpose? I had to find out.
It turns out the dog has a condition called Megaesophagus, also referred to as ME or Mega E. Dogs with this condition must eat in an upright position, almost like he’s begging, hence the high-chair image.
Megaesophagus can affect dogs, cats, and humans, and occurs when the muscles of the esophagus lose tone and becomes inflated to the point where the animal or person can’t get food to go down their throat and into their stomach. As a result, the food just sits in the esophagus tube until it is regurgitated.
Megaesophagus can be a congenital defect or acquired as an adult. Any dog breed can develop this condition, but some are more susceptible than others. Dachshunds, Shar Pei, Miniature Schnauzers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Irish Setters, Newfoundlands and Great Danes seem to be at a higher risk.
Symptoms of Megaesophagus
Regurgitation is the primary symptom of Megaesophagus, and the easiest to detect, obviously. Another symptom that is fairly easy to notice is weight loss. If your dog suddenly begins losing weight and you don’t know why, pay close attention to his eating habits. Because the dog’s food is not making it into his stomach, the food is not digested so none of the nutrients are assimilated. As such, your pet’s weight loss is likely combined with malnourishment.
Aspiration pneumonia is a common complication of Megaesophagus, and it’s the most serious. Because your dog’s food sits in his esophagus, it can migrate into his lungs and cause pneumonia.
Care and Treatments
At this time, there are no medical cures for Megaesophagus. The answer to a long and relatively normal life and a good quality of life is lifestyle management.
The main consideration is what and how your dog will eat. You must find a nutritious and healthy dog food that works for your dog, like CANIDAE Pure Elements. Feed him small, frequent meals instead of one large daily meal.
High-chairs made for this condition are called Bailey Chairs, and they work because gravity helps pull the dog food through the dog’s esophagus and into his stomach.
Dog owners Joe and Donna Koch designed the first high-chair for Megaesophagus-inflicted dogs. They named it the Bailey Chair after their dog, who had Megaesophagus. These days, there are a wide variety of Bailey Chairs available. There is even a DIY kit available for you industrious types.
There are other options for feeding a dog with Megaesophagus. Some people pad a small wastepaper basket and turn it into a comfortable seat for their dog to eat from.
It will take some experimentation to figure out what works best for you and your dog. Whatever you settle on, it’s important to keep your dog in the upright position for at least 10 minutes after every meal so gravity has time to do its thing.
Megaesophagus Support Groups
A quick Megaesophagus search on Facebook delivered five active results. There is a general page dedicated to the condition and there are two support groups; Canine Megaesophagus Support Group (3200 members), Feline Megaesophagus and Upright Canine Brigade, Megaesophagus Awareness and Support (599 members). There is also a great website, Canine Megaesophagus Info, which offers a wealth of ME information in addition to support and awareness.
Members of these support groups share beautiful testimonials along with tips and tricks for establishing a thriving routine with a Megaesophagus dog. From what I’ve learned, a few adjustments in your lifestyle will allow your dog to have a long, happy, healthy life.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.