Category Archives: dog care

What Should You Do If Your Dog Tears a CCL?

By Langley Cornwell

We like to take our dogs out in the woods to let them run and play off-leash. There is a secluded area near our house that’s perfect for this kind of activity, and we try to get out there so they can romp around at least twice a week, weather permitting. The fresh air and sunshine is good for all of us. We’ve been doing this for years and consider it quality family time.

Recently on one such outing, Frosty came back limping. We checked her pads carefully to make sure there wasn’t a thorn or cut causing the limp. Everything looked fine, but she wouldn’t put her left rear leg down so we called our vet and went straight over.

When we walked in, he took one look at her and said “I hope it’s not what it looks like, but I’m pretty sure it is.” They took her to the back to get x-rays and then confirmed what he suspected. Our dog had a rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). She had torn her CCL, which is similar to a human’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

A dog’s CCL (and a human’s ACL) is the ligament responsible for stabilizing the knee joint.

Causes

When a dog twists on her hind leg or makes an abrupt turn while running full speed, she can tear her cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). The twisting motion puts sudden, extreme tension on the ligament which can cause it to tear. Sudden CCL tears most commonly happen when a dog slides on a wet surface, makes a sharp turn when she’s running, or gets hit from the side by a car.

Some CCL tears happen over time. Obese dogs have a higher likelihood of developing this problem than healthy weight dogs. Excess weight puts undue stress on a dog’s knees and the cranial cruciate ligament becomes so weak that it slowly begins to degenerate until it ruptures, sometimes without any extraneous activity.

Treatments

There are several surgical options for repairing a ruptured CCL. Our vet opted for a procedure that involves using artificial suture fibers (he likened it to fishing line) to reconstruct her ligament. He used this synthetic material to weave between the lower outside part of our dog’s femur (the bone above the knee) and the upper inside part of her tibia (the bone below the knee), creating a manmade cranial cruciate ligament.

The other surgical options are called a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) and a tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA).

There are cases where surgery is not an option. If a dog is elderly, has a condition that inhibits healing, or is afflicted with another complicating factor, then a combination of medical treatment, restricted activity and physical therapy may be the best route.

For an overweight dog, it’s important to take steps to reduce his body weight. Feed a high quality dog food like CANIDAE, and make sure your pet gets plenty of age-appropriate exercise.

Recovery

This is where things get tricky, especially if you have more than one dog in your home. After a dog undergoes any of the surgical options for a torn CCL, she must stay completely inactive for a minimum of two weeks. She can only go outside to relieve herself. At around the two week mark, most dogs will do what our vet calls “toe touching,” which means the dog will tap the toe of the hurt leg to the ground and slowly begin putting a bit of weight on it. Our dog isn’t quite there yet. She will occasionally tap her toe to the ground, but most of the time she just hops around on three legs. She’s become amazingly adept at this.

We were told to restrict Frosty to short leash walks for six more weeks to allow complete healing. Because Frosty and our other dog Al are active and like to wrestle, it’s been difficult to keep them from playing around – but we were strictly warned. Limited activity is important in order to avoid damaging the surgical correction.

Prognosis

Our vet thinks Frosty’s prognosis is good if we constrain her activity. We will also continue to massage her knee and perform gentle rehabilitation exercises.

A ruptured cranial cruciate ligament is a serious issue and requires a lot from the pet owners and the pet. However, if you follow your vet’s advice to the letter, your furry friend should be back on all fours in due time. Wish us luck!

Photos by Langley Cornwell

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5 Signs That Your Dog Needs Grooming

By Laurie Darroch

Dogs do some of their own grooming and caring for their coat. You may see them licking dirt off their hair or tugging at foreign matter to remove it with their teeth, but they need your help to keep their coat and nails in optimum condition. Grooming your dog is an important part of being a responsible pet owner. Here are five ways you can assist your canine companion with his grooming.

Matted Fur

Matted or tangled hair attracts and traps dirt, pests such as ticks, and debris from playing outside. The matting hampers the natural ability for the coat to do its job of keeping the dog warm in cool months and cooler in hot months. When your dog’s coat is matted, not only does it make him look unkempt and uncared for, it can contribute to poor health by trapping things that can damage the skin and bring disease to your dog.

Some breeds do not require a lot of brushing to keep their coat tangle free, but even those dogs can benefit from regular brushing to remove debris and dirt and to help to keep their coat healthy.

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How to Choose a Good Dog Shampoo

By Laurie Darroch

Dogs do need to be bathed on occasion, and you need to choose the right shampoo to get your canine friend clean. Their skin and fur attracts dirt, debris and pests which can cause health problems. A stinky dog can also smell up a house quickly, and get furniture and bedding filthy.

Don’t use products designed for humans for bathing your dog, no matter how much you like the smell of them. They’re not meant to be used on dogs. Don’t use dish detergent either, as it can be caustic and can burn their skin. The added chemicals and perfumes from these types of products may also cause allergic reactions or make your dog’s skin worse. The strong scents can be agitating to a dog’s super sensitive nose as well.

Look for a shampoo designed specifically for canine care with healthy ingredients such as aloe or oatmeal for moisturizing and cleaning. When buying dog shampoo, keep in mind that an adult dog may have different sensitivities and needs than a puppy does, so be sure to buy age appropriate products. Getting the right dog shampoo will help to keep his fur and skin healthy.

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Top 10 Most Searched Dog Questions According to Google

By Linda Cole

Dogs are complicated individuals with their own unique and sometimes puzzling behaviors. Why dogs do the things they do is something all pet owners ponder from time to time. Thankfully, we have Google to help – they put together the top ten most searched questions about dogs in 2014.

10. Why do dogs bury bones? This behavior is called hoarding or caching, and goes back to early ancestors of dogs. Stashing food protects it from other animals that want to steal it. Uneaten prey and bones were hidden in a cache near the den. Burying the leftovers helped preserve a kill because it was cooler underground and hidden from flies and other insects. When prey was scarce, dogs could go back to their cache for something to eat. Most dogs today have plenty to eat, but the instinct to bury food is a hardwired behavior, which is why you may find stashes of CANIDAE kibble hidden around your home.

9. How to introduce dogs? Each dog is an individual, and knowing what he likes and dislikes, how he plays, what his energy level is, and how well he was socialized with other animals are all pluses when you decide to add a second dog to your home. Introducing a new dog to one already in your home should be done calmly, slowly and with patience. Pay careful attention to the body language of both dogs and never leave them unsupervised until they are comfortable and calm with each other.

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How to Help a Dog Deal with Pain

By Laurie Darroch

When a dog is experiencing pain, whether from an obvious illness or injury, or something you can’t see or figure out, they will let you know in a number of possible ways. Because they cannot talk and explain what is going on, you are left to puzzle it out and determine how to help relieve their pain, whatever its source.

You may notice altered behavior such as withdrawal, refusal to play or even eat, or the opposite – excessive clinginess and following you everywhere in the house. You may see your dog crying or whimpering. You may notice that they are moving differently or favoring the part of the body with the injury or pain. It’s always a good idea take your dog to the vet to make sure it is nothing serious and something for which they need specific medication or professional treatment.

Here are some tips for helping your dog deal with their pain.

Comfort

Comforting your dog helps to soothe pain levels and reduce the anxiety and stress caused by pain that isn’t understood. You dog reacts to your stress as well. If they are in pain, try to stay calm. Your dog will sense your mood and react accordingly. If you are calmer handling your dog’s pain, they will feel more secure and at ease. Your dog trusts you.

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Basic Facts Dog Owners Should Always Remember

basic facts paolo 2By Langley Cornwell

Life gets busy and can sometimes be overwhelming. There is so much going on in our world, in our neighborhoods and in our households that it’s easy to get caught up in things. Let’s face it – sometimes it takes all of our focus just to get from one task to the next. Even so, your dog is counting on you to be a responsible pet owner.

It’s important to remember that your dog does not understand all of your time restrictions and commitments. He doesn’t understand that you need to work, grocery shop, exercise, socialize, attend classes, cook meals, fold laundry, clean the house, etc. He just knows that he loves you. He also knows, on some level, that he needs mental and physical stimulation as well as quality play time in order to be a happy, well-adjusted pooch. He needs to socialize with you and bond with you. It’s easy to forget this in our chaotic lives but the fact is, our pets need some of our time.

This article is getting back to basics; it’s a friendly reminder of what sharing your life with a dog should look like.

Time
basic facts greeblie
Most dogs only live 10 to 15 years, and it will go by fast. So no matter how hectic things get, carve out a bit of quality time for your dog every day. Ideally, the time of day would be similar from one day to the next, so your dog could joyfully anticipate this special time. That’s ideal but not necessary. What is necessary is that you have one-on-one time, just the two of you, and that your dog gets your undivided attention during that time.

Another consideration under the heading of “time” is this: try not to leave your dog alone for extended periods of time. These days, many dogs are at home alone during their person’s entire work day. Often they’re lonely and bored. This is a tough issue to solve, but try to make some arrangements so your dog does not languish the day away just waiting for your arrival.

Exposure

Just like people, dogs need to mix things up sometimes; they like to visit new places and have new experiences. Even if they seem shy and frightened, ease your pup into new situations so he will learn to be more trusting and confident.

Additionally, dogs like to learn new tricks, especially if it means spending more time with basic facts skycaptain resizedyou. Your dog will do anything to make you happy, so learning new things and then getting praise and perhaps a tasty CANIDAE grain free treat is your dog’s idea of heaven.

Patience

Dogs do not understand our words unless they are taught. They try to do what we want them to, but it’s up to us to learn how to communicate with them. I once lived with a female German shepherd who was (and probably still is) the smartest dog I’ve ever shared my life with. I used to say I didn’t need to train her because she would do anything I asked her to, if she understood my wishes. This dog was amazing and she taught me that it’s all about communication.  Be patient with your dog, and learn to communicate with him/her.

Likewise, don’t get mad when your dog does something wrong. If you catch him in the act, communicate your wishes and then move on. Otherwise, take a deep breath, clean it up, and let it go.

Care

Make sure your dog always has plenty of clean, fresh water and feed him a nutritious diet of premium dog food like CANIDAE. It’s up to you to keep his toenails clipped, his teeth healthy, his ears clean and his fur brushed (see, I told you this article was back to basics). Don’t leave a dog outside in scorching heat or frigid cold. Pay attention to his behavior and seek veterinary care if he begins to act unusual.

When you bring a new dog into your life, you make a lifetime commitment. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of how basic, yet important, our responsibilities are.

Top photo by Paulo Brandao/Flickr
Middle photo by greeblie/Flickr
Bottom photo by skycaptaintwo/Flickr

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