Adopting a rescue dog is a wonderful way to bring a new canine family member into the home. However, some rescue dogs are frightened by humans because of bad experiences with previous owners or homelessness which did not give them any bonding experience with humans. It takes patience and understanding to deal with a scared rescue dog and to help them acclimate to you and to their new home.
A skittish rescue dog may show his fear by being overly timid, withdrawn and untrusting or displaying signs of depression. Some may feel threatened by new people, situations and surroundings.
Warm Up to a New Home
When you first bring home a rescue dog, keep them confined to one area so they don’t feel so overwhelmed. Let them slowly get used to the new smells, sounds and sights around them. At first, your new rescue pet may seem jumpy, unsure and unable to relax. Keep the environment stress free for them. Use gentle commands, soft voices and quiet surroundings until they feel more at ease. They will eventually get used to the stimulation, but in the beginning, keep it a controlled non-threatening environment for them. As your dog begins to explore and perhaps timidly reach out, they will learn that your home is their home and it’s a safe place to be.
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.
Hypertension in dogs is similar to hypertension in people, but there are differences worth noting. Generally speaking, hypertension is an increase in blood pressure established over a period. The signs of hypertension in dogs are as silent as they are in humans. For many years, veterinarians did not check the blood pressure of dogs due to the lack of equipment to measure the pressure. Is your dog at risk?
The two types of high blood pressure
Primary hypertension is consistently high blood pressure readings with no obvious underlining health cause. Some breeds are more susceptible to primary hypertension, leading to the thought that there is a genetic component to the disease. According to the Canine Heath Foundation, “Dachshunds, Poodles, and certain terrier breeds have an increased risk.” Dogs usually present high reading between 2 and 14 years of age.
Secondary hypertension in dogs is more common, with about 80% of hypertension-affected dogs falling into this category. Many times, there is an underlying disease contributing to the incidence of hypertension in dogs. In fact, diabetes, kidney problems, hormone and thyroid problems may all be factors. The health of the dog becomes dependent on treating the underlying disease as well as treating the hypertension.
Puppies grow at a fast rate. The quick and ever changing development and growth they go through to reach their full adult size requires special nutrients, different feeding times and more attention than an adult dog needs. Feeding a puppy is much more manageable if you set up an eating schedule from the very beginning.
Puppies seem to be hungry all the time, but they can get used to eating at specific times during the day. The key is consistency. They are capable of learning and living with your routines. They will get used to a routine of their own as well.
Feeding a high quality, healthy dog food to a puppy helps keep them full. CANIDAE Life Stages dog food is formulated for the energy needs of all ages, with choices in wet or dry food.
Don’t leave food out all the time if you want your puppy on an eating schedule. It might seem like it would be easier, so they can eat whenever they feel like it, but they may eat too much at one time. If you’ve ever seen a ravenous puppy at feeding time, they often eat the food so quickly that it makes you wonder if they even bothered to chew it. They almost inhale their meals.
My parents let me get a puppy for my 10th birthday. A neighborhood mutt had puppies and I just had to have one. That precious dog was still alive and well when I went away to college. A lot of growing and maturing goes on during that timeframe, and much of what I learned came from the unwavering bond I had with that sweet pup.
From the earliest days of childhood, kids begin to learn about pets. Some children observe pet ownership from afar and others, like me, are given the opportunity to experience it personally. Either way, pets play some type of role in our growing up. If you were a child who enjoyed the privilege of sharing your young life with a pet, you are probably aware that your relationship with that pet taught you a number of different things.
Owning a dog requires an investment of time and responsibility. Our canine friends depend on us for healthy dog food like CANIDAE, shelter, water and plenty of love – at a minimum. This sounds a great deal like what is required to be a parent. When dogs or puppies need you, you have to be there. This is a great way to introduce your kids to the world of taking care of others. Pets are usually a child’s first experience with being responsible for a living thing.
If you have ever owned a dog, then you are keenly aware of the patience living with an animal requires. Dogs can push you to the very edge of sanity and then bring you back again. While dogs are a great joy to raise, you have to go into the situation expecting some trials. Any animal that is young and helpless will make plenty of mistakes along the way. Dogs are no different.
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.