Category Archives: Linda Cole

Can Dogs Get Tonsillitis?

tonsillitis smerikalBy Linda Cole

We don’t normally think about tonsil health in canines, but like us, dogs do have tonsils. Sometimes they become inflamed, which makes a dog feel very uncomfortable. Knowing the symptoms of tonsillitis can help you get your pet medical attention to ease his discomfort.

Two tonsils, one on each side of the mouth, are located at the back of the throat. Their primary function is to provide protection from bacteria and viruses. The tonsils are similar to lymph glands, and you normally can’t see them because when the tonsils are healthy they are hidden inside a pouch known as a crypt. Since their job is to fight infections, the tonsils can become infected. When that happens, it’s easier for us to see them because they become red, swollen, and are no longer contained in their pouch.

One of the more common ways dogs can get tonsillitis is from a buildup of tartar on the teeth due to poor dental hygiene, or a gum infection. Tonsillitis can also be caused by an irritation of the mouth or throat. Sometimes an infection from somewhere else gets into the mouth, and bacteria is able to get into the throat area. Most of the time, the cause is from bacteria normally found in the mouth that multiplies.

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What is the Purpose of Dog Whiskers?

dog whiskers jamesBy Linda Cole

Like cats and other animals, dogs have whiskers that stick out from the sides of their muzzle. Technically, they aren’t whiskers – they’re called vibrissae, which comes from a Latin word “vibrio” that means to vibrate. A dog’s whiskers are actually highly tuned, multi-functional, sensitive sensory hairs they need and use every day to perform specific functions that help them move around in their world.

Dog whiskers are found on both sides of their muzzle, as well as on the forehead above the eyes, on their chin and above the upper lip. As puppies grow, the whiskers are among the first hairs to develop. Unlike the neatly arranged 12 whiskers in four rows on each side of a cat’s face, dog whiskers are more varied in their pattern depending on their breed and genetics.

Whiskers are twice as thick and coarser than regular dog hair. Their roots are set three times deeper and packed with nerves and blood vessels that make each individual whisker a super sensitive receptor to movement. Air moving it or objects brushing against it causes the whisker to vibrate and stimulates the nerves. Dog whiskers are as sensitive as our fingertips. Whiskers play an important role in helping dogs understand and move through their environment.

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How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need Each Day?

By Linda Cole

We know it’s important to make sure our dogs get proper exercise to help maintain their weight and overall health, and provide mental stimulation. Every dog, regardless of size, needs a chance to stretch their legs every day, but how much exercise is enough? Breed does make a difference in the amount of exercise needed, and a dog that isn’t given a chance to get rid of pent up energy can develop bad behaviors.

Before beginning any strenuous activities, you should have your vet give your dog a checkup to make sure he’s up to a more physical workout. Each dog is an individual and it’s important to create an exercise routine that takes into account breed, age and physical condition. Old or current injuries, weather conditions and the amount of exercise needed should also be considered when it comes to daily exercise.

You can encourage your dog to play with other dogs at the dog park, or learn how to do agility or other dog sports, but you should never force him to do something he isn’t interested in doing. The amount of daily exercise should be based on what a dog was bred to do. That’s one reason why it’s helpful having a general idea of which breeds make up your mixed breed dog.

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Recognizing Stress in Dogs and Cats

By Linda Cole

A few summers ago, a young raccoon in the neighborhood apparently decided my dogs were interesting to watch. I don’t know if he was lonely or thought the dogs were funny looking, but he’d show up almost every day when they were outside in their pen. He’d climb one of the trees overlooking the pen to sit and watch them. The dogs knew he was in the tree, and it frustrated them to no end. The raccoon forced us to change our nighttime routine to keep the dogs from waking up the neighborhood with their excited barking. He eventually moved on, but his presence definitely stressed out the dogs. We don’t always stop to consider how anxiety in a dog or cat’s life affects them, or what even causes it, but too much stress can lead to health issues and behavior problems.

What Causes Stress for Pets?

Shelter animals deal with stress on a daily basis. They live in a noisy environment with no way to escape or hide. Sensitive pets have a hard time dealing with shelter life. Stray and lost pets have to contend with a host of issues that can put their health at risk. Stress in dogs and cats is caused by environmental, emotional or physical issues.

Environmental stress is caused by moving to a new home, a change in routine, holidays, loss of a family member (human or animal), other pets, trips to the vet and other issues dealing with their environment.

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Does the Way You Greet Your Dog Affect Their Wellbeing?

By Linda Cole

Two of my dogs, Keikei and Dozer, love to wrestle with each other outside. Both of them enjoy the back and forth, and trying to get them back inside after their morning duty run was frustrating, to say the least. One day I decided to try a new tactic, and when Keikei was at the foot of the stairs, I called her to come, showed her a CANIDAE Pure Heaven treat, and waited for her to bounce up the steps. When she got to the top, I gave her the treat, along with some praise and a mini massage. Treats will definitely get a dog’s attention, but according to a new study, how you greet your dog matters.

The bond we have with other people or our pet doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process of earning and building on a trust that grows over time. Our human tendency is to gravitate towards people with a positive attitude who are quick to give us a warm smile. It’s nonthreatening, comforting and indicates friendliness. A simple greeting makes you feel good. When touch is added, the emotional response has a lasting effect. Touch is an important aspect of the bonding process with dogs too. A casual touch from someone who cares is a positive sign of an emotional bond. Like us, dogs are social creatures and how we greet them plays a role in their emotional outlook. Dogs need to feel our touch as much as we need contact from people we care about.

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Why Do Guardian Dogs Excel at Schutzhund?

By Linda Cole

Schutzhund is a competitive dog sport that started in Germany at the turn of the 20th century. It was designed to evaluate a dog’s mental stability, courage and protective instinct as well as the ability to scent, willingness to do his job, and the ability to be trained.

The events in Schutzhund (tracking, protection and obedience) were developed by Max von Stephanitz, the German breeder responsible for creating the German Shepherd Dog. By the time the GSD had been developed, the job the breed was originally bred to do – herding – was on the decline in Germany. The German Shepherd has always been a versatile dog capable of doing far more than just herding, and von Stephanitz developed Schutzhund as a sport to maintain the working ability of the breed.

The German Shepherd Dog Club refined the sport in the 1920s to continue the quality of the breed. Other guardian breeds also excel in this intense competition, although most can’t meet the intense training and challenges of Schutzhund.

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