Monday, January 16, 2012

Yes, Dogs Can Catch The Flu

You get the chills, your nose runs, your chest feels heavy and you’re nauseous. You know these are signs of the flu coming. But what about when Rocko’s nose runs? Is he sick? Maybe, because  yes, dogs can catch the flu

Dogs Can Catch The Flu
“Humans aren't the only ones sneezing, sniffling and coughing their way through flu season. Canine influenza is a contagious viral infection that can make our beloved pups feel icky, too.
Much like in humans, the disease is spread through the air by sneezing, coughing and respiratory discharges. It is more common in dogs who live in urban settings or come in frequent contact with other dogs—doggie day-care, dog parks, dog shows, etc.

On the bright side, doggy flu is easily treatable with plenty of rest, healthy foods, extra fluids and sometimes additional meds. If you think your pup may be at a higher risk of catching Canine Influenza, the ASPCA recommends talking to your veterinarian about a special vaccine that helps prevent it.

Our experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center answer the most commonly asked questions about canine influenza virus.

What is the Canine Flu?
Canine influenza is a contagious viral infection of dogs, caused by Influenza Virus A subtype H3N8.

What does the Canine Flu do to dogs?
The canine influenza virus can cause mild to severe illness. Mild effects include a soft, moist cough with or without a low grade fever that lasts 10 to 30 days despite treatment, along with yellow/green nasal discharge if a secondary bacterial infection occurs. More severe illness can result in high grade fever as well as rapid/difficult breathing, which is usually caused by secondary pneumonia.

Is Canine Flu fatal?
Typically, most infected dogs develop mild to moderate signs that resolve within 10 to 30 days without problems. As with other flu viruses, fatalities can potentially occur, but are not common and are generally due to secondary complications such as bacterial pneumonia.

How easy is it for my dog to catch?
The virus is contagious—spread via aerosolized respiratory secretions. Thus far, most outbreaks have occurred between dogs who are kept in large numbers in relatively close quarters, such as greyhounds at racing tracks. The risk of infection in a canine who does not attend dog shows or frequent kennels is fairly low. However, because this is a recently emerged disease, there is no natural or vaccine-induced immunity—so all dogs are susceptible.

What can people do to help prevent spreading Canine Flu from one dog to another?
Any dog infected with Canine Flu or as any other respiratory disease should be kept away from other dogs until the illness completely resolves.

Solutions as simple as soap and water are effective disinfectants for eliminating the virus from surfaces.

To help reduce the risk of spreading the virus, gloves should be worn when handling infected dogs or cleaning contaminated cages."  As reported by the ASPCA

When I was growing up the common belief was animals didn't get the same illnesses as people.  But that no longer appears to be the case because, yes, dogs can catch the flu too. To reduce your pet’s chances of catching the flu, keep him in tip-top condition. Always keep your surroundings clean and tidy to prevent germs from spreading. If you’d like to know more about canine influenza, click here.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Don’t Love Your Dog To Death

Dogs deserve all the care and attention their human pals can muster, but sometimes, dog owners take things a little too far. Don’t love your dog to death by making these four common mistakes. It won’t be easy for you, but you’ll actually do your pooch a favor.
"Even with the best intentions and all the love in the world, dog owners everywhere are doing things that shorten their dogs’ lives.

Believing the dog food hype.

Commercial pet foods have highly talented marketing teams. They promise their food will make your dog as happy and healthy as the ones playing happily in the ads. The packaging looks colorful, like the dried kibble is full of fresh ingredients, and makes bold claims. The truth is you have to dig much deeper to find out if the food can actually deliver what it promises. The vibrant colors? Artificial dyes included purely to appeal to you (dogs are mainly color-blind, so food coloring means nothing to them). Ingredient list includes “by-product meal”? Sounds like food, but it could be anything from bones to chicken feet. AAFCO approved? Meets minimum requirements, not necessarily exceeding them or optimal for your dog’s specific needs. There’s a difference between surviving and thriving. Make sure your dog’s food provides the nutrition your dog needs and quality of ingredients she deserves.
The remedy: Do your research to know your dog’s food gives her what she really needs.

Killing them with kindness.

It’s hard to ignore the sweet puppy eyes begging for a piece of your dinner. She's so good, she deserves a treat or two. But too many owners take this to the extreme and end up destroying their dog’s diet. The dog gets foods that are at best useless, at worst dangerous. The dog gains weight as junk food accounts for more of their intake. Weight gain leads to joint problems, heart issues, and more, slowly making their life shorter and more painful. Once those problems kick in, there’s no turning back the clock.
The remedy: Keep an eye on the junk food. Keep treats healthy and a small part of your dog’s diet.

Watching movies on the couch together.
It’s one thing to love snuggling with your dog. It’s another thing when your dog is a couch potato who doesn’t get exercise. Recent estimates say that over half of all dogs in the United States are overweight. Those are dogs who aren’t getting enough exercise and are carting around extra heft that is slowly wearing down their bodies. Much like junk food, lack of exercise shortens your dog’s lifespan. Exercise is great bonding time, whether you’re walking, doing agility, or swimming together. The couch may be cozier, but you’ll enjoy more years of snuggle time if your dog lives a longer life.

The remedy: Choose bonding activities that involve physical activity. Then relax on the couch together.
These mistakes are easy to make. That’s why so many of us dog owners have made at least one of them. But for the love of dog, we need to stop. Stop making these mistakes and our dogs will live healthier, happier, longer lives."  Read the original post here.
Your dog is part of the family and sometimes you need to do what you think is cruel to actually be kind to your dog. So
don’t love your dog to death. Just love your dog.