Educational Articles

Dogs + Care & Wellness

  • Pregnancy in dogs, also called the gestation period, normally ranges from 57-65 days with an average of 63 days. It is important that she be in good physical condition before she is mated. During the last three weeks of pregnancy, your dog's food intake should increase by up to one and a half times the normal level, by feeding smaller meals more frequently.

  • Many owners find the companionship of their dog so rewarding that they feel they would like to breed their dog, to continue the bloodline and/or to keep a puppy. Others, especially first time dog owners, will acquire a female dog with the intent to breed her when she is old enough.

  • During the last week of pregnancy, the female often starts to look for a safe place for whelping. Some pets appear to become confused, wanting to be with their owners and at the same time wanting to prepare their nest. It is a good idea to get your pet used to the place where you want her to have her puppies well in advance of whelping. Some dogs like the owner to be with them the whole time they are in labor. Others prefer to have their puppies in seclusion.

  • It is estimated that over two-thirds of dogs over the age of three have periodontal disease (infection of the tissues surrounding the teeth). Brushing three times a week is the minimum recommendation to help remove plaque and prevent tartar accumulation. In order to be successful at brushing your dog's teeth, you must make it a positive experience for both of you. Do not use human toothpaste or baking soda. A list of dental products and diets that have been accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Counsel can be found on www.vohc.org.

  • A caesarean section is a major surgery usually performed in an emergency to help deliver puppies. As with any anesthesia, the dog may be sleepy but should be able to eat a high quality diet and nurse puppies within a few hours. The dog should be monitored for fever, abnormal vulvar discharge, and abnormalities at her incision. It is important to ensure that puppies are able to nurse well. If not, or if the dog can not produce enough milk, then commercial milk replacer is recommended. Colostrum ingestion is important for immune protection. If puppies are not nursing within the first 24 hours, then they will need additional veterinary care. Ambient temperature is important in the first 2-4 weeks after birth as puppies cannot regulate their temperature well.

  • Pet owners may not realize that caffeine can be harmful to their pets. They also may not know that many foods and drinks in their cupboards contain caffeine. This particular chemical can be toxic for both cats and dogs.

  • Canine influenza virus (CIV) is primarily the result of two influenza strains: H3N8 from an equine origin and H3N2 from an avian origin. Both of these strains were previously known to infect species other than dogs, but are now able to infect and spread among dogs. The canine influenza virus is easy to transmit.

  • While cannabis use is not new, its use for recreational purposes is more recent. As with any other medication, the increased accessibility to the drug has led to an increase in accidental exposure in pets. A small amount of cannabis is all it takes to cause toxicity in pets. Many of the clinical effects of intoxication are neurological. Pets become wobbly and uncoordinated. They may be hyperactive, disoriented, and very vocal. Their pupils dilate giving them a wild-eyed appearance and they may drool excessively or vomit. They may also exhibit urinary incontinence. In severe cases tremors, seizures, and coma can result. Activated charcoal may be administered every 6-8 hours to neutralize the toxin. Enemas are also used to reduce toxin absorption from the GI tract. Medications and supportive care to regulate the pet's heart rate, respiration, and body temperature are used if needed. Since the pet may be lethargic with no desire to eat or drink, IV fluids can prevent dehydration and maintain organ function. Anti-anxiety medications can minimize agitation.

  • Modern vaccines are extremely effective and safe. However, it is common for many pets to experience mild side effects following vaccination, similar to those that humans experience. Other less common but more serious side effects can occur within minutes to hours after vaccination. These reactions are considered medical emergencies, and you should seek veterinary care immediately if you suspect your pet is having a more serious reaction.

  • Online shopping for convenience and great prices has quickly become the new normal in today's consumerism society. Although technology may help us be savvy shoppers, it's still good to be cautious about what you purchase online, especially when it comes to your pet's medications.

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