Major Concern for Your Dog’s Health in 2017

The Pet Health Issue of Doggie Obesity is on the Rise; Know how to stop it and Keep your Dog Healthy

 

In the past few years, some alarming statistics on pet health have been publicized showing an epidemic happening right under pet parents’ noses.

 

As of 2015, 53 percent of dogs are overweight or obese with their feline companions at 58 percent, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. On top of this are the numbers reported by various Pet Insurance Companies which are staggering. A whopping 90 percent of pet owners also claimed to not recognize that their pet was overweight.

 

As a responsible pet parent, it is important to know the facts that will keep your animals healthy, happy, and ready to live a long life. This pet health article will shed some light into what causes obesity, and simple ways to prevent it.

Pet Health Obesity

 

Dogs that are overweight to the extent of developing a nutritional disease are considered obese within a pet health definition. An excess body weight of 10 to 15 percent, or a score of seven or above from a veterinarian body condition assessment, is the criteria for a dog to be considered obese.

 

How did so many of America’s dogs become overweight?

 

Pets gain excess weight because of the imbalance between their energy intake and usage. Dogs are eating more calories than they could possibly expend. Often senior dogs are affected by obesity because of their inability or unwillingness to get proper exercise.

 

Disproportionate eating, alternating diets, and frequent consumption of fatty treats are the culprits behind why dogs become obese. Of course, a dog can let himself into the cookie jar. As a pet parent, our pet’s health should be a big concern. We need to be conscious of our pet’s health and weight.

 

There are a few clinical causes of obesity that you may want to ask your veterinarian about if obesity is an issue. Diseases like Hypothyroidism, Insulinoma, Hypercorticism, and hormonal shifts due to neutering can also make a dog’s weight enter unhealthy zones.  

Diagnosis

 

Veterinarians primarily diagnose dogs through measuring a dog’s body weight by conducting a scoring of their body condition with a nine-point system. Your vet will examine your dog’s body.

 

By palpating their ribs, lumbar area, tail, and head, they can accurately score your dog’s body mass index. Next, they will compare this with your dog’s breed standard for their age and make a conclusion.

Pet Health Epidemic

 

In the past two years, pet insurance claims linked to obesity have risen 10 percent. Obesity in itself leads to other diseases that could be possibly terminal for an animal.

 

Pet Health Diseases:

 

  • Arthritis
  • Bladder/ Urinary Tract Disease
  • Low Thyroid Hormone Production
  • Liver Disease
  • Torn Knee Ligaments
  • Diabetes
  • Diseased Disc Spine
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Heart Failure

 

Besides having a very sick dog at home, the costs of keeping a pet healthy can be expensive. Recently a pet insurance company released their national relief averages for pet health claims.

 

Below are the reported numbers for treatment.

 

Pet Health Costs:

 

  • Stomach Problems -> $850
  • Cancer -> $2,033
  • Lameness/Arthritis -> $966
  • Urinary Tract Infection -> $590
  • Health Issues -> $1,232
  • Spinal Problems -> $2,014

 

Preventative Care

 

The best way to provide for your pet’s health is by exercising preventative care. If you can stop the habitual practices that lead toward pet obesity than your pet will live a much longer and healthier life.

 

Limit the amount of treats you give your dog, especially if they are high caloric fatty treats. If your dog is accustomed to receiving lots of treats try replacing them with something a little more healthy. Also, limit the amount of table scraps you are giving your dog. Raw meats and vegetables are okay, but not fatty rich foods that a dog can’t metabolize.

 

One of the best ways to make sure a dog stays within their optimal weight is to make sure they get plenty of exercise. This means daily walks and trips to the dog parks. During the winter when everyone is snowed in try getting a tug-of-war toy.

 

Also, monitor the amount of food your dog consumes a day. Discuss a plan with your veterinarian. Picking the right food depends on the type of kibble, moisture inclusion, and daily caloric intake your dog needs.

 

We at Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique are big fans of the rotational diet. This diet has more diversity for your pet and offers more opportunities for them to get the protein, vitamins, and minerals they need.

 

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Pet Health; Why Do Dogs Love Getting Their Belly Rubbed?

The most common way to pet a dog is by far the belly rub. Usually, as soon as I walk over to my dog she is already on her back—waiting for me to scratch her belly. Pet health goes beyond healthy dog food and daily walks.

It involves more than this.

Dog and humans have formed an inseparable bond for the last few thousands of years and anyone who’s a dog lover knows the fastest way to a dog’s heart is usually their belly. (Aside from treats). It’s common for pet health experts to recommend massaging your dog as part of brushing and petting. This is therapeutic for them.

It is no secret that dogs love this form of petting, but the science behind why is a little uncertain. One thing is certain, dogs love it.

Cats, on the other hand, are not big fans. Our feline companions actually use lying on their back as a defensive measure. If you pet a cats belly you might get scratched.

This pet health article will discuss some animal behaviorists’ reasons behind why dogs beg their parents for belly rubs.

The Pet Health Science

When a human scratches or rubs a dogs’ belly it stimulates their hair follicles. This stimulation sends information to brain neurons that is specifically unique. The brain activity that happens when a dog is getting their belly rubbed is satisfying, so it’s great to reward your dog with lots of belly rubs.

A common misconception is that when dogs are kicking their legs rhythmically this is a sign that the dog is in “ecstasy.” However, many animal behaviorists actually advise pet parents to rub their dogs’ bellies in areas that do not prompt this leg-kicking.

The leg-kicking is a reflex from nerves being stimulated that can make a dog uncomfortable.  The same reflex action that happens when a doctor knocks a rubber mallet across your knee to make your leg rise is the reflex a dog is experiencing—not very enjoyable.

Trust

When a dog turns their belly skyward to their pet parents and begs for a belly rub, this is how they show their complete trust. This posture makes a dog feel vulnerable because their vital organs are exposed, and in the pre-domesticated wild, predators could easily harm a dog if they were in this position

When a dog rolls onto their back it shows us that not only are they asking for affection from petting, but also they want to communicate their trust to you. Some rescue dogs or dogs that have a history of abuse might not be willing to let you pet their belly. For good pet health practices be aware of this. Never force your dog to lie on their back. This can give a dog unnecessary anxiety.

Consider it a compliment to your pet parenting skills when your dog is lying on their back.

Pet Health Behavior

Animal behaviorists also theorize that this a submission posture. Dogs who lie on their back are recognizing your paternal authority. Differing schools of thought suggest that this is not “submissive,” but a playful position.

Other body behaviors that show insight into how your dog is feeling are tail-tucking and lip-licking. If your dog is on their back with either of these behaviors present, it might be possible that they are feeling anxious. If this is the case, it might not be the best time to rub their belly. Pet parents are usually attuned to how their dogs are feeling, but if you are a new pet parent then this is useful pet health information.

Whether you believe in the alpha dog complex or that your dog is simply just being trustful, it is important to recognize all behavior associated with anxiety and with play.

We at Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique hope that your dog gets all the belly rubbin’ they want and live long and happy!

 

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The Four-Legged Guardians of the President: The Dogs of the Secret Service

One of the most integral aspects of the Presidential Secret Service are the unspoken canine heroes that are devoted to keeping the president safe. These canines have no concern for political party—they don’t see in terms of democrat or republican—they only have one mission: to keep the president, vice president, their families, and visiting heads of state safe. The stories of these dogs’ pet news rarely make headlines.

 

This keeps their missions secret, but recently unprecedented accounts from journalists have open the public’s eyes to the dogs of the Secret Service. The sworn duty of these dogs accompanying Secret Service operatives everywhere the president goes is astonishing pet news.

 

Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique offers this glimpse into some of America’s greatest four-legged furry heroes.

Secret Service Dogs

 

October 15th of last year, veteran journalist and New York Times bestseller Maria Goodavage published, “Secret Service Dogs: The Heroes who protect the United States.” This is Goodavage’s second book on dog heroism.

 

Secret Service Dogs is a nonfiction account that covers the tactical training, positions, stories, and bond between the Secret Service agents and their tactically trained dogs. Before the president visits, canines do a full nose sweep of the premises. K9 units constantly monitor the White House Lawn and Pennsylvania Avenue, sniffing for explosives. The book is poignant journalistic storytelling of every aspect of the lives of these dogs.  

 

Goodavage also wrote, “Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes” which made the New York Times bestselling list.

 

Awards for Valor

 

During President Obama’s second term two canines played an indispensable role in taking down a man who jumped over the White House fence and landed on the north lawn. The story broke on major media networks making national pet news.

 

Hurricane, a Black Belgian Malinois, and Jardan, a German Shepherd, took down the intruder as soon as he touched down. Within four seconds the first dog was already tackling the trespasser—Dominic Adesanya to the ground. Two seconds later, the second dog came in to assist. Nine seconds later and Secret Service agents subdued Adesanya.

 

“He didn’t even make it ten feet,” said a local witness.

 

Adesanya posted anti-presidential messages online and was arrested for trying to enter the White House. The heroic efforts of the dogs were recognized by the media and even the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

 

Both dogs were given an Award for Valor for their efforts that night making amazing pet news.

Recognizing The Heroes

 

The bond between dog and human companion is an age old dynamic that extends into military service, police force teams, firefighters and more. One of the biggest pet news dog hero platforms is the American Dog Hero Award.

 

The American Humane Hero Dog Award annual campaign nominations are opening soon. Every year the competition opens to recognize dogs for their valiant efforts. Eight finalist and their human companions attend a Gala in Hollywood and are presented with the Emerging Hero Award. One nobel winner will receive the American Hero Dog title.

 

One of Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique’s favorite Emerging Hero winners is Harley. Harley was recognized in 2015 for his bravery in being the inspiration behind Harley to the Rescue—a rescue mission organization that frees abused dogs from puppy mills.

 

Harley himself was at one point in his life incarcerated in a puppy mill. The dog now goes along on every rescue and makes public appearances at events and schools to raise awareness. The poor guy is missing an eye from the abuse he suffered at a puppy mill when his cage was power washed with him inside.

 

If you or someone you know has a dog that deserves recognition this could be an opportunity to help credit a doggie who deserves it.

Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique salutes heroes on both sides of the leash, the ones to make pet news, and the ones that become our everyday heroes just by being there.

 

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Doggie Trivia: 10 Interesting Facts that We Aww-Plause

There are a number of myths and uncertainties concerning pet health circulating common knowledge. Take it from the experts on pet health at Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique, there are a lot of silly misconceptions out there. However, some of these rumors are true. Sometimes the truth can be even more interesting than the misconception.

 

This article is for anyone who signed up for doggie trivia at their local bar and wants to win it all! Splash and Dash present 10 fun facts about our four-legged friends.

For all the Beatles Fans out there

It is rumored that Paul McCartney included a 15-kilocycle whistling noise, which is the same noise as a police dog whistle, on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club single “A Day in the Life.”

 

McCartney verified this later in an interview with BBC. The Beatle included the whistle as a salute to The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” album.

 

He is also is a big fan of his own Shetland Sheepdog.

Duck Dog?

Ducks are masters of their domain in the water. The birds have a water resistant coat and webbed feet, just like Newfoundland breed dogs who share the same attributes.

 

The Newfoundland breed is a Canadian breed that was bred to haul up fishnets and help lifeguard the inhabitants of the coast of Newfoundland.

My Heart Will Go On

Three dogs survived the sinking of the Titanic!

 

2 Pomeranians and 1 Pekingese who were presumably lap dogs for the aristocracy of the early 20th century because they were booked for first class cabins. There wasn’t room for Leo on the raft, but these guys maintained great pet health through the rescue.

 

The little guys made it!

 

Dogs Make Perfect Secret Agents

 

What does every covert operative need? Nightvision.

 

Most common dog breeds already have this. Inside dogs’ eyes is a special membrane called tapetum lucidum that helps them see in the dark. Most likely a remnant of their wild ancestry when they could have possibly hunted at night.

 

Now, dogs just use their night vision to snuggle up with us for bedtime.

Dreams Do Come True

Dogs and humans experience slow wave sleep or SWS waves and Rapid Eye Movement during deep sleep. This is when the majority of our dreams take place.

 

When dogs are in this state of deep sleep the same neurological electrical activity that implies dreams for humans is also happening for dogs.

 

So, every time you hear your dog subtly barking and twitching their paws slightly in the night—they are indeed dreaming. A cute fact for the pet health book.

Cuddle Puddle

45% of dogs sleep in their owner’s bed.

 

62% of U.S. households own a pet, which means 72.9 million homes have a dog or cat.

Dogs Are Color Blind

This is a pretty common pet health misconception.

 

The spectrum of colors that a dog can observe is much more complex than previously thought.

 

Dogs’ vision is not actually black and white gradients. It is theorized that dog vision is made up of greenish-yellow and various shades of gray.

 

Bone Appetit!

A dog has about 1,700 taste buds.

 

Humans have around 9,000, and cats have around 473. Consider this for pet health when you’re trying to get your senior cat to eat their kibbles.

 

Someone hide the cookies!

Sniff! Sniff! Sniff!

Dogs have 10,000-100,000 times more acute sense of smell than human depending on the breed.

 

The bloodhound is the best sniffer with 300 million scent receptors. Their whole body is built for smelling. The wrinkles in their face help trap fragrances while their low hanging ears mix up scents in the dirt.

 

Good luck hiding the cookies from this canine!

Woof! Woof! Woof!

Humans hear sounds best at around 2,000 Hz. Hertz or Hz is the electromagnetic radiation frequency that we measure sound pitch—the higher the Hz the higher the pitch.

 

This is why dogs can hear much higher pitches of sound than humans.

 

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Dachshund Versus Banana

Sample Video of DOGTV Footage

De-Boneifying Outdated Dog Myths

Varying Schools of Thought Conflict with Dog Training and Have Publicized Backward Myths On Pet Health

 

The ancestors of our pets—the domesticated dog—are wolves but observing wolves in the wild and translating these scientific observations into dog training is not always helpful. Dogs, Canis lupus familiaris, are different from wolves, the Canis lupus. It is important to no difference when training your dog and knowing good decisions for their pet health.

 

Official taxonomy of the animal is disputed, but what is clear is that there is a difference between dingos, jackals, wolves, and other carnivorous dog-like species and the dogs we keep as pets.

 

The first instance of domestication happened roughly around 15,000 years ago. Since then, dogs have become far different creatures than their wild counterparts. Understanding domesticated dogs through the lens of wolf observation, popular media, and quick-fix dog training has brought about various myths on pet health and dog training.

 

This pet health article helps to illuminate three of those myths through the most recent animal behaviorists studies.

Myth 1; Dogs are Dominant Creatures

 

Many people believe that when a dog walks through a door first, pulls on their leash, growls when you take their bone away, or sleeps in your bed are signs of them exerting dominance as the alpha pack leader.

 

This is just not true.

 

Dogs do need effective leadership for dog training and maintaining proper pet health, but misbehavior is not a sign that your dog is trying to dominate you.

 

Dogs look to humans for safety, security, and love. When their behavior is “unacceptable” like rummaging through the trash when you are gone, this is a sign of hunger or boredom. Not an act of purposeful defiance.

 

The most productive and loving way to train your dog is to establish common ground with them. Develop a mutual trust and communication methods that establish boundaries, preserve pet health, and ignores unwanted behavior.

 

Corporal punishment of a dog is animal abuse.

Myth 2; Only Male Dogs “Hump”

 

Anyone who has owned a playful female dog knows this is not true.

 

Female dogs hump too. Some theorize that this is an act of domination—showing the dog who is displaying “submissive” behavior who is top dog.

 

More recently, animal behaviorists have observed dogs at play in dog parks. They believe that dog humping is a sign of playfulness. The same stance a dog takes when their forelegs are bent, almost as if they’re bowing, and their tail is wagging. It’s an iconic pose that is indicative of wanting to play.

 

Footage of dogs displaying ‘submissive’ behavior, who then turn around and display ‘dominance’ behavior by humping and vice versa. If one followed outdated dominance theories this would suggest a struggle for power, instead of just two dogs playing.

 

As more data is collected, scientists are beginning to understand even more about dogs and the differences between pre-domesticated instincts and learned behaviors through domestication.

 

Many have incorporated dog training that teaches them not to hump because we view this as a sexual or dominating behavior.  The problem with this is that spayed and neutered dogs still hump, female dogs hump, and it is most likely a playful act.

 

If your dog begins to hump re-focus their behavior instead of scolding them.

Myth 3; Dogs Only Eat Grass When Sick

Again this goes back to scientists observing wolves eating grass in the wild. It is believed that wolves do this to maintain the amount of fiber in their diet since they are almost completely carnivorous. Fiber helps with regulating their digestion.

 

Veterinarians also know that when dogs ingest a large amount of grass this induces vomiting. This is why some have come to believe that dogs are doing this purposefully when they are sick.

 

However, it is more commonly believed in the scientific community that dogs eat grass, well, because they just like it. They enjoy the taste. The same can be true of anti-freeze. Dogs enjoy the taste of it, even though it’s deathly toxic to them.

 

Proper dog training will probably involve getting your dog to not eat grass. If a dog over-ingests grass this will result in a visit to the veterinarian. But don’t worry if you catch your dog nibbling on grass. It does not mean they are sick. It simply means they just want a little tasty snack.

 

Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique believes in loving dog training methods that apply science and rationality over dominance and inhumane methods. Please love your dogs. They love you.

 

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