A dog is man’s best friend, offering comfort, support, and even a floppy ear when no one else will listen. There are definite health benefits associated with owning a dog, from helping to lower blood pressure to staving off depression. But despite the abundant health benefits of having a dog, what happens if they’re sick? In some cases, a sick dog can be just as infectious as a sick human!
With all the rough and tumble play your dog experiences outdoors, there’s no surprise they carry germs back into the house. There are indeed, some dog germs can infect humans – which are known as zoonotic diseases. A zoonotic disease is a disease that is spread from animals to humans. These illnesses can be passed through waste, saliva, or even buried in the fur or dander of your four-legged friend. Direct contact with an infected pet can spread the infection, resulting in uncomfortable and sometimes, in rare cases, life-threatening symptoms. Here are a few diseases that can be transmitted from dogs to humans.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Dogs carrying ticks in their coats can bring these nasty creatures into the house. Baby ticks are the size of poppy seeds and can be hard to spot even in short-haired pets. Carrying bacteria and other infectious agents, a bite from an infected tick can cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever in humans with weakened immune systems. The symptoms are quite similar to the flu, with patients citing fevers, chills, aches, and even a rash on the body.
Shed into feces which contaminate the soil, roundworm is very common parasite among dogs and humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 14 percent of the U.S. population has been infected with Toxocara, which stems from roundworm larvae. People ages 20 and below are at higher risk of infection from roundworm if they own a dog. Roundworm symptoms can vary from minor coughing to fever and inflammation of the liver or even blindness.
Similar to roundworms, dog hookworms are spread by contact with soil contaminated with infected feces. It may be especially challenging to identify contaminated ground where feces might be obscured. Infected persons may notice abdominal cramping, nausea, blood in stools, and an irritating rash.
Rabies is the most well-known potential transmission between dogs and humans. In the United States, this viral disease is typically spread by wild animals or unvaccinated domestic pets. Here in Arizona, rabies vaccinations and licensing are required for all dogs.
While some zoonotic diseases and their consequences can be serious, this doesn’t mean you should worry constantly. There are a few simple things you can do to help prevent these diseases:
Proper preventative care: Schedule regular preventative care appointments with your veterinarian, and keep your pet up-to-date on their annual fecal tests and vaccinations to best protect both you and your pup from these diseases – plus to put your mind at ease. Your veterinarian can also talk about different parasite preventatives to help protect against fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites.
Wash your hands: It’s always a good idea to wash your hands after interacting with your dog. You never know what they might be nibbling on when you’re not looking. This is especially important for young children in the household.
Scoop the poop: Making sure your yard is as clean as possible can reduce the risk of infections and limit the spread of parasites and bacteria.
Knowledge and prevention can go a long way towards keeping everyone in your family (including your pup) happy and healthy!
Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.
From puppy life vests to safety kits, here are a few ways to keep your dogs safe on boat trips
Check Your State Laws
While federal law does not outline specific regulations regarding dogs on boats, certain local laws may restrict dogs at particular boat landings or parks, and set temperature cutoffs for taking your animal outdoors. With sometimes unbearable summertime heat, under Arizona law, pet owners are required to provide clean water and shade for pets outdoors. This means finding a covered, comfortable area on the boat where your dog has plenty of room to cool down. Dogs are significantly prone to heatstroke and need to stay hydrated, so it’s important to know the signs.More information on heat stroke in pets.
Invest in a Dog Life Jacket or Vest
Do dogs need life jackets to be on a boat? While state law requires a life jacket for everyone on board a vessel, it doesn’t specifically mention dogs. Your pet is a member of your family, however, so why wouldn’t you protect them, too? It’s tempting to take a shortcut and order a life vest online to save time and money. Problem is — dogs come in so many shapes, weights, and sizes, you’d be better served by making a trip to a sporting goods store or pet store to test it out for size and fit.
Here are a few tips on choosing the best dog life jacket for your furry friend; and remember, taking the time to get one that fits properly could save your pet’s life!
Get a life vest with a handle. A handle ensures you can fish your four-legged friend out of the water if they go overboard.
Look for a D-ring. The D-ring allows you to attach a leash to your dog’s newest life jacket.
Know the difference. While they may seem similar, life jackets and vests are two different products. A life jacket acts as a full-body harness that provides better floatation and visibility. Life vests provide less coverage for your dog, but they also allow your dog more mobility in the water. If your pup is a strong swimmer, this is certainly one good option.
Once they’re tricked out in a heavy-duty accessory, your dog might need a friendly little nudge to encourage them to wear the look properly. One great tip is to introduce the dog to wearing the life vest before you go on the boat. That way, your pet won’t be overwhelmed by too many new things happening at once.
Another necessity is a restraint to ensure your pooch doesn’t fall overboard. Opt for a harness, rather than a collar, so the movement of the boat doesn’t pull your dog by the neck. Harnesses can typically fit under or over a life jacket. If your dog’s jacket has a D-ring, it’s best just to attach your leash straight to the jacket, so you avoid the hassle of too much equipment.
Make a Test Run
Not all dogs are going to be comfortable on a boat, so it’s wise to keep the first outing a short one. Allow your dog to get acclimated to the boat BEFORE you head for water, or while you are still docked. Once you’re on the water, watch your dog carefully for signs of sea/motion sickness. Symptoms of motion sickness can include:
Yawning or panting
Vomiting (even on an empty stomach)
It’s safe to say that bringing your pet along for the boat ride can be a great time – so long as you follow these few safety tips to ensure you and your pet enjoy the water. If you have any suggestions on how to keep your dog safe while boating, leave them in the comments below!
Preventing and Recognizing Heat Stroke in Your Pets
Heat stroke, or hyperthermia, is a real danger for pets and people.
Hyperthermia occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises dangerously
above normal, putting them at risk for multiple organ failure or death.
Unlike humans, who have sweat glands all over our bodies, cats and dogs
have very few sweat glands – they’re located in places such as their feet and
noses. As summer rolls around and temperatures continue to rise, you’ll
notice your pets panting more to regulate their body heat.
Since our beloved pets are more susceptible to heat stroke than us, we need
to be aware of the signs and symptoms so we can keep our furry friends safe.
Early recognition, and treatment of heat stroke can improve your pet’s
chances of making a quick recovery. Symptoms of heat stroke in pets include:
Reduced or no urine production
Rapid/irregular heart rate
Vomiting blood/black, tarry stools
Changes in mental status (i.e., confusion and dizziness)
Wobbly, uncoordinated/drunken gait or movement
Unconsciousness/Cardiopulmonary Arrest (heart and breathing stop)
Seek Treatment for A Full Recovery
At the first sign of overheating, it’s essential to take steps to cool your pet
down gradually. Do NOT use ice or frigid water as it can cause shock and
other undesirable reactions. Here are some measures to take if you suspect
your animal is suffering from heat stroke:
1. Remove your animal from the heat immediately. Take your animal
inside or find some shade to allow them to cool off.
2. Spray your pet with cool water or wrap them in cold, wet towels and
use a fan for convection cooling.
3. Evaporative cooling can also be used by swabbing isopropyl alcohol on
foot pads, groin and under the forelegs.
4. MOST importantly, seek veterinary care and guidance as soon as
Even if your furry friend seems to be feeling better and starts acting normal
again, it is still crucial to take your pet to the nearest emergency veterinary
clinic. Vets will be able to determine the severity of the heat stroke and
provide the appropriate medical treatment. This can include medication,
cooling procedures, supplemental oxygen, and blood tests. Additional
monitoring may be required to ensure your beloved pet is back in tip-top
Unfortunately, since our pets can’t communicate their exact feelings to us, we
need to be alert and aware of all of the signs of heat stroke in dogs and cats.
In case of an emergency, we need to be knowledgeable about the steps to
take for pet heat stroke recovery. Once we educate ourselves on the
symptoms, we can have a fun and safe summer with our furry companions.
Dog Bathing 101: How Often Should You Bathe a Dog?
Some dogs just can’t resist rolling in mud, dirt or worse. Obviously, this means bath, stat! But outside of these dirt emergencies, how often should you bathe a dog? Do they really need baths? Let’s dig in!
Just like people, some dogs can get a bit stinky without a regular bath. On the other hand, some dogs do just fine with just a regular wipe down to remove dirt and grit. (We don’t recommend this approach for people.) Baby wipes are perfect for daily cleaning of the coat, paws, and muzzle. They’re gentle and won’t cause irritation.
This is especially true if you adopted a new puppy. Many people wonder “how often should I give my puppy a bath?” If they’re less than 8 weeks old, the answer is probably ‘none’. Unless they are in dire need of a bath, they should be kept dry as many young pups are unable to efficiently regulate their body temperature. Running a warm, damp cloth over them should do the trick. (More on puppy baths later…)
So how often should you bathe a dog?
A healthy adult dog: A good rule of thumb is to give your pet a bath once a month in the tub or shower, using warm water and a gentle dog-specific shampoo. If they have an underlying skin condition or allergies, you may need to bathe them more often using a medicated shampoo. Use a soap free or moisturizing formulation so their skin doesn’t get dried out. Your vet or groomer can recommend the type that’s right for your pooch. Never bathe your dog more than once a week unless it’s recommended by your vet. While you’re bathing your dog, take special care to note any lumps, bump or skin changes that could indicate a health problem. If you find something of concern, be sure to let your vet know.
A newborn puppy: If this is your first time bringing home a puppy, congratulations! If you’re looking for tips on responsible pet care, check out this blog for pet care tips. Now to the question on your mind: how often should you give your puppy a bath? This depends heavily on the age of your puppy. During their first 8-12 weeks of life, puppies rely heavily on their mothers for everything — including proper cleaning and grooming. At this stage, the puppy should rely on their mother for grooming. If they do need a bath, you’ll be able to bathe your puppy the day you bring them home (assuming they are at least 8 weeks old).
Things to Consider
Have a dog that sees dirt and mud and runs to it? You’re going to need to give your dog more baths than a dog that prefers lounging around the house. But remember, there will always be exceptions to how often you should bathe a dog. For instance, short-coated breeds, as well as hairless breeds such as the Chinese Crested, will typically require more intensive care and regular maintenance. While this is only a general guide, try to come up with a maintenance plan based on the needs of your furry friend. Here are some things to consider:
Coat Type: Long-coated breeds may require more baths and grooming care than short-coated breeds. Additionally, some thick coated breeds like retrievers and Huskies can lose essential oils from their skin if bathed too often. This isn’t only true for these breeds – many breeds are vulnerable to the fur and skin drying out, so ask your veterinarian or groomer for guidance.
Activity: Again, if your dog is the type to run into rain and muddy water when possible or dig holes when they know they shouldn’t, you’re going to need to give them frequent baths.
Allergies and Health:If you’re adopting a dog with health concerns, bring them to your vet right away to establish an appropriate care plan. Search here for a nearby AZPetVet location.
How to Dry Your Pet After Bathing
Rinse well, and dry with soft towels. Some dogs will allow you to use a hairdryer on a warm/cool setting, while others will freak out or consider it playtime. If you use a hair dryer, be sure to keep the nozzle at least 18 inches away from the fur and skin in order to prevent overheating or burns. Whatever your dog’s preference, dry them the best you can, and enjoy their after-bath antics. Be sure they’re dry before going outside, or you’ll most likely be headed right back to the tub!
Not into the do-it-yourself dog bath? Regular grooming appointments can help keep your pet looking and smelling great! To find one of our 17 AZ PetVet Grooming locations, click here.
Purebred Vs Mixed Breed: Everything You Should Know
There has been a lot said when it comes to whether or not a mixed breed dog is healthier (or not) than a purebred dog. There certainly seems to be a surplus of health benefits for mixed breed dogs as compared to their purebred counterparts. With that said, however, this isn’t to say there aren’t any benefits in choosing a purebred dog. So if you’re looking to bring a furry friend into your home but are worried whether a purebred or mixed breed is right for you, sit back and relax. We’re going to uncover the benefits of mixed breed dogs and purebred, purebred vs mutt health and life expectancy, and more!
Benefits of Mixed Breed Dogs
Get That Same Breed Look: Some dog owners are looking for a puppy with a distinct look, say a husky or a chow chow. Many mixed breed dogs will tend to physically resemble one breed more than the other, so you can get pretty close to a purebred look for your dog while still adopting mixed breed.
OR Get a Unique Look: On the other hand, if you like the uniqueness of a mixed breed dog, then it’s possible to find a dog that doesn’t look like other dogs. Take Basil for instance — a 3-year-old mixed breed dog (photo submitted by a staff member!). Take a second to guess what breed he is. We’ll give you a second.
Price: A key benefit of mixed breed dogs is that they come at a much cheaper price than those from the breeders of purebred dogs. While their personalities and growth may come as a surprise to you, the experience will be well worth the wait (and the wait itself is so much fun) if you love surprises and being spontaneous. And back to the question — what breed is Basil? If you guessed husky/labrador, you’re a winner!
Benefits of Purebred Dogs
One misconception people have about purebred dogs is that all purebred dogs are not as healthy as their mixed counterpart. While there is research that suggests this is true for some breeds (and we’ll get to this soon), there are various factors that influence the life expectancy and health of purebred dogs.
Specifically Selected Parents: In most cases, dogs breeders have selected the parents (sire and dam) specifically for health and desired breed traits to ensure that their puppies will be happy and healthy.
You Know What to Expect: When you get a purebred dog, you can expect to know how large they will get, their temperament, and more. If you’re living in a smaller home or work long hours, you can choose a dog that is suited for your lifestyle; whereas a mixed breed dog may have some surprises that might not be as easily manageable.
Ease With Training: With a purebred dog, you (and potential trainers) have a better idea of what to expect with your furry friend. What this means is that a dog might not have the temperament you’re looking for — and you won’t know this until they are older. For Basil for instance — part husky and part lab. While the lab in him makes him viable as a great service dog, the husky portion of him might make service or guide training difficult. Speaking directly with Basil’s owner, it’s clear that… the latter is true. He is apparently impossible to train. While this varies across the board, a purebred dog lets you know what to expect, so you can pick a pup with a training regimen in mind.
Purebred Vs Mutt: The Major Health Differences
When comparing purebred vs mutt health, there are some differences in how purebred and mixed breed dogs inherit genetic disorders. A study conducted by the Institute of Canine Biology examined cases of 24 different genetic disorders and found that across the board, 10 disorders occurred more frequently in purebreds, 1 disorder occurred more frequently in mixed breeds and then the last 13 disorders did not appear more frequently in either dog.
So this means that you should only adopt a mixed breed dog, right? Nothing is ever that simple. Let’s just examine two of the disorders more frequented in purebred dogs: atopy (or allergies). Studies found that 1 percent of mixed breed dogs were affected by allergies. In contrast, some of the top purebred dogs with allergies included the West Highland White Terrier (8.2%), Coonhound (8%), and Wirehaired Fox Terrier (8%). Now let’s look at bloat in dogs. With mixed breeds, we are again at less than 1 percent. The breeds that bloat was most present in were Saint Bernard (3.7%), Irish Setter (3.4%), and Bloodhounds (3.4%).
What does this mean?
In these two categories of disorders, purebred dogs did exhibit symptoms more often; however, not all purebreds were at the same risk for the same diseases. Consider how some dogs are more apt to be a ‘watchdog’ or protective dog, and others are more apt to live in a small apartment than others. Obviously, not all dogs are the same. So do mixed breed dogs really have fewer health problems? The answer is not so definitive. Mixed breed dogs are not going to be healthier than purebreds all the time. While some breeds may be at a higher risk for health problems, every dog is different.
Furthermore, many dogs will go on without developing any particular health complications. If you want to know the health patterns for a specific breed of a dog, you’ll get a better expectation of what to look for throughout their life by talking to a breeder or by doing more breed-specific research.
Purebred vs Mixed Breed Life Expectancy
Not much will be said about life expectancy that hasn’t already been said about purebred vs mutt health. There are a multitude of factors that impact the life expectancy of a dog.
Wellness Care: Of course, if you invest in how you care for your dog — by adhering to the Veterinary recommendation for annual or semi-annual wellness exams — then your dog will be more primed to live a longer and healthier life.
Dog Size: Additionally, research on the size of the dog has shown that some larger dogs may have a life expectancy of around 7-10 years, while smaller ones may have up to 13-16 years. These, of course, aren’t hard numbers, but general observations.
The Real Question: Even though research has indicated that mixed breed dogs show signs of longer life expectancy, proper dog care will always be key in making sure your dog — no matter the size, no matter their lineage — will live a long and happy life beside you!
Really, the decision to choose a dog that’s either mixed breed or purebred is entirely up to you. Each has its own unique strengths which can make for a fun (albeit different) experience for you and your family. Even with all these facts in place, it’s important to remember that each dog is different. While they may react to things in very similar fashions, every dog has its own special personality and spirit which will make the overall experience all-the-more fun!