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Dog Flu Outbreak in Illinois

About the Illinois Dog Flu Outbreak 

There have been recent cases of Dog Flu breaking out all over central Illinois. Be cautious with your dog around other dogs.  Veterinarians say this is a new and highly contagious airborne virus that can spread quickly from dog to dog.

This virus can be transferred via nose and mouth secretions, coughs, and even sharing water bowls. Because this particular virus is airborne, it can spread without contact.

Most dogs are not naturally immune to the virus and when exposed to it will most likely contract it. 

How to Protect Your Dog 

The first thing you should do is talk to your veterinarian about canine influenza to see what they recommend is best for your dog. 

If you notice anything out of the ordinary isolate your dog and call your veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not wait or hesitate as this is a very aggressive virus and your should seek medical treatment immediately.  

A vaccine is available, if you have not already, the H3N2 vaccination is available for your dog. Discuss whether the vaccine is right for your dog with your veterinarian. 

Start boosting your dog’s immune system by feeding them a healthy and balanced diet.  Give them plenty of vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids and probiotics. You can also use some of the many natural immunity boosting supplements and herbs to improve your dogs overall health and well-being.

Be sure to watch your dog for common symptoms such as: coughing, lethargy, lack of appetite, nasal or eye discharge. Give your dog lots of water and plenty of time to rest. 

If your dog does get the flu, keep them away from other dogs for at least 21 days.

How to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth

You may have heard the saying, “a dog’s mouth is cleaner.” While that is not entirely true, dogs are not as prone to cavities as humans. However, dogs can still develop plaque buildup, which leads to tartar and gingivitis. Although these are concerning issues, they actually lead to serious health issues including heart, liver, and kidney disease. In order to prevent these life threatening issues, bad breath, and yellow teeth, learn how to clean your dog’s teeth.

To properly brush your dog’s teeth, hold the brush at a 45 degree angle and gently scrub at the gum line and teeth. Use toothpaste specially formulated for dogs, which can be found at pet stores. Human toothpaste has many ingredients that are poisonous to pets; never use your own toothpaste.

Pets do not always love the experience, but if you are patient and read your dog’s signals you’ll be able to create a comfortable routine for both of you. The first few times you brush your dog’s teeth, you man not get to clean as thoroughly as you want – that’s okay! Starting slow and building up tolerance to the brushing activity will easy your dog into it gently. Ensure that you’re speaking pleasantly to your dog and avoid yelling in frustration. The first times are admittedly tricky. You can reward you dog with a treat afterwards to encourage better behavior.

If your dog hates this process, there’s still hope. You can make choices that help encourage better oral health for your pup. Crunchy kibble is better for your dog’s teeth than softer foods. The soft food sticks to teeth and leads to decay, while the kibble does not. In addition you can try synthetic bones and chew toys that are formulated to clean teeth. Although these steps help, they are no replacement for brushing your pup’s teeth.

If your pup has chronic bad breath, yellow teeth, missing teeth or other dental problems, see your dentist for the best advice and treatment.

Top Autumn Pet Care Tips

With the changing weather, comes shedding, increased energy and more time spent indoors. Are you taking care of your pet with autumn in mind? Here are our top tips for autumn pet care:

  1. Be mindful of rodent poison. Rodents are likely to make their way into your home during this time of year. You may be tempted to leave poison out in the open, but your pets can get into them with fatal results. Make sure you place the poison in areas that your pets cannot get into, like cupboards and cabinets, or in rooms that stay closed off. Be sure to protect your pets at all costs because rodent poison is very seriously toxic to cats and dogs.
  2. Watch their food intake. During the summer, pets are more active outdoors and burn more energy which can cause them to eat a bit more. Fall and winter can become a pudgy season for both pets and humans, with less activity and increased decadent foods available. Be sure to watch your pet’s diet and ensure they are getting enough exercise during these cooler months. Consult a veterinarian before making changes to your pets’ diet, as every animal has different needs.
  3.  Beware chocolate. Chocolate consumption goes up during the cooler months with the celebration of many holidays. Be sure to keep your pet away from the chocolate, as it can make dogs very sick. Keep your trick-or-treat buckets out of reach from mischievous, hungry pets.
  4. Avoid bones. You may be tempted to give your pooch a turkey bone from your Thanksgiving feast. Most bones are actually a choking hazard to dogs. Toss your pet a piece of turkey meat and throw the bones away instead.
  5. Be mindful of decorations. Until your pet is familiar with the painted pumpkins, stuffed turkey decor, and fake snow in your home, she might accidentally knock them down or ingest them. Keep your decorations up high or out of pet’s reach for the safest bet.
  6. Clean up the anti-freeze. When you winterize your vehicle, make sure to clean up every bit of anti-freeze. It has a sweet smell that draws in pets. However, a very small amount can kill pets. Keep your pet away when you’re using anti-freeze and thoroughly clean any spills.