Tag Archives: allergies

Human Health Benefits Related to Dog Ownership


Warning: sprintf() expects at least 1 parameter, 0 given in /home/wp_r3zcif/puppyspotcontent.com/content/wp-content/themes/Purebred-Breeders/content.php on line 69

You’ve probably heard about all the emotional benefits that come along with having a furry friend – joy, love, companionship, loyalty, compassion. But, what about the physical health benefits? Bet you didn’t know that caring for a dog’s well-being can simultaneously contribute in a positive way to your own well-being. From combating feelings of loneliness to maintaining overall heart health, canines offer some surprising human health benefits worth knowing.

In Sickness and In Health: Dogs Help Build Immunity
In great news for families who are expecting, or have young children, a recent study shows that kids who are introduced to animals early in life have lower chances of developing allergies and tend to develop stronger immune systems overall.

A Pawfect Boost for Loneliness & Depression
Feeling lonesome or down in the dumps? A dog is a wonderful way to help fight isolation or pick you up when you’re feeling sad. In addition to the built-in company and unconditional love a dog brings, activities such as walking the neighborhood or taking your pooch to a dog park encourage socialization with other dog owners. Be prepared to discuss your dog’s breed, background, age and story behind how he got his name. Your four-legged friend is the ultimate ice breaker! Plus, caring for an animal provides a great sense of purpose, which can be crucial for feelings of anxiety or hopelessness.

Must Heart Dogs
Besides helping with matters of the heart, dogs can also positively affect cardiac health. Studies have shown that pet owners have decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels — all of which can minimize the risk of having a heart attack.

A Pawsome Way to Stay Fit
According to a recent study, dog owners were more likely to do mild to moderate physical activity during the week than non-dog owners. Dog owners walked an average of 300 minutes per week compared to their counterpart’s average of 168 minutes per week, which means dog owners are more likely to get the recommended 30-minute minimum of exercise a day. If you take the reins (i.e., leash), rather than pass off walking duty to someone else, you’ll regularly get to work on your fitness and stamina. Plus, who doesn’t like to have a workout buddy?

Puppertunity to Help Combat ADHD
Dogs have a reputation for helping children and adults feel calm and at ease, which is evident during therapy dog sessions. Thus, dogs can be healing for children who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. On another note, dogs can also help ADHD-sufferers with releasing extra energy by providing the child with a pal to run around and play with.

Puplifting Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Dogs are a great distraction and therefore help people who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis move around and play more than they normally would, allowing victims to forget the discomfort, even if only for a few minutes.

Trained Service Dogs Warn Before It’s Too Late
For certain diseases, such as diabetes, service dogs can not only be helpful, but rather; save lives. Sufferers of diabetes may not always be able to tell when their blood sugar level is too high or too low.

Trained service dogs have been proven to successfully monitor hypoglycemia warnings through odor cues. Medical detection dogs such as these can lead to fewer 911 calls, less unconscious incidents and greater patient independence. Similarly, some medical detection dogs have been known to even detect cancer in as little as three hours. Scientific studies are currently in progress determining exactly how accurate medical detection dogs can be in relation to discovering cancers. Today, it’s a research area that will continue to be explored and investigated for commercial use.

Do Hypoallergenic Dogs Really Exist?


Warning: sprintf() expects at least 1 parameter, 0 given in /home/wp_r3zcif/puppyspotcontent.com/content/wp-content/themes/Purebred-Breeders/content.php on line 69

Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog breed. Though, certain dog breeds cause fewer allergy symptoms than others. The misconception comes from the idea that a dog’s fur is the culprit of allergies. However, the real source is a protein that’s found in dog saliva and urine. This protein then sticks to dander, the dry flaky stuff that lives on your pup’s skin.

Some dog breeds are then somewhat misleadingly described as hypoallergenic because they don’t shed fur or shed very little. Because these non-shedding dogs rarely release fur, the allergy-causing dander doesn’t get released as often into the air, floor or furniture. Instead, the dander sticks to the skin.

If you or someone in your home does have allergies, there are ways to reduce allergy symptoms. Here are a few tips for managing dog allergies as best as possible:

1. Consider a smaller dog, as they will shed less and therefore release less dander into the air and your home.

2. Give your dog boundaries within the home to create allergy-free zones. For instance, don’t allow the dog in places where the allergic person resides most frequently, such as the bedroom. And, if you have a guest visiting who’s allergic, put the dog outside to keep your guest as comfortable as possible.

3. Ditch the carpet. A wood or tile-floor is easier to keep clean. Use a vacuum with a special micro-filter to collect all dust particles and get your carpet professionally cleaned on a regular basis. On a general note, learn to love housework. The cleaner the home, the less chance for dander to build up on surfaces, furniture and bedding.

4. Bathe your dog regularly for obvious reasons. A good cleansing and brushing will remove excess hair filled with dander, which would otherwise end up in your home.

5. Use an air purifier and HEPA vent filters to help reduce the amount of airborne allergens. Besides dander, these filters will also filter out pollen and dust mites from the air you breathe.

6. Wash your hands. Whether you’re frequently petting your dog, or just plain touching things that he may have brushed up against, frequent hand washing is helpful in preventing the dander from sticking to hands, which may then travel to your eyes and nose.

7. Mitigate with medication. There are plenty of over-the-counter medications like antihistamines, which can provide much-needed relief for allergy symptoms such as congestion or itchy eyes. For asthma or wheezing however, you may need a prescription from your physician.

8. Consider allergy shots. Allergy vaccinations can help you develop the antibodies necessary to combat common allergens. This option however should only be considered if you plan to live with a dog long-term and symptoms are too severe to take medications daily. While immunotherapy (allergy shots) can be an effective treatment plan, it’s quite a long road towards the potential of feeling relief. It can take a year of weekly injections before converting to monthly maintenance doses, and then another 3-5 years of monthly shots before you no longer have symptoms (and don’t need medication).

9. Invest in preventative products such as impermeable covers for mattresses and pillows because allergen particles brought into the room on clothes and other objects can accumulate in them and cause more intense symptoms.

10. Don’t blame the dog. While allergies can be terribly uncomfortable and frustrating to live with, remember it’s not your dog’s fault so do not get angry with him. Dogs can’t help the fur and dander they were born with. Plus, it’s not uncommon for someone prone to allergies to be allergic to other allergens in the home other than dander. So before attributing all symptoms to Fido, consider other allergens in your environment that could also be responsible for your symptoms such as dust, insecticides, pollen, or cigarette smoke.

The 411 on Hot Spots


Warning: sprintf() expects at least 1 parameter, 0 given in /home/wp_r3zcif/puppyspotcontent.com/content/wp-content/themes/Purebred-Breeders/content.php on line 69

Does your dog itch, scratch and lick himself so often in certain places that the affected areas become red, hot, irritated, or even bloody and scabbed? This ailment, also known as “hot spots” or “moist eczema,” is caused by a variety of factors such as bites, poor grooming, skin infections, stress or boredom, but is quite often the result of environmental allergies.

Allergens in the air such as dust or pollen often consistent with a change in seasons, increase a dog’s histamine levels, which set off uncomfortable itching that the dog tries to self-remedy by scratching, licking and biting. Not to be ignored, environmental allergies, also known as “atopic dermatitis” typically occur post puppy-hood after a dog is one years old, and become progressively worse over a dog’s lifespan.

Hot spots can not only be quite painful and irritating for dogs, but are also upsetting for the owner who has to watch and listen to a dog licking, scratching and inflicting self-trauma. Hot spots can severely affect the quality of the dog’s life and if left untreated, the hot spots will only worsen and develop into bacterial infection sites due to the combination of an open wound and surrounding moistness.

Certain breeds are more susceptible to hot spots, including Retrievers, Terriers, Boxers, Dalmatians, Bulldogs, Shepherds, Beagles and Irish Setters.

Medication Treatments for Relief:

Antihistamine Medication – Similar to treatment offered to humans who suffer from allergies, an antihistamine such as Benadryl or Claritin can be helpful as a first line of defense, at least for temporary relief. Remember to consult with your vet regarding the appropriate dosage for your dog based on weight. Unfortunately, these medications can often lose effectiveness if used too often and only work on 30% of dogs.

Steroid Medication – The next option, if an antihistamine isn’t doing the trick, is to discuss corticosteroid medications with your vet. A stronger Rx, these meds are often effective, but you must be careful with continued use, as they can present possible severe and permanent side effects.

Immunotherapy – Many veterinarians will say allergy shots are the only effective method to stop the progression of allergies. Similar to the skin testing performed on humans, a veterinarian will inject various allergens into the dog’s skin to test which cause reactions, and to which degree. The allergens are then mixed together to formulate the injection, which over time and if performed consistently, will desensitize your dog’s immune system. It’s recommended to start young as the older the dog gets, the less effective the treatment can be.

Immune-Suppressants – This option should only be explored if immunotherapy is not showing positive results or improvement. Immune modulator drugs suppress the immune system so that it does not respond to harmless allergens. However, these medications can cause side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea, and present an increased risk of infection from other illnesses.

Sublingual Immunotherapy – This is an alternative to allergy shots, if you’re concerned your dog may have a negative or aggressive reaction to an injection. With this treatment, the medication is administered by squeezing into their mouth.

Please know that each option should be thoroughly discussed and weighed with your veterinarian as treatments will vary based on the dog’s breed, size, and medical history.

Non-Medication Treatments for Relief:

Keep Your Dog’s Paws Clean – As a preventative measure, it doesn’t hurt to manually remove potential allergens from your dog’s paws after walks or hikes by washing or wiping thoroughly.

Use Medicated Shampoo – For bathing, ask your vet dermatologist for a recommendation on a specially-formulated shampoo designed to control inflammation on skin.

Try Supplements – Certain dietary pills with fatty acids such as biotin and Omega-3s are supposed to suppress itching and improve coat health.

Avoid Products with Known Allergens – If you’ve done a skin testing for your dog and are able to isolate certain allergens, take care with buying food or skincare free of those allergens.

Bathe Often and Follow Flea Control Regimen – A regularly groomed dog taking consistent flea prevention medication will have less risk of fleas and other irritants, which can cause hot spots.

Offer A Stress-Free Environment – Make sure your dog gets regular exercise and opportunities for play to relieve boredom.

Use a Temporary E-collar – While annoying for your dog, an Elizabethan collar or cone can be effective for stopping the itching and allowing the hot spot to heal.

Dog-Approved Table Scraps


Warning: sprintf() expects at least 1 parameter, 0 given in /home/wp_r3zcif/puppyspotcontent.com/content/wp-content/themes/Purebred-Breeders/content.php on line 69

While your dog should be consuming the majority of his calories from food made specifically for dogs, sometimes there is no resisting the urge to offer your pooch human food as a reward. But not all table scraps are safe for your dog’s consumption; in actuality, some “people foods” can be poisonous for dogs. Toxic human foods to keep far away from your pup include chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, yeast dough, artificial sweeteners, macadamia nuts, avocados, alcohol, and coffee. Be very careful in making sure these foods are far out of reach to avoid having your dog’s stomach pumped, or worse.

Looking for a list of “safe” human foods for Fido? Look no further. Add these pup-friendly snacks to your grocery list and enjoy watching your dog chow down stress-free (in moderation of course)! Note: these foods do not account for any allergies your pup may have, so be discerning. If unsure about a particular ingredient, start by giving your dog only a tiny amount and observing him for a period of time to see if he has any sort of reaction.

  • Peanut butter – Not only is peanut butter a good source of natural protein, but it also contains niacin, heart-friendly fats, and vitamins B & E. Spread some peanut butter on your dog’s favorite chew toy and he will be gnawing at it for hours on end.
  • Cooked chicken – The same rule for people applies to dogs — chicken meat needs to be cooked thoroughly because there is a risk of salmonella contamination if dogs eat raw chicken. You can slip a couple of chunks of lean chicken into regular dog food to give it a protein boost, and it will also add more flavor.
  • Cheese – Only a very small percentage of the total dog population is lactose intolerant, so this means you can probably give your dog cheese as a treat. Just make sure that you don’t go overboard because many varieties are high in fat.
  •  Baby carrots – Giving your dog a couple of baby carrots on occasion will help keep his teeth clean and strong. Carrots also contain a lot of beta carotene, which is beneficial for good eyesight.
  • Yogurt – In addition to being a good source of calcium, yogurt contains active bacteria (probiotics) which can help improve your dog’s digestive system. Make sure any yogurt you give does not have any artificial sweeteners or added sugar to avoid the extra calories.
  • Salmon – Most people know salmon contains hefty amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve heart and immune health, and also make a dog’s coat and skin shiny and healthy. Salmon can either be given whole or you can add a couple of teaspoons of salmon oil to regular dog food. And, good news for those who don’t like salmon skin – it’s safe to feed the skin to your pooch. So, just slip it under the table, and Fido will take care of your scraps.
  •  Pumpkin – Just like carrots, pumpkin contains beta carotene and fiber, which is a good source of vitamin A and helps keep your dog’s digestive tract regular.
  • Eggs – Mix an entire cooked egg into your dog’s regular food to give it a protein boost.
  • Green beans – These make great snacks for your dogs because they are high in flavor and low in calories.
  •  Apples – Just like carrots, apple slices can keep your dog’s teeth clean and shiny, and they can also help freshen up his breath. Apples also contain large amounts of fiber and vitamins. Just make sure you take out the apple core as it can be a dangerous choking hazard.
  • Oatmeal – This grain is a great source of natural dietary fiber, which can really be beneficial, especially if your dog is of an advanced age. If your dog has wheat allergies, oatmeal can be used as a substitute grain. Make sure you thoroughly cook the oatmeal first before you serve it to your dog, and don’t add any sweeteners to it.
  • Sweet potatoes – This veggie is another great source of fiber and contains vitamin B6, vitamin C, beta carotene, and manganese. Your pup will enjoy sweet potato sliced and dehydrated as a chewy treat, or cooked and sprinkled on food.

Dangers During the Dog Days Of Summer


Warning: sprintf() expects at least 1 parameter, 0 given in /home/wp_r3zcif/puppyspotcontent.com/content/wp-content/themes/Purebred-Breeders/content.php on line 69

Summertime and the living’s easy…unless you’re a pup! While hot weather can mean refreshing swims and beach walks for Fido, the season can also bring dangerous temperatures that can cause serious health issues such as overheating and sunburns. We’ve outlined some common summer hazards to be aware of during these hot months to keep your pooch safe and risk-free.

Open Water
While some dogs are natural-born swimmers, others are not. To avoid the risk of injury or drowning, keep your water-averse dog away from pools and lakes where he could fall in, as well as the ocean (a high tide or rough waters can easily sweep a small dog under the current). If you’re bringing your dog on a boat, make sure you have a life preserver ready for him, just as you would with a small child.

Fireworks
While nothing says 4th of July quite like fireworks, your dog may feel otherwise. Dogs are often sensitive to loud noises and could run off in fear or act out in aggression upon hearing the pops, cracks and booms that come with the popular Independence Day tradition.

Heat
Just as humans can suffer heatstroke, dogs can be just as, if not more vulnerable to overheating and dehydration. To avoid overheating, limit walks and outdoor play to cooler times of the day (sunrise or sunset), provide adequate shade or a cool place to rest indoors, offer plenty of fresh water and never ever leave your dog alone in a hot car. Lastly, be aware of your dog’s temperament – while panting and drooling alone can be normal behaviors, if these symptoms are paired with pale gums, hyperventilation, rapid pulse, confusion, diarrhea, vomiting, or rectal bleeding, contact your vet immediately.

Fleas, Ticks and Bees
summer-hazards-thumbnailThe warm summer months unfortunately bring out annoying insects such as fleas and ticks, which love to attach on and bite your four-legged friend. Make sure to protect your pup (and your family and home) by applying medicated flea/tick ointment to Fido on a regular basis. If your pup does come down with either of these critters, it’s imperative to do a deep clean and take necessary measures to prevent the transmission of disease and other parasites. If your dog gets stung by a bee, you’ll want to remove the stinger immediately (if you can find it) and then make an emergency trip to the vet for monitoring and/or treatment of an allergic reaction.

Allergies
Warm weather can also bring new pollen grains and other allergens into your dog’s environment. Seasonal allergies often cause intense itchiness in dogs, which can lead to hot spots, infections, wounds and hair loss from scratching too much. Talk to your vet about the best treatment options for your dog – depending on breed and severity of the symptoms, management could include oral steroid medication, specialty shampoos or ointments, or even immunotherapy (allergy shots).

Toxic Chemicals
Certain products used more frequently during the summer months such as insect repellent, fertilizer, weed control, pool chemicals, or ant bait can contain dangerous chemicals that can pose a poison threat to your dog. Check the ingredients in all products before use, or ask your gardener or pool servicer for more information. If your dog accidentally ingests poison, call the Animal Poison Control Center hotline, available 24 hours, 7 days a week: (888) 426-4435.