Tag Archives: Irish Setter

Bloat: A Serious Condition Every Dog Owner Should Know About


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Bloat is a commonly used term to refer to a severe medical condition in dogs called “Gastric Dilatation Volvulus.” Bloat occurs when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, food, or fluid and causes the stomach to expand. This, in turn, increases pressure on other organs. In some cases, the stomach will rotate and twist, which hinders blood flow and prevents blood from flowing back to the heart and other important areas of the body.

Bloat usually comes on very quickly, so time is of the essence in treating the condition and preventing it from becoming life-threatening. Thus, as a responsible dog owner, it’s crucial to understand the warning signs as awareness and action could very well save your dog’s life.

Is My Dog at Risk?

While any dog can get bloat, the condition is more frequently seen in deep-chested, large dog breeds such as the following:

In addition to breed, age and gender may also play a factor in proclivity. It is widely believed that dogs older than seven years as well as males are more likely to get bloat than females. Dogs with an aggressive, anxious or fearful personality are also more likely to experience this issue, as stress and negative emotions seem to play a part in triggering the condition.

Causes & Prevention of Bloat

While the exact cause of bloat is not known, there are a variety of factors that raise a dog’s risk of getting bloat, so do your best to protect your dog from these possible causes:

  • Eating or drinking too quickly. Gulping large amounts of food or water at once often means the dog is gulping air, which can increase pressure in the stomach.
  •  Eating dry dog food that is too high in grain. Grain gets fermented in the stomach, which releases gas. Try grain-free food options to see if that makes a difference in your dog’s digestion.
  • Exercising during and especially immediately after eating. Give your dog an hour or more of rest time before and after eating to allow for proper digestion.
  • Experiencing extreme stress, such as mating, whelping, boarding, or due to a change in routine or new dog in the household.
  • Bloat may also be hereditary, especially if your dog has a first-degree relative who has suffered from the condition.

What to Look For: Signs & Symptoms

Nobody knows better than you what is normal behavior for your furry friend! Keep an eye on your pup, and if you notice any unusual behavior, get in touch with your vet as soon as possible. The most common symptoms are:

  • Repeated unsuccessful attempts to vomit (nothing comes up, or possibly just foam/mucus comes up).
  • Unusual behavior, such as asking to go outside in the middle of the night.
  •  Anxiousness and restlessness.
  •  Abdomen is bloated and tight.
  • Rapid, shallow breathing.

Your dog may also be pacing, whining, drooling, panting, or gagging, and may be standing or laying strangely. An accelerated heartbeat, weak pulse and collapse are indicators of a serious problem.

Keep in mind, not every dog will exhibit every symptom. If you’re not sure if your dog is experiencing bloat, contact your veterinarian. It’s of course better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your beloved pooch!

Treating Bloat

There are a few ways bloat is treated, depending on the severity of the case including:

  • The vet may take x-rays to see if your dog’s stomach is twisted.
  •  If your dog’s stomach is not twisted, the vet can release the pressure inside it by putting a tube down the dog’s throat into the stomach.
  •  If the stomach is twisted, a tube may be unable to pass into the stomach, so the vet will insert a large needle through your pup’s belly to release the pressure that way.
  • If the stomach is twisted, it is likely your dog will need surgery to untwist it and put it back where it belongs. Often, the vet will secure the stomach in the right place to prevent your dog from getting bloat again.

The 411 on Hot Spots


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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 Breeds by Fur: Low to High Maintenance Pooches


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When deciding on the best dog for your family, grooming responsibilities probably don’t top of the list of criteria during breed selection. However, depending on your financial situation and time constraints, hair may be a factor worth considering. Depending on the type of dog and their grooming needs, you could be visiting a professional groomer as much as every two-four weeks, or at a minimum, intensively brushing at home on a daily basis. Here’s a rundown of the lowest to highest maintenance pups when it comes to hair, which should help with setting expectations, planning and budgeting.

Short-haired, smaller dogs are going to require the least amount of grooming. An important caveat however is that even though these breeds are short-haired, they will still shed somewhat as all dogs shed some fur. Check out these breeds with low grooming needs if you’d rather not trade in your day job for a styling gig.

Italian Greyhound
Boston Terrier
Miniature Pinscher
• Harrier
Dalmation
• Whippet
• German Pinscher
• Basenji
• Australian Kelpie
Weimaraner
Vizsla
• English Foxhound
Boxer
Rottweiler
• Black & Tan Coonhound
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Mastiff
Great Dane
Bloodhound
• Neapolitan Mastiff

talk-ab-fur-thumbnailConversely, if you can’t resist a fluffy, long-haired pup, target this list of styling breeds, who require more hands-on attention to their coats to avoid matting, shedding and hygiene issues.

Akita
Alaskan Malamute
• Bearded Collie
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bichon Frise
• Border Terrier (or most terriers, for that matter)
Bulldog
Chow Chow
Cockapoo
Cocker Spaniel (and most other Spaniels)
Collie
• English or Irish Setter
• Giant, Standard and Miniature Schnauzers
Havanese
Lhasa Apso
Maltipoo
Old English Sheepdog (and other sheep dogs)
• Pekingese
Pomeranian
Poodle
Portuguese Water Dog
Shih Tzu
Siberian Husky