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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.

13 Dog Breeds Perfect for Hiking


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If you own a dog, you already know how helpful dogs can be in keeping you fit and active. Hiking is one such popular physical activity to do with your dog, but there are some factors to consider before going on that next trek with your pup. For example, most dogs don’t have the endurance to hike for more than about 3-5 hours, and not all dogs can tolerate all climates. In addition, dogs under the age of one may not be sturdy enough for strenuous exercise. Likewise, dogs in their old age may have a harder time keeping up. The following is a breed-specific list of dogs best suited for hiking.

1. Bernese Mountain Dogbernese-hiking-thumbnail

Big, strong and well-behaved, the Bernese Mountain Dog makes a
great candidate for a hiking buddy—after all, the word “mountain” is in her name! Bernese can carry about 10 times their body weight, meaning she’ll have no problem carrying some supplies on her back if necessary. Because of her thick, furry coat, she loves to hike in colder weather. On the flip side, be cautious taking her out to hike in the warmer seasons. Overall, this easygoing and athletic dog will love hiking alongside you, and acting courteous to strangers along the way.

2. Vizslavizsla-hiking-thumbnail
Since this active dog already requires a lot of exercise, the Vizsla is a great companion to take with you out on the trails. The Hungarian-bred hunter is intelligent and has the stamina to go on long, steep hikes. She’ll come along with you on a hot or temperate day, but make sure to bundle her up when the weather gets breezy.

3. Siberian Huskyhusky-hiking-thumbnail

The friendly and energetic Husky may be a handful to train, but you’ll have a ball with her as your hiking partner. Bred as sled dogs, Huskies are strong, intelligent dogs who can withstand freezing temperatures while carrying heavy cargo. Her furry double-coat won’t serve her well in extreme heat, but she’s fine to spend time outdoors with you in most climates.


4. Australian Shepherdaustralian-hiking

The Aussie is a hard worker at heart and will love to join you for a day of hiking and adventure. She has the strength to hike on even bumpy and uneven terrain, and has plenty of energy to keep going without getting tired. Despite her long coat, she can withstand most temperatures as long as they are not extreme.


5. Labrador Retrieverlabrador-hiking

America’s favorite dog breed is also a hiking favorite for a number of reasons. For one, her easy trainability gives her the right temperament to join you on the trail without acting out. The Lab is also strong, and won’t mind carrying up to 10 pounds of gear. She has the mind of an explorer and will be comfortable in most climates.

6. Portuguese Water Dogportuguese-hiking-thumbnail
Here’s a good dog for those hikes ending in a waterfall or stream. The dog of choice of the Obama family is a perfect pal on land or water. Her waterproof coat and webbed feet make her a great swimmer, so she’ll join you for a refreshing dip in the water after a long, tiring trek.

7. German Shorthaired Pointergerman-shorthaired-hiking-thumbnail
Similar to Labs, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a loving companion with enduring stamina. Just watch out—because of her natural high prey drive, this dog might try to bolt from your grip at the sight of a bird, squirrel, rabbit or other small creature. This dog also tends to be very protective of her owner, making her a vigilant watch dog on the trail.

8. Alaskan Malamutealaskan-malamute-hiking-thumnail
This Siberian Husky lookalike is larger and considered even stronger than her other sled-pulling relative. She’ll brave the toughest, snowiest terrains and coldest temperatures. She’s sturdy, independent and a true athlete. This dog is made for the wild and will have you panting by the end of your hike.

9. Rhodesian Ridgebackrhodesian-hiking-thumbnail
Bred to be a lion hunter, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is nothing short of mighty. Her apt ability to protect her loved ones from danger makes her a prime companion for exploring the great outdoors. Her paws are tough enough to plow through any terrain, and her sleek, short coat shields her from the heat. This dog needs plenty of exercise and would surely love to accompany you on a nice, long hike.

10. Jack Russell Terrierjack-russel-hiking-thumbnail
Who says all hiking dogs have to be big and beastly? This little pup packs a lot of energy into a small body, and won’t get tired after a long trek through the woods or up a cliff. The playful Jack Russell will run for ages and makes a good watchdog, barking at anyone that comes his way. You won’t have to worry about this little one keeping up!

11. Weimaranerweimaraner-hiking-thumbnail
This dog will have no problem covering long distances with you; in fact, she’ll get a little antsy if she doesn’t get enough exercise! A good watchdog, the majestic gray Weimaraner is intelligent and loves to run and play. Satisfy her demanding exercise needs by taking her on a long hike!

12. Border Collieborder-collie-hiking-thumbnail
The Border Collie is everything you want in a hiking pal: highly intelligent, energetic and eager to please. She loves a challenge and lives to perform tasks, whether fetching your knapsack or following directions to a destination. She loves being outdoors with plenty of space to stretch her long legs.

13. Doberman Pinscherdoberman-hiking-thumbnail
This fierce-looking dog is a loyal and obedient hiking companion with plenty of strength for those tough climbs. She’s easier to train than the Rhodesian Ridgeback, and her attentive nature as a fearless guard dog can provide you with protection when walking alone. Take her on hikes with you to give her a healthy way of expending her abundant energy.

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