sick puppy

Understanding dog flu

We’ve all been there. The winter months bringing with them a bug that leaves you bed ridden with a mug of soup and a lack of sympathy from your friends and family. The flu can really take its toll on you, but did you know that your dog can get it to?

The signs of dog flu – what to look out for

Dog flu, or CIV (Canine Influenza Virus), outbreaks are not usually fatal but do present some serious symptoms that will leave your dog definitely feeling under the weather. Many of the symptoms to look out for are similar to those we experience ourselves and include:

  • Runny nose
  • Dry Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • In rare cases, fever and pneumonia

How do I treat canine influenza?

If you believe that your dog has contracted canine influenza, the best course of action is to ring your vet first and make an appointment. Until then you must isolate your dog from any other canines contact to prevent the spread of the virus.

Your dog will need to be kept hydrated as the virus can cause a fever, as well as maintaining lots of rest. If your dog is especially unwell then your vet may want to prescribe medication to help fight the virus.

How to prevent the spread of dog flu

Dog flu is very contagious, and can be spread from dog to dog through shared bowls, toys, and even the same air. Because of how contagious the virus is, outbreaks usually occur in places where lots of dogs are in close proximity to each other such as kennels and dog parks.

Despite its highly contagious nature, CIV does not live long in its environment so isolation is key to stopping the virus in its tracks. To prevent the spread of the virus, you need to minimise any exposure with it.  You can do this by contacting your local vet to find out if there are any outbreaks in the local area and avoid as appropriate.

These has been a small insight into canine influenza. If you are worried that your dog may have contracted canine influenza, or for more information about any other canine ailments, we recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified vet.

dog winter clothes

Doggy Winter Survival Guide

Dogs love the winter time, for many it means extra cuddles in front of a warm fire with their owner!  However, the colder weather presents a few problems for keeping our furry friends safe and entertained during the colder months.  Here are a few tips for ensuring your family pet stays happy this winter.

Keep Your Dogs Safe

  • Winter walks are fun but the hair around your dogs feet can become clumped with snow.  This is very painful for dogs as the snow forms ice balls which digs into the pads of their feet when they walk.  Trimming hair around your doggy’s toes helps prevent these ice balls from forming.
  • Reflective clothing can be very helpful when heavy snow starts to fall, especially for smaller dogs. The jacket ensures that you can see your canine, especially when they are playing in deep snow.
  • Stay away from lakes or ponds, especially when they freeze over. You can never tell how thick the ice is and curious dogs may fall through. On top of the danger of your dog taking a dip, there is also the danger of you falling in when you go to try and help them.
  • Winter time means Christmas time, which means lots of opportunity for over indulgence on food. Dogs also love a tasty treat, even if they don’t know the occasion. Try to avoid feeding your dog human food, as this can give them an upset stomach. Be especially careful that your dog doesn’t try to sneak a turkey bone as they can splinter and cause your dog to choke. For more foods to stay away from, see our Canine Christmas Dangers.
  • Anti-freeze is very very poisonous to dogs (and cats) as it contains ethylene glycol, which tastes very sweet and causes acute kidney failure when ingested by canines. Make sure that you wipe your dogs paws if they are near an area where it was just used. Try to use anti-freeze that contains propylene glycol, as it is safer if accidentally ingested than ethylene glycol.  If you suspect your dog has ingested anti-freeze and is displaying signs of vomiting, sleepy/depressed behaviour, appearing drunk, seizures and fits or difficulty breathing, you should immediately seek the help of a vet.
  • Rock salt is abundantly used in winter to de-ice roads for motorists. Unfortunately your pets are likely to accidentally pick it up on their paws when they go outside after it has been used. Rock salt it actually poisonous to cats and dogs when ingested (usually by them licking the rock salt off their paws) as it causes high blood sodium levels in pets.  This can lead to increased thirst, vomiting and lethargy (sleepiness) and in extreme cases convulsions and kidney damage. For more information, have a look at the RSPCA’s rock salt information brochure.

Keep Your Pets Warm

  • Dogs obviously have a natural protection against the elements, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get cold. Make sure to not leave your dog outside unattended as they can develop frostbite or hypothermia. This is especially important if your dog spends most of its time indoors. If you believe your dog is showing symptoms of hypothermia (muscle stiffness, lack of mental alertness, shivering, weakness, and shallow breathing) you must contact your vet as soon as possible, as left untreated it can cause a coma, or even be fatal.
  • Maybe think about opting for some doggy fashion this winter to keep your dog warm. A doggy coat is great for short hair dogs whose natural defenses against the cold are not as strong as long haired dogs. You can also buy doggy boots which help keep irritable ice, salt, and grit off your canine’s delicate paws.

Keep Your Pets Entertained

  • Whilst it’s tempting to snuggle up with your furry friend when it gets cold outside, they still need exercise! Don’t forget to stick to your walking schedule, even when the temperature is low.
  • If you really don’t like the idea of battling Jack Frost with your canine companion, it’s important to keep them entertained so they don’t go stir crazy inside and start chewing up your furniture. Have some alternatives to outdoor exercise ready.  Play hide and seek with favourite toys (or members of the family).  Stimulate their nose by getting them to seek scents by hiding treats around the house or a specially made indoor obstacle courses.  Or sign them up for a local indoor class where they can socialise with other dogs, top up their training or learn a new skill.

We here at DogFence know that your pet is part of the family and deserves the same amount of safety and comfort as you. These have been some tips to make sure that your pet has as much fun as possible this winter!

Puppy Unaware of Canine Christmas Dangers

Canine Christmas Dangers

Christmas time is just around the corner and should be enjoyed by every member of the family. Dogs technically don’t know what Christmas is but they do know that everyone is excited and there are many new shiny objects that they have never seen before, some of which could cause them harm. Here’s our guide to some of the main Christmas dangers to your dog so you can keep them safe this year.

Christmas Food

We all do it, sneaking the dog some turkey under the table. It’s a special time of the year and everyone deserves a treat. Unfortunately there is a long list of Christmas foods that are actually poisonous to dogs.  These include: chocolate, onions, nuts, blue cheese, and all forms of grapes (including the raisins and sultanas found in Christmas pudding).

It is also well documented that dogs love to chew on bones. What is not so well documented is that bones become brittle and are more likely to splinter after they have been cooked. This can lead to small fragments being swallowed which can lead to choking. Swallowing the shards can also cause digestive problems later on in the day. Not exactly the present that you were hoping for this Christmas. It should also be noted that poultry/bird bones are hollow and splinter very easily so should never be given to a dog.

Decorations

Christmas decorations are great to look at. Unfortunately they look as good to dogs as they do to us – albeit in less colour! The problem is that dogs cannot differentiate between a bauble and a tennis ball, if it’s round and it rolls then it’s probably going to be chased.

Baubles aren’t really toxic to dogs, but unfortunately they are likely to shatter which means shards of plastic or glass can get stuck in paws or in digestive tracts.

Tinsel is another Christmas favourite, and again another concern for your four legged pal.  Whilst not very toxic, tinsel is long and slinky which means it is easy to chow down on. The main trouble with tinsel is that it can cause a blockage in the digestive tract. The worst case scenario would be if it started to work its way through the body whilst some of it is still in the stomach! This would be a real cause for concern and require an immediate trip to the vet.

Christmas Tree Chocolates

Chocolate tree decorations are fantastic for that Christmas day treat. Unfortunately chocolate is very poisonous to dogs. The trouble is that chocolate can fall off the tree without you noticing, which means it is fair game for any four-legged friends. Chocolate wrappers can also have a bad effect on a dog as it passes through their gut. We strongly suggest taking steps to try and make it as difficult for dogs to reach and eat these treats as possible.

Electrical Goods

Christmas presents normally go hand in hand with electrical goods.  Whilst the idea of watching TV probably doesn’t appeal to your canine friend, having something to chew on probably does. Electrical wires are a prime example, especially if they have not been moved well away from doggy accessible places. Your family pet is going to be in for a shock if they manage to chew all the way through the wire.

The same could be said for batteries which are probably going to be in abundance with all the new gadgets and gizmos that Santa brought the family this year. When pierced or ingested, the acid inside can cause severe chemical burns or heavy metal poisoning.

Holly, Mistletoe and Poinsettia

You know you’re in the festive season when you see Holly, Mistletoe and Poinsettia decorating peoples homes. Like most other things in your house, your dog probably looks at these plants and see’s a snack.

Many people think that Poinsettia is an extremely deadly plant for pets and children, though this is rarely the case. The plants brightly coloured leaves contain a sap which is highly irritating to skin, and will cause abdominal pain when ingested. Other symptoms include: excessive drooling, nausea, and vomiting. If your precious pooch decides to take a bite, it is likely to be too irritated by the plants sap to continue eating. However, you should still take care when displaying this plant if you have a dog in the house.

Holly and Mistletoe are generally more toxic than Poinsettia. Both are known to cause intestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Mistletoe contains toxic substances that can do real damage when ingested in large quantities, these symptoms include: massive drop in blood pressure, breathing problems, seizures, and deadly in some very severe cases. We seriously suggest keeping these plants well away from anywhere that you family dog can reach them.

Whilst the above are some very important Christmas doggy dangers to look out for, by staying vigilant and keeping an eye on your pet, you can ensure that everyone in the family has a perfect Christmas this year.

Please note that DogFence does not accept any liability for the content of this page and is only intended as a guide. If you are worried about your pets health, or wish to know more about Christmas dangers to you pet, please contact your local veterinary practice.