Posted: 05/12/2022
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It’s no fun dealing with constipation. The gas, bloat and cramping makes life frustrating and uncomfortable. Dogs suffer with constipation from time to time, and they also deal with the accompanying physical discomfort. In this article we’ll discuss what causes constipation in dogs, what signs to look for, and remedies that can bring your best friend much-needed relief. What is Constipation in Dogs? Dog constipation refers to your dog’s inability to produce normal stool on a regular schedule. Healthy dogs typically “poo” once or twice a day. Dogs who suffer from constipation will not go at all, strain to go, or produce rock-hard tiny stools. While it is quite common for a dog to experience constipation every once in a while, some dogs have chronic constipation in which they retain hard, dry stools in their digestive tract. This condition is known as obstipation. With obstipation there is so much fecal matter trapped in your dog’s tract that it becomes compacted and they cannot defecate at all. If you think your dog is experiencing obstipation and you have not seen them “go” in more than 3 days, please take them to your vet. Signs of Dog Constipation It should be pretty apparent when a dog is dealing with constipation. The most common signs are: ·         They haven’t defecated for 2 – 3 days ·         When they do go, their dog poop is dry and hard ·         They strain when they go, meaning they may be in the squat position for quite some time before anything happens. ·         They may also produce small amounts of liquid fecal matter with trace amounts of blood in it. What Causes Constipation in Dogs? Your dog’s digestive system works similarly to your own. When your dog eats food, it passes through the stomach and intestines and eventually lands in the colon. Once here, the colon’s job is to remove electrolytes and water from the fecal matter. In fact, water reabsorption is the colon’s primary function. For the fecal matter to be moved out of the colon, what are called “peristaltic waves” must occur. Should this process becomes impaired or slowed, the fecal mass will remain in the colon where it will continue to lose moisture, eventually becoming dry, hard and impossible to move any further. The following are some of the most common causes of constipation in dogs: Diet Like humans, when a dog's fiber intake is low they may experience constipation from time to time. Also like humans, dogs that drink very little water or have an electrolyte imbalance may also become constipated. And finally, unlike humans, dogs often eat things they shouldn’t, like toys and kitty litter, and these things may cause blockages. Age Senior dogs tend to have more issues with bowel movements than younger dogs. This may be because with age, a dog’s entire metabolism and digestion slows. Activity Level Although the science isn’t entirely clear, there seems to be a correlation between activity level and defecation. Those dogs who get regular exercise may have fewer constipation issues than those dogs who are quite sedentary. Disease Cancers and tumors that grow in the digestive tract or pelvic region can block passage of fecal matter. Dogs that have impacted anal glands or prostate enlargement may also experience constipation. Prescription Medications Like people, dogs can experience constipation due to common prescription drugs like opiates, diuretics, antihistamines, some antacids, and certain cancer drugs. Stress or Anxiety Some dogs experience a higher degree of stress than others. When these dogs are exposed to something in their environment that upsets them, they might hold it. Orthopedic Disorders  Hip dysplasia and other orthopedic conditions can make it painful and difficult for your dog to squat. Surgery Often the drugs administered during a surgical procedure may result in constipation. How to Treat Constipation in Dogs If your dog has only been constipated for a day or two, there are some effective home remedies you can try: Add Pumpkin to Your Dog's Food This is often the go-to solution for many dog owners. Pumpkin has a high fiber and moisture content. Plus dogs absolutely LOVE the taste. Simply mix unsweetened canned pumpkin pie filling into their food. There are also numerous recipes online for delicious pumpkin treats to help keep your dog regular. Change Your Dog's Diet to Wet Food Some dogs simply don’t drink much water. When these dogs are fed a dry-food-only diet, they can easily become backed up. Canned food is a great way to ensure your dog is getting enough water into their diet. You can either mix some canned food into their dry food, or switch to a canned food diet altogether. Speak to your veterinarian to see what they recommend. While we’re on the subject of water, be sure your dog always has access to fresh, cool water each day. Some dogs may drink more if they are given a water fountain instead of a water bowl. Daily Exercise You may have noticed you have an easier time going when you have had some exercise. The same is true for your pup. Be sure to take them on regular walks to help keep them regular. When To Take a Constipated Dog to the Vet If your dog has not been able to go for more than 3 days, it’s important to bring them in to your vet immediately who may want to do an X-ray to see if they have swallowed something that is causing a blockage. In addition, if your dog suffers from chronic constipation, this could be a sign of an underlying disease that warrants a trip to the vet. Be sure to bring information with you to the visit. For instance, the vet will want to know: The last time your pup produced a normal bowel movement Stool color and consistency Changes in their diet or routine Non-food items they may have eaten (bones or kitty litter) Straining Injuries Any vomiting, lethargy, or a bloated appearance Relief for Your Pup and Your Wallet Whether your dog’s constipation is easy to resolve or is an indicator of an underlying disease, you want to ensure you can get them the treatment they need. And the last thing you need is to feel apprehensive about treatment costs when your fur baby is not feeling well. A pet insurance plan ensures you can always give your best friend the care thy need but without breaking your bank. Did you know that some pet health insurance plans can provide reimbursements for up to 90% of the vet bill? Pet Insurance Review was started by pet lovers to help other pet lovers in times of need. We bring you the most comprehensive pet insurance plans so you can always afford to get your dog the help they need. Get a free quote today. References: Malcolm Weir, DVM, MSc, MPH; Ernest Ward, DVM. What is Constipation in Dogs? Retrieved from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/constipation-in-dogs Retrieved from: The Colon: What it is, What it Does and Why it is Important https://fascrs.org/patients/diseases-and-conditions/a-z/the-colon-what-it-is,-what-it-does Retrieved from: https://www.vetinfo.com/canine-constipation-after-surgery.html    

Posted: 05/12/2022
Category:

Anxiety is not only something humans suffer with, man’s best friend can also experience anxiety. And, like people, dog anxiety is typically never fully cured, but can be managed quite well with the right information and treatment plan. If you have a dog with anxiety, you’ll definitely want to read this entire article to learn where a dog's anxiety comes from and what you can do to help. What Causes Anxiety in Dogs? To understand what causes anxiety in dogs, we’ve got to break dog anxiety into two different categories: behavioral anxiety and situational anxiety. Behavioral Anxiety Behavioral anxiety describes anxiety that is chronic or ongoing. Separation anxiety is an example of behavioral anxiety. It is believed that roughly 14% of dogs suffer from separation anxiety. Separation anxiety, along with other behavioral anxieties, are typically the result of abuse and/or abandonment in the dog’s history. With separation anxiety, a dog is fearful of being left home alone or being separated from their owner in any way. These dogs are so anxious that as soon as you pick up your keys to leave they begin to show signs of stress. Other causes of behavioral anxiety include: Past trauma A new home Loss of a loved one Situational Anxiety Situational anxiety happens when a dog has a specific fear of something. For instance, some dogs are afraid of car rides while others are afraid of thunderstorms or fireworks. Anxiety tends to worsen as a dog ages and begins to experience cognitive dysfunction and other memory impairments. Signs Of Anxiety In Dogs Some dogs have very obvious signs of stress and anxiety, while other dogs are less obvious. If you think your dog may be suffering with anxiety it’s important to pay close attention to see if you notice any of the following: Chewing or destructive behavior Barking or crying Repetitive or compulsive behaviors Restlessness, pacing Excessive licking Aggression Loss of appetite, refusal to eat Trembling or shaking Excessive panting 5 Ways to Calm Your Anxious Dog There is no one-size-fits-all approach to alleviating a dog's anxiety. The best thing to do is speak with your vet to see what treatment options they think are best. Some dog anxiety is so severe, medication may be warranted. Your vet may also suggest you take your pup to a board certified veterinary behaviorist. There are also natural treatments for anxiety in dogs. Here are 5 ways pet owners can calm their anxious dog:  1. Exercise All dogs need daily exercise. Some dogs need a little, but many dogs need quite a bit of it. Think about when you are feeling stressed or anxious. You have this pent up, nervous energy that makes you feel worse. The same happens with dogs. A daily walk or two can do wonders at helping dogs release this anxious energy so they can remain calm. 2. Massage When people are tense we typically head to the spa so we can receive a nice, relaxing massage. Well massage also works wonders on your canine pal as well because massage helps your dog release tension and relieve stress. But you don’t have to take your dog to a fancy doggie spa, you can give daily massages to your pup. The great thing is, giving your dog a massage is incredibly calming for you as well. In fact, studies have shown petting a dog can decrease blood pressure. That’s a win/win! 3. Music Therapy Music therapy has been shown to not only be beneficial to humans, but to also treat anxiety in our four-legged companions as well. Music can be incredibly calming to your anxious dog, especially when you are out of the house or in the car. As an added bonus, music can block other loud noises, such as traffic noise, that may cause your dog stress. You may be wondering what kind of music will calm your dog. Well, research has found that a majority of dogs prefer classical music. It may not be your cup of tea, but it may be the very thing that helps your dog while you’re away, in the car, or while there is a thunderstorm going on. 4. Adaptil Home Diffuser Adaptil is like aromatherapy for your dog. This product uses pheromones that help calm your dog. Fun fact: nursing mothers’ bodies produce similar pheromones when they are nursing their new puppies to help calm them. Adaptil comes in a spray or a handy diffuser that you simply plug into an outlet, much like a nightlight. The diffuser will release the pheromones throughout the day. While humans and cats can’t smell Adaptil, your dog will be calmed by the scent. these pheromones can even help calm dogs with severe anxiety. 5. Calming T-Shirts You’ve probably seen calming t-shirts for dog with anxiety disorder advertised. These shirt apply a slight, constant pressure to your dog’s torso. It’s a similar idea to swaddling a baby. These shirts can really help dogs who suffer from all types of anxiety. Just be sure to measure your dog and follow directions so you can choose the right size for your dog. Living with anxiety is awful, for both people and dogs. Help your dog by paying close attention to their behavior to spot any signs of anxiety. This is particularly true if you have rescued a dog that has trauma or abuse in their history. If you work with your vet and try some of these treatment options, you can help your furry friend live a happy and calm life! Are Vet Bills Giving You Anxiety? You want to do right by your pup and give them the absolute best care to help them get relief from their anxiety. But let’s be honest, often humans feel major anxiety when we are hit with a big vet bill! A pet insurance plan can help you give your dog the care they need to feel better while also helping you feel calmer when it comes time to paying the bill. Did you know there were some pet insurance plans that will actually reimburse you for up to 90% of the bill? Pet Insurance Review has a mission to help pet owners ensure their pet gets the quality care they need. We bring you the top pet health insurance policies on the market so you can easily afford to give your fur baby the best treatment. Get a free quote today. References: Retrieved from: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/common-dog-behavior-issues/separation-anxiety Vormbrock JK, Grossberg JM. Cardiovascular effects of human-pet dog interactions. J Behav Med. 1988 Oct;11(5):509-17. doi: 10.1007/BF00844843. PMID: 3236382. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3236382/ Lindig, A. M., McGreevy, P. D., & Crean, A. J. (2020). Musical Dogs: A Review of the Influence of Auditory Enrichment on Canine Health and Behavior. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 10(1), 127. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010127 Laboratory of Animal Behavior, Physiology and Welfare, Retrieved from: https://www.depts.ttu.edu/animalwelfare/Research/Pheromones/dog.php