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From Allergies to Hot Spots, Ensure You Address Skin Problems in Dogs
How to Help Calm Your Dog When Separation Anxiety Takes Hold
Thinking of Giving a Pet as a Gift? Make Sure to Do Your Homework

From Allergies to Hot Spots, Ensure You Address Skin Problems in Dogs

There are various skin conditions found in dogs, which is why many dogs end up at the veterinarian, according to the PetMD article “5 Common Dog Skin Problems,” by Jessica Vogelsang, DVM.

According to the article, here are five common skin problems:

1. Itchy Skin. This is “officially referred to as pruritus,” which is common in dogs and is “the primary complaint associated with up to 40% of all vet visits for a skin problem.” Itching is miserable for dogs who continuously scratch, which can then cause “secondary skin lesions, infections, and hair loss from the trauma of teeth and nails on their skin.”
2. Allergies. When dogs itch, it can be due to allergies, which can be caused by the environment, food and fleas:
• An environmental allergy, also called atopy, is when allergens are either inhaled (pollen or mite dander) or absorbed through the skin (through grass). Dogs may need shots or medication.
• For dogs allergic to fleas, “One bite can be enough to trigger a systemic bout of chewing and scratching,” the article said. But once under control, so will the itching.
• Food allergies can be “triggered by a hypersensitivity reaction to a protein that the body misidentifies as a threat,” the article said. Make sure you see your vet to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment.
3. Sores and Hot Spots. Other causes of itchiness are mites and fleas and primary bacterial infections, the article said. “Hot spots, or moist dermatitis, are often seen in the dog and can spread very quickly.” Contact your vet if you see red, sticky sores.
4. Hair Loss. Caused by various issues, “from parasites such as Demodex mites to thyroid disease to Cushing’s disease,” so make sure you bring your dog to the vet for diagnosis.
5. Dull Coats. For dogs with a dull coat or dry skin, oftentimes nutritional management can be helpful along with supplements.
To ensure you receive the correct diagnosis and treatment for any skin problem, make sure to consult your veterinarian.

How to Help Calm Your Dog When Separation Anxiety Takes Hold

Do you have a dog who freaks out when you leave the house? Do you find your house destroyed when you return? Does your dog howl when placed in a crate? Or does she incessantly follow you around the house? When dogs show signs of separation anxiety they “exhibit distress and behavior problems when they’re left alone,” according to “Does Your Dog Freak Out When You Leave?” an article by The Humane Society of the United States.

Other signs are digging, chewing, barking and whining and going potty in the house.

According to the article, there is no real understanding of why some dogs suffer from the anxiety, but “dog’s behaviors are part of a panic response,” and they want you home with them.

The article points to the following triggers:
• When dogs are left alone for the first time, especially when they are constantly around humans.
• Traumatic time spent at shelter or boarding.
• Change in home routine.

For minor separation anxiety, the HSUS article recommends:
• To “ignore your dog for the first few minutes then calmly pet them” when you leave or return home.
• Leave them home with a piece of clothing that has your smell.
• Use an over-the-counter calming product.
• Use a word or action to indicate that you will return.

For more severe issues, use the above “along with desensitization training.” For those times you are away, establish a “safe place” for your dog where they cannot be destructive. This should be a place where your dog has room to play with toys but where the dog is confined loosely, the article said.

While you are teaching your dog to be calm, in the meantime you can send your dog to doggie daycare or to a friend. You can ask your vet for medication that can help with anxiety.

Whatever you do, do not punish your dog, get another dog or crate your dog. You can also speak with a behaviorist to get more input.

Thinking of Giving a Pet as a Gift? Make Sure to Do Your Homework

We seem to hear it time and again: It’s a bad idea to give a pet as a gift. This sentiment is heard often during the holiday season when many people are thinking of giving a puppy, kitten or bunny as a gift. Surely giving a pet as a gift to an unsuspecting person is not a good idea. When someone is not prepared for a new furry family member, although the initial response is excitement over the adorable pet, sometimes things turn out bad.

The most important aspect to keep in mind in the end is the animal’s welfare.

In a survey done by the ASPCA to find out about people receiving pets as gifts, “96% of the people who received pets as gifts thought it either increased or had no impact on their love or attachment to that pet,” according to the ASPCA’s “Position Statement on Pets as Gifts.” Accordingly, the survey also noted that there is “no difference in attachment based on the gift being a surprise or known in advance. Several studies conducted in the 1990’s and 2000 (Patronek, 1996, Scarlett, 1999 New, 1999, New 2000) found that pets acquired as gifts are less likely to be relinquished than pets acquired by the individual.”

The ASPCA does recommend that people only give pets to those who have made it clear that they would like to have one and that they are able to care for a pet in a responsible manner. “We also recommend that pets be obtained from animal shelters, rescue organizations, friends, family or responsible breeders—not from places where the source of the animal is unknown or untrusted,” the ASPCA article said.

Whatever you do, make sure the pet’s welfare is at the top of the list. Do your homework as you want to ensure the pet and the recipient will have a long life together.

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