What are the biggest health risks to your dog?

At PetSafe® Brand, we know dogs really are a man’s best friend! Our furbabies are a huge part of our lives and we hope that they’ll be happy and healthy their whole lives. And watching out for some ‘tell-tail’ signs in your pet’s health means you can keep them at their best. We take a look at the biggest health risks below…

Diabetes

A golden retriever dog lying in bed feeling cold

It’s estimated that 1 out of every 100 dogs will develop diabetes, and is most likely to occur between the ages of 4 and 14. And, unspayed female dogs are twice as likely as male dogs to suffer from diabetes.

Symptoms:

  • Drinks more water than usual
  • Urinates more often, produces more urine per day, or has accidents in the house
  • Always acts hungry but maintains or loses weight
  • Has cloudy eyes

You can find out more about pet diabetes in our earlier blog post and find out the likelihood of your dog developing diabetes.

Obesity

A pug dog lying down looking up

Estimates show that up to 1 in 3 dogs are overweight in the UK, simply through eating too much or exercising too little. The PDSA found that there were two main causes of pet obesity; overfeeding in general and feeding pets treats such as cheese, chips, and crisps throughout the day.

Effects of obesity:

  • arthritis
  • urinary tract problems
  • low thyroid hormone production
  • liver disease
  • torn knee ligaments

For tips on how to get on the move with your canine companion, you can read our blog post ‘don’t just take your dog for a walk, take him for a run’.

Arthritis

Border Collie Australian shepherd dog on brown leather couch under blanket looking sad

Arthritis is, unfortunately, very common in our furry friends with 1 in 5 dogs affected by it in their lifetime. It’s a lot more common in older dogs as their bones become degenerative and eventually affect their movement.

Signs to look out for:

  • Slow to get up
  • Hesitant climbing steps, jumping up, running etc.
  • Less active and playful
  • Lying down and sleeping more

It might not be possible to treat arthritis but there are steps you can take to make it easier on your pet. A balanced and nutritious diet and regular walks will help keep your pooch at their best.

In an earlier blog post, we asked a vet ‘What health advice would you give to pet owners…?’ Read the full interview here.

Cancer

Yellow lab enjoying the fall air in the back yard

Sadly, 1 in 3 dogs will develop cancer, and the three most common areas affected are the skin, the digestive system and the breast. Although it is a horrible thought to face, being informed what to look out for in your pup will help you identify the next steps with the help of a vet.

Symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Limping
  • Recurrent digestive problems

For help and support if your dog has cancer, you can find more information here at Blue Cross: Coping with Cancer in Dogs.

Enjoying time with your dog is important not just to keep your eye on their physical condition but also to connect with them, and deepen the bond that can only truly come from man’s best friend.

Do you have any stories to share with us? Let us know in the comments below.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Dogs, Pet Health

Why having a pet can be good for your mental health

An American writer, Julie Barton, in 2015 published Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me from Myself. The book, which was widely praised by critics and became a best-seller, reveals how adopting a Golden Retriever puppy called Bunker helped the author to recover from severe depression. The San Francisco Book Review called it “heartwarming proof of the ability of pets to alter our lives for the better”.

Barton’s memoir is the latest book to celebrate the positive impact of living with a dog. She’s not the first writer to tackle this subject, but she seems to have articulated the simple comforts of the relationship with her pet in a way that particularly connected with readers.

The book describes the healing quality of Bunker’s unconditional acceptance and explains how her love for him had a calming effect by providing a new outlet for her thoughts.

Pets and Mental Health

happy golden labrador dog in the grass

Many pet owners – not just dog lovers – can testify to the uplifting qualities of having an animal in the home. Of course, no one would suggest that simply owning a dog is a guaranteed ‘cure’ for depression or any other mental health problems. Caring for a pet is a very personal experience and benefits different people in different ways.

Having said that, the recent publicity around the book Dog Medicine has accompanied greater general awareness of mental health issues and growing momentum behind campaigns to reform services in this area, particularly in the UK. Prime Minister, Theresa May, has announced plans to improve support for young people and adults suffering from mental health issues in the workplace.

The government estimates that 1 in 4 people experience a mental health disorder at some point in their life. Barton’s book and the accounts of other pet owners suggests that for some of these people, finding a path through this painful experience could be easier with a faithful animal companion at their side.

Emotional Support

white longhaired cat being held by the owner in the kitchen

Research does support the link between pets and mental health. A 2011 study published by the American Psychological Association concluded that pets were important sources of emotional support for “everyday people”, in other words not people facing significant health challenges.

Researchers observed that pet owners tended to have greater self-esteem and were less lonely, fearful and preoccupied than people who did not have animals. “Pets benefit the lives of their owners, both psychologically and physically,” the study concluded.

What do you think; do you agree that owning a pet has a positive effect in this way? And what other books about dogs or other pets would you recommend?
Let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Dogs

Diary of Dexter: Introducing Dexter the Cocker Spaniel

On Thursday 10th November 2016, Cocker Spaniels Molly and Ted welcomed their first litter of six beautiful puppies!

Molly and Ted the Cocker Spaniels

Molly                                                                             Ted

In the litter of six there are three boys and three girls and as you can see, mum looked extremely proud of her new brood! Read about the birth here.

Molly with her new-born puppies

The first weeks…

For the first two weeks after birth, puppies rely on their sense of touch and smell which are present as soon as they are born. Their mother is their main influencer and their movement is limited, they’re taking lots of ‘power naps’ which is essential to their development – being this cute is tiring work!

Dexter and brothers and sisters

Dexter and his brothers and sisters                                   Dexter

The variety of colouring in a Cocker Spaniel can depend not just on their parents’ dominant colouring but also their recessive gene. In the case of Molly’s pups, all six were born with a majority liver (chocolate) colouring with a golden nose. Only Dexter, whose fur colouring included any white touches, seen here on his forehead and around the nose.

Dexter the Cocker Spaniel cuddling with his siblings

Dexter’s distinctive colouring

Growing up quickly…

From two weeks to a month old, puppies gain their sight and begin to develop teeth as well as their hearing and smell senses. Dexter is influenced heavily by his mother still and the rest of the litter – it is at this phase that a well socialised parent pup will affect how the puppies react to human interaction. From three weeks, they should begin to be socialised by meeting other pets in the home and some human interaction.

Cocker Spaniel puppies playing together

      Dexter’s brothers playing

Each month we’ll be catching up with Dexter and how he’s settling into his new home with two older dogs and how he progresses through life’s big firsts.

Next in the Diary of Dexter… ‘Dexter joins the family’.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Dogs