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A hernia is caused by tears or bulges in the body that allow tissues or organs to pass or protrude through. Hernias can be genetic or the result of an injury. There are different types of hernias, and they can occur in different areas of the body.

Some hernias can be detected through X-rays and others may appear only through symptoms such as eating problems, respiratory trouble or excessive salivation. Hernias do have the potential to be life-threatening, so take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you notice either an unusual bulge or symptoms of illness.

How Do I Know If It’s a Hernia?

There are several symptoms to look for if your dog has a hernia. Any unusual symptoms outside of normal behavior should be cause for concern, but these symptoms are attributed to hernias:

Types of Hernias

  1. Umbilical: An umbilical hernia is usually inherited through genetics and is not caused by cutting the umbilical cord too close. This hernia appears as a swelling or bulge near or under the belly button that may adjust as the dog eats. These hernias are not considered serious and usually close on their own. Large ones may grab or encapsulate other organs or intestines and restrict blood flow as it closes. The loss of blood flow can be life-threatening, so always have the hernia examined by a veterinarian.
  2. Inguinal: These hernias appear in the groin area and are most commonly seen in females that are pregnant, bloated or constipated. Males can be affected by this type of hernia, but this is uncommon. Recurrence on the opposite (healthy) groin is possible, so both sides should be checked by your vet.
  3. Perineal: These hernias appear around the anus and are usually caused by hereditary muscle weakness or muscles that weakened from other causes. This type of hernia typically affects older males more than females. A hernia can appear on one or both sides of the anus. The anal glands are commonly removed when the hernia is being treated surgically since they are usually the cause of the hernia. Perineal hernias are more common in small or toy dogs.
  4. Diaphragmatic: Most of these hernias appear after car accidents but can be the result of genetics. These are the most difficult to treat because of the locations of nearby internal organs. The hernia is caused by a tear where the diaphragm meets the rib cage. This can put pressure on internal organs and cause difficulty with breathing.

Treatment

Treatment for all hernias in dogs is surgery unless it is an umbilical hernia that closes and resolves itself. Hernias are most commonly mistaken for tumors, but do not try to diagnose your dog yourself; what may appear to be a small and harmless hernia to you might be one that is pressing on other organs that you can’t see or cutting off blood supply to other parts of the body.

Let your veterinarian make the determination and decide the time and type of treatment needed; it just might save your pet’s life.

Other Considerations

Hernias can be passed down through generations, and affected dogs are usually not recommended for breeding. If you want to breed for pets and not for show animals, be prepared to have the offspring examined and treated for hernias if they exist in the parents.

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This guest post was written by Kristine Lacoste, a writer and editor with PetsAdviser.com, a pet advice site.

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by guest blogger Susan Wright

Big dog

All our dogs start out as adorable – and tiny – puppies, but knowing how big he will be as a fully-grown adult canine is important. His size will affect everything from the dog food bills to your dwelling. Let’s face it, some dogs are just too big for an apartment lifestyle.

Look to the Parents

The easiest way to estimate a puppy’s future adult size is to look at the parents. Regardless of whether you are adopting a purebred or mutt, the parents’ height and weight are very revealing about their puppies’ future stature. The sex of the dog plays a factor, too. Male puppies will likely be larger and take after their daddy in size, and the females will take after their mommy.

Paw Prints

If you are eyeing an entire litter and trying to pick out future weight and height, take the paw and head size into consideration. Those puppies in the litter with the larger paws and head size will be on the higher end of the size range for the breed.

Determining the adult size of mixed breeds can be difficult. In addition, the more complex the mix, or an absence of parents can make the estimate that much harder, but asking Fido for a quick paw shake can be very telling. One day Fido will grow into those oversized, clumsy, cute puppy paws, and it will make for a big dog!

Loose Skin

Just like a puppy will grow into his paws, he will also grow into his skin. The more loose skin that you see on a dog, the greater room he has to grow into that skin, and the larger he is likely to become as an adult.

Calculating the Growth

Puppies are usually not ready to leave their mother until they are eight to 10 weeks old. At two and a half months old (10 weeks), a puppy is roughly 25 percent of his fully-grown adult weight. At four months old he is roughly 50 percent of his adult weight, and at six months old he is roughly 75 percent of his adult weight.

A dog’s height is measured from the floor to the top of his shoulder. When your puppy turns six months old, he will be approximately 75 percent of his adult height. While these weight and height calculations are only estimates, you may be able to see if you are in the ballpark of choosing a puppy that will grow into the dog of your dreams.

Rather than depending on any one category above, try taking all of the factors into consideration. If you still feel extremely unsure about your puppy’s adult size, ask an expert. Veterinarians see tons of puppies each year and they can give you a better indication of how big a dog will grow. They may even be able to offer some insight into the dog breed. Moreover, a vet is an excellent source for your numerous questions as a new puppy owner.

Susan Wright provides care for family pets as a veterinarian, is a writer and dog owner that prefers to keep her dogs safe with wireless dog fences.

Photo courtesy: http://www.sunnydayphotos.com

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by guest blogger Percy Jackson

The Doberman Pinscher has built up a reputation as a powerful guard dog, but can it make a good family pet?

The answer to this, as with most breeds, is yes it can, in the right circumstances. Over the years, careful breeding using more placid specimens has resulted in a better temperament in the dogs which makes them more suitable for a family than ever before. We would of course suggest a family with older children as even the most placid Doberman is still a big, powerful dog which must be respected.

A Doberman brought into the family as a puppy is a much better option for a family pet than an older animal as it is unlikely to have developed any behavioural problems that could cause issues with children.

Do I need to be an experienced dog owner to keep one?

It is recommended that a Doberman be housed with an experienced owner who knows how to train big dogs; it must know who is in charge and where its place within the household is. A Doberman who thinks it is in charge will no doubt be trouble, and that’s a lot of dog to deal with!

A lot of exercise is essential to both keep the Doberman in good physical shape, and also to ensure it uses up all its built up energy every day.

The Doberman is a protector dog who is much more likely to be wary and aggressive towards a stranger than towards its owners. The same applies to other dogs it does not know where it can act in such as way as to protect its owner from the unknown dog. In both cases a strong sense of command from the owner is essential to reassure the dog that there is no threat to its owners and that it does not need to react to them.

The origins of the breed

The Doberman originated in Germany in the late nineteenth century. Developed by Friedrich Ludwig Doberman it was bred to be a tracking dog and was also used by the police as guard dogs. They have a fine, short coat with a glossy finish usually black in colour with a tan chest, legs and muzzle.

The average Doberman can stand 28inches tall, and weigh between 75-100lb. They require a good balance of protein, carbohydrate, fats and nutrients in their diet. A Doberman is a big dog and so it will require a lot of good quality food to keep it in shape. There are specific foods for large dogs and you should be looking to feed your Doberman one of these to ensure it gets everything it needs for a long and healthy life.

This article was written by Percy Jackson, a long time dog owner and pet care expert with many years in the industry. He believes that dogs make fantastic additions to the family and writes about dog care and pet care in general at Percy’s Pets.

If you have any questions then Percy is happy to try and answer them for you and will put his answers on his site so that other pet owners may benefit from them.

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by guest blogger Kate Lee

Some of us love our dogs as if they were our offspring, and it hurts to see them in pain. Fleas are not only an annoyance that keeps them constantly scratching, they can also prove to be a serious health problem for their human owners. Still, most commercial flea shampoos are filled with chemicals so if you need to de-flea your pet but would prefer to use natural methods, read on.

It’s Time for a Bath

Most natural soplutions are fantastic at protecting the animal, but if you’ve already got an infestation it can be toughter to deal with. You’ll need to select a day when you’ve got plenty of time, as this all needs to be done in one day. Bathe the animal in warm, soapy water, ensuring you gently massage the soap into the skin. Rinse well, and comb through with a fine-toothed flea comb to remove the eggs which may cling to the hair root.

Take all the pet’s bedding and wash with detergent, adding apple cider vinegar to the rinse cycle. Sweep the area thoroughly and dispose of the trash immediately.

Once the bedding is dry, replace it and sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the bedding and all around the area. This is a naturally-occurring substance that works well against all sorts of insects as it dehydrates the exoskeleton, killing it. It is perfectly safe for humans and pets.

A Little Perfume

Once you’ve gone to the effort of getting rid of the existing infestation, the last thing you want is to encounter a re-infestation. It’s important to protect your dog from future attacks, and contrary to popular opinion, the best way to do this is not to buy a flea collar, which only tends to protect the neck and head. Instead, your pet needs perfume.

Essential oils like tea tree, eucalyptus and lavender are effective against fleas and you only need a drop or two at the base of the tail and the neck. Although reactions to these oils are rare, massage in gently and be on the lookout for any irritation.

For full-body protection, steep half a cup of rosemary in a pint of boiling water for 20 minutes to create a spray. Remove the rosemary and once the liquid is cool, spray liberally over the animal’s coat, allowing it to air dry. If you don’t have rosemary, you can also cut a lemon into quarters and steep the pieces in boiling water, leaving it overnight. Make sure the dog air dries as the scent is what protects it.

Protection From the Inside

A healthy dog is able to better fight off fleas, so optimum health is the best protection against infestation. However, there are a few foods that will specifically help combat the problem. The first is apple cider vinegar, which gives the skin an acidity that is unpleasant to fleas. It can also be pretty unpleasant for the dog, too, so if your pet doesn’t like the taste you can create a spray with equal parts water and spray over the coat as per the above.

Garlic and brewer’s yeast are also used by many pet owners to target fleas. Adding a small amount to the dog’s food will assist in the fight against these bloodsuckers, but the recommended amount varies by the pet’s weight, so check with your veterinarian for the appropriate amounts.

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Kate Lee is a freelance writer who specializes in natural pest solutions. She loves dogs and uses her remedies on her own pet. In her spare time, she writes for Affordable Pest Lorton.

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