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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.

Attached Images:

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

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Australian Shepherds are very intelligent and very strong-willed dogs. My Aussie, Kaycee, likes to be the one to call the shots. She is very animated and, at times, argumentative! Since she was little she has never been very fond of the bathtub. So when she dropped her monkey into the bathtub, she became very anxious about how to get it out. I decided this was an opportunity to help her conquer her fear of the bathtub, and let her decide how to retrieve her toy with just a little encouragement and praise from me.

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by guest blogger Dr. Susan Wright, DMV

Puppy needs attention

We see it all so often that it almost seems natural, but no matter how often we see a dog chasing a car, we all still wonder what is going on in the dog’s brain to make him want to chase a car. While we know a dog’s mind is not as developed as a human brain — which is why it is so important to consistently train your dog with positive reinforcement — we ponder at what the panting dog, chasing after the car is doing or hoping to accomplish.

Fulfilling a Natural Desire

Well the act may seem natural because in fact it is natural. Dogs are connected in their long 

line of genealogy to wild dogs and even in some cases wolves. No matter how domesticated they are, these past connections give dogs inkling to have an enhanced prey drive. Simply put, dogs automatically are attracted to things that are moving away from them and they want to chase it. Be it a tennis ball, a rope toy, Frisbee, kids riding bikes, joggers or cars driving past, if the dog is free and able they will likely chase it/them.

Achieving an Adrenaline Rush

Today’s dogs are far enough removed that the chase is not about a kill in the end result, more of just a fun adrenaline rush for the dog to do his best to chase the object and even try to entice it/them in a game of chase. If you have been to a dog park or had a doggie play date lately, you know firsthand how excited dogs get when they are participating in an intense, friendly game of tag. They enjoy the chase, the catch and then want to play repeatedly. This act is all related back to their natural instinct of having a prey drive.

Training, Safety Precautions & Exercise

So the next time you see a dog chasing a car you can rest assured that, while the act is dangerous, it is natural for the dog. Responsible dog owners should do their best to work with dogs to change this behavior through training and the use of safety measures like installing an invisible fence around their property to help keep their dog safe and within the allowed roaming area. However, no amount of safety precautions should ever be enough to leave your dog roaming around outside without the owner monitoring their dog.
Unfortunately, there is always a chance that the first time a dog escapes it could be their last time, especially if the dog is a car chaser! Rather, owners should spend outdoor time with their dog together and even spark their natural need to chase by starting a game of chase with their four-legged best pal! Not only will the act help fulfill the dog’s natural tendency and need to chase, the time spent is great exercise for both the owner and the dog – a win-win as they spend quality time with one another, getting back to the basics of why they adopted a dog in the first place!

Dr. Susan Wright DMV is a seasoned veterinarian, a wireless dog fence expert. Dr. Wright and her staff provide informative information to dog owners on how to provide a safe dog environment.

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

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by guest blogger Claire Stanton

Animals truly have so many fantastic qualities that humans actually strive to emulate. This may also be the reason why most super heroes try to be or demonstrate animalistic qualities which make them powerful, strong, and unique. Take for instance Batman. He’s a billionaire vigilante whose character is based on a bat. There’s also Spider-Man, and we all know that he got his super powers from a genetically modified spider. There’s Catwoman, Batgirl, Hawkman, and a host of other heroes and super villains which are either named after animals or have animal-like characteristics.

Angelic face of white dog

In reality, animals really are pretty fierce. There are beasts that can easily uproot trees, while some travel miles without food and water. Other creatures can last underwater for hours, and some carry their own arsenal of potent poisons that can kill a healthy, strapping person in just seconds or minutes. One animal, which also has lots of awesome qualities, is the dog. Yes, our cuddly, loyal companions actually possess many outstanding inherent qualities that benefit humankind in so many ways.

1. Able to Detect Cancer

In cancer, early prevention is vital as this gives a victim a better chance of surviving the disease. Dogs, with their heightened smelling abilities, can actually smell organic substances that are linked to certain types of cancer, like lung cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer. Some canines can also identify people who have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), as well as type 1 diabetes. This is only the tip of the iceberg. With more intensive research, who knows what other cells or diseases dogs can smell and properly identify, right? Such characteristics greatly challenge the capability of supposedly high tech man-made gadgets.

2. Can Sense Epileptic Seizures

There are now so many dogs, regardless of breed or age, which are trained to sense human epileptic seizures. Such canines have the ability to sense oncoming epileptic seizures so that they will be able to warn their masters. By alerting their humans of impending seizures, people will be able to take safety precautions in order to reduce risks. These dogs are known as seizure alert dogs. There’s also a slightly different breed, which is the seizure response dog. Though this canine is not trained or capable of detecting a looming epileptic seizure, it can help its master during and after the epileptic episode.

3. Can Readily Identify Drugs and Bombs

Yes, dogs are valuable companions. But they are also awe-inspiring soldiers and law enforcement officers. Just ask anyone with a K-9, and he’ll tell you how police dogs work hard and how great they are at what they do; and they won’t even whine about their benefits or wages. Many dogs have been recognized and awarded because of their work in law enforcement. Dogs have been tasked to guard borders to help keep illegal drugs out of the country. In the modern-day battlefields, dogs are assigned to sniff for bombs in order to keep their human soldier companions safe.

4. Save Lives of Calamity Victims

Whatever the calamity, earthquakes, fires, floods, avalanche, or even bombings, dogs are there to “search and rescue” victims. Many dogs are faithful public servants that will go through dangerous underground mines, explore unstable crevices, get inside a fire-stricken structure, or sniff rubble to detect and help those who have been trapped. These creatures help human rescuers locate the lost and trapped. Such dogs have given thousands of people a second chance at life.

Citations:

  • Photo courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Claire Stanton writes about Oakwood veterinary service, dog breeds, and how-to articles regarding dog care. She is a freelance blogger who also contributes to wildlife and pet sites.

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by guest blogger Susan Wright

Dog barking through fence

How many times have you encountered a dog owner, explaining away their dog’s aggressive nature, by blaming it on the breed? The fact is, the owner is wrong; aggression is a learned behavior, not one that any breed is genetically predisposed to exhibit. There are some breeds that seem to appear in the news more often than others for attacking people. Most often, their aggressive attitude is due to the way they have been trained and punished by their owners.

The Advantage of Proper Training

When given the appropriate training and home atmosphere, even dogs known best for their aggressive personalities’ are teachable and can become people friendly and highly affectionate.

It is better a dog bark a warning for someone to keep away, than to have one that will bite first. Some of the warnings a dog might show, which tells you to stay clear of them are, growling, snarling, snapping and trying to attack while on a leash. There are precautions to take for your dog’s safety as well as for people while out for daily exercise. Typically, a muzzle or head harness assures the safety of everyone you may encounter.

Deliberate Aggression

There are owners that deliberately train their dogs to be aggressive. For some reason, it makes the owner feel strong and protected. All dogs will show aggression at some point, especially when they are startled, by something or someone coming at them out of nowhere.

Dogs will show aggression when they are taking a stand marking their territory, feeling vulnerable to attack by humans or other dogs, sick, guarding their toys or food, responding to discipline or while breeding.

Cause of Aggression

If you know what is causing your dog to be aggressive, you can then teach them how to respond in a gentler way, when the situation arises in the future. Punishment will only cause more aggression, use a gentle but firm and consistent training method to teach your dog how to become a more gentle and loving companion.

All breeds need to be taught, humans are the leaders of the pack. If there are children in the home, they need to be taught to handle their dog gently when playing with them. Children should also be taught to, teach the pet who the pack leader is. Some breeds are not recommended for the elderly or families with small children. Dog seekers should research breeds before bringing a new dog into their home.

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.

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by guest author Claire Waltham

Home security is vital, especially today when robberies and home invasions are still on the rise despite police efforts. People employ

German Shepherd guard dog

several means to beef up their security. They install surveillance cameras, door and window alarms, heat sensors, and other gadgets that can improve their safety. Many also opt to use guard dogs. Some of these animals are trained by professionals. Still, the average dog can help in protecting a home as it is innate in canines to be protective of their space.

One concern of many dog owners is regarding dog biting accidents. Many take precautions, which often include dog training and socialization. They expose their animals to all sorts of circumstances so that their canines will get used to people and especially children. When animals are well-trained and balanced, biting incidents are greatly reduced. But what should a dog owner do if his pet bites an intruder? Can the intruder sue him? Is the injury the dog’s or the homeowner’s fault? When a guard dog or a pet bites a person who trespassed on a property, there are certain elements that must be established first. It is better for a property owner to call an injury attorney who can help him make sense of the situation. But generally, a dog owner can avoid legal responsibility based on the following elements:

  • The dog was provoked.

When a dog senses an intruder, its first reaction is to growl or bark. This alerts the homeowners of the situation. But a burglar or prowler may react differently. Instead of running away from an already tense dog, he could provoke the animal by trying to beat or frighten it so that it will shut up. People should remember that dogs are loyal animals, and they tend to listen only to their masters. An intruder who tries to silence a dog by force can find himself in a dangerous situation. Instead of silencing the dog, he could get bitten or get mauled.

A dog owner can avoid liability if he is able to prove that his animal was provoked. Provocation includes teasing, hitting, slapping, attacking, or throwing things at a dog. Nevertheless, each dog bite incident is different. In some cases, dog owners must also prove that their dogs are not abused. They are also required to state whether or not their animals have been involved in previous biting incidents.

  • The intruder was aware of the dangers of injury from the dog.

A trespasser who forcibly enters a property which is known to be guarded by canines will most likely get bitten. When a biting accident happens, the homeowner will most likely avoid accountability if he is able to prove that the intruder was well aware that there were dogs in the area. Therefore, it is important for people with guard dogs to post warning signs, like “Beware of Dog” or “Warning: Guard Dogs.” People who ignore such signs will have a weaker case if they decide to sue animal owners.

  • The person was breaking the law or trespassing.

Generally, when trespassers get bitten by guard dogs, the animals’ owners are not liable. However, situations vary, and each state has their own regulations about this. Dog owners can protect themselves from liability if they post visible warning signs. If a person expects visitors in his property, it is also important o contain or restrain a dog to prevent accidents.

Citations:

  • Photo courtesy of Maggie Smith at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Claire Waltham is a freelance writer who specializes in personal injury issues. She regularly blogs for several known and successful lawyers, such as Bob Cohen’s attorneys.

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I’m not the type of person to visit the doctor every time my nose runs, I’m comfortable with trying a few home remedies or let whatever ails me run its course. I know my body well enough to know when it’s time to consult an expert.

Papion with toy

When it comes to my dog, I’m not always sure if I’m meeting her needs the best I can.  Keeping in line with an all-natural, conservative approach as much as possible. I do consult with my veterinarian more often because I want to know that I am doing the right things to help my dog live a long, comfortable life.

At a recent visit to my veterinarian, Sadie Maybach, DVM, for Kaycee‘s shots, I asked Dr. Maybach about giving my dog a supplement to help her joints. As Kaycee gets older I notice slight changes in her energy level and overall mobility. An old injury to her leg occasionally flares up when we are out and about, so I wanted to see if there was something natural that I could do for her to ease the discomfort in her joints and limbs. Dr. Maybach was very helpful and suggested a supplement of glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate. I take glucosamine supplements myself, but I didn’t know if they were safe to give my dog. Turns out they are safe for dogs and cats and there are a lot of high quality brands out there for animals including, Nutramax and Myristol.

One thing Dr. Maybach did caution me on was whether the product contained any Vitamin D. Vitamin D is toxic to dogs, so be sure to examine the label carefully before you make a purchase.

It’s easy to make the assumption that if something is safe for humans, then it must be fine for our pets as well. However, this is not always the case and a quick call to your veterinarian could prevent a very tragic and unnecessary consequence to that assumption.

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

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