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Prevent These 7 Common Dog Choking Hazards

Dogs love chewing on things: tennis balls, sticks, bones, etc. However, many of these items your dog plays with and chews on can be a potential choking hazard to them.

Tennis Balls

Tennis Ball Choking Hazard

In the case of tennis balls, your dog may crush it so that it wedges in his throat, causing him to choke. After playing fetch with your pet, be sure to put any tennis balls away and don't let them be used as a chewing toy. In addition, tennis balls are also harsh on your dog's teeth.

Sticks

Sticks, if swallowed, can cause splinters to get caught in the roof of your dog's mouth and may need to be surgically removed.

Bones

Although bones may be a favorite chewing toy, your dog may eagerly swallow a bone whole or large, sharp pieces of the bone, potentially forming cuts in his or her mouth, esophagus, or digestive system.

Rawhide Bones

When selecting rawhide bones, choose larger ones that don't have small pieces. Supervise your pet as he or she chews on the rawhide bone, and once it gets smaller and they start ripping off small pieces, remove it to avoid any choking.

Dental Treats

Dental treats such as dental chews and dental sticks can also be a hazard. Choose dental treats that your dog can easily digest in case he or she happens to swallow them.

Dog Toys

Even certain dog toys can be a risk, especially small ones, or ones with small parts that can be easily ripped off. Only allow your dog to play with these kinds of toys if you are able to watch them while they play.

Kids' Toys

Finally, kids' toys and other household items can be a choking hazard for your dog, particularly anything that is not intended for dogs that is chewable or small enough to be wedged in your dog's esophagus or trachea.

As a pet owner, there are preventative measures you can take to protect your dog from choking. Learn more about what to do when you need to take something away from your dog's mouth in this video and the value of the "drop-it" command--which could save your dog's life if they happen to start choking.

6 Common Dog & Cat Health Myths

dog wearing elizabethan collar

1) You should only be concerned about parasites infecting your pet in spring and summertime.

While it is true that dogs and cats are more susceptible to ticks, fleas, and mosquitos (which can spread heartworms) during the warmer months in spring and summer, most veterinarians recommend parasite medication year-round. The reason is that some parasites can reside in your home throughout the year, even during the winter months. Even indoor cats never allowed outside need to be protected from home-dwelling parasites. Discuss any parasite concerns with your veterinarian.

2) Neutering causes a dog to lose traits characteristic to that breed.

Although neutering may affect a dog’s behavior, the results are generally positive. In fact, the surgery may reduce bothersome or aggressive behavior in puppies. Neutering additionally helps prevent testicular cancer and prostate problems.

3) Cats will urinate outside their litterbox just to spite their owner.

Cats do not urinate outside of their litterbox simply to spite their owner; it could just be them marking their territory. However, urination outside the litterbox could be a sign of a more serious issue like urinary tract disease, bladder stones or diabetes. If you notice that your cat is unable to urinate, take your feline to the vet immediately. Keep in mind that your cat’s unusual urination behavior could be his or her way of dealing with anxiety relating to a change in the home. To accommodate your feline(s) anxiety, be sure to clean their litterbox(es) twice daily and that you have placed the litterbox(es) in a private and accessible spot for them to relax.

4) It’s not necessary to brush your pet’s teeth every day.

Just like a person’s teeth develops plaque, so does your pet’s teeth. It is important to brush your pet’s teeth daily to prevent tartar buildup and potential dental disease. If you haven’t introduced daily brushing in your pet’s younger years, you can still gradually introduce teeth brushing by first allowing your pet to lick the pet-friendly toothpaste before brushing until they get accustomed to the routine.

5) The best way to show your pet love is by giving them food.

Don’t feed your pet every time they beg for food. Doing so may lead to your pet overeating which may cause obesity later on. If you have any questions regarding your pet’s diet, discuss with your veterinarian about how often your pet needs to eat. Avoid giving your furry companions treats and table remains when they beg and instead show them love by giving affection like petting or cuddling or playing a stimulating game with them.

6) If your pet is itching their ears, it means they have ear mites.

Although your pet could have ear mites, this isn’t always the case. Itchy ears could also indicate allergies, yeast infections, bacterial infections or other potential issues. Discuss any concerns you may have with your veterinarian if you notice your pet frequently itching their ears.

Does My Dog Have Hypothyroidism?

lethargic boxer

If your dog seems cold all the time, his fur appears dull, he’s losing hair or he’s gaining weight even when you haven’t altered his diet, your dog may have hypothyroidism. Although all the symptoms listed above may be signs of old age, they also could be indicators of hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid hormone decreases when the thyroid glands have either reduced in size or become inflamed.

Hypothyroidism causes a diminished metabolic rate, affecting the functionality of many organs in your pet’s body. Some other symptoms to watch for if you suspect this condition include a lack of energy, mental lethargy, ear infections, and skin problems, (dry, scaly, itchy or greasy fur).

Though hypothyroidism can occur in humans and other animal species, it is very common in dogs. Some of the breeds this disease often affects are: Airedale Terriers, Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Doberman Pinschers, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters and Miniature Schnauzers. If you own a medium to large-sized dog and he or she is aged 4-10 years old, your dog may have a greater chance of developing hypothyroidism.

Because hypothyroidism symptoms are similar to many other conditions, it’s not always easy to identify. Your veterinarian may run a special panel of thyroid tests to get a diagnosis. Fortunately, hypothyroidism is curable with a synthetic thyroid hormone. This medication must be given to your dog for the rest of his or her life, starting with twice daily doses and then reduced to one. Some breeds may still require two doses daily.

Usually, you will start to see improvement in your dog’s condition about four to eight weeks after your pet first starts taking the medication. Talk to your veterinarian to schedule follow-up blood tests to check when and if the amount of medication given should be adjusted. Your veterinarian may advise periodic blood tests to see if your dog’s body is processing the medication.

Testimonials

  • Temperance

    My wife and I have been taking our dog to Countryside Vets for about three years now. We had an unfortunate encounter with our previous veterinarian but switching to Countryside Vets years ago has been the best decision! She has always been treated well at Countryside and Dr. Popp has always been more than friendly! Thank you!
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CountrySide Veterinary Services
W3022 Edgewood Trail
Appleton, Wisconsin 54913
CountrySide Veterinary Wellness
1835 E Edgewood Drive Suite 103
Appleton, WI 54913
  (920) 968-3322