Countryside Veterinary Services and Wellness updates the blog frequently with pet health information and clinic news. Please check back often for Countryside Veterniary announcements and helpful pet information!

Health Issues You Might Not Realize Your Pet Has

Dog and Cat

Every pet owner receives that post card in the mail reminding them to bring in their pet for a routine checkup or vaccinations. Even though your pet may be up to date on his or her vaccinations and seem to be in perfect health, those routine checkups are very important. Pets, just as well as humans, can develop a number of health problems that you may not even know were there without testing. Here are a few health issues that can trick any pet owner or go unnoticed until the condition is well advanced.

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Kidney Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Pain

Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid hormones in the blood. Common signs include weight loss, increased appetite and more. Hyperthyroidism can be diagnosed with a physical exam and blood test, and is treatable and manageable in most cases. This disease can be managed with a daily pill or special diet, or cured with radioactive treatment or surgical removal of the thyroid glands.

Kidney disease is a common find in cats and dogs, especially in those growing older in age. Signs to look out for are excessive drinking of water and an increase in urination, so much that your cat or dog can't get to the litter box or outside to urinate in time. Although this cannot be cured, it can be managed to months or even years with diet and medications.

Heart disease isn't the leading cause of death in dogs or cats, however about 10% of dogs do develop it. This is a disease that cannot be cured, but it can sometimes be managed for months or years with medication, especially when caught early. Some signs of heart disease can include a heart murmur, gray or blueish gums and more.

Although pain may not be a disease, it does accompany many different diseases at all stages. Sometimes our pets are good at hiding the fact that they are in pain due to the fact that in the wild this shows a sign of weakness, so this makes it more difficult for pet owners to realize there is a problem. If your pet is eating less, sleeping more or just not acting like themselves, remember pets can't speak up to tell you what is wrong and there may be a problem associated with that. Both you and your pet will benefit if you catch a problem before it's too late or finding out they are perfectly healthy.

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Why Does My Dog... Always Lick Me?

Dog LickingEveryone knows that dogs lick to show love and affection to their owners. Dogs also lick because they like the taste of your skin. This may be for several reasons including leftover traces of food, different scents or just because of the salt in your skin. Dogs that smell new scents will sniff you but also lick you because this gives them a lot of information about where you've been.

Licking is a natural instinct that most pups pick up from their mother. When a mother licks her pups, the pups will lick back as a sign of love and affection towards her. Pups lick each other during the course of grooming and other social interactions. Here is a short list of reasons why a dog might lick you:

  • Licking is another sensory tool dogs use, just like how they sniff things. Licking is a way for the dog to find out more information and see where their owner has been.
  • Dogs tend to lick to try and get your attention, whether they want your attention for food, if they have to go potty, to play or if they just want to get petted.
  • Licking may also be a way of the dog trying to play. This may be that the dog is substituting the use of their tongue rather than their teeth to play with you.
  • Just like cats, dogs lick themselves to maintain their hygiene. If they have a wound, they will tend to lick it to aid in recovery. There are enzymes in a dog's saliva that help get rid of bacteria and licking will also help get rid of the dead tissues from the wound. Licking too much on a wound however, can result in the wound re-opening, so this is something you'll have to keep an eye on.

Extreme licking is not so much defined by the pet itself, but by the owner. By some owners, even just a couple small licks, can be considered extreme licking. It is in a dog's nature that they lick, however, dogs can be trained to stop. A veterinary behaviorist or certified dog trainer can help you in this process.

Excessive licking should be monitored closely, especially if they lick themselves in one area a lot, this could be pointing to a health problem that otherwise wouldn't be recognized. Many dogs can be treated for extreme licking successfully, which in the end will make not only you happy but your dog.

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The Right Way to Give Your Dog a Treat

Dog TreatWhether it's for good behavior or just because you want to treat your dog to something special, everyone loves to give their dog a treat. Surprisingly, there are right and wrong ways to give your special companion treats.

One of the most common ways of giving a dog a treat is by holding it way high up in the air, so the dog has to stand on his back legs or jump in order to get it. While this may be fun and entertaining, there could be some negative consequences that come with it. There is a chance that when trying to jump and grab the treat out of your hand the dog may accidentally nip your finger. This isn't done on purpose either. Dogs have less control and vision of their teeth when they are jumping to grab a treat. Also, this may teach your dog that things, such as jumping, are good. This can make it harder to control your dog from jumping in other situations like greeting people.

The best way to give your dog a treat is to hold the treat at the dog's level, where he doesn't have to jump or snap to get it. If you still have problems with your dog accidentally nipping your finger after doing this, try offering the treat with a flat, open hand. This will keep your fingers away from the treat and make it safer to give to your dog.

There is also a behavior factor that comes into play when giving your dog treats. When you give your dog a treat you are rewarding him for whatever he was doing before the treat was given. For example, if you tell your dog to fetch and he brings the stick back to you, giving him a treat will teach him that retrieving the stick means getting a treat. On the flip side, don't give your dog a treat just to distract him from doing something. Giving your dog a treat when he is pawing at you or barking will just teach your dog that those actions mean reward and your dog will continue to do that more and more. Instead, only reward your dog when they deserve it and when they are showing good behavior.

People also often wonder how often they should reward their dog and how big of a treat to give their dog when rewarding him. Rewarding in multiple smaller pieces of treats will usually work better when teaching your dog, rather than just giving your dog one large treat. This way you are able reward your dog multiple times before you have to stop giving him treats. Rewarding your dog with too many treats could put him at risk for obesity and stomach upset.

Rewarding your dog can be fun for both yourself and your beloved canine. Just make sure that when you are giving your dog a treat, you are doing it the right way. Think about the dog's behavior before giving him a treat and think about ways you can change your tactics in order to better teach your dog.

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  • 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

CountrySide Veterinary Services
W3022 Edgewood Trail
Appleton, Wisconsin 54913
CountrySide Veterinary Wellness
1835 E Edgewood Drive Suite 103
Appleton, WI 54913
  (920) 968-3322