Weaning Puppy

Whether a newborn puppy is fed by his own mother or by his owner, he must eventually be taught to depend on something besides milk for his food. This learning process is called “weaning”, and represents the changing of a puppy’s diet from liquid to solid. At about three to four weeks of age, as soon as their eyes open and they are able to move about with some ease, most puppies will begin to experiment with the solid foods being fed to their mother. When this happens it is time to begin to teach the puppies to eat from the pan.

Instituting such an early feeding procedure accomplishes four important things. First, it allows you to feed the puppies a food that is more satisfactory for them than the food you are feeding their mother. Second, it speeds up the weaning process because the puppies will learn to eat solid food at an earlier age. Third, it begins the social interaction between the puppy and his owners. And finally, it allows you to reduce the mother’s intake of food at the same rate you increase that of her puppies. The latter prevents the mother from overeating as the early feeding of her pups promotes reduced lactation.

Weaning is a learning process in which the pups’ digestive system is trained to eat solid foods. Before the puppy is born, he is fed by his mother with pre-digested nutrients. When he is whelped the puppy drinks the mother’s milk. The mother’s milk contains some of the most digestible nutrients that a puppy can eat. At weaning the puppy’s digestive system must learn to handle each new food in turn, as it comes to him. Similar to all learning processes, the weaning process cannot be taught faster than the puppy’s ability to learn.

In formulating the diet, the ingredients that make up the food fed to a puppy that is starting to wean must be highly digestible and non-irritating. An excellent weaning diet can be made easily by preparing slurry using a specialized dietary animal foods designed to be fed to patients with gastro-intestinal disorders, mixed into equal parts of the mother’s milk substitutes. “Half and half” coffee cream can also be used. High-quality ration-type commercial foods also make adequate solid foods to mix with the liquid part of the diet. In all cases, ¼ to ½ tablespoonful of grated, raw liver should be added to each can of food just before it is mixed. The slurry can be either beaten with a fork or mixed in a blender.

For larger breeds, it may be more practical to use the higher quality, expanded dry foods in combination with the canned foods to blend with the liquids. Addition of dry foods may also help these larger, faster-growing puppies to get sufficient nutrients in the quantity of food they are able to consume in. Whatever the mixture used, the quantity of milk substitute in it is gradually reduced, so that when the puppy is about six or seven weeks old, he is only eating pure, solid food.

Ring Worm Dog

If you suddenly notice a bald spot on your dog’s coat, chances are it is not because he is getting older. Sudden hair loss in dogs as well as cats could indicate the presence of ringworm. And although your dog may catch ringworm from time to time, he may experience nothing worse than a bald spot and mild itchiness.

Ring worm creates ring-like, flaky, bald patches on your dog’s head, ears, back, nails, and paws. Although the name ringworm sounds like some sort of a curly worm, it is actually a type of fungus that is similar to athlete’s foot. Ringworm can be easily seen and looks very similar to a ripple forming when you throw a stone in a pond. The growth begins at a middle point and gradually spreads out in a ring shape. As the fungus grows in the skin cell and hair, the skin may become irritated, reddened, and thickened and the hairs may break off leaving course stubble behind.

The ringworm is contagious to humans, especially children, and other animals. The extensive spread of this parasite could indicate that your pet’s health is not doing well. Actually, it is usually the sick, stressed, and weakened ones that acquire serious infestation. Ringworm that spreads throughout the body is a very serious issue that signifies a severely low immune system.

But unless your dog has a low immune system, ring worm normally goes away on its own within one to three months. In the meantime, you may still want to relieve the itchiness and discomfort that is associated with this parasite and also reduce the odds of infection to humans and other animals.

To effectively treat ringworm, the first thing you must do is clip the hair around the area of your dog’s bare spot and up to about one half of an inch past it. You may need to have someone help you keep your dog still or preoccupied in order to prevent you from accidentally injuring the skin. Clipping the hair will reduce the chances of spreading the ringworm by confining the infection to just that area and also make for an easier application of the treatment.

Remember to carefully dispose the infected hair once you remove it, burning it if possible. Ringworm can still feed on the hair even after it is off your dog and is contagious on contact. Vacuum the area where you did the clipping to catch loose hairs. You also need to vacuum carefully and regularly if your pet has ringworm. Wash bedding, dishes, and utensils with soap and hot water and always wash your hands properly.

Puppy Show

Getting your puppy used to people and strange places is another thing you can do for him while he is growing up. Take him with you as often as you can. After he is lead-broken (so you know he won’t embarrass you), take him with you to the market, or the post office or to buy some cigarettes. This is even more important if you live in the country where his own back yard is all he would get to know without your help. Take him in the car with you when you go to the railroad station, airport, or bus depot; if possible take him through a revolving door and in an elevator. Then when he runs into these things at a dog show, they won’t faze him a bit.

If you take your puppy with you in your car often enough while he is still a puppy and continue to do so while he is growing up, you will never have to car break him or clean him up upon arrival at a show – he will be so used to traveling. Also you will never have to watch him shake and tremble at the sight of a lot of people as he will expect that each and every one is a great friend – it will reflect in his behavior and will benefit him greatly in his show career.

By all means, don’t forget the best training grounds of all, the Sanctioned Match. Whether he wins or loses at the Match, the training he gets there will stand him in good stead. When you go to a Match, go through all the motions just as though it were a big and important show, for the experience is good for you too. Here is where your puppy will get used to being shown, handled and gaited with a strange dog beside him. There have been well trained and well behaved puppies go all to pieces at a Match when perhaps for the first time in a long time they see many strange dogs. Remember, your dog will be expected to behave without thoroughly investigating each and every new arrival.

Of course, if you have two or more dogs at home your puppy may be fairly used to company but he may expect that he can play with the new acquaintances just as he does with his friend at home and the new dog may not feel like playing or the new dog’s owner may not be inclined to allow his youngster to indulge in puppy foolishness at a Match. If you have used the short, quick tugs on the lead when you lead broke your puppy, resort to them at the Match when he gets too frisky. The puppy will soon remember that he is on a lead and is expected to perform for you. The word, “No” in a sharp tone of voice used at the same time as the sharp jerk on the lead will also help, particularly if you have used this word whenever he displeased you or you wanted him to stop doing whatever he was doing.

Pitbull Toy

Toys provide two important roles for your Pit Bull puppy. The first role is to help stimulate your dog both physically and mentally. The second is to prevent him from tearing down your home. Pit Bulls, or any dog for that matter, are less likely to destroy items in your house if given their own toys that they can play with.

Pit Bulls love playing with balls, especially big, colorful bouncing balls. They also enjoy a large and partially deflated ball. Hard rubber balls are good for tough-playing puppies. Avoid using small balls such as jack balls or golf balls because dogs tend to inhale or swallow them. Soft rubber balls are also not recommended because they can easily be chewed to small pieces and then swallowed.

Pit Bulls also enjoy fleece toys, although some dogs tend to be too rough with them and rip them into shreds. Keep in mind that fleece toys are not chew toys and your dog should not be allowed to play with them while you are not around to supervise, or your Pit Bull might chew it up and swallow the material.

Rubber tug toys are also among the favorites of the Pit Bull, although you may need to have constant supervision when your Pit Bull is playing with them, especially around kids. This kind of play may promote physical competitiveness that may not be appropriate for your Pit Bull. Use this toy sporadically and combine it with more moderate and gentler activities.

Squeaky toys that are made of plastics are not a good choice for your Pit Bull. These kinds of toys can be easily chewed and swallowed or the “squeaker” can be lodged and also swallowed. Never leave your dog unattended with a squeaky toy. Similar to fleece toys, squeaky toys are not chew toys and should only be used when you are playing with your dog.

Another type of toy that is your Pit Bull can enjoy is a pole lure. It is basically a stick that is about six feet long with a string of the same length tied to the end and a toy tied to the end of the string. The goal of playing this toy is for you to run around while dragging the toy and trying to keep your dog from catching it. Avoid letting your dog get hurt by jumping too erratically after the toy.

If a pole lure is not available, your dog will be just as happy settling for a good old fashioned stick. Just make sure that the ends are not sharp and that it is long enough for him to be able to jab one end to the ground while holding the other end in its mouth.

Malnourished Dog

Once upon a time the poorest fed dog in America was the farm dog left to fend for itself for food. These dogs, undernourished bags of bones, were once so common they almost became symbolic of impoverished rural America. Today vast numbers of those small farms have vanished. With them have gone the gaunt, hollow-eyed hounds that greeted every farm visitor with a hungry, ill-tempered bark.

The farmer has snored to the city, gotten a job, and become the suburbanite. With him have come his companion dogs. And, the suburbanite house-pet has replaced the farm dog as the poorest fed dog in America. Probably 75 percent of all dogs in the United States owned by private individuals are household pets.

Most of these dogs are anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent overweight because the most frequent error made by feeders of house-pets is overfeeding. Unlike their predecessors, today’s poorest fed dogs are not underfed, but overfed. The irony of it all is the fact that, while they may be overfed and overweight, they may also be undernourished! Unfortunately, there is a widespread misconception among dog owners that any dog food that comes out of a can or box that they bought at the grocery store is adequate and nourishing enough for a dog.

This belief has led politicians, sociologists, and even some nutritionists to express the opinion that most American house-pets are better fed than most Americans. While these statements may grab sensational headlines, the accuracy of such a proposition does not stand up under critical exploitation. While it certainly is true that some house-pets receive far better nourishment than some people, it is also true that many dogs in this country are woefully malnourished. Some of the dogs suffering from the greatest malnourishment are those eating the very item to which the politicians and sociologists attribute such grandiose performance-commercial dog food.

Not all, probably not even most, of the canned dog foods in this country are guilty of malnourishing a dog, but some do exist, and they are being fed. Nowhere does a dog feeder need to evaluate the food he feeds more than he does when he is feeding canned foods to a house-pet. Yet, the number of pet owners who actually feed their dogs based on their evaluation of the foods available to them is practically zero.

Hyperplasia

Hyperplasia of the prostate gland is a benign enlargement due to an increase in the number of cells within the gland and occurs in about 2/3 of older male dogs. However, only a small percentage of these dogs ever show any noticeable signs of the abnormality. The underlying cause is unknown but is thought to be an imbalance of the hormones produced in aging testicles. As the prostate is located directly below the rectum, the enlarged gland may press up against the rectal wall and cause difficulty and discomfort while defecating, straining, and constipation. Unlike man, there is rarely any pain or difficulty in urinating.

Medical treatment with an estrogen injection generally stops the symptoms, reduces the size of the prostate within five or six days, and will keep it that way for several months, in most cases, and occasionally for several years. Some few dogs respond poorly, or not at all, and can be helped only by castration, which causes a permanent shrinking of the prostate.

Should your dog need this operation, he will be home from the hospital in just a few days, but you should keep him quiet and resting for at least one week. A low-bulk diet may be advised for several days. He will probably walk cautiously at first, experiencing some slight discomfort each time he moves a rear leg. This may prompt him to lick or bite at the stitches. Restraint collars or tranquilizers may be used for a short time until the operation is healed and the stitches can be removed.

Cancer of the prostate is rare in dogs and fortunately so, because by the time any noticeable symptoms develop, the tumor has almost always spread to other parts of the body, making it inoperable. Severe loss of weight, lameness in one or both rear legs, pain and difficulty during urination, blood at the beginning of urination, and low back pain may be present in addition to difficult defecation and constipation. Castration or estrogen therapy offer temporary relief of symptoms, but the tumor continues on its destructive course. A recent discovery holds out hope that immunotherapy may be successfully used to treat prostatic cancer but such research is still in its infancy.

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Dog Grooming

The long coated small breeds are characterized by a certain appealing full fluffiness, as opposed to the parted coat-breeds, which are characterized by long, smooth, flowing hair, which is more similar to long human hair. For this reason, keep this in mind when grooming long-coated small dogs: Think of the coat standing out from the body, rather than lying flat against the skin.

When you have finished giving your small dog a bath, below is a step by step process on how to groom that long fluffy coat.

1. After drying your dog, blow-dry the long coat to keep it from drying into tangles. With the blow-dryer on cool or low setting, work from the bottom up, using the pin brush or slicker brush to fluff-dry. Divide the hair into sections with the pin brush or slicker brush and hold them out from the body as you blow-dry.

2. Keep the blow-dryer moving over each piece of hair until it is dry, then work your way up. Start with the legs and rear end and work your way up and forward. Keep brushing and fluffing for fullness, keeping the coat free from tangles.

3. Finish by running a metal comb through the coat to make sure that you did not miss a single tangle or snag.

4. With a #10 blade on your electric clipper, shave your dog’s anal area to keep it clean and free of long hair and tangles. Be careful not to touch the blade directly on your dog’s skin. Another way of keeping this area clean is to clip it neatly with scissors.

5. Depending on the breed or if you like the idea of having your dog’s underside free of long hair, with the same #10 blade, shave your dog’s abdomen from groin to naval and down the insides of both thighs. Shave with the lay of the hair.

6. Trim between your dog’s paw pads with scissors, and if hair covers the feet, trim around the feet so the hair reaches the ground evenly around the paw in a rounded shape.

7 Brush and comb the hair on your dog’s head, ears, and face.

8. Stand back and look at the dog’s shape. Scissor any stray long hairs without changing the shape of the coat. Just look for uneven, stray areas that stand out after brushing.

9. To finish the dog and take advantage of the coat’s fluffiness, spray it with coat conditioner or coat dressing to keep it soft and in place, then brush lightly over the top of the coat to set. Brush from bottom up and from shoulders forward to fluff-the ruff. Fluff the tail, the body, and the chest.

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Dog Eyes

Cleaning your dog’s eyes more or less depends on his type of breed. Dogs with protruding eyes and wrinkles on their face such as the Pekingese, Pug, and Boston Terrier, need to have their eyes cleaned on a regular basis. On the other hand, other types of breeds do not require as much attention. Different eye types need different kinds of care.

* Flat-faced dogs with protruding eyes require the most care because they are less protected than breeds with eyes that are set deeper and protected by a long muzzle. Protruding eyes have the tendency to dry out easily and are also easily injured.

* Dogs with white fur may develop tear stains from the eyes.

* Dogs with entropies, a condition in which the lid turns inward and eyelashes irritate the cornea, need special attention. In extreme cases, surgery is required to correct the problem.

* Dogs with excessive tearing need the eye area to be kept clean and dry.

* Dogs with dry eyes need moisturizing eye drops applied every day.

It is always ideal to check your dog’s eyes every day, not just every month. Most dogs occasionally accumulate debris in the corners of their eyes, and they will benefit from wiping the face down with a moist cloth and cleaning the corners of the eyes with a moist cotton ball every day. Be careful in wiping the cotton ball over the eye or you could scratch the cornea. Many dogs with protruding eyes require a daily dose of moisturizing eye drops to keep their eyes moist and comfortable. Some brands of human eye drops work, though it is better to check with your vet about which brand to use. Regular checking, cleaning, and moisturizing your dog’s eyes every day helps him get used to the practice.

During monthly grooming sessions, rinse your dog’s eyes with canine eyewash or eye drops. Apply a drop in each eye and carefully wipe away the excess from the corners with a soft cloth or dry cotton ball. If your light-coated dog has tear stains-brownish streaks under the eyes, be very careful when wiping the eyes clean. Apply a tear-stain remover to the stained fur and not to the eyes according to the directions for the individual product. However, if your dog seems to be tearing excessively and is constantly wet under the eyes, or if you notice unusual redness or swollen areas in or around the eye, you need to consult your vet.

Dogs can develop many different minor eye disorders that are easily treated if detected early. Also check that the eyes are clear. Cloudiness could mean your dog is developing cataracts. Finally, a yearly vet exam is crucial to keeping eyes healthy, and your vet can help detect eye diseases in the early stages where they can best be treated.

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Dog Eating Habit

A dog’s eating habits are controlled by three things: its brain, its experiences, and its environment. The very first experiment in behavioral psychology was done by a scientist named Pavlov who taught dogs to get ready to eat when they heard a certain sound. Since that initial experiment, scientists have observed over and over how important the things happening around, and to, a dog are when it comes to affecting the dog’s eating habits.

Once, when dogs were wild, most of their daily activity was devoted to obtaining a meal. While the need for this activity has practically disappeared, mealtime still constitutes one of the most important events in a dog’s life. And, many of a dog’s behavioral responses are still linked to its eating routine.

Today’s dogs have become creatures of habit. They thrive on monotony and are most comfortable when things remain the same. Few dogs appreciate a sudden change in their sleeping quarters or the surprise of a new food in their bowl. The more that can be done to prevent change in a dog’s feeding program, the better it will be for both the dog and its owner. Regularity in feeding promotes good appetite, good digestion and regular eliminations. Therefore, the first general consideration to be made when feeding any dog should be the establishment of a regular feeding schedule and should stay that way without being altered.

Puppies have conventionally been fed small portions of their daily diet at frequent intervals during the day. The rationalization behind this is sound, but the frequency of feedings often is too high. Even newborn puppies do quite well when fed only four times daily. Some breeders even reduce this to three times daily, but unless your schedule absolutely prohibits it, a minimum of four feedings should be the limit. The feedings need not be separated exactly six hours apart, but it is desirable to space the feedings as evenly as possible throughout the 24-hour time period. For example, my own schedule usually works out best when I feed around 7:00 A.M., 12:00 Noon, 6:00 P.M., and 1:00 P.M. Yours may be different.

The frequency of feedings should not be reduced to three a day until the puppies are weaned. Whether you are feeding newborn puppies four times daily, or older puppies three times, once the pattern of feedings has been set, it should not be changed, but should occur at the same time every day.

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