By: Jennifer Petrowiak
Canine Cough. Dogs’ Seasonal Sickness. 08/20/19
When you bring a beloved pet into your life, you have a vision of what it will be like. Imagining the perfect pet, well-knowing that there will be some adversity along the way. Adversity that is difficult to cope with is when your pet gets sick. There are many different types of ailments that can affect your dog. A contagious infection that your dog may encounter is Canine Cough. Canine Cough, more commonly known as Kennel Cough, is an illness that frequently plagues pups periodically throughout fall, spring, and most significantly, summer.
Canine Cough is an upper respiratory infection that can be caused by bacteria or virus. It affects your dog’s lungs, windpipe, and voice box. You’ll find similar symptoms in what humans’ experience in a cold. There are a few symptoms that characterize Canine Cough. The most significant symptom is a dry, hacking cough; sounds like honking. In addition to a cough, your dog may have some discharge from their nose and eyes. This discharge is generally watery and clear. If it becomes cloudy or discolored, that is a sign of a secondary infection. These two symptoms are most common, but you may also see lethargy and fever. However, not all dogs get lethargic. If there is a fever, your dog is most likely afflicted with a severe form of Canine Cough (PetAirpy, 2019). As you see these symptoms, your only question is how to cure them.
There is no clear cure for this infection. Just like a cold, you have to let it run its course. Mild cases of Canine Cough may last a week or two (AKC Staff, 2019). However, if your dog has a weakened immune system, is a young puppy, or is significantly older, it may take up to six weeks for a complete recovery. While your dog is experiencing the symptoms, there are a few ways to help your dog recover: Exposing your dog to humid air, using a harness on walks, and creating a stress-free environment may quicken recovery time. Using a humidifier may help sooth your dog’s airways; bringing your dog into the bathroom while the shower is running can have the same effect. Naturally, it is still important for your dog to get exercise. If you take your dog for regular walks, be sure to use a harness. Collars can put more stress on the neck; especially, if your dog likes to pull on the leash. This can stress your dog’s trachea. In turn, making their coughing worse. Furthermore, attempt to create a stress-free environment. Avoid exposing them to situations that may cause anxiety. This way their system can primarily focus on fighting off the infection. There are also home remedies that can be used for your dog’s cough, such as honey or tea, but it is best to consult your veterinarian before implementing them. These are small acts you can do as a pet parent for your dog’s recovery (PetAirpy, 2019). However, if your dog is showing symptoms, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian. It is important to see your veterinarian as soon as possible because they may prescribe antibiotics to prevent secondary infections, and even cough medications (AKC Staff, 2019). Canine Cough should be taken seriously because it is easily contracted and could turn into something worse if not properly managed.
Once your dog is once again healthy, there are methods to help prevent this infection. To help understand how to prevent this infection, it is best to understand how it can be transmitted. Canine Cough predominantly spreads through the air. An infected dog can simply cough, sneeze, bark, or shed for other dogs to contract it. It is not always easy to determine which dogs are infected because some dogs carry the infection but show no symptoms. These bacteria and viruses are able to stay alive in the air for as long as two weeks on tiny dust particles — awaiting their new host. Even though it is primarily spread through the air, the bacteria called Bordetella Bronchiseptica can survive on surfaces for up to forty-eight hours (bowls, toys, etc.). As well as being affected through direct contact. To halt spreading, any dog that has Canine Cough should be isolated immediately (PetAirpy, 2019). These three routes are the most direct ways Canine Cough infects others.
There are a few simple steps you can take to lessen your dog’s chance of getting Canine Cough. First, have regular visits with your veterinarian. Second, make sure your dog, as well as any dog yours associates with, has had the Bordetella vaccine. While you take your own precautions at home, we have also taken precautions here at Paws. In our facility, we apply two safeguards against contagions. First, a rigorous disinfection routine. Each day we thoroughly clean every aspect of Paws. We regularly clean each room, kennel, yard, and object at our facility. In each cleaning routine, we use veterinarian used and approved cleaning supplies. The cleaning supplies we use are called Rescue and Consume. Rescue is a degreaser, disinfectant, and sanitizer all in one. Rescue is certain to kill any bacteria or viruses it comes into contact with. We use Rescue on both indoor and outdoor cleaning. Consume is our outdoor cleaner. This cleaner most significantly helps with odors. Secondly, our HVAC system releases new air every seven minutes. Also, our ozonaters puts ozone into the air to attack bacteria. For additional cleanliness, we put our bowls and Kong toys through an industrial sanitizing dishwasher. This dishwasher is used at a high temp to kill any bacteria or viruses, and is used between every single use. Utilizing these top of the line products in a rigorous routine are essential to the comfort and satisfaction of every animal we care for.
Canine Cough is a very contagious infection. We take all precautions possible here at Paws, but take into consideration that dogs in our care are facing the same challenges you do at school or work. When other people are sick around you, it will most likely infect you. As the seasons come, we will see Canine Cough from time to time. While it might come into our walls, our cleaning equipment and technique will help to stop it in its tracks.
PetAirapy. (2019). Kennel Cough (Canine Cough). In PetAirapy. Retrieved from https://petairapy.com/canine-c...
AKC Staff. (2019, January 23). Kennel Cough in Dogs - Symptoms Treatment & Prevention. In American Kennel Club. Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-adv...
New Experiences and Mixed Feelings. Understanding Anxiety in Your Dog. 08/11/19
When we leave our beloved dog for a few days, it can cause a significant amount of anxiety. Not only for us, but for our pet. It is like leaving a piece of our heart behind. When welcomed into Paws Pet Resort for the first time, they may be overwhelmed by the new place, people, and animals. Many dogs are able to adapt easily. Soon becoming accustomed, and even loving, the new experiences that Paws Pet Resort provides. Not all dogs can adapt as easily, and they end up becoming more anxious than excited.
When there is a change in your dog’s life, whether it be a change in their usual schedule or visiting a new place. They have a chance of developing anxiety. Some dogs are more susceptible to it than others. There are few different ways dogs can develop anxiety: Fear, separation, or age-related. Fear can happen due to loud noises, meeting new people or animals, unexpected visual stimuli (e.g. opening an umbrella), new environments, or specific situations. Separation speaks for itself. Dogs obviously don’t want to be away from you. Keep in mind, separation anxiety only affects about 14% of dogs. Lastly, age can cause anxiety. The way it causes anxiety is similar to that of humans. Just as humans get older, dogs’ cognitive functions may deteriorate. For example, they may have difficulty with their memory, learning, perception, and awareness leading to confusion and ultimately giving them anxiety (Kriss, 2019). Each of these causes has a different effect on the severity of the anxiety your dog experiences. It all depends on how resilient your dog is as well as how you react to the situation.
When dogs experience anxiety, there are a few ways they express it. To name a few, dogs may become aggressive or depressed, urinate, defecate, bark or howl excessively, chew, dig, or try to escape (Kriss, 2019). As we notice these symptoms, we are able to take action in treating their anxiety.
Here at Paws Pet Resort, we see all forms of anxiety within both boarding and daycare. Thankfully, there are simple methods to treat this anxiousness. As we assess the depth of a dog’s anxiety, we can determine what is the best method for the dog. Some methods are simple. For example, the dog may just need to keep busy. Thus, giving them a frozen Kong treat or extra play time can keep them distracted from their anxiety — and any destructive behavior. Or, it may just be as simple as your dog missing you. In which case, leaving behind an old T-shirt that smells like you or a few items that reminds them of home (ASPCA, 2019). In my own experience at Paws Pet Resort, I have seen dogs become skeptical to go into their boarding kennel. But, once I placed some of their items in the kennel (i.e. bed, blanket, toys, etc.) they rushed right in. Sometimes it is just about easing them into a situation. For instance, some dogs may not be comfortable around other dogs. In which case, we may start them off with a small group and work their way up. Unfortunately, not all dogs respond to these simple methods. Alternatively, there are anxiety medications that can help a dog cope with anxiety. Deciding what medication is best for your dog, is best discussed with your veterinarian.
Our dogs love us as much as we love them. They love their home, their toys, and their predictable schedule. Our dogs may not realize that sometimes change is inevitable. Whether the change is for better or worse, dogs will react to it. We all hope for a positive reaction, but we should always be prepared for a negative one. Anxiety is natural for many of us to experience, in both humans and dogs, and being aware and able to recognize the symptoms enable us to help our pets understand and embrace the new experiences in their life.
ASPCA. (2019). Separation Anxiety. In ASPCA. Retrieved from https://www.aspca.org/pet-care...
Kriss, R. (2019, May 14). Understanding, Prevent, and Treating Dog Anxiety. In American Kennel Club. Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-adv...
Striving for Safety. Instilling Safeness in the Organization. 08/10/19
Safety is our first priority for all the animals that come into our care at Paws Pet Resort. To help ensure that, we had all personnel at Paws become CPR certified! On July 21st, 2019, each person working at Paws took part in a course that educated us what to look for and how to take action when a dog or cat is in distress.
When it comes to humans, CPR is relatively easy because we all have the same type of anatomy. Dogs, on the other hand, have different bone structures. This significantly affects where the vital organs are within their bodies, and affecting how we would administer CPR to a particular dog. CPR is administered the same format as humans (i.e. duration of chest compressions, how to position the hands and arms, etc.). However, how dogs are positioned in relation to our bodies differs greatly. There are four main positions to keep in mind when administering CPR to a dog. First, average dogs (e.g. Labradors, Border Collies, etc.), are on their side with their back to us. We place our hands over the highest point on their chest. Second, keel chested dogs (e.g. Greyhounds, Vizslas, etc.), are positioned the same as average dogs except that we turn their body slightly upwards; where they are still on their side, but at an angle. Third, barrel chested dogs (e.g. Bull Dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, etc.), are laid on their back and we place hand on the center of their sternum; similar to humans. The fourth type of positioning for CPR includes puppies, kittens, cats, and small dogs. With the significant difference in size, we only use one hand for these chest compressions. We would place our hand around their chest and squeeze for the compressions. As well as practicing these CPR variations, we created an action plan of what each person would do in that scenario.
CPR is not the only procedure that requires an awareness of animal body type. The Paws employees also learned how to administer the Heimlich to chocking animals of varying sizes. Smaller animals require being held in our arms while we thrust the heel of our hand against their abdomen. On the other hand, larger dogs require being held with their hind legs up while another person thrusts the heel of their hand against their middle to upper back. In both situations, we are positioning them in a way to let gravity work for us.
As we discussed and practiced CPR and Heimlich techniques, the question of weather came into conversation. More specifically, the heat! With the several heat advisories found this summer, it has been crucial for Paws to be vigilant in our dogs’ body language. With this course, we confirmed our previous knowledge and further developed our understanding of what to watch for in this heat. Several dogs can withstand the heat due to the breathability of their noses, but other dogs (e.g. Bull Dogs) do not have the same amount of resilience. Regardless of their anatomy, it is critical to limit the outside play time in this insane heat. The signs we know to watch for are heavy panting with occasional frothing, wider stance, muddy pink gums, disorientation, and elevated heart rate. With these signs in mind, we learned that if a dog is heating up not to give them any ice or cold water. This is important because it will fool their mind into thinking they are cold and make them heat up even more. The weather may be a cause for concern in many minds when it comes to their pets, but with this knowledge we are better prepared to care for each and every animal.
Life can be unpredictable around animals. With the variables of toys, weather, animal anatomy and personality, there is much to be aware of in the subject of safety. Thankfully, with our persistent vigilance and newfound knowledge, safety is our first thought everyday — right before fun! With this article and our certification, you can have a peace of mind every time your beloved pet comes into our care.