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segunda-feira, 17 de setembro de 2018

The Real Truth about Probiotics for Dogs

Just like humans, the majority of a dog’s immune system resides in his gut. The gut is the largest immune organ in the body and contains approximately 70% of all immune cells. So keeping your dog’s digestive system running optimally is essential to making sure that he stays healthy, active, and lives a full and healthy life.
One way to potentially improve your dog’s digestive health is to offer him a daily probiotic supplement. There have been extensive studies on the benefits of probiotics in humans, however, veterinary research is just starting to really dive into how supplementing your pup with a variety of good bacteria can aid in keeping him healthy.

What are Probiotics for Dogs?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines probiotics as “live microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” According to American Kennel Club (AKC) veterinary expert, Jerry Klein, DVM, probiotics (bacteria or yeast) can potentially provide an array of health benefits to dogs.

 “They are believed to help treat and/or prevent a variety of illnesses and diseases, especially those related to the gastrointestinal system,” he explains. They inhibit the growth and activity of harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens, as well as provide other advantages to the intestines.

Brennen McKenzie, VMD, who practices at Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos, California, has studied the use of probiotics in canines extensively and believes that there are definitely some benefits to dogs taking them. “In theory, if probiotics can pass through the stomach and colonize the intestines, they can have a variety of desired effects, such as preventing or treating diarrhea or improving other intestinal conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease,” he states.

Benefits of Probiotics for Dogs

In a peer-reviewed journal, Marcella D. Ridgway, VMD, MS, DACVIM notes that there is growing evidence that supports the use of probiotics for dogs. She states that giving your dog healthy bacteria may positively impact chronic GI abnormalities, obesity, liver disease, and mood and behavior disorders. A daily probiotic supplement may also provide some ancillary benefits for dogs such as better skin and coat appearance, a reduction in gas, improved breath, a reduction of allergy symptoms, a reduction in yeast-associated disorders, and help in regulating bowel function.

Types of Probiotics for Dogs

Probiotics for dogs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. “Some are marketed just for dogs, some for a range of animals, and some for humans (that are subsequently used in dogs),” says J. Scott Weese, DVM at the Department of Pathobiology at the Ontario Veterinary College. “These can come as pills, powders, pastes, or solutions.”
Each probiotic supplement contains one or more types of bacteria and/or yeast that can carry out a variety of different functions. For instance, certain strains, such as Bifidobacterium, are known to be helpful in slowing down the duration of diarrhea in dogs and for their overall immune boosting properties. Other types, like Lactobacillus, have shown benefits in helping dogs to increase the absorption of nutrients and to optimize their digestive systems.

What to Look for in a Dog Probiotic

“There is no one probiotic supplement that is best for every dog and every health condition,” says Dr. Jennifer Coates, Veterinary Advisor for petMD.  Most veterinarians carry a number of different products from trusted manufacturers and will try several before concluding that probiotics aren’t going to be helpful in a particular case. Dr. Coates reports that the following probiotic strains have some scientific evidence to support their safety and efficacy in dogs:

- Enterococcus faecium
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus casei
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Bifidobacterium animalis
- VSL #3

Can I Give My #Dog Probiotics Meant for Humans?

While there are no known studies that prove that human probiotic supplements can harm a dog, veterinarians that study the subject recommend that pet owners opt for a probiotic that is specially made for dogs and contains the specific strains that a dog’s gut needs. “There are significant differences in the biology of dogs and humans, including differences in the acidity of stomach fluids, digestive enzymes, and other features of the gastrointestinal tract,” says McKenzie. “Because probiotics for humans have not been designed or tested to accommodate the biology of dogs, it is impossible to know if these will be safe or effective in our canine companions. It is safer to use products designed and tested for dogs.”

How to Give a Dog a #Probiotic

Canine probiotic supplements are administered orally and can be included in a dog’s food or wrapped in a treat. When administering a probiotic to a dog, it’s very important that you follow the instructions on the product label. “Each product has its own instructions which should be followed consistently,” says McKenzie. “Improperly formulated or administered probiotics can easily be destroyed in the stomach and not reach the intestines where they are intended to perform their function.”

Risks and Considerations of Probiotics for Dogs

There are not many known side effects to administering probiotics to your dog. “Probiotics are generally regarded as safe, but rare things can happen,” says Weese. “The risks to the average dog are exceptionally low and probably are only potentially relevant in very young puppies and maybe animals with highly compromised immune systems.” He stresses, however, that there are notable problems with the formulation of commercial probiotics for pets. “A few studies have shown that most commercial veterinary probiotics do not contain what they claim to contain—both the species that are present and the numbers of viable organisms,” he explains. For this reason, it is important to do your research and talk to your veterinarian to make sure that you are giving your dog a probiotic supplement from a trusted and reputable brand.

As always, talk to your veterinarian before deciding to give your dog any sort of supplement or treatment intended to help resolve health problems. “This is particularly true for probiotics, as specific manufacturing standards and appropriate dosage levels have not been established,” warns Klein. “Your veterinarian will have the best perspective on whether or not your dog may benefit from probiotics, what the best brand may be for your dog, and the appropriate dosage.”

sexta-feira, 14 de setembro de 2018

Adopt a Pet

Every dog or cat not purchased from a pet store or backyard breeder improves the pet overpopulation problem created by irresponsibility and greed.
Adopting a dog or cat from a no-kill shelter can free up space for older or special needs pets that may not find new homes before the end of their natural lives.

adopt a pet
Adopt a Pet

There are plenty of animals to choose from at most shelters. They come in every age, shape, size, coat color and breed mix, and you can find purebreds at shelters as well. In fact, many breeds have their own rescue organizations, so if you're looking for a purebred, make sure to check both your local shelter and breed rescue organization.

Compared to the cost of purchasing a pet, adopting one from an animal shelter is relatively inexpensive. And if you get a slightly older dog or cat, there's a good chance he is already fully vaccinated and neutered.

Adopting an older pet allows you to skip over the time consuming, often frustrating puppy or kitten stage of development.

Adopting a mature dog or cat also takes the guesswork out of determining what your pet will look like as an adult – what size she'll grow to, the thickness and color of her coat and her basic temperament, for example.
Depending on his background, your older pet may already be housebroken or litter box trained and know basic obedience commands like come, sit, stay and down.

Most shelters and rescue organizations do assessments on every new pet taken in, to determine things like temperament, whether the pet has any aversion to other pets or people, whether he is housebroken, has had obedience training, etc. Many of these organizations also have resources to help pets with lack of training or behavioral issues. So when you adopt a pet from one of these organizations, you have a pretty good idea what to expect from your new dog or cat when you bring him home.

Many shelters and rescues also provide lots of new owner support in the form of materials about training, common behavior problems, nutrition, basic grooming and general care. In some cases there are even free hotlines you can call for questions on behavior, training and other concerns.
If you have kids, and especially if the new pet will belong to a child, adopting a shelter animal can open a young person's eyes to the plight of homeless pets. It can also help him learn compassion and responsibility, as well as how wonderful it feels to provide a forever home to a pet that might otherwise live life in a cage, or be euthanized.

An older adoptive pet can be the perfect companion for an older person. Many middle-aged and senior dogs and cats require less physical exertion and attention than younger animals.

An adopted pet can enrich your life in ways both big and small. The unconditional love and loyalty of a dog or cat can lift depression, ease loneliness, lower blood pressure, and give you a reason to get up in the morning. A kitty asleep in your lap feels warm and comforting. A dog that loves to walk or run outdoors can be just the incentive you need to start exercising regularly.

There are countless benefits to pet ownership, and when you know you saved your furry companion from an unpleasant fate, it makes the bond you share that much more meaningful.

quinta-feira, 13 de setembro de 2018

Why Is My Dog's Fur Changing Color & Thinning?

A sleek and shiny coat is one sign of a healthy dog. Changes in your dog's coat, either in color or in thickness, can signal that something is not quite right. Many things can cause these changes, from normal aging to more serious conditions that require attention. Paying attention to your dog's coat over time can help you gauge the quality of his health and be attentive to his needs.


Much like people, dogs tend to lose pigmentation in their fur as they get older. Generally, white or graying fur on an elderly or middle-aged dog is most noticeable around the muzzle, although white or gray hairs can spring up throughout the dog's entire coat. Thinning fur is also common among aging dogs. These are usually accompanied by other signs of aging, such as a gradual loss of hearing or vision, or the dog having difficulty moving as well as it used to. If your dog is advanced in years but otherwise healthy, then graying or thinning hair is most likely nothing to worry about.

Medical Conditions

There are a number of medical conditions that can cause hair loss or changes in pigmentation in dogs. These range from skin conditions, such as mange or flea dermatitis, to hormonal deficiencies such as hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease, to more serious illnesses such as cancer. If fur loss or discoloration seems more extreme than simple aging, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as a rash, unexplained lumps on the body, or changes in appetite or stool consistency, or anything else about your dog that strikes you as not quite right, you should have him checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible.


Dogs are very sensitive creatures who don't react well to stress. Too much stress can cause dogs to suddenly lose their fur. After removing the source of the stress from the dog's environment, or removing the dog from the stressful situation, its fur will most likely grow back in time.

Poor Nutrition

Pattern baldness in a dog, focused mainly around the ears, can be a sign of malnutrition. If you notice this type of hair loss, check your dog's diet to make sure he is getting the right balance of nutrients in the correct amounts for his size and weight. You may need to consider adding a nutritional supplement to his diet.