Tips To Treat Common Dog Health Problems

He Relies On You

Dog Owner's Guide To Health Tips

Your canine pal is really a member of the family and when he has a health issue he relies on you to take care of it.  He can't tell you what's wrong and he can't tell you where it hurts so that means you've got to at least be able to recognize symptoms and be able to give him some relief.

That doesn't mean you don't take him to the vet.  The veterinarian should be part of your dog's health team but often times a home remedy can take care of the problem.  What follows are some simple tips on common dog health issues that you can use to help your furry buddy.

Say Goodbye To Fleas

If you own a dog then you know how miserable they can be in flea season.  You also know that Fido is bringing them into the house and they are taking up residence in your carpet.  In fact when your furry friend isn't around, the fleas may decide to dine on your ankle instead.

So how do you get rid of them.

The easiest way is to use a product like Frontline or Advantix.  These can get pretty pricey especially if you have a bigger dog but they work.  Here's a hint that might save u a dollar or two.  If your dog is on the borderline of the weight limit, go with the lower weight.  Gor example if your dog weighs 11 pounds, buy the dose that is for dogs up to 10 pounds.

This stuff lasts longer than advertised so buying a slightly lower dose is not going to have any noticeable reduction in effectiveness.  Conversely if you buy the dose for dogs 11 to 20 pounds, know that your 11 pound dog is going to be protected for longer than 30 days.  Just watch for the first sign of fleas to administer the next "monthly" dose.

If you don't want to go with chemicals you can give this a try.  Chunk up five lemons and add them, peels and all, to a quart of water.  Bring the water to a boil and let it boil for 5 minutes then take it to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Let it cool to room temperature and then pour the liquid through a strainer into a bowl.  From there pour the contents of the bowl into an empty spray bottle.  Shazamm!  Instant flea repellent.  You can liberally spray down Fido and work the lemon water into his fur and skin.  There's an enzyme in the peel of the lemon that fleas are not very partial to.

As an added bonus you can spay this on your furniture as well with little risk of staining.

And your carpets?  Get any detergent that is based on borax and sprinkle it all over the carpet.  Work it into the fibers with a steel garden rake and then let it sit overnight.  If you want to make a real deadly powder for fleas and their larva, add just a little fine sand to that detergent.  Vacuum it up thoroughly and dispose of the vacuum bag immediately.

The borax creates an absolute flea dessert and the sand actually cuts into the larva.  This is basically the same stuff that professionals use commercially.

Dog Diarrhea

It's simply a fact of dog ownership that you are going to have to clean up after your dog has had a bout of diarrhea.  Dogs will eat almost anything and many times they eat stuff that their system is not happy with.  Diarrhea is typically just a natural way to void the dog's body of the offending food.

So long as the dog's stool is clear, then the easiest way to deal with this is simply to pick up his food bowl and put him on a 24 hour fast.

Make sure he has access to and is drinking plenty of water.  Dehydration is the biggest risk with diarrhea.  Dogs are pretty durable animals and they can go 3 or 4 days without food but if they don't have water they get in trouble fast.

To check for dehydration simply pinch the skin at the nape of the neck.  If it doesn't snap back right away, if it remains "tented", then you need to get him to the vet pronto. 

During the fast, try giving him 2 tablespoons of canned pumpkin.  If he's not thrilled with that you can try Pepto Bismol at a rate of half an ounce for every 10 pouds of dog weight.

After the fast, put him on a bland diet like rice and chicken for 3 days.  Just make sure you have one source of protein and one source of carbohydrates.  At the end of 4 days try putting down his own food.

If he gobbles it up he is probably ok.  If he avoids it then it's time to call the vet for advice.

Dreaded Dog Itchy Skin

The problem with a dog constantly scratching or licking his skin is that's a symptom of a variety of different ailments so it's difficult to know just what the cause is.  However here's a list of quick tips that can relieve the itching until you find out what is causing it.

Itchy Paws

Put 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts in a bowl of water and have Rover soak his paw.  The itch will go away along with any swelling.

Itchy Skin

If it's summertime, get your dog a shorter cut.  Dogs with heavy coats can't get sufficient ventilation for their skin and that can create conditions ideal for the growth of bacteria.  He doesn't need to get a buzz cut just a good thinning out.

Oatmeal baths are also a great way to ease the itching and calm the dog down.  There are a number of commercial oatmeal shampoos available or uou can make it yourself.  Here's a hint.  Run the oatmeal through you espresso bean grinder before adding it to the water.  This will make rinsing a whole lot easier.

If your dog has developed a hot spot from licking an area until the hair falls out try this.  Clean the area with soapy water and rinse.  Be sure to remove any hair that has become embedded in the spot.  Use tea tree oil applied with a cotton swab to act as an astringent.  This stuff has the added benefit of tasting horrible and may keep your dog from licking the area.

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