Can I Give My Dog? Answers for Dog Owners Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:09:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Can I Give My Dog an IQ Test? Sat, 21 Feb 2015 08:37:41 +0000

Can I Give My Dog an IQ Test?We’ve all heard of taking an IQ test. It’s for testing intelligence but we usually associate it only with evaluation of the human mind. What’s even cooler, and much more fun, is giving your dog an IQ test.

People usually consider their own pet dogs to be very clever. What if you could truly evaluate how smart they actually are? IQ tests for dogs are easy to administer at home, won’t cost you anything and will help you better understand your four-legged friend.

Here we’ll provide some background and introduce some basic tests you can try out on your dog. While the results aren’t scientific, they do reveal a degree of canine intelligence. Remember though, intelligence can’t top unconditional love which is why dogs have always been considered man’s best friend.

Can I Give My Dog an IQ Test? Answer: Yes!

Your dog’s breed plays a big role in their inherit intelligence level but that doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions. Your dog may be clever regardless.

Science is discovering that the average pooch is much smarter than originally thought. What’s great is that canine intelligence can be evaluated through behavioral reactions, or simple problem solving, to common scenarios.

You can arrange such situations which will test your dog’s intelligence. There are also some great interactive toys which possibly improve canine intelligence.

Instinctive vs. Learned

Intelligence, for dogs, falls into two categories. One being instinctive, which is largely determined by their genetic makeup and their breed. This is their natural ability. The other kind of canine smarts is obtained from experience and training. In other words, a dogs’ learned intelligence is acquired. This somewhat explains why some dogs can be taught new tricks more easily than others.

Limits to K9 Intelligence Accuracy

Obviously there’s some overlap between these two types of mental abilities. Combine this with other factors such as your dog’s willingness to participate, level of enthusiasm, their health and you can see why results may not be completely accurate. But generally, if your pup is easy to train then they’re likely pretty smart. Actually, IQ testing sort of goes hand-in-hand with training dogs. In any case, the below examples are just some fun and interesting mental exercises you can try with your dog.

Some Basic IQ Tests

One of our favorites is a memory test using 3 cups. Cover up a tasty treat under one of the cups. Then, distract them with something else for awhile. After some time has passed, can they correctly locate their treat on the first try? Another is very silly but pretty revealing. With your dog watching, pretend to grab a snack somewhere in arm’s reach. While you are chewing your imaginary food, do they seem to realize you are just fooling around or do they actually salivate?

Testing your dog’s ability to recognize danger is another important aspect of canine intelligence. Does your dog know to look both ways before crossing the street? If you’ve observed that, in our book, that level of awareness will score them some serious cleverness points.

Now that you have an idea of what constitutes doggie smarts, you can literally think up hundreds of situations which require some level of reasoning on your dog’s part.

Scoring and Improvement

In order to accurately assess your dog’s IQ level, keep track of exactly how well they’re doing by recording their scores. Many unofficial tests can be found online that include systems for keeping score. We also recommend answering the great questions here for a decent assessment for your dog’s overall intelligence.

Conclusion on K9 IQ Testing

Dogs are generally very smart animals. Our neighbor’s dog literally brings his leash to his master when he knows it’s time for a walk. We found the inexpensive book called How Smart is Your Dog? to be very useful.

No doubt, you can get a better idea of your pet dog’s intelligence by checking certain reaction skills. Such tests for canines are fun and useful. Be sure to make any IQ tests enjoyable for your dog, definitely not too serious. And if they aren’t scoring well, don’t hold it against them. Remember that their breed plays a big role. If your dog isn’t exactly Einstein, they can still be brilliant in your eyes.

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Can I Give My Dog Sushi? Sat, 07 Feb 2015 06:31:30 +0000

Can I Give My Dog Sushi?Many people, including dog owners, have come to love eating sushi. It has become more popular over the years so the question of feeding a dog some sushi needs to be addressed. Of course, the answer isn’t as simple as yes or no but we’ll do our best.

At first glance it would seem to be an illogical idea because sushi can be quite expensive. It’s reasonable, just from a cost perspective, to want to save this special indulgence for yourself. Sure, in general, the price of sushi has come down but it remains an expensive treat for a dog.

More importantly, and as with any raw food, you must be mindful of bacteria and parasites. Sushi that’s no longer fresh can be dangerous for anyone including dogs. In this sense, it’s almost more important to consider the real reasons for wanting to feed sushi to your dog rather than the actual merits of the food itself.

Can I Give My Dog Sushi? Answer: Yes, fresh sushi & exclude some ingredients

Giving your dog some because it may no longer be up to your standards is a terrible idea. Always throw away your potentially spoiled sushi.

However, if you can afford to occasionally share your fresh sushi with your best buddy then it should be okay assuming you know what’s actually in the sushi. Most sushi is simply rolled-up cooked rice with raw fish and/or vegetables such as finely sliced cucumbers and seaweed. Sometimes it contains other foods like egg. But there are some ingredients found in some sushi varieties that are absolutely off limits for pet dogs.

Avocados in Sushi

Most store-bought sushi contains avocado which is very healthy for humans. However, it’s arguably harmful for dogs. While many people will debate this, doubts remain concerning a potential toxin called persin. For this reason, whether you purchase your sushi or make it at home, it would be best to avoid providing your dog with any kind containing avocados.

Sushi with Spices

Japan’s sushi is the original kind and arguably the best. The Japanese, but also many westerners, incorporate wasabi into sushi meals which obviously should be excluded if your dog eats some. But sushi’s popularity has also created many other variations and innovative recipes. For example, Thai-style sushi is likely to be spicy and even contain some garlic. These additional ingredients probably aren’t good for your dog and are best avoided.

Sushi Symptoms & Sicknesses

Maybe you came here worried that your dog is sick due to having eaten sushi. The most common reason for this would be that it was the first time they tried some. As is the case with many new foods, and especially something like sushi, gastrointestinal problems surface including diarrhea, loose stools, upset stomach and vomiting.

You’ll be happy to know that most times a dog will experience these symptoms for a short time and often recover on their own. They are usually quite good at purging their systems in this regard. However, if you have reason to believe the sushi was spoiled then there could be more cause for concern.

This is why you should never give your dog any humans foods that you wouldn’t eat. For sushi, this cautionary approach is even more important for your dog’s sake. In any case, no matter what the reason for your dog’s sickness, be sure to provide them with plenty of fresh water in order to avoid dehydration.

Bring your dog to a veterinarian if they’re sick and getting worse from consuming contaminated or rotten raw foods because some bacteria and parasites may overwhelm them. They may need veterinary assistance to rid their bodies of what is essentially poison.

Conclusion on Sushi

While not very economical, occasionally giving some sushi to your dog should be harmless. Be sure to only offer them the kind that doesn’t contain avocados, spices or other questionable ingredients for dogs. It’s important to remember that you should never even consider providing oldish leftover sushi to a four-legged friend. No pun intended but doing so is a recipe for disaster. After all, sushi has raw seafood as a main component which can quickly spoil and sicken your dog.

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Can I Get My Dog Apoquel? Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:49:53 +0000

Can I Give My Dog Apoquel?Providing Apoquel to an itchy dog seems very promising if you can get some! It’s a very new product and can often be difficult to obtain.

Nevertheless, unlike most human drugs that we cover, this FDA-approved medication was developed specifically for canines which is great. People are hearing good things about Apoquel, but there are always questions and little known details which we’ll be covering here.

If your dog is prone to itchiness, the type linked to allergies, your vet may recommend its use without hesitation. Once you’ve managed to get a Apoquel prescription, make an effort to read up on it for your pet’s sake.

Can I Give My Dog Apoquel ? Answer: Yes, by prescription

It’s generally better than Prednisone and usually comes with less side effects.

The medical term for itchiness is pruritus which is quite common in four-legged friends. It’s estimated that 10% of dogs suffer from some form of atopic dermatitis. Apoquel, which is administered orally, can be highly effective for treating itchy skin and inflammation problems as they relate to canine allergies.

This new drug begins working within 24 hours, as it starts to block your dog’s strong urges to scratch. Tablets are usually given twice daily, for a couple of weeks, before a reduction to once every day. Of course, your vet will instruct you on how to most effectively use Apoquel. Never deviate from that type of professional guidance.

Allergies & Quality of Life

Canine itchiness is usually the result of dermatitis-type allergies which can greatly affect the skin, resulting in a poor and declining quality of life. It’s a vicious cycle because when a dog scratches, it gradually worsens the condition. The absolute best thing to do is find the underlying reason for your dog’s allergies, if possible.

Apoquel, also known as Oclacitinib, cannot cure allergies. It only treats the resulting symptoms, keeping them under control.

Precautions & Bad Reactions

You’ll be happy to know that one of the biggest benefits of Apoquel is that it works concomitantly, meaning it interacts safely with many other treatments. However, you should never provide it to a dog that’s under 1 year of age or those breeding, pregnant or lactating. Further, Apoquel isn’t meant for dogs with serious infections because it can actually worsen them.

Once Apoquel has been administered you’ll need to closely observe your dog for symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite and lethargy. Although such problems typically resolve themselves, they do need to be looked after just in case symptoms significantly worsen.

Dosage and Other Info

Zoetis, the drug’s manufacturer, has had trouble keeping up with Apoquel’s high demand. Shortages are expected to continue well into 2015. This may be a good indication of this Janus kinase Inhibitor’s effectiveness but it also shows how common pruritus is among pet dogs.

As always, follow your veterinarian’s dosage recommendation. If you wish to cross-check, know that proper dosage is primarily based on your dog’s weight. Check out this handy Apoquel dosing chart for reference.

Prescription Problem

Apoquel cannot be purchased over-the-counter and the supply is tightly controlled. It’s only available through a veterinary prescription and if you’re lucky. One drawback to this situation is that once your dog goes on Apoquel, they may have to come off of it due to a supply shortages. Many dog owners have been frustrated, to say the least, regarding Zoetis’s handling of this sought-after product’s availability.

Conclusion on Apoquel

If you can obtain an ongoing prescription for Apoquel, from your local veterinarian, then it may be the itch solution you and your dog have been looking for. Just be sure to discuss some of the precautions mentioned here with your vet in case they overlook something. Be sure to ask them if their supply is enough for your dog to take it consistently.

While we recommend Apoquel, assuming your vet thinks it’s appropriate, do make an effort eliminate the source of your dog’s skin allergies before turning to medications. Often you’ll see results after changing their diet or avoiding certain elements found indoors and outdoors. Once you track down the culprit, you can really make a difference for your dog!

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Can I Give My Dog Lasix? Fri, 09 Jan 2015 07:41:34 +0000

Can I Give My Dog Lasix?If your vet has prescribed Lasix then you may have several questions and concerns. This popular diuretic brand may also be called Salix or Disal but the actual drug, or the generic name, is known as Furosemide. You’ll be happy to know that, according to the FDA, it’s generally safe if precautions are taken.

A veterinary prescription of this medicine should come with detailed information and directions for proper use. We’ll cover the basics here just in case. Even though it’s routinely used for dogs, when necessary, it is important to familiarize yourself with all aspects of this medication for your best friend’s sake because they may end up taking it long term.

There are several conditions which may warrant careful use of this diuretic. The primary benefit of Lasix’s application is to treat what’s known as edema, or water retention, which is often a complication as a result of a kidney disorder, liver disease or congestive heart failure. It may very well help to keep your dog alive!

Can I Give My Dog Lasix ? Answer: Yes, with vet approval

This loop diuretic can work effectively for dogs that are retaining water but dehydration is a real concern.

Be sure to monitor your dog closely while they are on this medication just to be on the safe side. It’s quite often used for dogs but, nevertheless, it wasn’t designed for them. Also, speak with your vet regarding long term use of Lasix because it has the potential to affect your dog’s vitamin and electrolyte balance. They may require a prescription diet or vitamin supplementation, perhaps added potassium.

How Lasix Works

Usually taken orally but also injectable, this medicine works by restricting absorption of water as well as certain nutrients in a dogs’ kidneys. By changing kidney function, it effectively eliminates excess fluids. You’ll likely notice that your buddy has to urinate more often which is totally normal.

Only your veterinarian can properly dose your dog for the safe and effective use of Lasix.

Possible Side Effects

Canine dehydration is the most common concern while taking Lasix or any other form of Furosemide. Since this is powerful diuretic, it would be easy for your dog to become dehydrated unless you see to it that this doesn’t happen.

There is a long list of other possible side effects which include a loss of appetite, lethargy, increased heart rate, jaundice, blurred vision, restlessness, stomachaches, muscle pain, diarrhea or vomiting and even seizures. Some of these are quite scary but, thankfully, such symptoms are not common. In any case, they may require immediate attention and a return to the vet.

There are also certain drugs that cannot be taken with Lasix. Furthermore, if your canine suffers from diabetes or certain liver or kidney diseases it should be taken into consideration before using this drug. Allergic reactions are also possible and can affect the mouth area including the ability to breath. These are all reasons why dogs should only be given this medication under the guidance of a qualified professional.

Be sure to limit your dog’s sun exposure while they are on this medication.

For Serious Conditions

If your dog has been put on Lasix, you are probably quite concerned for their well-being. This is certainly understandable since water retention of this kind is often associated with some serious medical problems. In fact, there are a number of conditions linked to the need for Lasix. They include a false pregnancy, high blood pressure, too much calcium or potassium in the blood, kidney failure, congestive heart failure and edema.

Conclusion on Lasix

Lasix can play an important role in prolonging your dog’s life if they are suffering from certain health conditions. It should, however, only be administered to a dog following a vet’s prescription including detailed dosing instructions. When it’s used properly, it’s highly effective for treating water retention and harmful side effects tend to be rare.

It’s a good idea, to discuss with your vet, the possible need for a special canine diet when long term use of this excellent diuretic is required. As always, monitor your beloved dog closely for signs of a bad reactions while they are on any medication. In this case, be especially vigilant for indications of dehydration by proving plenty of water since Lasix is a potent diuretic.

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Can I Give My Dog Unisom? Thu, 25 Dec 2014 09:17:14 +0000

Can I Give My Dog UnisomUnisom is a popular sleep aid and people have been known to give it to their dogs. Since this drug was developed for humans, you are right to feel reluctant about using it on your pet. Most over-the-counter medications are not so safe for canines.

Of course, it is better to address the underlying reasons for your dog’s sleep problems rather than medicating them. But if you do decide to administer Unisom, it’s important to understand that this product comes in several different variations which could have important implications for your four-legged friend.

When dogs have trouble sleeping, there are many alternatives for addressing it. While Unisom may actually work, there are probably better options available to you. We’ll cover all the aspects of this particular product as well as more natural approaches. Fido will be sleeping better in no time!

Can I Give My Dog Unisom? Answer: Some types of Unisom but there are better options

It can work but it must be dosed properly and it’s not a great solution to use on a long term basis.

As is the case with many OTC products, there are different formulas which creates confusion. You really must study the variations of Unisom because certain ingredients can be more harmful than others. Depending on the type of Unisom used, you will be introducing Diphenhydramine, Acetaminophen, Doxylamine Succinate or a combination of these into your dog’s system.

Different Types of Unisom

Most versions of this sleep-aid are very similar to Benadryl. This is because the antihistamine found in both is called Diphenhydramine which has strong sedative properties. Assuming its use is appropriate and that you provide a proper dose, your dog should be okay taking these products on occasion.

As a result, SleepGels, QuickMelts and Unisom Liquid are the safer types of this readily available brand. The other versions, known as SleepTabs and PM Pain are much more dangerous because they contain Doxylamine Succinate and Acetaminophen, respectively.

Never allow your dog to have any medicines containing either Doxylamine Succinate or Acetaminophen!

The Dosage Guidelines

We don’t like to recommend OTC dosage because there are many factors that can go into dosing your particular pet dog. Generally, 1mg of Unisom per pound of body weight is sufficient for most dogs. Liquid Unisom may be the easiest to administer.

Speak with your vet before you do anything because the above is just a general guideline. It doesn’t take into account many other factors that only your veterinarian can accurately adjust for.

Some Unisom Alternatives

When applicable, a lifestyle change could be very helpful for canine sleep problems before turning to meds for help. If your dog is just lazy or especially inactive, maybe they need to get outside more and move around. Dogs should be routinely running, jumping and playing in order to exhaust themselves. This, in turn, promotes better sleep as well as sleeping habits. A poor diet can also affect their sleep.

It could be that your dog has other health issues which prevents them from sleeping properly. Arthritis or other aches and pains can contribute to poor sleep which is most unfortunate. But before using something like Unisom, why not try giving your beloved dog some Melatonin. It’s generally a healthier alternative mostly because it’s natural!

Conclusion on Unisom

Unisom may be used to help your dog sleep although there are certainly better medicines for treating sleep disorders. Keep in mind that over-the-counter meds aren’t designed as a long term solution for people or dogs.

Different versions of Unisom can be very dangerous because they contain certain harmful chemicals. For this reason, never provide your beloved dog with PM Pain or SleepTabs which are also marketed as Unisom. The only acceptable versions are the kind that have only Diphenhydramine as the active ingredient. Confirm this information as well as a safe dose with your vet prior to use.

Finally, please try to treat the cause of your pup’s sleeping issues rather than reacting to the symptoms. Most dog’s sleep fairly well unless they are regularly experiencing chronic pain, in which case they should be treated by a qualified veterinarian.

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Can I Give My Dog Milk Thistle? Thu, 11 Dec 2014 11:14:36 +0000

Can I Give My Dog Milk Thistle?Milk thistle can be highly beneficial for canine health. Also known as Silybum marianum, this flowery plant is something of a herbal miracle in the way that it can cleanse your dog’s body of toxins. Some people think it can help in many other ways, as a natural supplement, which we’ll also discuss.

While milk thistle is sometimes used in foods, it’s best known as a holistic health remedy. It can be great for assisting in your dog’s recovery as well as for an alternative treatment in some cases. But it’s most commonly used for detoxifying the liver. If your dog has liver problems, this plant may be what you’re looking for. It is even said to reduce the growth of cancer cells!

While research on this herbal remedy isn’t totally conclusive, nevertheless, use of this ancient colorful flower seems to be very promising. It is indeed safe for use in dogs, in reasonable amounts, so we put it on the list of recommended plants for pet health.

Can I Give My Dog Milk Thistle? Answer: Yes

It’s a natural detox, among other things, which may be useful and effective for people and dogs, alike.

Since milk thistle has become rather well known, it now comes in powder, liquid and capsule forms. Therefore, it can be easily administered to your dog. The Chinese have been using this amazing herb for a long time.

Basically, this flower contains a flavonoid called Silymarin which helps to release toxins which congregate in the liver. It also assists by allowing the regeneration of cells. When the need arises, your dog may have their immune system strengthen as a result of taking milk thistle.

Heartworms & Milk Thistle

Heart worm disease is unfortunately a reality for some dogs, especially when infected mosquitoes are around. It can do serious damage to the organs including the liver. But the medicines used to treat it can also be very harmful.

Supplementing your dog’s heartworm treatment with milk thistle can be highly beneficial for them. It may be the best natural liver detox and is certainly preferable to using a chemically-laced tick or flea prevention product during such a difficult time in a dog’s life.

In Cases of Poisoning

Since milk thistle helps to cleanse the body of toxins, it can be a life saver in certain situations. If your dog ingested poisonous mushrooms, providing this herb may greatly detoxify their system. It’s also known to treat things like lead poisoning and likely many other cases of toxicosis.

Of course, you should always reach out to your vet in any case of poisoning. Your dog’s life is valuable and therefore stronger or more proven detoxifying methods may be required.

Other Milk Thistle Uses

While known as the liver herb, milk thistle can potentially help with inflammatory bowel disease, many other canine digestive problems, skin problems associated with liver disease, slowing the spread of some cancers, reducing inflammation of the pancreas and for bacterial infections such as Leptospirosis.

Some of these health problems are common in dogs which makes milk thistle an attractive alternative medicine. Since it’s also an antioxidant, it promotes overall health and can support your dog following vaccinations, drug therapies and recovery from infections.

The Recommended Dosage

If your dog is pregnant then milk thistle is definitely not recommended. Further, you should only provide it to your dog if you have a good reason to do so. With that said, sometimes a proper dose is difficult to calculate because extracts contains varying levels of strength.

10mg per pound of canine body weight, taken daily, is usually sufficient. If your dog is in serious condition higher dosages may be advisable but you really should talk with a veterinarian first, preferably one who believes in alternative approaches to wellness.

Conclusion on Milk Thistle

We cover many questionable medicines and foods here. Milk Thistle stands out in that it is harmless yet potentially highly beneficial for dogs. While it isn’t guaranteed to be effective for your pup, you may wish to at least try it while keeping an open mind. Depending on the situation, it’s worth a shot for your dog’s sake.

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