About LA Theriault

5 Indestructible Dog Toys for Any Dog

I know what it’s like to try and find indestructible dog toys for pit bulls.  My pit mix, although not nearly as strong as some other dogs, easily slices through most of his toys as if they were cookies. I thought it would be nice to give you a glimpse into some of the top-rated toys. I’ve tried a few of the toys listed below, and my favorite hands-down is the Kong. My dog has carried that around for years without so much as a scratch.
Again, I really want to stress that what is indestructible for one dog, could be entirely dismantled by another dog.  My advice is to put the toys away if you’re not going to be home for a few hours, or if your attention is going to be diverted.  The minute a toy or a ball splits in half I toss it in the garbage. My neighbor’s pit bull split a huge Kong in half and ended up with a severe intestinal blockage!

5 Indestructible Dog Toys for Any Dog

DISCLAIMER: I haven’t tried ALL of these toys. This post was written based on top reviews. I’m pretty good at eye-balling dog toys (lots of practice) as well. 

#1  Indestructible 10 inch Large Dog Ball in Orange  (Photo is in the carousel above)

This toy is touted by the company as “The Toughest Dog Ball on the PLANET!” 
From what I could see, the overall reviews seemed to support the claim, but I would still pay attention – just in case.  The company describes the ball as a “durable dog toy that come in two sizes. Most of the dog balls are designed with ridges, holes or indentations. These ensure that your fetching Labrador retriever has an easy time grabbing the ball and toting it back to your waiting hands without dropping it along the way. Our dog balls also float, enabling hours of splashing retrieval from backyard pools, creeks and ponds or shoreline and lakeside retreats.”
This toy is dishwasher safe and crafted in the United States. It is non-toxic and…to be honest…sounds like fun.



2.    SoCal Bully Pit Bull Spring Pole – (1) Dog Conditioner – Muscle Builder with (1) $15 Value Heavy Duty 3 Knott Tug Rope Toy Included!  (Photo is in the carousel above)

I love watching people play with their dogs and I’m always amazed at how strong certain breeds are (i.e., bully breeds)! Dog toys for pit bulls are getting better these days. Companies know how much you love  your dog and they want to make sure you’re impressed right from the get-go.  I chose this toy because the idea of sitting in my Adirondack chair with a coffee while watching my pit bull mix play with this sounds appealing. 



According to some reviewers, it’s important to start with the toy only a few feet off the ground to encourage puppies to play.  This is a great toy to start a puppy on, before he/she expects YOU to be the entertainer. I made the mistake of doing that with my dogs. Now they don’t know how to entertain themselves. I’m sure you read in the disclaimer above that I haven’t tried all of the toys in this review.  However, not going to lie….I might just order this one. It’s worth trying out! Reviewers are saying that this particular toy really wears ’em out.

3. Antler Dog Chews Large 3-Pack Save big 7-in long natural sheds from Texas

Okay, I realize that antler dog chews aren’t exactly “toys”, but they last a long time and keep your dog entertained.  I would buy these before I’d ever give my dog another type of bone. Things like chicken bones, for example, tend to splinter in a dog’s mouth.  To be honest, I’m always a little worried about my dog accidentally choking.  Regardless of what I give my dogs, I’d make sure to stick around…just in case.  

My biggest beef (pun intended) would be buying the antler dog chews and then losing them!   Then again, my dogs would love them so much I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t lose them accidentally.  They might store them somewhere though.



The review, of course, was stellar on this product.  Full disclosure:   There was only one review. But it was good! Any product that can keep my dogs busy “up to 2 hours straight” is worth the money in spades.  Is it just me?  I mean, I love my dogs, but sometimes it’s nice to just have a minute to not play ball! 


4.  Dog Rubber Chew Toy For Aggressive Chewers Puppy (Small Medium Large) Dogs Breeds Rotatable TPR Pet Tooth Cleaning

So maybe I don’t get out much, but it really wasn’t until recently that I noticed you can buy toys and stuff food into them.  I know, I’m an idiot. I’ve HAD those things for my dogs, but it didn’t really clue in that those empty spaces were there for a reason.  I can see your eyes rolling!   You know how puppies love to chew everything including your ankles, wrists, clothes, and power cords? I have a good feeling that this rubber chew toy would take care of that in a hurry. At least it would keep him/her busy for a while and (hopefully) relieve that urge to chew.

KIND OF FUNNY:  The seller posted this notice to all potential buyers:  Diameter: 7CM, made of non-toxic soft safety rubber material, BPA-frees. DON’T buy this product from these seller named “Meiso Online”, This is a FAKE seller. You’ll never get the order.


The reviews were excellent for this toy.  It’s worth stressing that the toy is really for smaller dog breeds and/or puppies.


Kong EXTREME dog pet toy Dental chew Size:  Large Packs:  Pack of 2

Now we’re getting into familiar territory. I love Kong toys for my dogs. They are seriously the only toy that hasn’t been chewed through.  Yes, we have lost a few of them, but that was mostly my fault for being a sucky ball thrower.  This particular toy is large, but you can get a variety of sizes at your local pet supply store, department store, or online shop.


One particular reviewer raved about the Kong and how her 70 pound Coon Hound wasn’t able to chew through it. I mean, that’s pretty amazing, right? She goes on to rave about the product being dishwasher safe which is kind of weird because who puts a Kong in the dishwasher?  Anyway…she also says the toy is freezer safe.  I’ve never thought to freeze the treats but it’s a great idea in hot weather or when you really reaaaaallly want to stretch out dog-treat-time.

The Kong got 5/5 stars.


At the end of the day, the most important thing is your dog’s safety.  I want to reiterate that I haven’t personally tested all of these products and – like any product – I suggest keeping an eye on your dog while they have a toy in their mouths.  You already knew that; I just had to say it.  I was serious earlier when I mentioned digging out my credit card to buy these toys.   I have a suspicion that even the smaller ball would go far with treats in it.  My dogs are strong, but they’re not stupid.  They would make sure all the treats were eaten long before they destroyed the ball itself. 

I hope you enjoyed this review on “indestructible” dog toys.  Don’t forget to share the post and make sure you stick around to read more.  New to the site?  Start at My Story to find out more about me.  Don’t worry…it’s not nearly as boring as my author bio below.  




Plain Language Explanations of Luxating Patella Dog Massage

Before I talk about luxating patella dog massage, it’s important that I let you know I am not a veterinarian. I don’t play one on TV, either. I do, however, carefully research everything that I write about and I always suggest that dog owners consult with their veterinarian for any dog-health concerns. 

In this article, I want to try to provide plain-language information that will help you do 3 things:

  • Understand the dynamics of a luxating patella.
  • Recognize the 4 grades of a luxating patella.
  • How to carefully administer luxating patella dog massage.

What the Heck is Luxating Patella Dog Massage?

Before I get into luxating patella dog massage, I need to help you understand what the condition is.  You have to understand that luxating patella dog massage should only be administered after a veterinarian has diagnosed the condition, shown you some methods, and has given you the okay to practice this at home.

 A luxating patella is also known as a:

  • trick-knee,
  • slipped kneecap,
  • dislocated kneecap
  • floating kneecap

Those are words everybody can understand! To help explain what happens, I’m going to ask you to picture a child’s race track. You remember those? You place the toy car at the top of the track and let it go. In theory, the car is suppose to barrel down the track, do a complete loop, and finish right-side-up at the end of the track.


Luxating Patella Dog Massage

I’ve played with a few race tracks in my life, including one I bought for my son, and it never quite worked the way it was supposed to. It always seemed as if the groove in the race track wasn’t deep enough, and the toy cars were too light.

As a result, the car would end up jumping the track.  What happens to the car is similar to what happens to the dog’s knee when it slips out of joint.

In a dog, the kneecap sits in a groove something like that of a race track. If the groove is deep enough, there’s no problem. If the groove is too flat, the knee is at risk of sliding left or right.

LATERAL LUXATING PATELLA (aka LEFT-SLIDING KNEECAP): Lateral luxation is actually rare and happens when the kneecap slides to the outside of the leg.

MEDIAL LUXATING PATELLA (aka KNEECAP SLIDES INWARD): This is much more common, especially in small breeds. In this case, the kneecap slips out of the groove and slides toward the dog’s body.

When this happens, you might notice your dog jump and skip. It kind of looks like a bunny hop, then quickly fixes itself. It’s possible it’s happened many times before you even noticed it.

I love the way the woman in the video below explains it. She has slo-mo images of her dog running and climbing and makes it super easy to understand! It’s worth taking a few minutes to watch it.



Hello? You Were Going to Talk About Luxating Patella Dog Massage!

Right.  Sorry.  So here’s the thing; luxating patella dog massage should only be done after a veterinarian shows you precisely how to do it. I’m not trying to get out of explaining it to you (in fact, I will try). I just want to make sure you understand that unless the problem is very minor, massage isn’t the answer, and could even make it worse.

Okay, so let’s assume you’ve been to the veterinarian and you’ve been given some tips on luxating patella massage. The first thing you should do is sit with your dog in a relaxed, quiet location. Instead of going straight for the knee, I prefer to calmly pet my dog in long, slow motions from the tip of the head down the back. Here are a few steps to get into it:

1) Make sure you’re in a quiet location without other animals around.

2) Sit quietly with your dog until he/she is fully relaxed.

3) I start with regular patting in long, easy strokes. Once I see my dog is okay with this, I gradually increase the pressure. Not too much!

4) Once my dog’s head is down and I can see she’s fully relaxed, I gently but firmly encircle the top of each leg (the healthy legs first) and rub from the top, down towards each kneecap, but not on the kneecap.

5) Never apply a lot of pressure directly on the kneecap or any joint.

6) Finally, when I get to the tender knee, I ease my way into it with soft rubbing around the knee (not on the knee). When I see my dog isn’t flinching or scared, I start back at the top of that leg. Using just my thumbs, I press firmly and slide my thumbs down to the kneecap and stop. I repeat that several times to bring blood flow to the knee.

7) Again, never place direct pressure on any joint. That said, I carefully move my hand over the knee to get a sense of how it feels. If it feels like it’s in place and my dog still isn’t showing any distress, I will continue massaging the leg, always being extra careful around the knee joint.

I like the following youtube video demonstrating dog massage although I’m not in a position to endorse it. I would massage my dog, but only if he/she had no serious condition.

No massage oil is needed or required.


Hey, it’s not that I don’t trust you. I’m not a veterinarian, and if you’re reading this I’m guessing you’re not a veterinarian either. Here’s the thing, if the luxating patella is graded 2, 3, or especially 4, the dog may require surgery and physiotherapy. Performing at-home massage could aggravate the condition and you don’t want that.

Here is a List of Dogs More Prone to Luxating Patella:

Small, or toy breeds, tend to be more prone to this problem. In many cases it’s simply a genetic defect. Puppies should be exercised in moderation. Excessive exercise while the puppy is still forming his/her skeletal body could inflict damage. However, that’s really not the main cause of the problem.

You’re more likely to see luxating patellas in:

  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Pekingese
  • Chihuahua
  • Boston Terrier
  • Pomeranian
  • Affenpinscher
  • American cocker spaniel
  • Basset hound
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  • English springer spaniel
  • Lhasa Apsa
  • Maltese
  • Papillon
  • Pomeranian
  • Toy Poodle
  • Pug
  • Shar Pei

What Were You Saying About Grading a Luxating Patella?

Like any medical condition, there are usually different grades of a disease or condition. With a dog, slipped knees or trick knees are classified in grades of 1 to 4 as follows:

1. Grade I:  This is a fairly easy grade to manage. The knee might slip out of place but it easily goes back in. It can be massaged and generally doesn’t become a huge problem. The dog isn’t in pain.

2. Grade II: Things get a little trickier here. The knee can be put back into place but it’s likely to come right back out once the dog resumes activity. He might not be in pain, but there’s a possibility of developing arthritis. And THAT will cause pain.

3. Grade III: You can probably guess that we’re getting into some tricky territory at this point. Here, the dog is in pain and there’s a greater likelihood that surgery will be required because the knee remains out of joint most of the time.

4. Grade IV:  At this level, the kneecap simply can’t be manually readjusted, even with the leg fully extended.

Will Luxating Patella Dog Massage Ever Be An Option?

Here’s the answer everyone hates:  yes and no.

Luxating patella dog massage is never advised at grades 2 to 4, which is why you need to have your veterinarian’s approval. He/she is the only person who can tell you what stage the dog is in.

Again, the steps to massage I’ve noted above are not to be performed on a dislocated kneecap and never without your veterinarian’s okay. Your dog might not require surgery, but a knee brace and/or physiotherapy is possible. Another treatment mode could include hydrotherapy.

If your dog must have surgery, the veterinarian will suggest the best post-recovery plan for your dog. During the healing process, the leg and knee should not be massaged at all. The veterinarian MIGHT give you the okay after the knee has had time to heal in position, but ask first.

Types of Surgical Intervention:

Veterinarians generally don’t want to jump straight to surgery. It’s expensive (somewhere in the $2000 range), and there is always a risk when putting a dog under anesthesia. If surgery is recommended, it usually follows three steps:

  • the groove is deepened (remember the analogy of the race track?)
  • malformation of the shin bone is corrected
  • over-stretched ligaments around the kneecap are shortened.

In a long-term situation where the cartilage has completely worn away (the way it does with arthritic patients), the kneecap can be put back in place, but the cartilage cannot be replaced. In this situation, the dog has a better quality of life, but it isn’t perfect.

Luxating Patellas (Slipped Knees) Can Happen at Any Age

If you have a small dog breed, don’t think you’re out of the woods because he/she is still a puppy. In fact, if genetics plays a role (and it usually does), you might see this problem earlier rather than later.

If you ever see your dog suddenly do a “bunny hop” that quickly returns to normal, don’t pass it off as a one-time thing. That’s a clear sign of a sliding kneecap.

If your dog is getting older and has had this problem, there is a risk of the dog tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee (otherwise known as the ACL joint). This is really painful and likely requires surgery.

So…What Am I Looking For Exactly?

In the early stages, it might actually look cute. You know..your dog is running and jumping, hopping and shaking his leg. It’s quick and it returns to normal so you might e inclined to think it was just a “thing”.  In reality, you should be watching for the following signs:

  • Limping.
  • Favoring one leg
  • Knee won’t bend
  • Pain when moving the leg
  • Hesitates to jump or run
  • Won’t exercise at all

Gently inspect your dog’s leg for any swelling and make an appointment to see the veterinarian. While on the phone, ask what you can do to make your dog more comfortable while waiting for the appointment.

Good luck! The best part of having a dog is the joy and exuberance it brings to the family. Nothing takes joy out of your life than a dog who can’t move. It’s sad and painful for everybody. Take good care of your little family member and remember….no massage unless the veterinarian has given instruction.

Hi!  I’m Lisa and this is one of my dog’s Coco. He’s a hoot. In this photo, he obviously doesn’t want to give up the ball. 

Look, I’ve already mentioned that I’m not a veterinarian. I love dogs and I would never knowingly say or do anything to harm them. Please take the information I’ve given you for entertainment purposes. I think it’s mostly on-track, but I would rather you take your dog to a qualified veterinarian.

Take a minute to read my disclaimer and privacy policy on the homepage and make sure you come back! I’ve got lots of info up my sleeve and big plans for the future that you don’t want to miss. To find out what I’m all about, please read my story.

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7 Antidepressants That Can Cause Serotonin Syndrome in Dogs

Serotonin Syndrome in dogs is most often caused by accidental ingestion of owner’s medication.  This is especially dangerous if the dog is already on medication to begin with. Antidepressants on their own are generally safe. Dangerous interactions can occur if combined with certain medications.  The safety of antidepressants in dogs has to be measured in strict dosing guidelines.  This post will explain some of the more popular antidepressants and dosages considered dangerous.

People opt to treat their dogs with antidepressants for behaviors that might otherwise pose a risk to other people or animals.  If you’ve ever watched The Dog Whisperer, you’ve seen Cesar Milan at work. It’s amazing what he can do to modify and correct a dog’s behaviour.  Nine out of ten times, the owners must claim responsibility for encouraging the bad behaviour. 

Sometimes, however, the dogs that Cesar Milan sees require more intensive training. At that point, he brings the dog to his ranch where he can spend time rehabilitating the dog.  Most people don’t have that luxury.  Antidepressant use in dogs is a valid option for some people.

 In many cases, antidepressants work to alter the dog’s mood in a way that enables the dog to learn better behaviors. Once these new behavioral systems are imprinted onto the dog, antidepressants are slowly weaned.  For information on how to wean your dog off of prozac, visit the post: 5 No-Fail Steps to Wean Your Dog Off of Prozac.

Signs of Serotonin Syndrome in Dogs

Serotonin Syndrome is a risk taken when prescribing antidepressants. Mild signs of Serotonin Syndrome in dogs includes diarrhea. Severe signs include the following:

  • rigidity
  • hyperthermia
  • arrhythmias
  • transient blindness
  • vocalization
  • seizures
  • renal failure

Serotonin Syndrome in dogs can occur when the dog ingests other antidepressants (the owner’s medication) or is given a higher than normal dosage. The antidepressants listed below are a few of the common ones. These include an explanation of the dosages that can cause mild serotonin syndrome up to high doses that can be deadly. 

The following YouTube video explains one reason why dogs are administered antidepressants.


Antidepressant Dosing to Avoid Serotonin Syndrome in Dogs

  • Amitriptyline

This class of antidepressant, known as a tricyclic, was one of the first antidepressants available in the late 1950’s. Although it works well to treat depression, high doses can be lethal in dogs.

Mild to moderate symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome can begin at a dosage greater than 2 to 3 mg/kg.

Potentially deadly symptoms appear in dosages of 15 mg/kg.

  • Citalopram

This antidepressant, known as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), was granted approval for use in 1998. Although veterinarians were treating dogs with antidepressants during that time, the practice wasn’t sanctioned.

This SSRI can induce serotonin syndrome in dogs in relatively small doses. For example, a dog will experience mild symptoms of serotonin syndrome at just 0.5 mg/kg.

At 2 to 3 mg/kg, signs of serotonin syndrome in dogs becomes apparent. Anything over 20 mg/kg can be lethal to a dog.

  • Clomipramine

Clomipramine is a tricyclic (similar to Amitriptyline) that is classified as an antidepressant, but typically used to treat obsessive compulsive disorder in humans.

Serotonin syndrome in dogs becomes evident at 2 to 3 mg/kg, which can turn fatal at doses greater than 10 mg/kg.


The next video from YouTube is a previously aired newscast discussing the risk of serotonin syndrome to humans.



Escitalopram (Brand name: Lexapro)

Lexapro is another SSRI used in the treatment of depression and anxiety. As with people, fast tapering can result in serious side-effects including confusion, electric shock sensations, insomnia, and lethargy. 

If a dog is administered this anti-depressant, serotonin syndrome becomes apparent at only 0.3 mg/kg.  Increase that to 4 or 5 mg/kg and the ravishes of serotonin syndrome become severe.

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac): 

Prozac is another SSRI used to treat depression in people.  Veterinarians began prescribing Prozac in the 1990’s to treat severe behavioral issues in dogs caused by anxiety.  Dosing should remain under 1 mg/kg because anything above that level could initiate mild to moderate symptoms of serotonin syndrome in dogs.

If dosing is set at anything over 10 mg/kg, severe or even fatal effects of serotonin syndrome emerge.

  • Sertraline:

This classification of antidepressant is another SSRI used to treat behavioral disorders in dogs. 

Serotonin Syndrome in dogs begins with mild symptoms at dosages within the 10 to 2- mg/kg range.  Doses within the 30 to 50 mg/kg range are dangerous, and deadly at 80 mg/kg.  

  • Venlafaxine:

This antidepressant is classified differently and is known as an SNRI (selective-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor). This particular drug works by increasing serotonin and norepinephrine in the body and brain.

Veterinarians who chose to prescribe this antidepressant know that a dosage of 1 mg/kg can create signs of serotonin syndrome in dogs. Dosages at the 6 – 7 mg/kg range are simply dangerous.

The Timeline of Serotonin Syndrome in Dogs

Signs of serotonin syndrome in dogs can occur anywhere from 10 minutes to 4 hours post ingestion. This isn’t because the veterinarian failed to treat properly.  In most cases, the dog got into the owner’s medication and, essentially, overdosed.

Not all dogs will experience serotonin syndrome. That depends on the size of the dog and how much he/she has ingested. If you refer to the list of antidepressants above, you will see how varying dosages become dangerous.

Clinical Treatment of Serotonin Syndrome in Dogs

When a dog presents with serotonin syndrome, the first thing the veterinarian will do is stabilize the dog according to his/her clinical signs. Other medications may be used to block the effects of serotonin on the body (seizures, agitation, heart disturbances, etc.). 

If the dog hasn’t vomited, the veterinarian will administer activated charcoal to absorb the excess medication out of the dog’s system. This is especially important to administer if the dog has swallowed extended-release tablets.

Preventing Serotonin Syndrome in Dogs 

The best way to prevent serotonin syndrome in dogs is to keep medications away from your dog. I know, it sounds simple but it’s so easy to forget. I’ve had things on the counter that I didn’t think my dogs could reach only to come home to a big surprise. Luckily, it wasn’t anything serious like medications. 

The worse place to store antidepressants are in the bathroom cabinet. Heat and moisture can affect the medication. I keep my medications in the kitchen, in a designated cabinet above the counter. My dogs would have to learn how to drag a kitchen chair to the counter, climb up, and open the cupboard drawer. They’re smart…but not that smart.

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Lisa Theriault is not a veterinarian, nor does she play one on TV. Please visit a licensed veterinarian for advice on your dog’s healthcare matters. In addition, please read the disclaimer and privacy policy.

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23 Noble Traits of the Humane Society Dogs For Adoption

When I talk about Humane Society dogs for adoption, I’m really talking about dog adoption in general. There was a time when I really wasn’t keen on the idea of adopting a shelter dog.  My reasons were probably similar to most people’s. I wanted a puppy, I was afraid of what kind of behavior I’d get from a rescue dog, and I had a preconceived notion of what I wanted the dog to look like.

 I was much younger then and I didn’t understand the full consequences of not adopting. As I matured and gave thought to what it means to really love dogs, it occurred to me that there are thousands upon thousands of dogs sitting sadly in rescue shelters all over the world.

If you’re on the fence about whether to adopt a dog from a shelter or not, read through the list below. My aim is to give you as many facts to go on when making that important decision.

Here are your 23 Noble Traits of The Humane Society Dogs for Adoption

  1. You Take Profits Away From Puppy Mills. It is estimated that there are 10,000 puppy mills in the United States. Not all commercial dog-breeding facilities are bad. However, when there are shelters all over the world with perfectly good dogs waiting for a home, why go that route?

2. Adopting an adult dog means avoiding the puppy phase altogether.   Sure, puppies are cute!  I love puppies. But I also remember going through hundreds of dollars worth of shoes when my gorgeous lab ate them all.

The happy couple in this tweet below look very happy with their newly adopted dog!

3. Humane Society Dogs for Adoption have a whole team rallying behind them. They want to see those dogs go to homes where they can be happy and free. If you have questions or need help finding resources, the Humane Society is right there with you.

4. Did somebody say Boxer? Yes! Humane Society dogs for adoption include pure-bred dogs as well as mixed-breeds. Your choice is not limited!  Do you really need a piece of paper that certifies your dog is a dog?

Did you know that the top 5 dogs found in shelters include:

  • Beagle
  • Boxer
  • Labrador retriever
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Chihuahua

5. The dog you choose has been in the best possible hands. Dogs from shelters have been treated beautifully. They’re fed well, happy, and eager to go to a good home.

Some people like ’em BIG! Check out this adopted Mastiff ” Ace” in the tweet below:

6. Adopting a dog from a shelter is a pay-it-forward situation. The more people who adopt from shelters, the better word gets around. If everyone would consider adopting before buying, the world would be a better place.

7. Adopting from the Humane Society puts valuable money in their coffers. Globally, the Humane Society is working hard to stop animal testing and animal cruelty.

8. The fewer dogs on the street means a decrease in the cruel efforts to eradicate them. In some parts of the world, governments “solve” the stray dog situation by poisoning, electrocution, and shooting.

9. When considering Humane Society Dogs for Adoption, consider that the adoption fees (ranging from $170 to over $600) includes the following:

  • Physical exam
  • Behavioral evaluation
  • Vaccinations for distemper and bordetella
  • Rabies vaccine
  • Deworming medication
  • Flea Treatment
  • Tick Treatment
  • Spay Neuter
  • A FREE follow-up exam
  • A package of medications for the dog (if needed) to get you by for about 2 weeks.
  • A bag of dog food
  • Free dog ID tags

The benefits of adopting a dog from the Humane Society extend way beyond the list noted above.

10. Adopting a dog from the Human Society lessens the burden of the 3.3 million dogs put in shelters every year (approximate).

11. You literally save a life. Every year, there are approximately 670,000 dogs euthanized because there simply isn’t enough room.

12. You get to show off! Adopting a shelter pet is gaining in popularity and status.

13. You get to see the Humane Society team in action. You will understand just how much these people care about the dogs. You would think they’d want to stand on the street-corner handing dogs out like candy, but they don’t.  Volunteers work very hard to make sure they are NOT handing dogs to people who haven’t prepared themselves.

14. I don’t really want to let this secret out, but you can always bring the dog back if you feel it’s not working out. Most places offer a 60 day return policy. Do your homework ahead of time! 

15. Some Humane Society shelters also offer to microchip your dog. Did you know that only about 14% of lost dogs are reunited with their families?

16. Pet Insurance might not be on your radar, but it should be. Your dog will get a free examination by a licensed veterinarian when you adopt from a shelter. If the dog has no pre-existing conditions, you can get pet insurance.

17. Join a community of 1.6 million people who adopt from shelters every year. Dogs enrich our lives, lower our blood pressure, and make us laugh. Check out the tweet below and you’ll see why it’s important to cater to your dog’s strengths, not his weaknesses.  Hilarious!

18.  Be a dog owner! Approximately 44% of all households in the United States have a dog. You can be one of them.

19. Boost the numbers. As it stands now, 23% of dogs are adopted from the Humane Society or another shelter.  The trend is slowly rising, but you can help tip the scale

20. Become a dog expert like Cesar Milan. Pet problems are the most common reason people re-home their dogs.  You can learn to be a pack leader quickly and easily (I did!), and once you are seen as the pack leader, behavioral problems will disappear.

21.  Pet owners laugh more, love more, and have better overall health.

22. Ensure that at least one more dog goes to a home that respects and values his life. Make sure that you are the one who provides food, water, and a safe home where the dog can finally be safe.

23. Add 1 + 1.  Two dogs are just as easy as one. I did it! 

Now that you are convinced to adopt a dog from a shelter, take some time to do your homework first. It’s an exciting process that shouldn’t be rushed. Visit the shelter, do research on the particular breed that interests you the most, and make sure your house can accommodate the dog’s needs. 

Congratulations! You are on your way to becoming a valued and respected adopter.

I hope you enjoyed the post and I want you to stick around for more great content. To get you started, I suggest visiting 11 Ways to Reclaim Your Dog’s Health in 2018

 I want to get to know my readers, but first it’s only fair if I share some things about me. I’m giving you permission to skip the boring bio and go straight to the juice. MY STORY


11 Surprising Reasons to Introduce A Bland Diet for Dogs

Dogs are a lot like us when they don’t feel well.  Sometimes a bland diet for dogs is the perfect thing to do. It’s hard to eat when you’re sick or recovering from surgery, especially when it affects the digestive system.  When I was a kid, the first thing I wanted to eat after a bout of the flu was a piece of toast and some ginger ale. My mother swore by the ginger ale (and yes, real ginger is very good for upset tummy), and the toast was bland but satisfying.

There are a lot of reasons to go with a bland diet for dogs. Today, I’m going to show you what those reasons are and, at the bottom of the post, you’ll find an invitation to sign up for a free bland food diet guide including instructions and a timetable.

Keep reading! As a Thank-You for being here, I’m offering a free bland diet guide that you can scoop up below.



If your dog has recently been ill or is recovering from surgery, he might not be feeling his best. Your dog might have a sore throat where the intubation tube was placed during surgery, or maybe he’s nauseated because of the anesthesia.


A poor appetite is usually accompanied by something else. Your dog might be tired, stressed, in pain, or suddenly not interested in the food you’ve been giving him all along.

In this case, don’t force your dog to eat. Dogs can actually go a long time without eating, so as long as your dog is staying hydrated, he/she will be fine.  If your dog still isn’t eating after a couple of days, try introducing small amounts of bland food into his diet. For instructions and a timetable, make sure you sign up for the freebie below!

Keep reading this article because I’m going to help you with putting together a good bland diet for dogs that you can start today.


It’s not always easy to understand when or why your dog has an upset tummy. My golden retriever had an uneasy stomach the other night and the only way I could tell was from the loud rumbling coming from her belly.  It sounded like sludge being digested through a meat grinder.  Imagine that noise if you will.

In this case, remove your dog’s regular food and replace it with bland food until you think your dog’s feeling better. Signs of feeling better include more energy, “good” poops, and he/she might start sniffing around for their regular dog food.


There’s nothing worse than a dog with diarrhea. It’s awful to witness, and even worse when you’re out on a walk in public. You can’t clean up diarrhea from a sidewalk!  The minute your dog shows signs of diarrhea, start him or her on a bland diet for dogs. Keep treats and human food out of reach in case he/she is the type of dog to get into the goodies, if you know what I mean.

If the diarrhea continues for more than a day or two, just give your veterinarian a call. There are lots of reasons for diarrhea including stress and parasites.

WARNING: If you see other symptoms along with diarrhea and vomiting including

  • bloody stool
  • blood in the vomit
  • extreme fatigue
  • weakness
  • extreme thirst

Get your dog to a veterinarian. Have a quick look around the house to be sure your dog didn’t accidentally swallow something he shouldn’t have. There are many poisonous plants, household cleaners, and other toxins that dogs should never have. That includes chocolate.


Sometimes, it’s not the cancer itself making your dog feel sick. Chemotherapy and radiation sometimes take a toll on the dog’s energy level and appetite. Your dog might be incredibly nauseated from the chemo side-effects. He/she might vomit and not want to eat anything at all.  If that’s the case, try to keep your dog hydrated with water or (if given the veterinarian’s okay), a drink with electrolytes such as Pedialite.


Gastroparesis forces peristaltic action in the gut. You know that rolling feeling you get just before you are about to throw-up? It’s something like that. Wavelike motions move through the stomach muscles causing cramping pain, excess gas and bloating, and difficulty digesting food.

Dogs with gastroparesis normally vomit shortly after eating. They may feel nauseated or not hungry at all.  In fact, your dog might suddenly starting eating non-food items like socks, nails, magnets, etc.  This condition is called pica.


Food allergies are the #1 reason for a bland diet for dogs. The only way to determine what food your dog is allergic to is to work through the elimination diet. During an elimination diet, you aren’t suppose to introduce any new food. A bland diet given before the actual elimination diet begins is a good way to settle the tummy before introducing the dog’s normal foods into his/her diet.

Speak to your veterinarian about how to do this. Not all clinics perform this the same way.

Keep reading! As a Thank-You for being here, I’m offering a free bland diet guide that you can scoop up below.


Dog depression is a condition affecting countless canine companions. Statistical reports are hard to find on this topic, but an article published in 2013 in the Telegraph suggests that possibly 1 in 4 dogs may suffer with depression (United Kingdom).

Veterinarians have been prescribing antidepressants to dogs since 1998 for a number of reasons. Antidepressants are thought to reduce anxiety and depression, enabling the dog to have a clear mind capable of learning new, better behaviors.

I have been in clinically depressed states before, and I can tell you that I certainly didn’t feel like eating.  If your dog goes through a longer period of not eating, you may need to slowly bring him back by integrating a bland diet.


Does can easily hurt the insides of their mouths, but how many of us would notice? Unless there are visible signs of blood or trauma, there’s a good chance you don’t know what’s happening in there.

Dogs can damage their teeth and gums from chewing on bones that splinter, biting on extremely hard toys, rocks, or other non-food items.  If your dog is suddenly pawing at his mouth, it’s a good sign that there’s something going on.

You should gently pry your dog’s mouth open and check for anything obvious, like an embedded object. If there is nothing, begin a bland diet of soft foods to make it easier for him/her to eat. After a few days, gradually integrate the normal dog food back into the diet.

If you still don’t see improvement, I suggest taking your dog to the veterinarian for further examination.


I brush my dogs’ teeth. Sometimes. When I think of it. They’re both getting older and you know how it goes. Things start to break down and fall apart.  A dog’s teeth are no different. It’s very likely that the reason your dog isn’t feel well is because of tooth pain.

You might notice your dog pawing at one side of his mouth and turning his head away from the food you give him. Try a very soft, bland diet and contact the veterinarian, especially if your dog has unusually bad breath. That type of bad breath might signify tooth rot and infection.


Sometimes I think that if I am comfortable, then my dog must be as well. That’s just not the case, however. The amount of sunshine and heat your dog can tolerate depends a lot on the breed, size, thickness of fur, and ability to breath clearly. Brachycephalic dogs (dogs with flat noses) find it difficult to keep cool. Pugs, boxers, and bull dogs are just a few examples of breeds prone to heatstroke.

Signs of heatstroke include:

  1. Intense panting, barking, or obvious signs of agitation.
  2. Excessive thirst and drooling
  3. Dark-colored (red or purple) gums or tongue
  4. Glassy eyes
  5. Elevated body temperature of 40ºC (104ºF) and up
  6. Watch for weakness and staggering
  7. Seizures
  8. Fainting

A trained veterinarian will replenish your dogs fluids. Once your dog is feeling better, a bland diet for dogs is a good way to ease him back into his normal food routine.

Introducing a bland diet for dogs happens for any number of reasons, but if you are facing that situation, you might need help deciding what and how much to give.

As promised, you can now gain access to a free bland diet guide and timetable. Print it out and stick it on your fridge if you’d like.   For immediate access, please complete the sign-in form below. Don’t forget to check your email for confirmation (don’t let it go to spammy spam spam)


How Long Can a Dog Live With Mammary Cancer

How long can a dog live with mammary cancer?  I am sure most veterinarians wish there were a clear-cut answer to this. Unfortunately, the life expectancy of a dog with mammary cancer really depends on a number of things.

I want to help you narrow down an actual number because, to me, that’s a lot more meaningful than leaving the question up in the air.  I want to give you enough information in this post to help you determine life expectancy in a dog with mammary cancer, as it relates to your situation.

According to the Veterinary Cancer Group, mammary tumors are reported to occur in approximately 2 out of 1000 female dogs.

The Big Question:  How Long Can a Dog Live With Mammary Cancer?

Canine mammary cancer can present as either benign or malignant. In fact, there’s a 50/50 chance of either diagnosis.  Dogs spayed before six months of age stand the best chance against acquiring mammary cancer in the first place.

I was able to find an abstract published in the Canadian Journal of Veterinary Medicine where a study was conducted on the tumors of 63 dogs. The tumors were surgically removed and measured for size. Diagnostic tests were done to determine if cancer had spread into the lymph nodes, and the tumors were graded and staged.

A complete explanation of the methods used can be found at The Canadian Journal of Veterinary Medicine, along with the citations for publication.

Sign up for a FREE 5 Day Course on Canine Cancer and Get Exclusive Access to A Support Group.  Access is ONLY available to those who sign up.  Keep reading…the sign up form is at the bottom of this post.


At the end of the study, the results showed that:

  1. 98% of dogs with mammary cancer in Stage 1 were still be alive after two years post-surgery.
  2. 75.8% of dogs with mammary cancer in Stage 3 lived one year post surgery. That number droped to 66.4% post-surgery after 2 years.
  3. 13.6% of dogs who began treatment at Stage 4, were still alive one year after surgery.

To simplify things, the earlier the tumors are found and treated, and the younger and healthier your dog, the better the outcome. Unfortunately, that’s about as precise as it gets.

Figuring it Out: A Canine Case-by-Case Study

You can’t tell by touching or palpating the lumps whether they are cancerous or not. The only way is to examine the tissue, which the veterinarian will do through a biopsy. In a biopsy, a small amount of tissue is removed and examined.  In the best case scenario, all of the lumps are benign.  However, you could be faced with other scenarios including:

  1. Some of the lumps are benign, but some are also malignant, meaning the cancer may have spread to the lungs and lymph nodes.

  2. The lumps are all malignant and have likely spread to other parts of the body.

  3. All the lumps are benign.

The Most Important Thing is Not to Delay an Appointment with The Veterinarian

By using fine-needle aspiration, the veterinarian is able to take a small tissue sample for further evaluation.  If there is more than one lump, all lumps must be tested because it is very possible for some to be benign (non-moving) and some to be malignant (moveable and likely to spread within the body). They are not all necessarily the same. In fact, there are different sub-types of malignant mammary gland cancer that will determine how aggressive the cancer actually is.

What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Mammary Cancer in Dogs?

In addition to seeing or feeling lumps in and around the breast tissue, you may also notice:

  • an unusual secretion draining from the nipple(s).
  • ulceration (in the case of large tumors)
  • inflammation
  • secondary infection which will leave your dog feeling under-the-weather

Again, the key is to be aware of what’s happening in your dog’s body and having any unusual lumps and bumps examined by a veterinarian.

Don’t forget to sign up for your free 5 day course below. By signing up, you’ll have exclusive rights to a members-only online support group for canine cancer.


Risk Factors for Mammary Gland Cancer in Dogs

Unspayed females are more likely to develop mammary cancer than any other dog. Hormones present in an unspayed female fuel the proliferation of tumors the way oxygen fuels a fire. However, if the tumors progress to malignancy, those same hormones are not needed any more.  At the point of malignancy, hormones are not needed to keep that fire burning.

The risk of a dog developing a mammary tumor is 0.5% if spayed before their first heat (approximately 6 months of age), 8% after their first heat, and 26% after their second heat.

In addition, mammary gland tumors are:

  • usually slow-growing
  • inflamed
  • moveable (implying a benign tumor)
  • affixed to skin or body wall

Treatment is Not a Cure, But No Treatment is Deadly

Most mammary tumors are removed surgically, taking a wide margin to determine whether or not the cancer has spread. Chemotherapy is not recommended in dogs with mammary gland tumors. The best course of action post-surgery is to maintain regular check-ups so that the veterinarian can intervene if any tumors come back.

Female dogs who present with mammary gland tumors either have a genetic predisposition to them, or were not spayed early enough. Other factors could include  obesity and immune function.

Quality of Life for Dogs Living with Mammary Gland Cancer

If you get the worst-case scenario news, ask your doctor how surgery will affect your dog. You may have to decide if the post-surgery quality-of-life is worth the procedure. Some questions to ask the veterinarian might include:

  • Is my dog strong enough to undergo anesthesia?
  • What will my dog’s quality of life be after surgery?
  • What is a realistic life expectancy with the surgery?
  • What is a realistic life expectancy without the surgery?
  • Is my dog in pain?
  • How can I keep my dog as healthy as possible through this process?

Living With the Prognosis

I wish I could have given you a definitive answer to your question on how long a dog can live with mammary cancer. As you can see, the answer is a moving target that is dependent on a lot of different things. You should know that new treatments are being studied all the time and researchers are getting closer to finding longer-term solutions for dogs with cancer. I realize that doesn’t help you much right now.

My best advice is to try and stay positive and work with your veterinarian to find the best possible treatment plan for your dog. Your beautiful dog is going to need a lot of care and love through this, and nobody is better equipped for that job than you are.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I want you to know who I am and what I’m all about. Everyone loves old-timey photos (right?) and I’ve plastered them all over My Story, so why not have a look?

I want to wish you the best of luck as you go through this process. Please share your story with others so that everyone can benefit. Let us know what works and what doesn’t. What was your experience with the veterinarian and what challenges did you face?


This course is only open to those who have read this post. Once subscribed, you will receive 5 emails from Monday to Friday. There will be a break in between, and a couple of weeks later I will continue to send updates on the best posts.

Each email will have a link to your course topic of the day.  Take a look at what you’ll get…for free!

  •  lists of clinical trials
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  • and exclusive access to my Canine Cancer Support Forum group.

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How to Treat a Sebaceous Cyst on a Dog

My dogs are about middle-aged now, which is 7 years old for them. Their youthful glow still lurks, but I’ve noticed changes too. For one thing, they have a lot of lumps and bumps that I find unnerving.  The veterinarian says a sebaceous cyst on a dog is nothing to worry about, yet I keep poking and manipulating them. My dogs think I’m weird.

The one thing I do know about are sebaceous cysts (also known as sebaceous pimples) and that you cannot pop them. Have you ever heard that you shouldn’t squeeze a pimple no matter how tempting it is? Same thing for sebaceous cysts on dogs. What happens when you squeeze them is the waxy material inside (made up of keratin, blood, and pus) sinks back into the skin tissue. Some of it will come out, but the stuff left inside will just make the cyst return and might even cause an infection.

You can detect an infected sebaceous cyst by touching it. An infected cyst will feel warm. However, if you can leave it alone while preventing your dog from biting it, it shouldn’t get infected.

Do I Just Ignore That Ugly Sebaceous Cyst on My Dog?

Kind of, yeah.  If the cyst is in a place that doesn’t bother the dog or hinder his/her eyesight or movement, it’s best to leave it alone. That said, what you think is a sebaceous cyst might be something else (cancerous), so please have it checked out as soon as you can. 

Here are some tips for identifying a sebaceous cyst on your dog:

1) It should feel slightly firm but moveable just under the skin.

2)  These cysts are painless growths that have a white-tinge to them (and sometimes blueish streak).

3) They might grow over time.

4) Sebaceous cysts in dogs are will feel round just beneath the dog’s skin.

5) Dogs are most likely to develop sebaceous cysts on their paws, head, back, and tail.

What is The Worse-Case Scenario for a Sebaceous Cyst on my Dog?

The worst-case scenario here would involve interference of the cyst through manual popping.  It’s going to hurt your dog and leave the wound open to infection. Once infection sets in, your dog will require antibiotics. 

Will Sebaceous Cysts on Dogs Go Away on Their Own?

A sebaceous cyst on a dog will take one of three trajectories:
1) It will dissolve on its own.
2) It will rupture naturally.
3) It will wall itself off. 

What Caused A Sebaceous Cyst to Grow on My Dog?

Sebaceous cysts form within the skin when sebum (the oily substance created by the sebum glands on the skin before blocked). Normally, sebum is released from hair (or fur) follicles through the sebaceous gland ducts beneath the skin.  Sebum is normally distributed through your dog’s fur with protects the skin and gives the fur a healthy shine.
When blocked, the sebum has no way of escaping through the skin. As a result, the material backs up into one place causing a raised cyst. The cyst itself is made up of
when a collection of dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria, or pus. The matter within the cyst has a horrible smell and can look like curdled milk or a dark, waxy substance.

What if The Sebaceous Cyst on my Dog Ruptures on its own?

If the cyst happens to burst on its own, you’ll need to keep the area clean and disinfected. It’s not going to be pretty, but you will need to really keep that area clean to prevent serious infection. You’ll also need to prevent your dog from digging at the wound, or licking it.

You should bring your dog to the veterinarian if the sebaceous cyst bursts. He/she will provide some medication to help heal the area. In more extreme cases, surgical removal might be an option, especially if it affects your dog’s quality of life.

Are There Any At-Home Treatments I Can Use?

The best treatment is a preventative one. Too much bathing and too little bathing can both cause the development of sebaceous cysts in dogs. Maintain a regular bath routine with good quality shampoo formulated specifically for dogs.

Personally, I am a big fan of Burt’s Bees products. They have a great line for dogs that are naturally pH balanced.

Some people like to use a turmeric paste to apply topically, and others sprinkle it into the dog food. I have never tried turmeric in my dog’s diet, and I always recommend checking with your veterinarian before trying it.

At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is leave it alone. If you see signs of infection (redness, warmth) see the veterinarian.

Good luck! Now that you’ve read all about sebaceous cysts in dogs, why not share with social media. Just a click on one of the buttons is all I ask and it only takes a second of your time.

Interested in learning more about skin problems in dogs including dermatitis?  Check out this post!

Get to know me better by reading my biography below

Lisa is dedicated to writing a high-quality blog based on professionally researched data. Her time is spent writing and researching balanced with enjoying family life with her husband and two dogs.

Lisa’s writing skills emerged at an early age. Over time, her fiction has been published in various literary magazines. She has also written for non-fiction journals internationally.

Dogs are Lisa’s passion, and blogging is the means to direct her energy towards their well-being on a global scale.



To find out what Lisa is really about…click here.

11 Indispensable Tips on The Reasons Behind Dog Coughing and Gagging

The first time I heard my dog coughing and gagging, I was a little alarmed. I jumped up and looked around the corner where Emma, my lab, was sitting in the hallway looking perfectly fine. She did it a few more times later and, at one point, I actually pried her mouth open to see if there was something stuck in his throat.

It turned out to be nothing. The veterinarian suspected her immune system was low and suggested a few good dog food brands to help.

If you are worried about your dog’s coughing and gagging, read the rest of this article.  Irritants, disease, parasitic infections, and tracheal collapse are all risk factors to consider. If your dog is coughing and gagging while coughing up blood, stop reading this post and call the veterinarian right away!

I am going to describe the more common reasons for persistent cough in dogs, along with available treatment options.  Check out the viral video at the bottom of this post before you leave! These are serious issues we’re talking about, but I wanted a chance to give you a laugh. I mean…dogs are seriously funny.

Make sure to read through the post so that you don’t miss an opportunity to grab a free copy of 25 Compassionate Ways to Nurse Your Dog Back to Health.

So, here we go:

11 Indispensable Tips on The Reasons Behind Dog Coughing and Gagging

  1. Kennel Cough:

Kennel Cough is something like the common cold in humans. You or I are more susceptible to influenza or the common cold when we are run down, tired, or recovering from other illness. The same holds true for dogs. Common pathogens that leave your dog susceptible to kennel cough include:

  • canine distemper
  • canine adenovirus
  • parainfluenza virus
  • canine coronavirus
  • Influenza H3N8

Animals in close quarters (like boarding kennels) tend to be more susceptible to kennel cough. Kennel cough breaks down the mucus lining of the larynx and trachea.  The inflammation creates the dry cough common to the virus. Other symptoms include:

  • retching
  • gagging
  • vomiting
  • heaving
  • vomiting

The dry “honking” cough is the most distinct symptom of the illness. If your dog has recently been in close contact with other dogs, under stress, or recovering from another illness, bring him or her to the veterinarian if the dog develops a persistent cough.  Don’t expect your dog to be listless and tired because that is not always the case.

Treatment of Kennel Cough

Veterinarians will typically treat kennel cough with a dual-purpose antibiotic to treat the bacteria along with the underlying virus. Common prescription medications include:

  • Baytril
  • Doxycycline
  • Claymox

To supplement prescribed treatment, you can also feed your dog a tablespoon of honey twice a day to ease his throat. 

  1. Coughing and Gagging in Dogs with a Collapsing Trachea

Middle-aged and older small dog breeds inherit collapsing trachea syndrome. Weakness to the trachea causes the slow collapse, resulting in a variety of symptoms including coughing.



 This syndrome is inherited at birth or the result of an underlying condition like heart disease. Weight management is extremely important over the dog’s lifetime.  The smaller the windpipe becomes, the less air the dog is able to bring in. Surgery is recommended in severe cases.

Symptoms of tracheal collapse in small dogs include:

  • retching
  • attempts to vomit
  • rapid breathing
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • dry cough (honking sound)
  • cyanosis

Small dogs with tracheal collapse may suddenly lose consciousness.

Treatment of Tracheal Collapse

  • management of symptoms through weight loss
  • medications
  • sedation

Collapsing trachea is a chronic, progressive disease. Dogs with tracheal collapse need to be removed from smoke-filled atmospheres.  Mild exercise performed with extreme caution and building a strong immune system can help.

  1. Chronic Bronchitis (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

I suffered with chronic bronchitis as a child and into my early adult years. Months of violent coughing and gagging had me completely worn down.  I’m sure it feels the same way for our dogs.

Chronic bronchitis, a condition caused by an underlying disease like kennel cough, can last for months. It can get worse if not treated.

Dogs (typically toy breeds) will exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing or other abnormal lung sounds
  • Hard to breath
  • Throwing up
  • Gagging
  • May lose consciousness

Always bring your dog to the veterinarian if your dog develops a cough that lasts more than a few days.  Pay attention to your dog’s signs and symptoms to report to the vet.

Treatment of Chronic Bronchitis

  • Clean toxins from the air (air purifier).
  • Avoid perfumes, hairspray, etc. around your dog.
  • Humidifiers can help soften the air with moisture.
  • No smoking around the dog.
  • Maintain a healthy weight for your dog.
  1. Acute Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis comes on suddenly but usually only lasts a few weeks. The dog’s inflamed airways fill with mucous making it hard for the dog to get adequate oxygen intake.  Acute bronchitis can be caused by:

  • allergies
  • heart worm and other parasites
  • asthma
  • environmental toxins
  • inherited condition

Treatment of Acute Bronchitis

  • Clean toxins from the air (air purifier).
  • Avoid perfumes, hairspray, etc. around your dog.
  • Humidifiers can help soften the air with moisture.
  • No smoking around the dog.
  • Maintain a healthy weight for your dog.
  1. Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure results in the inability of the heart to pump blood effectively.  Blood ends up backing into the lungs where fluid accumulates.  Signs and symptom of congestive heart failure in dogs include:

  • persistent cough
  • exhaustion
  • unable or unwilling to play, go for walks, etc.
  • coughing that becomes worse at night (may contain blood)
  • difficulty breathing or faster breathing
  • swollen belly
  • excessive panting


  “Not All dogs with heart failure cough, and not all coughs are associated with heart failure.”  -Dr. Sonya Gordon, Associate Professor of Cardiology, Texas A&M University.






Treatment of congestive heart failure in dogs include:

  • medications to remove the fluid from the body (i.e., diuretics)
  • oxygen therapy
  • medications to make the heart beat more efficiently (e.g., pimobendan, digoxin)
  • medications to treat the heart arrhythmias
  • heart monitoring (i.e., electrocardiogram)
  • blood pressure medication (e.g., enalapril, benazepril, etc.)
  • blood pressure monitoring
  • symptomatic supportive care
  • sometimes, removal of fluid from the chest cavity or abdomen (via a procedure called a thoracocentesis or abdominocentesis) may be necessary.
  1. Heart Worm

Heart worm appears in the dog just as the name implies in the heart. If you have ever seen a pot of cooked fusilli noodles, you will have a good idea what they look like.  These worms can reach anywhere from four to twelve inches in length, depending on the sex. Male worms average about four to six inches while its female counterpart can grow as long as twelve inches.

Symptoms occurring six months or later could include:

  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble breathing

Keep in mind that symptoms gradually become worse over time. Heart worms are fatal if left untreated. However, most dogs within Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom remain heart worm free through vaccination. Avoid heart worm by providing year-round flea prevention medication.

  1. Pneumonia

Pneumonia causes a buildup of fluid in the lungs causing a wet cough in dogs. We’ve all had bad colds at one time or another where we have coughed up phlegm.  Pneumonia is a bit like that on a more serious scale. No amount of coughing is going to bring up the fluid from the lungs.

Other symptoms include:

  • not hungry
  • loses weight
  • has a fever
  • tired

Pneumonia in dogs is not a straightforward thing. There are different types of pneumonia caused by pathogens, bacteria, or underlying disease.  Always bring your dog to the veterinarian when a cough that lasts several days is accompanied by any of the symptoms above.

Treatment for pneumonia is typically a round of antibiotics. The veterinarian may suggest over-the-counter or natural products to help ease the cough.

  1.  Inhaled Grass Seeds

I smile whenever I see a dog with his head poked through the window of a moving car. They look so joyful!   The problem is that it leaves the dog vulnerable to flying debris. That debris gets into their eyes and throats.  Grass seeds, for example, if blown in the wind, can lodge into a dog’s throat.  Removing them might not be as easy as offering a glass of water because the seeds hook on the dog with their arrow-shaped fibers.

Symptoms include:

  • Bloody nasal discharge
  • excessive and continuous sneezing
  • pawing at the face
  • breathing difficulty
  • coughing if the seed is lodged in the airway

What are the treatment options?

Embedded grass seeds must be removed. The veterinarian will want your dog sedated and will use tweezers if necessary.

If the veterinarian suspects something lodged in the dog’s airway, surgery may be required. A course of antibiotics will stave off any risk of infection.

  1. Lungworm Infection

Dogs (puppies in particular) can get lungworm through the excrement or saliva of another dog. Round worms cause lungworm infection.  Slugs and snails carry the larvae, which leaves dogs vulnerable.  Round worms that cause infection live within the dog’s trachea.

Unfortunately, there are often few signs of lungworm infection in the early stages. As the condition worsens, the dog may have symptoms that include:

  • blood in the urine
  • vomiting blood
  • pink spots on the gums
  • difficulty breathing
  • coughing
  • fatigue

Treatment of Lungworm in Dogs

Once diagnosed, treatment involves the regular application of a prescribed anti-parasitic medicine.  The outcome is excellent and the continuation of anti-parasitic medication is recommended to prevent recurrence.

10. Canine Flu Virus

Canine flu is extremely contagious between dogs.  Two viruses (H3NB and H3N2) cause it. Known as the “bird flu”, virus H3N2 causes severe symptoms that can leave your dog dehydrated with a weakened immune system.  Pneumonia is one of the most dangerous complications of the flu.

Dogs contract the flu from other dogs and are more susceptible if they frequent doggie day cares, dog parks, etc.

Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • cough

Treatment of Canine Influenza

To prevent complications from pneumonia, the veterinarian will likely prescribe an antibiotic. He/she may also suggest various medicines to thin the dog’s mucus and ease the cough.

  1. Exposure to Tobacco Smoke

Tobacco smoke irritates the lining of the dog’s throat causing a cough. Consistent exposure can lead to respiratory diseases like bronchitis.  Avoiding tobacco smoke is the only prophylactic thing to do.

If irritants, including smoke, cause your dog to cough and gag, you’ll have to try and remove the irritants. Spider plants are thought to help remove toxins from the air. You could also try an air purifier.

If you missed your opportunity to sign up for a free copy of 25 Compassionate Ways to Nurse Your Dog Back to Health, just click on this word:  Compassion.

Look, I know that dog health is a serious topic, but the BEST thing about dogs is their ability to make us laugh and BOY do we need a lot more laughter these days! I loved this video so much I wanted to share it with you.  Somebody needs to be neutered in this video! Can you figure out which dog?





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The Biography of Lisa Theriault

Dogs are Lisa’s passion, and blogging is the means to direct her energy towards their well-being on a global scale.  Lisa is not a veterinarian. Click here to read our privacy policy and disclaimer.

Lisa is dedicated to writing a high-quality blog based on professionally researched data. Her time is spent writing and researching balanced with enjoying family life with her husband and two dogs.

Lisa’s writing skills emerged at an early age. Over time, her fiction has been published in various literary magazines. She has also written for non-fiction journals internationally.



To find out what Lisa is really about…click here.



The #1 Proven Super-Food Diet For Sundowner’s Syndrome in Dogs

When I was young the term “sundowner’s syndrome” in dogs wasn’t a thing. A lot has changed since then. Dogs in my neighborhood were working dogs designed to herd sheep or protect livestock. Yes, people had dogs as pets, but they were always working dogs first and companions second.  I don’t think the words “disposable income” passed anybody’s lips back then, and we certainly didn’t shower our dogs with special treats.  I wish we had!

Today, people (myself included) welcome dogs into our lives for the long-haul. They are not euthanized because they can’t do the work anymore. Instead, we search high and low for the right combination of food, exercise, and well-being to keep our dogs happy straight into their senior years.

Senior dogs, like people, develop cognitive dysfunction as they age. The symptoms of CDS (cognitive dysfunction syndrome) can include confusion, disorientation, and the inability to make sense of familiar surroundings. People have reported episodes of Sundowner’s Syndrome where the dog whines and cries all night, pants heavily and paces the floors, remains restless and spend the night poking his/her owners.

I’ve always been a little skeptical about dog food claims.  All Natural!  Grain free! Non GMO! Organic! With so many people getting into the dog food and nutrition game, who do you trust?  I’m going to help you figure this out while explaining how “super foods” like antioxidants have shown promise in slowing cognitive decline in dogs.

The #1 Brain Protective Blend of Food for Sundowner’s Syndrome in Dogs

A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition (volume 119, issue 3, pp 349-358) shows how administration of super foods can improve cognition in senior dogs.

A controlled study of 147 dogs between the ages of 9 and 11 years old were divided into groups. One group received a diet of nutrient dense food containing antioxidants, B Vitamins, fish oil, and L-arginine. (an amino acid).  Before the study began, each dog was assessed for baseline cognition.

The study continued for six months, and at the end of that period it was determined that the group of dogs who’d been fed the nutrient dense diet had significantly improved cognitive ability.

There is no cure for dementia in dogs, but there’s no question that this particular blend of antioxidants and vitamins aided the dogs in a meaningful way.

Signs of Sundowner’s Syndrome in Dogs

If we lived in a perfect world my dogs would not get old, and neither would I.  The reality is, we’re all aging day by day, including our dogs.  I have two dogs aged 6 1/2 years old and 7 years old. So far, they are both healthy and dementia free. 

The following tweet is sad but touching. Watching our dogs age and succumb to disease is not an easy thing to do gracefully.

I have a 17-year-old cat, however, who often finds himself staring at walls or getting lost in the house.  Sundowner’s Syndrome is a term used to describe a specific behavior demonstrated in people with Alzheimers who become restless and belligerent in the evening. 

Sundowner’s Syndrome in dogs is very similar, except it involves the dog panting and pacing the floor all night. He/she might howl, bark, or whine. You might get nudged in the night by your restless, confused dog.  Suddenly, your dog might appear to be acting out by voiding on the floor or becoming aggressive after a lifetime of calmness. Anxiety is also a common sign of dementia (cognitive dysfunction syndrome) in dogs.

Hard to Diagnose – Safe to Treat

If you present to your veterinarian questions about sundowner’s syndrome in dogs, specifically the symptoms your dog has been showing, he or she will want to rule out all other probabilities first.

Sundowner’s syndrome in dogs is not a diagnosis, but a descriptive way to describe a set of new behaviors that occur at the same time every evening. Dogs who truly have sundowner’s syndrome will have a diagnosis of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. You or I might call it dementia or Alzheimer’s as a way of signifying unusual brain function.

The Symptoms of Sundowner’s Syndrome in Dogs Can Signal Other Causes Including:

ANXIETY: The veterinarian will attempt to determine how long your dog has suffered with anxiety.  If anxiety has always been present, or has been present throughout the dog’s adult years, the veterinarian may not feel the symptom is warranted a diagnosis of dementia.

FEARS: Has your dog always been afraid of thunderstorms and fireworks, or did this develop along with the passing years? Again, if your dog has always had these fears, it could be that they are more pronounced in the dog’s senior years.  It doesn’t mean your dog has Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.

VOIDING IN THE HOUSE: Your dog was probably house trained as a puppy and, up to recently, you had no problems. Now, suddenly, your dog is peeing and defecating in the house on a regular basis. 

Dogs, like us, can have bladder incontinence, bladder or kidney infections, cancer, kidney, or liver disease. It’s always been my feeling that if a dog or cat suddenly voids in the house after years of being house trained, it’s a sign of something gone wrong.

The Brain Protection Blend Starts Now

All Dogs Can be Given the Brain Protection Blend of food from a young age. Why wait until dementia is already settling in?  This isn’t old-times anymore. We’re smart and we want to know what’s in the dog food. No fillers, grains, GMO’s, mystery meats, or artificial coloring’s please.

People want quality dog foods that are relatively inexpensive and easy to buy.  The pet food industry is listening and, as a result, is releasing new brands formulated with antioxidants and free from additives and fillers.

These days, it’s easy to get the low-down on a company to find out if what they are saying is true.  We’re smart.  Splashing the word ORGANIC or ALL NATURAL across a package doesn’t necessarily mean anything.  Show us the ingredients.

Ask your veterinarian for a nutrient dense food for your dog, or research some of the online dog foods for sale.  And remember….you don’t have to wait until you see sundowner’s syndrome in dogs.  Start right now!

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you were able to get useful information from the piece.  Please tweet and share.



Lisa is dedicated to writing a high-quality blog based on professionally researched data. Her time is spent writing and researching balanced with enjoying family life with her husband and two dogs.

Lisa’s writing skills emerged at an early age. Over time, her fiction has been published in various literary magazines. She has also written for non-fiction journals internationally.

Dogs are Lisa’s passion, and blogging is the means to direct her energy towards their well-being on a global scale.


To find out what Lisa is really about…click here.




Don’t forget to tweet, retweet, and share share share! 



7 Crucial Steps to Importing Dogs to the USA

Importing dogs to the USA requires a lot of preparation. I miss my dogs like crazy when I am on vacation and sometimes which I could bring them with me. However, when I consider the expense, stress and paperwork involved in bringing them outside of the country, I realize it’s not a good idea.
There are different rules and regulations for different circumstances. For example, importing dogs to the USA for commercial reasons has its own set of guidelines, while importing companion pets has a different set of guidelines altogether.
If you are moving or importing dogs to the USA for any reason, it is crucial to follow these 7 steps to importing dogs to the USA
  The United States and Canada have similar canine entry requirements which I am going to explain in this post. Importing dogs from more exotic locations (India, for example) have added requirements including testing and treatment for screwworm and tapeworm.

STEP 1:  Anti-Vaxxers Are Out of Luck When Importing Dogs to the USA!

It’s your business if you decide not to vaccinate your dogs, but if you are going to be importing dogs to the USA, you may find yourself in a predicament. Any dogs being imported to the United States must have current vaccinations, for which you need to provide proof. The most important vaccine you need to show proof of is the rabies vaccine.

Puppies younger than 3 months of age cannot be administered the rabies vaccine.  Importing dogs to the USA requires proof of rabies vaccination that has not expired. It’s also important to note that the USA will accept a 3-year-vaccination. However, if your dog has had a rabies vaccination, and has just had a booster, you’re okay to bring your dog in, provided there are no other health issues.
NOTE: Dogs who have lived in certain countries without rabies for at least 6 months or since birth may not require proof of vaccination. Check ahead!
Bottom line: If you have to import your dog into the USA, you will need to have the dog fully vaccinated and show proof.

NEED CLARIFICATION? Plan ahead and contact the National Import Export Services by phone at (301) 851-3300 or email:


STEP 2: This Dog is For Sale!

If your main reason for importing dogs to the USA is for commercial purposes (resale or adoption), keep in mind that there are distinct requirements. You will need to show proof of the following vaccinations:
  • rabies
  • distemper
  • hepatitis
  • leptospirosis
  • parovirus
  • parainfluenza virus.

If you have had your dog vaccinated (including boosters), this usually isn’t an issue. Just make sure you have the appropriate documentation from your veterinarian. However, if the dog being imported is from any of the countries listed in Step 5 below, inspection is required.

STEP 3:  Excuse me Bella, Your Papers Please!

Don’t head to the airport without a valid health certificate and rabies vaccination certificate. These need to be issued to you by an English speaking veterinarian before importing dogs to the USA.

Importing dogs to the USA for sale require a special permit which can be obtained through the United States Department of Agriculture.

STEP 4: Farm Dogs Need Special Treatment

If you are importing dogs to the USA that will be working with, or in close proximity to livestock, expect the dog to be thoroughly examined and possibly quarantined upon entry. The reason for this is to make sure the dogs are free of tapeworms.  Countries exempt from this include: Canada, Mexico, some parts of Central America, and West Indies.

STEP 5: It’s For YOUR Protection!

Importing dogs into the USA from certain countries where screwworms are common requires inspection prior to entry and proof of negative results.  A few of these countries include:
  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Bangladesh
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Democratic Republic
  • Dominican Republic
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Taiwan
  • Tanzania
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Vietnam
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe.

For a complete list of countries, please visit: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ah

Screwworms infect animals and humans equally. They are most commonly found in imported dogs and horses. This parasite (fly maggots) feed on living flesh and, if untreated, can be fatal.

STEP 6: Leaving on a Jet Plane?

Not all dogs are welcomed on all flights. The first thing you should do is read the policies of the airline you will be using. Make sure to make arrangements with the airline in advance.

Small dog breeds that can fit into a crate capable of being stored under the seat in front of you might be okay. In some cases, the airline may require your dog be stored in cargo. Make sure you know ahead of time and consider the safety and comfort of your dog.

The following YouTube video will give you some perspective on taking your dog on a plane.

Your dog will be examined at the port of entry to make sure he/she is free from disease.

IMPORTANT: If your dog doesn’t appear to be in good health and must be examined again by a licensed veterinarian, you are responsible for paying the bill.

It’s also important to note that any pets traveling alone must be claimed by a legal resident of the United States. That person must also have a valid address.

STEP 7: Companion Dogs Versus Commercial Dogs

There are different requirements for pets entering the United States versus dogs meant for resale.  Any dog meant for resale must be over 6 months old and fully vaccinated.

Importing dogs into the USA as companion pets need to have their rabies vaccine (not before 3 months of age – see Step 1), and must wait 30 days post vaccine before entering the country.

Questions to Ask Yourself before Importing Dogs to the USA.

Before buying from breeders (whether local to your country or elsewhere), consider the number of dogs in shelters. Kill shelters simply euthanize dogs who aren’t adopted within a certain amount of time. 

People who love dogs have the best of intentions, but it’s really important to do some soul-searching before settling on a pure breed. In fact, there are pure breeds waiting for a forever home in shelters right now.

The decision to bring your dog with you on a big move is honorable. Some people leave their dogs behind (either to fend for themselves or worse) or give them up to anyone who will take them. Traveling is stressful for everyone, including your dog. The best thing you can do is make sure all of the travel arrangements and paperwork is completed well before the move.

Don’t forget to check with the airlines before arriving at the gate. Choose an airline that truly cares for animals.

At the end of the day, safety is paramount. Gathering up and providing all of the necessary paperwork might be frustrating, but its designed to protect us all…including our dogs.

We all want our dogs to arrive at the destination free from injury and as unstressed as possible.






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