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Your Dog’s Health: Joint Pain

Recognizing the Signs of Joint Pain & Providing Relief

Dogs of all ages can experience joint pain; it’s not just a problem for seniors anymore. Common causes of joint pain in dogs include:

  • Tendon, ligament, or muscle diseases leading to tears or ruptures
  • Joint fractures
  • Congenital and metabolic disorders
  • Hormonal, dietary, or inflammatory conditions, like Lyme disease


Another major cause of joint pain is obesity. That’s because carrying extra weight can be as hard on a dog’s body as it is on ours!

But how do you know if your dog is in pain? And is there anything you can do to help?

Symptoms of Joint Pain

It’s not always easy to know if your dog hurts because they may not yelp, whine, or hold a paw out in pain. Fortunately, dogs offer other clues to let you know they’re uncomfortable.

Common signs of joint pain in dogs include:

  • Moving slowly or stiffly when getting up
  • Lagging behind on walks
  • Having problems climbing stairs
  • Being reluctant to run or jump
  • Holding a limb off the ground or limping
  • Having difficulty standing, sitting, or lying down
  • Expressing less interest in normal activities
  • Decreasing energy levels
  • Becoming irritable
  • Losing muscle


Some dogs also have visible swelling or stiffness in their joints or obsessively lick tender areas of their body.

Treating Joint Pain

If you think your dog has joint pain, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. After diagnosing their condition, your vet might recommend a variety of therapies based on the severity of your dog’s symptoms, their age and overall health, and the cause of their discomfort.

Weight Management

One of the most important things you can do to keep your dog healthy and comfortable is address any existing weight issues. Losing weight helps minimize joint pain and inflammation by decreasing excess strain on your dog’s body. Talk to your vet about the safest way to help your dog lose weight, especially if they have health issues or pain that affects their ability to exercise comfortably.

Foods & Supplements

Certain ingredients or additives — like fish oil, chondroitin, and glucosamine — can have a regenerative quality on joints and help with pain. Before supplementing your dog’s diet, talk to your vet about your concerns, and ask for their nutritional and supplement recommendations that support joint health.

Physical Therapy & Complementary Treatments

Vets with advanced training in canine rehabilitation and sports medicine — like Dr. Julia Tomlinson at Twin Cities Animal Rehab and Sports Medicine in Burnsville — offer a wide range of complementary treatments, such as physical therapy, hydrotherapy, chiropractic care, massage, and acupuncture. These therapies can offer significant pain relief, especially if your dog has a chronic or degenerative condition.

Medications

Sometimes, pain relievers might be the best option to keep your dog comfortable. But, never give your dog pills made for humans. After talking with your vet, they might recommend prescription medications, like carprofen, meloxicam, or glucocorticoids, to reduce joint pain and inflammation.

Remember, if you think your dog is in pain, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. With their help, your dog will feel better in no time.

By |August 12th, 2019|blog|0 Comments|

Your Dog’s Health: Kennel Cough

Understanding the Risks & Identifying the Signs

kennel coughKennel cough, also known as Bordetella, is a highly contagious dog virus. Similar to a cold or virus in humans, dogs with kennel cough typically recover without treatment, but some dogs are at higher risk. It is important to know the symptoms so you can help reduce the spread of this virus and seek veterinary care for your dog as soon as possible.

How Do Dogs Catch Kennel Cough?
Like the human cold virus, dogs can catch kennel cough through aerosols in the air, from direct contact with an infected dog, or through germs on contaminated objects. This makes it highly contagious in boarding facilities, animal shelters, training facilities, and at veterinary clinics. Dogs in frequent contact with other dogs have the highest risk of contracting the virus; young, old, unvaccinated dogs, and dogs with medical conditions are especially vulnerable.

What Are the Symptoms of Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough is a form of bronchitis that causes an inflammation of a dog’s voice box and windpipe. The most pronounced symptom of kennel cough is a persistent dry cough that is often accompanied by a “honking” sound. Most dogs appear healthy except for the cough, but others display sneezing, runny nose, eye discharge, foamy phlegm, loss in appetite, and decreased energy. Dogs can also have kennel cough or be carriers of the virus without displaying any symptoms at all.

I Think My Dog Has Kennel Cough, What Should I Do?
Separate your dog from other dogs immediately and contact your veterinarian. While most dogs recover over a few weeks, it is important to involve your vet in their treatment to prevent more serious conditions from developing.

How Is Kennel Cough Treated?
Veterinary treatment of kennel cough varies depending on the age, condition of your pet, and the severity of their illness. Some infected dogs are isolated from other dogs, and the virus runs its course, and others receive cough suppressants or antimicrobial prescriptions. Either way, it is important to work closely with your veterinarian to keep your dog comfortable while they recover. Most dogs improve in three weeks, but vulnerable dogs like puppies, seniors, or dogs with medical conditions can take up to six weeks or longer. If your dog has nasal discharge, rapid breathing, refuses to eat or seems lethargic, contact your vet immediately.

Is There a Vaccination for Kennel Cough?
There are three types of kennel cough vaccine: oral, nasal, and injection. Wagging Tails requires a kennel cough vaccination for all canine guests in our facility. But, similar to the human flu vaccine, it does not guarantee protection from this illness. However, dogs vaccinated against kennel cough often display more mild symptoms if they contract kennel cough. These vaccinations are also not effective if your dog currently has a kennel cough infection.

Vaccinations are typically given once a year but can be given more often if a dog is at higher risk for kennel cough. Work with your veterinarian to determine which option is best for your dog.

How Is Wagging Tails Trying to Reduce Kennel Cough Exposure?
At Wagging Tails Pet Resort, your dog’s safety is our top priority. We have an extensive cleaning protocol in place; all the playrooms are disinfected daily, and suites are fully disinfected between every guest. Additionally, toys, food bowls, and water bowls are thoroughly cleaned after every use to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Each of our employees is also trained to recognize the signs of kennel cough in a visiting animal. If we suspect that a dog in our care is sick, it is our policy is to quarantine the animal and seek veterinary treatment immediately to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to our other dogs.

It is important to us to do everything in our power to minimize the exposure risk to dogs in our care. Because kennel cough is so highly contagious and can be spread by dogs not displaying any signs of illness, we also rely on open communication with our clients. By proactively communicating about local outbreaks and educating them on the symptoms to watch for in their own homes, we can work together to reduce the exposure of dogs in our care.

By |August 5th, 2019|blog|0 Comments|

It’s Your Party!

July Birthday Roundup

Ernie

We could be a little biased, but we think the BEST way to celebrate a birthday is at WTPR — just ask Ernie!

Our Birthday Club is free and comes with a complimentary Playday, bandana, and a birthday party!

Has your dog celebrated with us yet? Visit our Photo Gallery to see all of the happy dogs in our Birthday Club!

By |August 5th, 2019|blog|0 Comments|

Tail Waggers of the Month

Meet Bauer and Lenni Rae!

Bloomington Tail Wagger

Bauer is a 5-year-old Finnish Lapphund who has been coming to our Bloomington location for two years. This breed was specially created to herd reindeer in Finland. Bauer makes the most of these exceptional skills by herding his family when he’s at home and vocalizing often so they always know exactly what he wants. When he comes to Wagging Tails, Bauer enjoys chasing his fur friends, relaxing, and begging for treats.

Several years ago, Bauer developed a cough that’s treated with a low-dose steroid inhaler. The medicine helped his cough, but it also made him perpetually hungry, and he’s become a master snack stealer! Now Bauer spends most of his time counter surfing and watching his human siblings for tasty tidbits to swipe. His owners tell us that nothing is safe in their house anymore – whether it’s lobster tails, chicken legs, bags of bread, or even toys!

During the winter, Bauer loves sleeping in the garage in the back of the car with the windows cracked. His owners think Bauer found food in there once, so now he loves to curl up and enjoy the cool temperatures – and look for any forgotten morsels.

Eagan Tail Wagger

Lenni Rae is a 1-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog who’s been part of our pack since she was 16 weeks old. During her visits, this happy girl loves to bark her friends, play outside, eat all of the treats she can, and nap. Lenni also can’t resist playing with her best friend Finn, especially when they get to run, dig, and slobber all over each other!

When Lenni is out on walks with her dog mom Kelly, she’ll stop mid-walk, flop on her back, and roll around in the grass or snow. Then, Lenni lays there with her legs in the air! Kelly says cars have stopped just to make sure Lenni’s okay. Walks aren’t the only place you get to see this girl’s unique personality; she’s also afraid of pretzels and some sticks, and she absolutely refuses to swim. Kelly says that’s okay, though, because Lenni loves to snuggle. Lenni also insists on following Kelly everywhere she goes, even into the bathroom!

Kelly says Lenni is a little lazy, but she still makes a great protector from Amazon delivery people. Unfortunately, Lenni also eats underwear and breaks Kelly’s necklaces whenever she jumps up to greet her. Even though Lenni likes to eat strange things, though, Kelly says she’s a very good dog and has never destroyed any furniture or the walls. Lenni’s also incredibly attentive and loving, greeting you with the same excitement every time, even if you’ve only been gone for five minutes.

But what’s the best part of having Lenni in her life? “Lenni is the BEST snuggler! She is a true companion that loves her family unconditionally,” Kelly says. “She is gentle but will protect her family.”

Congratulations Bauer and Lenni!

By |July 22nd, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Tail Waggers of the Month|

Do You Have A Shy or Fearful Dog?

Help Them Gain More Confidence

It’s easy to assume that all dogs love everyone and everything. Why wouldn’t they? They’re dogs! But many dogs are actually shy or frightened of some people, things like loud noises, and certain situations.

Recognizing a Shy or Fearful Dog

There are different ways to identify shy or fearful dogs because they often express specific behaviors in response to their triggers, including:

  • Urinating involuntarily
  • Trying to move away or hide
  • Trembling
  • Panting or drooling
  • Shedding excessively
  • Refusing to make eye contact



Unfortunately, shy or fearful dogs can also react in more aggressive ways too, like barking, growling, and snapping. In fact, most dog behaviors that seem aggressive are usually a sign of fear, not aggression problems.

What Makes a Dog Shy or Fearful

In some cases, it’s easy to understand why a dog is shy or afraid. Maybe your dog was abused at one point or experienced a traumatic event. Sometimes you can trace fearful reactions to limited socialization as a puppy. There are also dogs who have a genetic predisposition that makes them more wary – this doesn’t mean some breeds are more fearful or shy. Instead, it means that traits in dogs can be passed from parents to children. So, if you have a shy parent, you can also have a shy puppy.

And, just as often, some dogs can develop fears for reasons we’ll never know.

Helping Shy or Fearful Dogs

If you have a shy or fearful dog, it’s essential to recognize their fears and try to help them become more confident. Remember, this can take a lot of time and patience, but these steps can help.

Management

Fear puts dogs in a heightened state of emotion. The first step should involve managing your dog’s environment so they can avoid things that trigger their fear response. For example, if your dog is afraid of strangers, avoid crowded areas filled with people because they can overwhelm your dog. When your dog is in an environment where they feel safe and relaxed, you can start working on training, desensitization, and counter-conditioning.

Training

Training is an essential aspect of building a strong relationship with your dog and helping them grow more confident. This doesn’t mean you have to have a certified service dog by the time you’re done, but having reliable training foundation like sit, down, and stay paves the way towards having a dog who relies on you for guidance on how they should react when they feel afraid or uncertain. We offer group and one-on-one training classes in our Obedience Academy, so let us know if you would like suggestions on how to work with your shy or fearful dog.

Desensitization and Counter-Conditioning

In an ideal world, all we’d have to do is say, “You don’t have to be scared, Fifi, that’s just thunder.” Unfortunately, communicating with a dog takes a little more work, especially if they’re in a heightened emotional state because they’re afraid.

To help your dog overcome their fears, slowly expose them to their triggers a little at a time while simultaneously giving them pleasant things to enjoy, like super tasty treats. The idea behind this is to change your dog’s emotional and physiological response to the things that scare them by helping them associate their fears with something positive.

Be Patient

Remember, if you have a shy or fearful dog, it’s crucial to take things slow. It can be a long, slow process to help them grow more confident, especially if you have an extremely fearful dog. Let them set the pace as you work with them; never try to rush them or force them into situations that make them uncomfortable. It’s also important to discuss your concerns with your veterinarian.

Do you have a shy or fearful dog? What helped them gain confidence? Tell us in the comments below!

By |July 15th, 2019|blog|2 Comments|

Your Dog’s Health: Heart Disease Alert

Understanding the Risks & Identifying the Signs

Heart disease has been making local and national headlines lately. But this time, it’s because of concern over the sharp increase of dogs with a particular form of heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

puppy sitting in food bowlSome dog breeds have higher rates of heart disease. However, recent findings from the FDA reveal a potential link between DCM and dogs eating certain foods. While continued research is still needed, there is significant concern with recipes containing sweet potatoes, legumes – like peas, lentils, and chickpeas – and some foods containing regular potatoes in various forms, whether whole, flour, or protein.

The FDA first alerted the public to their rising concerns over dog food and DCM in July 2018. But what is cardiomyopathy, and why should we be worried?

Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy

DCM in dogs is just as scary as heart disease is in people. When a dog has DCM, their heart muscle weakens, which affects its ability to pump and contract properly. As the disease progresses, their heart chambers become enlarged, and their valves can start leaking. All these changes pose serious risks for your dog, including congestive heart failure and death.

The Signs of Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Dogs with cardiomyopathy can display a variety of symptoms, depending on the extent of their condition. Common signs of DCM include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Inability to exercise
  • Weakness or collapse
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Coughing
  • Breathing problems, including shortness of breath
  • Abdominal swelling


Unfortunately, just like humans with heart disease, dogs can have DCM without displaying any symptoms. This means a dog can suffer sudden death from dilated cardiomyopathy without showing any signs of illness.

To learn more about DCM and the FDA’s findings, we encourage you to read this coverage from the American Kennel Club. For more information on your dog’s health and whether they’re at risk of heart disease, contact your veterinarian.

By |July 8th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Your Dog’s Health: Heart Disease Alert|

It’s Your Party!

June Birthday Roundup

dog wearing birthday hat

Carter Roo

Carter Roo can’t stop smiling because he celebrated his birthday at WTPR last month!

Members of our free Birthday Club spend their special day enjoying a complimentary Playday, bandana, and birthday paw-ty!

See all the dogs that celebrated with Carter Roo by visiting our photo gallery! Not a member yet? Sign up today!

By |July 1st, 2019|blog|Comments Off on It’s Your Party!|

Tail Waggers of the Month

Meet Midas and Allie!

Bloomington Tail Wagger

Midas has been coming to WTPR since he was six months old. As a baby, he was a member of our Eagan pack. But, after moving to Bloomington, this sweet golden retriever was able to call our second location his home away from home too!

One of the things 6-1/2-year-old Midas likes most about his doggy daycare visits is Pool Days. When the weather permits, he claims a kiddie pool for himself and spends the whole day lounging in it! Midas also loves his routine almost as much as hanging out in the pool, but the recent home remodel has thrown him off. His owner Eric says they’re expecting their first child, so they can only imagine how big of a change it will be for Midas having a new baby in the family!

Eric tells us that Midas doesn’t have a very good nose. That means that when he loses sight of a treat, he can’t sniff them out very well. One time, however, Midas surprised Eric and Carrie by stopping and sniffing a snowbank intently. All of a sudden, he plunged his head deep in the snow, resurfacing moments later with a mouthful of McDonald’s French fries. Apparently, Midas doesn’t have a problem sniffing those out!

While Midas doesn’t mind digging for French fries in the snow, he hates getting his paws wet. This quirk has earned him the nickname “Princess Paws” at home. As long as the pavement is dry, you can find Midas prancing like a horse on his walks and really hamming it up if he thinks someone is watching.

Midas is a special dog with a charming personality. Eric says Midas loves pushing his face into small spaces. This trait tends to throw off strangers who meet him for the first time because Midas ends up shoving his face between their legs and leaving it there!

Eagan Tail Wagger

Allie has been coming to our Eagan location since November 2018 when her owner Christy first rescued her. It’s taken a little while for Allie to come out of her shell, but she’s found some good friends to play with — especially Mallow the Siberian Husky and Boss the Pitbull — and she enjoys following the play coaches around during her Playday visits.

This 3-1/2-year-old Australian Shepherd is very sweet, loving, and always ready for a cuddle. Allie uses her nose to nudge you for pets and even wants you to hold her paw while she’s curled up beside you. She’s also eager to please and a quick learner who really loves her routine, especially her long morning walks. Consistent training and her love of treats have helped Allie become more confident, and Christy has loved seeing Allie’s true personality emerge as her fears subside. In fact, Christy says that Allie’s gentle disposition, affectionate demeanor, and ability to learn quickly are her top assets. Christy hopes that with ongoing training, Allie could become a certified therapy dog.

What’s the best part of having Allie in her life? “I feel incredibly grateful we found each other,” Christy told us. “From the first day I met Allie at the Border Collie Rescue of Minnesota, she pulled on my heartstrings. I learned she came from a Reservation in North Dakota, and she already knew some basic commands. I believe someone must have loved her but could not financially take care of her. Her joy and affectionate personality were what drew me to her. After losing my cairn terrier in July, Allie came along at the right time and has once again filled my home with so much love. I’m proud to have been able to provide her with a forever home.”

Congratulations Midas and Allie!

By |June 24th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Tail Waggers of the Month|

Your Dog’s Health: Cataracts

What to Look For and How to Help

Most of us have known someone with cataracts at some point in our lives, but did you know dogs can have cataracts too? Cataracts affect the lens of the eye, causing it to thicken and lose its transparency. When cataracts develop, they can impair your vision and, in some cases, even cause blindness.

Most people associate cataracts with old age, but the most common cause of this issue in dogs is inherited conditions or underlying diseases like diabetes. Some dogs even have cataracts at birth, or that develop within one and three years of age.

Symptoms of Cataracts in Dogs

The most obvious indication of cataracts are eyes that look cloudy or bluish-gray. Additional signs that your dog might have cataracts include:

  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Eye redness, discharge, or excessive blinking
  • A sudden hesitation or reluctance to jump on furniture or climb stairs
  • Increased clumsiness



Some of these changes in your dog’s behavior can be a natural part of the aging process or indicate other issues, like arthritis, so it’s important to schedule an appointment with your vet so they can make a diagnosis.

Treating Cataracts in Dogs

Your vet might recommend a variety of treatments to address your dog’s cataracts. For example, if there’s an underlying condition like diabetes, your vet will work to manage that issue. They might also recommend eyedrops to prevent inflammation from developing or other problems, like an infection. If your dog is healthy aside from having cataracts, your vet might suggest cataract surgery with a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Dogs with progressive cataracts causing severe vision loss can still live a full and rich life thanks to their remarkable ability to adjust to new situations. Talk to your vet about how you can help your dog and family cope with vision loss.

To reduce your dog’s chances of developing cataracts, you should schedule yearly physicals that include a routine eye exam. These appointments help your vet monitor your dog’s health for underlying issues and treat any conditions that can cause cataracts before they become serious.

By |June 17th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Your Dog’s Health: Cataracts|

Tech to the Rescue!

The Modern Dog

Whether you like it or not, technology is here to stay. And we couldn’t be happier because of all the ways it’s made things better for dogs! We’ve already written about how smartphones can do more than take pictures of your dogs and highlighted five of our favorite apps for dog lovers. But, there are even more ways technology can help keep our dogs safer, healthier, and happier.

Safety

Microchipping your dog is a valuable step in helping them find their way home again if they ever get lost. But, now, you can also add a built-in GPS collar that sends updates to your smartphone about your dog’s activity and whereabouts! With a wide range of GPS collars to choose from, it’s easy to keep track of your dog so they’ll never get lost again.

Health

Wearable technology isn’t just for humans anymore. If you’re trying to keep track of your dog’s daily exercise or get insight into their general health and behavior, FitBark could be right for you. This wearable device tracks your dog’s sleep quality, daily activity, distance covered by running or walking, and the number of calories they burn.

Supervision

No one likes leaving their dog at home alone. But now, you can check on them while you’re away with devices like the Petcube Camera! This camera is far more than a basic webcam. Not only does it sync to your smartphone, but it also lets you talk to your dog and play fetch with them with a built-in laser pointer!

Smart Toys

Looking for ways to banish boredom or reduce anxiety in your dog? Smart toys like the CleverPet Hub and PupPod provide interactive, high-tech puzzle games that stream to your phone! These exciting toys can keep dogs of all ages and abilities challenged while they learn.

Has technology changed your relationship with your dog? Tell us in the comments below!

By |June 10th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Tech to the Rescue!|