TOILET WATER

Some dogs like to drink out of the toilet bowl. It’s somewhat obvious that the reason is because the water appears to be fresh and cool. If your dog is drinking out of the toilet bowl instead of his water bowl, is the water in your dog’s bowl fresh and cool? When was the last time you washed, really washed your dog’s water bowl or put it in the dishwasher, instead of just spilling out the remaining water and giving the bowl a quick rinse before refilling it? If your dog is drinking out of the toilet bowl after he has finished all the water in his water bowl, why is he consuming so much water? If you are trying to house-train your dog and he is allowed to drink out of the toilet bowl, you have no control over when and how much he is drinking, which leads to when or how much he has to urinate.

Here’s another thing to think about. Does your dog have ACNE? If he does have acne and he drinks from the toilet bowl, you should discuss his drinking habits with your veterinarian.

The internet is filled with articles about how “safe” it is for your dog to drink out of a toilet and that no harm will come to the dog provided the toilet has been cleaned, and the cleaning chemical has been flushed. Any standard toilet cleaning chemical is extremely harmful and is not always removed with one flush.

I want to make my opinion of this perfectly clear. I do NOT approve of a dog drinking out of a toilet bowl. If you took a swab sample from your toilet bowl, especially under the rim, to a lab for testing, you would be shocked at the number of bacteria including the possibility of E-coli, Giardia, Staphylococcus and Salmonella. It is a bad habit that should be replaced by a FRESH bowl of water given daily. Every dog needs more than one(1) water bowl and they should be cleaned daily at the very least. If your dog has a fresh supply of cool water in a clean bowl, there is no reason to drink from the toilet.

Having a fresh bowl of water available, remembering to close the lid on your toilets, use of toilet lid locks and closing the bathroom door as well, will help to eliminate the problem in most cases.  

Additionally, dogs with full coats, long hair and hairy muzzles are picking up any bacteria under the rim of the toilet. Is that dog then sleeping on the couch or your bed? Is he licking your face? Is your child hugging and kissing this dog after he drank out of the toilet? 

Think toilet brush.  That should help you to remember.

PICA- AN EATING DISORDER

Pica, pronounced Py ka, is defined as “an abnormal craving to eat items not normally eaten.” Merriam Webster Dictionary.  This is a condition seen in kids as well as dogs. 

As our articles are predominately centered around dogs, in conjunction with their families, we will stick with PICA in dogs. 

A dog suffering from PICA will just about eat anything he or she craves.
It’s easier to control what your dog eats inside the home, than what might be picked up outside the home. Sometimes life with your dog, just like life with any living being, can be made easier with compromise. If your dog likes underwear, for instance, then a high hamper with a hard-to-pry-open lid will help to stop that behavior. Keeping items out of reach, be it golf balls, eye glasses, paper towels, or even cat litter, might take some extra time, patience and creative planning.  But it can be accomplished. However, the craving to eat “inedible” items will still be present and your dog will hunt for other things to satisfy the need unless you take further action and visit your veterinarian for help.

Walking outside, if your dog suffers from PICA, opens the playing field for even more items, particularly if you use an extender leash.  I’ve worked with dogs that eat discarded garbage in the street, paper towels, rabbit feces, small broken off tree branches, mulch, candy wrappers, and paper wrapping from fast food. Some will even eat the feces of other dogs as well as their own. Another reason to always pick-up after your dog.

Most of the above-mentioned items will cause medical harm to your dog’s digestive system.  Some may be so serious that a surgery becomes the only treatment.

Any pet parent with a dog that exhibits such behavior, should seek the care and advice of a veterinarian.

What about dogs that eat their own feces?  Well, there is a name for that too.  It’s called coprophagy or coprophagia. There are many reasons for this unwanted behavior. Just to mention a few; 1. A puppy who learns this from their natural mother who eats feces from her puppies to keep the whelping bed clean. 2. A puppy from a pet shop or mill, kept in a kennel and eats, sleeps, drinks, plays, urinate and defecates in that kennel without much time outside of it. 3. Nutritional needs like deficiencies or hunger from under-feeding or parasites. 4.  Boredom, stress, need of attention or even getting rid of evidence to avoid punishment.  

As always, we advise you to take your dog to the vet and have a full check-up, one that includes urine and blood analysis to determine the exact cause. A Board Certified Veterinarian Behaviorist may also be necessary.

TO FEED GRAIN FREE OR NOT TO FEED GRAIN FREE

This article has been written and produced online for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as advice.  It is a compilation of facts gathered from research, as well as interviews with various veterinarians.

Here’s something you won’t hear every day: If you hear an eerie, mournful, wailing sound; don’t think it’s a dog, think it’s a wolf on the TV. Our furry family members can’t emit sounds like that because wolfs’ skulls evolved into modern dogs’ skulls approximately 33,000 years ago, according to Pennsylvania State University’s George Perry, an expert in the study of such.  That timeline coincides with the Daily Mail’s, Science Tech information that states that our Earth was inhabited by not just two human species, but three: Neanderthal, Denisovans and modern man.  The first two groups were believed to have become extinct partially because of the existence of modern man, as well as the modern dog. Why 33,000 years ago Homo Erectus died out to be replaced by modern man. However, the differences are staggering.

So, when you see that (yes, we’ve all seen it) commercial about how our dogs are descendants of wolves, you have the answer: “Yes, they are—uh, like 33,000 years ago!  With that information at hand (paw), we can now examine the reasoning that goes into a decision to feed our dogs a wolf-healthy diet.  Let’s face it; a major percentage of the dog population today are house pets that could never survive in the wild. Not so with wolves. If not for reserves and zoos, wolves do survive in the wild.

Here’s another conundrum: Should we feed our dogs a grain-free or grain inclusive diet?

Please know that diets that eliminate grains such as: quinoa, wheat, millet, corn, oats, rice, barley and rye, merely substitute those ingredients with other ingredients.  Those substitutes are most often: sweet potatoes, pumpkin, tapioca, parsnip, butternut squash, fruit, peas and spinach leaves.  Those products aren’t necessarily healthier than the grains.

As Alice in Wonderland once said, “curiouser and curiouser.” But at least we are armed with facts that will help us to make an informed decision about dog-friendly diets.

It seems that Alice might have been onto something.  We are curious about many things—even confused by some.  Why? Because there are so many conflicting reports about the same topic.  Which piece of advice is the one to follow?

Sorting it out requires an understanding of the terms that have become linked to one another.  Grains—gluten—carbs. That’s not to say, grains equal gluten, equals carbs.

Yes, grains are carbs.  But a grain-free diet is not a carb-free diet.  Sweet potatoes, for example, is a carb. Wheat, barley and rye are the grains those afflicted with celiac disease need to avoid.  Celiac disease is a troubling condition, more so for humans, than for dogs.  However, and having said that, those grains can cause gastrointestinal discomfort for sensitive canines, as well as some troublesome skin conditions.

And, what about starchy carbohydrates?  Starches are known to add bulk and weight. Do we want that for our dogs? Whole grains are carbs too, but not the kind that add weight.

The American Kennel Club reminds us of the horrifying event that sickened and killed numerous dogs back in 2007 when pet food from China was contaminated with industrial chemicals.  It was determined that the grains did not sicken the dogs, but the chemical infusion into the grains.

Additionally, the AKC states that, “10% of people have gluten related illnesses and that may be the same with dogs.”  If you accept this fact, then your dog wouldn’t benefit from a gluten-free diet.  Further, the AKC states that dogs have ten key genes that are different from wolves that enable them to utilize grains. The best advice here is to trust the advice of a vet you have confidence in.

In this article we present the facts and allow you to draw your own conclusion—a conclusion that best serves the best interest for the well-being and long life of your dog. And always remember: whatever you feed your dog, be sure to add a little serving of love.

TAKE YOUR DOG OUT OF THE ELIZABETHAN ERA

Once a fashion statement, the Elizabethan collar has taken on a new meaning and a new purpose It looked uncomfortable, ridiculous and impractical when the Queen wore it. Also called the E-collar, for short, I’m referring to a collar designed to prevent a dog from being able to lick or bite a wound or surgical suture. I’m not referring to an Electric (shock) collar.

If your dog has ever had the unpleasant experience of wearing an Elizabethan collar made of clear plastic that resembles a lamp shade, you know how difficult it is for your dog to eat, drink, or do many of his normal activities because the collar extends passed his nose and additionally, he can only see straight ahead. It’s also bulky and clumsy and the poor dog is probably banging into walls and can’t find a comfortable position to sleep. Sometimes they walk with their head down and the collar scraping along the floor if they are sniffing the ground or trying to pick something up. If your dog is in a crate, the use of a cone shape Elizabethan collar can make it almost impossible for your dog to turn around.

So, here to model for us, is Wolf, wearing an inflatable collar that serves the same purpose yet allows for normal activities. In addition to the one shown in the photo, there are other versions that are padded and even shaped like the pedals of a flower, allowing for comfort and mobility, and will not hamper eating or drinking out of a bowl.  Playing with a ball or chew toy is business as usual.

Chances are that if your dog is given an Elizabethan collar by your veterinary office it will be the hard-plastic lamp shade type. However, most veterinarians would have no objection to the use of a more comfortable collar as long as it offers the needed protection against your dog disturbing a wound, sutured surgical procedure or bandage during the recovery and healing time. All the alternative collars are available in your favorite pet super-store or on-line and are reasonably priced. Your dog will thank you for it.

FEMALE DOGS HAVING “ACCIDENTS”…OR IS IT SOMETHING ELSE?

Attention Ladies: Listen Up—that means you, lady dogs and of course, we welcome all pet parents of female dogs to read along.

We here at Murphdog & Company recognize that some “accidents” are not the result of you misbehaving.  In fact, you might need to see your vet; and the sooner the better.

How do we know? Because we dedicate ourselves to knowing all about dogs. There are definite signs that some “accidents” happen that are caused by an irritation, or inflammation; especially when a female dog is no longer a puppy, perhaps 8-9 months old or older and starts peeing in the house.

Q: Are you peeing more than one time when you go out to do your business?

If the answer is “yes” than we have to check that off as a “sign.”

Q: How about peeing in the house in front of your pet parent? 

We don’t want anyone to mistake this for an attention-grabbing trick.

Q: Are you immediately peeing inside the house after returning from your walk outside?

Aha.  Another check mark in the “yes” column.

Q: How about licking that private area down there (vets call it the vulva)? That is a definite sign that you need to see your vet.

Q: Is there a noticeable odor? 

Q: Do you notice that other dogs are attracted by the odor and start to sniff around you?

Q: Are you stretching out one leg because you are feeling uncomfortable?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions we don’t want you to be upset.  But it is something that must be taken care of by your vet.  You might need an antibiotic to rid yourself of this problem, because it is probable that you have a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Pet Parents: If your dog is walked in a dog park, easy entry of germs that can cause inflammation or irritation and a UTI can happen; as female dogs squat to pee.

If your dog recently had a vet check-up, you can bring a urine sample over to the vet for testing without your dog being present.  All you need is a teaspoon of urine, placed in an unused container, like Tupperware.  You can also get a free, sterile, testing container from your vet’s office.

Pet Parents know that their precious pets need advocates to speak up for them, as they cannot speak up for themselves.  And the list above “speaks” to the heart of a matter that is uncomfortable for your dog and cannot be left untreated.

So please look for these signs and take your dog for a check-up, and make sure that you tell your vet what you’ve noticed.  Your vet will prescribe a medication that will make your pet comfortable again, and the silver living is: no more “accidents.”