The Essential Dachshund

The Essential Dachshund

by Howell Book House, Howell Book House Staff
Owning a Dachshund is rewarding and fun! Get all you need to know about feeding, training, and caring for your dog's health in The Essential Dachshund. Special features include professional color photos and expert tips on how to make your dog a wonderful addition to the family. Learn how to have a great relationship with your pet with The Essential Dachshund.


Owning a Dachshund is rewarding and fun! Get all you need to know about feeding, training, and caring for your dog's health in The Essential Dachshund. Special features include professional color photos and expert tips on how to make your dog a wonderful addition to the family. Learn how to have a great relationship with your pet with The Essential Dachshund.

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Publication date:
Essential Series
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7.78(w) x 6.42(h) x 0.19(d)

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The Essential Dachshund - CH 3 - To Good Health

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The Essential Dachshund

- 3 -

To Good Health

The strongest body and soundest genetic background will not help a dog lead ahealthy life unless he receives regular attention from his owner. Dogs are susceptibleto infection, parasites and diseases for which they have no natural immunity. Itis up to us to take preventive measures to make sure that none of these interfereswith our dog's health. It may help to think of the upkeep of a dog's health in relationto the calendar. Certain things need to be done on a weekly, monthly and annual basis.


Weekly grooming can be the single best monitor of a dog's overall health. Theactual condition of the coat and skin and the "feel" of the body can indicategood health or potential problems. Grooming will help you discover small lumps onor under the skin in the early stages before they become large enough to be seenwithout close examination.

You may spot fleas and ticks when brushing the coat and examining the skin. Besidesharboring diseases and parasites, they can make daily life a nightmare for some dogs.Some Dachshunds are allergic to even a couple of fleas on their bodies. They scratch,chew and destroy their coat and skin because o f fleas.

Your regular attention and preventive mesures will go a long way in keepingyour Dachshund healthy.

Flea Control

Flea control is never a simple endeavor. Dogs bring fleas inside, where they layeggs in the carpeting and furniture--anywhere your dog goes in the house. Consequently,real control is a matter of not only treating the dog but also the other environmentsthe flea inhabits. The yard can be sprayed, and in the house, sprays and flea bombscan be used, but there are more choices for the dog. Flea sprays are effective forone to two weeks. Dips applied to the dog's coat following a bath have equal periodsof effectiveness. The disadvantage to both of these is that some dogs may have problemswith the chemicals.

Flea collars prevent the fleas from traveling to your dog's head, where it's moisterand more hospitable. Dog owners tend to leave flea collars on their dogs long afterthey've ceased to be effective. Again, some dogs may have problems with flea collars,and children should never be allowed to handle them.

Some owners opt for a product that works from the inside out. One such optionis a pill (prescribed by a veterinarian) that you give to the dog on a regular basis.The chemicals in the pill course through the dog's bloodstream, and when a flea bites,the blood kills the flea.

Another available option is a product that comes in capsule form. The liquid inthe capsule is applied near the dog's shoulders, close to the skin where it distributesinto the skin and coat to protect against fleas and ticks. Ask your veterinarianabout this nontoxic, long-lasting tick and flea preventative.


As you examine your dog, ch eck also for ticks that may have lodged in his skin,particularly around the ears or in the hair at the base of the ear, the armpits oraround the genitals. If you find a tick, which is a small insect about the size ofa pencil eraser when engorged with blood, smear it with petroleum jelly. As the ticksuffocates, it will back out and you can then grab it with tweezers and kill it.If the tick doesn't back out, grab it with tweezers and gently pull it out, twistingvery gently. Don't just grab and pull or the tick's head may remain in the skin,causing an infection or abscess for which veterinary treatment may be required.

Use tweezers to remove ticks from your dog.

A word of caution: Don't use your fingers or fingernails to pull out ticks.Ticks can carry a number of diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spottedfever and others, all of which can be very serious.


There are so many safe, effective products available now to combat fleas and ticks that--thankfully--they are less of a problem. Prevention is key, however. Ask your veterinarian about starting your puppy on a flea/tick repellent right away. With this, regular grooming and environmental controls, your dog and your home should stay pest-free. Without this attention, you risk infesting your dog and your home, and you're in for an ugly and costly battle to clear up the problem.

Proper Ear Care

Another weekly job is cleaning the ears. Many times an ear problem is evidentif a dog scratches his ears or shakes his head frequently. Clean ears are less likelyto develop problems, and if something does occur, it will be spotted while it canbe treated easily. If a dog's ears are very dirty and seem to need cleaning on adaily basis, it is a good indication that something else is going on in the earsbesides ordinary dirt and the normal accumulation of earwax. A visit to the veterinarianmay indicate a situation that needs special attention.

Brushing Teeth

Regular brushing of the teeth often does not seem necessary when a dog is youngand spends much of his time chewing; the teeth always seem to be immaculately clean.As a dog ages, it becomes more important to brush the teeth daily.

To help prolong the health of your dog's mouth, he should have his teeth cleanedtwice a year at a veterinary clinic. Observing the mouth regularly, checking forthe formation of abnormalities or broken teeth, can lead to early detection or oralcancer or infection.

Check your dog's teeth frequently and brush them regularly.

Keeping Nails Trimmed

The nails on all feet should be kept short enough so they do not touch the groundwhen the dog walks.

Dogs with long nails can have difficulty walking on hard or slick surfaces. Thiscan be especially true of older dogs. As nails grow longer, the only way the footcan compensate and retain balance is for the toes themselves to spread apart, causingthe foot itself to become flattened and splayed.

Nails that are allowed to become long are also more prone to splitting. This ispainful to the dog and usually requires surgical removal of the remainder of thenail for proper healing to occur.

Keeping Eyes Clear

A Dachshund's eyes sometimes need special attention. A small amount of matterin the corner of the eye is normal, as is a bit of "tearing."

Dachshunds with eyelashes that turn inward and rub against the eye itself oftenexhibit more tearing than normal due to the irritation to the eyes. These eyelashescan be surgically removed if they appear to be a problem, but are often ignored.

Excessive tearing can be an indication that a tear duct is blocked. This, too,can be corrected by a simple surgical procedure. Eye discharge that is thicker andmucous-like in consistency is often a sign of some type of eye infection or actualinjury to the eye. This can be verified by a veterinarian, who will provide a topicalointment to place in the corner of the eye. Most minor eye injuries heal quicklyif proper action is taken.

As Dachshunds age, they are prone to cataracts and vision loss.


All dogs need yearly vaccinations to protect them from common deadly diseases.The DHL vaccine, which protects a dog from distemper, hepatitis and leptospirosis,is given for the first time at about 8 weeks of age, followed by one or two boostersseveral weeks apart. After this, a dog should be vaccinated every year throughouthis life.

Since the mid-1970s, parvovirus and coronavirus have been the cause of death forthousands of dogs. Puppies and older dogs are most frequently affected by these illnesses.Fortunately, vaccines for these are now routinely given on a yearly basis in combinationwith the DHL shot--the combined shot is referred to as the five-in-one DHLPP.

Kennel cough, though rarely dan-gerous in a healthy dog that receives proper treatment,can be annoying. It can be picked up anywhere that large numbe rs of dogs congregate,such as veterinary clinics, grooming shops, boarding kennels, obedience classes anddog shows. The Bordatella vaccine, given twice a year, will protect a dog from gettingmost strains of kennel cough. It is often not routinely given, so it may be necessaryto request it.


Vaccines are given to prevent your dog from getting infectious disease like canine distemper or rabies. Vaccines are the ultimate preventive medicine: They're given before your dog ever gets the disease so as to protect him from the disease. That's why it is necessary for your dog to be vaccinated routinely. Puppy vaccines start at 8 weeks of age for the five-in-one DHLPP vaccine and are given every three to four weeks until the puppy is 16 months old. Your veterinarian will put your puppy on a proper schedule and will remind you when to bring in your dog for shots.


While the exterior part of a dog's body hosts fleas and ticks, the inside of thebody is commonly inhabited by a variety of parasites. Most of these are in the wormfamily. Tapeworms, roundworms, whipworms, hookworms and heartworm all plague dogs.There are also several types of protozoa, mainly coccidia and giardia,that cause problems.

The common tapeworm is acquired by the dog eating infected fleas or lice. Normallyone is not aware that a healthy dog even has tapeworms, The only clues may be a dullcoat, a loss of weight despite a good appetite or occasional gastrointestinal problems.Confirmation is by the presence of worm segments in the stool. These ap pear as small,pinkish-white, flattened rectangular-shaped pieces. When dry, they look like rice.If segments are not present, diagnosis can be made by the discovery of eggs whena stool sample is examined under a microscope. Ridding a dog temporarily of tapewormis easy with a worming medicine prescribed by a veterinarian. Over-the-counter wormersare not effective for tapeworms and may be dangerous. Long-term tapeworm controlis not possible unless the flea situation is also handled.

Ascarids are the most common roundworm (nematode) found in dogs. Adult dogs thathave roundworms rarely exhibit any symptoms that would indicate the worm is in theirbody. These worms are cylindrical in shape and may be as long as 4 to 5 inches. Theydo pose a real danger to puppies, where they are usually passed from the mother throughthe uterus to the unborn puppies.

It is wise to assume that all puppies have roundworms. In heavy infestations,they will actually appear in the puppy stools, though their presence is best diagnosedby a stool sample. Treatment is easy and can begin as early as 2 weeks of age andis administered every two weeks thereafter until eggs no longer appear in a stoolsample or dead worms are not found in the stool following treatment. Severely infectedpuppies can die from roundworm infestation. Again, the worming medication shouldbe obtained through a veterinarian.

All puppies should be checked for roundworms.

Hookworm is usually found in warmer climates and infestation is generally fromingestion of larvae from the ground or penetration of the skin by larvae. Hookwormscan cause anemia, diarrhea and emaciation. As these worms are very tiny and not visibleto the eye, their diag nosis must be made by a veterinarian.

Whipworms live in the large intestine and cause few if any symptoms. Dogs usuallybecome infected when they ingest larvae in contaminated soil. Again, diagnosis andtreatment should all be done by a veterinarian. One of the easiest ways to controlthese parasites is by picking up stools on a daily basis. This will help preventthe soil from becoming infested.

The protozoa can be trickier to diagnose and treat. Coccidiosis and giardia arethe most common, and primarily affect young puppies. They are generally associatedwith overcrowded, unsanitary conditions and can be acquired from the mother (if sheis a carrier), the premises themselves (soil) or even water, especially rural puddlesand streams.

The most common symptom of protozoan infection is mucous-like, blood-tinged feces.It is only with freshly collected samples that diagnosis of this condition can bemade. With coccidiosis, besides diarrhea, the puppies will appear listless and losetheir appetites. Puppies often harbor the protozoa and show no symptoms unless placedunder stress. Consequently, many times a puppy will not become ill until he goesto his new home. Once diagnosed, treatment is quick and effective and the puppy returnsto normal almost immediately.


The most serious of the common internal parasites is the heartworm. A dog thatis bitten by a mosquito infected with the heartworm microfilaria (larvae)will develop worms that are 6 to 12 inches long. As these worms mature they takeup residence in the dog's heart.

The symptoms of heartworm may include coughing, tiring easily, difficulty breathingand weight loss. Heart failure and liver disease m ay eventually result. Verificationof heartworm infection is done by drawing blood and screening for the microfilaria.

In areas where heartworm is a risk, it is best to place a dog on a preventative,usually a pill given once a month.

At least once a year, a dog should have a full veterinary examination. The overallcondition of the dog can be observed and a blood sample collected for a completeyearly screening. This way, the dog's thyroid function can be tested, and the jobthe dog's organs are doing can be monitored. If there are any problems, this formof testing can spot trouble areas while they are easily treatable.

Proper care, regular vaccinations, periodic stool checks and preventative medicationsfor such things as heartworm will all help ensure your dog's health.

Regular vaccinations, preventive medications and proper care will help keepyour Dachshund healthy.


Spaying a female dog or neutering a male is another way to make sure they leadlong and healthy lives. Females spayed at a young age have almost no risk of developingmammary tumors or reproductive problems. Neutering a male is an excellent solutionto dog aggression and also removes the chances of testicular cancer.

Female Dachshunds usually experience their first heat cycle somewhere between6 months and 1 year of age. Unless spayed they will continue to come into heat ona regular cycle. The length of time between heats varies, with anything from everysix months to a year being normal.

There is absolutely no benefit to a female having a first season before beingspayed, nor in letting her have a litter. The decision to breed any dog should neverbe taken light ly. The obvious considerations are whether he or she is a good physicalspecimen of the breed and has a sound temperament. There are genetic problems thatare common to Dachshunds, such as disc disease. Responsible breeders screen for theseprior to making breeding decisions.

Finding suitable homes for puppies is another serious consideration. Due to theirpopularity, many people are attracted to Dachshunds and seek puppies without realizingthe drawbacks of the breed.

Owning a dog is a lifetime commitment to that animal. There are so many unwanteddogs--and yes, even unwanted Dachshunds--that people must be absolutely sure thatthey are not just adding to the pet overpopulation problem. When breeding a litterof puppies, it is more likely that you will lose more than you will make, when time,effort, equipment and veterinary costs are factored in.


The greatest advantage of spaying (for females) or neutering (for males) your dog is that you are guaranteed your dog will not produce puppies. There are too many puppies already available for too few homes. There are other advantages as well.

Advantages of Spaying

No messy heats.

No "suitors" howling at your windows or waiting in your yard.

No risk of pyometra (disease of the uterus) and decreased incidences of mammary cancer.

Advantages of Neutering

Decreased incidences of fighting, but does not affect the dog's personality.

Decreased roaming in search of bitches in season.

Decreased incidences of many urogenital diseases.


Not Eating or Vomiting

One of the surest signs that a Dachshund may be ill is if he does not eat. Thatis why it is important to know your dog's eating habits. For most dogs, one missedmeal under normal conditions is not cause for alarm, but more that that and it istime to take your dog to the veterinarian to search for reasons. The vital signsshould be checked and gums examined. Normally, a dog's gums are pink; if ill, theywill be pale and gray.

Get to know your Dachshund's eating habits--if he starts missing meals, hemay be ill.

There are many reasons why dogs vomit, and many of them are not cause for alarm.You should be concerned, however, when your dog vomits frequently over the periodof a day. If the vomiting is associated with diarrhea, elevated temperature and lethargy,the cause is most likely a virus. The dog should receive supportive veterinary treatmentif recovery is to proceed quickly. Vomiting that is not associated with other symptomsis often an indication of an intestinal blockage. Rocks, toys and clothing will lodgein a dog's intestine, preventing the normal passage of digested foods and liquids.

Some of the many household substances harmful to your dog.

If a blockage is suspected, the first thing to do is an x-ray of the stomach andintestinal region. Sometimes objects will pass on their own, but usually surgicalremoval of the object is necessary.


Diarrhea is characterized as very loose to watery stools that a dog has difficultycontrolling. It can be caused by anything as simple as changing diet, eating toomuch food, e ating rich human food or having internal parasites.

First try to locate the source of the problem and remove it from the dog's access.Immediate relief is usually available by giving the dog an intestinal relief medication,such as Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol. Use the same amount per weight as for humans.Take the dog off his food for a day to allow the intestines to rest, then feed mealsof cooked rice with bland ingredients added. Gradually add the dog's regular foodback into his diet.

If diarrhea is bloody or has a more offensive odor than might be expected andis combined with vomiting and fever, it is most likely a virus and requires immediateveterinary attention. If worms are suspected as the cause, a stool sample shouldbe examined by a veterinarian and treatment to rid the dog of the parasite shouldfollow when the dog is back to normal. If allergies are suspected, a series of testscan be given to find the cause. This is especially likely, if after recovery andno other evidence of a cause exists, a dog returns to his former diet and the diarrhearecurs.


To test your dog for dehydration, take some skin between your thumb and forefingerand lift the skin upward gently. If the skin does not go back to its original positionquickly, the Dachshund may be suffering from dehydration. Consult your veterinarianimmediately.


Vomiting, breathing with difficulty, diarrhea, cries of pain and abnormal bodyor breath odor are all signs that your pet may have ingested some poisonous substance.Poisons can also be inhaled, absorbed through the skin or injected into the skin,as in the case of a snakebite. Poisons require professional help wit hout delay!


If your dog has ingested a potentially poisonous substance, waste no time. Call the National Animal Poison Control Center hot line:

(800) 548-2423 ($30 per case) or

(900) 680-0000 ($20 first five minutes; $2.95 each additional minute)

Broken Bones

If your dog breaks a bone, immobilize the limb very carefully, and seek veterinaryhelp right away. If you suspect a spinal injury, place the dog on a board very slowlyand carefully tie him securely to the board before immediately transporting him tothe veterinarian.

Make a temporary splint by wrapping the leg in firm casing, then bandagingit.

Scratches and Cuts

Minor skin irritations, such as scratches, can usually be cured by using an over-the-counterantibiotic cream or ointment. For minor skin problems, many ointments suitable fora baby work well on a Dachshund.

Run your hands regularly over your dog to feel for any injuries.


Heatstroke can quickly lead to death. Never leave your dog in a car, evenwith the windows open, even on a cloudy day with the car under the shade of a tree.Heat builds up quickly; your dog could die in a matter of minutes. Do not leave yourDachshund outside on a hot day especially if no shade or water is provided.

Heatstroke symptoms include collapse, high fever, diarrhea, vomiting, excessivepanting and grayish lips. If you notice these symptoms, you need to cool the animalimmediately. Try to reduce the body temperature with towels soaked in cold water;massage the body and legs very gently. Fanning the dog may help. If the dog willdrink cool water, let him. If he will not drink, wipe the inside of his mouth withcool water. Get the dog to the nearest veterinary hospital. Do not delay!

Bee Stings

Bee stings are painful and may cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms may be swellingaround the bite and difficulty breathing. Severe allergic reaction could lead todeath. If a stinger is present, remove it. Clean the bitten area thoroughly withalcohol; apply a cold compress to reduce swelling and itching and an anti-inflammatoryointment or cream medication. Seek medical help.


Puppies are curious creatures and will naturally chew anything they can get intotheir mouths, be it a bone, a twig, stones, tiny toys, string or any number of things.These can get caught in the teeth or, worse, lodged in the throat and may finallyrest in the stomach or intestines. Symptoms may be drooling, pawing at the mouth,gagging, difficulty breathing, blue tongue or mouth, difficulty swallowing and bloodyvomit. If the foreign object can be seen and you can remove it easily, do so. Ifyou can't remove it yourself, use the Heimlich maneuver. Place your dog on his sideand, using both hands palms down, apply quick thrusts to the abdomen, just belowthe dog's last rib. If your dog won't lie down, grasp either side of the end of therib cage and squeeze in short thrusts. Make a sharp enough movement to cause theair in the lungs to force the object out. If the cause cannot be found or removed,then professional help is needed.

Applying abdominal thrusts can save a choking dog.


For open wounds, try to stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound forfive minutes using a sterile bandage. If bleeding has not stopped after this time,continue the pressure. Do not remove the pad if it sticks to the wound because moreserious injury could result. Just place a new sterile bandage over the first, andapply a little more pressure to stop the bleeding. This procedure will usually besuccessful. Take the dog to the medical center for treatment especially if the bleedingcannot be controlled rapidly.

If bleeding cannot be stopped with pressure, try pressing on the upper insideof the front leg for bleeding of that limb; for the rear limbs, press on the upperinside of the rear leg; for tail bleeding, press on the underside of the tail atits base. Do not attempt to stop the bleeding with a tourniquet unless the bleedingis profuse and cannot be stopped any other way. A tourniquet must be tight; consequently,it cannot be left on for a long time because it will stop the circulation. It couldbe more dangerous than the bleeding!


Do not put creams or oils on a burn. Cool water can be used to carefully washthe burn area. Transport to the veterinary clinic immediately.


In any emergency situation, you should call your veterinarian immediately. Try to stay calm when you call, and give the vet or the assistant as much information as possible before you leave for the clinic. That way, the staff will be able to take immediate, specific action when you arrive. Emergencies include:

Bleeding or deep wounds

Hyperthermia (overheating)


Dehyd ration

Abdominal pain




Broken bones


Call your veterinarian if you suspect any health troubles.


Impacted Anal Glands--Anal glands are sacs located on each side of therectum. If the sacs become impacted, your dog will be constantly preoccupied withhis rear (licking, rubbing himself along the floor, rug or grass) and his rear willemit an unpleasant odor. Have him checked by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Cataracts (Clouded Eyes)-- If your dog is approaching his senior years,cataracts and loss of vision may naturally occur. Usually this requires no treatment,just clearing obstacles that might cause him harm. If this condition is noticed ina young dog, seek veterinary care.

Cysts--Many older dogs develop cysts. Should you notice or feel a cystwith your hands when grooming or petting your dog, have your veterinarian check it.He will then advise you as to whether it should be watched (to see if it grows anylarger) or if it should be biopsied.

Disc Disease--Disc disease is hereditary and usually manifests itself whenthe dog is between 2 to 5 years of age. Dachshunds with disc problems typically losethe use of their front and/or back legs. Depending on the severity of the condition,loss of mobility may only be temporary.

Disc problems range from minor to severe and often require only rest and medication.For the most severe cases, surgery may be recommended. However, many dogs have recoveredquite well with acupuncture treatments and/or chiropractic adjustments. They mayhave to go for a series of treatments over a period of years, but they can lead alife of dignity and be relatively pain free and moderately active.

Dry Coat--Evidenced by itching; dander visible to the eye; lackluster appearance.Dry coat is more prevalent in the winter when the heat is on and the humidity islow. Compensate for this by adding cod liver oil to the diet once or twice a week.Any oil, including vitamin E (break capsule and add to meal), will help.

Ear Mites--Once called "canker," ear mites are invisible to thenaked eye and are contagious to other animals. Look for constant pulling at or scratchingof ears; redness in ears; visible debris, usually black.

Seek veterinary attention if you believe your dog has ear mites.

Lameness--Symptoms include limping, not putting a foot down and favoringone paw. Before you do anything, check your dog's paw or paws. Make sure you checkbetween his toes. There may be burrs or pieces of pinecones, which are sticky andget lodged in paws, pads of feet and between toes. Carefully remove those with thetweezers. If there is a cut and it is not bleeding profusely, apply pressure untilthe bleeding stops, then put the foot on a gauze pad to fit. Wrap the pad with rolledgauze and secure with a gauze knot, not too tight. If you know from the start thatit looks bad and the bleeding is profuse, go immediately to your veterinarian.

Urinary Tract Infections--The Dachshund is low to the ground; thus femalesin particular can sometimes pick up urinary infections. Males can get them from licking,which causes pus to form in the sheath. Excess licking could be because of a urinarytract infection. Symptoms include excessive ur ination; attempts to urinate that producesmall amounts of urine or nothing and blood in the urine. A urine sample should betaken to the veterinarian.


Learn to take your pet's temperature. An elevated or depressed temperature mayspell the difference between your hound just being "off his feed" for aday or the presence of some infection, which could be best treated early.

Ask someone to restrain the front end of your hound while you focus your attentionon the other end. Grasp the base of the tail firmly, and with the other hand carefullyinsert a well-lubricated (with petroleum jelly) rectal thermometer into the anus.Holding your pet in this fashion should keep him fairly well immobilized. Be surethe thermometer you use is strong enough for this purpose; human oral-type thermometersare too fragile. The average temperature of the dog is approximately 101°F,but there may be normal variation of a degree or so either way, so taking your pet'stemperature before he is sick is a good way of establishing what his "baseline"is.


Using common sense, paying attention to your dog and working with your veterinarian, you can minimize health risks and problems. Use vet-recommended flea, tick and heartworm preventive medications; feed a nutritious diet appropriate for your dog's size, age and activity level; give your dog sufficient exercise and regular grooming; train and socialize your dog; keep current on your dog's shots; and enjoy all the years you have with your friend.

What's W rong with My Dog?

W e've listed some common conditions of health problems and their possible causes.If any of the following conditions appear serious or persist for more than 24 hours,make an appointment to see your veterinarian immediately.


DIARRHEA   Intestinal upset, typically caused by eating something bador over-eating. Can also be a viral infection, a bad case of nerves or anxiety ora parasite infection. If you see blood in the feces, get to the vet right away.

VOMITING/RETCHING   Dogs regurgitate fairly regularly (bitches for theiryoung), whenever something upsets their stomachs, or even out of excitement or anxiety.Often dogs eat grass, which, because it's indigestible in its pure form, irritatestheir stomachs and causes them to vomit. Getting a good look at what yourdog vomited can better indicate what's causing it.

COUGHING   Obstruction in the throat; virus (kennel cough); roundworminfestation; congestive heart failure.

RUNNY NOSE   Because dogs don't catch colds like people, a runny noseis a sign of congestion or irritation.

LOSS OF APPETITE   Because most dogs are hearty and regular eaters,a loss of appetite can be your first and most accurate sign of a serious problem.

LOSS OF ENERGY (LETHARGY)   Any number of things could be slowing downyour dog, from an infection to internal tumors to overexercise--even overeating.

STINKY BREATH   Imagine if you never brushed your teeth! Foul-smellingbreath indicates plaque and tartar buildup that could possibly have caused infection.Start brushing your dog's teeth.

LIMPING &# 160; This could be caused by something as simple as a hurt or bruisedpad, to something as complicated as hip dysplasia, torn ligaments or broken bones.

CONSTANT ITCHING   Probably due to fleas, mites or an allergic reactionto food or environment (your vet will need to help you determine what your dog'sallergic to).

RED, INFLAMED, ITCHY SPOTS   Often referred to as "hot spots,"these are particularly common on coated breeds. They're caused by a bacterial infectionthat gets aggravated as the dog licks and bites at the spot.

BALD SPOTS   These are the result of excessive itching or biting atthe skin so that the hair follicles are damaged; excessively dry skin; mange; calluses;and even infections. You need to determine what the underlying cause is.

STINKY EARS/HEAD SHAKING   Take a look under your dog's ear flap. Doyou see brown, waxy build-up? Clean the ears with something soft and a special cleaner,and don't use cotton swabs or go too deep into the ear canal.

UNUSUAL LUMPS   Could be fatty tissue, could be something serious (infection,trauma, tumor). Don't wait to find out.


If your vet sends you home with medication for your pet for whatever reason, havehim or her demonstrate how to administer it.

If you have to give your hound a pill, put him on a table to get him closer toyour eye level and immobilize him somewhat. With one hand, grasp the upper part ofthe muzzle and open his mouth. If you intentionally put his lips between his teethand your fingers, he will be more reluctant to close his mouth before you are ready.With your other hand, place the pill as far back on his tongue as possible, takingcare not to let it fall off to the side, where it may be bitten or expelled ratherthan swallowed. Close his mouth and hold his muzzle upright while stroking his throatto encourage swallowing. Keep doing this until you are sure he has swallowed. Ifyour pet spits the pill out, keep at it until you succeed. You have to get the pointacross that you don't enjoy this any more than he does, but it has to be done!

Liquid medications are pretty rare these days, and if you can't add it to thefeed, ask your vet for a syringe (minus the needle). This is a much more controlledmethod of administering liquids than spoons, but the principle is the same. Hereyou want to keep his mouth closed, only opening the lips at the corner of his mouth.You then inject or pour the liquid in as you tilt the head back slightly. And youkeep the muzzle closed until he swallows.

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