JUST PETS-The Pet Helper Welcomes All

Timely bits of current information to help "Empower the Holistic Pet Parent Consumer" . . . scamper over and retrieve past articles from our Just Pets Blog History Archive.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Time For A Change

After 5 years, we are discontinuing writing new Just Pets Blog Posts, however, the historical Archive Search on the Blog remains active. Efforts to “empower the pet parent consumer” continue through research and our publications. Thank you. Visit our Purely Pet Care Just Pets Shop link.

Après 5 ans, sont appelés à disparaître l'écriture de nouvelles seulement Animaux blog Messages, cependant, la recherche dans les archives historiques sur le blog reste actif. Les efforts visant à "responsabiliser le consommateur de parent animal" continuent par la recherche et nos publications. Merci.
Nach 5 Jahren sind wir Absetzen Schreiben neuer Nur Haustiere Blog Posts bleibt jedoch die historische Archiv Suche auf dem Blog aktiv. Die Bemühungen um die "Stärkung der Elterntier Verbraucher" weiterhin durch Forschung und sie uns zu. Danke.
Después de 5 años, estamos descontinuando escribir nuevas Just Animales mensajes de blog, sin embargo, el Archivo histórico Buscar en el Blog permanece activa. Los esfuerzos para "empoderar a los consumidores de los padres de mascotas" continúan a través de la investigación y nuestras publicaciones. Gracias.
После 5 лет, мы прекращаем писать новые Всего Питомцы Блог сообщения, однако, историческая Архив Поиск в блоге остается активным. Усилия, направленные на "расширение прав и возможностей домашних животных родительский потребителя" по-прежнему на основе исследований и наших публикаций. спасибо.Posle 5 let, my prekrashchayem pisat' novyye Vsego Pitomtsy Blog soobshcheniya , odnako, istoricheskaya Arkhiv Poisk v bloge ostayetsya aktivnym. Usiliya, napravlennyye na " rasshireniye prav i vozmozhnostey domashnikh zhivotnykh roditel'skiy potrebitelya" po-prezhnemu na osnove issledovaniy i nashikh publikatsiy . Spasibo.
Po 5 latach, jesteśmy zaprzestaniu pisania nowych Tylko zwierzęta blogach, jednak historyczne Archiwum Szukaj na blogu pozostaje aktywny. Wysiłki zmierzające do "przyznania praw konsumenta zwierzę nadrzędnego" nadal poprzez badania i naszych publikacji. Dziękuję.
Pas 5 vitesh, ne po ndërprerjen shkrim të reja Vetëm Pets Blog Posts, megjithatë, historik Arkiva Kërko Blog mbetet aktiv. Përpjekjet për të "fuqizojnë konsumatorin prind i përkëdhelur" të vazhdojë përmes hulumtimeve dhe publikimeve tona. Falemnderit.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Natural Living with Dogs

Requests from our readers for a guide - NATURAL LIVING WITH DOGS - to what is in the pet food bag has just been released with revised cookbook editions - THE CANINE CHEF and THE FELINE CHEF - A Cook 'n Care Book at Amazon.com - ebook and paperback.
NATURAL LIVING WITH DOGS is a guidebook to help the pet parent consumer through the maze of marketing and advertising in the pet food industry.  Included is a chapter on pet food ingredients, how pet food is made,  supplemented, labeling requirements and regulated by the AAFCO American Association of Feed Control Officials, FDA, Food & Drug Administration. The consumer will learn why carbohydrate values are missing from the ingredients panel, and how to calculate for them. Defining ingredient terms will aid the pet parent consumer in evaluating pet foods that are the most appropriate for their pet companion’s needs. NATURAL LIVING WITH DOGS will help empower the pet parent to determine what is in the bag of food and is it what they really want for their pet companions.
Other chapters include information on specialty topics such as vaccinosis, adverse reactions to vaccines, rock chewing, hypothermia, cranberries, pumpkin, antibiotics, and a myriad of helpful alternatives to mainstream care. 
Other books by the Author at Amazon.com
The Canine Chef - new/revision
The Feline Chef - A Cook 'n Care Book

Feline Kitchen - Natural Nutrition & Care for Cats- Out of print
Canine Kitchen Foods - Natural Food Recipes for Dogs- Out of Print
Canine Kitchen Treats - Natural Treat Recipes for Dogs- Out of Print
Paws, Purrs & Feathers - Natural Cookbook for Dogs, Cats & Birds- Out of Print
Avian Cookery- Out of Print

Monday, August 25, 2014

About Anal Glands

The anal glands or anal sacs are two glands that secrete an odorous fluid traveling through tiny ducts that open into the anus during defecation. Located on either side of the anus, just under the skin, at the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions, the anal glands are embedded in the muscle of the anal sphincter and normally not readily visible. They are small oval shaped glands. Within the glands, the tissue produces a fluid collected in a multitude of tiny ducts. As feces pass through the anus, the glands are squeezed and the duct releases the fluid through small pores. The function of the anal glands is to produce small amounts of anal gland secretions ranging in color from yellow brown to gray. These secretions are used as a way to mark territory, identify other dogs or are released when the dog is frightened.
Not all dogs develop anal gland problems. Anal gland disease affects dogs more than cats. Impaction is more common in small breeds than in large breeds. Anal sac tumors appear to affect senior females. Therefore, many pet parents are unaware of their presence. In those dogs that do develop issues, the anal glands may pose a serious medical condition. Diseases vary in severity from anal gland impactions, infections, abscesses, rupture, and tumors. Basic signs of anal gland disease include scooting the butt end across the floor, a foul odor coming from the butt area, tacky secretions, straining to or difficulty defecating, production of ribbon-like stools, licking or biting at the rectal area, difficulty to sit asymmetrically do to avoid pressure on the painful anal sac, or painful  swelling around the anus.
Impactions are the most common disorder associated with the anal glands. The fluid produced in the glands becomes too thick to be expressed naturally .The fluid is overproduced, and causes an enlargement of the gland and irritation.
Typically bacteria, cause inflammation, and infections. Anal gland abscesses are a progressive responsive to bacterial infections. Untreated infections cause accumulation of pus within the anal glands and ultimately an abscess that continues to enlarge until it ruptures and the pus drains.
Classified as adenocarcinomas, anal gland tumors are most often malignant. Anal gland tumors can result in elevated blood calcium levels, causing significant organ damage, including kidney failure.
The veterinarian is the best diagnostic tool to evaluate anal glands by physical examination and rectal palpation performed by inserting a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the gland. A biopsy may be indicated when a tumor is suspected. Generally, x-rays or Blood/Chemistry Panels are not used to evaluate anal gland issues. A different disease with similar symptoms known as Perianal fistula, a condition that causes draining tracts around the anus. A veterinarian is the best at determining the medical condition and treatment of  your dog's anal glands.  A natural quality diet, fresh water, exercise and weight control are holistically considered positive factors in contributing to the management of anal gland issues. Talk to your veterinarian or pet nutritionist about introducing a more natural lifestyle into your dog’s daily regime.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

About Food Tips for Dogs

Apples are wonderful crunchy treats for your dog. Apples with the skin on are full of plant chemicals (phytonutrients) that are thought to be protective against some types of cancer in humans. Some dogs cannot process the apple skin, so it is best to remove before feeding. They are a source of vitamins A and C and fiber. Apple seeds, however, contain cyanide so your dog should not be allowed to eat the core. Though the effects of a few apple seeds will likely not harm your dog, the deleterious effects can accumulate over time if allowed to eat apple seeds regularly.
Eggs are a great source of very digestible protein, riboflavin, and selenium. For some dogs that are prone to digestive upset, eggs can give them a little protein boost. Adding eggs to your dog’s food is a healthy treat. Make sure to use cooked whole egg, as raw egg whites can cause biotin deficiency. If you do a lot of training with your dog, consider taking cooked eggs to your next class as training treats. The better the egg source the more value your dog will receive from the natural egg nutrients. Be sure eggs are fresh. See archive article on how to test for egg freshness. Alternatively, see cookbooks.
Flax seed (ground or oil) is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fatty acids that are good for skin and coat. Whole flax seeds are best if ground right before feeding as this type of fat can go rancid quickly. Flax seed can also be added to your dog’s diet as a source of fiber. Flax oil is a more concentrated form of omega- 3 fatty acids without the fiber. Make sure that you store the oil or seeds in the fridge in an airtight dark container. Use Flax seed in moderation because it can soften the stool.
Green beans are a good source of plant fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, and manganese. If your dog has a tendency to put on weight, then replacing some of her regular food with green beans is a great low calorie way to fill her up and help her maintain a healthy weight. Many dogs enjoy green beans frozen. If beans are visible in the stool, be sure to par-boil or steam beans before feeding.
Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber. This can be beneficial for some older dogs that may have trouble maintaining bowel regularity. Oatmeal is also an alternative source of grain for dogs that are allergic to wheat. It can be fed in conjunction with probiotics to enhance their function. Keep in mind oatmeal should always be fed cooked and plain with no sugar or flavoring. As always, check with your veterinarian before making any major changes to your dog’s diet, especially if they are on any medications. Upsetting the vitamin and mineral balances in your dog’s diet can have negative effects on your dog’s health and some medications interact badly with some nutrients. The aim of most dog owners is to give their dogs the best diet possible. Good nutrition coupled with a health care program may result in extending your dog’s life by as much as 15 percent. The suggestions above are not meant to replace your dog’s normal, balanced diet. Rather, they are ideas for alternative treats or for adding a little variety to your dog’s meals. Always overcook oatmeal and use 100% rolled oats.
Pumpkin is a good source of fiber and beta-carotene (a source of vitamin A). Dogs need fiber in their diet. The current trend is towards highly digestible diets that lower stool volume and this is not necessarily a good thing. Keeping the GI tract moving helps keep the cells lining the gut healthy. See archive article on pumpkin.
Salmon is a fatty fish that is also a good source of omega- 3 fatty acids. These fats support the immune system and can be beneficial for skin and coat health. There has also been some indication that they may benefit dogs with allergies. You can feed salmon or salmon oil. If feeding salmon, make sure it is cooked well before serving, as raw salmon can carry a parasite that can make your dog sick. Omega 3 Fish Oil capsules are an excellent alternative but use a reliable source manufacturer.
Sweet potatoes are another source of dietary fiber and contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese. Sweet potatoes are great sliced and dehydrated as a chewy treat for your dog. There are so many dog treats on the market that we often overlook the simple, healthy, and reasonably priced treats available at our grocery store and easily made in your own kitchen. Be sure to overcook all potatoes.
Yogurt is a good source of available calcium and protein. When choosing yogurt, pick one that has live active bacteria and no sugars or artificial sweeteners. The active bacteria may act as probiotics. If your pooch is pudgy, make sure that you pick fat-free yogurt but not one that contains fat substitutes (e.g., Simplesse or Olestra). Frozen yogurt is a nice summer treat for dogs. Greek yogurts are popular and are generally “richer” in content and texture. Some dogs cannot process dairy products and may have issues with Greek yogurt more than with regular plain yogurt. Dogs can have intolerance to lactose, so use caution.

Monday, June 23, 2014

About Coconut Oil

In order to absorb all of the extremely healthy fat-soluble nutrients in your dog’s food, compounds like lutein, beta-carotene and vitamin E, your dog must eat them with some fat. Adding olive oil to your dog’s daily food diet helps to absorb all of those valuable nutrients. Remember that “not all oils are created equal” when it comes to nutrient absorption. Some oils work better than other and can actually enhance the amount of nutrients your dog’s body receive from the foods eaten. Plant oils provide primarily polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Fish oil is also mostly PUFAs. Some plant oils, such as olive oil, provide monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). Coconut oil is an exception, as it is made up of saturated fats, which is why coconut oil is solid at room temperature though it becomes liquid at 76 degrees Fahrenheit. COCONUT OIL is nature's richest source of healthy medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) now considered to be healthier for your dog and cat then common vegetable or seed oils that comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs).
Coconut oil in addition to its ability to potentially allow the body to absorb more antioxidants and other nutrients from food, MCFAs are smaller than LCFAs, which means they permeate cell membranes easily, and do not require lipoproteins or special enzymes to be utilized effectively by the body.
MCFAs are easily digested, putting less strain on your dog’s digestive system and is important for dogs with digestive or metabolic concerns.
MCFAs are sent directly to the liver, where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.
MCFAs in coconut oil can actually help stimulate the body's metabolism, leading to weight loss.
Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which converts in the body to monolaurin, a compound also found in breast milk that strengthens immunity.
Coconut oil is a saturated fat, and saturated fats are actually essential and quite good for the body.
Caprylic acid, another coconut fatty acid present in smaller amounts, is another antimicrobial component.
A few more coconut oil benefits include reducing inflammation, improving digestion, reducing the risk of cancer, and preventing and treating infection.
Using coconut oil as a primary cooking oil is important because it is the only one that is stable enough to resist heat-induced damage. When choosing a coconut oil, make sure you choose an organic coconut oil that is unrefined, unbleached, made without heat processing or chemicals, and does not contain GMO ingredients. Use only virgin, unrefined coconut oil, preferably in glass bottles. Coconut oil should be white when solid and clear when liquid.
On the other hand, with long chain fatty acids LCFA-rich vegetable oils:
LCFAs are difficult for the body to break down because they must be packaged with lipoproteins or carrier proteins and require special enzymes for digestion.
LCFAs put more strain on the pancreas, liver and entire digestive system.
LCFAs are predominantly stored in the body as fat.
LCFAs, when oxidized, can both injure and deposit within arteries, contributing to both blood vessel inflammation and plaque build-up.Polyunsaturated fats, which include common vegetable oils such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower and canola, are absolutely the worst oils to use in cooking and including in the manufacture of dog foods. These omega-6 oils are highly susceptible to heat damage because of their multiple double carbon bonds.
If you have been using olive oil for “that shiny coat” or to “keep your dog’s bowels moving” why not consider making a change to Coconut Oil. We suggest discontinuing the olive oil and adding coconut oil gradually to our dog’s diet.
Because plant oils (olive oil) add fat and calories, they should be given in limited amounts, such as one to two teaspoons daily for a large dog, down to 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon for a toy breed. Coconut oil can be given in higher amounts, up to a maximum of one teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight daily, split into multiple servings. Too much coconut oil may soften the stool, introduce gradually and find your dog’s balance level. Solid or liquid coconut oil can be added to food at any meal or given between meals. These are general guidelines, as some dogs need less and others more. But don’t start with these amounts. Instead, introduce coconut oil a little at a time in divided doses. Because coconut oil kills harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeasts, and fungi, the burden of removing dead organisms can trigger symptoms of detoxification.
Coconut oil is not the only coconut product that is good for dogs. Fresh or dried coconut is an excellent source of dietary fiber, and dogs enjoy and benefit from the same coconut flakes, coconut flour, coconut cream, coconut milk, shredded coconut, and coconut spreads used by their human companions. Just be sure the products are unsweetened and free from chemical preservatives.
The best to buy: Unrefined or “virgin” coconut oil, which is made from fresh coconuts, has culinary and health experts excited. Pressed by hand using traditional methods or manufactured in state-of-the-art factories, virgin coconut oil retains most of the nutrients found in fresh coconut. In traditional methods, coconut meat is heated or baked until dry and then pressed, or fresh coconut milk is pressed from the meat and then heated to remove its water content, or freshly pressed coconut milk is allowed to ferment for 24 to 36 hours, during which the oil separates from the water. In modern factories, expelled-pressed coconut milk is centrifuged and vacuum-evaporated to remove water. Other methods of removing water from coconut oil include refrigeration and the use of enzymes.
Avoid: Refined coconut oil often labeled RBD for Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized is made from copra, or dried coconut meat and is treated to remove impurities. Most RBD coconut oil is inexpensive, bland, and odorless. It does not contain all of the nutrients found in unrefined coconut oil, its fragrance and flavor are different, and in most cases the coconuts used to produce it are of low quality and chemicals are used in the refining process. Some brands of refined coconut oil are labeled for use as a skin and hair care product.
Coconut Oil and other oil supplements may need to be given for one to three months before any improvement is seen.
For those pet parents who would like more information about upcoming Fall - Winter 2013-14 Educational Pet Parent Workshops please Contact Us at purelypetcare.com
Disclaimer: Supplements are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any illness or disease. They are not intended to be used in replacement for licensed veterinarian advisement, or for chronic or debilitating conditions without such advisement. These products may be used in conjunction with approved veterinary care. The products contained within are available products whose ingredients have been known to aid minor, common animal health concerns.  Always seek the advice of your veterinarian before starting any supplement regime or diet change protocol. Information presented in this email is provided as general public knowledge and medical theory. Statements have not been approved by the Federal Drug Administration and are not intended to replace or substitute qualified professional veterinarian health care advisement on product usage or diet protocols for specific conditions.

About Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds

Recently, we came across the following article by James T. C. Li, Ph.D and would like to share his thoughts with you about Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds.
"There's no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed, although some individual dogs may cause fewer allergy symptoms than others. Many people think that pet allergies are caused by a dog's or cat's fur, but the real source of pet allergies is often a protein that's in the saliva and urine of dogs and cats. This protein sticks to the dead, dried flakes (dander) from your pet's skin. Some dog breeds are marketed as hypoallergenic because they don't shed fur or they shed very little. Because these dogs don't shed, the allergy-causing dander that sticks to their fur doesn't get released into the air or onto the floor as much as with a shedding dog. But while you may have less dog hair with a non shedding dog, no dog breed is hypoallergenic."
"If you're allergic to dogs, but still want to have one, consider the following tips to reduce your allergy symptoms:
  •  Choose a smaller dog, which will shed less dander than will a larger dog.
  •  Keep your pet out of your bedroom and other rooms in which you spend a lot of time.
  •  Keep your pet outside, if weather permits.
  •  Bathe your pet weekly to remove dander from its coat.
  •  Choose carpet-free flooring, or shampoo your carpet regularly.
  •  Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) air purifier and vent filters to help reduce airborne pet allergens."


Friday, May 16, 2014

A Little About Probiotics and Prebiotics -

Germs, bacteria and other microorganisms cause disease. Vaccines, antibiotics, and disinfectants prevent great plaques from falling upon man and beast. How true is such a statement? Well, mostly not true, because our lives and those of our pets are dependent upon the existence of biological microorganisms that live in our environment and within us in balance
Digestive systems probiotics are non-pathogenic organisms. These organisms may be bacteria, yeast, protozoa also known as flora. Their job is to help our pets and us too, with digestion, as well as stimulate immune systems, growth, the body’s natural detoxification and some even help to kill off pathogens.
Naturally present in raw foods, these helpful non-pathogenic organisms are destroyed by the cooking process. Fermented foods such as yogurt, kiefer and certain soy products contain these helpful probiotic microorganisms.
Probiotics are growth stimulated by oligosaccharides, which are short chain polysaccharides, are known as prebiotics, and are found naturally in many plant materials. Examples include beet pulp, chicory root, soy, yeast cell walls, grain fibers, garlic, fructo-oligosaccharides, and mannan-oligosaccharides natural compounds known as prebiotics. Prebiotics tend to inhibit pathogens and help provide a healthful growth environment for probiotics.
It is important to add some natural probiotics to your dog’s diet because their normal daily food is a highly processed extruded or baked dry kibble or cooked canned formula. If you cannot add the natural foods, try some freeze-dried supplements such as acidophilus or digestive enzymes for your dogs digestive health.

Be sure to visit our Blog History Archive for other previously published articles.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Disease Risks For Dogs

Just Pets would like to recognize the following:

The AVMA would like to thank the Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Robert Belden, Dr. Ron Schultz, the American College of Veterinary Behavior, and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior for their roles in developing this document.This information has been prepared as a service by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Redistribution is acceptable, but the document's original content and format must be maintained, and its source must be prominently identified. Please contact Dr. Kimberly May (800.248.2862, ext 6667) with questions or comments.
The following is a list of the most common diseases to which your dog(s) may be exposed at a dog gathering. There may be specific risks in your area that are not listed. For more information about specific diseases in your area, consult your veterinarian. People can also spread some diseases (such as mange, ringworm, kennel cough and canine influenza) from dog to dog through shared brushes, collars, bedding, etc. or by petting or handling an infected dog before petting or handling another dog. 

Canine distemper
Canine distemper is caused by a very contagious virus. Puppies and dogs usually become infected through virus particles in the air or in the respiratory secretions of infected dogs. Infected dogs typically develop runny eyes, fever, snotty nose, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and paralysis. It is often fatal.
Fortunately, there is an effective vaccine to protect your dog from this deadly disease. The canine distemper vaccine is considered a "core" vaccine and is recommended for every dog.
Canine influenza ("canine flu" or "dog flu")
Canine influenza is caused by the canine influenza virus. It is a relatively new disease in dogs. Because most dogs have not been exposed to the virus, their immune systems are not able to fully respond to the virus and many of them will become infected when they are exposed. Canine influenza is spread through respiratory secretions, contaminated objects (including surfaces, bowls, collars and leashes). The virus can survive for up to 48 hours on surfaces, up to 24 hours on clothing, and up to 12 hours on people's hands.
Dogs can be shedding the virus before they even show signs of illness, which means an apparently healthy dog can still infect other dogs. Dogs with canine influenza develop coughing, a fever and a snotty nose, which are the same signs observed when a dog has kennel cough.
There is a vaccine for canine influenza, but at this time it is not recommended for every dog. Consult your veterinarian to determine if the canine influenza vaccine is recommended for your dog.  
Canine parvovirus ("parvo")
Parvo is caused by the canine parvovirus type 2. The virus is very contagious and attacks the gastrointestinal system, causing fever, vomiting and severe, often bloody, diarrhea. It is spread by direct contact between dogs as well as by contaminated stool, surfaces, bowls, collars, leashes, equipment, and the hands and clothing of people. It can also survive in the soil for years, making the virus hard to kill. Treating parvo can be very expensive and many dogs die from parvo despite intensive treatment.
Fortunately, there is a vaccine for parvo. It is considered a "core" vaccine and is recommended for every dog. 
External parasites (ticks, fleas and mange)
External parasites, such as ticks, fleas and mange, are fairly common dog problems. Ticks from the environment, fleas from other dogs and the environment, and mange from other dogs pose risks at dog gatherings. Ticks can transmit diseases (see tick-borne diseases below). Fleas can transmit some types of tapeworms as well as some diseases, and they may end up infesting your home and yard if they hitchhike home on your dog(s).
There are many approved products available to effectively prevent and treat external parasites on dogs. Consult your veterinarian about the best product for your dog.
Cheyletiella mites cause "walking dandruff" on dogs (itching and flaky skin on the dog's trunk). They are spread from dog to dog by direct contact, and may require more aggressive treatment than fleas. 
Fertilizers and pesticides
Some fertilizers and pesticides can be toxic to dogs. Avoid letting your pet walk, run, play or roam in areas that have recently been treated with fertilizers or pesticides. 
Fungal infections (blastomycosis, histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, coccidioidomycosis, etc.)
Fungal organisms in the soil can infect dogs when they eat or sniff contaminated soil. Dogs can also be infected through the skin, especially through a skin wound. The types of fungus seen vary throughout the U.S.: histoplasmosis is more common in the Eastern and Central U.S.; blastomycosis is more common in the Southeast, Southcentral and Midwest regions; cryptococcosis is more common in the Pacific Northwest region; and coccidioidomycosis is more common in the Southwest U.S. Histoplasmosis can be spread by bird or bat droppings.
In general, the fungus infects the body through the respiratory tract and causes fever, coughing, lethargy and flu-like or pneumonia-like signs. If eaten, digestive problems (e.g., pain, diarrhea) can occur. Immunosuppressed dogs (dogs whose immune systems are weakened because of disease or certain medications) are much more likely to become infected with these fungi and develop disease.
Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes and can cause coughing, lethargy, difficulty breathing, heart disease and death. Fortunately, there are many approved products to prevent heartworm infection. Consult your veterinarian about the best product for your dog.
Heatstroke is a big risk during warm and hot weather. Remember that your dog is always wearing a fur coat and they are usually warmer than you are. A temperature that seems only a little warm to a person can be too hot for a dog. Add to that the fact that dogs at dog gatherings are often active and playing, and the heat could become deadly for your dog. Never leave your pet in the car on warm days. Even a 70°F day can be too hot in a car. Short-nosed breeds, such as pugs, Boston Terriers, boxers, bulldogs, etc. are more prone to heatstroke and breathing problems because they don't pant as effectively as breeds with normal-length noses. Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting and drooling, anxiousness, weakness, abnormal gum color (darker red or even purple), collapse and death.
Any dog showing signs of heatstroke should be immediately taken to a shaded area and cooled with cold, wet towels that are wrung out and rewetted every few minutes. Running cool water over the dog's body and quickly wiping it away (so the water absorbs the skin's heat and is immediately wiped away) can also help. Transport the dog to a veterinarian immediately, because heatstroke can rapidly become deadly. 
Any time unfamiliar dogs and/or dogs with different temperaments are mixed, there is a risk of conflict and injury. Bite wounds should be immediately evaluated by a veterinarian and efforts should be made to determine the rabies vaccination status of the biting dog. Overweight dogs and dogs accustomed to more sedentary lifestyles should be encouraged to become more active, but excessive activity can put them at risk of injury to joints, bones or muscles. If your dog is overweight and/or you plan to increase its activity level, consult with your veterinarian about the best plan to get your dog active with the least risk of injury.
Intestinal parasites
Intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms lay eggs that are passed in the dog's stool and infect other dogs when they eat contaminated soil, lick contaminated fur or paws, or drink water contaminated with the stool from infected dogs. Tapeworms are spread when dogs eat fleas, lice, or rodents infected with tapeworms.
These worms can cause malnutrition (because they steal nutrients as food is being digested) and diarrhea, and hookworms can cause blood loss. There are many products available to treat worms, and you should consult their veterinarian for the appropriate products for your pets.
Coccidia and Giardia are single-celled parasites that damage the lining of the intestine. Dogs can become infected with coccidia by eating infected soil or licking contaminated paws or fur. Puppies are at the highest risk of infection and illness. 
Kennel cough
Kennel cough can be caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria. It is very contagious and your dog can become infected if it comes into contact with an infected dog. Dogs with kennel cough may not seem ill in the early stages of the disease but they can still infect other dogs. Most commonly, dogs with kennel cough will have a snotty nose and a dry, hacking cough.
There are vaccines for kennel cough, but not all dogs need to receive the vaccine. Consult your veterinarian about whether or not the kennel cough (Bordetella) vaccine is right for your dog.
Leptospirosis is caused by species of the Leptospira bacteria. The bacteria are shed in the urine of infected animals, and animals and people usually become infected by drinking contaminated water or coming into contact with contaminated soil or food. Dogs infected with Leptospira may develop fever, muscle weakness, vomiting, lethargy, abdominal pain, and kidney or liver failure. There is a vaccine for leptospirosis; consult your veterinarian about whether or not the vaccine is appropriate for your dog. Some canine distemper combination vaccines include a Leptospira vaccine. 
Any mammal is capable of being infected with the virus that causes rabies. Most dog parks and organized dog gatherings require proof of rabies vaccination, but some do not. Rabies is caused by the rabies virus and is 100% fatal in animals once they start to show signs of disease. The virus is spread by saliva, either by a bite from an infected animal or by saliva contaminating a skin wound. In addition, any contact with wildlife (including bats) can introduce the risk of rabies infection. Raccoons, skunks and other wild animals can carry the rabies virus and may be present in areas where dogs gather. Fortunately, rabies infection is preventable with vaccination. Many local and state governments require regular rabies vaccination for dogs. 
Regional wildlife risks and feral animals
Wildlife mixing with dogs can increase the risk of diseases, such as rabies and plague, as well as the risk of injury. In some areas of the U.S., prairie dogs often invade dog parks. Prairie dogs carry fleas that can carry the bacteria that causes plague. Skunks, raccoons, foxes, feral cats and pigs, and other wildlife can also carry rabies and other diseases that can infect dogs. Feral dogs present disease and injury risks. 
Although its name suggests it's a worm, ringworm is actually due to fungal infection of the skin. It can be spread by contact with an infected dog, its bedding or something that has come in contact with the infected dog. The fungus can also survive in the soil. Ringworm gets its name because it often causes circular patches of hair loss. Some dogs will excessively scratch the areas, while others may not be itchy. Many dogs will recover without treatment, but they are often treated to prevent them from spreading the infection to other dogs or to people. 
Tick-borne diseases (hemobartonellosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, rickettsial diseases such as Lyme disease, and others).There is a variety of diseases that can infect dogs and are spread by ticks. Some diseases are more common in specific areas of the U.S. These diseases can cause anemia (blood loss), lameness, weakness, lethargy, organ failure, and even death. The best way to prevent these diseases is to prevent tick bites. There are many products available that reduce tick bites and kill ticks on dogs; consult your veterinarian about the best product for your dog. Check your dog for ticks after any outside dog gatherings and remove the tick(s) as soon as possible.
Toxic plants
Toxic plants can cause a variety of illnesses. Some ornamental plants can be very toxic to animals. Cocoa mulch is also toxic to dogs. For more information about toxic plants, visit the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center Web site.