by Sally Gutteridge

Is your dog always telling you how hungry he is? Perhaps you can’t seem to fill him up or maybe you feel guilty that he won’t eat his own food but often looks like he is starving whilst you eat yours?

Hunger in dogs can be due to a number of things and sometimes the big eyed, pleading animal is not actually hungry at all, but how can you tell the difference?

Does the Dog Food Satisfy?

The first thing to do, if your dog still seems hungry, is take a look at your dog’s food packaging. What does his dinner actually contain? Is it fulfilling all of your dog’s nutritional needs or does it leave him lacking? It is absolutely reasonable that if your dog eats poor quality food he could eat the entire bowl and still be hungry afterwards because his body needs specific vitamins which poor quality food does not fully supply.

Whilst researching and writing the complete natural health guide for Shih Tzu Web I found a few great online resources that enable you to locate the best dog food for your budget and your dog’s appetite. The basic rule with dog food, at the moment, is that anything goes.

Much commercial dog food is made ingredients deemed unfit for human consumption and vitamin content is of such low quality that they may not help control your dog’s hunger at all.

The lesson is that if your dog ignores his own food, yet will eat anything else that’s going, it may be because his food is no good for him. So check out that bag, tin or foil of dog food first.

How is Your Dog’s General Condition?

Your dog’s general condition will tell you how well his food is meeting his nutritional needs. The first few signs of nutrient deficiency are pretty obvious yet by the time they appear the dog’s immune system is already affected.

If your dog is eating all of his food yet still seems hungry and has the following symptoms then it is time to look at whether his food is doing its job;

  • Low quality coat
  • Dandruff
  • Depression
  • Hunger despite being at full weight or even overweight
  • Wind
  • Poor quality stools
  • Repeated episodes of parasites, particularly fleas

All of the above symptoms can be obvious signs of poor quality food and allergen ingestion. When a food is poor quality the dog can become overweight yet easily still be hungry because the body is screaming out for nutrients. This is a problem in the human species too and exactly why fast food diets lead to obesity in many people.

So first of all if your dog is hungry check out the ingredients of his food. You can also take a look at Dog Food Project for further information.

What If His Food Is Top Quality?

If you spend a fortune on dog food, try the very best to keep your dog’s appetite satiated yet he still seems hungry what on earth can you do?

First of all be sure that your dog does not have worms or other parasites which may be stealing his nutrients. Many veterinarians have one off worm treatment that are pretty un-invasive and by treating your dog you can be sure that he is not still hungry.

If you have everything covered with food and parasite treatments and your dog still seems hungry you may simply be reinforcing a begging habit. When a dog begs from the table or your plate and you hand over some food you are on a slippery slope to fussy eating.

If you suspect that your dog’s eyes are hungrier than his stomach you only need to look at his general condition to confirm this. The canine with a shiny coat, healthy weight and sprightly stride probably just begs out of habit.

When the dog is in great physical condition his body betrays him and no matter how hungry he looks his food probably meets his nutritional needs perfectly well. This type of begging is related more to behavior than health and the dog that does it, is probably not even hungry at all.

 

Bio:

Sally-Gutteridge

Sally Gutteridge is a member of the International Society of Animal Professionals. She is a qualified British Military dog trainer and trainer of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. She is soon to be fully qualified Canine Behavior Manager. With the rehabilitation experience of many broken rescue dogs and the careful training of many Shih Tzu dogs, Sally has written the definitive course on improving your dog’s behavior and your understanding of it. She shares her knowledge at Shih Tzu Web.

By Chelsy Ranard

I wish I could give my fur-children the world. I dream of a room filled with cat trees, scratching posts, hidey boxes, and catnip for Kitten. I dream about a yard with a pool, giant sticks, treats hidden in every corner, meaty bones buried, and comfy beds for Titan. The reality is that I adopted my cat, Kitten (original name, I know), when I was a broke college student six years ago. We adopted Titan a few months ago and we are considerably better off now than I was back then, but we are still new homeowners without a ton of extra money. Ever since Kitten was a kitten I’ve been utilizing these thrifty tips to provide for her without breaking the bank. Now that I have a giant oaf of a German Shepherd running around, I’ve learned a few more tips as well.
1. Rescuing
Rescuing your pet instead of purchasing from a breeder is the first step to being a frugal pet owner. The fees that come with rescuing an animal usually go towards spay/neutering, microchipping, and initial vet visits for your pet if you’re rescuing from a shelter. Also, if you are adopting an animal that is older or black in color you will usually get a cheaper adoption rate on them because they have so many issues being adopted. Before you decide to bring a new, furry addition into your home, consider your local shelter before anything else.
2. Couponing
The holy grail of thriftiness! Couponing is an easy way to stay frugal in any area of life, really. But there are so many options for coupons these days. I’ve found coupon deals for Petco, PetSmart, BarkBox, and a dozen more stores that offer pet necessities. For the sake of being thrifty, I wouldn’t recommend using big name outlets frequently for your animal’s needs, but if you need to, be sure to find a coupon for the outlet of your choice.
3. DIY
There are so many alternatives that DIY offers that will save you a ton of money. My favorite DIY project for my pets are no-sew pet beds. It’s such a cheap and simple alternative to buying an expensive bed for your animal. Especially for Titan, a bed for a dog his size is not a cheap purchase. You can also create DIY cat and dog toys pretty easily using old T-shirts, empty water bottles, string, and other craft supplies lying around.
4. Thrifting
Shopping at thrift stores has the potential to save you a lot of money, but perhaps not a lot of time. The biggest issue I’ve run into with thrift store shopping is that you are required to do a lot of searching. However, buying old blankets at a thrift store to use as a dog bed is a great alternative to buying one from a store or making one. I’ve purchased tennis balls, blankets, craft supplies, cat boxes, and food/water dishes at craft stores for my animals at a fraction of the cost. Just be prepared to shop around if you can’t find what you need at the first thrift store you go to.

5. Baking

This has become my new favorite way to be frugal with my pets. There are many easy-to-follow recipes for baking your own dog and cat treats on Pinterest. Cat treat recipes are a little more difficult to find, but not impossible. The treats you can bake your pets are not only a cheaper alternative, but a healthier one as well. And for pups with a sensitive stomach like Titan, it’s been perfect. The recipes I use require six ingredients or less and it’s mostly ingredients I have in the house already. Titan’s favorite treat is a pumpkin treat that requires canned pumpkin, cinnamon, egg, and flour. Be sure to do your research and avoid ingredients that can harm your pet!

furgalpetbioAuthor Bio: Chelsy is a writer living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her BA in journalism in 2012. When she isn’t spending time with her animals or being thrifty, she enjoys camping, trying new beer, and exploring Boise with her boyfriend, David. Follow her on Twitter!

Photos By Chelsy Ranard

Staying fit and healthy while successfully handling your busy work agenda is becoming increasingly difficult nowadays. If you’re like me, you’ll probably crash out on the sofa after you get home from work and take a dive for crisps, takeout pizza and other fatty grubs that always stick to the most unfortunate parts of the anatomy. The same goes for dogs – without regular workout, your pet can quickly gain too much weight and fall out of shape. Workout is the best to remedy figure problems – and from my experience with my two dogs, Astoria and Brando, our weight loss exercise helped us both bond better and work on a common goal together. Here, I have several useful tips for pet owners looking to spend quality time with their dogs and lose an extra pound at the same time.Bond with your dog while you both get fit

astoria5

 

  1. Keep walking

One of the easiest ways to get the vital workout with your dog, regular walks around the neighborhood and its vicinity can do wonders for your pet’s figure – and your BMI and waist circumference too. For best results and health benefits, walk your dog at a brisk pace and make sure your canine friend keeps up your pace by a fast trot.

  1. Training with reward

For an extra dash of training motivation and optimal workout efficiency, don’t feed your pet until you’ve returned from your regular exercise routine. In case your pet is reluctant to go out, bring along some canine snacks to keep up its enthusiasm. I had this problem with Astoria for a while but I eventually managed to cajole her into exercising with me and Brando regularly after I bought some dog food online and took kibbles of it on our walks to feed her on the go. Snacks and chews helped me keep her going for an extra mile by rewarding her once in a while.

 

  1. Mix activities

To maximize workout effects and bond with your canine partner better, you can mix different activities in your exercise routine. For instance, a game of chase or a quick dash with your pet running by your side will help you lose weight and get back into shape faster than just regular walks. Begin the running routine by short sprint intervals (reward your pet after the run with a healthy treat if necessary) and work toward a steady fast trot for several weeks.

  1. Ball time

Bringing some toys on for the workout will help you burn a dozen extra calories, so if you want to diversify your training regimen, don’t forget to pack a tennis ball and/or Frisbee. Just like humans, dogs can get bored on the walk and may refuse to keep up the training even with tasty rewards. That’s where a Frisbee or small ball may come in useful – the game of chase or fetch is always exciting, and it may help you persuade the pet to keep moving, though perhaps not necessarily in the direction of your walk destination.

  1. Diet together

If you and your pet both need to lose weight, starting a diet together would be a smart idea. Seeing your dog slim by eating less (or healthier) food will be a great motivation for you to stay on the same track and not give in to starchy food temptations

 

 

Roxana is an adventurer, a frequent traveler and blogger at highstylife.com. Besides traveling she loves to cook exotic food and take care of her two adorable dogs Astoria and Brando and her mischievous cat Archibald. Roxana is a freelance Sydney tour guide and an environmentalist by vocation, and she loves taking long walks at the beach.

In order to improve the health of your dog’s teeth, you can give the canine numerous hard toys that can be chewed, add peppermint to your pet’s food, consistently brush the dog’s tongue and use toothpaste that has coconut oil. You may also use mouthwash that contains chlorhexidine, which is able to eliminate bacteria.

Detecting Signs of an Issue

According to one analysis, only 14 percent of canines regularly undergo dental inspections. Another study indicated that more than 70 percent of dogs show signs of a dental disease.

When a canine has an oral infection, the dog may begin to drool more frequently, and some pets might whine and move their paws by their mouths. If a canine’s gums have become red, the dog is likely experiencing an infection or a cavity. Furthermore, infections may cause yellow crust to accumulate on a canine’s gums.

Choosing Food

According to many veterinarians, relatively hard food will prevent damage because it can loosen a build-up of particles between a dog’s teeth. In contrast, soft food commonly becomes stuck between a canine’s molars.

Selecting Toothpaste

An owner should not use toothpaste for humans when brushing a dog’s teeth. Instead, the person can select a product that does not form foam while the brush is moving, and many pet shops sell toothpaste that has the taste of poultry. Some toothpastes contain baking soda, which may remove especially thick plaque. Furthermore, certain products have coconut oil. This ingredient is able to protect the gums, and coconut oil can cause a dog’s teeth to shine.

Chewing Toys and Bones

If a canine frequently chews synthetic bones, the dog’s teeth will become stronger over time, and in addition, this practice may eliminate plaque. By frequently chewing toys, a dog will produce an especially large amount of saliva, which can effectively remove bacteria. If you happen to be searching for chewing toys to help with your dog’s dental health, there is a fantastic range of dog products available at Pet Circle to help combat and eliminate it.

Brushing a Canine’s Teeth

Every day, an owner can brush a dog’s teeth for 35 seconds to one minute. Numerous experts recommend that individuals should also floss a canine’s teeth at least five times per week.

Improving a Dog’s Breath

You can put a small amount of cinnamon in a canine’s food, and one serving of this healthy herb may eliminate bad breath for approximately 12 hours. Many owners also add coriander to a pet’s food. This herb has an especially sweet flavour, and it can whiten a canine’s teeth and reduce the levels of some types of bacteria. Moreover, you may give your dog parsley, which is able to substantially improve digestion.

Prevent Your Dog From Being Stolen

According to the AKC, dog thefts are at an all-time high today. Dogs are stolen for all kinds of reasons: because they’re cute; to resell them, especially if they’re puppies or Toy dogs; for dog fighting; and the list goes on. There’s a surprising trade in dogs stolen out of people’s yards and sent to rescues today, then sold to the public as rescue dogs. These dogs might end up hundreds or thousands of miles from home because of rescue transports. It can be very hard to find your dog if he’s stolen.

Fortunately, there are some precautions you can take to help prevent your dog from being stolen.

At Home

Don’t let your dog off leash or leave him unattended. Keep an eye on your dog at all times. Know where he is and what he’s doing. Of course, it’s not possible to watch your dog every minute. None of us can do that. But don’t let your dog off leash unless you can watch him. Otherwise he might wander away or take off running out of sight. Even when your dog is at home in your yard, check on him frequently. Put a lock on your gate. Make sure that your fences are secure so your dog is less likely to escape. Do keep your dog contained at home and don’t let him wander or roam.

Use Identification. If your dog does get out, make sure he’s wearing a collar with his identification and rabies tags. While a collar can be removed if your dog is stolen, a microchip is permanent. Use a microchip ID for your dog. If your dog is found by an animal shelter or taken to the vet, they have scanners that can pick up the microchip and you can be notified that your dog has been found. You can also use a tattoo for permanent identification.

Breeders should be cautious of buyers visiting their homes. People posing as potential buyers in various cities have stolen dogs and puppies. Be cautious when allowing someone to come to your home. In other cases, homes have been robbed when the breeder was away.

 

When Traveling

Never leave your dog unattended in the car. Dogs have been stolen out of vehicles even if the vehicle is locked.

Don’t tie your dog outside a store or other building. This is a common practice in some big cities like New York but many dogs are stolen this way.

Be watchful. Even when you are in dog-friendly places, keep an eye out for the people and things around you. And watch your dog.

Recovering Your Dog

Make sure you keep your Microchip ID information current. Contact your ID carrier to let them know your dog is missing.

Contact animal control and the police. Contact other pet shelters and rescues in your area.

Have a current photo of your dog. Make fliers and have them ready to go so you can paper the area.

Talk to postal carriers, Fedex, UPS people, school bus drivers, and anyone who knows the neighborhood. They see more than anyone else. Go door to door and talk to neighbors. Talk to convenience store clerks. Talk to everyone.

Check with shelters and rescues everyday. Visit in person. Calling is ineffective.

If you follow these precautions and take these steps, you can prevent your dog from being stolen.

Whether your dog’s ears are long, shaped like a rosebud or bat ears, or they stand up in prick-eared fashion, it’s important to keep them clean. In extreme cases, dogs with dirty, infected ears can lose their hearing. Infected ears can lead to other health problems as well. Fortunately, regular ear cleaning is easy to do and it doesn’t require much in the way of accessories.

What you will need

You only need a few things to clean your dog’s ears:

 

  • Ear cleaner
  • Cotton balls or cloth

If you have a Terrier breed or a dog that has a lot of hair inside the ear, you may need a hemostat. This is a pair of tweezers with a small clamp-shaped end and handles so you can easily remove hair from inside the ears. This will allow air to get inside the ear and prevent ear infections. You can use a little ear powder sprinkled in the ear to make this hair easier to grip.

With most dogs you can simply use the ear cleaner and the cotton balls or cloth. You can buy ear cleaner from your veterinarian or from a good pet store or a pet retailer online. There are many good brands.

Cleaning your dog’s ears

To clean your dog’s ears you should make sure the ear cleaning solution is at room temperature. Nothing will make a dog squeamish about his ears faster than if you squirt cold liquid into them so make sure the cleaner is a pleasant temperature.

Try to clean your dog’s ears when you’re both relaxed. Your dog should be in front of you. It’s good if you have some treats with you so you can reward him for his cooperation.

Start by putting a few drops of the cleaner in one of your dog’s ears. Then gently massage the base of your dog’s ear. Slowly move your fingers over the base of the ear to loosen any wax and dirt that have accumulated. This should feel good to your dog. Then gently take one of the cotton balls or the cloth and stroke the inside of the ear to remove the loosened wax and dirt. Keep wiping the inside of the ear until the cotton ball or cloth comes away clean. You may have to put in a few more drops in your dog’s ear and massage a little more if the ear is very dirty.

You should not hold the bottle up and pour it into your dog’s ear. Not only is this unpleasant for your dog but that’s far too much liquid to put in your dog’s ear. It only takes a few drops of the cleaner each time to loosen the wax and dirt.

Once you have cleaned the first ear you can move over and clean the other ear. Make sure you give your dog some treats while you’re working to keep him cooperating.

Mites and infections

If your dog has ears that are no more than normally dirty, it should just take you a few minutes to clean them. However, if your dog’s ears are very gunky with brown or black wax, cleaning may take longer. This might indicate that your dog has had some mites or an infection at some time. Look for signs that your dog has any current infection or parasites. If you see anything that looks suspicious you should contact your veterinarian. Your vet can provide you with a miticide to get rid of ear mites. A yeast infection can be harder to eliminate. If you see signs of an infection you should talk to your vet and let him or her examine your dog’s ears.

In most cases you can clean your dog’s ears and be finished in just a few minutes. If you practice cleaning your dog’s ears each week then you will quickly spot any potential problems before they become something to be concerned about.

If you clean your dog’s ears gently and give him some treats while you clean, most dogs won’t mind having their ears cleaned. It also helps if you start cleaning ears when your dog is young so they know that it’s no big deal. Take care of your dog’s ears and you’ll never have a problem.

We usually think of our dogs’ paws as tough and able to take everything in stride, if you’ll pardon the pun. And most of the time that’s true. Under normal conditions, such as running and playing in the grass or on dirt, your dog’s paws can do their job. They can support his body and help him go from one place to another without any difficulty. But dogs live all over the earth with their human partners which means they can encounter some adverse conditions. Sometimes it’s necessary to protect your dog’s paws from bad weather, chemicals, and harsh environments.

Weather

One of the most most frequent problems related to a dog’s paws are bad weather conditions. Both extreme heat and icy cold can cause problems for your dog’s paws. In both cases the problem is often made worse by walking on pavement and other city surfaces. Hot pavement can hurt your dog’s paw pads, especially if he has to walk on excessively hot pavement for long periods of time. Your dog’s paws are not as sensitive as your feet, but you should definitely try to avoid hot pavement with your dog if possible.

In the winter, pavement can become icy and it’s hard for dogs to walk on the ice, just as it is for you. In addition, many cities put down de-icing chemicals on pavements and roads which are harmful to dogs if ingested. This means that if your dog licks his paws when he gets home, the chemicals can hurt him. So, if you take your dog for a walk on icy pavements or roads in the winter, be sure to rinse or wash his paws off with warm water when you get home so he won’t lick off these dangerous chemicals.

In both cases – hot and cold pavements – a dog’s paws can become chafed and cracked from walking on these less than ideal surfaces. Fortunately, there are some good products you can use to put on your dog’s paws which will help prevent this kind of chafing and cracking. Look for products for paws that say they toughen or protect a dog’s paws. They usually contain wax or petroleum jelly type ingredients.

Snow

Snow can pose a special problem for longhaired dogs and their paws. It will make little frozen balls between your dog’s toes and paw pads when he walks or plays in it. You can prevent this with some breeds by keeping the hair between the toes and pads trimmed. Or, you can be sure to rinse the paws with warm water when your dog comes in from being out in the snow to make sure the little snow balls melt away.

Paw care

You can also keep your dog’s paws in good shape by trimming the nails regularly. Nails that are allowed to grow too long can ultimately cause your dog problems. There are nail trimmers, clippers, and scissor-style cutters so you can trim your dog’s nails yourself at home. If you start when your dog is young and take off just a small portion each week, most dogs will tolerate the procedure well. If you or your dog hate doing nails, you can have your vet or a pet groomer trim the nails for you.

Booties

Besides bad weather and city living, some dogs live in places where walking can be difficult. Rocky landscapes, lots of snow, and other issues may present problems for a dog’s paws. Old age can also make it hard for a dog to get a good grip with his paws. In these cases, dog booties are often a good idea. You can buy sets of four booties or sets of two and use them only on the back paws. Booties with gore-tex soles are often recommended for better gripping. Booties for dogs can work the same way they do for humans – they protect the dog’s paws and give him added gripping ability. They’re especially good if the dog has to do any climbing and they can help with elderly dogs who sometimes have problems getting their balance on slippery floors.

Even dogs who live in the city can benefit from wearing booties to protect them from hot pavement, ice, and rain.

Keep in mind that some dogs have very tough pads and they probably don’t need to wear booties and only need to have sensible precautions taken to keep their paws safe. Every dog is different. But if you have a dog who does have more sensitive paws, there are some good ways to protect his paws no matter where you live or what the two of you face.

Many of us love to take our dog with us when we shop or run errands. Everybody knows that dogs love to go for a ride. It’s hard to say no when your dog is hopping up and down at the door, begging to go with you. But if your trip involves leaving your dog alone in your vehicle you should stop and think twice before taking him with you. There are dangers in leaving your dog in your vehicle and they can be serious for your dog.

Cars get too hot

Even on cloudy days a warm vehicle can quickly become too hot for your dog when you leave him unattended. Even if you leave the windows cracked your dog won’t get enough air or ventilation. And if the sun is out, your dog can die from the heat. Don’t leave your dog in a vehicle if there is even the slightest chance of overheating. Some people leave their air conditioning running but even this isn’t foolproof – air conditioning dies or dogs accidentally bump against buttons and switches to turn it off, leaving them without enough air.

Dogs play with things

Yes, dogs play with door locks, steering wheels, and put cars in reverse. They hit the gas pedal. Dogs seem to think they can drive. The result is usually an expensive driving lesson for your dog and something you have to pay. One poor owner paid $80 for a locksmith when his Collie locked him out of the car with the engine running. The dog rolled down all the windows just as the owner was paying the locksmith. Don’t leave your dog in the car.

Someone could steal your dog

According to the American Kennel Club, dog thefts are at an all-time high. And dogs aren’t just stolen out of people’s yards. Thieves are very happy to steal a nice dog out of your vehicle if you leave your dog unattended. Stolen dogs are often sold as “rescues” and could be transported hundreds or thousands of miles away from home.

Good Samaritans

If you leave your dog in your car, even on a cool day, even if your dog is fine, you’re likely to encounter some Good Samaritan who thinks your dog is in distress. Your dog might be sleeping comfortably in your vehicle, waiting for you to return, but this person might break out your window or call the police trying to be helpful. And, if you have a cute Toy dog who stands at the window making sad eyes at people or barking, your dog will attract lots of attention. Chances are that you will return to your vehicle and there will be a mob hanging around thinking that you are a monster for leaving your little dog alone. A few people might even give you dirty looks or chew you out for leaving your dog in the car. This is a minor danger compared to your dog being injured or stolen, but it’s still unpleasant.

It’s fun to take your dog with you when you go places but it’s best if you can stay in the vehicle with your dog at all times

Many dogs suffer stress when they’re confronted with loud noises from fireworks or thunderstorms. Other dogs feel stress when they travel or when there are unusual things going on in the home such as workers visiting or a new pet in the family. Even a trip to the vet can cause a dog to become anxious and worried. There are all kinds of situations that can make dogs nervous. In these situations a calming collar can sometimes help calm and relax a dog. Even dogs in shelters and rescues have benefited from wearing calming collars.

How do calming collars work?
Currently there are two kinds of calming collars, though they work in similar ways.

Herbal collars
The first kind of calming collar uses fragrant herbs to calm and soothe your dog. The herbs are carefully chosen for their soothing qualities. These collars usually have cloth overlaying the collar underneath so the herbs can be sewn inside. This kind of calming collar is based on aromatherapy. The herbs are typically dried herbs so they do not contain essential oils that might irritate your dog’s skin. Collars that contain dried herbs usually continue to work for about 3-4 months.

DAP collars
The other kind of calming collar available now is a DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) collar. These collars work the same way that other DAP products work. Dog appeasing pheromones are pheromones that mimic the scent that mother dogs release when puppies are nursing. These pheromones are very soothing and calming to dogs. While many DAP products release these pheromones intermittently, when your dog wears a DAP calming collar, the pheromones are released in a sustained fashion. These collars typically last for about 30 days. They are usually plastic collars that can easily be adjusted to fit your dog. The pheromones are in the plastic of the collar and your dog’s body heat helps release them.

Both kinds of calming collars have proven to be effective with dogs who have stress and anxiety issues. Your dog simply wears the calming collar like an ordinary collar, especially when he might be facing a situation that would make him nervous. You should remove the collar before giving your dog a bath. Manufacturers usually suggest that you should not use these collars if your dog has skin lesions or irritated skin. The collars are non-toxic and your dog won’t be harmed if he chews on them though, of course, you should discourage any collar chewing.

Other therapies
If you have a dog who is afraid of thunder, fireworks, or who has other problems with stress and anxiety, calming collars are a good way to help reduce your dog’s initial stress. However, they are not a permanent solution. They don’t solve your dog’s problem. But they are a great way to help your dog stay calmer and feel better. This often makes it easier to work on a long-term solution to your dog’s issues. Calming collars are even good for working with dogs who have problems with separation anxiety. Once a dog begins to calm down and feel less fearful, it is much easier to work on some behavior modification solutions

Benefits of Neutering

In the 1960s and early ’70s in the United States there was a serious problem with pet overpopulation. An estimated 20 million cats and dogs were euthanized in animal shelters each year. At that time most people did not spay or neuter their pets and it wasn’t unusual for pet owners to have unwanted litters of kittens or puppies.

Since that time there has been a great public education campaign to make pet owners more aware of their responsibility when it comes to containing their pets and stopping unwanted litters. Today it’s estimated that 2-3 million cats and dogs are euthanized in animal shelters each year and many of those animals are considered unadoptable because of age or illness. Great strides have been made toward reducing unwanted litters.

According to the American Pet Products Association 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey 78 percent of owned dogs are spayed or neutered and 88 percent of owned cats are spayed or neutered. The message about spaying and neutering pets has reached the vast majority of pet owners in the U.S.

Benefits of spaying and neutering
There are a number of benefits to spaying and neutering your dog. According to the Society for Theriogenology (animal reproductive veterinarians) spaying and neutering provide the following benefits:

Health
• Decreased risk of mammary, testicular, and ovarian neoplasia

• Decreased risk of pyometra

• Decreased risk of prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatic cysts and squamous metaplasia of the prostate

• Decreased incidence of perineal and inguinal hernia and perineal adenoma in neutered male dogs

Behavior
• Inter-dog aggression may be due to competition for available territory or availability of cycling animals

• There is a decreased risk of wandering and being hit by a car in neutered animals

• Sterilization prevents unwanted litters

On the other hand, there are also benefits to keeping your dog intact.

Benefits of keeping your dog intact
• There is a decreased incidence of hemangiosarcoma in intact dogs

• There is a decreased incidence of osteosarcoma in intact dogs

• There is a decreased risk of transitional cell carcinoma in intact dogs

• There is a decreased risk of prostatic adenocarcinoma in intact male dogs compared to gonadectomized male dogs

• There is a decreased incidence of obesity in intact male and female dogs, which may be due at least partly to increased metabolic rate

• There is a decreased incidence of urinary incontinence in intact female dogs (equivocal if bitches are spayed after 5 months but before their first heat)

• There may be a reduced incidence of urinary tract infection in intact female dogs

• There may be a reduced incidence of autoimmune thyroiditis and hypothyroidism in intact male and female dogs

• There is a possibly reduced incidence in diabetes mellitus in intact male dogs

• There is a reduced incidence of cranial cruciate rupture in intact male and female dogs

• There may be a reduced incidence of hip dysplasia in male and female dogs that are not gonadectomized before 5 months of age

Behavior
• There may be less aggression towards people and animals in intact female dogs

• There may be a decreased incidence of cognitive dysfunction in intact male and female dogs

A new study from the University of California at Davis backs up these findings and emphasizes the negative effects of spaying and neutering on hip dysplasia and cancers. http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10498 According to this study, and others, it’s definitely advisable to wait until your dog is older to spay or neuter.

So, while there are definitely some benefits to spaying or neutering your dog and it makes sense for many pet owners, there are also health benefits to keeping a dog intact. You should always talk to your vet about spaying and neutering. Discuss your dog’s overall health, his age, his breed or mix, and any health conditions that might be affected by spaying and neutering. Your dog looks to you to make these decisions for him so find out all you can