My Dog Has a Runny Nose – Should I Be Worried?

My Dog Has a Runny Nose – Should I Be Worried?

Just like us, dogs get running noses for a variety of reasons. Knowing what the possible causes may be and what else to look for can help you decide whether or not your dog needs immediate veterinary treatment or not.

A “running” nose means there is some type of discharge coming from your dog’s nose. There are many types of discharge, some of them indicate more serious conditions than others. Here is a rundown on types of discharge and what could be causing them.

Clear. Like us, clear discharge is a normal occurrence in dogs and is usually nothing to worry about. However, environmental allergies can cause an increased volume of clear discharge, so if your dog seems to have more than usual and it’s not going away (or appears when you go outside, are near someone smoking, etc.), he may have allergies.

Note: some breeds, especially flat-nosed, tend to have more nasal discharge than the average dog. This is something you are going to have to monitor for your individual dog and figure out what’s normal for him. So then, if something changes, you will know.

Thick, Colored Mucus. If your dog’s mucus is thick and a color – cloudy, yellow, green, etc. – then that’s a sign there is more going on than allergies. This could be a sign of a bacterial, fungal or viral infection. Often there is a bad odor as well. Distemper can cause a yellow nose discharge. Parvo can cause a running nose in puppies, so if you see this, take your young dog to the vet immediately.

Discharge From One Side. If your dog’s nose is only running on one side, they may have something blocked on the other side. This is probably a good time to visit the vet to have it removed safely. Even minor trauma can cause excessive bleeding from inside the nose, so things have to be removed carefully.

Blood. Blood can be coming out of your dog’s nose as a result of trauma, just like when we hit our nose. This can be mild to severe requiring vet attention. As mentioned above, a foreign object stuck in the nose may also cause bleeding. Finally, bleeding can also be a sign of a tumor (cancerous or benign) or nasal polyps (overgrown mucus-producing glands) in the nasal cavity.

Dogs with a cleft palate or fistula – hole in the mouth – may have discharge after he eats. The discharge may come from both sides of the nose or just the one side where the hole is located.

Knowing a bit more about your dog’s nose and what any discharge may indicate can help you make the right decision whether to take them to the vet or not. For illness like distemper and parvo, even just a day or two can be the difference between life and death, so this is important information to know. Remember, pay attention to your dog when he is healthy so you can tell right away when something changes.

Should I Add Water to My Dog’s Food?

Should I Add Water to My Dog’s Food?

A longtime marketing angle of dry kibble was that it helps clean teeth. However if you ever watch your dog (especially a Lab!) scarf down their food you know that your dog is not chewing those kibble much, if at all. (It is for this reason we recommend meaty bones a couple times a week to clean those teeth).

So if that’s the only reason you have never moistened your dog’s food – don’t let that myth stop you. The truth is, adding water to your dog’s food has many benefits!

Dogs need moisture to properly digest their food

Dog’s bodies are designed to eat fresh meat, vegetables, fruits, etc., which all have fairly high moisture content, as high as 70-90%. Dry kibble is only 10% moisture. When your dog eats kibble, their body has to steal moisture from its own tissues to help with digestion. This is why many dogs drink a lot of water after eating. However, at that point, the kibble is already in your dog’s stomach and so the added water will make it expand, causing discomfort. Drinking excessively after a meal may be a cause of bloat as well and causes stress to the organs.

But kibble is convenient and less expensive than canned food. It also has more nutrients than many canned foods, because of the differences in processing.

So, instead of switching to canned food – just add water!

Putting water on your dog’s food…

Can help a senior dog eat their food easier.

Can entice a dog who maybe a picky eater or has lost their appetite due to illnesses. Adding water releases the aroma (especially if you use a bit of warm water) enticing the dog to eat.

Can help prevent Urinary Tract Infections by ensuring your dog is getting enough water.

Can help make sure your dog is getting enough water in hot or cold weather, when they need more but may not be drinking enough on their own.

Makes it easy to turn it into a treat by freezing the water and kibble mixture into a food toy. Especially great in hot weather.

How to add water to your dog’s food

When you are adding water to your dog’s food, make sure it’s not too cold (also not pleasant for your dog and can cause stomach discomfort) or too hot. Lukewarm water is best. Add equal part water (or a bit more for dogs that are prone to urinary/dehydration issues) and soak for 10-15 minutes. Now it’s ready to feed in a dish or freeze in your dog’s food toy.

What are Skin Tags on Dogs and do I need to be Concerned?

What are Skin Tags on Dogs and do I need to be Concerned?

Skin tags are growths that are usually found on dogs as they age. They can appear quite suddenly, seemingly overnight, which understandably can cause concern for pet owners. Of course, the main concern is skin cancer, which is something that immediately springs to mind when people see a growth on their dog.

Identifying Skin Tags

Most importantly – skin tags are benign growths. They can be alone or found in clusters. Common areas are the head, face, chest, legs (especially the “pit” area) and belly.

Warts vs. Skin Tags

Often, people will mistake a skin tag for a wart. Warts have a thick, solid base that is rooted in your dog’s skin. You cannot move it with your fingers. A skin tag will have a small, thin attachment that is floppy at the base. The tag itself will be loose and flat, though some are slightly rounded and tear-dropped in shape. You will be able to move the skin back and forth with your finger easily and they are the same color as your dog’s normal skin.

People sometimes make the mistake of thinking a tick that is embedded in their dog’s fur as a skin tag. If you have been out where there are ticks, be sure to part the fur and look for legs moving or a mouth at the point of skin contact so you do not accidently leave a tick on your dog.

Finally, as mentioned, people often think of cancerous growths. Cancerous growths usually have a harder lump that is not moveable and will be discolored. However, if you are at all concerned, it’s a safe bet to have the tag checked out by your vet.

What Causes Skin Tags to Develop on Dogs?

The most common “cause” of skin tags is simply aging – people get them and so do dogs as they age. However, skin tags can also be caused by a few other things, including:

· Parasite bites (including fleas, lice, ticks, etc.)

· Improper nutrition

· Chemical exposure (including lawn chemicals)

· Improper grooming (dirt build-up can cause skin tags)

· Genetics (if the dog’s parent had them, chances are the puppy will develop them as well)

Do I Need to Have Them Removed?

If you are positive the growth is a skin tag and not a wart or possible cancerous growth, then you really do not need to have them removed. Normal skin tags do not cause any discomfort to your dog.

Once in a while, dogs develop larger than normal skin tags that may irritate them or cause discomfort. Those should be removed by a veterinarian. Skin tags that have become irritated, damaged (such as getting caught on something or scratched), pinched or crushed may also need to be removed.

If the skin tag on your dog changes in size, shape, color, etc., it’s time to see the vet as the tag may be cancerous and need swift removal.

So as long as you are sure the growth on your dog is a skin tag and it doesn’t seem to be bothering him, there is no reason to be concerned or get it removed. If you do decide to have them removed, the procedure is simple. If you don’t remove them, just remember to check them out every once in a while to make sure nothing has changed that may affect your dog’s health and well-being.