Sunday, April 29, 2007

You own a Labrador if...

Once again, I would like to give a big thank you to my friend Cor who wrote this and let me post it to this blog.

Cor owns a beautiful Labrador Retriever named Cracker, who you can see more of by visiting his site The page of Cracker . You can also see pictures of Cracker on the new Labrador Retriever Pictures blog.

You own a Labrador if...


1. You have rust rings all over the kitchen counter from putting your trashcan up there.

2. Under your couch is always a stock of tennis balls. It would take a sports shop at least a week to sell them all.

3. Every piece of clothing you own, the couch, your bed and anything else that feels soft, is covered with hair from your Lab's fur.

4. There are always paw prints on your kitchen counters.

5. All toy squeaky animals miss their squeakers, all stuffed animals miss their stuffing.

6. You bought a bigger bed, to keep your dog happy.

7. You bought an extra pillow, to keep your dog happy.

8. You bought a station wagon to take your Labrador to the forest / beach / other water.

9. Your backyard looks like a archaeological area. Even the Dino bones are there.

10. Your kids never have dirty hands or faces.

11. You never find a pair of shoes in one place. The most probable distance between the left and the right shoe is at least five meters.

12. You never have to clean the kitchen floor, because your Lab finds every crumb, before you can reach it.

13. You don't own an alarm clock, because your Lab wakes you every morning with a firm Labrador kiss.

14. Even in full winter the window of your car is open, so your Lab can catch the air.

15. Your Christmas tree has a ball-free zone, so your dog can wag his tail.

16. Everything that you ever painted has some Lab hairs included.

17. Your wood pile is never neatly stacked, because your Lab wants to prove he's a real Retriever.

18. In winter you can never feed the birds: the water and the food are gone before one bird could touch it.

19. You have broken or mangled at least one finger, because your Labrador saw a prey on the street.

20. You have permanent bruises on your legs at exactly the height of your Labs tail.

21. The space around his drinking bowl is more wet than his drinking bowl itself, because your Lab drinks water and forgets to swallow.

22. You are the only person in your neighborhood, who regularly finds tennis balls in the dish washer.

23. Toys, gloves, remote controls and other small things are put on a shelf or in a closet.

24. Kitchen towels always have holes in them.

25. Lost things can usually be found in the dogs basket or in the backyard. If not, they are in a place you wouldn't think of searching.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Yellow Labrador Retriever with Cushing's Disease

Readers E-mail - Patricia Writes:

Hi,

Last spring I took my 6 1/2 year old female Yellow Lab to the vet for routine blood work for a dental cleaning. That afternoon, my Vet called and said my dog had unusually high amounts of Alkaline Phosphatase in her blood which might indicate Cushing's Disease. Further testing revealed early stages of the Pituitary Dependent disease. My Vet immediately started treatment with Lysodren. Initially she was almost overdosed and they almost induced Addison's disease.

My problem is that my dog hasn't been the same since. I feel like the drug is doing more harm than good. When we initiated treatment she was asymptonmatic and now I feel like she has aged considerably. She has tremors, fears going down the stairs, is scared of almost anything and has difficulty walking. She used to be a healthy active dog; swimming 2-3 hours a day, walking 1 1/2 hours each morning and playing ball twice a day for at least 20 minutes. Now she gets tired easily and has lost a lot of her playfulness.

Am I killing her? Should I take her off the medication and just hope the disease takes a long time to progress? I am more concerned about her Quality of life not the Quantity of years. I love her very much and I feel in my heart she is suffering more from the treatment. My husband does not want her to be medicated any longer. He has seen a definite decline in her all over well being and fears we are killing her. I have discussed this with the Vet and they said she isn't even suppressed yet and they are now questioning if the disease may be the lesser of the 2 evils. I feel like my dog is being used as a LAB rat (no pun intended), Thank you for any advice you may offer.

Patricia

Answer:

Hi Patricia, Thanks for writing. I am very sorry to hear about the problems you’re having with your Labrador Retriever. Your letter breaks my heart.

My understanding of Cushing's Disease is that it is caused by the production of an excess of corticosteroids, with symptoms of the disease usually coming on very gradually. With the symptoms coming on gradually, the owner often attributes the changes to "old age."

Some symptoms of Cushing's Disease can include: an increase in frequency of urination, large consumptions of water, a voracious appetite, pot-bellied in appearance, changes in hair coat and hair loss, weight gain, lethargy, increase panting and decreased interaction with owners. The disease usually affects middle-aged to older dogs.

Lysodren works by destroying cells of the adrenal gland that produce the corticosteroid hormones. Lysodren has been in use for canine Cushing’s disease for decades, with most veterinarians having extensive experience with the use of this drug for pituitary dependent Cushing's Disease and with the monitoring tests the use to prevent any side effect difficulties. Unfortunately, the drug can have serious side effects and therefore regular monitoring of the blood needs to be performed.

There are two phases used in the treatment of Cushing’s disease with Lysodren: first is an induction phase which helps to gain control of the disease. The second being a lower dosed maintenance phase. The second phase will lasts for the animal’s entire life.

I am sure you have done plenty of research on the disease and treatment but I will list some further sites for information at the end of this letter.

Continue Reading...


I am also listing some side effects of the use of Lysodren, some being the same as what you state seen in your Labrador. Anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, dizziness, appetite loss and a decrease in water consumption.

Pituitary Cushing's disease cannot be cured, but with some of the treatments available, it can prolong your Labradors quality of life and keep her around for years longer.

If Cushing’s Disease is not treated, the disease can progress to life-threatening conditions including kidney failure, neurological disorders, failure of the liver, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and your Labrador can also become more susceptible to infections.

As far as you asking if you should stop the medication, I can not give you an answer on that. That is a decision you and your family must make. It's a very difficult situation, but only you can make such a decision. What I will do however is advised what I would do.

I would sit down again with my veterinarian and discuss how I feel about the medication and how you feel that the medication is making your Labrador suffer more from it. I would also ask about other forms of treatment then Lysodren. I have heard of another drug called Anipryl (selegiline). It is only effective in cases where Cushing's Disease is caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland. One advantage to the use of Anipryl is that it has less potential for harmful side effects and for risk of causing hypoadrenocorticism (Addison's disease).

I would definitely explore the different options with medication, if I felt my Labradors were suffering from present treatment and would probably seek another opinion from a second veterinarian if his only choice of drug treatment was Lysodren. If I really felt my Labrador was continually suffering from the treatments and medications and believed that they weren't helping, I would probably stop administering the medication. That would only be if I felt I exhausted all other options for my Labrador Retriever.

As for you feeling that your Labrador is being used as a "Lab" rat, I don't believe so, as this is the most popular treatment with dog's with Cushing's.

I hope I have helped you somewhat Patricia. I am listing some further sites for information for you. My heart goes out to you and your family. If you have further questions, don't hesitate to write and please keep me informed of the decisions you make and how your Labrador Retriever is doing.

http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_pituitary_treatment.html

http://www.kateconnick.com/library/cushingsdisease.html

http://www.petdiabetes.org/cushings.htm

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/caninecushings-autoimmunecare/ (Yahoo group of others wanting to learn more about Cushing's)

Patricia (Readers) Response:

Thank you so much for your heartfelt letter and reassurance. I think from the beginning of Haley's diagnosis I have been in shock. My dog was always healthy and happy and extremely active. When you go in for routine blood work and come out with another diagnosis that requires lifelong treatment it is a scary thing; especially since I take my Labradors to the Vet for preventative maintenance regularly. It is hard when you do everything you are suppose to and then you feel like you have failed your dog somehow.

I appreciate your reassurance about the Lysodren. It was literally thrown at me so fast, I felt like there were no options. I had no idea that this drug had been used extensively for several years. I do feel better about that. I was concerned that maybe Haley was being used experimentally.

My only other question: how much will this treatment extend her life? My vet says the books say on the average 2 years. She is only 7 and was diagnosed by accident with no symptoms. My vet says it is usually detected later in life between ages 10-14. So, is it possible my dog will live to an older age of at least 10 or will the Lysodren cause problems and shorten her life? I guess I am concerned about long term use.

Thank you so much for your help and advice. You are the only person who has replied to my concerns and I thank you so much for your genuine care. I know that any labradors you have in your life are blessed that they are in your presence. Much love and thanks!

My Answer:

I'm glad I could be of some help to you and deepest thanks for your kind words.

Your vet is correct with Cushing's Disease usually being detected later in life. I'm not sure with what the "books" say as per average length of life with treatment.

As far as your question goes in regards to Lysodren shortening Haley's life: For my limited knowledge on Lysodren it's hard for me to give you an answer. Reactions to treatment are different in each case. What works for one Labrador Retriever, might not for the next.

I have read plenty of good reviews from dog owners that have used Lysodren for the disease and prolonged their dog's life for years, as well as some bad ones with owners not being happy with the use of the drug and the side effects.

I have found some more information on other owners of dog's with Cushing's Disease and the use of Lysodren and Anipryl for the disease :

http://www.vetinfo4dogs.com/dlysodren.html

http://www.vetinfo4dogs.com/dlysodren.html

Please read through both of these sites listed, as I believe the may be of great help to you. They both have concerns from owners with the use of Lysodren.

I am here for you Patricia and will continue to help with Haley's problems. Just keep me updated with any changes and treatment as I will advise you of any further information I can find out about the disease and medications.

Much love to you and Haley

The information given here is to help you learn more about your Labrador Retriever and not to replace your veterinarian's advice. Disclaimer

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Labrador Retriever with Metallic Smell

Readers E-mail - Troy Writes:

I have a 5 year old lab in very good shape but lately I have notices he licks himself a lot (mostly paws and belly) and he has a very metallic smell. Has anyone else smelled this before. It is not a natural wet dog, dirty dog smell. Any ideas?

Thanks... Troy

Answer:

Hi Troy, thanks for writing.

I had a couple of questions I need you to answer to get a better understanding of the problem.

Do you notice anything unusual at the locations he licks (redness, pimple like bumps, rash, inflamed, hair loss)?

Any kind of reoccurring ear, eye, or urinary infections?

Do you notice the metallic smell when he goes to the bathroom, in his stool?

What is he eating?

Have you notice him "scooting" (dragging the rear on the ground)?

Is there excessive licking in the rectal area?

When you walk him, is it always the same area, or have you recently taken him to new locations?

There could be a couple of different problems Troy. Please answer the questions and get back to me as soon as possible.

Continue Reading...


Reader’s Response (Troy):

Thanks for getting back to me. I have narrowed the smell down to his butt. If I smell him (neck back etc,) he smells like dog but there is a metallic small come from the rear. His stool smells normal and he does not scoot at all but does try to lick his bum occasionally. As far as walking, we go all over and the smell has been here for a while. As far as licking, it usually is his paws and belly but not to the point of inflamming them. He does get eye infections occasionally and the vet has given him eye drops but this winter has been pretty good and no eye problems at all. Oh and his name is Rothko. THANK YOU!

Answer:

Its sounds as though Rothko might have a problem with his anal glands. Anal glands (“anal sacs", "scent glands”) are two small oval shaped glands, located just under the skin, one on each side of the anus at the 4 and 8 o’clock positions.

The glands produce a substance (olive oil like liquid ,brownish-yellow to a light gray color ) that is secreted through ducts just inside the rectum, and are normally expressed (emptied) during his normal bowel movements, when he is frightened, scared or marking his territory. This substance produced has a very strong odor which is very unpleasant to us humans.

What happens in some dogs, is that they not able to empty the sacs properly and become susceptible to anal sac disease. The liquid accumulates and thickens, causing difficulty in the emptying of the anal sacs. Your Labrador Retriever could also develop an infection, and if not treated, progress into an abscess. This abscess can then rupture through the skin, leading to further complications for your Labrador.

The anal glands should be checked regularly and expressed when necessary, to help empty the build up of secretions from the gland.

You can express these glands yourself, and I do know of many owners that do, but I do advise to take Rothko to your veterinarian, as he/she can make sure this is his problem and can show you how to properly check and empty the anal sacs at home. Plus you can do further harm if you do it wrong.

Here are some signs to look for that your Labrador Retriever might be having a problem with his anal glands: scooting its rear end along the ground, sitting uncomfortably, licking/biting/chewing at the anus, and chasing its own tail.

As far as the licking the paws and belly, there is possibility that Rothko may have allergies. Certain foods or airborne particles like pollen and house dust can be causing the licking. Tree pollens, grass pollens, and weed pollens can also cause the itching and licking. With you traveling around so much, and Rothko being walked in different places, chances are good he has come in contact with something causing the itching, which leads to the licking of his legs and belly.

You didn't answer my "What is he eating" question, but a changing in his food, different types of food can also be the problem, as Rothko could have a food allergy. This will also cause the itching and licking.

Food can also play a part with the anal gland problem. Poor diet and low quality commercial pet food can cause soft stools, not putting pressure on the anal glands to express them when he defecates. You can discuss a change in his diet with your veterinarian.

Here are some other things you can do to help with his itching:

A nice cool bath can be helpful, since the water will assist in relieving the itching. You can add a little colloidal oatmeal (Aveeno) to the bathwater, which will help soothe the foot or your veterinarian can prescribe an antiseptic shampoo. Make sure you rinse Rothko's foot thoroughly after the bath, since any remaining soap that remains can make the itching worse.

You can just soak his foot for five minutes, four times a day, in cool water. Add a sprinkle of Epsom salts to the water as it will also help soothe the foot. A compress applied the paw for approximately five minutes will accomplish the same.

Another method that you can try is Aloe Vera applied to the paw. Make sure its 100% Aloe Vera not the mixture. This will not hurt Rothko if he is to lick it off.

Tea Tree oil, which you can obtain in a health food store is an antibacterial and anti fungal agent that can also be used.

I had another reader that had a problem with an itching paw on her Labrador Retriever that I recommended the above things to, and she had success using the Aloe Vera. See Labrador Paw Problem Update

I hope this helps you out some Troy. Please keep me advised of Rothko's condition and what the veterinarian tells you as it will be of great help for the readers of this blog. Should you have any other problems or questions, don't hesitate to write me.

Take care of yourself and Rothko,

** Just a quick thing I would like to add to this post is that recently I have found some information on using Tea Tree oil on our dogs, which states cautions when using it http://www.teatreeoilhome.com/pets.htm.


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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Labrador Retriever - Skin problems - Hair Color Change

Readers E-mail - Jane Writes:

Do you have any idea why our black lab puppy (7months old) would go to bed last night completely black and wake up this morning with what appears to be some white hairs under the base of his tail. He has lost his puppy coat and seriously had no other colour other than black until this morning. His skin appears dry and flaky and he has been itching and chewing at the base of his tail. If he is a mix (which he wasn't supposed to be) wouldn't his fur have come in in different tones right away?Other than this bizzare situation he looks like a perfect specimen - not that we will stop loving him etc but wonder if something is wrong - vitamins needed or something or has he hurt himself with his chewing and it's like a scar situation.

Any information or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks for your help.... Jane

Answer:

Sorry to hear about your Labrador Retrievers problem. I have a couple of questions to ask in regards to his problem.

How long has he been itching and chewing at the tail?

Any sores, redness to the area?

Any hair loss in the area?

Any injury to the area (besides the biting)?

Is your Lab an English bred Lab (shorter legs, heavier body, wider head, shorter muzzle, thick tail) or an American bred (tall long legs, lighter body, thinner tail, longer muzzle).

What kind of food is he fed?

Any medical problems with him?

What is his name :)

Readers Response:

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Our puppy's name is Gus - short for Angus - He is American bred - long, lean and gorgeous (and a brat!!)

He has trouble with his ears and runny eyes as well as dry skin and our vet believes he has allergies. We are now trying him on a new puppy food for large breeds called 1st Choice - chicken based. His treats for training are vegetable based. He has had problems with itching on and off since we got him but worse as the winter progressed (the furnace heat ?)

We rescued him at 8 weeks (through a rescue society who got him and a brother and sister 3 out of a litter of 8) so it is possible that he has some other breed somewhere in him although breeders who have seen him have been envious and wondering where we got him and have just come up to us and thoroughly checked him out!!

We love him regardless but just want to make sure it isn't some allergy or deficiency in his diet.
He is very intelligent, learned sit, shake etc and house trained in a very short time - only 5 accidents in the house total!!

Any suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Continue Reading...


Answer:

Hi Jane, thanks for the quick response and the photo. I have a couple more questions I need you to answer.

What kind of vegetable based treats do you feed Gus. (brand name)? Have you been feeding these treats since you got Gus?

What kind of food did he eat (brand name)?

Ear problems - itchy ears, smelly ears?

Runny Eyes - clear and watery or colored discharge?

Readers Response:

Gus has been eating Medical Canine Development from the time we got him until the last couple of days. Due to his apparent allergies we are trying a sample of 1st Choice - puppy large breed - growth - chicken formula (and rice). The name of the vegetable treats is Medi-cal medi treats from Veterinary Medical Diets. Gus's ears appear to be a yeast type infection so we clean them with a cleaning solution - epi-otic and apply otomax when he has problems. His eyes occasionally have a white discharge, otherwise clear - just like his occasional runny nose - Poor guy!

He really is a sweet fellow - just wish he'd stop thinking he can use our arms as a teething ring - I've never had a puppy that's taken so long to understand that concept. He's learned everything else so quickly. We're hopeful that Puppy Classes starting this week will help - although it just seems to be with us

I appreciate your interest. We really want to make sure this isn't a nutritional problem.... Jane

Answer:

One of the most common conditions affecting dogs is an allergy. Dogs can be allergic to all kinds of things, and it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the problem.

There are several different types of allergies that can affect your Labrador Retriever:

Contact allergy - just as the name states, a reaction to an irritant (such as flea collars, materials on his bedding, etc) that will cause itching and skin irritation at the location of contact.

A flea allergy - serve itching due to the flea’s saliva getting into your Labrador Retriever's skin. Your Lab will scratch and chew himself so severely it could lead to open sores, scabs and loss of large amounts of his hair. This itching is usually found in the rear area of your Labrador, mainly around the rear end (near the base of the tail).

Inhalant Allergy - just like you and I, your Labradors can develop allergies to something it inhales, tree pollens, weeds, grass pollens, with many of these being seasonal. There is also a possibility to allergens such as house dust, molds, mildew, which can be around all the time. Serve itching, sneezing and coughing may be present.

Food allergies - allergies to something eaten (ex: beef, pork, turkey, chicken, vegetable products). Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, scratching and itching can be present. His dull, dry coat can also be attributed to a food allergy. Food allergies can be complicated to recognize and to treat, with testing being done with a special hypoallergenic diet.

In regards to Gus's eyes, allergic reactions usually will result in a clear discharge. Scratching can also cause bloodshot eyes.

Allergies are also one of the main reasons that a dog will paw their ears and will shake their heads. The ear itchiness is usually caused by allergies to foods or airborne particles.

Weather changes also play a major part with your dog’s skin. With Gus being exposed to the different weather conditions, and the hot/dry heat (the furnace heat), his skin can be vulnerable to all type of infections, being from bacteria, viruses or fungus. The skin will get irritated, causing him to itch, scratch and bite himself.

Gus's symptoms can also be caused by combination of these disorders.

I'm surprised that your veterinarian has advised giving Gus treats (Medi-Cal in Canada, Select-Care is the brand name under which Medi-Cal® products are sold in the USA), as I thought that only the new food (strict feeding) was to be given, with no treats, table scrapes and vitamins to be given during the trial period (still waiting on the answer to that from a friend of mine). Maybe because they are supplemented with antioxidants and omega 6:3 fatty acids which can help nourish the dry, itching coat. You might want to inquire more about this. Remember though he is the veterinarian, not me.

I couldn't find any info on the Medical Canine Development food (Canadian or U.S.), wanted to see what kind of ingredients were in it. Did you happen to notice if there was any corn, wheat or soy in the Medical Canine Development food.

In regards to your new food, 1st Choice - puppy large breed - growth - chicken formula; is it the large breed chicken formula, or the chicken formula, no corn, no wheat, no soy. The reason I ask is that Gus may have a problem with one or all of them.

Corn may cause his itching, or his ear infections. Some dogs have problems with corn, while others may not. Wheat and soy in his food can also be an allergen to Gus.

Some other things you can do for Gus:

For the dry, itching skin: A occasional cool bath can be very soothing, especially if you use an oatmeal shampoo (helps relieve dry irritated skin) or add a little colloidal oatmeal (like Aveeno) to the water, To relieve the discomfort of sores caused by scratching, apply some Aloe Vera several times a day (100 % pure kind). A Hydrocortisone Shampoo can also be used for the itching (they have Hydrocortisone Shampoo with Aloe Vera Gel in them). After shampooing my sure you rinse very, very well.

Other treatments depend on the type and severity of the allergies. Labs with mild cases can benefit from antihistamines and essential fatty acid supplements, which can help to relieve the discomfort in Gus. Labs with more severe allergies need a more aggressive treatment, such as steroids.

The best preventive measure against ear infections is performing regular ear inspections. Both your eyes and your nose can help detect a problem. Your Labrador retriever ears should have a clean, light pinkish color and should have no foul smell to them. Puss like substance discharges, waxy discharges and foul smell to ears are signs of a problem in your Labs ears. Your veterinarian will be able to show you what to look for in potential problems.

As far as a successful regimen of treatment, cleaning of your Labrador ears regularly is your best bet. Frequency of cleaning will vary, especially in the warmer months and always after swimming or bathing. What you’re using for Gus's ears is fine. White vinegar mixed 1:3 with water can be used to rinse the ears.

Here is another very helpful website when it comes to food allergies: Food Allergies

As far as Gus's tail it could be something to do with his allergies. I read about a condition called "bolo marks" but they seem to be on the back of the leg above the pad, not the tail. Here is something you might want to take a look at: White "Ring around the Tail" and Two-Toned Appearance in Black Labs. I'm curious as what the veterinarian has to say about this.

As for as Gus's nipping/mouthing problem, I have an article I wrote, Labrador Retriever - Training your puppy to stop biting and nipping that appears on the All About Labradors blog.

Remember to be consistent (you and everyone in your home) with the training if you decide to use some of the methods. Consistency is the key.

Jane, I hope I have been of some help to your problem. If you don't understand anything, or have more questions on this subject or anything else, don't hesitate to e-mail me. If you get a chance, let me know what was in the original dog food. Please keep me advised on Gus's condition and the further steps the veterinarian takes with his condition, and I will keep you up to date with any other info I find. It is off great help to me and to the readers of this blog.

Take care of yourself and Gus.

I want to thank Jane for the e-mail and the handsome photo of Gus. If you would like to see the photo of him, you can visit him at the Labrador Retrievers Picture blog by clicking on his name: Angus

The information given here is to help you learn more about your Labrador Retriever and not to replace your veterinarian's advice. Disclaimer


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Friday, April 13, 2007

Recalled Dog Food News

Hello everyone, hope all is well. I've been following the recalled dog foods news and just wanted to pass along some interesting articles I have read. I would also like to send out my deepest condolences to everyone who lost their loving pets due to the contamination of the food.

The first article has to do with Mark Wiens, the chief financial officer of Menu Foods Income Fund. Mr Wiens states it's a "horrible coincidence" that he sold nearly half his shares in the company less than three weeks before the tainted pet food recall.

Pet food insider sold shares before recall

The second article was published March 23, 2007, and goes on to talk about rat poison in the food and how Menu Foods waited nearly a month before notifying the public.

Rat Poison Found In Tainted Pet Food

I don't know if its just me, but what I'm getting from this, is that Mr Wiens sold his shares almost around the same time the contamination was found. Was this just another "horrible coincidence".

As for Menu Foods offering compensation to anyone who lost their pets, I ask this. What possible compensation can you offer to anyone who have lost their beloved pet? The cost of the food, or the cost of the veterinarian fees is hardly fair compensation for such a loss.

Please let me know your thoughts / comments on this terrible tragedy.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Labrador Retriever with Separation Anxiety

Readers E-mail - Trish Writes:

Hi Fay,

Was searching the internet and came across your site. Just needing some info on our white male lab. He is 7 years old and as is every lab, the most gentle, loyal friend a family could have. Our problem is that he is extremely close to my husband, usually not more than a few inches behind him wherever he goes, however when we go away he frets badly, this usually ends up with him vomiting on carpets etc while we are away. We have on the last two occasions asked our children to move into the home to look after him but have had no joy, although they love him dearly. Any ideas? Regards...Trish

Answer:

Hi Trish....Thanks for writing and visiting the All About Labradors blog.

Assuming that there are no other medical problems with your Labrador Retriever, and he only does this while you are away, what you are dealing with is called separation anxiety. When your Labrador Retriever is separated from his human family (you and your husband) he experiences distress and then engages in problem behaviors (urine/stool, vomiting, constant barking, destruction of property) which are related to the anxiety of separation. He doesn't understand where you or your family have gone or if you will return. Separation anxiety is a very common behavior problem in dogs.

Here are a few things I recommend you can try to help with the problem:

Don't make leaving your house a big event. No doggie kisses, belly rubbing, telling him to be a good boy, or whatever else you might do before you leave your house. What you want to do is ignore him for 10-30 minutes prior to your leaving and your return. Make sure this is done every time you leave the house, and by all family members present in your home.

Give your Labrador Retriever something to do while your gone. Try mental stimulation toys such as the Kong® or Buster Cube (make sure whatever toy you use is the appropriate size for your dog) filled with his favorite food treat while you prepare to make your routine daily departures. I love these types of toys, as they are a great distraction for your Labrador and they spends hours trying to get the food treat out.

Increase your Lab's exercise (long walks, runs, play time) as well as some mental exercise. Training, exploring, and again the Kong toy as he tries to figure out how to get treats out. Plenty of exercise will help relieve stress and tension. Remember, A TIRED dog is a GOOD dog!

Continue reading...


You also want to practice leaving and return from your home in short intervals. Get up and leave your home for a couple of minutes, then return and go about your business as though you never left. Continue doing this while gradually increasing the amount of time that you stay away for. What you are doing is instilling confidence in your Labrador Retriever that you are going to always return when you leave. Repetition and increases in the time you stay away for are the key.

Crate training is also another option.

As for your Labrador following your husband around:

Your dog is a pack animal. Their family is their “pack”. In the wild, the pack is led by an alpha male and an alpha female. Your Labrador Retriever identifies your family as his pack and your husband as the alpha leader, causing him to want to stay close by.

You have to have your husband practice sit, stay, and come commands with him. If you need help with these let me know. Use treats and plenty of praise with this. He can make a game of it (mental stimulation) - have your Labrador sit then pet and offer praise. Practice the stay command, then go hide and say come so that he can find you. When he does offer plenty of praise, treats and start the game again.

Medical treatment may also help to reduce her anxiety. This is something you can talk to your veterinarian about if nothing else seems to be working out. He/she may also be able to recommend a behavior specialist if your training is not helping.

I hope this will be of some help to you. If you don't understand anything, or have any questions on other issues, don't hesitate to write.

I want to thank Trish for the handsome photo of her Labrador Retriever - Sam. To see a photo of him click on his name. Sam

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Labrador Retriever's nose losing pigment

Readers E-mail - Stacey Writes:

My Chocolate Lab's nose has lost its pigment and has become scaley. The pigment has slowly come back about 50%. The upper part of the nose is still scaley. Her muzzle area around the lips has also lost pigment. Has anyone ever seen this?..................Stacey

Answer:

Hi Stacey,

Thanks for writing. At first I thought “snow” nose or a “Dudley” but did some checking and there is no mention of crusting or scales associated with them.

Here are some other possibilities I have found for you:

Contact dermatitis – a type of allergic skin condition can cause loss of pigment in the nose. It develops after direct contact or being exposed to certain materials that will irritate, such as cleaning solutions, grass, bedding materials, salts, fertilizers, flea collars, etc. What kind of bowls do you use to feed your Labrador? Certain plastics in bowls can also be the cause. The constant irritation of the nose and muzzle area form these substances might lead to the lost pigment.

Discoid lupus erythematosus – is an immune mediated skin disease where the nose and face are more commonly affected. It usually starts with a loss of pigmentation. There may also be crusts and scaling of the nasal tissues. This disease is benign and the animals are otherwise healthy.

I would take your Labrador to your veterinarian, where they will do a complete examination of the area and perform a biopsy (small portion of skin removed and examined under microscope) to give you a definite diagnosis.

The information given here is to help you learn more about your Labrador Retriever and not to replace your veterinarian's advice. Disclaimer

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