Friday, February 29, 2008

Black Labrador Retriever with occasional ear problems - part II

Subject:Black Labrador Retriever with occasional ear problems - part II

From: Rick (USA)

Labrador Retriever Name: Nikken

To read part one of this e-mail visit: Black Labrador Retriever with occasional ear problems - part I

Reader's E-mail - Rick's Response:

Fay,

Thanks for your reply to our email regarding our Labrador Retriever, named Neeks, Neekers, Sneakers, pup. His real name is Nikken, but rarely do we call him that. We found him when he was a puppy running in and out of traffic on a State Hwy. We tried to find the owner at the time, but no one claimed him. He's a prize, we bonded immediately. He was about 10 - 12 weeks according to our vet at that time.

Neeks has some allergies, he licks his paws often. We believe that comes from something outside during the warmer weather. He used to itch excessively around his backside. We changed his diet, and included nutritional supplements. He has been on K9Rx (K9Rx.com) for a nutritional supplement. This helped, he got his coat back, and even though he is a little sensitive, he's tons better. No itching or digging. No drugs from the vet. The K9Rx is a bit pricey, but worth it. We haven't seen the vet since he has been on it for the problems he was experiencing with the digging and itching, especially around his backside. My wife wouldn't agree to an all natural raw meat diet.

Our Black Lab is really not scratching his ears. He shakes his head, though. The infection is only in his right ear. It does look a bit like mini coffee grounds, and he has had chronic problems with his ears from time to time. This infection really doesn't have a real bad odor as we have noticed with other problems with his ears in the past. It has probably been around a year since he has had an infection in either of his ears. For the most part, Neeks has been pretty healthy. I hope this information helps. I know that we really have to check his ears on a weekly basis, so this doesn't sneak up on us in the future.

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We have another Black Lab, he is only 4 years old, and knock on wood, he has always been healthy. We know about his background, he wasn't a stray when we got him. By the way, his name is Bogie. He is big, strong, and can jump like no other dog that we have ever had. Our 9 yr. old, Neeks has had his paws full in helping to bring to Bogie up. You know, showing him the ropes, etc...

Yes, I will send along a photo of Neeks and Bogie as you have requested. As with many Lab owners, we are into our guys. Just like two sons, they are family.

Thanks, once again
Rick

All About Labradors Blog Answer:

Hello Rick,

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

Thanks for responding to my questions, and for being patient waiting for your answer. I'm receiving many e-mailed questions and with a full house of my own, it takes some time replying to all of them.

First off Rick, I must state with chronic ear problems I always recommend a trip to your veterinarian for him/her to have a look down your Labrador Retriever' ear canal, do a thorough exam and some lab work to try to narrow down possible causes. They will also make sure there is no eardrum damage.

Ear infections can be caused by a number of different things, especially in dogs like our Labrador Retrievers with their long, pendulous ears. Because the ear folds over, it covers our Labrador ear canal and prevents air from entering and drying. This results in a warm/moist ear canal that's just the perfect for organisms to grow in.

Ear mites, ears that are not dried after your Labrador Retriever has been swimming or bathing, a build up of ear wax, allergies, and growths in the ear canal, yeast, and bacteria can all lead to ear infections.

Some signs that your Labrador Retriever does have an ear infection:

They shake their head and paw at their ears. They will whine, and a foul smell (yeasty, bacterial, ear infection) may be present. If you look at the ears closely, you will see that the ear canal is red, inflamed, and full of gunk. If you touch the ear it will often hurt or elicit some moans and groans.

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.

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. A good ear cleanser can be purchased at your local pet store. White vinegar mixed 1:3 with water can also be used to rinse the ears. It can sting if there is any ulceration of the ear canal, and can possibly be dangerous if the eardrum is damaged.

As for the hydrogen peroxide goes in regards to your question, I have had friends and readers use it with both positive and negative results. 3% hydrogen peroxide mixed 1:1 with warm water can aid in the removal of earwax from the ears. It is not as likely to cause discomfort if the ear is inflamed.

One of the best products I've used with success for gunk in my Labrador ears is called a blue power wash (actually I have seen it called many other things, as it has been on the Internet for ages).

"Blue Power Ear Treatment"

INGREDIENTS:

16 Oz. Isopropyl Alcohol (Witch Hazel)
4 Tablespoons Boric Acid Powder
16 Drops Gentian Violet Solution 1%

Mix together in alcohol bottle and shake well. You will also need to shake solution every time you use it to disperse the Boric Acid Powder. An eye dropper can be used to fill the ear.

TREATMENT: Evaluate condition of ears before treating and if very inflamed and sore do not attempt to pull hair or clean out ear at all. Wait until inflammation has subsided which will be about 2 days.

Shake the bottle each time before using. Flood the ear with solution (gently squirt bottle), massage gently for approximately a minute, and then wipe with a cloth or tissue. Flood again a second time, and wipe again without massaging in. The dog will shake out the excess. Be advised, the Gentian Violet does stain.

The SCHEDULE of treatment is as follows:

Treat 2 xs per day for the first week to two weeks depending upon severity of ears
Treat 1x per day for the next 1-2 weeks
Treat 1x per month (or even less frequently, depending on the dog)

All of these ingredients should be available at your local pharmacy. I highly recommend the use of the witch hazel instead of alcohol, as if any scratches are in the ear, the alcohol can cause burning. The Boric Acid Powder soothes the ear and the Gentian Violet Solution is an ant-infection agent. The solution appears to work well on many ear problems. I also like to warm my solution slightly, under warm water, but you can use it either way. There is also a commercial version of this solution called Gentian Ear Treatment.

The black material that looks like coffee grounds in Neek’s ears could also be ear mites, or allergies causing an accumulation of the materials.

To check for ear mites (once again I mention the veterinarian) you can carefully remove a bit of debris from inside the ear. Take out your trusty microscope (I know you just have one laying around) or a magnifying glass and take a look. Tiny, crablike creatures, means Neeks has mites. His ears will need to be clean thoroughly with an ear-cleaning formula, and then few drops of a medicated solution designed to kill ear mites, which is available at pet supply stores (following the directions on the label of the formula).

Another good product for ear cleaning and infections is the Zymox Products - ear cleanser and Zymox Otic (Do not use on punctured eardrums. Do not use on pregnant females).

The last time one of my Labradors had a problem with her ears (which they very seldom do) I used the Blue Power Ear Treatment and added plain natural yogurt to their diets (at the urging of a fellow Lab owner, some research and talking to the vet). The live cultures found in yogurt are called Probiotics, which are tiny organisms that help to maintain and produce good flora (bacteria) of the gut and will decrease chances of illness. No problems with ears since.

You can add it directly to their food or you can put some in a Kong (by now, everyone knows of my great love on the Kong toys), and freeze the whole thing with some treats.

Glad to hear your having success with the K9Rx, will be sure to mention it to others as a possible help. Did you try a full food allergy trial with Neeks, for a possible allergy cause? If you would like me to recommend some hypoallergenic foods, or further information on a hypoallergenic food trial, let me know.

For Meeks Paw:

Certain foods or airborne particles like pollen and house dust can be causing the itchy feet. Tree pollens, grass pollens, and weed pollens can also cause the itching. Allergy testing can be done by your veterinarian.

Here are some things you can do to help:

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 Neek’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 (like the kind from the plant) not the mixture. This will not hurt Neeks 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 which can be used. Not long ago I did find some information on using Tea Tree oil on our dogs, which states cautions when using it, which should be read by everyone. (ALL ABOUT LABRADORS NO LONGER RECOMMENDS TEA TREE OIL)

Well I hope this can be of some help to you and Neeks. If you don't understand anything here please let me know. If you have further questions on anything else, please don't hesitate to write.

I love it when I get letters from others stating the love for their Labrador Retrievers and how they are family. You couldn't be more correct with that statement!

Take care of yourself, family and your Labrador Retrievers,
Fay

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Black Labrador Retriever with occasional ear problems - part I

Subject:Black Labrador Retriever with occasional ear problems

From: Rick (USA)

Labrador Retriever Name: Nikken

Reader's E-mail - Rick Writes:

We have a black lab with the ear problems on occasion. This time, he has a redish interior ear with some black stuff that has accumulated.

How about mixing in some hydrogen peroxide when clearing up an infected Labrador Retreiver ear? Would the Hydrogen Peroxide help the an infected ear heal better than alcohol or vinegar type of a mix?

Rick

All About Labradors Blog Response:

Hello The Sport,

Thanks for writing and visiting All About Labradors. In order for me to try to assist you in your Labrador Retrievers problem, I need to ask you a few questions.

The black stuff that has accumulated in your Labradors ear; is it a dry material that looks like coffee grounds?

Is your Labrador Retriever frequently scratching one or both ears?

Is their a discharge in one or both ears?

Do your Labrador's ears have a strong smell?

Has your Labrador Retriever had a problem with ear infections in the past?

Any other medical conditions with your Labrador Retriever?

What is your Labrador Retriever's name

With all the email questions I receive, I always ask a favor of the person writing. If you have any photos of your Labrador Retriever, that you could email me, I would love to post them to All About Labradors and/or Labrador Retriever Pictures blog. You do not need to send a photo to receive an answer to your question.

If you would like any caption to appear under the photo (Ex: Fido eating the garbage, my trip to the beach, dressed up, etc.) make sure you let me know. Thanks.

Get back to me with the answers to the above questions at your earliest convenience.

Talk to you soon,
Fay

To read part II of this e-mail, visit: Black Labrador Retriever with occasional ear problems - part II

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Blueberry Lane Dog Treat Sample

I would like to thank Megan for the nice e-mail and wonderful words about this blog. Megan also let me know about a free dog treat sample offer from Blueberry Lane.

Information from Blueberry Lane: Wondering what all the fuss is about? Order a FREE sample of our treats and watch them sit up and beg!"

To learn more about their dog treats and to request a free sample, click on over to the Blueberry Lane website.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another Chocolate Lab with Hair loss around the Eyes - part II

Subject: Another Chocolate Lab with Hair loss around the Eyes - part II

From: Michelle (Japan)

Labrador Retriever Name: Flash

To read part one of this e-mail, visit: Another Chocolate Lab with Hair loss around the Eyes - part I

Reader's E-mail - Michelle Writes:

No worries about the response time. I think it is great that you wrote back at all. Her eye is looking surprisingly better but the discharge is still coming out every day (from both eyes). I also want to say that she is a healthy active dog and the eye problem is very minor. We have 3 children (ages 8, 10 and 12) and Flash is very busy taking care of them. After the bus stop walk every morning she spends about 1 hour with her dog friends running free in Yoyogi park in central Tokyo. With all these dog parents on my case everyday I am trying to remedy her eye issue.

I thought it might be the new Tea Tree Dog Shampoo (with no artificial colors and no agricultural chemicals) I started using a couple of months ago but my fellow dog lovers here in Tokyo disagree with me. They think she has an eye infection (which might explain the discharge but not the hair loss right?). We plan to go back to the vet next week so I will ask again. Last time the vet said some discharge from the eye was normal but I should be clear-- she consistently has a blob (about 1/4 teaspoon) of green/yellowish goop in her eye that I clean 2-3 times per day.

In response to your other questions:

1. This problem never occurred before and we have lived in Japan with Flash for over 2 years.

2. I made a mistake, it is actually her left eye and is not very clear in the picture. The hair loss is just above the eye but she has not lost her lashes. The hair around the eye is thinning but not bald.

3. She is not scratching. The hair just seems to be thinning.

4. No other itching noticed (she does have a rash problem on her belly but it is much better since we switched away from chicken-based dog food).

5. No, hairless area is clear but slightly swollen like a wart.

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6. Not dry nor crusty.

7. No other pets but she is around multiple dogs everyday.

8. APDC (Austrailian Products Dog Cat) Tea Tree Shampoo and separate conditioner for dogs.

9. No obvious nasal problems but she does seem to sneeze a lot and usually has a wet nose (could this all be an allergy??).

10. Yes, she has had a problem with the heat in the summers here in Tokyo. She collapsed twice and had two seizures last year. After numerous tests and thousands of dollars in vet bills we were told that her heart is fine, probably not epileptic but a response to her bodies muscles and heat. During the hot humid months we are very careful not to allow her to over exert herself. With a modified summer exercise program there have not been any issues for the past year.

Thanks for any advice,

Michelle and Flash

All About Labradors Blog Answer:

Hello Michelle,

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

Thanks for your patience in regards to your letter.

Infections of the eye are common in dogs and usually involve the conjunctiva, which can lead to conjunctivitis or “pink eye.” Some causes of infections include bacteria, fungi, foreign objects and irritants. Usually when discharge from the eyes continues throughout the day, an eye infection may be present. A telling sign of an eye infection comes in the color of the discharge, with it being a thick yellow, green or gray color. Healthy eyes are bright and shiny. There can be some mucus and watery discharge, but it should be minimal and clear.

Your veterinarian will usually treat this with an antibiotic ointment made especially for the eyes or with oral medications. I would make sure you clean the discharge with a clean cloth or tissue and get to your veterinarian as soon as possible, as excessive discharge has the potential to cause problems with her vision.

I thought it may possibly be an allergy-related conjunctivitis which is often associated with atopy (inhalant allergies). Some symptoms can be red eyes, the eyes are often itchy, and a watery discharge may be seen. From what you tell me though it doesn't seem as though Flash has any of these symptoms.

It is interesting to hear that her belly area is better after changing her food. Food allergies can cause hair loss in your dog, but a primary symptom is itchy skin. Other symptoms may include recurrent ear infections, hot spots, and may sometimes increase bowel movements. Did you change her to a hypoallergenic food or just something besides chicken? If you need a recommendation for hypoallergenic dog foods let me know.

There is also a condition called Demodectic mange (demodex). Demodectic mange is caused by a mite that is present in low numbers on healthy animals, including people. A common symptom is hair loss and it is generally first noticed around the eyes. The disease is classified as localized mange when it is confined to a few small areas such as the face or the front of the foot. In Labrador Retrievers over the age of two, it is classified as adult onset. Many Labs with adult onset of mange have an underlying health problem that leads to the development of the mange.

Your veterinarian will do a skin scraping where Flash's hair loss is and then examine it under a microscope to determine if mange is the problem. Treatments can include dips, medicated shampoos, antibiotics, boosting the immune system, change in diet to a high quality food, and fatty acid supplementation. I have found a couple of alternatives for treatment besides all the medications that I will let you know about if the veterinarian says Flash does have mange.

I also thought that maybe the new shampoo you are using could be causing the problem, even though the ingredients in the shampoo, tea tree oil, lavender and eucalyptus have been used for many skin conditions. Here is something I found in regards to tea tree oil that may be of great interest to you. (All About Labradors no longer recommends the use of tea tree oil).

I hope this has been of some help to you and Flash. If you don't understand anything, let me know and if you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask. Please keep me informed of what the veterinarian tells you, especially in regards to the mange.

Take care of yourself and Flash,
Fay

To see photos of Flash visit: Flash 02/24/08

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Free Dog Food Sample from Pet Eats

UPDATE: 02/22/08 They are now stating that this free sample is only available to Michigan Residents.

Seems as though we have had our fair share of free samples lately. This one is for a free dog food sample from Pet Eats (for those of you with cats, they have samples for them also).

Information from the Pet Eats website: "Pet Eats sells only premium natural, holistic & organic pet foods made with top quality, human-grade ingredients. All brands we sell are made in the United States and are USDA/APHIS certified and inspected. Our own Pet Eats brand food goes a step further by attaining EU certification."

For those of you interested in requesting a free sample of their dog food, you can do so by clicking Pet Eats.

This one is for the USA only.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another Chocolate Lab with Hair loss around the Eyes - part I

Subject: Another Chocolate Lab with Hair loss around the Eyes - part I

From: Michelle (Japan)

Labrador Retriever Name: Flash

Reader's E-mail - Michelle Writes:

I was just searching the Internet trying to find causes for hair loss around a dog's eye. We have a 6-year old female chocolate lab named "Flash" and she has been loosing the hair around her right eye gradually over the past few months. There is a yellow, milky discharge coming from both eyes. We are temporarily living in Japan and I took her to the vet here in Tokyo. She said that her eyes looked clear (no sign of cataracts) and that the discharge was probably just from hair getting in her eyes. I am still suspicious that there is something else going on. The hair loss continues...

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,
Michelle

All About Labradors Blog Response:

Hello Michelle,

Thank you for writing and visiting All About Labradors. My apologies in the delay, as I receive many e-mail questions, and having a full house sometimes causes a delay in response.

If you still would like me to try to be of assistance to you, I need you to answer a couple of questions in regards to Flash's condition.

Has this same problem occurred any time before, and if so, how was it treated the first time?

Did this problem occur before or after you moved to Japan?

When you say around the right eye, where do you mean (circle around the whole eye, top of the eye, bottom of the eye)?

Is she scratching the hair out, or is it falling out?

Is there any other itchy areas, such as her paws?

Is the hairless area raw and inflamed?

Is the area dry and/or crusty?

What do they feed her?

What other pets do you have?

What is the pet bathed in?

Does the discharge form a crust on the eyelids?

Any nasal problems with her?

Any other medical problems with her, now or in the past?

Sorry for all the questions, as there are so many different causes of hair loss and eye discharges, it may help me narrow down some possible problems.

One last thing Michelle, with all the email questions I receive, I always ask a favor of the person writing. If you have any photos of your Labrador Retriever, that you could email me, I would love to post them to All About Labradors and/or Labrador Retriever Pictures blog. Please note, that a photo is NEVER required to receive an answer, just appreciated.

Please get back to me at your earliest convenience with the answers to these questions.

It might make it easier for you to copy and paste the questions in your e-mail, and then just write the answers next to the questions.

Talk to you soon,
Fay

To read part two of this e-mail visit: Another Chocolate Lab with Hair loss around the Eyes - part II

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Play to Save Shelter Pets

I received an e-mail from Sarah Silverman, the Social Initiative Manager at experienceproject.com, who informed of a very simple way we can help save dogs (and cats) around the country.

At the Experience Project website they have a "Play To Save Shelter Pets" trivia game, where each time you correctly answer a trivia question, they will provide food for shelter dogs and cats. For every correct trivia question answer, Experience Project donates the equivalent of 1 kibble of food to Rocket Dog Rescue & the Urban Cat Project, helping save pet's lives.

Save Shelter Pets by Playing a Game


To do your part in helping out with a great cause, click the above logo and get your thinking cap on. The more people that play, the more animals they will be able to save.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

NEW Pet Greens Treats Sample

Wow, another free sample for our Labrador Retrievers. This one is from Bell Rock Growers Inc and it's for a free sample of their Pet Greens® dog treats.

Information from Bell Rock Growers website: "Cats, dogs, birds and other small animals naturally crave greens as part of a balanced diet. Certified organic Wheat
Grass contains high concentrations of chlorophyll, enzymes, anti-oxidant nutrients, vitamins A, B-complex and C, minerals, and amino acids."

To get your free sample click Bell Rock Growers.

As always, with any samples we post here on All About Labradors, you have to hurry as free samples go quick. Also, samples are only available to U.S. residents and limited to one per household.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Meet the Breed - Labrador Retriever

Nothing but love for the Labrador Retriever in this video which introduces you to our wonderful breed.

My favorite scene is when the Labrador Retrievers jump into the water.



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Monday, February 11, 2008

Iams ProActive Health $5 Coupon

I would like to thank Deborah for writing and letting me know about this coupon. I'm also adding a new category to the All About Labradors blog for coupons.

For all of you that feed your Labrador Retrievers Iams dog foods, you can get yourself a coupon to save $5 off Iams ProActive Health by visiting the Iams website (the link for the coupon is toward the middle of their website).

Information from the Iams website:

Iams® ProActive™ Health promotes 7 Signs of Healthy Vitality.

1. Strong, Firm Muscles
2. Healthy Digestion
3. Soft, Shiny Coat
4. Healthy Bones and Joints
5. Healthy Heart
6. Healthy Immune System
7. Healthy Teeth

You can request your coupon by following the link above or by clicking on this direct link to the coupon.

The above links are for U.S. residents only and limited to one per household.

Residents of Canada can also get coupons for Iams products by clicking here.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Free Holistic Blend Sample

Visit the Holistic Blend® website to request a free sample of their All Life Stages Canine Formula dog food.

Holistic Blend® a family owned company, based in Canada.

Information from the Holistic Blends website: "We believe a pet's health, behaviour, temperament, longevity, ability to reproduce successfully and to recover from trauma depends greatly upon properly administered and sustained nutrition. Holistic nutrition considers the animal's total wellness- looking beyond basic dietary requirements, to achieve optimum equilibrium between body, mind & spirit.

We use high quality ingredients in our food formulas, supplements, alternative aids and treats to proactively build, maintain and repair functional systems."

They have two different canine formulas to choose from:

Lamb & Rice All Life Stages Canine Formula
Chicken, Rice & Vegetable All Life Stages Canine Formula

For those of you that own cats, they also offer All Life Stages Chicken Feline Formula for your cat.

Information from the Holisti Blends website: "Canine Formula Highlights:

*Free Range New Zealand Lamb Meal (Lamb & Rice All Life Stages Canine Formula)
*Free range Chicken meal (Chicken, Rice & Vegetable All Life Stages Canine Formula)
*Holistic & Conventional Veterinary recommended
*Chelated minerals, whole grains, fruits, antioxidants and herbs
*Promotes healthy skin and coat
*Hypo-allergenic
*Highly digestible and palatable
*Balanced Omega 6 & 3 fatty acids (5-1 ratio)
*Ingredients allow for smaller feeding portions
*Healthy stools - stimulates the breakdown of ammonia to reduce stool & urine odour"

To learn more about their products and company, visit the Holistic Blends website. To request your free sample or further information you will have to register with them. On the Holistic Blends website, at the top right corner you will see "Not yet registered with Holistic Blend, Sign Up Here". Click that link to make your request.

Here is a direct link to sign up, if it doesn't work, use the above link to register. It looks as though they offer their samples to many different countries.

If any of our readers have used Hoilstic Blends foods, please let us know what you think.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Cold Weather and your Labrador Retriever

Subject: Cold Weather and your Labrador Retriever

From: Tim (USA)

Labrador Retriever Name: Unknown

Reader's E-mail - Tim Writes:

When do I need to bring my dog in because of the weather? (Coldest)

All About Labradors Blog Answer:

Hello Tim,

Thanks for writing.

It's funny, I just answered this question for someone else that wrote me last week.

Is your Labrador retriever an outside dog (he stays outside year round)?

Hear is what I had to say about inside Labrador retrievers:

I get these questions from many Labrador retriever owners when the weather gets colder. Depending on who you talk to, you will get many different opinions on this. I'm sure I will get plenty of email from others in response to this answer.

The Labrador retriever has a short, dense, water-repellent double coat that provides great resistance to cold weather, icy water and different kinds of ground cover. Their double coating helps them tolerate cold temperatures keeping them fairly comfortable in the cold weather.

Taking him out for short periods of time in extreme temperatures to walk, play and relieve himself are not a problem. Remember, this is a breed that hunters have outdoors for hours on end and in ice cold waters.

Here are some things to remember:

Your Labrador retriever’s health is very important in colder temperatures. Make sure your "Lab" has had a recent checkup with your veterinarian and has a clean bill of health. The colder weather can aggravate certain health conditions (muscle myopathy, arthritis) in your Labrador .

Make sure your Labrador gets some extra calories and water. Don't worry; the extra calories will be converted into energy which is needed to maintain body heat in the cold.

Watch for frostbite in his ears, feet and tail. An alternate lifting of the feet could be an indication he feels the effects of frostbite. Skin discoloration, pain, swelling and blisters are signs. Just like with us, shivering will indicate he is feeling the effects of the cold weather.

Make sure to check his paws when you come in from a winter walk or play session. Salts and other chemicals on the grounds can irritate his pads causing cracking. Ice balls can form in paw crevices, along with mud and dirt being trapped which could be harmful to him.

I always make it a point to wipe my Labrador Retrievers paws, lower leg, and belly area after being out in the winter weather, just to make sure they didn't picked up any salt or chemicals that can cause problems. I have tried the dog booties with no luck. Neither Labrador liked them and would try to bite at them.

If your Labrador retriever lives outside year round:

All dogs need adequate shelter from the elements. Your Labrador retriever should not be left outside for long periods in freezing weather. Like us humans your Labrador can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. If the thermometer drops too far below freezing, it's too cold for your Labrador , even those accustomed to being outside. During these extreme drops in the temperature, accommodations indoor are best.

If you do keep your Labrador retriever out in the cold, you must supply him with the proper shelter from the weather. An insulated dog house which is large enough for him to stand, turn around, lie down and stretch, but not oversized, for it needs to hold your Labradors body heat to help keep him warm.

It should also include a heavy wind flap on the entrance door, with nonporous bedding inside. Placing the house in a sheltered location, out of the wind and on a platform to keep it off the frozen ground will also help. Be sure to keep plenty off fresh unfrozen water for him too.

I hope this helps you some Tim. If you don't understand anything or you have a question about anything else, feel free to e-mail me at any time.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

National Canine Weight Check

A quick question to all my Labrador Retriever owners. Do you think your Labrador Retriever is overweight? I'm curious to how everyone would answer this question.

I would like to take a little poll on this. If the readers of this blog can do me a favor and answer this question with a YES for their Labrador Retriever being overweight or a No for not being overweight it would be appreciated. You can send your answer in e-mail or just post it as a comment. Please give your honest answer before you read the rest of this post and visit the Stop Canine Obesity website.

"Your dog’s weight is a serious matter. So is ignoring it.

In February 2008, veterinarians across the country are teaming up for the first-ever National Canine Weight Check, a free and simple way to help you determine if your dog is overweight. Just take your dog to a participating veterinary office, and in many cases, you won’t even need an appointment.

At the weight check:

Your dog will receive a free weight assessment, including breed-specific information where applicable.

You’ll receive a weight check card where you can keep a record of your dog’s weight, along with educational materials on canine obesity and its health implications.

You’ll also receive a postcard that you can mail in for a free gift, just for participating in the weight check."

To learn more on the National Canine Weight Check and to find a participating veterinarian in your area, visit the Stop Canine Obseity website. Please be advised this is only for residents of the USA.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Black Labrador Retriever Mix losing hair in various places - part II

Subject: 3 year old black Lab/Fiest mix losing hair in various places - part II.

From: Dawn (USA)

Labrador Retriever Name: Girly

To read pat I of this e-mail visit: Black Labrador Retriever Mix losing hair in various places - part I

Reader's E-mail - Dawn Writes:

Hi Fay,

Thanks for responding so quickly to my email! I will do my best to answer your questions.

1. I noticed her start losing her hair around June 1, 2007.

2. At this time last year, she had a problem with some hair loss around her collar. We removed her collar and her hair grew back.

3. She has 2 areas of hair loss, one on her chest where she doesn't scratch and doesn't lick . The other is on the base of her tail, this one she licks often and have seen her chewing on her tail at times.

4. The area on her chest isn't completely bare, it has areas of new hair growing back so it is like a newborns hair...fine and soft. The area on her tail has broken, chewed hairs. The hair underneath seem to be coming back in grey or white. The hair seems to be courser than her normal hair.

5. The areas seems to be dry but not cracked. I have put baby lotion on the areas and seem to help a little.

6. She has three "owies" on her neck but I think it is from playing with our cat who isn't declawed.

7. She hasn't had a problem with fleas. I check her regularly for fleas and flea droppings.

8. There doesn't seem to be a distinct shape to the hair loss on her chest.

9. No skin color changes to the skin..just looks dry.

10. She does chew on her paws a lot. I check all the time for something in her paws but never can find anything.

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11 We used to feed her Ol Roy Beef and Vegetable formula until last weekend. We have switched to the Ol Roy Lamb and Rice Formula on Sunday 6/24. She does get the Ol Roy Biscuits as treats. Yes, she also gets table scraps of food. We eat a lot of pasta (spaghetti, lasagna, macaroni and cheese) and Girly loves those scraps.

12. We bathe her with Sergeant's Skip-Flea and Tick Shampoo. She gets a bath every 7-10 days.

13 The rest of her coat is dry but not course.

14. I am a stay at home mom, so generally she is here with me most of the time. If we are gone for a long period she doesn't have problems with it. We have 2 cats that are her "buddies" and they keep each other occupied.

15. I haven't noticed her coat smelling.

I hope my answers help.

I am enclosing 2 pictures, one of the hair loss on her neck/chest and a better one of her playing her favorite sport....Frisbee!

Again, Thank you for your help:)

Dawn

All About Labradors Blog Answer:

Hello Dawn,

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

Thanks for the great photo of Girly, she is adorable.

There are many different reasons for hair loss with our Labrador Retrievers, that your best cause of action would be taking Girly to her veterinarian for a thorough check up. What I have listed for you, based on the answers to your questions, are some possible problems with Girly and some things that might help her.

There's a possibility that Girly may have some sort of allergy. One of the most common conditions affecting Labrador Retrievers is an allergy. Labradors can be allergic to all kinds of things, and it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the problem.

A common symptom of allergies is itching of the skin, either in one specific area or all over the body. Some other symptoms can include the respiratory system (coughing, sneezing, and/or wheezing). There can also be runny discharges from eyes and/or the nose. One question I didn't ask you was if Girly has any chronic problems with her ears and nose, please let me know.

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 her 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 herself so severely it could lead to open sores, scabs and loss of large amounts of his hair.

I know you stated she doesn't have fleas, but the area around the tail that you talk about sure sounds like it can be a flea problem. Flea bites are responsible for an allergy which often occurs in Labrador Retrievers. This allergy is known as flea allergy dermatitis. Its occurs when the flea feeds, and its saliva is released into the skin of your Labrador, causing the development of an allergic response to the saliva.

Fleas can be difficult to find, especially in a black Labrador Retrievers. A Labrador Retriever with a flea infestation typically has a brittle, broken hair coat, especially in the area just in front of the base of the tail ( including the tail) where fleas prefer to reside. Another sign is that the hair has a distinctive musty smell.

Here is a website that shows you how you can check for fleas. Does my pet have fleas -

http://www.fleafree.co.uk/diagnosis/en/index.shtml

Your veterinarian is the best source to discuss flea control and elimination with. I can also give you help if you do discover that Girly does indeed have fleas.

Inhalant Allergy - just like you and I, your Labrador Retriever can develop allergies to something it inhales: tree pollens, weeds, grass pollens, with many of these being seasonal. There is a chance of a seasonal allergy occurring in Girly being as this just started occurring. 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. Her dull, dry coat can also be attributed to a food allergy.

Food allergies can be complicated to recognize and to treat. For food allergies, a special diet called a "hypoallergenic diet" is set up with a changing of her food to something she hasn't eaten before. This is fed for a set period of time (usually it takes at least 12 weeks on the new food). Its important that during the diet trial nothing else is eaten. No edible chew toys (such as rawhides or bones), no table scrapes, no teats unless they are based on the same food sources as the test diet. NOTHING.

I know you have changed foods, but I feel the brand you are using, Old Roy products, are of very poor quality and probably just about one of the worst dog foods and treats available. If you would like for me to recommend some high quality foods for you, just let me know.

Blood or skin tests done by your veterinarian can help determine if allergens are causing problems with Girly. Treatments will depend on the type and severity of the allergies. A Labrador Retriever with mild cases can benefit from antihistamines and essential fatty acid supplements. Labradors with more severe allergies need a more aggressive treatment, such as steroids. Your veterinarian can recommend appropriate treatment.

Here are some things that may be of help to Girly:

For her 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.

A Hydrocortisone Shampoo can also be used for the itching (they have Hydrocortisone Shampoo with Aloe Vera Gel in them) or a hypoallergenic shampoo for the dry/sensitive skin.. After shampooing my sure you rinse very, very well.

To relieve the discomfort of sores caused by scratching, apply some Aloe Vera several times a day, make sure its 100% Aloe Vera not the mixture. This will not hurt Girly if she is to lick it off.

You can also soak her 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 to the paw for approximately five minutes will accomplish the same.

Supplementation with essential fatty acids (fats that must be supplied in the diet because the body cannot produce them) can also be of great help. Deficiencies of EFAs are linked to a variety of health problems.

I would also make sure you brush Girly at least once a day since brushing helps distribute natural oils through the coat, keeping it soft and shiny.

I hope this is of some help to you Dawn. If you don't understand anything, please let me know. If you have other questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Also, please keep me updated on Girly's condition, and whatever things you do to help her as this is not only useful to me, but the readers of the All About Labradors blog.

Take care of yourself and Girly,

Fay

To see a photo of the beautiful Girly visit: Girly 02/03/08

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