July 2020 Blogs

5 Impressive Things Dogs Can Sense Before They Happen

Just how intuitive is your dog? Many dog owners will swear up and down that their four-legged friends can understand them – sometimes better than their human friends or partner. Whether or not your dog is a master of vocabulary and reading your body language, it is true that dogs can sense things humans cannot.

Happy Dog

Here are the top five most impressive things dogs can sense before they happen:

1. Illness

Has your pet been sniffing or nudging at a particular place on your body for no apparent reason? Believe it or not, humans actually produce faint odors of illness and dogs can pick up on them. These smells could be indicators of anything from diabetes to certain types of cancers. In fact, dogs have been trained to detect skin, prostate, lung, breast and colorectal cancers at success rates higher than those which can be deemed only coincidental. So if you’ve had concerns of your own, maybe it’s time to check with a (human) doctor.

2. Seizures

For people who suffer from seizures, trained seizure alert dogs can be life savers. Although no one knows how they do it, all dogs can sense an impending seizure. They instinctively know it’s going to happen, but only trained dogs can recognize the signs for what they are and alert their owners, lie on top of them during the episode to prevent injuries and even signal for help from passers by.

3. Labor

In addition to detecting illness, some dogs have reportedly been able to sense when a female owner is about to go into labor. Little is known about this phenomenon, but the prevailing belief is women may emit a special “labor scent” or give off other early physical cues. If your dog is attached to your heels late in your pregnancy, your little one’s birthday may be fast-approaching.

4. Storms

With olfactory senses 100 times more sensitive than humans, dogs can sometimes hear approaching storms when they are far off in the distance. Just as we can hear the roll of thunder headed our way, dogs too can pick up on these sounds of nature. Storms can also create an electromagnetic force that dogs can sense or even smell. So if your pooch has already taken to hiding under the bed long before you hear any thunder, he may be more accurate than your local weather man.

5. Earthquakes

Scientists remain divided on just how some dogs have been able to sense seismic activity before it occurs, but cases have definitely been recorded throughout history. Whether they can feel the ground moving through their paws or hear it, if a dog begins to show signs of distress in an earthquake-prone area, it may be a good time to take shelter somewhere safe. Better safe than sorry, right?

Living with an Aging Pet

People have a wide range of attitudes about getting older, ranging from optimism to pessimism. But when it comes to pets, people tend to have a negative attitude about aging. The tragedy of getting old is that we attribute the problems pets face to old age, and don't bring them to the veterinarian. Most owners think that pets can't be helped if it's just old age, often overlooking symptoms that could be treated or eased.

There are a series of physical changes affecting aging pets' bodies. These may include graying of the muzzle, thinning of the coat, brittle toenails, arthritis and lameness, whitening of eyes (cataracts), difficulty hearing and dental problems.

Pets entering their golden years face two types of changes--those that can be relieved with the help of a veterinarian, and those that cannot. Veterinarians can prescribe medication to ease the pain of arthritis and even perform surgery to replace painful hips. Veterinarians don't have means to treat deafness; however, surgery can cure cataracts. There is also medication that can be prescribed to alter mental status, making older pets less senile.

Dog with Owner

With aging, there are also behavioral and mental changes that take place. Older animals have more difficulty getting around. They lose self-confidence and tend to stay close to their owners and close to home. Fear of strangers and new surroundings may be more pronounced in an older pet as well.

Older dogs and cats usually sleep more, pay less attention and don't tolerate the cold weather as well as they did when they were younger. The aging process begins and ends differently for each animal. It's just like humans. There are people in their 70s who appear young and there are people in their 60s who appear old. On the average though, small dogs and cats begin to exhibit signs of aging at 9 to 10 years old, while large dog breeds begin to age at about 7 years of age.

Owners need to prepare themselves mentally as their pets undergo the aging process. Emphasis should be placed on quality of life. This means that owners should have their older pets examined by a veterinarian. Annual (or even semi-annual) veterinary examinations are recommended. This way, any potentially serious problems can be diagnosed (early and treatment can be provided that may slow the progression of the ailment and, if possible, cure it.

Some pet owners try to avoid the fact that a pet won't be around forever. As a pet ages, it's best to accept the process and try to provide him or her with a good and happy quality of life.

When a pet is very old and has severe medical problems, an owner must confront the decision of putting him or her to sleep. Many owners have a common misconception on this topic. People always hope their pets will die peacefully in their sleep, but this rarely happens. Very often, owners wait too long and the pet incurs too much pain and suffering. When an animal loses bowel control or can't move its legs, owners should interpret these signs and make the appropriate choice.

Making the decision to euthanize a pet that has been a member of the family is never easy. Owners need to know that it is the final step in the human - pet relationship. Putting an animal to sleep is the last act of love from a good owner to their loyal companion.

Pet Obesity Can Cost You A Fortune

Studies reveal that half of the dogs and cats found in American homes are overweight or obese, translating to over 85 million. Pet obesity has become a major health concern across the nation, forcing us to rethink what we throw into Fido’s bowl or pass under the table.

Fat Cat

Yet, what we often don’t think about are the costs associated with this soaring trend. Not only are there diseases and conditions caused by obesity, but also many others that are greatly exacerbated by the extra pounds. And the increase in costs can be alarming. In fact, treating pets with diabetes, heart disease or ligament tears that are caused by weakened joints can cost you thousands in veterinary fees. According to Petplan, pet insurance claims in 2011 for heart disease increased by 32 percent, diabetes by 253 percent and arthritis by a whopping 348 percent.

But just as people need to be safe about their dieting, the same holds true for animals. If you have questions about your pet’s eating habits or changing dietary needs, consult your local veterinarian for help.