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The Schnauzer – Sturdy, Fun and Intellingent!

The Schnauzer is a sturdy, heavy-set dog, built with good muscle and plenty of bone; square-built in proportion of body length to height. His rugged build and dense harsh coat are accentuated by the hallmark of the breed, the arched eyebrows and the bristly mustache and whiskers. Schnauzers are sociable companions and vigilant watchdogs. They’re great family dogs, good with kids and protective of loved ones of all ages.  

Schnauzers are usually salt and pepper or black

Schnauzers may be either pepper and salt or pure black. The pepper and salt coloring is a combination of black and white hairs, and white hairs banded with black. Pepper and salt coloring can range from dark iron gray to silver gray.

Pepper and salt-colored Schnauzers should have a gray undercoat, but a tan or fawn-colored undercoat is also a variant. It's also desirable for the facial mask to be darker and to complement the coat color. Sometimes, the pepper and salt colorations fades out to a light gray or silver white in the eyebrows, whiskers, cheeks, under the throat, across the chest, under the tail, and on the legs and belly.

Schnauzer

Black Schnauzers have a dark, rich color that isn't discolored or mixed with any gray or tan hairs. The undercoat should also be black. As the dog ages or if he's exposed to sunlight a great deal, the black may fade and become a bit discolored. 

Miniature schnauzers are also very popular in the last few decades and look like the Standard, just a literal miniature version. Their wire coat needs combing once or twice weekly, plus scissoring and shaping (clipping for pets and stripping for show dogs) every couple of months.

Schnauzers need their daily exercise

This energetic breed can have its exercise requirements met with a moderate walk on leash or a good game in the yard. Even though it can physically survive living outdoors in warm to temperate climates, it emotionally needs to share its life with its family inside the home. But, make sure they have their yard space or an outdoor daily activity to satisfy their daily needs.

Schnauzers have a strong personality

Schnauzers do have strong personalities and can be stubborn. They have an uncanny way of determining your weaknesses and will take advantage of you whenever possible. If you're not careful, they'll rule the household; this is a breed that requires consistent and firm guidance from owners.

Schanuzers are affectionate and protective of family members. He's territorial and will alert you to the presence of strangers with a deep bark. Once you welcome someone into your home, however, he'll accept them as well. He loves to be the center of attention.

As with every dog, Schnauzers need early socialization and exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences, especially when they're young. Socialization helps ensure that your Schnauzer puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.  Schnauzers aren't especially fond of unknown dogs and may be aggressive toward them, but they can get along well with dogs and cats they're raised with. Keep smaller pets like mice, rats, hamsters and similar pets safely away from your Schnauzer as  his instinct to be a rat-catcher is still strong!

Schnauzers get along well with children of all ages

Schnauzers generally get along well with children of all ages, playing gently and kindly with younger ones.  As always, teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's sleeping or eating or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog, no matter how good-natured, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.

Schnauzers aren't especially fond of unknown dogs and may be aggressive toward them, but they can get along well with dogs and cats they're raised with at home. Keep pet mice, rats, hamsters and similar pets safely away from him. His instinct to be a rat-catcher is still strong!

Schnauzers are healthy dogs

In general, Schnauzers should be sturdy and free of health problems. The incidence of hip dysplasia, which was once a major concern, has been brought under control by responsible owners through testing and selective breeding.  The miniature schnauzer can be susceptible to cataracts and inherited eye diseases, as well as to urinary tract infections and pancreatitis. If you are considering making a miniature schnauzer part of your life, you should research the health concerns associated with this breed and discuss potential problems with the breeder.

As always, evern if your really want a Shnauzer, try your best to adopt one to bring into your home. You and your Schnauzer will be happy that youd did!

 

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How to Detect an Eye Infection in Your Cat

Cats don’t have as many eye problems as dogs because many of our kitties live their lives indoors, dramatically reducing the risk of an eye injury or infection.  Outdoor cats, however, have about the same level of risk as their dogs who are always outside.  But if your kitty’s immune system is weakened for any reason, or if your cat endures a stressful situation, a viral outbreak can result even in your cat’s eyes.  And, as our cats don’t ‘tell us’ anything, it’s our job as pet parents to look for the signs of an eye infection in our cats.

The most common eye infection in cats is conjunctivitis

There are many different types of eye infections, but the most common one is conjunctivitis. As always, the first thing to do if your cat has an eye infection is to take her or him to your veterinarian to find out what kind of infection it is.  If your cat is blinking a lot or you see any type of discharge or white mucus around the eye area, there is something wrong.    

Infection in Your Cat

Cats can also develop primary bacterial eye infections caused, for example, by chlamydia, as well as fungal infections such as Cryptococcus fungus. There are a variety of infections that a cat can get in its eyes.  For the most part, vets generally recommend eye drops for your cat and they will typically cure the infection.  However, when an eye infection that isn’t resolving on its own, it’s important to identify the cause of so you know how best to treat it.  Infections caused by a virus, a bacteria or a fungus are all handled differently, usually with antibiotics.

There are also some treatments that you can try at home to help your cat through the infection.  Again, your veterinarian is the best judge of how to treat the infection.  You should consider your cat’s eye infection urgent if there are obvious changes to the eye that grow progressively worse to the point where you’re concerned or if there is an abrupt change in your cat’s behavior.

Symptoms and Prevention of eye infections in cats

Symptoms of an eye infection in your kitty can be a tricky to detect, because cats are very good at hiding their discomfort, no matter the cause.  You may notice your cat is slowly blinking her eyes or holding them closed to try to self-lubricate the corneas. You might notice some redness, which can be a sign of a condition known as conjunctivitis.

Sometimes an eye infection will cause a smelly discharge; crusting around the eyes is also common. You might also notice your cat pawing at her eyes.

The best way to keep your kitty safe from viral, bacterial and fungal infections is to keep her indoors. There is some exposure indoors, but it’s minimal. You can reduce your pet’s risk of acquiring an eye infection by at least 75 percent by simply keeping her inside.

With an eye infection that isn’t resolving on its own, it’s important to identify the cause of so you know how best to treat it. Infections caused by a virus, a bacteria or a fungus are all handled differently.

A healthy diet can also help prevent your cat from getting an eye infection

If you feed your cat a well-balanced, high quality diet, it will help his or her immune system. Diets rich in vitamins A and C are excellent for eye health in cats. Providing vitamin A or C supplements (ask your vet for recommendations) or feeding a diet with plenty of vegetables such as spinach, kale and carrots guarantees your cat's daily recommended intake is met. 

Below are some other eye issues in cats that might look like an infection:

Glaucoma

Corneal ulcers; corneal wounds caused by a puncture or foreign body in the eye

Dry eye, which is also characterized by a thick mucous coating over the eye

Cherry eye (prolapse of the third eyelid gland)

Entropion (the turning in of the lid margins)

Uveitis, an autoimmune disease

Natural remedies that can help your cats’ infection

As mentioned above, there are some natural remedies that are available in some pet stores or natural foods stores. These medications can help your cat kick an eye infection naturally. Check with your veterinarian for recommendations and let your vet monitor your cat's progress when taking the medication determine the cause of the problem and the right course of treatment.

If you keep your cat indoors, provide your kitty with a healthy diet and watch for anything different in your cat’s eyes or behavior, you can keep minimize the risk and length of eye infections in your cat.  As always, anything unusual should be reported to your veterinarian.

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How to Stop Your Dog from Barking or Lunging at Other Dogs

Some of our dogs will bark at other dogs for fun or just as friendly ‘hello’ and have no problem playing with nicely other dogs.  And then some other dogs need to learn how to get along with other dogs and not bark or lunge at them.  If your dog does bark or lunge at other dogs, it is usually rooted from fear or lack of socialization.  However, with time and practice, you can help curb this behavior.

First, work at home or just outside your home to change how your dog reacts to other dogs

As mentioned above, your dog will typically bark or lunge at other dogs because he or she is scared.  In order to change your dog’s response to other dogs, start working with your dog, standing still, at the distance where he can see another dog without reacting.  Give your dog extra-special treats the moment he sees the other dog and stop the treats when either the other dog leaves or you and your dog walk away.  This exercise will help change your dog’s association with other dogs from one of fear to one of rewards.

Barking or Lunging

Practice with me at home first!

If your dog starts to bark and lunge, you are too close and need to move back.  When your dog is reacting, he isn’t thinking.  When your dog becomes comfortable at a given distance, you can try getting five feet closer.  If you move too close too fast, you may see backsliding.  Since you will be using a lot of treats during this process, break the treats into tiny pea-size pieces. Feed your dog one tiny piece after another, and remember to reduce what you give him for meals.  We don’t want overweight dogs! 

Repeat above and when you feel comfortable, take your dog out on a real walk.

Practice taking your dog on walks

Use each walk as not only exercise for your dog, but as a training session.  Try to use some to the below, not just when you see other dogs, but all the time to reinforce the behavior. The more unpredictable you are, the more your dog will focus on you, instead of looking ahead for what’s out there.  And, always bring treats along to help reinforce the behavior you have been practicing.

Avoidance is the easiest way to avoid barks and lunges

The easiest thing to do is, of course, is to avoid other dogs and try to take your dog at different times.  While this isn’t addressing the issue, it can be used if your dog isn’t responding the way you would like on a particular day and you want to get a quick walk done. But, still practice, saying his name and giving your dog treats.

You need to train your dog that good things can happen on walks

You need a new certain phrase or signal when walking your dog that something good is about to happen.  We owners can get anxious when we walk our dogs and alert them that something bad is going to happen when we see another dog on our walks.  We panic, raise our voice, tighten or yank back on the leash. Try to change that into a positive by practicing a good phrase as you retrain yourself as well as your dog.  At home, practice your phrase. Every time you say it, give your dog treats and attention (even a toy).  Your dog will looks at you when you say this phrase and away from any diversion that might occur.

Be ready to turn and walk in a different direction

There are times when you need just need to get out of the way.   When you are walking and suddenly encounter something that is way too stimulating for your dog (a very big dog our maybe a group of joggers), you need to turn the opposite direction quickly.  Walk your hands up your leash (without pulling) toward your dog. When you get to your dog’s shoulder, turn into your dog with your legs and hip to help turn him around.  If your dog is on your right, you turn into him on your right.  If your dog is on your left, you turn into him on your left.  Talk the entire time you are turning him around and treats are handy at this point.

Try to avoid walking directly toward another dog when out on walks

A dog that walks directly toward another dog is considered rude, or even a threat, in the dog world.  However, we put our dogs in this position all the time by walking on sidewalks.  Our dog then feels the need to defend himself and humans label our dog as aggressive.  Try to practice walking on an arc away from the other dog as though you are walking along a curve.  There is also no rule that says you have to walk on sidewalks, streets, or paths and if you can walk in an on open area, that works great too.

Shake it up on your walks to keep your dog entertained

When you’re out on walks, try to shake it up a bit by changing your pace and direction.  Go slowly, speed up, cross the street and then start again.  If your dog doesn’t know what you about to do next, his or he focus will be on you and not what is coming down the road.  And try a different route which will feel new to your dog, but keep up with the training.

As always, practice makes perfect (or almost) as does repetition of the lessons learned.  If you have treats handy, shake up the walks and know what to do when there is a real oncoming threat, you and your dog will learn how to teach your dog to avoid barking or lunging at other dogs.

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Why Is Your Dog Shaking?

We know how our dogs love to shake to have a release of energy or just to get attention.  Shaking is a way for dogs to let out some adrenaline, dry themselves off, and get moving after they have awakened from a nap. Not all shakes are happy and there are many reason which might cause a dog to shiver or tremble.  Therefore, it is important for you to understand and recognize the difference.

Below are some reasons why your dog might be shaking and what to do about it.

Your dog is shaking after exercise or getting wet… the good shakes!

If you have a dog, you’re familiar with the wet dog shake. That wild body twitching, jowl flapping, post-bath dance is actually a healthy reflex for furry animals, allowing them to quickly dry themselves and prevent hypothermia. Another healthy behavior is the excited shake. When dogs are playing with you or other dogs they might occasionally shudder while jumping, licking, or nuzzling. It’s how they show emotion and let out their pent up energy.

Dog Shaking

This is the ‘happy’ shake!

Your dog might shake from stress or fear

Your dog might shake out of fear or some other anxiety.  New people or scary animals, thunderstorms, a visit to the vet, fireworks you are some of the common triggers that can spark anxiety. Unlike the happy shakes, this automatic response to stress may be accompanied by panting, chewing on furniture, and other anxious behavior. Your dog may hide, growl, or display signs of aggression as well. Some breeds are more prone to anxiety, but disposition and circumstances also play a large part in a dog’s reaction to stress. If chronic anxiety is a problem and a medical condition has been ruled out, you might want to see an animal behaviorist.

White Dog Shaker Syndrome is a treatable illness that could cause your dog to shake

White Dog Shaker Syndrome is a serious illness that could cause your dog to shake or tremble. These movements are very different from the happy shakes and can usually be ruled out as anxiety-related since they’re not a reaction to specific stressors. White dog shaker syndrome (also known as Generalized Tremor Syndrome and responsive tremor syndrome) is one of these disorders, causing full body tremors in young dogs. While first discovered in small breeds, it can occur in any dog, regardless of size or breed. Treated with steroids, such as prednisone, your dog should start to improve within a couple weeks.

Muscle Fatigue and/or exhaustion

In the same way your legs might be shaky after a long run, a dog’s legs might shake after exertion. This type of trembling is often confined to the legs and resolves after a period of rest.  If this happens often, the trembling is severe or it happens with no apparent cause and happens too often after a walk or a form of exercise, it could be something other than muscle exhaustion and you should take your dog to the vet.

Your dog might shake because he has eaten or swallowed something toxic. 

A number of toxins cause shaking in dogs. Some of these include the following:

Snail bait and other insecticides, chocolate, certain medications, bacteria in spoiled food, poisonous plants, salt, detergent or anything under your sink, salt, xylitol.

If your dog is shaking and you have reason to suspect that the animal could possibly have been exposed to any type of toxin, take the pet to the nearest emergency clinic immediately. If your pet has been poisoned, early treatment might save the dog’s life.

Canine Distemper can cause your dog to shake

This virus, marked by fever, coughing, and nasal discharge, can also cause seizures and tremors. Puppies that haven’t been fully vaccinated are at greatest risk. You should see your vet immediately if you notice symptoms or suspect your dog has been exposed to distemper. There’s no cure, but your vet can manage symptoms and help prevent secondary infections with intravenous fluids and antibiotics until your dog’s immune system fights off the virus.

Chronic kidney disease or Addison’s disease

Pets with chronic kidney disease or renal failure can be symptom-free for a very long time; then suddenly you might notice that your dog seems to drink and urinate more frequently. Other signs, including shaking, might follow as the damage progresses rapidly. While you can’t cure it, you can manage renal disease with therapy and treatments allowing you to offer your dog the best quality of life possible.

Dogs with Addison’s disease lack sufficient cortisol. Signs of Addison’s include loss of energy and strength, gastrointestinal problems, and little or no appetite. Trembling is another symptom. Addison’s is often misdiagnosed, which can lead to more severe problems. If your dog seems chronically ill and undernourished, talk to your doctor about all the possible causes to ensure that, if it is Addison’s, treatment can be given as soon as possible.

Senior dogs can shake just from old age

Unfortunately, aging dogs are at increased risk for disorders that cause trembling and cognitive deterioration. You can’t reverse the decline, but you can work with your vet to find therapies and treatments\that will help reduce discomfort and support your pet during the senior years.

 

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How to Help Our Senior Cats Age Gracefully

As our cats enter their senior years, we pet owners need to help them with the transition by recognizing their special needs and changes.  It is important for our cats to have the correct food, plenty of water, a litterbox they can easily access and a nice bed to relax.  Jumping up and running around is no longer an option (for some senior cats) so we need to make sure they have easy access to whatever they need to function on a day-to-day basis.

Cats have a very long life span

For the most part, cats that are older than eleven are considered senior and this is the time when you can expect to see some changing.  Each cat is different, but you will notice that your cat isn’t as spry as he used to be and might have some age-related medical issues that could affect them.  Indoor cats, for the most part, tend to live longer than outdoor cats.  However, if you make sure to feed your cats a healthy diet and keep up with their vet visits, a cat can live up to his or her twenties!

 

Senior Cats Age Gracefully

Take good care of me!

 

As our cats age, there are some physical issues that you can expect

Arthritis is a common physical problem in older cats as you will see that your kitties’ won’t jump on the high places they used to. But the change is subtle and can take place over time.  Some cats may also have problems jumping into and out of the litter box. When cats get older, you don’t want a tall litter box that’s hard for them to get in and out of but purchase one with lower sides and easy access.

Our older cats tend to have more kidney- related issues

Some of the common medical issues in older cats are overactive thyroid, intestinal problems, sometimes cancer, pancreatitis, diabetes, and renal disease.  Most are a result of changes in the kidney itself or result from the dysfunction of other organs such as the heart, which if not functioning properly, will decrease blood flow to the kidneys. Kidney function can be measured through blood tests and a urinalysis. These tests can identify a kidney problem well before there are any physical signs of disease. The most frequent sign of kidney disease is usually an increase in water consumption and urination.

As cats age, they sometimes cry in the middle of the night or at unusual times

As cats age, you will sometimes here them cry in the middle of the night but it’s usually not due to pain, just a yelp.  It’s their way of releasing.  Sometimes your kitty will act confused or won't relate to family members in the usual way. These also can be signs of aging. But they can also be signs of arthritis or dental disease or kidney disease, so you don’t want to write them off as just old age and have your cat checked out.

As our cats enter their senior years, try to take them to the vet twice a year

As our cats are known for hiding their feelings, you should be on top of anything new that might occur by seeing your vet twice a year. If you catch any change early on, it’s usually less expensive to deal with and the treatment is much more successful. Your vet will conduct routine tests, such as blood tests or urinalysis and they can pick up the very earliest signs of kidney problems, diabetes, hyperthyroid in its early stages, or an elevated white blood cell count and let you know the required treatment sooner rather than later.

Wet food is more preferable than dry in a kitty’s older age and water is key

Make sure that your aging cat (or cats of any age) gets plenty of water. If they won’t drink water regularly or if you’ve been on dry food, you may have to go to canned or semi-moist food. If your cat has trouble chewing as they can in older age, wet food can also be digested much more readily.

Make sure to stay on top of your cat’s dental appointments

Dental disease is one of the most common changes we see in older cats. Routine dental care including brushing your cat’s teeth can help minimize dental disease. Cats who have not received proper dental care can develop significant dental disease as they age and may develop life-threatening complications. A dental care program should consist of regular dental checkups and professional cleaning as needed.  It is not fun for our kitties but often necessary.

Many of our older cats lose their hearing

Some cats will experience hearing loss as they age. Slight hearing loss is hard to determine in cats. Often hearing loss is severe before an owner becomes aware of the problem. The first sign could be that your cat has seemingly become more aggressive when it really is that your kitty was caught off guard, became startled when touched (due to loss of hearing your approach), and instinctively reacted.  Therefore, be kind to them and approach them gently.

If you watch out for the signs of aging and schedule bi-annual vet visits, your cat can live a long, healthy life.

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