Archive : January

Periodontal (Gum) Disease in Dogs

Periodontal disease, commonly referred to as gum disease, is the most common disease in dogs. According to recent studies, almost 90% of dogs will have developed some form of periodontal disease by 2 years of age1.

This guide will explain the different stages of periodontal disease in dogs and how to recognize, treat, and prevent it.

Jump to a section:

What is periodontal disease in dogs?

Are some dogs predisposed to periodontal disease?

What are the signs and stages of periodontal disease in dogs?

Is periodontal disease reversible in dogs?

What causes periodontal disease in dogs?

What is the treatment for gum disease in dogs?

How much does periodontal disease treatment cost?

What can happen if you don’t treat gum disease in dogs?

How can you prevent periodontal disease in dogs?

Are anesthesia-free dental cleanings recommended?

What Is Periodontal Disease in Dogs?

Periodontal disease in dogs is a progressive disease caused by bacteria in the mouth that damages the gums, bone, and other supporting structures of the teeth.

Since this disease lurks below the gums, in many cases, visible signs of gum disease in dogs are not present until the disease is very advanced. Due to this, it’s very important to begin preventative dental care for your dog at an early age.

Are Some Dogs Predisposed to Periodontal Disease?

Poor dental hygiene, genetics, having a maligned bite (malocclusion), and the shape of a dog’s mouth can make dogs more susceptible to periodontal disease.

Small and toy dog breeds as well as brachycephalic breeds (dogs with shortened snouts) are among those more prone to the disease.

What Are the Signs and Stages of Periodontal Disease in Dogs? 

Signs of gum disease in dogs can vary greatly. Some dogs with beautiful pearly whites may have significant disease that’s only found once they are anesthetized and have had full mouth x-rays and an examination of the gums. This is why you should not wait until an issue is apparent to have your dog’s teeth examined and cleaned—it should be a part of your dog’s annual checkup.

The signs of gum disease will also be dependent on what stage of periodontal disease your dog’s teeth are at. There are four stages of periodontal disease in dogs, with one being mild disease and four being severe disease.

It is important to note that not all teeth may be in the same stage of periodontal disease at any given time.

The only way to accurately diagnose this disease is by periodontal probing (checking for abnormal space between the teeth and the gums) and taking x-rays (radiographs) of the teeth, which must be performed under general anesthesia.

Stage 1 of Dog Periodontal Disease

Stage 1 is gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, with no loss of bone or tooth attachment. Oftentimes, subtle signs of disease will be present, but you might not notice any obvious symptoms.


The symptoms of Stage 1 include:

Red or puffy gums

Gums that bleed during brushing or chewing

Bad breath


The prognosis for a dog with Stage 1 periodontal disease is good as long as they receive the appropriate dental care.

Stage 2 of Periodontal Disease in Dogs

In Stage 2 periodontal disease, 25% or less of the tooth’s attachment to the supporting structures is lost. During a dental cleaning, mild bone loss may be found on x-rays along with mildly abnormal periodontal pocket depths.


The symptoms of Stage 2 include:

Red or puffy gums

Gums that bleed during brushing or chewing

Bad breath

Receded gums may or may not be present


The prognosis for a dog with Stage 2 periodontal disease is fair as long as the dog receives the proper dental treatment.

Stage 3 of Periodontal Disease in Dogs

In Stage 3 of periodontal disease, 25-50% of the tooth’s support is lost. On x-rays, moderate to severe bone loss would be present, and when probing the gums, abnormal periodontal pockets would be present.


The symptoms of Stage 3 include:

Red or puffy gums

Gums that bleed during brushing or chewing

Bad breath

Moderate gum recession

Loose teeth


The prognosis for a dog with Stage 3 periodontal disease is fair when advanced dental procedures are performed, and you are very diligent about daily home dental care.

Otherwise, the teeth should be extracted (pulled) at this stage.

Stage 4 of Periodontal Disease in Dogs

In Stage 4 of periodontal disease, greater than 50% of the tooth’s attachments are lost, as seen on x-rays and periodontal probing.


The symptoms of Stage 4 include:

Tooth root exposure

Loose teeth

Missing teeth

Pus may ooze from around teeth


The prognosis for a dog with Stage 4 periodontal disease is poor. Any tooth with stage 4 disease must be extracted.

Behavioral Changes

You may also notice some behavioral changes as the disease progresses. Your dog may:

No longer tolerate having their teeth brushed due to painful gums

Start chewing differently or smacking their gums

Flinch or pull away when you try to lift their lips to look at their teeth

Act more withdrawn or aggressive

Be reluctant to play with chew toys

Is Periodontal Disease Reversible in Dogs?

Gingivitis, Stage 1, is the only stage of periodontal disease that is reversible. This is because gingivitis only consists of inflammation, and at this stage, no destruction of the supporting structures of the teeth has occurred.

With proper treatment, dogs with Stage 2 or 3 periodontal disease may not continue to progress into Stage 4.

What Causes Periodontal Disease in Dogs?

Plaque, that fuzzy white substance that coats our teeth when they aren’t brushed, contains tons of harmful bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Plaque forms in a clean mouth after 24 hours.

If your dog’s teeth are not brushed daily, plaque will accumulate. After 72 hours, that plaque will become mineralized and turn into dental calculus—often referred to as tartar. Tartar is easier for plaque to stick to than the natural smooth surface of the tooth, so it allows for more plaque to accumulate.  

Plaque on the teeth will cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis, Stage 1 periodontal disease) and then eventually, it will make its way down to deeper structures around the tooth.

The body’s own inflammatory response to the plaque will then lead to destruction of the soft tissues and bone that support the teeth (periodontitis, Stages 2 through 4).

What Is the Treatment for Gum Disease in Dogs?

The treatment for gum disease in dogs will depend on the stage of periodontal disease your dog has. Here are a few steps your veterinarian will take.

Professional Dental Cleaning 

The first step to treating gum disease is a complete professional dental cleaning, which includes:

Scaling the teeth above and below the gumline to remove plaque and tartar

Polishing the teeth

Taking full mouth x-rays

Probing around each tooth to check for abnormal pocketing

This procedure must be done under general anesthesia and will allow the veterinarian to determine which stage of disease each tooth is in.

Treatment of Stage 1 Periodontal Disease in Dogs

If all teeth are in Stage 1, no further treatment will be necessary, but you need to brush your dog’s teeth daily.

Treatment for Stage 2 of Periodontal Disease in Dogs

When Stage 2 of periodontal disease is present, your dog will require a professional teeth cleaning.

However, during the cleaning, your veterinarian will do a deep cleaning of any abnormal periodontal pockets and apply an antibiotic gel into those areas to help to close those pockets and prevent further destruction of the tooth attachments.

Treatment for Stage 3 of Periodontal Disease in Dogs 

When teeth are found in Stage 3, your veterinarian will perform advanced restorative procedures. They will also work with you to create a very diligent home dental care plan in order to save those teeth.

Otherwise, the recommended treatment would be to extract the teeth.

Treatment for Stage 4 of Periodontal Disease in Dogs

As stated previously, the only treatment for teeth in Stage 4 is extraction.

The teeth are too diseased to save and are a source of significant pain and infection. This is why it is imperative that you address your dog’s gum disease immediately with your veterinarian instead of trying home remedies or dental products at this stage.

How Much Does Periodontal Disease in Dogs Cost?

The cost of dental cleanings and treatments varies greatly depending on the geographical area and whether or not the veterinarian performing the care is a specialist.

The earlier on gum disease is treated, the less expensive the treatment will be. Treating dogs in Stages 3 and 4 will often cost thousands of dollars.

What Can Happen if You Don’t Treat Gum Disease in Dogs?

When gum disease goes untreated, not only is it painful to your dog, but it can wreak havoc on their entire body.

Jaw Fractures

Since advanced periodontal disease will lead to destruction of the bone that supports the teeth, it can lead to jaw fractures.

The risk of this is highest in toy breed dogs, as the roots of their teeth are very close to the edges of their jawbones. Toy breeds are also more prone to developing periodontal disease, creating a recipe for disaster.

Tooth Abscesses

Gum disease can also result in tooth root abscesses, which can rupture out of the skin and create nasty open wounds on the cheeks or the chin.

Oronasal Fistulas

Oronasal fistulas, holes that pass between the mouth and the nasal passages, may develop as a result of untreated periodontal disease.

Dachshunds are especially prone to this. Symptoms include chronic sneezing and nasal discharge.

Eye Issues

In addition, since the teeth in the back of the mouth sit right underneath the eyes, tooth root infections can lead to eye issues. In cases where this isn’t addressed rapidly, it can cause the dog to lose their eyesight.

Oral Cancers 

While there are not yet any studies of this kind in dogs, numerous human studies show an increased risk of oral cancers in people with chronic periodontal disease1.

Increased Risk of Organ Damage 

Gum disease in dogs can also have harmful effects on distant organs in the body. This disease will cause bacterial toxins and harmful inflammatory compounds in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and spread to the rest of the body.

Periodontal disease is known to increase the risk of chronic kidney disease, liver disease, and heart disease in dogs.1

It can also make it harder to regulate blood sugar in dogs with diabetes.1

How Can You Prevent Periodontal Disease in Dogs?

There are quite a few ways that you can help improve your dog’s dental health.

Daily Toothbrushing 

The best thing you can do at home to prevent periodontal disease in your dog is by brushing their teeth daily. Brushing will only be effective if it is performed consistently, at minimum, three times weekly. However, this may not be feasible for all pet parents and pets.

Brushing should be started at around 6 months of age in puppies—as soon as they have their adult teeth. Brushing a puppy’s teeth when they are teething should be avoided, as this can be painful and may make them fearful of having their teeth brushed.

Tooth Care Products 

Other options to help decrease plaque and gingivitis in dogs include:

Dental wipes

Oral rinses

Dental chews

Prescription dental diets

Ask your veterinarian which products she recommends, or visit the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s list of approved products. Remember that it is the bacteria in plaque and not tartar that causes periodontal disease.

Preventative Veterinary Dental Cleanings

Besides receiving some form of daily dental care at home, dogs should start receiving preventative professional dental cleanings under anesthesia at a young age, before any outward signs of gum disease are present.

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends that small and toy breed dogs begin receiving regular dental cleanings starting at 1 year of age, and large breed dogs at 2 years of age.

If your dog is younger than this, but already has signs of periodontal disease present, a dental cleaning should be performed immediately.

The frequency of the cleanings depends on your dog’s breed, the level of periodontal disease, and how diligent you are with home dental care.

Are Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings Recommended?

Anesthesia-free dental cleanings are not recommended, as they do not allow the teeth to be cleaned below the gums and do not allow for a comprehensive assessment of oral health.

For more information, read the American Veterinary Dental College statement about their stance on anesthesia-free dental cleanings.



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Elizabeth McCalley, DVM


Dr. Liz McCalley is a veterinarian focusing on concierge general practice and rehabilitation. She is the owner and founder of ZumiVet, a…

Bacterial Infection (Tularemia) in Dogs

Francisella tularensis in Dogs

Tularemia is a zoonotic bacterial disease that is occasionally seen in dogs. It is associated with multiple animal species, including humans, and can be acquired from through contact with infected animals. Also commonly know as rabbit fever for its mode of transmission, even while it can infect several types of animals and be transmitted via any infected animal, as such, the bacteria can also be acquired by ingestion of contaminated water, or through contact with infected soil, where the organism can remain in an infectious state for up to several months.

Infection is often caused by ingestion of an infected mammals’ tissue, such as when a dog hunts a small animal, bird or reptile, through water, or by tick, mite, flea or mosquito bite — all of which can carry and transmit the bacteria. The bacterium may also infect a dog through its skin, or by entering its airways, eyes or gastrointestinal system.

Tularemia is found throughout much of the world, including continental Europe, Japan and China, and in the Soviet Union. In the United States, it is most common in Arkansas and Missouri, though it can be found in most parts of the U.S. It also tends to have higher seasonal incidence, with May through August being a time of increased risk. An increase is also seen during the winter rabbit hunting season, in areas where this is a common practice.

One of the most common vectors of communication of the F. tularensis bacterium is the tick, which includes the American dog tick, the Lone Star tick, and the Rocky Mountain wood tick, along with other types of ticks.

Symptoms and Types

Sudden onset of feverLethargyDehydrationLack of appetite (anorexia)Enlargement of the lymph nodesTender abdomenEnlargement of spleen or liverWhite patches or ulcers on the tongueJaundice – may be indicated by yellow eyes


Bacterial infection (Francisella)Contact with an infected source


You will need to give your veterinarian a thorough history of your dog’s health and recent activities, including a recent history of boardings, outings, trips, tick bites, and experiences with other animals or with pests.

Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam on your dog. Standard laboratory work will include a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis. If F. tularensis is present, the results of the complete blood count may show a responsive increase in white blood cells (WBCs), but this is not always the case. Tests may also show lower than normal levels of platelets (thrombocytopenia), the cells that help in blood clotting.

The biochemistry profile may reveal abnormally high levels of bilirubin (hyperbilirubinemia) and lower than normal levels of sodium and glucose in the blood. If the blood tests reveal high levels of bilirubin, the orange-yellow pigment found in the bile, this can indicate that liver damage is occurring. This condition is commonly characterized by symptoms of jaundice. The urinalysis may also reveal high levels of bilirubin and blood in the urine.

Your veterinarian may need the assistance of a specialized laboratory service for confirmatory diagnosis. In some cases the diagnosis is not so obvious and samples will need to be taken to be sent for culture testing – controlled growth in a lab environment in order to define the causative organism.

Molecular methods such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a method which distinguishes the presence of disease based on its genetic code, are available in reference laboratories. The microbiologist must be informed when tularemia is suspected because F. tularensis requires special media for cultivation, such as buffered charcoal and yeast extract (BCYE). It cannot be isolated in the routine culture media because of the need for sulfhydryl group donors (such as cystein). Serological tests (detection of antibodies in the serum of the patients) are available and widely used. Cross reactivity with brucella can confuse interpretation of the results, and for this reason diagnosis should not rely only on serology.


Early treatment is the mainstay of successful resolution and cure of the symptoms. A high rate of deaths is common in patients that are not treated early. Your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics to control the infection and its related symptoms. Your dog may need antibiotic therapy for several days for a complete resolution of the symptoms.

Living and Management

The overall prognosis is poor, especially in animals that are not treated early on in the course of the disease.

As previously mentioned, F. tularensis is a zoonotic infection, meaning that it can be passed form one species to another. If your dog is infected with this bacteria you will need to take special precautions to protect yourself from infection. The bacteria most often penetrates the body through damaged skin and mucous membranes, or through inhalation. Humans are most likely to acquire the infection by tick bite, and in some cases, simply through handling an infected animal. Tularemia can also be acquired by inhalation. In some cases, it is known to have occurred during the grooming process with dogs, and hunters are at a higher risk for this disease because of the potential of inhaling the bacteria during the skinning process. Ingesting the infected water, soil, or food that has become contaminated can also cause infection. In some other cases, it has been contracted from inhaling particles from an infected rabbit or other small rodent that was ground up in a lawnmower.

F. tularensis is an intracellular bacterium, meaning that it is able to live parasitically within the host cells. It primarily infects macrophages, a type of white blood cell, thus evading the immune system’s response to destroy it. The course of the disease is dependent on the organism’s ability to spread to multiple organ systems, including the lungs, liver, spleen, and lymphatic system.

Degeneration of the Cerebellum of the Brain in Dogs

Cerebellar Degeneration in Dogs

Cerebellar degeneration in dogs is a brain disease. As its name suggests, it affects a specific area of the brain known as the cerebellum. In cerebellar degeneration, the cells within the cerebellum die, causing neurological symptoms in the dog.

Symptoms and Types

Symptoms of cerebellar degeneration in dogs include:

An abnormal gait which often appears as a goose-step involving the front legsA broad-based stanceSwayingMuscle tremors, especially when trying to eat or perform another activityNormal vision with no menace reflexHead tiltLoss of coordination (vestibular ataxia)Normal mental activityAbnormal posturing with head back, front legs rigid and hind legs flexed (decerebellate posture)Progression of symptoms may or may not occur


Infection with canine herpesvirus either in utero or as a neonate may cause cerebellar degeneration in dogs. A genetic predisposition for the condition is possible in some dog breeds, including Irish setters, wire-haired fox terriers, Samoyeds, chow chows, rough-coated collies, border collies, bullmastiffs, Labrador retrievers, beagles, Kerry blue terriers, Finnish harriers, Bern running dogs, English pointers, Gordon setters, Brittany spaniels, American Staffordshire terriers and English bulldogs.


MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may reveal a smaller than normal cerebellum. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis may be normal or abnormal depending on the individual cause. Biopsy of the cerebellum is the definitive means of diagnosis.

Routine blood and urine testing may be necessary to rule out other disease conditions which may appear similar.


There is no curative treatment, though medications such as amantidine, buspirone, co-enzyme Q10, and acetyl-l-carnitine have shown some promise.

Living and Management

This type of brain disease in dogs can lead to poor coordination and decision making by the dog. Restrict the dog’s activity to safe areas of the household where it cannot be injured. Avoid stairs, sharp objects, swimming pools, and other dangers that could harm the dog.

Because of the loss of coordination, dogs with cerebellar degeneration may require physical aid in eating, though they can continue to eat a normal diet. Nursing care to keep the pet free of urine and feces may also be necessary.

Basset Hound

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The Basset Hound is a scent dog originally bred in France. Basset Hounds are descendants of the St. Hubert Hound, a Bloodhound-like dog developed in the 10th century in a Benedictine monastery.

The first picture of a Basset Hound dates to 1585. Bassets were bred to hunt rabbits and hares. The word “basset” is French for “rather low.” It is a perfect description of this breed’s stature, as they have short legs, a long body, large pendulous ears, and droopy skin around the neck, face, and muzzle.

Caring for the Basset Hound

Basset Hounds are generally good-natured and friendly but also independent and stubborn. They are very vocal and have a loud bark, especially when excited or frustrated. They have a short, smooth coat that requires little grooming, but they do shed a moderate amount.

They have a droopy face, ears, and lips, and they drool. They are prone to skin rashes and ear infections. They require frequent bathing and ear cleaning. They are low-energy dogs, but despite their short legs and stumbling gait, they like to play. Their short legs are prone to arthritis.

Basset Hounds have a strong sense of smell and can track food, people, and objects instinctively, to the point that they may wander if they are on a scent.

Basset Hound Health Issues

Basset Hounds are prone to skin, ear, and joint problems. However, with proper management, the Basset Hound can be kept quite healthy.

Skin and Ear Problems

The Basset Hound is predisposed to skin and ear problems. Bassets often have a primary allergy to food proteins, dust mites, mold, or pollen. Their droopy ears and heavy skin folds on the face and body hold debris and moisture. Allergens may trigger skin or ear inflammation, resulting in more debris and moisture than in other breeds.

Basset Hounds also frequently have a skin yeast, called Malassezia, and can develop infections where yeast infects the inflamed skin.

Skin and ear infections are painful to any dog. Any scratching, skin rashes, head shaking, debris in the ears, or strong odors may indicate an infection and should be examined by a veterinarian.

Frequent and consistent bathing with medicated antifungal shampoos and ear cleaners helps prevent and manage infections. Your veterinarian may also recommend medications such as Apoquel or Cytopoint to help manage allergies and prevent inflammation and infection.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Basset Hounds are classified as dwarfs because of their short and abnormally shaped legs, which make them prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is an abnormal development of the hip joint, resulting in a ball and socket joint that does not fit tightly together and is unstable.

Elbow dysplasia is an abnormal closure of the elbow joint growth plates, resulting in elbows that are abnormally shaped, have bone spurs in them, and are painful for walking.

Carpal Valgus

Carpal valgus is a condition where the wrist bends to the side instead of being straight, adding extra stress on the wrist joint ligaments and muscles. It can lead to a breakdown in the strength of the joint and is very painful as the dog ages.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is a condition where the kneecap moves side-to-side out of position. It causes instability and sometimes pain in the knee joint.

All these joint conditions make Basset Hounds especially prone to developing arthritis. Basset Hounds, being low-energy dogs, gain weight more easily. Excess weight means excess strain on painful joints. Basset Hounds should be given a joint supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin to slow the progression of arthritis. They should also get daily exercise and controlled food portions to prevent weight gain.

What to Feed a Basset Hound

Basset Hounds are large dogs with short legs. They are best fed a nutritionally complete and high-quality large-breed dog food. Also, food formulated for weight management helps prevent obesity in your Basset Hound. Avoid giving your pet table scraps and human food, as these provide unnecessary calories.

How to Feed a Basset Hound

Basset Hounds should be fed 2-3 times a day. These dogs can get bloat, so if your Basset Hound eats too fast, use a slow-feeding bowl. The Basset Hound has a very keen sense of smell, so it is important to keep food secured, sealed, and out of reach, so they may not steal it.

How Much to Feed a Basset Hound

Basset Hounds are quite prone to obesity due to their low energy.

Pay close attention to the recommended feeding amount on the food bag or as advised by your veterinarian, and use a measuring cup. Typically, 2 cups of large-breed kibble is appropriate for your Basset Hound, but this should be adjusted by 10-25% if your dog is underweight or overweight.

The sense of smell of a Basset Hound is very good; they smell food when other dogs may not, causing them to beg for it or steal it. Avoid giving your Basset Hound human food, as it can give them a taste and desire for the food, and it provides unnecessary calories.

Nutritional Tips for a Basset Hound

The Basset Hound is prone to joint problems due to their short, twisty legs. A high-quality joint supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin may help keep your dog comfortable and mobile longer.

Many Basset Hounds also benefit from omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help manage and prevent skin and ear inflammation. There are veterinary products that provide the right balance of fatty acids for your dog, but fish oil is also a good option.

Behavior and Training Tips for a Basset Hound

Basset Hound Personality and Temperament

If you want a dog that is independent, friendly, and low energy, the Basset Hound is ideal. Basset Hounds are generally affectionate and friendly with kids and other dogs.

While Basset Hounds are content with minimal job duties and aren’t athletic, they do need daily moderate exercise to keep them fit. They can be stubborn but are generally food-motivated due to their keen sense of smell, which helps with training.

Basset Hounds bark quite a lot. They have a very loud, baying-like bark, and they use it when they are excited or frustrated. They drool and can be smelly because of their skin and ears.

Basset Hound Behavior

The Basset Hound is generally a gentle, mild-mannered dog. They are not prone to anxiety, and are adaptable, but they can sometimes be protective of their homes and do bark a lot.

Basset Hounds also have a very keen sense of smell. They are low to the ground and are quick to find food and toys before their owners can react.

They eat anything that smells appetizing, including nonfood items and toys, putting them at risk for intestinal blockage and upset stomach. It is important to keep anything you do not want the Basset Hound to eat out of their reach.

Any signs of gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased or no appetite should be evaluated quickly by a veterinarian.

Basset Hound Training

The Basset Hound is independent, low-energy, and stubborn, which can make obedience training challenging.

Fortunately, the Basset Hound is quite food-motivated. To make training more successful, find a “high-value” treat that your dog gets excited over. For the Basset Hound, it could be something like fish jerky or turkey hot dogs. You should save these treats for training only, so that they do not lose their value.

Fun Activities for Basset Hounds

The Basset Hound is a scent dog, and they excel at scent training and nose work. Nose work helps the Basset Hound be more active and get more exercise. There are clubs and organizations in most cities that can give you information on how to get scent training and nose work for your Bassett Hound.

Basset Hound Grooming Guide

Basset Hounds have a short, smooth coat. They require daily brushing to cut down on  shedding, but no professional grooming is needed. They are prone to skin and ear infections, so they do require frequent baths every one or two weeks, as well as ear cleaning once or twice a week.

Skin Care

A Basset Hound’s skin can be greasy and smelly if not cared for properly. Basset Hounds have an unusually high amount of Malassezia yeast that lives on their skin, so bathing them every one to two weeks with a hypoallergenic or medicated antifungal shampoo helps manage yeast overgrowth and prevent infections. With their heavy skin folds, it is important to dry their skin thoroughly to prevent irritation from moisture.

Coat Care

The short and smooth Basset Hound coat does not require grooming beyond daily brushing and bathing one or two times a week. They are moderate shedders.

Eye Care

Basset Hounds have droopy eyelids, resulting in increased mucous in their eyes. The eye discharge should be cleaned daily with a warm, wet washcloth.

Consult your veterinarian if the eyes become red, the discharge is yellow or green, or if your dog is holding their eye closed, as these are signs of infection or injury to the eye.

Ear Care

The Basset Hound is especially prone to ear infections. Their ears should be cleaned and flushed with a medicated wash one or two times a week to prevent ear infections.

If your dog scratches her ears more than usual, shakes her head, feels pain when you clean or touch her ears, or if a strong smell comes from the ears, contact your veterinarian, as these may be signs of an ear infection.

Your vet may prescribe daily medication drops to treat the ear infection, or they may use a leave-in treatment. When your Basset Hound is being treated with daily drops it is safe to clean their ears daily, unless otherwise directed by your vet.

Considerations for Pet Parents

Basset Hounds can be great family dogs because they are friendly, low-energy, and playful. They require a moderate amount of daily exercise, so it is important to walk them daily.

Basset Hounds also require regular bathing and ear cleaning, so it helps to have a bathtub in your home. They do not need a backyard, but the mental stimulation of tracking smells, either in a yard or on walks, keeps them happy. Basset Hounds have a very loud bark that may bother pet parents and neighbors.

Basset Hound FAQs

Is a Basset Hound a good family dog?

The Basset Hound is very friendly and playful, which makes them excellent with children and families.

Are Basset Hounds smart dogs?

Basset Hounds are relatively intelligent, but they can be difficult to train because they are independent and can be stubborn. They have a very keen sense of smell, so they are very good at nose work.

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Emily A. Fassbaugh, DVM


Dr. Emily Fassbaugh grew up in San Diego. She attended the University of California, Davis for both her undergraduate studies in Animal…

5 Reasons Your Dog Won’t Stop Barking

There are hundreds of thousands of words in the English language, but imagine for a second that the only thing you could say (or hear) is “banana.”

Whether you’re happy or sad, need food or a hug, or want to express a desire to go for a walk or take a bath, the only thing that anyone hears is “banana.”

(Imagine that this entire article about why your dog won’t stop barking reads “banana banana banana.”)

That’s what it’s like for dogs trying to communicate with their owners, and that’s why it’s important for owners to always pay attention to context and tone when their dogs bark and bark and bark.

“Barking is driven by a whole bunch of things,” says Dr. Kristina Spaulding, a certified applied animal behaviorist from upstate New York, “and while some dogs don’t bark much, they’ll sometimes find other ways to show their emotions or signal that they want something—like pawing at you, jumping, mouthing, stealing things, or finding other ways to get into trouble.”

Continue reading for five commons reasons why your dog won’t stop barking, the meaning behind different types of barks, and how best to react.

They Want Something

Demand barking, Spaulding says, occurs when a dog wants attention of some kind. Maybe that’s a walk or just to be pet. It could also signify that your dog wants food.

Unlike other types of barking, demand barking has a specific and identifiable cadence to it, Spaulding says.

“Demand barking tends to be shorter—a single bark or a few in quick succession. There are more pauses in between, and the dog is usually looking at you or the thing they want. It’s much more controlled,” she says.

The million dollar question with this type of barking is whether you should respond to it.

“I tend to ignore it or actively get up and walk away if a dog demand barks at me,” Spaulding says. That’s because caving and giving dogs what they want can reinforce the behavior and encourage them to demand bark more in the future.

If you decide you want to give in, however, Spaulding says it’s best to do that after the first or second bark, if you can, because waiting teaches dogs they have to bark a lot to get what they want, and they may become very pushy in the future.

They’re Alarmed

Most dog owners have likely experienced this when the doorbell rings and their dog just freaks out.

“Alarm barking is associated with something catching the dog’s attention,” says Sandra Sawchuk, a primary care clinical instructor at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine.

If you want this type of barking to stop, Sawchuk says the most important thing is to not yell at the dog. That just tends to rile him up even more.

Instead, divert the dog’s attention as quickly as possible by taking him outside or giving him a favorite toy—something he can chew on will work especially well to get him to stop barking.

Sawchuk also recommends considering training your dog to go to a spot away from the door whenever the bell rings. This might be something you can do yourself, or you may have to hire a certified professional in your area to assist you.

They’re Anxious

The emotion behind this is similar to alarm barking, but the context can be very different.

Sawchuk says anxious barking may occur when you’re leaving the house for the day. You might also see it on walks when a stranger or another dog is approaching.

To that end, Spaulding says this type of barking often gets confused for aggression.

“Typically, if a dog is barking in an aggressive context, it’s actually fear based,” she says. “People are often confused by that because if dogs lunge and bark at the same time, that must mean they’re aggressive, but often, it seems to just be a display to keep them away from something they find scary.”

They’re Excited

During walks, a dog may let out an excited bark if they see another pup along the way, Spaulding says. “You’ll also see excitable barking when dogs are doing something they enjoy, like chasing a small animal or for agility dogs when they run a course.”

The fine line between fearful and excited can be especially difficult when you’re dealing with on-leash reactivity, and Spaulding says leash-reactive dogs should probably be evaluated by a certified professional.

In most other situations of excitable barking, however, the context is usually pretty clear.

“If they’re backing away from something, they’re probably afraid,” Spaulding says. “If they’re jumping up on you when you come home from work, they’re probably excited.”

They Simply Want Attention

Context means so much when you’re trying to discern why your dog is barking, but Spaulding says it can sometimes be entirely unclear to you what your dog wants, assuming he wants anything at all.

“Often, a dog’s bark means he’s bored or frustrated, and he wants us to fix it,” she says. “In situations where you’re not sure what the cause of the barking is, it’s fair to assume your dog would like to interact with you.”

If your dog won’t stop barking, you can try these training tips to help stop the behavior. 

Dislocated Shoulder in Dogs

What Is a Dislocated Shoulder in Dogs?

Dog shoulder dislocation (luxation of the shoulder) happens when the upper bone in a dog’s front leg (just above the elbow) is knocked out of its normal position in relation to their shoulder blade. The shoulder joint can be partially out of place (subluxated) or completely out of place (luxated).

Symptoms of a Dislocated Shoulder in Dogs

The most common symptom of a dislocated shoulder in dogs is limping, which can come on suddenly (acute) or progress slowly over a longer term. After a traumatic accident, the dog may not want to put any weight on the affected limb.

Dogs that have been injured for a long time may be limping but are still able to bear weight on the affected limb. Dogs that have a malformed shoulder from birth may not even limp.

Causes of Dislocated Shoulders in Dogs

Dogs’ shoulders can be dislocated through trauma, such as a car accident or a fall. A dog might also be born with a malformed shoulder due to a congenital condition.

When a dog’s shoulder is dislocated due to trauma, the joint capsule tears, and damage is caused to various ligaments, tendons, and muscles that support and stabilize the joint.

Types of Dislocated Shoulders in Dogs

While the shoulder joint can dislocate in any direction, dislocation to the inside (medial) or to the outside (lateral) of the joint are most common.

Medial dislocations can occur as a result of trauma in any breed, and as a congenital condition in small and miniature breed dogs.

Lateral dislocations occur most commonly as a result of trauma in large breed dogs.

How Vets Diagnose Dog Shoulder Dislocation

Your vet will feel your dog’s leg and shoulder; if the pain is localized to the shoulder region, they will perform a more thorough inspection of the joint.

The veterinarian may detect that the shoulders do not feel symmetrical and that the bones in the affected shoulder are out of place compared to the normal shoulder. There may be inflammation, grinding, or instability when the affected shoulder is felt.

Your vet will then perform X-rays to confirm the diagnosis of a dislocated shoulder and look for evidence of fracture or joint damage. Arthroscopy, or examining the joint with a camera, can be performed under anesthesia if X-rays do not help with a diagnosis.  

Treatment for Dislocated Shoulders in Dogs

If your dog’s shoulder dislocation is due to recent trauma, your veterinarian may attempt to pop the shoulder back into place under general anesthesia, which is called a closed reduction.

If the shoulder joint stays in place, a bandage-type sling or splint is placed for about 14 days, depending on whether the dislocation is to the inside or outside of the shoulder joint.

If this does not work and your dog’s shoulder dislocates again, then your dog will need surgery. The type of surgical procedure will depend on the type of dislocation and the surgeon’s preferred technique. After surgery, your dog’s limb will usually be bandaged and/or splinted for about 14 days.

Recovery and Management of Dog Shoulder Dislocation

After your dog’s shoulder dislocation is treated through surgery or popping it back into place, you must restrict your dog’s activity while maximizing rest. Your veterinarian will establish a time frame for exercise restriction and a plan for returning to normal activity.

During the recovery period, your dog will likely be on pain medication(s). Some veterinary clinics offer physical therapy, which may be helpful in both nonsurgical and postsurgical patients. This may include laser therapy, passive range of motion exercises, and hydrotherapy.  

Dislocated Shoulder in Dogs FAQs

How long does it take for a dog’s shoulder to heal?

Because a shoulder dislocation in dogs often results in significant soft tissue damage, this type of injury can take a few months to heal. A good recovery plan involving physical therapy techniques may speed healing time. 

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Heidi Kos-Barber, DVM


I am a small animal general practitioner in western Washington. The clinic I have worked at for the past 14 years sees a variety of…

Clotting Deficiency (Inherited) in Dogs

Coagulation Factor Deficiency in Dogs

Coagulation takes place when blood transforms from a free flowing liquid into a thickened gel like state. In this state the gelled blood is called a clot, and it is through clotting that a wound begins to seal. This process is critically important for healing to take place. When your dog is injured and continues to bleed uncontrollably, this may be symptomatic of a defect in one or more of the processes that bring about coagulation. A complex series of enzyme reactions are involved in turning blood from a fluid to a gel. A failure in one of these processes can cause prolonged hemorrhaging after an injury, and will result ultimately in blood loss anemia. The failure of blood to coagulate can also result in internal hemorrhaging. Knowing the symptoms to watch for is crucial.

The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

Symptoms of coagulation factor deficiency can include prolonged bleeding after surgery or trauma, an obvious external symptom. Some of the less obvious symptoms that can be indicative of a coagulation deficiency are related to blood loss anemia and internal bleeding. With blood loss anemia, symptoms can present as weakness, lethargy, short breath, irregular heart beat, confusion, and a condition known medically as pica — a compulsive behavior that is often intended to balance a lack of minerals or vitamins in the blood, in this case, iron deficiency from loss of blood. Internal bleeding may present as bloody vomit or stools, bleeding from the rectum or vagina, difficulty breathing, abnormal heart rhythm, swollen or hard abdomen, and excessive thirst.


Several factors can determine the probability that your pet is suffering from coagulation factor deficiency. An underlying disorder, such as vitamin K deficiency, can affect the functioning of the liver, one of the primary sites for synthesizing the enzymes necessary for coagulation. Other problems with the liver can also affect the process of enzyme synthesization. The underlying cause for coagulation deficiency can also be predisposed by hereditary traits. An example of this is Hemophilia. Both the A and B forms of hemophilia are x-linked recessive traits, where males bleed excessively and the females carry the trait and pass it on. Hemophilia is characterized by an abnormally low amount of the protein needed to bind blood platelets into a clot. This protein process is one of the coagulation factors that the body utilizes for clotting external and internal wounds. Hemophilia can be mild, moderate, or severe, and is not always inherited. It can also develop when the body forms antibodies that block the coagulation factor processes. Severe deficiency of coagulating factors will usually become apparent by four to six months of age. Milder deficiency may show up after an injury or after surgery.

In addition, external environmental circumstances may play a role in the incidence of coagulation factor deficiency. Ingestion of rat poison, or a snake bite, can affect the body’s ability to process enzymes and proteins normally. Medically prescribed medications can affect the blood’s ability to clot as well. Long term use of antibiotics can cause complications, and the use of prescription Heparin as an anti-coagulant (used for breaking up blood clots in the veins) can result in an accidental overdose.


Your veterinarian may first want to rule out external factors, such as access to rodent poison, or recent contact with a snake or a lizard. A complete blood test will be ordered, and an assay of the blood’s ability to coagulate will be used to determine the source of the disorder. If your dog shows signs of increased red blood cells (RBC), an indication of regenerative anemia, it will signal the possibility of internal blood loss.


If blood loss is severe, your dog will be hospitalized and will receive blood and plasma transfusions. In fact, repeated transfusions may be necessary to control or prevent further hemorrhaging. Your veterinarian will probably also prescribe vitamin K, especially if your dog has ingested rodent poison or is experiencing other conditions that deplete this vitamin.

Living and Management

The blood will continue to be tested on an ongoing basis to determine the effectiveness of vitamin K supplementation. It should begin to normalize 24 to 48 hours after the beginning of therapy. The only way to test whether a hereditary deficiency has been treated successfully is by factor analysis; whether the hematomas (collections of clotted blood) have been resolved, and most importantly, whether the bleeding has stopped. Transfusion sometimes causes immune reactions when antibodies resist the new blood. If transfusion is a decided treatment, your pet will need to be monitored for symptoms of rejection.

There is no particular breed that is more susceptible than another, so there is nothing that can be done to prevent it unless it is known to be in the genetic makeup of a breeding dog. If it is determined that a hereditary factor is responsible for the coagulation factor deficiency, it is best not to breed this dog.

Lockjaw in Dogs

What is Lockjaw in Dogs?

Lockjaw in dogs is a rare condition that refers to the animal’s inability to either open or close their mouth. When most people refer to a dog having lockjaw, they are typically referring to tetanus, since one of the most well-known symptoms of tetanus is jaw stiffness or lockjaw.  

However, there are other conditions that can result in lockjaw. Many of these conditions are connected to the function of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The TMJ acts like a hinge where the lower and upper jaws meet, so trauma or disease in the TMJ can also affect your dog’s ability to open her mouth. Lockjaw may also be caused by conditions affecting the muscles and nerves surrounding the mouth.

Lockjaw in Dogs Symptoms

In its simplest form, lockjaw occurs when a dog is unable to open or close its mouth.   

Depending on the underlying reason for the lockjaw, there may be additional signs such as: 


Muscle atrophy 


Noticeable pain/discomfort from dog  

A deep wound near the jaw 

An ear infection 

Eye swelling 

Causes of Lockjaw in Dogs

The condition that is most referred to as lockjaw is tetanus, a nerve disorder caused by infection from the Clostridium tetani bacteria. Tetanus is a condition in which the toxins produced by a bacterial infection, typically located deep in a puncture-type wound, make their way through the tissues to the nearest nerve. Clinical signs often start in this location, but can then spread through the nervous system to affect the entire body.   

However, the jaw can be locked open or closed for a variety of reasons, including:  

Fractures or disorders of the TMJ 

Diseases of the muscles around the TMJ   

Nerve disorders 

Non-tetanus infections 

Birth defects 


Inflammatory conditions like masticatory myositis 

Perhaps the simplest cause of lockjaw is when the dog bites down on something that wedges between its molars (like a stick), preventing the dog from closing its mouth. This is particularly common among large-breed dogs that like to carry heavy objects in their mouths. 

How Veterinarians Diagnose Tetanus in Dogs

Diagnosis of lockjaw depends on the underlying condition causing it. When a dog comes into a veterinarian office with its mouth open and drooling heavily, most vets will immediately look in the back of the mouth for a stick or an item lodged in the dog’s mouth. 

Some conditions, such as tetanus and masticatory myositis, may be diagnosed based on a physical examination alone.  

Problems involving the TMJ joint such as malformation, trauma, and injury will likely need an exam under sedation as well as radiographs (x-rays).  

When infections, inflammation, or cancer are suspected—or when the overall health status of the dog is in question—a complete blood count and biochemistry panel are usually ordered. 

The complexity of the testing will vary based on the underlying diagnosis and may range from a diagnosis based on a physical examination to one based on lab results.

Treatment of Lockjaw in Dogs

The treatment of lockjaw varies depending on the dog’s diagnosis.

Some conditions involving the TMJ can be addressed surgically, while simple inflammatory problems may respond to anti-inflammatory medications.  

Recovery and Management of Lockjaw in Dogs

Time and physical therapy can help resolve lockjaw in some cases. In other more serious cases such as tetanus, an extended hospital stay might be required.   

Whatever the underlying cause, the quicker a dog receives an accurate diagnosis, the better the chance at a simpler resolution. 

Lockjaw in Dogs FAQs

Are there home remedies for lockjaw in dogs?

Because lockjaw has many different causes and treatments, there is no home remedy to treat it. Your dog may have something stuck in the back of its mouth, so it is worth checking if you can do so without injuring yourself or the dog. However, once a diagnosis has been reached, your veterinarian may be able to show you physical therapy exercises to help your dog at home.

Are certain breeds predisposed to lockjaw?

There is not a specific breed disposition to lockjaw, but dogs that frequently carry items in their mouth—particularly heavy items‚ are more likely to injure themselves or wedge something into the back of the mouth in the process. Some breeds are more prone to masticatory myositis, which can lead to lockjaw. This includes the German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Weimaraner, King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, as well as several other large-breed dogs.

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Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP


Sandra Mitchell is a 1995 graduate of the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine. Since graduation, she has worked in many fields…

5 Surprising Senior Dog Care Tips

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By Deidre Grieves

If your dog is going a little gray in the muzzle, he may be entering the senior stage of his life.

While the standard age range for senior dogs varies by breed and size, pet parents should watch for signs of aging and make necessary adjustments to provide their pets with the best senior dog care available.

How to Take Care of Senior Dogs

If you need to take care of a dog who is older, making subtle changes to your dog’s routine, veterinary care and home environment can help them live a healthier and more comfortable life.

Tip 1: Keep Your Senior Dog Active

As dogs age, it’s important that they continue to get plenty of exercise, says Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM, a veterinarian based in Greeley, Colorado. “If you don’t move it, you lose it,” she says. “Muscle mass is the main driver of metabolism, and dogs that lose muscle mass develop frailty syndrome, which accelerates the aging process.”

If a dog’s activity level gradually decreases over time, it could be a sign that something is wrong. Owners of old dogs, says Dr. Wooten, should watch for subtle signs of pain and visit a veterinarian to come up with an ideal treatment plan. “Pet parents still think that ‘slowing down’ is normal for old age,” she says. “It isn’t—it is indicative of untreated pain.”

Dog monitors that attach to a dog collar, such as the Whistle 3 dog GPS tracker and activity monitor, are useful tools that are designed help pet parents keep tabs of their dog’s activity level. If activity levels are low, dog owners can adjust a pet’s exercise routine to include more playtime or longer walks.

Keeping your senior dog active will also help prevent weight gain. “Keeping your dog thin is the most important thing you can do to help minimize the effects of arthritis,” says Dr. Wooten.

Tip 2: Get Your Dog’s Blood Work Checked

As dogs get older, it’s a good idea to see your veterinarian on a regular basis for checkups, says Dr. Justine Lee, a board-certified emergency care and toxicology specialist and author of “It’s a Dog’s Life… but It’s Your Carpet.” Besides an annual or biannual exam, Dr. Lee suggests that pet parents get yearly blood work done for their senior dogs.

“I generally recommend doing blood work to check their white and red blood cells and their kidney and liver function to make sure that they’re healthy,” she says. “This is an easy way of being able to detect any kind of disease.”

Tip 3: Invest in an Orthopedic or Heated Dog Bed

If you want to take care of a dog that is getting up there in age, splurging on an orthopedic dog bed or a heated dog bed may help senior dogs that are suffering from arthritis and other joint problems, says Dr. Wooten.

She recommends dog beds from the brand Big Barker, such as the Big Barker pillow-top orthopedic dog bed.

“A pain-free, restful sleep is huge for older dogs,” she says. “It can improve mobility, reduce pain and improve quality of life.”

A heated dog bed, like the K&H Pet Products ortho thermo pet bed, may help a senior dog with stiffness and joint problems. It has a built-in heater that warms up to your dog’s natural body temperature.

You can place a heated pad or mat into your dog’s bed for a similar effect. “Consider electric warming pads that are thermostatically controlled and have emergency shut-offs if they overheat,” says Dr. Raelynn Farnsworth, DVM, head of the community practice service at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Such a pad will provide substantial relief for the achiness of age-related arthritis.”

The K&H Pet Products pet bed warmer is specifically designed not to exceed the natural body temperature of your dog. It fits inside most pet beds and is MET listed for safety. This means that it has been tested at a “Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory” to ensure quality and safety standards.


Tip 4: Try Using a Dog Support Sling

If your senior dog has mobility problems, a dog support sling or a specially designed dog harness can be a big help, says Dr. Lee. “If your dog has a really hard time getting up, sometimes using a dog sling can help them,” she says.

Dr. Wooten agrees. “There are great harnesses available that have a handle on the back so you can easily assist your dog,” she says.

Dog support slings, such as the Kurgo Up & About dog lifter, are designed to help make walking, climbing stairs, going to the bathroom or getting into the car easier for your senior dog.


Tip 5: Make Small Changes to Your Dog’s Environment

If you have a senior dog, making small adjustments to your home and his environment can have a big impact.

Dr. Lee suggests putting down more carpeting around your home so that your senior dog will have an easier time getting up and will be less likely to slip on hardwood or tile floors.

Dog socks with rubberized, non-slip soles, like the Canada Pooch Cambridge dog socks, can also help provide traction for senior dogs.

Dr. Lee also recommends that senior dog parents consider using dog ramps throughout their homes.

Dr. Wooten agrees that ramps are a good option for senior dogs. “Ramps are a wonderful way to help dogs get into cars, up and down stairs and onto furniture,” she says.

The Solvit UltraLite Bi-Fold pet ramp is a foldable dog ramp option that can assist dogs and then store away easily in a closet or under a bed. For a more permanent option that won’t clash with your decor, try the Solvit wood bedside dog ramp. 

Additionally, pet parents may need to reevaluate the dog food and water setup they have for their dog in order to provide extra comfort and ease of use. Dr. Wooten recommends that pet parents should consider an elevated dog bowl for their dog’s food and water to eliminate excess strain on a dog’s head and neck.

Dr. Farnsworth says senior dog parents should make finding a water bowl easier for their aging pups. “You may have to increase the number of water bowls around the home if the pet has trouble remembering where any single bowl may be located,” she says. “A nightlight by the food and water can help, too.”

Night vision is the first type to dissipate over time, so it can help your aging pet to put up nightlights throughout the home. You can also block stairways by using dog gates such as the Regalo Easy Step walk-through gate.

Electrocution in Dogs

What Is Electrocution in Dogs?

While we typically never give our appliances and lights a second thought, they can be very dangerous for playful and inquisitive puppies. Electrocution from chewing on an electrical cord is the single most common type of electrical injury for household pets. These types of injuries can result in burns to the surrounding areas (typically the mouth), damage to the heart, lungs, and other tissues, and death.

Possible complications of electric cord bite injuries are fluid buildup in the lungs (pulmonary edema) and abnormal heart rhythms. Additionally, there have been reports of animals developing cataracts (an eye abnormality) after such injuries.

Symptoms of Dog Electrocution

The most obvious sign of an electrical injury is burns in or around your dog’s mouth. If either the whiskers or the hair surrounding the mouth are singed, this can also be an indication that your dog has been burned at some point.

Other serious symptoms are related to your dog’s breathing and heart rhythm. Muscle tremors, seizures, and collapse are also possible. Some signs of a serious electrical injury are:



Abnormally fast breathing

Needing to be upright to breathe properly

Crackling sounds in the lungs

Difficulty breathing

Bluish-tinged skin and mucous membranes




Sudden death

Any dog who may have been electrocuted needs to be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Causes of Dog Electrocution

The most common cause of electrocution in dogs is because a young puppy chewed on a household electrical cord—commonly from Christmas lights, fans, TVs, or other appliances.

Most electrical injuries are seen in animals younger than 2 years old. Whether it’s because of teething, because your puppy has a natural tendency to chew on things, or if your dog is just curious about cords, it’s during these younger years that injury is most likely to happen.

How Vets Diagnose Dog Electrocution

Dogs who arrive at the veterinary hospital in critical condition will immediately be taken to a treatment area. For example, if your dog is having severe trouble breathing, she could be placed in an oxygen cage and monitored closely.

Once the pet’s condition is stable, your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam and ask you some questions about what you witnessed at home. While the above symptoms can indicate an electrical cord injury, there are other possibilities as well.

The veterinarian will check your dog’s mouth for burns and listen to their heart and lungs. They might also take x-rays of the chest and an electrocardiogram to further assess heart and lung function. They may also run some bloodwork to check for damage elsewhere in the body, such as the kidneys and liver.

Pulmonary edema may develop in the hours after a pet has been electrocuted, so the veterinarian may recommend hospitalizing your dog for monitoring and any additional diagnostic tests and treatments that may be needed.

Treating and Managing Electrocution in Dogs

If you witness the electrocution, turn off the electricity before moving your dog. If your dog is not breathing and does not have a heartbeat, clear their airway as best as you can and provide assistance through CPR. All dogs who may have been electrocuted should be taken to a vet as soon as possible.

Depending on a dog’s condition, treatment for electrocution may include:

Pain relief for burns

Antibiotics to prevent infection

Oxygen therapy

Fluid therapy

Nutritional support

Medications to normalize heart rhythms, eliminate fluid from the lungs, and manage seizures

Your dog will need to be closely monitored until their condition stabilizes. They may not feel comfortable eating their regular food because of the pain associated with wounds in the mouth, so you might need to switch to soft foods or liquefy their dry food until their wounds have healed. Your veterinarian can help you make a diet plan until your dog can comfortably eat regular food again.

At home, monitor the burn wounds for infection and proper healing. Surgery is sometimes necessary if burned tissues cannot repair themselves on their own.

Preventing Electrocution in Dogs

The most important step in preventing electrical injury is to keep your dog away from electrical cords and outlets. Additionally, inspect all cords in your home and throw out any that are damaged, since even minimal contact with a bare wire can cause serious harm to your dog.

Many pet parents find that using baby-proofing measures work for protecting their pets against injury. Most hardware and full-service department stores carry household child-protection tools.

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