Welcome to Lab Blog!

I started Lab Blog to share my experiences and help other dog lovers with their beloved furry companions. Some articles will deal with specific medical conditions and treatments. Others will just recount the many joys and sorrows of living, loving and losing our best friends.

PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT a veterinarian, nor am I trying to play one on the Internet!

My intent is simply to offer the knowledge and insight I have gained in nearly 35 years of owning, training, breeding and loving my own dogs. I hope you find it amusing, informative and useful.

Thanks for visiting!

Lab Mama

Heat Stroke in Dogs and Cats

Hot weather is here once again and with it comes the prospect of heat stroke if we don’t properly care for our pets.  This informative article is from Dr. Jan at Pet Wellbeing.

"After such a cold start to spring the weather is now hot. When we overheat we sweat to cool off, but our pets can only sweat through their foot pads and this is not enough to cool the body. In order to cool the body, dogs rely on panting. Panting moves the air through the nasal passages where it picks up excess heat and this is expelled through the mouth. Although this usually works well, in confined spaces and high humidity this cooling system does not work well.

Breeds of dogs who have short nasal passages, such as pugs, are prone to heat stroke because they simply can not move air quickly enough to get rid of the heat. Obese dogs have trouble due to layers of fat that insulate them and keep heat in. Very old or very young animals may not have fully functioning temperature regulating systems and so are subject to heat stroke. Interestingly enough cat are better at regulating their body temperatures, likely because of their desert origins and rarely suffer heat stroke.

The best way to treat heat stroke is to prevent it. Never leave your dog or cat in a car unattended. Cars are potential death traps for pets. If you can’t take your pet with you, then leave him at home, otherwise bring a friend who will stay in the car with the pet with the air conditioning running.

Avoid long walks on hot sunny days. Stick to walking when it is cooler in the early morning or evening. Too much sun exposure can cause sun burn as well as heat stroke. Provide lot of fresh cool water for your dog at all times.

So what are the signs of heat stroke??
Excess panting, increased rectal temperature, dark red gums, dry mucus membranes, collapse, dizziness or disorientation can all be signs of heat stroke.

If you suspect your dog has heat stroke, first move him out of the heat. Begin cooling by using cool cloths especially on foot pads, arms pits and head. Do not use ice as this can trigger a deadly reaction. Offer cool water and take him to your veterinarian immediately. Even if he seems all right, he needs to be checked for internal organ damage.

Most dogs will recover from heat stroke but every year some dogs die from it. Prevention is the most important thing to keep your dog from heat stroke this summer.”

NEW! Translation Feature Now Available!

To assist my many international readers I have added the Google Translate function to the left sidebar.  You will find it just below the most frequently viewed posts.

Simply click on the drop-down menu and select the language of your choice to translate the blog posts! I hope this will help even more people to enjoy the information being shared here.

Poisonous Springtime Plants

"As you head into the garden to plant some bulbs or clip some fresh flowers, it’s important to keep in mind some plants and fertilizers can be toxic to your pet in the springtime. We’ve asked Justine Lee, the associate director of Pet Poison Helpline to share some details on potentially poisonous plants and what to do if your pet ingests one of them.

Poisonous Plants for Dogs

Spring flowers with bulbs like tulips, daffodils, Narcissus and hyacinths can be particularly dangerous to dogs, especially the skin at the bottom of the bulb, Lee said. Whether they dig them up from a garden or snack on some bulbs waiting to be planted, ingesting these flowers in large amounts can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. More severe symptoms as a result of larger ingestions can include increased heart and respiratory rate, foreign body obstructions and, in rare cases, cardiac arrhythmias.
Dogs are more likely to dig up bulbs planted in organic fertilizers, which are more dangerous than other fertilizers, Lee said. While they’re a great natural source of nitrogen and utilize unused animal products, they’re often made of bone, blood or feather meal — an appetizing combination of aromas to a dog that will often eat the fertilizer along with the poisonous bulbs. Organic fertilizers on their own are not life threatening, Lee said, but if ingested in large quantities they can obstruct a dog’s stomach and cause vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatitis.”