Dog Wellness – Lead Poisoning in Dogs

Dog wellness advice on the chat today is with regards to lead poisoning in dogs. Lead toxicity or lead poisoning is medically known as Plumbism, and refers to poisoning due to ingestion or inhalation of products containing lead. When lead based paint is on the walls its fine, but when it is disturbed, causing dust and chips of paint to fall to the ground, this is where the problem starts. Dogs especially will ingest pieces of paint – particularly puppies. The dust from the moving and scraping of the paint settles in the pet’s fur and between his toes as well as is inhaled through his nose. This is one of the more common causes of lead poisoning in dogs, when a home is renovated or newly painted.

Paint produced prior to 1977 contained high levels of lead and some companies today are still using this paint on children and pet products. Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission checks the safety of all toys for humans and enforces a federal standard for lead in paint for children’s toys, there is not an organization that regularly tests animal toys nor is there a standard for lead in pet toys. So pet owners need to be vigilant in ensuring their pets are out of harms way when renovating their home. However it isn’t just paint that can cause lead poisoning in dogs or other pets.

Lead poisoning or lead toxicity can come from the following;

1. Paint, or the disturbance of paint

2. Lead weights

3. Lead pellets

4. Household items such as drapery weights, linoleum, rug padding, and foil from the tops of wine bottles

5. Automotive parts such as batteries, wheel weights, leaded gasoline and discarded oil from cars using leaded gasoline

6. Construction materials such as solder, putty and caulking

7. Plumbing and roofing materials

Puppies are more likely to ingest materials containing lead because of their chewing, playful nature and their need to get into just about everything.

Dogs are more likely than cats to eat lead containing objects and younger animals absorb larger amounts of lead than older animals. In pregnant animals the babies are affected because lead crosses the placenta and is excreted in the mother’s milk, causing the fetus to be effected.

Lead poisoning in dogs can cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea. It can cause anemia and seizures, and suppress the immune system. Basically if your dog or pet has lead poisoning he is very sick and definitely requires immediate urgent medical attention.

Signs and Symptoms

* Loss of appetite
* Abdominal pain
* Vomiting
* Diarrhea
* Anxiety
* Aggressive behavior
* Muscle tremors
* In coordination
* Weakness
* Seizures
* Blindness
* Deafness
* Behavior changes
* Mental “dullness” (not alert)
* Increased thirst and urinations
* Shortness of breath
* Intolerance for exercise

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your pet, contact your vet immediately.

In order for the vet to properly diagnose your dog he may perform a series of exams such as diagnostic tests, which would include a complete blood count, Serum biochemistry tests to check the liver and kidney function and assess the extent of systemic injury from the lead. Another test would be a blood lead concentration test to determine the amount of lead concentration in your dog’s body. Pumping of the stomach and enemas are performed to remove any remaining lead. Surgery may be needed for removal of any object in the stomach. Fluids are administered intravenously to correct dehydration and facilitate urinary excretion of lead. Diazepam Phenobarbital or Pentobarbital are administered to control seizures.

So as you can see, if your dog, God forbid were to get lead poisoning, you are talking about a very involved, sad, uncomfortable, stressful, and costly vet visit. Not to mention the recovery time and medications your dog might be on for a while, as well as frequent follow up visits.

Home Care

Pet natural health care is extremely common and used by pet owners around the world with very successful results, particularly when it comes to common pet illnesses. However in this case there is no natural or home care for lead poisoning in dogs. Seek veterinary care promptly if you suspect your dog has ingested lead-containing materials or shows any of the above signs.

Once you take your pet home from the vet it is vital that you administer medications exactly as directed by your vet and monitor your pet daily. Note down any symptoms that become worse or any new symptoms you notice. Immediately discuss these changes with your vet.

Prevention

Dog wellness means dog owner awareness and a huge part of preventing lead poisoning in dogs is awareness. Being aware of items or chemicals around your home and yard that contain lead and making sure they are out of your dogs reach – keeping in mind any special skills your dog may have either in his breed or owner taught. If you can remove all sources of lead from your home and garden this would be the best way of prevention. Keep your dog away from any renovation that might be going on in your home, and away from discarded materials. Keep your dog away from your garage if you know you are storing lead containing materials. It is also important to make sure dog toys and bowls are lead free. Never underestimate your dog. Assuming your dog won’t get into things because he is behaved, out of the puppy stages, or simply isn’t bothered could cost you to have a very sick dog. Don’t take any chances and keep any toxic materials well away from your dogs reach – at all times.

Pet Trivia: An African wolf dog known as the Basenji is the only dog in the world that cannot bark.

How to Prolong Your Pet’s Life

As much as we would like our pets to be around forever, they simply do not have the lifespan humans do. And while there is no magic pill or fountain of youth available to prolong your pet’s life, there are however, certain steps that one can take to ensure that our pets lead a happy and healthy life for as long as possible.

Healthy Diet – First Step in Pet Care:

This is an obvious health measure. Pet owners should always invest in best quality food products for their pet. Buying pet food from a convenient store is not the best choice as it is likely that the product will contain grains and fillers that contain no nutritional value. Another thing to watch out for is the serving size per meal. Many pet owners tend to over feed their pets thinking it is good for them. Overfeeding has negative health effects for the pet in the long run. As a general rule of thumb if you cannot feel your pet’s ribs, you are over feeding it. Learn the correct serving size for your pet and feed them healthy nutritious food.

Regular Exercise is the Key to Pet Health Care:

No one can argue the benefits of exercise. Daily exercise is just as good for pets as it is for humans and all pets regardless of size need to engage in some form of exercise activity to ensure proper health. A good strategy is to walk your pet or give them enough time in the backyard to stretch, move and play around. Taking your dog to a dog park is a great idea and the best part is that your end up getting a work out as well.

Clean Teeth – Often Neglected But Very Important:

Pet owners should make the effort of brushing their pet’s teeth on a regular basis. A major cause of death in many dogs is due to poor dental hygiene. Brushing teeth on a regular basis ensures that your pet never develops dental diseases. This practice is often neglected and overlooked by people. Nevertheless it plays an important role in your pet’s overall health.

Treat Your Pet with Love and Affection:

Studies have confirmed that pets that are given attention and love tend to live longer than those who are ignored. Pet owners should always be conscious about their pet’s feelings. While you are away at work, they are patiently at home waiting for you to return. To them, the sound of the door opening is probably the best part of their day. Give them lots of love and affection. The psychological effect to being loved and cherished goes longer than any life prolonging strategy known to man.

Watch Your Pet for Signs of Sickness:

Never leave your pet unattended and always keep a sharp eye out for any erratic behavior or any signs of sickness. Should you discover something out of the ordinary, immediately consult a veterinarian.
In addition to the above given strategies, always take your pet to a veterinarian for annual checks up. Following these steps will enable you to enjoy the company of your pet and improve their overall health.

Need for Pet Mobility Aids

Pet mobility aids have proved to be excellent for the pets with some kind or the other mobility problems. The problems may be due to age or even due to some disease and your pet loses his ability to move around freely. Nothing can be more shocking and disturbing both for the pet and also for the owner. But these pet mobility aids have proved to be a boon and gives a fresh lease of life to the pet and it can move about and function more independently- without needing to be carried. Also the advances in the veterinary science have made it possible to give a new life to these pets.

The pet mobility services have grown rapidly in the recent years as more and more people require the services to help their pets lead a more normal and a good quality life. The pet may have mobility problem due to arthritis or any other degenerative disease and results in stiffness, unsteadiness or in some extreme cases paralysis. The pet mobility aids have proved to be a blessing. The popular mobility product includes the wheels for dogs, pet boots, dog leg splints, dog harness and slings, K9 dog orthotic brace and the indoor and outdoor dog ramps and steps. Now let’s have a look at the products in detail.

The dog boots are basically dog footwear and includes the standard boots, high performance boots and full feature boots. These boots are mainly for protective purposes and are very durable. If your pet is dragging its feet and scuffing its nails, that means they are weakened. These boots are mainly for providing some extra protection and pet mobility while on a rough terrain. The slings are often the common choice of the people and are inexpensive option when the pet has a general weakness and unsteadiness. These are simple loops under the abdomen, the front or the back legs that help to lift and are more like a fitted garment. The harnesses are also of different types and can be used both alone and with the dog wheel.

The good news is that the pets don’t take much time to adjust to the pet mobility aids and they are comfortable almost instantly. The aids generally fit all sizes and they do not hurt when used correctly. There are proper instructions on the products and all you will have to do is to follow them and often a wear schedule is supplied with it and you just need to follow it. You will thus get a chance to see how well your pet adjusts to the new device.