Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thyroid Problems in Dogs

Our dog Lucky was slowly becoming different than our other dogs. She was over weight even though she ate less than the other dogs and really didn't seem to care that much about food. She was also very depressed acting. We could just see it in her eyes. She seemed very sad. Lucky did not like to play like the other dogs did. She pretty much just sat on the porch and watched the other dogs while they played.

We took her to the vet, and he decided to do a blood test on her to see if her thyroid was producing enough thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone is what regulates metabolism. Her test showed she was only borderline low. But the vet gave us some thyroid pills anyway and told us to give her half a dose each day for a month.
The results are detailed below.

Here are some symptoms which might indicate your dog has a thyroid problem:

Very lazy acting and not wanting to play -Lucky had this symptom

Weight gain with no added interest in food - Lucky definitely had this symptom

Dry skin - Lucky's coat was dry and very coarse feeling compared to our other dogs

Hair loss (especially in the tail area) - Lucky had a large bald spot on the top of her tail

Bacteria infections - She did not have this symptom

Problems with the cold - Well, all of our dogs seem to dislike the cold

A slow pulse rate - We never checked her for that

Strange behavior or compulsions - Lucky was (and still is) our dog with the strangest behavior

Aggression - Yes, Lucky is the one dog of our four we don't trust around very tiny children without close supervision

Depression - Yes, Lucky was for sure depressed.

Most dogs who are affected are in the mid to large sized breed category. Lucky is a mid sized dog. It is also hereditary. But in this case Katie is her mom, and Katie is the happiest, most perfect dog there could be. We also know who Lucky's dad was. He too was a very happy dog. So with lucky it must have skipped a generation.

It can happen to both male and female dogs. But it happens to spayed females more than unspayed females. And Lucky was spayed. And the problem did not start happening until after that. However, a low thyroid problem doesn't start happening usually until a dog is over 4 years old. Lucky was spayed about one year old and we started noticing a change in her about a year later.

After we had given Lucky the pills for a month, we started seeing a behavior change. She actually WANTED to play once in a while! As we kept giving them to her she started losing some weight too. The vet said we might try stopping them for a while and see how it goes. Apparently, sometimes the pills do some kind of a jump start on things and they keep going correctly. He was right...for a while anyway. She did continue to improve and lose weight without the pills. However, after about 6 months, we see the old, depressed Lucky coming back. So we have started to give the pills again to her.

As near as we can tell from researching the subject on the Internet and talking with our Vet, there are few side effects associated with thyroid pills. So we will probably continue now giving them to her on a regular basis.

Please write to us if you have any questions about this or if you would like to share your story.

Steve Weber owns which offers advice and natural products to owners of dogs with thyroid problems.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Looking For a Solution to Dog Barking? Dogs Bark Naturally So What Can You Do

If you want just one solution to dog barking, there isn't one, there are many. Many different solutions to this most common dog behavior problem. The bottom line is that you must communicate to your dog that you are in charge, not them and that barking is not allowed.

There are many ways to get your dog to stop barking, citronella collars, shock collars, ultrasonic devices, and training. Of all these solutions, citronella collars and re-training are the most humane.

Citronella collars can be bought anywhere. It is basically a collar your dog wears around its neck and it shoots out a burst of citronella whenever your dog barks. Dogs don't like this smell so they stop barking. The problem here is you have to constantly refill the citronella reservoir, so it does not always work. Also, using this method, the dog learns much slower than doing retraining.

The best solution to a barking dog is retraining your dog. It is natural for your dog to bark when people enter his territory or when he views someone as a threat to the family. Many dogs even bark just to get attention.

The problem is that they live in our houses and they are not allowed to bark. You have to clearly communicate to your dog that barking is not permitted in the house. If know that your dog barks during certain situations, like someone coming to the door, make sure you have a leash on your dog or are at least close to him, so you can instantly correct his behavior.

If you are having problems getting this dog behavior problem under control, there are lots of resources out there to help you. Click here for one of the best resources for Stopping Dog Behavior Problems

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