My dog had a seizure but he is fine now.

It is always recommended to see a veterinarian for a seizure. This could be a life threatening problem that should be looked into. Many dogs develop idiopathic epilepsy which basically means we dont know why it happens. Dogs can live a normal life span with epilepsy but some do have to be on medications to limit seizures. It is best to have blood work and other diagnostics done to rule out a more serious problem other than epilepsy. If your dog does have epilepsy then it is best to place him/her on medications if they seizure more then once a month.

Is it ever safe to leave my dog in the car unattended?

The simple answer is no. Even in the winter time in a northern area a dog can die in a car. Due to the green house effect a car can reach over a 100 degrees Fahrenheit in minutes. At these temperatures any living organism will surely die if not brought to a cooler place. It is also not safe to leave the car running because cars stall all the time. If a dog is left in a car and ends up suffering from heatstroke they will need to spend several days in a hospital with very expensive treatment that many times fail. If you have to leave your car and cannot bring your dog with you, the best thing is to tie them outside the car under the shade. Often times leaving the windows down does not provide enough air circulation. Also provide water for them and leave them for only a few minutes.

My dog is losing his/her bark and is breathing heavy.

I mention these particular clinical signs because they are easy to notice for owners and could be caused by a life threatening condition. The loss of the ability to bark or the development of a raspy bark is often associated with laryngeal paralysis. Laryngeal paralysis is associated with the loss of function of a nerve that is responsible for opening your dog’s airway. A very common sign that this may be the problem with your dog is the loss of the bark sound. They often sound like people when they lose their voice. If you notice this with your dog you should contact your veterinarian to schedule an upper airway exam. If left untreated, laryngeal paralysis can lead to breathing trouble and eventually death. If you are concerned that this may be what your dog has keep them in a cool environment and avoid excessive activity. The treatment for laryngeal paralysis is surgery. There are many different procedures but the most common is referred to as a tieback procedure where the surgeon actually ties the larynx open with a suture.

Is it safe to use over the counter flea and tick products?

First thing a consumer needs to know about over the counter flea and tick products is that many of them are toxic to cats and other types of animals.  So if you have cats or other pets, it would be advisable to stay away from any products that warn about toxicities to other animals. These products are often topical so they can get on the other pets if they were to contact the dog that is being treated. Second, these products do not have the same active ingredient as the veterinary regulated ones. This means that they may not work as well. Some of them have compounds that just deter the pest and do not distribute evenly throughout the body. Lastly, some of the active ingredients are not as safe as the veterinary regulated products because there has not been as much testing on them. The package may say safe but that is not a guarantee with these products. Animal safety regulation is not as rigid as with human health. Your safest bet is to purchase the products that are veterinary regulated.  They may cost a little more but you get what you pay for.

My dog has bad breath. What should I do?

Bad breath in dogs is often caused by the same problems that cause bad breath in humans. Build up of tartar and plaque is the most common reason for bad breath in dogs. However, there are more serious causes such as tooth infections, mouth cancers, and metabolic diseases. For tooth decay prevention it is recommended that your dog sees the veterinarian annually for a check up and possible dental cleaning. You can also purchase certain types of foods and treats that are designed to help with tartar build up. Some dogs can be trained to allow you to brush their teeth daily. There are also mouth washes similar to human products that can be added to their drinking water. If your dog does have bad teeth, it is advisable to see your veterinarian to make sure there is not a more serious problem. Your veterinarian could also help in guidance with tooth health maintenance.

“My Dog Has Ticks.”

Ticks are not just a nuisance because they are unsightly to look at but they also carry diseases. Dogs can catch many diseases from ticks that can be life threatening. Lyme disease is one of the better known tick diseases. Ticks can also cause whole body paralysis just from being attached to the dog. The best way to deal with a tick problem is to keep the yard trimmed. Ticks like tall grass. The yard should also be sprayed with pesticides that will prevent ticks. All dogs should be given tick preventative.  Any ticks seen on a dog should be removed.  Make sure to remove the tick by grabbing the head and pulling it from the skin. If you grab the tick by the body you may leave the head still in the skin. This could potentially lead to an infection. If your dog acts sick with lethargy, decreased appetite, pain etc. I would contact your veterinarian and tell them about the tick problem.

My dog is drinking and urinating a lot. What should I do?

Excessive drinking and urinating is referred to as polydipsia and polyuria, respectively. Often times these clinical signs are associated with abnormal hormonal regulation.  There are simple tests such as a blood chemistry that can diagnose the problem.  If your dog is exhibiting these signs consistently you should visit your local veterinarian for blood work. Untreated, these medical conditions can cause serious health problems. Diagnosed early, simple medications can correct the problem and avoid expensive hospital stays in the future.