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      News — Health and Wellness

      When the Canine Flu hits home

      When the Canine Flu hits home

      The unthinkable happened to me this spring...a severe outbreak of the canine flu virus (H3N2) and my dogs were right in the cross hairs.  I've written on the canine flu in the past, never thinking it would actually happen to me, but it did.

      Tristan with the canine flu

      Tristan not feeling so good with the canine flu :(


      All three of my dogs participate in canine sports, so they all regularly attend class, competition and travel events.  Nate, our youngest, is working on his show championship and we set out for the weekend for our first show in a while.  Since we live in Florida, all the shows this time of year are indoors and all the dogs crate up in a central grooming area.  I was staying in a hotel rather than the RV, so for the majority of each day Nate and I were at the show grounds either in the ring, walking around the grounds (when we could stand the heat)! or in the grooming area - which was very close quarters.

      We returned from the weekend on Sunday night and by Monday morning reports were surfacing on social media about dogs who had been at the shows in Perry, GA the weekend before were now starting to get sick...some extremely sick and that it was an outbreak of the canine flu.  I am an active member of my breed club and we all began nervously watching our dogs hoping that none of them would become ill over the next few days.  It was first thought that the incubation period was about 3 - 4 days from exposure.  As the week went on...everyone in my house was fine as were my friends' dogs who were at the competition with me. Although more and more dogs were reporting sick from the shows the Perry shows that were the week before.

      It was the Memorial Day weekend and we were traveling without the dogs, so when we left on Friday afternoon and everyone was good - I figured we were safe.  We came home just after dinner on Sunday and our pet sitter reported that Nate was slow to eat his dinner - which is very unusual for him.  She said he was great a lunch time, and that he ultimately ate his dinner, but just slowly. 

      We got home around 7 and he appeared fine, maybe just a little not feeling good, but otherwise fine.  We settled in for our evening routine and he was okay, just a little sluggish, but I thought he might just have an upset stomach and nothing to worry about.  At around 8:30 I sat down in the chair and he came up to be petted and I could tell he really didn't feel good at all.  His little eyes were closed and he made a little noise that let me know he was not feeling good at all.  I called the sitter again to see if she noticed anything he got into, anything he ate in the yard etc... and while I was talking to her on the phone he all of a sudden gave a deep cough and had yellow mucous coming out of his nose!

      I knew immediately what it was...and off to the Emergency Vet we went.  We had to wait in the parking lot and they sent a vet tech out to pick him up and carry him in.  It is so so contagious that they did not want him infecting other patients or the office.  It came up on him very quickly and quite severely.  He is a young and healthy boy, and after antibiotics, fluids, cough medicine and a very rough first night, he turned around and was just sick but not in critical condition for the next 10 days.  And then began the wait for Biddy and Tristan to get sick....and sure enough by Friday they were both coughing and both sick.

      Everyone is healthy now but it was a long couple of weeks with three sick dogs in the house.  I felt very fortunate that none of my dogs were critically ill as so many others were. 


      So it begs the question...do you vaccinate for the canine flu?  My thoughts?  It depends and talk to your vet.  I learned a lot, a lot, a lot about this virus over my extended time up close and personal with it. 

      I found the best resource to be the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital site on canine influenza.  They are at the forefront of the outbreak in both treatment and research.  They are also providing guidance to veterinarians on how to treat and handle the outbreak - so a trusted site. 

      To Vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

      The vaccine is probably not for everyone, but if your one of those people like I am that participates in canine sports - you should probably have that discussion with your vet.  If you board your dog a lot or he goes regularly to a doggie day care...you should also have that discussion with your vet to see if it is appropriate.  Typically, a healthy dog will become sick but just like a human, get better from a bout with the canine flu.  It is the very old, compromised, and very young that are at the greatest risk.  So your risk is not so much how will your young dog fair, but how will your senior dog that you brought it home to fair? 

      So...if you and your dog participate is some of these lifestyle activities:

      •  Dog Shows
      • Agility Events
      • Obedience/Rally events
      • Regular Boarding/day care

      It might be worth  your time to educate yourself on the virus, the transmission periods, how to prevent it through vaccination and how to prevent it through behaviors.  Happy Reading and stay healthy!!!

      (And yes..after we all recovered fully we got the first dose of the vaccine.  Next week we will get our booster and we will not be returning to competition until September!) 

      We are taking the summer off and training at home.  I have set some pretty specific goals for Biddy, Tristan and Nate...stay tuned for how we do at the end of the summer!

      Can your dog get the flu?

      Dog rests in bed


      Spring is almost here and you've made it through flu season, but can your dog get the flu?

      Well, it turns out that dogs CAN get the flu. There really isn't any evidence to suggest that we can get the canine influenza virus from our dogs, but there is some evidence to suggest that our dogs can get the flu from us. I did not know that!

      The typical symptoms of canine influenza (H3N8) - a low fever, persistent cough, runny nose and just not feeling good are common symptoms, so you would need to take your dog to the vet to determine if indeed they did have the flu. While the canine flu isn't highly dangerous to your dog, it should be treated immediately by your vet so that it doesn't further develop into pneumonia or other serious infection. Once diagnosed, treatment is pretty much the same as it is for human flu - rest and fluids unless a bacterial infection develops, then antibiotics would be prescribed.

      There is a canine flu vaccine available - however, you should discuss this with your vet as to whether or not it is appropriate for your dog. Certain areas of the country have a higher incidence of the flu virus, as well as dogs that are exposed to certain conditions. So check with your vet to see if it is right for your dog. I

      n the meantime....Biddy and Tristan will be getting fewer kisses over the next few days until we are 100% and I will be watching them both to make sure they aren't showing any symptoms. Good to know...watch where you are taking your dog during flu season and who they come in contact with.

      In Pet Therapy we always gave the dogs a quick wipe down with a sani-wipe after leaving nursing homes etc...might not be a bad idea to practice after all of our outings. I'm going to miss nuzzling with my two favorite pink noses for a few days...

      Tips for staying Flu-free

      1. Limit your dog's exposure to other dogs during flu season - a few less times at the dog park, dog show or class

      2. Practice good hygiene - use sanitizing wipes on your dogs paws and coat after potentially being exposed

      3. If you are sick...follow the same guidelines, good hygiene and limit your "nose-to-nose" contact with your dog.

      4. If you suspect the flu - take your dog in to see the vet right away so that it doesn't develop into anything more serious.

      5. Consider the vaccine if your think your dog is in a high risk situation

      Keep your dog and yourself in shape this winter with these easy exercises

      Previously posted by Kathryn Durno on 4knines blog


      How to stay fit in the winter time… a few easy exercises for you and your dog!

      Keeping your dog fit this winter


      Let’s face it, when it is dark, cold and wet outside you don’t want to go out and play. But your dog? He’s ready for adventure and has energy to burn, so there has to be a happy medium, right?

      During the winter months it is hard to get in the same level of physical activity for your dog, which can lead to weight gain or worse yet destructive behavior. Here are a few fast and easy games to play with your dog to burn off some mental and physical energy when it is too cold to play outside.

      I use my dog’s regular morning and evening kibble to do their training exercises. We follow that principal that they have to “work for their food” at both meals. This takes a little more time and effort on your part beyond just setting the food bowl down in front of your dog. Once you both get used to this routine (it takes a few days!) you will both enjoy this time together and you will be amazed how quickly your dog will learn some new behaviors.

      You will need to find something to serve as a platform for your dog to step up on. If you want to go out and buy something there are several brands of canine fitness equipment out there. Or you could just go to the yoga section of your local sporting goods store and get a small inflatable balance disc. They are about 12 – 15 inches in diameter and you can use it too! You can also just use something around the house that is an easy step up for your dog. For a small dog just 1-2 inches, medium size dogs about 4-5 inches and a large dog about 6-8 inches. This could be a large book, a wood block, a box etc.

      Clicker: I am also a clicker trainer and find this is the easiest way to teach a new behavior. Once your dog understands that the Clicker means Yes! You did it! You will be able to quickly train them new behaviors with your clicker.



      Step Up

      You want to teach your dog to step up onto a platform with both front paws. You are teaching front end awareness and working on their core – especially if you are using a balance disc. Just a few reps of step up onto their platform. Mix it up with asking for alternating paws once they get up there or a high 5. Remember to reward at every step up and paw touch.

      Put Your Rear On

      This is just like Step Up, but instead of putting their two front paws on, you are asking for their two rear paws, front feet on the floor. This one is a real challenge for some dogs. This teaches rear end awareness and rear strength. Often as our dogs get older, they lose their hind end strength. Start now and work on this rear end awareness and strength! You may need to help your dog by placing their rear paws on your platform item, then clicking and treating until they understand. This is a hard one but so worth it in the long run if you can teach this. You can also mix this up with asking for a front paw or high 5 once they master it.


      This really two exercises. Try it first with both front paws on the platform, then once your dog gets really good, rear paws on the platform.

      Front paws on, ask your dog to pivot, by moving around the clock. You will need to start with one step at a time. Keeping their front paws in place, moving both back legs around. Lots of rewards, and move around with your dog, and they will “get it” so that they can eventually end up making a full 360 degree pivot around their platform with their rear legs. Make sure they don’t step off the platform with their front paws.

      Once your dog masters this… it is time to try it with their rear on, moving their front legs around “the clock”. This one is really tough and a big challenge for your dog. Keep those rewards coming for even the first step!

      We always use this time to practice our “Push-Ups” (Sit, Down, Stand) and Sit Pretty (Up on haunches in the “Beg” position) repetitions to build out rear and core strength.

      Dogs love to work – especially for food. So take advantage of it and take the time to give them a mental and physical workout twice day… your dog thanks you!

      Dog Mamma's Organic Treats Achieves Non-GMO Project Verification

      Dog Mammaʼs, LLC is proud to announce all three flavors of their oven-baked dog treats have received verification from the Non-GMO Project, North Americaʼs only third-party verification for non-GMO food and products.


      Non-GMO Project Verified


      The verified flavors are Pumpkin Snaps, Butternut Kale Bites and Berry Banana Coco Chunk.

      “Dog Mammaʼs is pleased to receive our Non-GMO Project verification. Since our inception we have been committed to using only the highest quality ingredients in our treats. Achieving Non-GMO Project Verification further demonstrates our commitment to transparency and the right to know what is in the treats we feed our dogs. We are proud to display the iconic butterfly label on our brands and offer our customers the right to choose treats that do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).”, said Kathryn Durno, President and Founder of Dog Mammaʼs LLC.

      At Dog Mammaʼs we believe what we feed our dogs does matter to their health and well being; and we believe in the right to know what is in our petʼs food. A short, simple list of whole foods. These are the only ingredients you will ever find in our treats. Nothing artificial, no additives, preservatives or chemicals....what we like to call intentional treating. And now, proudly offering Non-GMO Project verified treats on all three flavors: Pumpkin Snaps, Butternut Kale Bites and Berry Banana Coco Chunk.

      Our delicious treats are made with only the finest, human-grade 100% organic ingredients. Youʼll only find healthy choices such as brown rice flour, coconut flour, chia seeds, flax seeds, raw coconut oil and spices that make up the base of our cookies. Combined with super foods such as Pumpkin, Kale, Butternut Squash, Blueberries, Bananas, Carrots and Coconuts - every bite in each tasty recipe is packed full of beneficial fruits and vegetables that dogs love.

      Dog Mammaʼs LLC has been making our oven baked treats since 2012. We are dog lovers....plain and simple. We are a family-run business and our small batch treats are proudly Made in the USA. We believe in deliciously simple, sustainable eating for ourselves and our pets. We believe in the right to know what is in our food and what is in our petʼs food and treats. We are proud to offer our customers an informed choice. Proudly Made in the USA