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How do I know if my dog is sick?

There are many signs that can make a careful owner suspect that his dog is not in the best of health. Bright eyes, decreased appetite, lack of energy or sudden aggressiveness should be a warning sign, but they are not the only signs that should be considered. No symptom should be overlooked, as in some cases they may be caused by a serious illness. It is therefore important to spot them as soon as possible in order to consult the veterinarian so that the dog can be treated as soon as possible.

Sick dog: signs to spot

The dog is flat: he who usually seems to be on springs has not left his bed for a few days. He doesn't even want to see his owner and even seeks solitude. It is not very reassuring.

He complains and moans regularly: there is no doubt that the dog is suffering. If he adopts the position of prayer (front of the body at ground level and hindquarters raised), it means that he has abdominal pain. Regardless of his attitude, as soon as a dog complains, a veterinarian should be consulted without delay to identify the exact cause.

He is convulsing: this may be an epileptic seizure or a sign of intoxication or poisoning. The emergency is absolute.

He has a fever: in the dog a body temperature higher than 39°C is abnormal, and it is not better when it is lower than 38°C.

His breath is unpleasant: halitosis can be a sign of periodontal disease. Halitosis is common in dogs whose teeth are heavily scaled due to poor oral hygiene. The animal must be treated by a specialist in animal dentistry. But bad breath can also be due to a digestive problem.

Coughing: Coughing should never be neglected in dogs because it can be a sign of bronchitis, or even a serious lung or heart problem.

He has digestive problems: these are manifested by bloating, gas, vomiting, diarrhea or recurrent constipation. Be careful if his stools are bloody: you must consult an emergency doctor.

His eyes are shiny or watery and his nose is running: these are signs of illness in the dog that do not go unnoticed and must be taken seriously. Whether it's conjunctivitis or an allergy, he needs to be treated.

Hair falling out, becoming dull or rough, breaking: a change in the appearance and texture of the hair is a sign that the dog is ill. And there are many causes. It is better not to wait to ask a specialist for a diagnosis.

He keeps licking or scratching himself: parasites (fleas, worms, etc.) may be the cause, unless it's an allergy or a skin disease.

He urinates a lot, at least more frequently than before, so much so that he sometimes doesn't have time to ask to go out: many pathologies can lead to an increase in diuresis, such as kidney disease, liver problems and diabetes. We consult the veterinarian as soon as possible if, in addition, we notice blood in his urine.

He drinks a lot. Renal insufficiency and diabetes increase the sensation of thirst considerably.

He has difficulty moving: getting up, walking, changing position are all movements that the dog seems to perform with more and more difficulty. We even notice a limp for some time. Osteoarthritis, herniated disc, dysplasia can be the cause, as well as Lyme disease (transmitted by ticks). It is necessary to consult without delay.

It is important to note that if the dog suddenly becomes aggressive, when it was previously as gentle as a lamb, this is not normal either. Some pathologies impact the behavior of an animal. It is for example the case of a thyroid disorder or the beginning of a deafness.

What to do if you think your dog is sick?

Among all the symptoms described above, some require an emergency consultation. But in all cases, the owner must start by phoning the practitioner's office and give him as much information as possible. To do this, it is necessary to:
  • To take the temperature of his little companion. It is normal if it is between 38 and 39°C. If it's below or above that, it's a sign that the dog is sick.
  • Inspect his mucous membranes. For example, a yellow eye white may indicate a liver problem.
  • Check the skin for any parasites (fleas, lice, ticks) or sores.
  • Weigh the animal to see if it has lost weight.
  • Palpate its abdomen. If the dog has a hard belly or if it seems to be in pain, it could be a sign of a transit problem but not only.
You should also be able to tell the veterinarian if there is blood in the dog's stool or urine, which is not a good sign. The slightest symptom that persists for more than 24 or 36 hours warrants a consultation.

During these different manipulations, it is important to reassure your pet, to avoid any brusqueness in order not to hurt him. It is also important to be careful because a dog that is suffering can have an unpredictable reflex, such as biting its owner, to whom it is very attached.

The Cursinu, dog of Corsican origin

The Cursinu, a dog of Corsican origin specialized in guarding, herding and hunting, is admired for its power, its rustic style and its brindle fawn coat which gives it its primitive air. This breed also makes a wonderful companion dog by bringing joy of living, loyalty, affection and constancy.

Characteristics of the Cursinu

The Cursinu has a robust appearance with a body type of medium line and a powerful musculature while being devoid of any heaviness. A female measures between 46 and 55 cm and weighs between 20 and 25 kg while a male is between 46 and 58 cm for a weight of 23 to 28 kg. The head has a flat skull with thin lips, large nose and a slightly accentuated stop. The rather thin muzzle looks like a truncated pyramid. The cheeks are muscular and dry. Concerning the eyes, they are of oval shape and reveal a dark brown or hazel color. The ears are triangular and of medium length. They can be drooping or semi-drooping, but always set high. The Cursinu can be recognized by its short or medium-length and particularly dense coat that takes on a brindle color. The standard accepts all shades of fawn. The extremities of the body and the chest can also show white spots.

History of the Cursinu breed

The Cursinu is not a recent breed. On the contrary, it would exist since the 16th century in Corsica. In spite of its ancient origin, the dog will however be recognized only in 2003. Around the 20th century, the Cursinu population started to decline because of a marked infatuation for continental breeds. Fortunately, the situation changed around 1980. The breed regained its letters of nobility thanks to its aptitudes in hunting foxes, wild boars and hares. There was even a time when it was used as a warrior dog. Thanks to its fame, it gave birth to the Association of safeguarding of the Cursinu. In its native island, this breed is considered as a living heritage.

Living conditions and behavior of the Cursinu

The Cursinu is distinguished above all by its versatility, which has earned it its success. It can very well take on the role of guard dog, hunting dog or pet dog. It is a proud animal, but of a great fidelity towards its Masters. Docile and calm, it has a balanced temperament and is lively, dynamic and valiant. It can cohabit very well with other animals provided that it has been accustomed to them from a very young age. Moreover, it gets along wonderfully with the children. Young children, however, should not be left alone with the dog because of its strength. As it is a hunting dog, it needs freedom. Allow two hours of daily outings for its well-being.

Nutrition and main health problems of the Cursinu

Cursinu owners will be happy to know that this dog is of unparalleled robustness and does not develop any specific pathology. As long as he is properly fed and gets enough exercise, he can live between 11 and 14 years, which is his life expectancy.

The Azawakh, Sahelian greyhound

The Azawakh, also known as the Tuareg Sighthound, Azawagh or Oska, has a long, slender physique that leaves no doubt that it belongs to the sighthound family. In addition to its atypical appearance, you will appreciate its affectionate and docile character. This dog will make you live good moments in family.

Characteristics of the Azawakh

The Azawakh is distinguished by its athletic, muscular and fine appearance that it borrows from its congeners, namely the Saluki or the Sloughi. Proud and elegant, this dog measures between 60 and 74 cm and weighs between 15 and 25 kg. Thanks to its long legs, it is able to reach the speed of a gazelle of 40 km/h with top speeds of 60 km/h. The Azawakh is recognizable by its dry, thin, long and chiseled head topped by an elongated skull, a black or brown nose with open nostrils, flat cheeks and strong jaws. Its large eyes are dark to amber and almond-shaped. The triangle-shaped ears with rounded tips are all slender, carried drooping and flat. The neck is arched, fine, long and muscular. The hair of fine texture is short. The belly is almost devoid of it. The coat can be of different shades of fawn and have white markings at the ends.

History of the Azawakh breed

The Azawakh has ancient origins. It has been known for thousands of years. An African sighthound of Afro-Asian model, it comes from the Sahara regions. It develops more in the Azawakh valley located at the border of Niger and Mali. This dog was used to hunt ostriches, gazelles or hares by the desert nomads, as a pet dog as well as a defense and guard dog. Its introduction in Europe is recent since it was made only 20 years ago. In 1981, its official recognition at the international level was effective.

Necessary living conditions and behavior of the Azawakh

Even if it is still not widespread in France, the Azawakh knows a certain success with the connoisseurs thanks to its multiple qualities. It is an affectionate and soft animal which is also close to its Masters. A life with children is possible provided that they learn to respect him. In this case, the Azawakh will be kind. In addition, it can very well act as a watchdog since it is both vigilant and attentive. He is also suspicious of strangers. Given its origins of hunting dog, it will have to evolve in the great spaces. In terms of education, its independence may complicate the learning process. As it is sensitive, it must be educated with softness and patience. One thing is sure: this dog is not made for inexperienced owners.

Diet and main health problems of the Azawakh

The Azawakh can live up to 12 years. It is a robust animal that has been spared the genetic manipulations of man. Therefore, it is preserved from hereditary diseases. On the other hand, it does not tolerate the cold and prefers the typical heat of the hot Saharan regions. Its food as for her has nothing specific. It is enough to avoid the excess of proteins.

Homemade recipes for your dog: what foods to include? Recipe ideas

You don't have to buy ready-made food for your dog. You can prepare your dog's meals at home, as long as you know exactly what foods to include in the various preparations. The challenge is to perfectly meet the needs of the animal's body. Cooking for your dog is also an excellent idea because it's a change from the eternal kibbles. Motivated owners can find here some ideas for tasty and balanced recipes for their little companion.

Preparing your dog's meals yourself: what's the point?

Not so long ago, most dog owners used to make their own meals for their little companions. At most, they bought a few treats specially prepared for their pets.

There are some real benefits to preparing food for your four-legged friend. For example, we can see that homemade dog food is tastier than commercial food, and that it can be perfectly balanced if we take care to adapt the menus and the rations to the needs of the animal according to its breed, its sex, its age and its lifestyle. Moreover, the specific recipes for dogs are not very complicated to make and it doesn't take much time as long as you are used to this type of preparation.

This is the best way to know exactly what your pet eats, to control each ration and to limit the risk of overweight. Let's not forget that some breeds of dogs are particularly prone to this.

Finally, the notion of pleasure is not to be neglected. Your dog will enjoy the recipes prepared by his owner much more than a bowl of kibble or a can of dog food. Ideally, you should get your pet used to homemade recipes as soon as possible so that he is not totally dependent on industrial food.

Foods to include in homemade recipes for dogs

Homemade recipes for your dog are limited to a few well-chosen ingredients so that each ration respects the recommended daily intake, namely
  • Fresh vegetables (no canned vegetables) and why not Organic: rich in water and fiber, they help fight against constipation. Moreover, they are well supplied with vitamins. Green beans, zucchini, carrots and leeks are preferred. They can be offered raw or cooked but they must be mixed. Be careful not to give your dog vegetables that ferment, as is the case with all those from the cruciferous family (all kinds of cabbage).
  • Cereals: they provide essential carbohydrates. They must always be perfectly cooked. The best solution is to give your dog rice because it is easy to digest. It is important to avoid all gluten-rich cereals because, as in humans, some dogs are intolerant and can be affected by many symptoms.
  • Protein-rich foods: A dog needs an adequate source of protein. You can therefore vary the pleasures by giving him lean meat, fish or even egg whites, as long as they are raw.
  • A little vegetable oil: the right dose is 2 tablespoons per day for a dog weighing 50 kg, 1 tablespoon if it weighs 25 kg or ½ tablespoon if its weight does not exceed 11 kg. We choose an oil extracted by first cold pressure, of the sunflower, rapeseed, grape seed or corn type.
A few straws of brewer's yeast: brewer's yeast is one of the perfect food supplements for dogs because it supplements their daily diet with vitamin B and maintains their intestinal microbiota.

To give your dog a well-balanced diet, it should be composed of one third fresh vegetables, one third rice and one third protein-rich food, all subtly sprinkled with a little vegetable oil. To avoid mineral, trace element and vitamin deficiencies, an adapted supplementation can be given to him on the advice of the veterinarian.

Respecting your dog's rations

The quantity of food per ration should be sufficient but never excessive. We recommend more or less 30 g of food per kilo, i.e:
  • 180 g for a dog of 6 kg,
  • 450 g for a dog of 15 kg,
  • 900 g for a dog of 30 kg,
  • Between 2000 and 2200 g for a dog weighing 80 kg.
Whatever the weight of the ration, it must always contain each type of food in the proportions indicated above. At the same time, the dog must have some physical activity every day. If he spends his life on the couch, it is necessary to reduce his ration. Similarly, the diet of a pregnant or nursing dog must be completely readapted to this period of life. Don't hesitate to ask your veterinarian for nutritional advice to avoid mistakes.

Recipe ideas to treat your dog

As we have seen, homemade food for dogs is limited to a few ingredients. So there's no need to be a Master Chef! Forget about salt, pepper, chili, onion, wine sauce or crepes Suzette with Grand Marnier...

Beef with carrots and zucchini: 1/3 coarsely chopped beef, 1/3 grated raw carrots, 1/6 sticky rice, 1/6 cooked zucchini mashed, 1 drizzle of sunflower oil, 1 pinch of beer yeast flakes.

Chicken and chicken mishmash with rice and green beans: 1/6 of potted chicken meat, 1/6 of sautéed chicken fillet, 1/3 of well-cooked rice, 1/3 of green beans, 1 dash of corn oil.

Egg vegetable pie: 1/3 leek fondue, 1/3 carrots, 1/3 rice, 1 or 2 raw egg whites. Mix the egg whites with the various vegetables and grains to make a small terrine and sprinkle it with beer yeast flakes.

Pork and vegetable stir-fry: 1/3 lean pork (roast or rack), 1/6 green beans, 1/6 semi-cooked carrots, 1/6 rice cooked in meat stock.

Tuna and zucchini with rice: 1/3 natural tuna or fresh tuna cooked in court-bouillon, 1/3 steamed zucchini slices, 1/3 rice cooked with rapeseed oil.

Duck and chicken terrine with rice and green beans: 1/6 duck, 1/6 chicken, 1/3 rice, 1/3 green bean purée.

Be careful not to give the skin of poultry to your dog because it contains a large amount of fat. Chicken and turkey are very common meats served to dogs, but it is possible to include beef, pork, duck, lamb, rabbit and even kangaroo in their meals.

Whatever meat you choose, it is imperative to remove the fat from the pieces you wish to cook for your dog, because if your dog needs protein, it should not be full of fat! When buying meat, you should ask about its fat content, knowing that it varies according to the piece of meat. To avoid making a mistake, simply ask the butcher for advice. After a few weeks of practice, the dog's owner should know everything about this subject.

Why does my dog have bad breath?

Bad breath (or halitosis) in dogs is a recurring problem that can be caused by a number of different things. The most common is poor oral hygiene. But it can also be related to digestive problems or even to an extremely serious pathology. When a foul odor or an ammonia smell comes from the mouth of his dog, the owner must take him to the veterinarian without delay.

Main cause of bad breath in dogs: dental plaque

As with humans, a lack of dental hygiene in dogs leads to the proliferation of bacteria that first form an orange-colored film on the teeth. After some time without hygiene, this layer thickens until tartar forms more and more. However, under this dental plaque, bacteria continue to multiply and end up colonizing the oral cavity of the animal, which can lead to :
  • A bacterial infection,
  • A loosening of the teeth,
  • A wound on the mucous membrane,
  • An inflammation of the gums,
  • Tooth loss.
The lack of dental hygiene can really lead to serious problems like periodontal disease. This is why we can only insist to dog owners: if the teeth of their pets are very scaly, no negligence is allowed. Scaling is necessary. To do this, they can contact a specialist in animal dentistry.

Other causes of bad breath in dogs

If the owner takes care to regularly look after the good oral health of his little companion, halitosis can have another origin than dental plaque. It can for example be :
  • Rhinitis,
  • Sinusitis,
  • Temporary digestive problems such as
    • A problem of intestinal transit which can lead to moderate constipation, flatulence, abdominal swelling,
    • A difficult digestion.
  • Severe constipation,
  • An inflammation of the intestine,
  • Kidney failure,
  • Diabetes,
  • A cancer.
If the dog is suffering from a disease, as a general rule, the dog presents various symptoms that can alert its owner. It can be for example a loss of appetite, vomiting, general fatigue, intense thirst. At the slightest doubt, do not waste time and consult a veterinarian. After an auscultation, additional tests (blood tests, urine analysis, X-rays, scans, etc.) may be necessary to allow the veterinarian to make a precise diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Maintaining your dog's teeth to avoid bad breath

In order to avoid a dog's breath being repulsive, it is imperative to brush the teeth of your little companion with :
  • A toothpaste for canines,
  • A soft brush or a fingernail that can be bought in pharmacies or at the veterinarian's office.
The correct frequency for brushing a dog's teeth is two or three times a week. In order for the animal to accept being brushed by its owner, it is necessary to get it used to it from a young age.

Cookies, chewing strips and leather bones: are they effective against halitosis in dogs?

In addition to brushing, or every day if the dog does not want to be brushed, you can give your dog special cookies, chew strips or even a leather bone. Their role is to limit the formation of dental plaque, which is the main cause of bad breath in dogs, because when chewed for a while, they rub all the surfaces of the teeth and remove tartar.

However, be careful not to overuse the strips, because some dogs do not chew them at all but swallow them as they are. In this case, they are of no use for their teeth and even have an annoying tendency to promote obesity in dogs because they are quite caloric.

Some veterinarians recommend dry food, which is the case with kibbles that are slightly abrasive. By chewing them, the animal limits tartar formation. But this is not enough to keep teeth healthy. In fact, there is no reason why you shouldn't consult a specialist at least once or twice a year to check your dog's oral health. The veterinarian can take advantage of this routine visit to perform a scaling if necessary. This surgical act is far from trivial because it implies that the dog is anesthetized.

The Scottish Terrier, a so british dog

The Scottish Terrier can be recognized by its particular features, with its "so british" aspect, its stylized physique, its great intelligence and its expressiveness. This breed is full of energy and has a strong character, which can be discouraging for those new to dog training.

Characteristics of the Scottish Terrier

The Scottish Terrier has a medium size measuring between 25 and 28 cm for a weight of 8.5 kg to 10.5 kg. It is attributed a massive physique without excess. Its body was cut to be able to easily interfere in the burrows. Moreover, to make it possible, the dog develops flexibility and power. The legs are short and covered with long hair. One thing is sure: the silhouette of this dog is out of the ordinary. It is also impossible not to recognize it by its head with the unusual shape. Indeed, it is long and is adorned with a beard and full eyebrows. The eyes are sunken and small while revealing an almond shape. Pointed and erect, the ears are narrow, of small size and close together. The coat is long and waterproof. It is matched by a dense undercoat that provides effective protection against low temperatures. The coat can be sandy, brindle or black.

History of the Scottish Terrier breed

Apparently, this dog would have very old origins, going back to the Roman time more precisely. However, its history is still a source of uncertainty. Some say that it would rather have appeared in the Highlands and would be the result of a cross between the aberdeen terrier (which does not exist any more nowadays) and the cairn terrier. The Scottish Terrier was highly prized for its ability to hunt small pests. It was used to track badgers and otters among others. This dog also had the power to track foxes. If in Great Britain, the Foundation of the Scottish terrier club was born in 1883, it will be necessary to wait until 1950 for the first breedings to start in France.

Necessary living conditions and behavior of the Scottish Terrier

Under its airs of old English colonel, the Scottish Terrier is neither communicative nor expansive. He has a distant behavior that can discourage many people. It is a dog with the reputation of being independent which can very well remain alone. He has a strong character which complicates his education, especially since he does not appreciate that we impose things to him. In parallel to these few defects, it is also an animal which has qualities. It is bold, robust, courageous and attached to its masters. We attribute to him a lot of dynamics and especially, a sharp intelligence. One of its advantages is that it can live in the city in an apartment, provided that it can spend time.

Diet and main health problems of the Scottish Terrier

The Scottish Terrier is one of the few dogs, if not the only one, to suffer from "Scottish cramp". This is a central nervous system disorder that causes difficulty in walking. It is also important to watch out for demodecique scabies which causes skin lesions. Another thing: as it is a dog predisposed to overweight, it is advised to establish its diet with the help of a veterinarian to avoid caloric excess.