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Is Your Dog Bouncing Off the Walls, This Could Be Why

liver dog treats

HuffPo: If your canine companion is tightly wound, wired, has no desire (ever) to settle down, relax, regroup, you probably refer to him as being hyperactive or suffering from ADHD. But even though the term is widely used in our society today, the actual clinical syndrome of hyperactivity is rare in canines.
It’s probably more accurate to label most dogs who are hyperactive as hyperkinetic. These dogs don’t ever seem to get used to the normal sights, sounds, and smells of their environment. They overreact to ordinary stimuli in their everyday lives. They seem unable to rest, no matter how quiet the surroundings or comfy the bedding.

Clinically Hyperactive/Hyperkinetic Dogs are Rare

Veterinarians generally agree that most symptoms of hyperactivity as described by the dogs’ owners, upon closer inspection, are the result of breed characteristics, conditioned behavior, lack of appropriate physical and mental stimulation, or a combination.

In clinical cases of hyperkinesis, the dogs are usually 3 years old or older (well past the age of boundless puppy energy) and haven’t learned to settle down. These dogs typically have increased heart and respiratory rates, poor body condition, reactivity, and agitation. They are emotionally aroused by routine stimuli and often stay in a state of arousal long after the stimuli is removed.

These are the poor dogs who react every single morning to the sound of the blender being turned on. Or when the kids run up or down the stairs to the second floor — no matter how many times a day that happens. Or at the sound of the garbage truck at the curb twice a week, every week.

Abnormal Behavior… or Annoying Behavior?

There’s a big and important difference between canine behavior that is abnormal and behavior that is actually normal given the dog’s circumstances, but undesirable.

Your veterinarian or animal behavior specialist will need a detailed description of your dog’s unwanted behaviors, how often she performs them, and to what degree or intensity.

He’ll also need to know about how much physical and mental activity your pet gets on a daily basis, including exercise, social interaction, playtime and exploration. You’ll also be asked how you and other family members respond to your dog’s undesirable behaviors.

All these factors will have bearing on a dog’s behavior, including whether the pet is alone much of the time, isn’t getting adequate exercise, isn’t obedience trained, has been conditioned through owners’ responses to use physical activity to get attention, or is punished for bad behavior rather than rewarded for good behavior.

If, for example, you notice your dog is much easier to be around after he’s spent an hour out back playing with your children, you can reasonably assume the social interaction and physical energy he expended playing with the kids has a positive effect on his behavior.

Diagnosis of Hyperkinesis

In order to diagnose true clinical hyperkinesis in a dog, a number of other potential causes for the unwanted behavior must be ruled out as well. These include:

• Conditioning (the dog has been rewarded for the undesirable behavior)
Phobias and anxiety disorders
• Territorialism
• Hyperthyroidism, allergies or another medical condition
Cognitive decline

If any of these problems exist, they must be addressed first. If all potential root causes for hyperactive behavior are ruled out, the traditional method for diagnosing hyperkinesis is to observe the dog in a hospital setting.

What to Do If Your Dog Seems Hyperactive

Since only a very small percentage of dogs are clinically hyperkinetic, I recommend you evaluate your dog’s lifestyle from every angle as a first step.

• Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise.
• Provide mental stimulation with puzzles, treat-release toys, hikes and other outdoor activities that appeal to your dog’s natural instincts.
• Focus on desired behaviors your dog performs rather than on what you don’t want him to do. Dogs respond to positive reinforcement behavior modification, which does not include punishment.
• Enroll your dog in an obedience class or an activity that helps him focus, such as K9 nose work.
• Feed your dog a balanced, species-appropriate diet to avoid food intolerances or allergies. Food sensitivity can contribute to restless, hyperkinetic behavior, not to mention less than optimal health.

Once you feel sure the lifestyle you’re providing your pet gives him plenty of outlets for physical activity and mental stimulation, if your furry buddy is still hyperactive more often than not, I recommend making an appointment with your vet.

**Beware Prescription ADD/ADHD medications for humans  which are amphetamines, can cause tremors, heart problems, seizures and death in dogs and cats.**

It’s important at this point to investigate potential underlying physical or emotional causes for your dog’s unwanted behavior.

Dr. Karen Becker is a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian. You can visit her site at: MercolaHealthyPets.com.

If Your Dog Is Bouncing Off the Walls, This Could Be Why… Hyperactive, ADD, ADHD, OCD

August 3, 2014 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets | 1 Comment

Pet Poisons: The Top 10 Suspects for Dogs – And for Cats

Story at-a-glance

  • Earlier in the year, the Pet Poison Helpline released its annual list of most common pet toxins for 2013. For the first time, canine joint supplements made the top 10 list of dog toxins. Fortunately, most dogs who sample too many joint supplements only develop diarrhea, but in rare cases of overdose, liver failure can occur.
  • Other items on the top 10 list of dog toxins included many of the usual suspects: chocolate, raisins and grapes, the sweetener xylitol, human medications, rat poison, and insect bait stations.
  • The most common toxins for cats last year included lilies, plants containing insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, household cleaners, flea/tick spot-on products for dogs, human medications, household insecticides, and glow sticks and glow jewelry.
  • If you know or suspect your pet has ingested or been exposed to a toxic substance, call your veterinarian, a nearby emergency animal hospital, and/or the 24/7 Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680. You can also download the Pet Poison Help iPhone app.

Toxic Pet Food

By Dr. Becker

Earlier this year, the Pet Poison Helpline released the top 10 household items that caused pet guardians to call for poison consultations during 2013.

According to the Helpline’s Associate Director Ahna Brutlag, DVM, the list of cat toxins didn’t change from last year, but a new item made it to the top 10 list for dogs: canine joint supplements. These supplements have "limited toxicity" according to Dr. Brutlag, but a few cases of liver failure following a massive overdose have been reported.

If you know or suspect your pet has ingested or been exposed to a toxic substance, call your veterinarian, a nearby emergency animal hospital, and/or the 24/7 Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680. You can also download their Pet Poison Help iPhone app here.

Top 10 Dog Toxins in 2013

1. Chocolate
Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are both classified as methylxanthines. These compounds can cause hyperactivity, increased heart rate, tremors, and potentially death. The more bitter the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Bakers and dark chocolate are the most toxic, and milk chocolate can be dangerous if ingested in large amounts.

2. Xylitol
Xylitol, a sugar substitute common in sugar-free chewing gum and many other products, can cause life-threatening hypoglycemia and liver damage in dogs.

3. NSAIDs
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil, Motrin and Aleve, can cause GI ulcers and kidney failure.

4. Over-the-counter cough, cold and allergy medications
Many of these preparations contain acetaminophen (a painkiller) and pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine (decongestants) and are highly toxic.

5. Rodenticides
Rat and mouse poison can contain inactive ingredients that are attractive to dogs. Aside from eating the poison itself, dogs can also become sick from eating a rodent that has ingested poison. Exposure to rat and mouse poison can cause bleeding, seizures and kidney damage.

6. Grapes and raisins
These foods, even in small amounts, can cause kidney failure in dogs.

7. Insect bait stations
The danger here is primarily bowel obstruction when a dog swallows the plastic shell that contains the bait.

8. Prescription ADD/ADHD drugs
These drugs are amphetamines that can cause tremors, heart problems, seizures and death in pets.

9. Glucosamine joint supplements
These supplements are often flavored to appeal to dogs. Overdoses usually produce nothing more dangerous than diarrhea, but in rare cases, liver failure can result.

10. Oxygen absorbers and silica gel packs
Oxygen absorbers are found in packages of pet treats, beef jerky, and other consumables, and they contain iron that can cause iron poisoning in dogs. Silica gel packs are the small white packs found in new shoes, purses and backpacks.

Top 10 Cat Toxins in 2013

1. Lilies
The variety of lily determines whether it is relatively harmless or potentially deadly. Non-toxic varieties include the Calla, Peace and Peruvian, and typically cause irritation of the upper GI tract. Toxic lilies — including the Tiger, Asiatic, Stargazer, Casablanca, Rubrum, Day, Japanese Show and Easter lily — can prove deadly for your cat. Just a tiny amount of any portion of these plants can cause kidney failure.

2. Household cleaners
General-purpose cleaners are relatively safe (all-natural products are a much better choice), but concentrated products like drain or toilet bowl cleaners can cause chemical burns.

3. Flea/tick spot-on products for dogs
Never use a canine flea/tick product on your cat. Depending on the ingredients in the product, just a drop has the potential to kill a cat within hours.

4. Antidepressants
Cymbalta and Effexor topped Pet Poison Helpline’s toxic antidepressants list in 2013. For some reason kitties are drawn to these medications, which can cause severe neurologic and cardiac effects.

5. NSAIDs
Cats are more sensitive than dogs to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen. And because kitties are so sensitive, veterinary-specific NSAIDs should be used with extreme caution, if at all.

6. Prescription ADD/ADHD medications
Just as with dogs, these drugs, which are amphetamines, can cause tremors, heart problems, seizures and death in cats.

7. Over-the-counter cough, cold and allergy medications
Many of these preparations contain acetaminophen (a painkiller) and pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine (decongestants). Acetaminophen is especially toxic to cats – it damages red blood cells and causes liver failure.

8. Plants containing insoluble calcium oxalate crystals
Peace lilies, philodendron and pothos can cause oral and upper GI irritation, foaming at the mouth and inflammation when ingested.

9. Household insecticides
If you use insecticides on your indoor plants (which I definitely do not recommend, since they are environmental toxins), make sure to keep your kitty away from plants after application until the products have dried or settled.

10. Glow sticks and glow jewelry
Many cats enjoying gnawing on glow sticks and glow jewelry. These items contain dibutyl phthalate, a chemical that can leak out and burn your cat’s fur and tongue.

Related: 

Pets and Toxic Plants

Deadly Pet Treats Are Still Showing Up In The US After Years Of FDA Investigation… Learn to Make Your Own 

Ditch This Pet Food Now – Can Be Deadly to Your Pets 

Cancer and Your Pet: Two Things to Avoid 

Top 10 Human Medications That Poison Our Pets 

The Dangers of Genetically Modified Ingredients in Pet Food

August 3, 2014 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership | 3 Comments