How to Groom a Poodle

Poodles are known for their interesting haircuts. But grooming a poodle goes beyond cutting its luxurious hair. They need general grooming at least once a week, and a full grooming every 6 to 8 weeks. Here are some tips for keeping your poodle looking its best:

1. Brushing the hair: Brushing out the hair is a standard grooming step for most breeds of dogs. For poodles, you will need metal combs as well as a slicker brush. This is because the poodle has a double coat. There is a protective “guard coat” which covers a shorter “undercoat” layer. Carefully comb through the hair to prevent the cottony undercoat from getting matted. Use the slicker brush to put the finishing touches on this step. If there are mats which are too tough for the regular comb and brush, break them up with a mat rake and splitter. Make sure not to yank or jerk on the dog’s hair too hard, so you don’t hurt him.

2. Check the ears for ear mites. Poodles have a lot of hair in and around the ears, which makes them a big target for ear mites. Sometimes, it is good to trim the hair in a poodle’s ears, in order to minimize this problem.

3. Clean the dog’s teeth. This can be done with a toothbrush using a paste made especially for dogs.

4. Cutting the hair: For, there are special cuts worn by dogs which are participants of shows. These are the types of haircuts people normally think of when they hear the words “poodle cut.” But for regular pet poodles, the “puppy cut” or “lamb cut” is typical.

For a lamb cut, all that is required is to cut the hair the same length all over. It’s easy and neat.
For a show cut, a pattern is cut into the coat. According to Angela Pollock, the most popular pattern is the “kennel clip.” There are, however, several cuts worn by show poodles. Check the rules of the show you are going to be entering to be sure that the pattern you are considering will be accepted by their judges.

When cutting a pattern you are not familiar with, it is a good idea to find a book, website, or video with images of the result you want. That way, you know if your cut is coming out correctly. With a video, you can observe the technique of the dog groomer as the job progresses, but with a book, it is easy to refer back to parts you want to study in more depth. It is probably best to refer to both books and videos to get a full understanding of all the nuances of the procedure.

5. Washing the hair: The type of shampoo you use will depend on things like how oily the dog’s coat is, and what color it is. Poodles are known for being white, but can come in other colors as well. There are shampoos specially made for bringing out the brightness of a white coat, whereas dark coats often do better with cleansers meant to increase the shine. You may also need to use a special product to remove tear stains from around the eyes of white coated animals.

6. Trim the dog’s nails, making sure not to cut into the quick of the nail.

This is a general guide to grooming your poodle yourself. With practice, you should be able to do as well as a professional groomer. I advise that, like with any new thing being learned, that you practice at a time when the result is not crucial — don’t test out your grooming technique for the first time just before a show! Instead, practice when you can be relaxed, and there is time for any initial “beta effect” in your haircutting to grow out. If you keep these things in mind, you should soon be able to do all of your poodle’s grooming yourself with good results.

February 16, 2012
Posted in Pets — Knowledge Buff @ 11:16 PM

How to Get a Boa to Eat Frozen Mice

Of the types of snakes kept as pets, the boa constrictor is the most common. Despite their fearsome reputation among the uninitiated, bolas are actually easy to handle and care for, and are quite docile. Most of them are easy to feed, and will eat defrosted rodents.

Sometimes, though, a boa will prove difficult to train to eat prey. Most of the time, it will be a wild caught specimen which turns out to be the picky eater. This can be very frustrating to a snake owner, but needn’t cause much worry. Like many other kinds of snakes, boa constrictors can go a very long time without eating, provided they are otherwise healthy.

If you are having trouble getting your snake to eat defrosted prey, here are some tips to get it to adapt to this form of food. Of course, make sure to monitor its weight so if it gets too thin you can seek a veterinarian’s advice.

1. Make sure the food is the right size for the snake. All kinds of boas can be fed rodents, but the size of the prey depends on the size of the snake. If a snake is a newborn, it should be fed mice which are also newborn. These mice are day-old, and are known as pinky mice. As a snake grows, the size of the prey needs to be enlarged as well. Progress to small, medium, and large mice, and when the boa is big enough, switch to rats. You can also feed rabbits to a large boa constrictor. All of these types of prey should be of the pre-killed and defrosted variety. The big key is to make sure that the size of the prey is no larger than the growth of the snake. Otherwise, you’re snakes digestive system may be overly strained.

2. Make sure to feed your boa on a regular schedule. This is not measured in hours when it comes to snakes; it is measured in days. A newborn snake should be fed every week, and, for most species, an adult animal needs food every two weeks. The larger the meal, the longer it takes a snake to digest it. Some species, however, have especially slow metabolisms — the Emerald tree boa, for instance, only needs to be fed every 21 days.

3. Practice standard food safety with rodents you defrost. Pinkies and other small mice can be safely sought out at regular room temperature. But larger frozen prey needs to be defrosted in the refrigerator so bacteria doesn’t have a chance to start growing. Put the prey item to be defrosted in a plastic tub, and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. Then, before feeding, warm up the food for a half an hour under a lamp or other heat source. Don’t microwave the prey or it will partly cook it, and snakes need their prey to be completely raw. Do, however, be sure that the prey is completely defrosted before feeding it to the snake.

4. If you’re boa constrictor won’t readily eat the defrosted prey, you’ll need to tempt it. First, simply dry leaving the thawed mouse or other thawed prey in with the snake overnight. If that doesn’t work, try putting the prey and the snake in a plain plastic tub for an hour. If the boa still hasn’t eaten the prey, it’s time to try some simple tricks. Using long forceps, dangle the prey in front of the snake, and give it a little wiggle. You can also drop the rodent into the vivarium, and use a stick to wiggle it. With persistence, this is usually all it will take to get your boa eating thawed-out rodents.

5. If that doesn’t work, it’s time for the bait and switch. Start with a freshly killed mouse which has never been frozen. Use forceps to dangle it and trigger the boa to strike. Once the snake has entered feeding mode, it is much more likely to eat whatever gets in its way, and that’s when you swap in the defrosted rodent. Once you get your boa constrictor to eat one defrosted rodent, it will probably continue to eat them without more problems.

6. If your boa does not fall for the bait and switch, you can just give it a freshly killed rodent and let it actually eat it. Then, if the snake accepts the freshly killed one, give it a defrosted one right after. Then the feeding mode “eat everything” behavior will probably kick in and it will eat the defrosted one, too. If this doesn’t work right away, try holding a defrosted rodent against the fresh kill. This can be all it takes to get the boa to eat both, and again, if you can get your snake to eat one defrosted mouse, it will be easier to get into eat another in the future.

7. If all else fails, you may have to give your boa constrictor live prey. Live prey is to be avoided if possible, because live prey may fight back and hurt your snake. Mice have sharp teeth and claws, and can cause serious injury. This risk, however, is better than having your snake starve to death! If you have to resort to feeding live prey, don’t believe it with your snake for more than 15 minutes, and don’t leave them together unattended. Watch closely, and be ready to take the rodent out of the vivarium quickly if you need to.

By going through the above techniques, you should really get pretty much any boa constrictor to eat, and you can slowly acclimate them to eating defrosted prey. Once you get them to start taking the defrosted rodents, keep them on that food unless it is absolutely necessary to change their diet.

In extremely rare cases, a snake may refuse food despite all of the above methods. If it gets to the point where the boa starts to lose too much weight, it may be necessary to force feed it. This is a very stressful and dangerous method to use, so it should only be done by a veterinarian or other experienced snake keeper (a local herpetology center can recommend one). But with patience, and the above methods, you are very unlikely to have to resort to force feeding your boa constrictor.

February 9, 2012
Posted in Pets — Knowledge Buff @ 9:16 PM

Preparing Found Driftwood for a Fish Aquarium

Driftwood can make a great addition to a fish aquarium, but there are a few things to keep in mind when considering whether to add some. For most people, the easiest way to get driftwood is to buy some. But when looking over the selection at a pet store, you need to make sure the driftwood is meant for a fish aquarium. There are some specimens which look perfect, but are really for reptile aquariums. These reptile-intended pieces may contain chemicals which can severely harm fish.

If you are lucky enough to find a piece of raw driftwood or some root pieces, resist the temptation to just chuck it into the tank. The wood will need to be properly cured to keep it from quickly rotting out.

First, the driftwood will need to be cleaned. Using just a clean brush and water, scrub the driftwood well to remove dirt and debris. Don’t use soap, chemicals, or any other cleaning agent besides plain water, or you may poison the tank.

Once you have cleaned your driftwood, it’s time to get it thoroughly saturated with water, so it won’t float. Some driftwood will naturally remain submerged underwater without further saturation, but some will have to be made waterlogged before it will stay down. Soaking it will also release tannins, so you can’t just stick it in the tank and let it float until it’s waterlogged enough to sink. You’ll need to soak it in a bucket until it’s ready to be placed into your fish tank. It will take between one and two weeks of soaking in the bucket before it’s ready to be added to the aquarium. It’s worth the wait. If, even after thorough soaking and curing, the wood insists on floating anyway, you can tie it down to some rocks in your tank with fishing line. The wood will still need to be cured and soaked before this is done, though.

Driftwood contains tannins which can discolor the water, and a long soak will draw the excess tannins out so you can keep your water cleaner. The tannins will not actually harm your aquarium’s denizens, but they do cause water discoloration and lower the pH a bit, so they are best soaked from the wood before it is placed into the tank. There are some fish, however, which benefit from stained water. These are brightly colored kinds like tetras. If you are keeping these types of fish, you only need to lightly soaked and scrub the pieces of driftwood before adding them to the aquarium. The pH lowering effect can also be a benefit if your water is very hard.

If you want your water to be clear, you’ll need to soak it in your bucket through many changes of water. Every time the water becomes dark, empty the bucket out, rinse your driftwood, and then soak the driftwood in a new batch of water. Make sure you use de-chlorinated water for this soaking. With every change of the bucket water, you’ll notice it is less dark. After the wood has been able to soak for 3 to 4 days without causing significant discoloration, you can finally put it into your fish tank. Keep in mind that it may still cause some slight discoloration to your tank’s water. Filtering the water with activated carbon will clear that up.

If you want to speed up the process, as well as sterilizing your driftwood, you can boil it. If you use large enough pot, the tannins will leach out faster. You only have to boil it for one to two hours to sterilize it, but it may need some more soaking (in non-boiling water) to remove all the tannins.

Now that your driftwood is ready, you can start decorating your aquarium. If the tank is already inhabited, a good time to do it is when you change water. Just put the driftwood into your aquarium and then refill it. To make an aged look, you can tie some Java moss or Java fern to the wood with monofilament line. Once the plants grow into the driftwood, you can untie them.

With patience you can make the driftwood look as if it belongs in the tank, and have clear water for your fish to swim in as well.

Posted in Pets — Knowledge Buff @ 9:14 PM

Caring for a Pet Ball Python

Ball pythons, also known as Royal pythons in Europe, get their name for their tendency to curl up and put their heads in the center of the ball when they are nervous. They are a crepuscular species, which means they like to be active at dusk and at dawn. Their native regions of the forest in areas of western and central Africa. They like to go both up in trees and on the ground.

These snakes are gentling curious, a trait of most pythons. This makes them a species which is sought after as pets. It is best to buy a python born in captivity if you are looking for a pet. But if you can’t get a captive born one, go for a juvenile which is feeding well, or failing that, a healthy adolescent or adult snake. To try to determine the health of your perspective pet, look for one with firm clear skin, a rounded body, clear eyes, and clean vents. It should flick its tongue actively when it’s handled.

For your Ball python’s new home, you’ll need a glass tank with a hinged glass top and a fixed screen. Snakes are great a escaping from an enclosure, and Ball pythons are not only clever but also powerful in their breakout attempts. For a hatchling, you’ll need a 10 gallon glass tank, a young adult will need a 20 gallon tank, and a full-grown adult needs a 30 gallon tank. You should have the tank ready before you buy your snake.

When selecting a bedding, also known as the substrate, you can start with simple paper towels. These can be easily replaced and removed when soiled. It also allows you to easily monitor the feces of your new snake, as well as making it easier to find mites. If your Ball python is imported, checking these things is especially important.

Once your Ball’s python is established in his new home, use fir bark or shredded cypress as the substrate. You’ll need to keep a close eye on the shavings. When the shavings get dirty or wet, immediately switch them for new shavings to keep bacteria and fungus from starting to grow. Never use pine shavings or aspen, because these can lines into your snakes mouth as it eats, and cause it serious problems.

Make sure your Ball python has a hiding spot. If it can’t hide it will feel exposed and vulnerable, which obviously would cause the snake to be very stressed. A half log bought from a pet store is a natural looking item which will serve as a good hiding place. But, an upside down opaque plastic container or even an empty cardboard box will do.

Ball pythons need warm temperatures. The vivarium should be between 80 and 85°F during the day, and dropped to between 73 and 75°F at night. This can be achieved with reptile heating pads, or you can use incandescent lights which are enclosed in that own porcelain reflective hoods. But never use a hot rock, because Ball pythons are easily burned.

Humidity is another consideration which must be attended to. You’ll need a hygrometer to check the humidity. Make the normal humidity 50%. When the snake is in the process of shedding, it needs even more humidity — between 60 and 65%. Once the snake’s eyes are clear again (the eyes become cloudy when shedding starts), you can give your snake a warm bath and it will finish shedding in about a day.

Always make sure to keep a bowl of fresh water in the tank. Hatchlings can be fed with 10-day-old mice, and larger Ball pythons can get pinkie rats or pre-killed mice.

If properly cared for, a Ball python can live for many years.

Posted in Pets — Knowledge Buff @ 9:11 PM

Bobcats As Pets

Do you like cats, but want a kind that isn’t just a regular house cat? If you are looking for an exotic species, you may have thought of getting a bobcat. Before you go and get yourself one of these somewhat large wild cats, there are a few things you should know about them.

A bobcat can seem like it could be made into a pet easier than other wildcats because of its relatively small size. They’re far smaller than lions and tigers, but a fair bit bigger than a housecat at 25 to 35 pounds for the males. Adding to the attraction is the fact that they are quite nice looking cats with a yellowish brown to a reddish brown coat which has contrasting dark streaks. However, it is important to remember that these are actually wild animals.

Due to their wild status, not all areas allow them to be owned. So the first thing you need to check out, before going further, is whether your locale allows bobcats to be owned by regular people.

Once you have determined that it is legal to own a bobcat where you are, it is time to consider whether you can provide a proper environment for the feline. This environment needs to be safe not only for the cat, but for you and your belongings. Bobcats normally range a couple of kilometers per cat. Therefore, you’ll need to provide it with plenty of roaming space in your location. Bobcats also mark their territory by spraying and by depositing feces. This will give them an instinctual need to try to spray up what every area they consider their own, and most likely defecate there, too. If this happens to be in your house, too bad! It’s theirs now! Bobcats can also be very damaging to furniture just by jumping on it. Their rough play can also cause destruction even when they don’t intend on it.

Due to the aforementioned difficulties in keeping a bobcat indoors, it is usually best to build a large enclosure outside for them to live in. But this can’t be just a repurposed dog kennel, because bobcats are much more agile and much better at getting out of enclosures than most dogs or even house cats are. On top of being great climbers, bobcats are also great diggers. Therefore, you will not only have to make your enclosure dig proof, you’ll need to make the top so it cannot be climbed out of. If you do decide to keep a bobcat indoors, make sure you are prepared for their high energy, larger size, and increased potential for destructiveness.

It is expensive to feed a bobcat because they are meat eaters. Even though some bobcat owners have been known to resorting to feeding their bobcat fresh roadkill, meat still needs to be purchased most of the time. This isn’t just a simple little McDonald’s burger-sized piece of meat either — we’re talking whole chickens, including the feathers! Even with this amount of meat, the wildcat will need daily supplements which are made especially for exotic felines to ensure that the animal is getting all its nutrients.

Speaking of health, you’ll need to make sure that there is a vet in your area who is qualified to take care of wildcats. Even some veterinarians who claim that they can care for “exotic animals” are really talking about things like iguanas or ferrets, and aren’t really considering a wildcat of any kind. So, when you see a vet advertising that they can handle exotic animals, make sure that their idea of “exotic” and yours are the same.

Bobcats can live for up to 20 years. So be sure you know what you are getting into and can handle it before adopting one. If you have any doubts about your ability to care for one, it is probably best if you enjoy the looks of the bobcats in their natural habitat or in a professionally run sanctuary.

Posted in Pets — Knowledge Buff @ 9:10 PM

Keeping Discus Fish

For an interesting fish tank, try raising discus. Unlike many tropical fish sold as pets, these are pretty large at up to 6 inches. They are also very colorful, with many possible varieties. Many of these types come in striped or spotted forms.

Discus fish like to swim in schools, so you should get at least three and preferably more. They enjoy each other’s company, and was swim together as a group.

They like to swim in the middle of the fish tank, not too high and not too low. And, they need enough room to be able to swim in school formation. Discus fish also prefer higher temperatures of water than most exotic fish can tolerate. Therefore, they need a big tank, and you’ll need to be careful of which other types of fish you keep with them. Also, when putting decorations into the tank, you’ll need to make sure to leave a lot of open swimming room. Fish which can share the same aquarium include angelfish, dwarf South Americans cichlids, or swordtails. All these fish like a water temperature between 82 and 86°F.

Discus are carnivorous fish. Fortunately, they do not require feeder fish or other larger prey — they like to eat worms, aquatic insect larvae, and small crustaceans. It is very important that you feed your discus enough protein; as carnivores, they require it. While they can be fed frozen or freeze-dried blood worms, white worms, earthworms, or even shrimp meat, you’ll probably find it very fun to feed them mosquito larvae and have the mosquito-related biting going in the other direction for once!

Whichever food you choose to feed your discus and other fish, if it is frozen, make sure you thaw it out completely before you added to the tank. Thawed food is easier for the fish to digest. Occasionally, you can add some fish flakes to their diet. Spirulina is a good nutritious algae you can supplement their feedings with. Discus fish also love beef heart or commercial foods with beef heart in them. Other high protein foods are good, too. The proper amount to feed them is whatever they can eat within three minutes. Remember to keep the aquarium clean and remove extra food which is left over. Too much food in the tank can damage water and hurt your discus fish along with any other fish that are in there with them.

If you want to have tropical fish which you don’t have to peer hard to spot, discus fish are definitely ones to consider. When they are grown, they are nice and big, but not so big that they look like they belong in a huge lake. There are also bright, usually with contrasting markings, so their tropical nature is easy to see.

Posted in Pets — Knowledge Buff @ 9:06 PM

Keeping a Tarantula As a Pet

Tarantulas are truly a low maintenance pet. Even so, there are some things you should know about them to be sure they are the perfect pet for you.

For one, you should know that you really shouldn’t carry them around on your shoulder or in your hand, despite what you may see on TV or in the movies. Tarantulas are actually fragile, and can die from just a short fall since that may cause their abdomen to rupture. Therefore, tarantulas actually require great care in handling and should never be carried on your body.

As for habitat, even when outdoors tarantulas like to hide in small enclosed spaces, so their indoor habitats should also be small. An enclosure just 3 to 4 times the size of the arachnid’s outstretched legs is the right size. A tarantula is actually stressed if it’s in an enclosure which is too large because it will fear predators. Make sure to give your spider some things to hide under and in to allow it to feel secure. Make sure to add a secure water dish to its terrarium which it will not get stuck and if it happens to fall in. This will keep your spider feeling secure and happy. Do make sure to have a secure lid, since tarantulas are very strong and can push off a lid that’s too light.

When it comes to care and feeding, tarantulas don’t take much work. Make sure the habitat stays at the proper humidity for the particular species you have. As a general guide, most desert species like the humidity to be at about 40 to 60%, and tropical species like more than 70% humidity. They need to be fed once a week. Like most, if not all, spiders tarantulas need live food. Most of their diet should be insects and insect larvae. Crickets and meal worms are popular choices. They can eat small mice, but they should be a rare food rather than a big part of their diet.

The lifespan of a tarantula is very long — females can live for up to 20 years! So make sure you really want to keep your tarantula a long time!

Do your research. There is more to know about tarantulas they can be put into one article. For an example of the other types of things you need to know, here is a little fact about what happens when a tarantula molts: the tarantula will flip onto its side or back when it is molting. This does not mean the spider is sick or dying — if a spider is dying, it will usually curl its legs under itself while remaining upright. The tarantula should not be touched while it is on its side or upside down. Once the spider is done molting (a process which takes a few hours), it will be extremely fragile and you will need to avoid handling it for at least a week.

There are several varieties of tarantulas. Some are more aggressive than others. There are also some kinds which require more care than others. Therefore, it is best to research the particular type of tarantula you are interested in keeping so you don’t get any bad surprises. Again, female tarantulas can live for up to 20 years, so you want to be absolutely sure you are choosing the one which is right for you.

Even though many people are afraid of tarantulas, you are actually more of a danger to the spider than it is to you. But, since most people don’t realize how tame and fragile the arachnids actually are, it can cause a great reaction to have one as a pet if YOU always keep the tarantula’s true fragility in mind. They require little to no physical contact and not much work other than remembering to feed them, yet they are great fun to watch. If this sounds like the kind of pet which would appeal to you, look into getting a tarantula of your own.

Posted in Pets — Knowledge Buff @ 9:01 PM

Proper Housing for a Hermit Crab

If you want to keep hermit crabs as pets, you need to make their habitat as close to their natural tropical environment as you can. Also keep in mind that you should have their habitat prepared before you bring them home.

Here are some specifics to be mindful of when preparing your hermit crabs a new home:

The bedding — the best bedding for hermit crabs is coconut fiber or sand. These are best because they are not friendly to germs. On the other hand, germs love woodchips (including cedar), so avoid using this in your hermit crab’s area.

The aquarium — a 10 gallon aquarium is recommended for two medium-size crabs. For more, or bigger, crabs use a 35 to 40 gallon aquarium. Hermit crabs can escape an aquarium that isn’t secure enough, so make sure to use a proper lid. Make sure the aquarium isn’t exposed to direct sunlight, since this can make it too hot as well as disrupting the humidity levels, and jeopardize your crabs.

Lighting your aquarium — aquarium lighting must be done carefully to avoid overheating your crabs. Regular incandescent lights produce a lot more heat than some people would expect, so if you are not used to working with using lights to light living things, keep an especially close eye on the temperature gauge which you should have in your aquarium. A general guide is to use a 15 W bulb for a 10 gallon aquarium.

Proper humidity — hermit crabs have gills, and these gills need to stay wet to be able to function properly. If the air is too dry, your crabs will die of slow suffocation. The aquarium should have a moist and tropical feel. You should use a humidity meter to make sure the humidity stays between 75% and 90%. The temperature should be a nice, balmy, 70° to 80°F. You will also need to keep the bedding moist, and remember to keep remoistening it as necessary. It needs to be wet enough to make holes that don’t fall in. But be careful not to let it get outright soggy, because too much moisture is also dangerous for hermit crabs.

Cleaning the aquarium — hermit crabs are sensitive to dirt, so their aquariums need daily cleaning. Remove the leftover food from the day before, and change the water in the bowl. You’ll also need to strain the sand every few months to get rid of the crabs waste.

Other miscellaneous care tips — hermit crabs like to climb, so give them some climbing toys, fake plants, and other assorted things to crawl up on.

Their water dishes need to be deep enough for the crab to submerge themselves in, but be sure to make sure to use dishes that the crabs can climb back out of. If a crab get stuck in its dish, it will drown! They need their gills wet, but they are not fish; they cannot stand to stay submerged for a prolonged period.

Also you should leave a few empty shells which the crabs can use, since this will avoid shell fights. When crabs have to fight each other to get a new, bigger shell, it slows their growth and lowers their overall quality of life. Therefore, you should always make sure they have enough shells handy to grow freely.

With these tips, and other tips you may learn from pet stores or sites dedicated to hermit crabs, you should have good luck keeping these as your unusual pets.

Posted in Pets — Knowledge Buff @ 8:57 PM

How to Make a Dog Stop Snoring

It is common for dog owners to sleep in the same room as their pets, or even let the dog sleep on the bed. A third of pet owners have let their pet sleep on their bed rather than making the pets use the floor, a chair, or a dog bed. These souls who can manage to sleep without rolling over onto the dog may find that there is an unexpected problem: The dog snores.

The sleep patterns of dogs is much like that of humans. Dogs usually sleep deeper and in a more relaxed way because they put full trust in their masters to take care of them. This also allows them to fall asleep and enter REM (dreaming) sleep faster. Once dogs enter deep sleep, the owner may need to shake them quite a bit in order to wake them up.

It’s also easy to observe a sleeping dog’s breathing patterns. Some breeds typically breathe lightly, while others are heavy breathers. Heavy breathers are a lot more prone to snoring than lighter-breathing dogs.

Just like with humans, a snoring dog can be quite a nuisance if it happens often or the dog does it loudly. Fortunately, though, a dog does not need any convincing before you can take steps to eliminate the sanity-killing racket which is destroying your own sleep.

Also like with humans, there are several reasons a dog may snore. Usually it’s the result of some kind of obstruction of the air passage. This lets some parts of the throat contact each other or collapse. Then the dog has to pull the air past these parts, which causes snoring.

A vet will check a snoring dog to see what, specifically, is causing it. This allows him to decide the best treatment. Sometimes, allergies cause the dog’s throat to constrict. There may also be actual excess tissue in the area.

It is very likely that a snoring dog is overweight. Obesity also causes snoring in humans. The reason for this is that there is extra flesh surrounding the throat. This flesh, once the muscles relax, causes constriction or obstruction inside the throat itself. An alert animal breathes fine because the throat muscles are tenser than they are when very relaxed. But once the dog is asleep, he relaxes, and the tissues hang loosely.

If the dog loses weight, he will not only be healthier overall, but the amount of snoring will decrease.

The facial features of the dog also impacts snoring. Some dogs have flat faces, which narrows and shortens their air passages. The effect is like if a human had to breathe using just a quarter of their normal nostril capacity. Short-faced breeds have to exert a lot more effort to breathe than their longer-snouted cousins. Therefore, they are more prone to snoring, and may even make snorting noises while awake.

Minor surgeries can make a huge improvement in a dog’s ability to breathe. But before a decision to have an operation done is made, of course you should consult with a caring veterinarian who will give his or her honest opinion on whether this is best for your dog.

February 5, 2012
Posted in Pets — Knowledge Buff @ 7:38 PM