Usually your dog has more energy than he knows what to do with, but lately he’s been dragging around as if he was up all night watching reruns and infomercials. He doesn’t even rouse himself at dinnertime.
Your vet says it’s anemia, a condition in which red blood cells aren’t carrying enough oxygen to keep your dog energized. Often a result of blood loss, canine anemia can be caused by conditions ranging from severe flea or hookworm infestations to stomach ulcers.
Since anemia in dogs is a symptom of an underlying problem, a pup with this condition needs to be under a veterinarian’s care. In addition, there are things you can do to help get his energy up to full speed.
Dogs and Anemia 101: Check for Parasites
Young puppies are susceptible to infestations of fleas or can be born with hookworms, both of which pose significant health risks. These parasites feed on the puppy’s blood, leading to anemia. In severe cases, puppies may lose up to one-quarter of their blood to these parasites, highlighting the urgent need to address and eliminate the infestation. While some parasites, such as fleas, can be relatively easy to eliminate, others require the assistance of a veterinarian. Seeking professional guidance is crucial in managing these creepy crawlers effectively and safeguarding your puppy’s health.
If you suspect that your puppy has fleas or is affected by other parasites, it is essential to consult your veterinarian promptly. They can provide expert advice tailored to your puppy’s specific situation and recommend the most appropriate treatment options. Veterinarians have access to a range of effective and safe products designed to eliminate fleas and combat other parasitic infestations.
Treatment for fleas may involve the use of topical or oral medications specifically formulated to kill fleas at different stages of their life cycle. In severe infestations, additional measures such as environmental treatment of your home may be necessary to eradicate fleas completely.
When it comes to internal parasites like hookworms, your veterinarian will likely perform a thorough examination and may request a fecal sample to confirm the presence of these parasites. Treatment options may include deworming medications, which target and eliminate the hookworms from your puppy’s system. The veterinarian will determine the appropriate treatment protocol based on the severity of the infestation and the specific needs of your puppy.
Remember, prevention is key in managing parasites. Regularly administering preventive medications as recommended by your veterinarian can help protect your puppy from fleas, ticks, and other harmful parasites. Additionally, maintaining a clean living environment and practicing good hygiene, such as promptly cleaning up after your puppy and regularly washing their bedding, can help reduce the risk of reinfestation.
By seeking professional veterinary care and following their guidance, you can effectively address and manage parasites in your puppy. Their expertise and advice will ensure that the chosen treatment methods are safe, appropriate, and tailored to your puppy’s age, size, and overall health. Prioritizing parasite prevention and treatment will help ensure the well-being and vitality of your furry companion.
Anemic Dog? Check his RX
There are a number of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including aspirin and other anti-inflammatory medications, that can cause bleeding in your dog’s digestive tract that can lead to anemia. Some drugs may also cause the immune system to “attack” otherwise healthy blood cells, reducing the blood’s oxygen-carrying capability. If your dog seems under the weather and is also taking medications, ask your vet if they might be causing the condition.
Dogs with Anemia Need a Beefed Up Diet
When your pooch is suffering from anemia, it’s crucial to provide quick relief by boosting the oxygen-carrying capacity of their blood. Including foods in their diet that are rich in iron and B vitamins can be beneficial. One such food is cooked liver, which can offer a natural source of these essential nutrients.
Liver, whether it’s from chicken, beef, or another animal, is known for its high iron content. Iron plays a vital role in the production of red blood cells and helps transport oxygen throughout the body. Additionally, liver is a good source of B vitamins, including vitamin B12 and folate, which are important for healthy blood cell formation.
When incorporating liver into your dog’s diet for anemia relief, it’s essential to consider their size and follow appropriate portion guidelines. A small dog can typically be given around two ounces of cooked liver per day in their dog food, while a larger dog can consume up to four ounces. However, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the right amount based on your dog’s specific needs and condition.
To prepare liver for your dog, it’s recommended to cook it thoroughly to eliminate any potential bacteria or parasites. Boiling, baking, or pan-frying the liver without adding excessive oils or seasonings can help retain its nutritional value. Remember to let the liver cool before serving it to your dog, and ensure it is cut into appropriate-sized pieces for safe consumption.
While liver can provide a temporary boost to address anemia, it’s essential to address the underlying cause of the condition and consult with your veterinarian for a comprehensive treatment plan. Anemia can have various underlying causes, including parasitic infections, nutritional deficiencies, or more serious health issues. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose the specific cause and recommend appropriate treatments or interventions.
Remember, incorporating liver or other iron-rich foods into your dog’s food should be done under veterinary guidance and in conjunction with a well-balanced and nutritious overall diet. Regular check-ups and open communication with your veterinarian will ensure the best course of action for managing anemia and supporting your dog’s overall health and well-being.
Slip Him a Supplement
Another way to beef up your dog’s blood is to give a daily dose of this over-the-counter supplement, which is high in iron and B vitamins. Ask your vet to recommend a safe dose for your pup. Then just crush the pills—or if you’re using capsules, take them apart—and mix the powder with his food.
Select Good Dog Chows
While the type of anemia caused by insufficient iron in the diet usually occurs only in very young dogs, it’s still a good idea to play it safe by sticking to name-brand dog foods–dry, canned or semi-moist. Nutrients in generic or supermarket-brand foods may be difficult for dogs to absorb.
Encourage R and R
Physical activity can significantly increase the body’s demand for oxygen, which can be challenging for dogs with anemia. Anemia is characterized by a reduced capacity of the blood to carry oxygen, which means that the body already has a limited supply of oxygen available. Engaging in strenuous exercise or excessive physical activity can further strain the body’s oxygen resources, potentially exacerbating the symptoms and complications associated with anemia.
To support dogs with anemia, it is generally recommended to keep their activity levels relatively low and provide them with ample rest and recovery time in a cosy dog bed. Allowing the body to conserve energy and focus on replenishing oxygen levels can aid in the healing process and prevent additional stress on the already compromised circulatory system.
While mild exercise, such as short and gentle walks, can be beneficial for overall well-being and mental stimulation, it’s crucial to avoid excessive exertion or strenuous activities. Pay close attention to your dog’s energy levels and monitor for any signs of fatigue or excessive strain during physical activity. If your dog shows signs of weakness, excessive panting, or difficulty breathing, it’s important to stop the activity and allow them to rest immediately.
Consulting with your veterinarian is essential in determining the appropriate level of physical activity for your dog with anemia. They can provide guidance based on the severity of the anemia, underlying causes, and individual factors specific to your dog’s health condition. They may also recommend additional supportive measures, such as dietary adjustments or supplements, to help manage anemia and promote overall recovery.
Remember, the goal is to strike a balance between providing adequate rest for your dog and incorporating gentle exercise to maintain muscle tone and mental stimulation. Ensuring a calm and stress-free environment, along with appropriate veterinary care, will optimize the chances of a successful recovery for your furry companion with anemia.
When to See the Vet
While the symptoms of dog anemia can sometimes be relieved temporarily with home treatment, the underlying problem must be treated by a vet.
If you suspect that your dog is anemic, take a look in his mouth—it should be a healthy pink (although some dogs’ mouths are naturally brown or black). If your pooch has anemia, the inside of his mouth may be quite pale. If you can’t see any pink in the gums, make an appointment with the vet.
Another way to spot anemia is to examine your pup’s eyes. Pull down the lower eyelid and look at the conjunctiva, the membrane that lines the eyelid. While some dogs have dark pigment there, usually the conjunctiva is bright pink. If your pup has anemia, however, the conjunctiva will looked washed-out and pale.