How the Dog Digestive System Works

A dog digestive system is different than a human's and therefore dogs process their food and eat in a different way to us. This is important to know and to understand so that you can feed your dog the correct diet and be aware when something goes wrong.

Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS)

(Also referred to as Hereditary Neutropenia)

TNS is an inherited fatal immune disorder found in Border Collies. Although thought to have been around for a long time it is only recently that scientists have started to get a greater understanding of the way it actually works, it’s affects on the animal and means of inheritance.

Neutrophils are the precursors to white blood cells, produced in the bone marrow, and in a normal animal, released into the blood to fight infections. In a TNS affected animal these Neutrophils cannot be released from the bone marrow so the animal is unable to mount an effective immune response to infection.

Why do dogs bark?

One of the most frequent reasons dogs are taken to an animal shelter is because of their barking. Owners and/or neighbours cannot tolerate the noise of a barking dog.

When considering dog ownership, it is very important to check on the characteristics of the breed that you are considering, as some breeds are natural born barkers. If possible talk to people that have the same breed and get their input, also research the breed online. Even if you are considering a mixed-breed dog look into the breeds that comprise the makeup of the dog.

Excessive barking could mean the end to what would have been a beautiful relationship between you and your dog.

A dog's sense of hearing

Dogs have a superior sense of hearing when compared to humans and can hear a range of sounds far above the capabilities of the human ear. Dogs can hear sound frequencies up to an amazing 45,000 Hz whilst us mear humans can only manage 23,000 Hz.

Selective breeding over the centuries has further enhanced the sense of hearing in certain breeds and has helped them to perform specialised tasks, such as guarding flocks, flushing out game and protecting property.

A dog's sense of taste

Taste is a very old sense in evolutionary terms. Sensations of pleasure and revulsion provided by taste serve as a survival function. A reasonable rule of thumb, at least for natural substances is that bad tastes are a signal that the animal has encountered something that is potentially harmful, indigestible, or poisonous, while good tastes signal useful, digestible, edible  substances.

Because it is important for survival, it is not surprising to find that taste is one of the earliest senses to begin functioning in dogs.

Why do dogs have whiskers?

Like other animals, dogs use their whiskers for sensory purposes. For this reason alone their whiskers are indispensable.

Unlike humans, dogs do not have shoulders (at least not the same, or as prominent as ours). Their body is approximately the same width from front to back, except for a slight dip before their rear legs. So for a dog, there's no real way to tell if they're going to fit through something or not. We humans can make this judgement by use of our shoulders. If our shoulders go through a gap, then the rest of our body will. Dogs make the same judgement by using their whiskers. A dog’s whiskers when sticking out straight are slightly wider than any other part of their body. Therefore if their whisker fit through a gap without touching, then the rest of their body will too.

A dog's sense of smell

Dog's rely on their sense of smell to interpret their world, in much the same way as people depend on their sight. A dog can interpret as much information with their nose as we can with our eyes.

Worms in Dog's

There are a number of different worms that can affect your dog. They include roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms and heartworms. Some will live in your dogs intestines and some in their tissue. Many worms do not pose a problem for your dog at all, and you will not even be aware that they are even there. Some worms your dog will be able to tolerate in small numbers, but in high numbers they can create serious problems.   

As a general rule your dog should be treated every six months for roundworms and tapeworms. These are the most common worm types, with roundworm being the bigger problem out of the two.

Why do dogs eat faeces? - Definition of Coprophagia

Coprophagia is the ingestion of faeces that is neither accidental nor incidental. It is intentional and habitual.

Below are 14 reasons why dogs eat faeces. This article will hopefully help you understand exactly why dogs eat faeces so that you can solve the problem or take some action to improve the situation.

Narrow Angle Glaucoma

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases characterised by an increase in intraocular pressure, this causes pathological changes in the optic disk and visual field defects. It’s a very painful condition that leads to varying degrees of blindness and in its severest form can result in removal of the affected eye or even possibly euthanasia.

Glaucoma can at first be categorised as Primary where there is an increase in intraocular pressure taking place in an eye without previous disease or injury, and Secondary where an injury or prior disease/infection leads to the condition.

Why do dogs eat grass?

Amazingly nobody really knows for sure. Grass contains mostly water, but in addition also contains carbohydrates and has low quantities of other nutrients like protein, amino acids, vitamins etc...

After spending many hours searching the internet, and also asking this same question in a number of dog owner groups (online). I have compiled a short list of possible reasons for dogs eating grass. The list is in no specific order of probability.

Dogs & Ticks

It has been widely reported that tick numbers are on the increase here in the UK. They are benefiting from climate change, which posses a real threat to both human and animal health.
The apparent changes in seasons are also favouring the spread of ticks that were previously only found in warmer climates. As well as being unpleasant for you and your dog, they can also transmit diseases.

Dogs & fleas

To date more than 2500 flea species have been discovered worldwide, however the species you are most likely to find on your dog or in your home is the cat flea ( Ctenocephalides felis ).

Cat fleas unlike other fleas are not fussy feeders, they will feed off many animals, including us. The cat flea is reddish-brown in colour and approximately 3mm in size. They have tube-like mouth-parts adapted to feeding on the blood of their hosts. Their legs are long, the hind pair well adapted for jumping: a flea can jump vertically up to 7 inches (18 cm) and horizontally up to 13 inches (33 cm), making the flea one of the best jumpers of all known animals (relative to body size).

Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)

What is OCD?

OCD is a condition that occurs in growing puppies of larger breeds, mainly between the ages of 4-9 months, but can occur as late as 12 months or possibly a little older. It is most normally seen in the shoulder joint but can be seen in stifles, elbows, hocks or other joints. In roughly one third of the cases of OCD, the disease is bilateral (in both joints). Sporadically it is present in several different joints in the same individual. It is seen twice as often in males as in females.

Dog moulting

More than half of the UK's dogs are now moulting abnormally large amounts of hair, according to the National Dog Moulting Survey, forcing owners to spend an average of half an hour extra vacuuming every week.

Over 350 dog owners from across the UK took part in the survey, with dogs ranging from Afghans and Alsatians to Westies and Yorkshire Terriers. Over 60% of owners said their dog moulted more than they would like, with 42% of dogs moulting excessively, which is leading to 69% of owners hoovering more than they otherwise would.

Healthy human foods that dog’s can eat as a treat

Dog treats, like human treats tend to be unhealthy, especially in large quantities. Listed below are a few safe and healthy human foods you can try giving your dog as a safe alternative to unhealthy dog treats.

Primeval instinct

There is something very primeval about walking with your dog in a forest. It’s as though a circle has been completed. You finally feel completely at one with nature. Watching your dog running through the trees, jumping over any obstacles that get in thier way, it’s as though they are dancing with nature itself. At times like these, you will see the inner wolf come alive in your dog.

Human foods harmful and/or poisonous to your dog

How many times have we all given our dog a little food off of our own plate, or put a small amount of our food into their bowl at feeding time. Listed below are numerous reasons why this is not such a good idea. Food for thought, if you can excuse the pun.

Choosing the right dog for your family

First and foremost, it never pays to buy a dog from a pet shop. If you buy from a pet shop you will have no idea what temperament your dog is likely to have, because you will have no idea what temperament their parents have. It’s always best to buy from a reputable breeder, that way you can see the puppy’s parents and ask the breeder as many questions as you like before making your decision. A reputable breeder will be able to tell you everything there is to know about the puppy’s parents, the puppies, and the breed in general, a pet shop will not.

Getting to know your dog through observation

This may sound obvious, but it’s surprising just how many people don’t take the time to just sit and observe their dog. You can learn an awful lot by doing so. It’s interesting to see what makes them tick, and of course it’s a great way to find out what actually interests them as individuals.

Dog vision

Colour perception

Dogs are not completely colour blind, but unlike humans who have three different colour sensitive cone cells in their retina (red, green and blue) dogs have only two (green and blue).

Kennel Cough

If your dog starts to regularly make sounds as though they are trying to clear their throat, it's quite possible that he/she may have a case of kennel cough. Although kennel cough can sound terrible, most of the time it is not a serious condition, and most dogs will recover without treatment.