Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?

popcorn

It’s movie night.

As you mindlessly reach for another handful of buttery, crunchy popcorn you spot a shadowy, four-legged figure approaching quickly from the corner of your eye.

dogs and popcorn

Before you even have time to scream in terror, light from the TV reveals the frightful figure’s furry coat.

It’s just your dog trying to get a bite of that delicious popcorn!

Relief washes over you.

As you reach into the bowl to grab a few pieces you have the thought “Huh…can dogs even eat popcorn?”

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?

Yes, if prepared right!

 As long as the popcorn is fully popped and contains no additional salt, butter, or seasoning, plain popcorn can be a decent treat for your pup when given in moderation.

Is Popcorn Good for Dogs?

dog popcorn So long as Fido only eats unsalted, unbuttered, and unseasoned popcorn, he may actually be getting several vital minerals for proper canine nutrition including magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, or zinc.

Additionally, he may discover that digestion feels a tiny bit easier on account of popcorn’s fiber content.

However, while plain popcorn can provide small boosts to nutrition, your dog will likely get all of these essential nutritional components from their regular diet of dog food.

Are There Any Risks to Feeding Popcorn to Dogs?

Feeding fully popped, unbuttered, unsalted, and unseasoned popcorn should pose no serious health risks to your furry friend.

However, there are some things to remember when deciding to feed your dog popcorn.

can dogs eat popcorn First, you should watch out for kernels in your dog’s teeth.

Us humans can just pick those suckers out with a toothpick.

And, if we don’t, we can just floss them out later.

Dogs don’t have this luxury. It’s up to the owner to remove bits of kernel stuck in their teeth.

Leaving them in your dog’s mouth isn’t a wise idea, either. Corn kernel pieces can cause tooth decay and gum disease if not fully removed. Kernels can also pose a digestive problem for your pup. Their tough shell is hard for your dog’s gut to break down.

Additionally, things like salt, butter, oil, and other flavorings that make popcorn so scrumptious to eat can cause problems. Butter and oil add unwanted calories to your dog’s diet, while flavorings can cause tummy troubles including vomiting or diarrhea.

“Hey, wait a second” you might be thinking as you reach for the familiar white shaker, “Why is salt included? My dog already gets some salt in his diet! Surely one or two little shakes couldn’t hurt…” 

Unfortunately, adding salt to popcorn is not advised, even if it does make things delicious.

Not only can eating too much salt result in extreme thirst for your dog, but too much salt can even lead to a life-threatening case of sodium ion poisoning.

What is Sodium Ion Poisoning?

pistachio shells dogs Sodium ion poisoning occurs when an animal has ingested too much salt. Too much salt can starve the body of water and lead to the disruption and damage of vital organs. In some cases, this may be fatal.

Symptoms often occur within just a few hours of a dog eating too much salt. The first symptoms typically include extreme thirst and vomiting. These can progress to include diarrhea and lethargy.

If severe enough, salt poisoning can result in tremors, shortness of breath, disorientation, seizures, and death. If you suspect that your dog has ingested enough salt to induce sodium ion poisoning, call your vet immediately and prepare to take your dog in for treatment.

So, here’s the deal with sodium (salt). You won’t need to worry about sodium ion poisoning if you remember and diligently abide by this simple rule: your dog should get between .25 grams and 1.5 grams of salt per day for each pound that they weigh. But, how much is a gram of salt? It’s about 1/6 of a teaspoon, that’s really a tiny amount, so when it comes to adding any salt to your dog’s diet (via popcorn or any other human food), extreme caution is advised.

How Much Salt Should I Give My Dog?

dogs eating popcorn According to the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, dogs typically have a recommended daily allowance of no more than 200mg of sodium. However, the recommended daily allowance can increase slightly with your dog’s weight.

However, finding that your dog has only eaten a little more than the recommended amount should not make you fear sodium ion poisoning. A dog needs to eat significant amounts of salt, typically over 1.5 grams of salt per pound of body weight, in order to succumb to sodium ion poisoning. That being said, remember to keep treats to 10 percent or less of your dog’s daily caloric intake.

If you want more information on how to keep your dog happy and healthy, go to Banixx.com to begin pouring through our extensive list of resources on proper pet care!

Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?

pistachios and dogs

dog ate pistachio shells

Pistachios are one of life’s little treats. Their shells are as fun to crack open as the meat inside is tasty. But imagine one afternoon, after you finish cracking the shells of a whole mound of pistachios, you accidentally spill the whole pile onto the floor.

Your four-legged friend, familiar with the sound of goodies falling on the floor, begins bounding over to scoop some of those “treats” off the floor. 

What should you do?

Let him lap them up and gulp them down? Or quickly replace the fallen pile with a milk bone?

Should You Feed Pistachios to Dogs?

Maybe, but maybe not.

Pistachios are not the best treat to give to dogs and should only be fed to them in moderation. While not inherently harmful, feeding pistachios to your dog can carry a number of risks.

Are Pistachios Dangerous for Dogs?

dog eat pistachio

Pistachios can be a risky food to give to your dog.

One risk is the increase in fat that pistachios contain a high fat content – 205.6 grams per cup. That’s sixteen times the recommended daily amount for a 33-pound dog! This increase in fat can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs while putting them at higher risk for chronic diseases later in life.

Additionally, most store-bought pistachios are processed with large quantities of salt which may lead to dehydration. Excessive salt intake can also negatively affect your dog’s ability to retain water which increases the likelihood of developing kidney complications.

Most commercially available pistachios are also sold with their shells on. After getting chewed up, pieces of these shells can act like little shards and cut the inside of your dog’s throat or digestive tract. Which is obviously a concern for people searching online for “dog ate pistachio shells” and “my dog ate a pistachio shell”.

pistachios toxic dogs Pistachios also contain a pair of potentially damaging natural chemicals called phosphorus and urushiol. Phosphorus is thought to be a cause of bladder stones in dogs when ingested in large quantities. Urushiol is the same chemical that causes allergic reactions to poison ivy, and can cause the same reaction on dogs’ faces and around their mouths when ingested.

Perhaps the biggest risk of feeding your dog pistachios is that some pistachios can cause pistachio poisoning.

What is Pistachio Poisoning?

Like cashews, pistachios can suffer from an outbreak of Aspergillus mold if they are grown in hot, arid conditions. This mold produces a toxic compound (mycotoxin) known as aflatoxin. Aflatoxins are among the most poisonous forms of mycotoxins.

pistachio shells dogs If enough pistachios are eaten that are infected with Aspergillus mold, the aflatoxins present can cause acute poisoning (aflatoxicosis). Pistachio poisoning can cause a litany of miserable and potentially life-threatening symptoms, including:

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Jaundice
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Orange-colored urine
  • Liver failure
  • Pancreatitis

How to Treat Pistachio Poisoning in Dogs

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from pistachio poisoning, take them to the vet right away. Once there, your vet will likely perform a physical examination, chemical profile, and a complete blood count to check for underlying diseases or toxins such as aflatoxin.

Banixx for Veterinarians

Additionally, x-ray or ultrasound imaging may be taken of your dog’s abdomen to determine whether or not there has been an enlargement of the pancreas or heart.

Once a diagnosis of pistachio poisoning has been made, your vet may focus on providing immediate relief from symptoms first. This can include providing IV fluids for dehydration, prescribing medications for pain and nausea, and Vitamin K supplementation for potential liver damage.

If your dog was presenting with intense vomiting before diagnosis, your vet may recommend you withhold feeding by mouth in order to aid in the healing of the pancreas. Supplementation of pancreatic enzymes may also be prescribed to relieve abdominal pain.

Dogs who develop pancreatitis from pistachio poisoning will likely be recommended to follow a low-fat, high-fiber diet for the rest of their lives.

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Pistachios

First thing’s first: you need to assess the amount of pistachios your dog ate relative to their size. If your pup is of toy size and just ate an entire bowl of pistachios, you should probably get them to a vet. But if your dog is a full-grown Rottweiler and ate two of the nuts, you should just wait and see how they feel over the day.

pistachio dog

Regardless of their size, if your dog has eaten a pistachio that still had its shell on, you’ll want to closely monitor them. You want to make sure they don’t present signs of a throat or bowel obstruction.

If your dog develops complications associated with gastrointestinal distress caused by eating pistachios, be sure to visit Banixx.com to learn more about our non-toxic, no-odor, fast-acting treatment options!

Can Dogs Eat Apples?

dog eating apple

There’s the old saying that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. But, what about vets? 

If you’re munching on a delicious, crunchy apple and hear the familiar whine of your furry best-friend trying to haggle for a bite, should you give them a piece?

Or is it best to go fetch something else for them to eat?

Are Apples Safe for Dogs?

dog eat apple core Yes, absolutely!

Apples have a moderate dose of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as a high fiber content, allowing them to be served as a healthy snack for dogs. Additionally, apples are low in protein and fat, making them a great supplement for dogs who have restrictive diets.

Besides their nutrient content, apples also make an ideal snack for senior dogs. This is due to their high concentration of antioxidants which reduce the symptoms of joint disease. Apples can also improve a dogs’ dental health and breath.

How Much Apple Can I Give My Dog?

dogs and apples Like with any human food, feeding apples to your dog should be done in moderation. Apples are high in sugar, so dogs who suffer from cancer or diabetes should eat them with caution. The increase in sugar that results from apple consumption can also make your dog’s stomach upset, leading to vomiting or diarrhea.

One should also remember: just because feeding apples to a dog is okay does not necessarily mean feeding apple-flavored food to them is, too. Apple-flavored foods often have higher concentrations of sugars, artificial flavors, and preservatives in them. Make sure to read labels to screen for potentially toxic or harmful ingredients.

Like with most foods, there’s always a risk that your dog may be allergic. If your dog is allergic to apples, feeding them apples may lead to the onset of all sorts of nasty symptoms including hot spots, ear infections, or skin infections. If your dog’s allergy is serious enough, an allergic reaction can lead to anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal condition.

How Should You Serve Apples to Dogs?

F apple dog irst thing’s first: make sure to wash the apple. Apple skins tend to have traces of herbicides or pesticides on them, both of which are toxic when consumed. A light douse in cool running water followed by mild scrubbing with a paper towel should do the trick. 

Next, remove the apple’s stem as this is a choking hazard. After the stem has been removed, you’ll want to core and deseed the apple. Deseeding the apple might seem like unnecessary, extra work, but it’s not: apple seeds contain cyanide which is toxic when consumed in large quantities.

Once the apple has been destemmed and cored, chop it up into bite-sized slices. These can be any shape you like, so long as they are small enough to not present a choking hazard. Once the apple has been cut up, there are a variety of potential serving methods.

One method of serving can involve mashing it up into a homemade applesauce that they can lap up. Another involves freezing thin slices for between 30 and 45 minutes and serving them to your dog as treats. You can also mix apples directly into your dog’s food once in a while for a sweet addition into their daily routine.

If your dog develops any of the complications associated with food allergy-driven hotspots or yeast or skin infections, go to Banixx.com to learn more about our no-odor, non-toxic, fast-acting treatment solutions!

Got An Itchy Horse? The Banixx Itchy Horse Shampoo Is Here To Help

itchy horse remedies

Bugs, heat, humidity, shedding, gunk, all sorts of situations can cause your horse to be itchy. Of course, you see someone else’s horse that never seems to be bothered, yet your own horse is rubbing out every inch of mane and gouging his skin to hamburger via scratching! What can you do?

We’re in the hot season and just that can make your horse itchy. A good grooming session will reveal any small abrasions, bug bites and troublesome spots, and it’s your first defense.  Put that rubber curry or glove to work!

Additionally, good airflow is important for your horse’s health; muggy conditions with no airflow can be uncomfortable for anyone, and especially your horse, adding to his ‘itchies’. Parasites can cause your horse to itch, so fecal checks and deworming are important protocols to maintain.

Use a Medicated Horse Shampoo

Is Your Horse Itchy?

Are regular grooming and air quality still not fully relieving your horse’s discomfort? A good bath with a quality product like Banixx Medicated Shampoo may be in order. Wet your horse and massage in the shampoo, then let it sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing.

The chlorhexidine in Banixx Medicated Shampoo helps kill bacteria and fungus while the marine collagen soothes, moisturizes and heals the skin. And it’s a soap-free shampoo that does NOT contain parabens, sulfates, alcohol or steroids. No harsh detergents, so it will not dry out your horse’s (or pet’s – yes, it is great for dogs and other animals) skin or coat.

Use A Horse & Pet Care Spray On Troublesome Spots

After your horse dries from his bath, spray Banixx Horse & Pet Care Spray directly on the troublesome spots. Then follow up with an application of the Banixx Wound Care Cream for a horse that is hyper-itchy. This step is helpful as a daily maintenance as well. Banixx Horse & Pet Care Spray is safe to use around the eyes.

Areas To Pay Special Attention To While Grooming and Washing

  • How To Wash Your Horse

    Ears – If your horse has bug bites or sores in his ears wipe them out with Banixx Horse & Pet Care Spray that you can apply via a cotton ball, then apply a thin layer of Banixx Wound Care Cream.

  • Under the dock of your horse’s tail – This area gets grimy and can get itchy from dirt and dander build-up. Ticks also seem to like this area.
  • Clean your gelding’s sheath – Some start scratching at their flank area when their sheaths are grubby.
  • Clean your mare’s udders – Important and often over-looked; that area can get mucky and itchy too.
  • Little bugs like to bite your horse’s sensitive belly line, so cleaning and protecting that centerline should not be overlooked. A good application of Banixx spray will fix irritations in this area.

Fly Sprays & Bug Deterrents

Various fly sprays and bug deterrent products are out there to keep the bugs at bay; however, they need to be ‘swapped up’/rotated as something might work for a bit then it stops working. Perhaps the bugs change or become immune? For horses with sensitive skin, be careful, it is easy to burn your horse’s skin with some fly/bug repellents!

Horse Husbandry Solutions

On a final note, if the irritation issues can be resolved with good horse husbandry rather than using more products, then you are doing your horse a favor (and yourself) – quality grooming time and less ‘stuff’ (medication/herbs/etc.) flowing through his system is a plus.  Medications and herbal solutions can have side-affects that outweigh their benefits, and/or may be banned for competition horses.

The use of medications and herbal remedies should be carefully discussed with your veterinarian and used sparingly. Know the rules/regulations if you compete! And, use non-steroidal, non-antibiotic products, like Banixx products, to help keep you and your horse safe, and following the rules/regulations!

Can Dogs Take Melatonin?

melatonin for dogs

The pet supplements field was a $1.6 billion industry last year, and it’s only growing!

Pet parents are clearly putting their money where their mouth is when they say “I’d do anything for my dog”.

However, one supplement in particular seems to have taken the pet supplements field (and pet parents’ attention) by storm: it’s melatonin.

Known for its fast-acting, soothing effects, melatonin has been touted as a catch-all by some to treat the effects of a variety of diseases and ailments in dogs.

However, limited peer-reviewed research on melatonin’s benefits and potential negative effects cast doubt in some people’s minds about whether or not melatonin is even safe for pets.

So, is it okay to reach for the melatonin for your dog just as you might reach for ibuprofen?

Is melatonin something we should be weary of when giving it to our fur babies?

Or is the truth somewhere in the middle?

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate your body’s sleep cycle. It’s produced by the pineal gland, and how much your body produces depends on how much sunlight you get each day. Normally, your body produces more melatonin in the evening and it begins the entire process at a slower pace in the morning.

Why Do People Take Melatonin?

People who struggle with insomnia often find relief from sleeplessness by taking melatonin. However, it’s not as though you need to be tossing and turning all night, every night to benefit from taking melatonin. People who have anxiety, or who have work schedules which constantly interrupt sleep, or who are just jetlagged may all be able to enjoy more satisfying rest from taking melatonin.

Why Is Melatonin Given To Dogs?

dog peeing on bed There are a variety of ailments and disorders where the use of melatonin can help alleviate the effects. This includes anxiety, insomnia, Cushing’s disease, and Alopecia.

Melatonin produces a calming effect which some vets find successfully lessens the severity of anxiety in dogs. For dogs with anxiety disorders, taking melatonin can help them mellow out during times of stress. Lower stress means a happier pup, and a lower chance of them practicing unhealthy coping mechanisms like chewing or biting.

Some dogs also have trouble getting to bed and staying asleep, just like humans! For these bleary-eyed pups, taking melatonin before bedtime can help them sleep through the night and remain more alert during the day.

Cushing’s Disease is a less common ailment than anxiety or insomnia, but some vets praise melatonin’s ability to lessen the disease’s side effects. Cushing’s Disease involves the overproduction of the hormone Cortisol, which can cause frequent urination, low energy, and various skin conditions. This disease is sometimes caused by a tumor on a dog’s adrenal or pituitary gland. In these cases, taking melatonin may block the uptake of excess Cortisol and reduce symptoms.

Some dogs also have what’s called Seasonal Flank Alopecia, where they just lose patches of hair near their tail during the winter. Some vets have prescribed melatonin to prevent this hair loss, though there is inconclusive evidence on the actual correlative relationship between taking melatonin and slowing hair loss.

Is Melatonin Safe for Dogs?

dog licking his lips The answer is: kind of and sometimes, but, you should consult a veterinarian before giving melatonin to your dog.

It’s easy to find ample anecdotal evidence from pet owners and vets alike on the observed positive effects of giving dogs melatonin. Many of these accounts detail notable reductions in symptoms associated with the disorder or ailment being treated, as well as the lack of negative side effects.

However, take note, the actual benefits of melatonin, as well as its expected interactions with other medications, are not fully understood and haven’t been fully researched.

When Can Dogs Not Have Melatonin?

Some dogs are not advised to take melatonin at all.

Diabetic dogs should not take melatonin. Melatonin can cause insulin resistance which can exacerbate the severity of diabetes and lead to potentially life-threatening complications.

Dogs who are currently on other medication shouldn’t take melatonin, either. Doing so would be taking an unnecessary risk of the melatonin having a negative interaction with one or more of your dog’s current medications.

Pregnant dogs should also avoid also taking melatonin unless prescribed by a veterinarian. Likewise, puppies under 12 weeks old shouldn’t take melatonin unless authorized by your vet. Melatonin’s potential effects on development have not been formally studied, so it’s not worth the risk just to get Mama or the pups to sleep a bit more soundly. (Though we understand why you’d be tempted!)

However, most fully-grown dogs won’t experience any negative side effects from taking melatonin. If they experience any, they may experience an upset stomach, accelerated heart rate, drowsiness, changes in fertility and/or confusion.

But, if your dog does experience any negative reactions from taking melatonin, call your vet right away. They will likely want your dog to come in for a full examination in order to determine next steps.

How Much Melatonin Should I Give My Dog?

mixed breed dog You will need a qualified veterinarian to give a proper melatonin dosage for your dog. Vets can safely tailor a melatonin dosage to work in tandem with your dog’s other medical treatment plans. This sort of diligent planning is necessary if you want to avoid unwanted complications.

Dosing melatonin for dogs usually is done by using their bodyweight to gauge how high of a dose is appropriate. The following guidelines, developed by the American Kennel Club, should only serve as an example of how much melatonin should be administered at different tiers of body weight, please work with your Veterinarian for a safer outcome.

Generally, dogs less than ten pounds should take no more than 1 mg of melatonin per dose.

Dogs between ten pounds and 25 pounds should take no more than 1.5 mg per dose.

Dogs between 26 pounds and 100 pounds should take no more than 3 mg per dose.

Dogs weighing above 100 pounds can take between 3 mg and 6 mg per dose.

You should also remember to never give your dog melatonin more than three times per day. More than that can lead to some of the unwanted side effects described above.

How Should I Give Melatonin To My Dog?

dog allergies of the skin Once you and a qualified veterinarian have agreed on a melatonin supplementation plan for your pup, there are many ways you can administer the melatonin.

For dogs with low-frequency doses, try tossing a melatonin treat to get them to take their medicine and enjoy it, too. Dogs who need more frequent doses have tons of options to choose from: there are melatonin tablets, pills, drops, and chewables that all can easily be mixed into dog food or peanut butter.

However, be sure to read the label of any melatonin supplement you give your dog. Some melatonin supplements contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol which is extremely toxic to dogs. If the supplements you’ve chosen contain xylitol, don’t kick yourself. Just cut your losses, get a new bottle, and your four-legged friend may be snoring soundly in no time (hopefully not too loudly!).

If you’re interested in learning more about better ways to care for your pet, head on over to our blog for regular tips and tidbits on how to keep your dog happy and healthy!

Can Dogs Eat Mango?

mango eating dog

With summer in full swing, our buggies at the supermarket are filled with goods that quench our thirst while giving us something yummy to snack on.

Chief among our selection? Nature’s candy: the mango.

Its soft, succulent flesh provides a tangy, almost tart taste that makes it the perfect addition to a smoothie or eaten by itself!

After you’ve finished dicing or cubing your mango, you wonder whether or not you should give some to your four-legged friend, or if you should just slice up some cucumber for them and call it a day.

Can Dogs Have Mangos?

Yes! Dogs can absolutely have mangos so long as they’ve been peeled and had their pits removed.

More on the peels and pits below. 

Not only are these sweet fruits delicious and refreshing, but they’re also rich in essential vitamins and minerals that make them a perfect treat for your canine companion.

What Are Some Benefits of Feeding Mangos to Dogs?

mangos and dogs Mangos are rich in a variety of essential vitamins and minerals that promote healthy living for your dog.

To start, mangos are a great source of vitamins A, B6, C, and E. That means eating mangos can help reduce inflammation and cognitive aging while boosting nervous system function, hormone regulation, and immune system function.

Mangos are also a good source of dietary fiber and critical nutrients like antioxidants, beta carotene, and potassium that help lower cholesterol levels, boost the immune system, and improve digestive health.

Are There Any Risks With Feeding Mangos to Dogs?

The only risks your dog faces by eating mango come from the parts of the fruit no one even typically wants: the peels and the pits.

mangos

While dogs can technically can eat mango skin (though we’re not sure why they’d want to), it’s generally not advised. A mango’s leathery skin can be tough for your pup to digest, and this can lead to tummy troubles down the line. (Mango peel can be a choking hazard, and, as a relative of poison ivy, mango peel can also be a skin irritant.)

However, dogs should absolutely not eat the tough pit found in the fruit’s interior. Biting into one can damage your dog’s teeth. Plus, they’re notoriously difficult to swallow and present a serious choking hazard. What’s worse, even if your dog can swallow a mango pit, it can still get stuck and damage their digestive tract.

If you suspect your dog has swallowed a mango pit and they are not showing signs of choking or abdominal discomfort, diligently monitor their behavior for a few hours. But, if you see your dog eat a mango pit and begin choking or exhibiting changed behavior, call your vet immediately.

Finally, remember that mangos have a very high sugar content. You want to avoid feeding your dog too much sugar to avoid unwanted calories, and because sugar can cause bellyaches or diarrhea.

How Should You Serve Mango to Dogs?

Before you decide to feed your dog mango, consult with your veterinarian to gauge how much mango you can serve and how often. Your vet will likely recommend that mangos only be used as a treat, and that treats should only represent 10% of your dog’s caloric intake.

To serve mango to your dog properly, you’ll first need to peel the mango and it should be a ripe mange to avoid any tummy upsets.

To do this, stand the mango on its end, with the stem-side facing down.

Remember: the pit is a large, flat oval in the center of the mango.

With a sharp knife, cut from the top of the mango and go down one side of the pit. Then, repeat on the other side.

Once both halves have been sliced, lay the halves on a cutting surface with their skins facing down. Cut long, thin strips lengthwise into the flesh of the meat, being careful not to pierce the skin. Then, turn your knife and cut crosswise. After, carefully begin to turn your mango inside out. You should be rewarded with easy-to-scrape off mango cubes!

Repeat this process with the other half.

After removing the cubes from both halves, go ahead and trim any remaining fruit around the pit. Once all the available fruit has been dug out, throw the pit and peels away in a pet-proof container.

After gathering all of the fruit together, your mango is ready to serve! Offer these refreshing, candy-like chunks, in moderation, as described above, as a delicious reward for good behavior!

If you’re curious about knowing more about how to keep your pets looking and feeling their best, even when problems arise, keep up with our blog at Banixx.com/blog where we spill the best ways to keep your dog feeling happy and healthy.

cut mangos for dogs

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?

can dogs eat shrimp?

Whether you’re like Bubba from Forrest Gump and can recite every way to cook them, or the only way you’ve ever seen them is with a side of cocktail sauce on New Year’s Eve, it’s hard to deny just how appetizing shrimp can be. 

If you have dogs, you also know that enjoying any food can mean having to listen to them whine and beg for a bite of what you’ve got on your plate. But deciding to haphazardly give them a piece of what you’re eating can be dangerous. You’ve got to be sure they can stomach it. 

So, can dogs eat shrimp? Or are they something you should avoid giving them at all costs?

Shrimp is Safe for Dogs to Eat

Unless your dog is allergic to seafood, there is no need to worry! Dogs can eat shrimp in moderation with minimal risk. According to Dr. Danielle Bernal, a veterinarian with Wellness Natural Pet Food, eating shrimp actually provides multiple beneficial nutrients to dogs.

What Benefits Does Eating Shrimp Have for Dogs?

dog licking his lips Not only are these crustaceans insanely delicious, but they’re also rich in nutrients that dogs need. Shrimp’s high vitamin B12 content helps maintain your dog’s gastrointestinal health by aiding in metabolic processes. Shrimp also contains high concentrations of vitamin B3 which assists in energy production, fat production, blood circulation, chemical signals, and more. Additionally, shrimp is rich in antioxidants and phosphorus which promotes bone health and reduces brain aging.

Besides its undeniable nutrient density, shrimp is a low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb food, making it an excellent source of protein for dogs on a diet. However, dogs should only eat shrimp in moderation as a means to control their weight; there are plenty of other foods, such as green beans, that are dense and fibrous (resulting in your dog feeling full) that make up part of a grand plan for weight loss for your dog

Can Dogs Eat Raw Shrimp?

Unfortunately, dogs should not be fed raw shrimp. This is because raw and undercooked shellfish can contain a wide variety of harmful bacteria including salmonella and listeria and this may lead to a very sick pup!

How to Prepare Shrimp for Dogs

shrimp for dogs If you’re going to give your dog shrimp, you must take some precautions in how you prepare it. First, remove the shrimp shell. You need to do this because shrimp shells are tough and hard for your dog to digest.

After de-shelling the shrimp, remove its tail. Like its shell, shrimp tails are notoriously tough and can even perforate your dog’s intestinal system. Then, devein the shrimp. In the same manner in which you don’t want to accidentally ingest the grime and feces from a shrimp’s digestive system (by not deveining the shrimp), neither does your pooch!

After taking these precautions, you’re ready to cook! Remember to cook shrimp all the way through if you’re serving it to dogs – that way you eliminate any harmful bacteria that remains.

It’s advised that you steam shrimp so your dog isn’t consuming unnecessary calories that come from other methods that involve using oil or breading.

Lastly, remember to serve shrimp plain – that means no garlic, onions, or other seasonings that may upset their tummy!

If Your Dog Is Allergic To Shrimp

If your dog ends up snagging a bite of shellfish and is allergic, watch out for the development of certain complications such as hot spots or yeast infections.

If your dog presents with the symptoms of either of these complications, visit Banixx.com to learn more about our non-toxic, no-odor, fast-acting treatment options!

Can Dogs Eat Cucumbers?

can dogs eat cucumbers

 

Adding cucumber to salad, lemonade, or even a poolside cocktail can add a delectable freshness that’s hard to beat on a hot summer day.

cucumbers skin However, the refreshing nature of cucumbers isn’t the reason you’re likely to hear your dog whimpering and begging for a slice.

Dogs’ omnivorous nature means they actually enjoy the taste of most fruits and vegetables!

So, next time you’re cutting slices of cucumber and see your four-legged friend licking his chops, should you give him a slice?

Are Cucumbers Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Yes, absolutely!

Not only are cucumbers non-toxic for your furry friend to eat, but eating them can actually provide a number of health benefits!

Benefits of Cucumbers for Dogs

Due to them being 96% water, feeding your dog cucumbers is a way to keep them hydrated while out on walks.

dog hot spots

Additionally, cucumbers only contain eight calories per one-half cup of slices – only 20% of the calories of a single Milk Bone biscuit.

This makes them both an excellent diet food and a great, low-calorie food to use as a reward while training!

Cucumbers also contain trace amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium, all of which are essential for a healthy canine diet.

However, you should remember that cucumbers are not necessarily packed with these nutrients, so be sure to supplement them with other nutrient-dense foods.

Besides containing helpful nutrients, cucumbers also contain certain phytochemicals and phytonutrients which work to eliminate odorous bacteria from your pooch’s mouth. 

In a way, cucumbers can act like a natural breath mint for your pup! Of course, cucumbers aren’t a substitute for brushing your dog’s teeth.

Cucumbers also contain trace amounts of the mineral Silica, which has been known to help strengthen joints and connective tissue in dogs. For older dogs suffering from the symptoms of arthritis, adding a few cucumber slices to their diet can be a great supplement to help offer some relief.

What Risks Are There to Feeding Dogs Cucumbers?

cucumbers There are two risks you should be aware of when deciding to feed your dog cucumbers: choking and overeating.

Feeding your dog too many cucumbers carries the risk of upsetting their gastrointestinal tract, which leads to a very unhappy pooch. 

When trying to decide how much cucumber is appropriate to feed your dog, use the ten percent rule.

This rule, recommended by veterinarians, states that treats should account for no more than 10% of a dog’s daily diet. This means the amount of cucumber you feed your pup should be proportional to their dietary needs based on their size.

Additionally, you should also be sure to cut the cucumbers you’re serving into small, bite-size pieces, especially for small dogs or for dogs that scarf down their food.

Visit Banixx.com for more information on how to keep your dog happy and healthy.

Hot Spots on Dogs: 10 Things You MUST Know

hot spot on a dogs paw

If you’ve got a dog with hot spots, these are the 10 most important things you must know before doing anything else.

What Are Dog Hot Spots?

A dog hot spot (also called acute moist dermatitis) is an area of inflamed or infected skin. It starts out as a small irritation and quickly grows into a bacterial infection that can become very painful for your dog. Oftentimes the dog himself causes the hot spot to grow when he obsessively scratches, licks and chews on the skin. It’s this manic behavior that usually alerts you about the hot spot that needs to be treated.

What Do Dog Hot Spots Look Like?

do not put neospsorin on your dog A dog hot spot starts out as a small, red, wet-looking area. Sometimes it’s as small as the size of an insect bite. But it can grow to an area of 6-7 inches wide in just a few hours because it’s an irritation that your dog just can’t stop licking and biting. Depending on the severity, it can look red, swollen and inflamed, and sometimes oozes pus or blood. Many times, the affected area will lose hair and develop a crust.

When your dog goes after the hot spot, incessantly licking and biting the area, she inadvertently makes the situation worse, generating a secondary bacterial infection.

What Causes Hot Spots on Dogs?

When your dog seemingly spontaneously develops a dog hot spot, you may ask, “Why did this happen? Where did this come from?”

There are several causes:

  • Most hot spots develop as a result of allergies to food or environmental factors (like pollen, grass and pesticides).
  • Any kind of skin infection can develop into a hot spot.
  • Flea allergy dermatitis or other parasitical infections (like scabies and mites) may lead to hot spots.
  • Seasonal changes with their related coat changes may contribute, since a thick, matted area of coat that needs to be shed may develop moisture build-up and clogged pores – a perfect hot spot environment.
  • Older dogs with weakened immune systems are targets for hot spots.
  • Boredom, loneliness or stress can be the culprits. Large dogs, in particular, may “entertain” themselves by obsessively chewing, biting or licking at little spots on their bodies such as minor insect bites, and the hot spot cycle begins.

Where Do Dog Hot Spots Form?

Dog Wound Neosporin

Hot spots can appear anywhere on a dog’s body, including the back, belly, legs, feet, and face/ears. Even though they can be located in different places, they always look similar – a red, raw wet-looking area that’s inflamed and itchy.

How To Treat Hot Spots on Dogs

If you think your dog has a hot spot, take her to the veterinarian for diagnosis. Don’t wait – delaying treatment will only make it worse and harder to get rid of. And don’t try to diagnose it yourself – as you read above, there are many underlying causes for dog hot spots, and treating a hot spot effectively requires that you know what caused it.

What a Veterinarian Will Do

Elizabethan cone used to prevent hot spot licking The veterinarian will conduct a complete physical exam on your dog and may do a skin scrape to see if the issue is parasites. Then the vet will clip the hot spot to prevent matting, clean the area with an antiseptic solution, and if there’s a severe secondary bacterial infection, prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic. In some cases, the vet will also prescribe a topical or oral steroid to soothe the itch and inflammation. And, of course, the Elizabethan collar (or “cone of shame”) will keep your dog from getting at the area while healing.

In addition, if your veterinarian diagnoses the cause of hot spots to be allergies, he/she will help you devise a strategy to help your dog avoid the allergens.

How To Clean Dog Hot Spots

bleeding dog paw First, if you feel confident that you can do it without accidentally injuring your dog, trim the area around the hot spot. For small areas scissors will likely work; however, if you use scissors, do not use regular scissors, use grooming scissors that have blunt ends. If the area is large, you may shave it. This will expose it to the air and help dry it out.

Then, to clean the hot spot, use a mild, water-based astringent or antiseptic spray – something like Banixx Pet Spray, Betadine or Chlorhexidine – to wipe off any discharge, blood or pus. We recommend that you don’t use anything that contains alcohol or vinegar – the acid will burn and hurt. And we also don’t recommend anything with moisturizer, like coconut oil – the last thing a hot spot needs is more moisture.

Just dip some gauze into the solution, clean the hot spot gently, and pat it dry. These solutions will not sting your dog and add to his distress. If you continue to see an oozing discharge, repeat the cleaning every few hours or several times a day.

How to Treat Using Banixx Pet Care Spray

banixx pet care spray Many veterinarians recommend using the Banixx Pet Care spray for disinfection and treatment of dog hot spots. It has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, so no matter what the cause of the hot spot, it is effective. In addition, unlike so many of other home remedies and human over-the-counter medications on the market, it is not toxic if ingested, doesn’t sting or burn upon application, can be used around the eyes, and can be used frequently without worrying about overdosing.

To apply: Using the spray (or if your dog doesn’t like a spray, you can soak a gauze pad), saturate the entire affected area, including the surrounding immediate skin, since the hot spot is probably bigger than it first appears. Treat the area 2-3 times a day for a few days; oozing may continue for a couple days as part of the healing process. The hot spot will start to dry up and scab over. Make no attempt to remove the scabs, as they are Mother Nature’s band-aids, so removing them will not only be painful for your dog but may lead to a re-infection.

If your dog is inclined to lick Banixx, distract him or her with a walk or play time. You don’t need to worry about toxicity of your dog ingesting Banixx but if the Banixx isn’t in contact with the hot spot, it can’t work properly. Owners have had good luck applying peanut butter to the roof of the pup’s mouth as a distraction. Another method is to apply peanut butter to the inside of a Kong® or similar toy that keeps your dog amused for a while. Alternatively, take your dog for a supervised walk or play ball with her. Vets may recommend an E-collar, or you can also try tying a light wrap over the affected area. Some people also improvise by having their pets put on tee shirts to prevent them from accessing the wounds on their body.

Other Home and Natural Remedies

Many dog lovers want to treat their dogs with natural or home remedies rather than antibiotics and other medications, and indeed, there are many topical sprays, shampoos and herbal remedies on the market. Sometimes people think, “Well, it works for humans – will it work on my dog?” Ask your vet before using human products on your pet – they may be toxic if licked off and taken into their system; we recommend strongly that you always use a product that is pet-approved/pet safe.
Following is a list of common remedies that people think about using on their pets:

Essential Oils

essential oils for ear infections Essential oils are compounds that are extracted from plants through distillation or cold pressing. They’re mostly used for aromatherapy, where a “patient” inhales the scent to gain its beneficial properties. Essential oils are not meant to be ingested.

Some are also touted for their anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, and which encourages home remedy proponents to use essential oils on their pups for wounds and infections like hot spots. The main thing to remember about essential oils is you have to be careful where you buy them – make sure you’re educated about purity, strength and directions for use – and there is very little research that proves its efficacy.

Some of the essential oils often cited as being possibly useful for healing dog hot spots are lavender, oregano oil, chamomile and tea tree oil. Essential oils must almost always be diluted with water or other “carrier” oils, as they are toxic and only meant for external use.

For instance, tea tree oil is known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. It contains chemicals called terpenes that make it effective against bacteria and fungi – but they are also highly toxic to animals. Whether taken orally or through the skin, terpenes are rapidly absorbed by your pet – and the toxic effects can be quite serious. We do not recommend the use of tea tree oil to treat dog ear infections, for example.

Coconut Oil

Using coconut oil to treat dog hot spots Coconut oil has soothing properties and contains lauric acid, which has antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. That’s why some owners see it as a possible home remedy to reduce the itch and swelling of hot spots. The typical treatment with coconut oil involves spreading the oil on the dog’s hot spot, reapplying, as necessary. When it works, the hot spots will usually begin healing within a few days.

However, it tastes good, so your dog will love licking it off. Small amounts are not toxic for your dog, but large amounts can cause problems. And if it’s licked off, it may require many re-applications. Licking the area was part of the problem in the first place…

And coconut oil is a great moisturizer, as many people will attest. But the last thing a dog hot spot needs is more moisture – you are trying to dry it up.

Finally, lauric acid is not a broad-spectrum anti-bacterial agent, so it could eliminate good bacteria that are fighting the bad bacteria causing the hot spot. There is however not much research on the effectiveness of coconut oil in treating dog hot spots.

Shampoo

Banixx Shampoo Your dog’s skin is delicate – it’s actually not as thick as human skin and very sensitive to bacteria, fungus and insect bites. If you want to bathe your dog every month with a shampoo that’s got anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, it may help heal and prevent hot spots.

There are many medicated shampoos on the market designed to treat dry, itchy skin, as well as bacterial and yeast infections. One key thing to remember is what you DON’T want the shampoo to contain: namely, detergents (which will leave your dog’s skin completely dried out and stripped of all-natural skin oils). You also don’t want it to contain parabens, sulfates, alcohol or steroids. We recommend Banixx Medicated Shampoo, which has the soothing, healing properties without the unwanted agents.

Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegar Like any vinegar, apple cider vinegar is an acid and contains antimicrobial properties – it naturally kills organisms like bacteria and fungi. This is one of the reasons it has become known as a great home remedy for a variety of physical ailments – and as a household cleaner and disinfectant.

You can try apple cider vinegar on a hot spot if it’s in the very early stages – but as soon as there is any broken skin, it is NOT recommended. The burn and sting it causes when it hits the hot spot will alarm and hurt your pup. Needless to say, it’s too caustic to be used around the eyes. Another thing to know: its antimicrobial properties don’t necessarily work with all different types of bacteria – so it’s possible it will not be effective on the kind of bacteria or yeast affecting your dog.

Benadryl

Benadryl Dog Hot Spots Benadryl is a human medication known to help reduce itching. But here’s a case where it’s important to talk with your vet before giving your dog a human medication. If it’s given in the wrong amount or in combination with other drugs, there are adverse, even toxic side effects.

Please note that liquid Benadryl is too concentrated to use with your dog – you’ll need to use a capsule or pill. That makes it hard to know how much to give your dog – the vet would recommend the best dosage for your dog’s size and weight. Benadryl should not be given to pets who have glaucoma, cardiovascular disease or hyperthyroidism.

Neosporin

Is Neosporin safe for dogs? Humans use Neosporin on wounds, cuts and scrapes to prevent and eliminate bacterial infections. It contains three antibiotics: Polymyxin B, Neomycin, and Bacitracin. While there are only a few negative side effects when used on dogs, the most prominent one is Pemphigus Vulgaris. This is an autoimmune disease that can cause painful blistering on your dog’s skin and mucous membranes. Other ingredients have been linked to deafness. In addition, if a dog licks at a hot spot that has been treated with Neosporin, it can result in vomiting and diarrhea. In other words, there are safer treatments for your dog than Neosporin.

Pepto Bismol

pepto bismol We have heard of people who dab Pepto Bismol, the over-the-counter medicine containing the active ingredient bismuth subsalicylatn, on dog hot spots to help reduce the itchiness. We do not recommend this treatment – Pepto Bismol is considered safe for your dog to ingest if he has a problem with indigestion or diarrhea, but there is a danger of overdosing, with some concerning side effects. If you put it on an open wound, the dog may lick it off…and who knows how much he’s ingested? There are many other, better alternatives to Pepto Bismol.

Vicks VapoRub

Vicks VapoRub is used by humans for many reasons – from helping clear up congestion to moisturizing, repelling insects, getting rid of acne and more.

vicks vapor rub

It is also used to heal minor scratches and scrapes. It has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. The thick, waxy, antiseptic formula creates a barrier over the wound and helps ward off infection. Some people put a bit of Vicks VapoRub near the dog hot spot to keep your dog from licking, as it has a strong menthol odor.

However, it is for external use only and shouldn’t be used anywhere near your dog’s eyes. It should not be eaten or applied to cut skin. Again, there are other, safer alternatives.

Gold Bond Medicated Powder

desenex gold bond medicated powder Some people have reported success in treating hot spots in dogs with Gold Bond Medicated Powder, which may help with the itching. It works to soothe skin and absorb moisture. However, the Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated its effectiveness for use on dogs – and it’s important to prevent your dog from licking the affected areas and swallowing the powder. This is exceedingly difficult to do if your dog has been obsessively licking the hot spot to begin with.

Desenex

The active ingredient is Miconazole, which is used to treat yeast/fungal infections. There are some dog owners who use Desenex ointment on a hot spot and have found it helps heal the inflamed area. Once again, however, the problem is that a dog may lick it off, and it’s certainly not meant to be ingested.

How To Prevent Dog Hot Spots

The best way to prevent dog hot spots is to diagnose and address the underlying causes that he’s getting them. Here are 6 tips you can use to help your dog avoid these maddening and painful wounds:

Get Rid of Fleas and Parasites

picture of dog ear mite Fleas and ticks can sometimes be the cause of dog hot spots. A flea or tick bites your dog, he starts to scratch it, and the area gets inflamed and grows into a hot spot. Preventing flea and tick bites is an important way to prevent itching infections, so make sure you maintain a parasite control regimen. If you’ve already got a flea problem, you must also treat your dog’s environment, including your house, the dog’s bedding, and other animals in the home. Generally, the only fleas you will see are the adult fleas that represent about 5% of a flea infestation – the remaining 95% is made up of flea eggs, larvae and pupae. To eliminate these, wash your dog’s bedding in a bleach solution and apply apple cider vinegar to your dog’s environment.

Get To The Bottom of Food Allergies

Dog Food Allergies Hot Spots Did you know that while dog (or cat) food allergies may cause gastrointestinal problems, it’s typically their skin that is most often affected? Around 50% of dog hot spots are attributable to food allergies. If your vet has diagnosed food sensitivities as the reason your dog gets recurring hot spots, try changing your dog’s diet. Dogs are by nature meat eaters. Many dog food “fillers,” such as corn or soy, can lead to a dietary imbalance resulting in skin irritations. Making the switch to a grain-free diet can often go a long way toward resolving hot spot issues. Your vet can also recommend an elimination diet to find the culprit that is affecting your dog. But remember: Because a change in diet affects the dog’s internal system, success may take several weeks, so be patient.

Help Your Dog Avoid Environmental Allergies

dogs eat grass Molds, pollens, grasses and ragweed are all common allergens. Other environmental factors could be cigarette smoke, certain household cleaners, and perfumes. If you’re trying to eliminate toxins from your home because your dog is suffering from environmental allergies, one key is to limit her exposure to all environmental pollutants in your home. Many dogs have allergies to grass or pollens; if your dog is in this category, limit time outside during the appropriate months. If the problem is household cleaners, use green, non-toxic cleaners on bedding, floors, and other areas your dog comes in contact with (and no fabric softeners, which contain detergents that can cause reactions). For more suggestions, go here.

Be Aware of Summer Sores and Seasonal Changes

dog licking neosporin off his paw Dog hot spots seem like they get more common in the summer. In fact, excess moisture underneath a dog’s coat is one cause. Any dog whose hair is long, thick, matted or dirty will have a greater chance of suffering from hot spots. In addition, as seasons change, many dogs shed or grow heavier coats. Some will not shed well, particularly older dogs. These changes of the coat may lead to some matting that creates a warm moist area on your dog’s skin.

So, keep your dog well groomed. If fur accumulates too much moisture, the wet skin underneath creates the perfect conditions for bacterial infections and hot spots. If your dog is a breed that sheds, then be sure to brush him frequently. Dogs that shed are not necessarily candidates for shaving their bodies as that can mess up their natural ‘air conditioning’ system; only clip these types of dogs when absolutely necessary. If your dog is a breed that does not shed, consider shaving him closely in the summer and clipping the thick fur around the ears.

Relieve Stress and Anxiety

How to clean a dogs eyes Sometimes hot spots can be caused by underlying emotional or mental issues in your dog, such as separation anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. These emotional factors can lead to behaviors like incessant licking or biting that creates a hot spot. A great help for stress is regular exercise. This is particularly useful for high-energy dogs, who need to stretch their muscles in order to be healthy. Just like with humans, exercise stimulates the brain, releases endorphins and generates feelings of happiness. Let that energy out to avoid your dog feeling frustrated and turning to self-mutilation for relief.

Another help for stress that some people recommend are calming herbs, such as chamomile, St. John’s Wort, skullcap or oat – just make it into a cup of tea, let it cool down, and add some of it to your dog’s food. Other coping mechanisms can include turning on a radio or TV, limiting your dog’s time alone, finding the dog a “friend,” sending her to doggie day-care, or providing a series of toys and bones to capture attention. It may be a combination of all of the above.

Boredom

dog belly rash If your dog is bored, he may start licking just to entertain himself. Your dog needs stimulation to keep him from destructive behaviors. You can play a major role in relieving your dog’s boredom. Here are some ideas:

  • Give her regular exercise (see above for stressed-out dogs). Note: This is good for YOU, too!
Distract her with a small amount of peanut-butter (but make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol, which is lethal for your pet – see this blog for more on how to do this safely). It’s fun to watch her eat it and takes a while for her to finish!
  • If you have to leave your dog most of the day (which many people with full-time jobs have to do), leave some toys or bones that he can chew on while you’re gone. You can leave a Kong® stuffed with peanut butter or cheese, for instance.
  • Be creative about distraction techniques to keep your dog from feeling the need to lick and chew. Hide or scatter dog biscuits for your dog to find while you’re gone. Teach him to do tricks. Brush her fur. Go for a walk. Take him outside and throw a ball or Frisbee. Shower her with love and affection. Treat him to a massage.

Dog hot spots have the potential to make life miserable for your pet and for you, especially when they keep recurring. To keep your loving companion happy and healthy, know how to treat dog hot spots while working to prevent future ones.

For more information about dog hot spots and effective solutions, visit www.banixx.com.

Dog Ear Infections: What Causes Them & How To Treat Them

best dog ear cleaner prescribed by veterinarians

What Are Dog Ear Infections?

best dog ear picture A dog ear infection is basically an inflammation in the dog’s ear. It’s a common problem that can usually be taken care of fairly easily with the proper treatment. But it’s not something you want to ignore – in fact, your dog won’t let you, because he or she will be in pain and/or discomfort, and the jangling from his collar as he scratches incessantly will keep you awake at night!

The longer you go without treating the ear infection, the more likely your dog will develop a chronic ear infection. It will increasingly be harder to get rid of and the symptoms may likely grow worse and more serious (even resulting in deafness). If that doesn’t get your attention, then consider that you will need to take your dog to the vet more and more often – not an inexpensive proposition!

Dog Ear Infection Symptoms

dog ear yeast infection The most common signs that of a dog ear infection is:

  • Your dog scratches or paws at his ears incessantly
  • She shakes her head a lot
  • The ears smell really bad and/or have a dark discharge
  • The ears are hot to the touch
  • Your dog tilts his head
  • Your dog doesn’t want to open her mouth or chew
  • Loss of balance
  • Unusual eye movements

If the ear infection is severe, your dog could suffer from a continuing cycle of inflammation, infection and thickening of the tissues lining the ear canal. The end result is the build-up of scar tissue inside the ear, which prevents medications from reaching the areas they need to in order to clear up the infection. All of this sounds bad, and it is – but the worst part is: It’s very painful for your pooch!

What Do Ear Infections in Dogs Look Like?

dog ear infection You can’t always tell that your dog has an ear infection, but these signs will definitely tip you off to the possibility:

  • The ear is hot, inflamed or red-looking when you peak inside
  • You see crusts or scabs in the ears
  • You see dark discharge inside the ear
  • There’s hair loss around the ear

And, of course, keep an eye out for any of the scratching/shaking/whining symptoms previously mentioned that show your dog is feeling discomfort or pain in the ear.

What Causes Dog Ear Infections?

There are a variety of causes for dog ear infections: bacteria, fungus/yeast, ear mites, allergies, tumors or polyps, foreign objects in the ear, and more. The most common are caused by either bacteria/yeast or ear mites.

folded ears on a dog Some additional points of interest:

  • Long, floppy ears. The canine ear canal is more vertical than that of a human, and it forms an L-shape that tends to hold in fluid. This makes dogs more prone to ear infections, as the ears don’t allow for good airflow, creating a greater likelihood of warm, moist conditions that lend themselves to fungal/bacterial growth. Dogs like Cocker Spaniels, Beagles and Basset Hounds that have long, floppy ears have increased chances for ear infections.
  • Moisture in the ear. If your dog takes a lot of baths or loves to swim, run or otherwise be out in the hot sun, the water and sweat that gather in the ears may create those conditions that foster yeast/fungus.
  • Allergies. If your dog has skin or food allergies (see below), she may be more susceptible. Foods or treats that are high in sugar content are thought to contribute to yeast growth.
  • Immune system upsets. Dog ear infections are sometimes the result of an imbalance in your dog’s immune system – it could be medicines she’s taking, her diet or other illnesses.
  • Thyroid issues. Low thyroid function has been linked to chronic ear infections in some dogs. This condition is not curable but is easily treatable once it’s diagnosed.

Types of Dog Ear Infections

There are three main types of dog ear infections:

  • Outer ear (otitis externa)
  • Middle ear (otitis media)
  • Inner ear (otitis interna)

Most dog ear infections start in the outer ear; the infection can spread into the middle and inner ears, getting increasingly serious as it does so, resulting in issues like deafness, facial paralysis and difficulty walking.

Are Dog Ear Infections Contagious?

best dog ear cleaner solution from Banixx being used on a puppy They can be. Many dog ear infections are caused by an overgrowth of yeast, which can cause an infection. Though yeast infections aren’t contagious, they can develop into bacterial infections (which can be contagious). They can also make your dog susceptible to other fungal infections, like the dreaded ringworm, which is definitely highly contagious not just to other pets but to humans, too.

In addition, a large number of dog ear infections are caused by ear mites, which are tiny parasites that feed off the wax in your dog’s ear. If you see dark brown or black stuff in your dog’s ears that looks like coffee grounds, he most likely has ear mites. While ear mites don’t usually transmit to humans (thank goodness for small favors!), they are highly contagious for your other pets.

So, if one of your dogs has ear mites, you’ll need to treat ALL of your pets. And you’ll need to clean your pets’ environment by washing pet bedding in hot water with a little bleach and drying it in a hot dryer; vacuuming all common areas thoroughly, etc. This type of thorough cleaning is also needed if your dog ends up with ringworm.

Do Dog Allergies Cause Ear Infections?

Allergies are indeed a common cause of dog ear infections. Allergic reactions often lead to inflammation and irritation of the skin – and the skin in and around the ear is susceptible. If your dog has frequent or chronic ear infections, an allergy may be the cause.

Sensitivity To Certain Foods

dog eating watermelon

When it comes to food sensitivities and allergies, some dog foods contain too much corn, soy or other fillers. Dogs can also have reactions to chicken, beef or dairy products. And on very rare occasions even watermelon.

Dogs who have food allergies generally show symptoms of skin irritations and itchiness, whereas humans might react with throat constriction or other more violent symptoms. And developing a food allergy takes time – your dog might have been eating these foods for a while before she develops a hypersensitivity to them. Or, it’s possible the dog food manufacturer changed the food formula – not an unusual occurrence in the dog food manufacturing world.

Environmental Allergens

dog rolling in poop on the grass It’s possible your dog may be allergic to dust, pollen, mold or grass. Other environmental possibilities include grooming products. If her itching and inflammation flare up during a particular season, the cause may be easier to locate. And be careful of lawn chemicals applied by lawn maintenance companies; these can be problematic for dogs. Along in the same vein, consider carpet treatments as a source of irritation. Your dog’s nose is never very far from the carpet surface.

How To Treat Dog Ear Infections

If you notice that your dog is exhibiting any of the symptoms of an ear infection listed above, be sure to get him to the veterinarian rather than trying to diagnose it yourself. The causes vary, and if you’re just guessing, your dog may end up with an ineffective treatment – and a lot more pain until you get it resolved. The vet will take a swab of the ear canal and diagnose the problem. Once the diagnosis is clear, your dog can get the proper treatment.

If The Cause Is Ear Mites

picture of dog ear mite The vet may prescribe an easy-to-administer, anti-parasitic formulation to get rid of those little creepy crawlies swiftly. In addition, if you can maintain a low pH level in your dog’s ears, the mites are less likely to proliferate and cause problems. Banixx Pet Care creates such an environment and is useful for preventing a recurrence.

For A Fungal or Yeast Ear Infection

this dog ear cleaner should NEVER be used Your vet may prescribe a topical antifungal to eliminate the yeast that’s causing the problem. One effective treatment is to use Banixx Pet Care, a spray that’s easy on your dog’s ear tissue, quickly helping to repair any ear surface that has been irritated, inflamed or rubbed raw. Its anti-fungal properties help eliminate the yeast overgrowth, and it’s also an effective dog ear cleaning solution designed to prevent recurrences of yeast infections.

Note: NEVER use Q-tips; use cotton balls or gauze and discard after use.

For a Bacterial Ear Infection

cat ear infection The vet may prescribe an antibiotic, usually only needed in severe cases. (Antibiotics are not effective for fungal infections.) Note: Many people wonder if their dogs can take Bactrim, a popular antibiotic for humans. The answer is that, while Bactrim may be effective in inhibiting the growth of harmful microorganisms, it must be prescribed by a vet, as it has certain bad side effects that can harm your dog if given in the wrong dosage.

Other Home and Natural Remedies

Essential Oils

essential oils for ear infections Many proponents of home remedies tout essential oils as having healing properties. Essential oils are compounds that are extracted from plants through distillation or cold pressing. They’re used for aromatherapy, in which they’re inhaled – and they are not meant to be swallowed. Some are also touted for their anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, and some folks interested in using natural therapies on their dogs believe in using essential oils for wounds and infections, like dog ear infections. The main thing to remember about essential oils is you have to be careful where you buy them – make sure you’re educated about purity, strength and directions for use – and there is very little research that proves its efficacy. Here are two examples:

Oregano Oil

oregano essential oil Oregano essential oil is used by home-remedy proponents to treat dog ear infections, as it has natural anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Oregano oil must always be diluted before you apply it. Coconut oil or sweet almond oil are recommended as “carrier oils” to dilute it. While it can be applied directly to the dog’s ears, left for a short time and flushed out, you shouldn’t try to do this at home – always consult with a veterinarian before putting essential oils in your dog’s ear.

Tea Tree Oil

bottle of tea tree oil Tea tree oil is also known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. It contains chemicals called terpenes that make it effective against bacteria and fungi – but they are also highly toxic to animals. Whether taken orally or through the skin, terpenes are rapidly absorbed by your pet – and the toxic effects can be quite serious. So while tea tree oil can be effective in treating certain infections, the concentrations needed to be effective are higher than what you can actually find in tea tree products (.1% – 1%). We do not recommend the use of tea tree oil to treat dog ear infections.

Monistat 7

monistat 7 box - miconazole for dogs ears Monistat 7 is an over-the-counter product commonly used by women to get rid of vaginal yeast infections. It is easily found in drugstores and does not require a prescription. Its active ingredient is miconazole, which is effective in eliminating yeast infections. This active ingredient is also safe for dogs. When used correctly, this topical cream can often clear the yeast infection from your dog’s ears. (NOTE: Be sure you use Monistat, not other products like Vagisil, which are not formulated to eliminate fungus/yeast.)

If possible, talk to your vet first before using Monistat on your dog. If given the go-ahead, make sure to mix the Monistat with hydrocortisone cream (half and half) to help relieve any itchiness your dog is experiencing due to the yeast infection. The consistency of the blended mixture will be thick, so add several drop of water to thin it, and carefully squirt the mixture into your dog’s ears using an eye dropper. Use this home remedy for about a week. If the problem doesn’t subside, take your dog to a vet.

Hydrogen Peroxide

bottle of hydrogen peroxide for ear infections in dogs Some people ask if hydrogen peroxide can help clear out ear mites that cause dog ear infections. They think that the bubbling cleaner will wash the ears, get rid of the mites and prevent or heal the ear infection. But hydrogen peroxide is basically water with an extra oxygen molecule. The oxidation when you use it is what makes it fizz and look like it’s “working.” And, in fact, it does help clean the area by attacking many types of bacteria and suppress the activities of parasites like ear mites – but:

  • It’s caustic and can damage the tender skin in and around your dog’s ear.
  • It doesn’t work on all bacteria – many types are resistant. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s preventing an infection when it might not be.
  • Most vets believe its toxicity to cells outweighs any benefits of its antibacterial properties.
  • You absolutely don’t want to get it in your dog’s eyes – so administering it to the ears must be done with extreme care.

Coconut Oil

Using coconut oil to treat dog hot spots Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has antibacterial properties. It is also known for its anti-inflammatory usefulness. That’s why some owners see it as a possible home remedy to reduce the itch, irritation and swelling caused by ear mites. But you’ll need to keep in mind that the lauric acid in coconut oil is great for many things – but it is not a broad-spectrum anti-bacterial agent. It’s possible that it could eliminate the good bacteria that are fighting the bad bacteria causing the ear infection in your dog. And In fact, not much research has been done on the effectiveness of coconut oil for pets.

Manuka Honey

jar of manuka honey Honey is known to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. But to help your dog’s ear infection, you have to have the right type and grade of honey. The gooey stuff is classified according to how and where bees get the ingredients to make it.

Manuka honey is made from the nectar of a tea tree in New Zealand and the eastern part of Australia. The bees pollinate the native manuka bush, making it a “monofloral” type of honey (meaning the ingredients come from one type of plant).

Some studies have been conducted on manuka honey that showed that medical grade honey gel was effective in killing bacteria that causes ear infections in dogs. These studies received funding from the companies producing the gels – so more research needs to be conducted and the evidence of whether it really works is limited. In addition, medical-grade honey is sterilized and prepared like a dressing – so you shouldn’t apply manuka honey that you can buy at the grocery or health-food store to your dog’s ear.

Plus another downside – it’s sticky and messy to deal with. There are other products on the market that are easier to apply and require no clean-up.

Garlic Oil

garlic for ear infections Garlic contains allicin, the main property that fights infections. It’s also believed to be effective in getting rid of ear mites. To use it, peel and grind six cloves of garlic in a food processor until it’s like a paste. Then add one tablespoon of olive oil and mix well. Over low heat, warm the mixture and then remove from heat. Cool it completely before using a dropper to put it, drop by drop, into your dog’s ear.

White Vinegar

white vinegar home remedy Vinegar has many great properties and has been used a home remedy for many medical problems for years. Many people like to use it to treat dog ear mites – its acidic properties create an environment in the ear where bacteria and fungus can’t live.

However, be very careful when using vinegar if your dog has scratched his ears and has sores or lesions inside (or outside) his ears. He will yelp with pain when that vinegar hits it! Just as you, the owner, would if you put vinegar onto a cut!

If you decide to try this, make a mixture of 2 tablespoons of water to one tablespoon of white vinegar. Pour half of it into the dog’s ear and massage gently. Then use a cotton bowl soaked in the mixture to wipe the inside of her ear. If you don’t see positive results in a week, better take her to the vet.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar For Dogs Ears Like any vinegar, apple cider vinegar is an acid. It starts as apple juice; yeast and bacteria are added to turn the fruit sugar into alcohol, which ferments and turns into acetic acid.  It’s the acetic acid that gives the vinegar its strong smell and taste.

The fermentation process gives apple cider vinegar its antimicrobial properties – it naturally kills organisms like bacteria and fungi. This is one of the reasons it has become known as a great home remedy for a variety of physical ailments – and yes, an all-around household cleaner and disinfectant.

Just like with white vinegar, you can try apple cider vinegar in your dog’s ears UNLESS there is any broken skin. The burn and sting it causes when it hits a wound will make your pup yelp and scamper away. Needless to say, it’s too caustic to be used around the eyes.

Should you decide to try it, you can use it undiluted if there are no open wounds or lesions. And use organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar for more strength in fighting the infection.

Yogurt

jar of yogurt Many ear infections in dogs are caused by the overgrowth of yeast. Dogs’ ears have yeast in them all the time, but when an overgrowth occurs, inflammation and irritation follow.

Yogurt contains alive bacteria, such as acidophilus, which helps maintain the right balance of the normal yeast in your dog’s system. If you want to apply it to the infection, dab a small bit of unflavored yogurt that has active strains of probiotic bacteria on the ear.

You can also try having your dog eat yogurt: Put two tablespoons of UNFLAVORED yogurt to your dog by adding it to his food or giving him yogurt-based treats. This can be done even when your dog doesn’t have an ear infection as a preventive measure. (Note: While your dog might like the taste of flavored yogurt better – who doesn’t? – the sugar in the yogurt can actually make the yeast proliferate and make the problem worse, so be sure to use unflavored yogurt).

Why Does My Dog Keep Getting Ear Infections?

dog shaking head due to ear infection Dog ear infections that keep recurring are usually caused by the overgrowth of yeast – and that can happen for a variety of reasons. See below for ways to prevent your dog’s ear infection recurrences.

How To Prevent Dog Ear Infections

Keep Your Dog’s Ears Dry

Excess moisture is a common cause of ear infections in dogs – it’s easy for this to happen due to the shape of the dog’s ear and the vertical ear canal. So make sure you dry your dog’s ears thoroughly after he has gone swimming or you’ve given her a bath.

Keep Your Dog’s Ears Clean

this happy dog is getting his ears cleaned Clean your dog’s ears regularly. To avoid ear infections in dogs, veterinarians recommend that they have their ears cleaned no more than weekly but at least once a month. If your dog has floppy ears, swims regularly, has heavy fur around the ears, suffers from skin allergies or gets frequent ear infections, you should clean the ears more frequently. Consult with your veterinarian about how often is best for your dog. Use a good quality dog ear cleaner, such as Banixx. Do not use olive oil, vinegar, shampoo or any other substance in your pet’s ear.

Don’t Overuse Antibiotics

Try to avoid the overuse of antibiotics. Antibiotics can destroy the beneficial bacteria in your dog’s gut, reducing his immunity and making it more likely he’ll get recurring ear infections.

Control Your Dog’s Allergies

dog allergies of the skin Allergies to food are a very common cause of ear infections in dogs – in fact, 10% of all allergies in dogs are food-related. It’s usually caused by genetic factors, and it can be triggered by something the dog eats. Check your dog food to see if it is highly processed and contains ingredients like wheat, rice, spelt and soy, food additives and preservatives, the lectin found in unsprouted grains, sugar, genetically modified foods (GMOs) or pasteurized dairy products.

Dogs can sometimes develop allergies to foods they have eaten for years with no problems. A food elimination diet can help determine the source of the allergy. Sometimes changing to a less processed diet can help – rotate the protein sources your dog eats, and limit or eliminate grains.

Some dogs have environmental or seasonal allergies. Depending on the time of year, your dog may have a reaction to ragweed, grasses and pollens. Allergens can also be found indoors, such as mold, dust mites and cleaning chemicals. Ask your vet to help with diagnosis and treatment of these allergies.

Dog Ear Infection Treatment Over The Counter

Use Banixx to treat and/or prevent ear infections. You can avoid the mess, stink and dangers of other home remedies and medications by using Banixx Pet Care. It is formulated to create an environment in which it is impossible for fungus and bacteria to grow. It can be used up to three times a day to get rid of the yeast/bacteria, soothe the irritated skin, and prevent the infection from coming back. There are no side effects, will not harm the eyes if it should accidentally get in them, and is easy and safe to apply.